Monday, April 7, 2008

What Were You Doing Last Year?

Official Bridge-to-Bridge course tester Mike "Wood Frog" Keene high steps it over the Knapps Narrows Bridge, on the first official course run--in the snow, wind, and rain--April 7, 2007.

There is no snow in the forecast for today on the Shore. You couldn't say that a year ago. On April 7 last year, Mike Keene and I christened the official measured Bridge-to-Bridge Half-Marathon course in sideways snow and rain in what we dubbed the "Extreme" version of the B2B. That was one of those runs that you have to be at least part-buffoon to get out of bed to make, and/but that I will never forget and would rank among the most memorable. Sometimes a smattering of idiocy can add some adventure to life.

I guess it's that same kind of idiocy that continues to pull me out of bed to make our morning Rise Up Runners runs this year. This past week may have been my highest mileage week on record. My three runs were 10 miles at Tuckahoe, 11-ish miles around Easton, and then 17.5 miles around Easton. I've already written about the Tuckahoe run. The 11-ish run saw Landy Cook and I meet Don Marvel at Idlewild at 5:00 a.m. and trounce around a number of Easton "boroughs" in the dark. Roughly 9-minute pace, and my nagging hip-flexor felt good the whole run.

On Thursday, the complete lunacy came into effect. Landy and I began our run at 3:30 a.m. That hurts to type. A star lit morning gave way to clouds, and when we met Joel Shilliday on Washington Street at 5:15ish, we were already almost 11.5 miles into our run. We fed off Joel's fresh energy and deft movie review skills :) to power us through the next 5 or so miles, before catching the very start of the sunrise while coming up Rails to Trails. I had to pull-in to get the morning festivities started in my house (waking the ladies), while Landy continued on, determined to crack 20 miles for the morning, which he did.

The long run of the year so far, was mostly run at 9-minute pace, which is encouraging for where I'm hoping to be for a potential fall road marathon. The Delaware course on April 26 will throw conventional timing/pace out the window as it's a trail marathon. My legs stayed somewhat fresh during the run, however my stomach, egged on by not having dinner the night before, due to a finger-food-menu work party, was a wreck for the second half of the run. Diagnosing how he felt and where we were as we were on the home stretch of Rails-to-Trails, Landy had the quote of the day, "my legs are a little tired, my breath is a little shorter, and my will is shot." That is one of the best summations of a long run that I have heard uttered.

A couple other things worth noting: fellow Rise Up Runner and long-time compadre and training partner Mike Keene has thrown himself headlong into cyberspace. He began his new blog, "Runners on Trails," yesterday, so be sure to check it frequently for eloquent reports and ruminations on running, adventure, traveling, and his first half-Ironman triathlon this June.

One of my next posts will take some notes and an interview I did with fastpacking, ultra-running guru Flyin' Brian Robinson while working on my article due out in the next issue of Trail Runner magazine. The occasion of a post about Brian is that he just finished, and managed to set the course record, for the Barkley 100 mile race--probably the hardest 100 miles run anywhere as a "race." Brian becomes only the 7th person to complete the course.

And finally, be sure to check the Rise Up Runners blog, for what's going on with group runs, run reports, and a great why-I-run mornings piece by Landy Cook. Some future stories coming over there, include a travel piece by Mike Keene and some photos, video, and a recap of the mud stompin' run that Joel Shilliday and I had out at Tuckahoe yesterday.


Landy said...

I find it hard to believe that anything I have said on any run is quotable. You need some better subjects for writing material (:

landy said...

Seriously though, I am amazed that you held back that tidbit about not eating a real dinner the night before a long run until sharing it in the last mile of our long run. You toughed it out without a complaint. Well done!

Michael Valliant said...

You know, when you are choosing to wake up at 3:30 am to go running, I didn't figure complaining about anything really made much sense...;)

landy said...

That didn't stop me from complaining now did it :>)

Runners on Trails said...

Just this morning while a mother was saying how cold and wet it is for this time of year, and how it should be warmer, I got the opportunity to recant the Xtreme B2B Half Marathon. I can still remember the snow stinging my face as we ran into the wind. High adventure in Bay Hundred. Love running in the snow!

Julie said...

Hi Michael! I found your blog. This is REALLY COOL!! And running at 3:30AM is REALLY INSANE!! I'll read about your adventures from the safety and comfort of my easy chair here. Now I'm onto Mike Keene's blog. Thanks and have fun!