Sunday, October 1, 2017

Back At It

A super mellow week to recover from VT.

Three days off followed by a dark, humid, muggy, heavy, slow run around the Heath on Thursday morning. Scared up one deer along the trail around the Heath, and saw one other pair of eyes out along the edge of the golf course. Not sure what it was... cat? fox? raccoon? Whatever it was, it stayed put down amongst the grasses right near the edge of a big tree. Also ran into Jim Gott and friend, getting ready to head up into the woods just as it was getting light near the end of my run, so stopped and chatted for a few minutes before continuing on. Overall, body felt decent but my quads were most definitely still tender. (4.1 miles)

Sky just beginning to lighten as I rounded the Heath

Friday morning, I was able to sleep in and head out a bit later in the morning. Beautifully crisp morning, much more fall-like - yay! Ran out into the Cathance and along the river, enjoying the blue skies and cool air. Followed up the run with a most welcome massage from Lauren before tackling the rest of my To Do list for the day. (6.1 miles)

Blue skies reflected

Morning light along the river

Yesterday I ended up not running. Part of me was fairly distressed about that fact, but I know it was the right thing to do. 50 miles, then three days off with sore quads, then run four days in a row? Probably not smart. Even if I really felt like I should get in more miles this week. Better to take another zero today and be ready to hit the ground running next week for the final two big weeks of the build. Still, it pained me ever so slightly to know that September was finishing up at 190 miles, not the 200+ I had hoped. But on the upside, I hit 1,500 miles for the year at some point during the VT50 so my goal of 2,000 is still doable if all goes well this final quarter of the year. Onward and upward.

We headed up to Keri and Tyler's in the late afternoon, enjoying an early dinner of wood-fired pizza, salad and cupcakes along with some great company and good chatter together, before all heading to bed early in preparation for the Sunday's Race Through the Woods at Hidden Valley. It was great to catch up with them all, and as always, they are great hosts. Thanks for a fun evening and for letting us stay over, guys!

Keri and I were up well before the crack of down so that we could run the course before she had to be back at the barn for registration at 8:00. Headlamp most definitely needed, and it was only 35 degrees when we hit the trails at 5:30 am. Brrr! The Hidden Valley trails are beautiful but rugged in a not well-trodden kind of way. It was slightly tricky and slow going in the dark but we chatted away as we ran along and a few miles in, up along one of the higher ridgelines, we could see the sunrise through the trees. Gorgeous. The course loops back to the start about 5 miles in, and after a quick pitstop for me in the outhouse, we continued on to the other side of the course. Some beautiful woods and nice views along misty little ponds, running grassy double-track and twisty, leave covered singletrack. I was happy to have my legs be feeling pretty good with no quad soreness - yay! Keri turned off about 10.5 miles in to head back to the start and I continued on the course for the final 2+ miles. My legs probably would have preferred the shortcut but I was rewarded with gorgeous singletrack along the edge of Little Dyer Pond. The fog was lifting off the lake, the reddening maples were reflecting in the water and it was oh so pretty. I kept having to stop to take in the view :) (12.9 miles)

Dawn rising 

About 8 miles in, we hiked up this really steep hill along the course and came across Linda, hanging out on the porch of Two Dog Hut, just lounging ;) Too funny! And what a place to stay the night!

So beautiful

Mist rising along Little Dyer Pond


After cheering on the runners for a bit, Jenn and I volunteered to assist at a few of the obstacles during the kid's race and and got in a nice walk on some of the singletrack as we headed out to our posts, complete with a detour down to the bog bridge out into a neat bog filled with an insane amount of pitcher plants and reddening cranberry bushes. Once again, beautiful.

Cool bog (and so many pitcher plants in the foregound!)

Cotton sedge, pitcher plants and cranberry bog

Sam was all smiles when she came through my station, and had a ton of fun out there! They even went back out to do the course a second time after their official finish ;)

Happy smiley obstacle course running kid :)

Once the races were done, awards were given out and the finish area was picked up, we all headed over to Oxbow and spent a few hours hanging outside at the picnic tables, drinking beer, eating cheese, crackers and cupcakes, laughing and talking. The perfect way to wrap up a great day spent out in the woods with friends!

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