Monday, March 9, 2009

Crossing the Island

One of many cool views along the Cross Island Trail, Kent Island, Maryland.

I'm not sure I'll ever run another 50-mile race. But I haven't ruled it out. I've always been one to test my limits in terms of endurance, rather than speed. Talking some time ago to RUR tri-guy and analyst Dan Bieber, Dan mentioned that he was working getting sprint triathlons wired as he knew he could be competitive at the shorter distances, while he built his endurance up toward the longer stuff.

For me, the question isn't generally how fast I can run a particular distance (though that can drive me, for sure), rather how far can I go? For running, my current answer was found completing the JFK 50-mile race. Not fast, but finishing.

Longboarding adds a new dimension to that line of questioning. I am now a faster longboarder than runner (which makes sense, wheels and all :). Landy, Charlie, and I can hit 15 mph on Oxford Road at a stretch. The gliding, carving, and pumping is addictive. Pavement rolls underneath and the change in surface to a glassy stretch of road is surreal and seductive. Add a small hill and the wind at your back or the windy pavement in the Easton Club in the dark, and you've got a wild ride.

So first the question of the upcoming Ultra Skate, as Landy proposed it, was to see if we could skate 100 miles in a day. As we've been hitting the roads and trails, "Dr. Longboard" is starting to sing another tune: what about 150 miles? Do you think we could go for the full 24 hours? We haven't come to a conclusion, other than to have fun, let loose, and see what happens. We're devising our route to be a combination of Easton's Rails to Trails, Oxford Road from Easton to Oxford and back, and a heavy dose of the Kent Island Cross Island Trail.

Felllow longboarders Landy, Brian Wheatley and I cruised up to the Cross Island Trail on Sunday to do some scouting. Hard to believe that less than a week before, we had a snowy Rise Up Runner jaunt through Easton. Yesterday it was shorts and t-shirt weather, climbing into the 70s.

The Cross Island Trail has a number of fans: bikers, runners, walkers, they are all out there. I didn't notice any other longboarders, and it seems there is a novelty and mild fascination for folks when they see you go past on a longboard, LDP style!

A stellar way to enjoy the trail, the day, friends, and to find a groove and move into it. I hope to bookend more weeks with an epic style run (though it needn't be snowy) and a 15-mile or longer longboarding session. The week's workouts also included an indoor treadmill day, knocking out 7:30 minute miles, or an 8 mph pace for a solid hour, covering 8 miles. I am not a hamster wheel runner, but a solo run on a windy 13 degree morning didn't sound that fun...

My weekly workouts continue to be a combination of longboarding--with eyes on Ultra Skate--and running. I have a feeling the balance part of that equation will lean differently based on upcoming race schedules, opportunities and challenges.


landy said...

I'm glad you left out the bit about me trying to pass you and suffering the consequences of my wheels slipping on wet pavement and bailing on the gravel on the side of the path.

I guess that's why I have the pads on in the photo :) They are definitely needed in my case.

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