Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Long Run on Messy Roads

Yesterday was my scheduled long run of 3 hours. Road conditions were pretty bad and I thought about skiing instead. But after shoveling snow for two hours, my arms felt like overcooked spaghetti. I was in no shape for skiing. So I strapped on the Stabilicers and headed out.

The road surface was about as bad as it gets for running, several inches of loose snow on top of slush and ice. My cleats just couldn't get through all that to get a solid grip on anything. So with every push off, I slid back half a step. I checked out the snowmobile trails but they were much too loose for running without snowshoes. If I was planning to run a specific number of miles for my long run I would have quit and gone back home. But since I was running for time I figured I'd just keep going and even if I only made it around the block in the three hours, I would still have my long run done for the week.

Because I had no pre-planned route for the day I had brought my cell phone with me. I have been known to wander off on a run and find myself twenty-five miles from home in need of a ride. The phone rang just as I got to the top of Deveroux Hill. It was BJ asking what I was doing. From where I stood I could see Towles Hill, where BJ lives, in the distance. So I told him I was running to his house if he was willing to give me a ride home. He agreed, so now I had a destination.

I stuck to the back roads and only saw 2 cars the whole run. The uphills were really frustrating with the back-sliding, but I just kept trudging along. I figured I was doing 15 or 20 minute miles on some of those long uphill stretches but didn't worry about it. Since I was running to BJ's and would be so close, I wanted to run over Hessian Hill . The views from this hilltop are fantastic. But the climb up Hessian Hill is Cornish's version of the Mount Washington Auto Road. Unbelievably steep and long.

When I got to the turnoff, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was the only road in all my travels that had been plowed down close to the pavement and sanded. There are a few houses on this road and I wonder if they pay privately to have this road maintained so well. I took off the Stabilicers and ran up. This stretch felt great and the views from the top were breath taking. Then I ran back down and another 4 miles or so to BJ's house. Three hours of hard running for a whopping 15 miles. I had a nice hot shower and a good dinner before my ride back home.

Today was a warm up and cool down on the roads with my 3 miles of faster paced running on the treadmill. I'm totally beat. Tomorrow is supposed to be an easy run, but may need to be a day off. We'll see.

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