This race wasn’t a race. Not for me. It was part of a training run, but when you have 27 miles to run and can do 20 of them with awesome people then you do that! I had planned to run 6-8 trail miles at a very easy/recovery effort, run the first 10 of Spring Thaw harder at an 8:30-9:00 pace and then slow up for the last 10 miles.
I hit the trail by 8:20 heading north on the red-blue blaze. I had an hour and a half to kill before the race start and some quiet morning time in the woods always does me good.
The ground was still frozen working to my advantage on the few muddy spots and the air was perfect and crisp. I walked the hills and ran easy enjoying the moment and taking in the sights and smell of the forest. Cutting over to the red trail at Wisconsin shelter and then back across to the red-blue a few miles down shaved a few miles off the loop leaving me able to take the road back to my car, fill up bottles with Hammer perpetuem and heed and change from Lunas to LALO shoes. I made it to the start area 10 minutes before race start and looked around for the Runderful crew outside OTB.
I ran into Lisa, Vicki, and Lori but didn’t see the others. We grabbed a photo and chatted for a moment and soon
were falling into corral with the 9:00 pace group. The first mile was a slower as we were in the crowd. We averaged a 8:59 pace for the first 10 miles. Lisa finished strong at 10 miles and Vicki continued on with me to the 15 mile mark where we held an average of a 9:04 over the 15 miles. Good company makes for a good long run!
I continued on to the 20 mile mark alone feeling strong until 2 miles before the finish when I hit the wall. I ran and walked the last 2 finishing content with a 9:28 pace for the race and 27.2 miles in for the day.
After the race I went up to the Rose Barn and had a couple of slices of pizza and strawberry Hammer Recoverite before heading home to grocery shop and start laundry and eat EVERYTHING.
Sunday Sun Day
I slept peacefully waking for nothing but the morning sun. After making coffee I got straight to work cleaning the house and finishing laundry. I am not always so productive in the morning, but I knew something. I knew it would be 60 degrees out! In February! In Pennsylvania! I was determined to have a long time to run and walk.
You see this was the day I start walk training. As silly as it might sound at first I can run 20 miles, but not walk it. The muscles I use to run are far better developed than the walking muscles. Last summer, at the Burning River 50 miler, I realized I need to train by walking if I am to perform my best beyond the 50k mark and to even consider trying a race above the 50 mile mark. So here I am about 14 weeks away from running the Laurel Highlands 70.5 miler and soon thereafter the 100 miler at Burning River. It is time to walk more so I put on the short shorts and headed to Boyce Park ready for mud and sun.
The first 13 miles were done at intervals of a 1 mile brisk walk followed by 1 mile run. It felt really good to walk. I had spent much of my years walking in the woods hiking and backpacking. Doing so again brought back a lot of good feelings. And I do mean feelings. Not memories so much as a general calm happiness. It is refreshing to hear and notice everything in greater detail as one is more slowly passing through.
The run periods were a nice change and I never felt very taxed except for a a few of the steeper hill climbs that I normally would have walked up.
Boyce Park was full of people taking advantage of the weather. I saw a few families out on the trail, a guy in a full pack prepping for a backpacking trip in Death Valley , and numerous runners. It was a day not to be wasted so when I had run my 13 on the schedule I decided to throw an extra 5k just because.
Happy Running to You All!