I gathered all the motivation I had and left my house just before 4AM for my run this morning. It was 26 degrees and dark when I started. Tracy Chapman was singing, "if not now, then when..." on my MP3. Fitting, since I had to get this long run in this morning before work, or it wouldn't be happening at all this week. I have a tough working weekend ahead of me.
I started with two miles on the road, then hit the rough, rocky, hilly snowmobile trails and tote roads of South Hiram, Porter and Brownfield. These trails are good Massanutten training with loose rocks, wash outs, and water crossings...what more could I ask for!
I hit Devil's Den on the way out, then continued to Brownfield and climbed Burnt Meadow Mt from the back side, then back to Devil's Den by a meandering wet path, down to Colcord Pond, then Black Bog... I was just wandering. I've been on all these trails before. It is possible to run for many hours without ever hitting pavement in this area. I didn't pre-plan my route, I just went where I felt like going.
I tried out my new UV water purifier. I'm used to squeezing or pumping water through a filter, or adding iodine tablets. The Steripen UV system seemed too easy. There was something a little disturbing about stirring a blue glowing wand around in the water for a few seconds and calling it good. It felt like I was performing some sort of magical spell. I even said out loud,"Hocus Pocus, protozoa be gone!" We'll see if I come down with some sort of gut wrenching parasitic infection within the next few weeks.
I tried Cliff Shot Blocks today along with my usual Hammer Gel and granola bars. I probably ate about 1200 calories during my six plus hours of running. That is more calories per hour than I have ever eaten during a run. But I felt better throughout the whole run than I have ever felt on a run of this length. I was practically prancing up the hills even at the end. OK, maybe not prancing, but not shuffling or staggering. And I felt great after I was done running. That's a good thing as I still have to work this afternoon.
I had started shedding layers as soon as the sun came out. By the time I was done it was 56 degrees and I had so much stuff tied around my waist, it looked like I was wearing some sort of odd rendition of a ballerina's tutu. But instead of the usual frilly pink stuff, there were gloves, a hat, a few tops, a vest, sunglasses, a water purifier, a cell phone, a pager, and a fanny pack tied to my waist. I exited the woods in Kezar Falls, about a half mile from my house.
I looked it up on my topo maps and my run was at least 32 miles, probably a little more. It took me 6 hours and 9 minutes. This was a great confidence builder. I am ready for Massanutten!