Sunday, April 8, 2007

Bridge-to-Bridge Extreme Half-Marathon

Lab rat Mike Keene testing the Bridge-to-Bridge route in 30 degree, snowy weather. April 7 marked the B2B "Extreme" run.

Epic is one of my favorite words. I get lost in epic literature--sweeping tales of awesome journeys--and I am easily excited by the prospect of epic adventures (which partially explains my desire to run trail ultra marathons).

When we put a training run of the Bridge-to-Bridge course on our calendars for April 7, it didn't figure to be such an adventure. That's why they play the games.

At 6 a.m. it was about 30 degrees, with driving snow. Leaving Tilghman, Mike Keene and I employed the Jedi (a.k.a close-your-eyes, look down, and only look up to get your bearing when absolutely necessary) method of navigating to avoid severe wind and snow stinging our eyes and leaving us sightless. The terrain for the first 3 miles was snow and slush, and the whole scene was surreal. There is no doubt that cars going by correctly classified us as "idiots."

Gear was the operative word for the first half of the run. Making the right call--rain jacket and pants over base layer, then adjusting on the fly, not to mention toting the camera, keeping it dry, and snapping a few photos. Our pace was slower for those reasons, and we hit the half-way mark--the Wittman sign on Route 33, across from McMartin & Beggins Furniture and Pot Pie Road--in 1:09 on the mark.

St. Michaels Road has its share of twists and turns. Mike pointed out that the wind had hit us from every direction, without having shifted. Yesterday, it was ever present, but never as bad as the stretch from Tilghman Island to Sherwood, where there is nothing between the road and Eastern Bay.

Prior to the half-way point, we had hit a groove, which we kept for the rest of the run. The snow made for a serene backdrop of beautiful fields with snow-covered trees and lanes, and a combination of conversation and awestruck silence created a fitting soundtrack. We ran the second 6.55 miles in 58 minutes, to give us a 2:07 finishing mark for 13.1 miles, without pushing the pace.

Meeting in the dark at 6 a.m. to go run 13 miles, on the road, in the snow on a Saturday morning is one way to kick-start your own mini epic adventure. It was a stellar way to start a day; get to know the B2B course; and to send out my 34th year. Today, I have become an old runner, at 35. ;-P


Stephen G. Bardsley said...

The both of you should not take each other for granted. Not many of us, even seasoned runners would have made that epic journey alone! You will be glad someday that you are etching the memories not only in eachothers minds, but on film, and word. You and this site are quite artistic! I do enjoy!

Michael K. said...

The snow was icing on the cake to a morning i was already looking forward to. It's funny how lethargic I can be when it comes to stepping outside to get an arm full of firewood for the woodstove. But, put a 2 hour run with Mike Valliant on the menu and I'm up many times the night before checking to see if it's time to get up yet. I never felt the cold, wet, nor discomforts of the running yesterday. In fact, the entire 2hrs and 7 minutes seemed like 5 minutes. Happy Birthday, Valliant.
Michael K.