Yesterday I drove down to York to run with my friend, Bob. As far as I'm concerned, Mt Aggamenticus is the Ultrarunning Capitol of Maine. When I first started running ultras, the only people I knew of that did these crazy races were the Mt Aggie gang. I seem to get down there to run about twice a year and it always feels like I am running on hallowed ground.
Bob and I are both going to be running Massanutten. He just had an excellent Boston Marathon so his training leading up to MMT has been more road and speed focused, while I have been focusing primarily on trails and long steep hills. Despite our different training styles, our paces were very well matched yesterday. I never felt slowed down and I never felt rushed, well except for the last few miles and I'll get to that.
We left right from Bob's back door and ran for 3 1/2 hours on the informal and unmarked network of trails leading up to the mountain. It is a little complicated out there. If Bob had decided to sprint ahead out of view at any time during our run, I'd still be out there trying to navigate my way back to civilization. The trails are beautiful and very nice for running. It was easy to forget how close we were to town.
When we got to the mountain top, we did three repeats up and down the steepest part. This was a lot of fun. My climbing is very strong right now, just what I need for MMT. I wore my heart rate monitor and found that I could keep my heart rate well below threshold while climbing at a fast pace. Once done with our repeats we headed back on a slightly different route.
When we got to the last few miles we found ourselves on wide logging roads, perfect for fast running. Coincidence? I think not. I had forgotten that Bob likes to pick up the pace at the end of his long runs. And he did. I took chase and was able to stick for a mile or so, but started dropping back ever so slowly. It's his damned marathon legs, he has finished over 100 marathons and they have all been with very decent times. I hung on the best I could and it was a nice way to finish our run.
Afterwards, Bob took me to a Kentucky Derby party that turned out to be a lot of fun. I was skeptical, I'm not a horse race fan and didn't think I would fit in with a crowd that was. But I was wrong and we had a good time. They must have planned on having two famished runners show up, because there was plenty of great food. I parked myself at the food table and ate much more than my share and even sampled a Mint Julep to get in the Kentucky Derby mood. Once Bob mentioned the topic of ultramarathons, I was never at a loss for conversation because people had a lot of questions and seemed genuinely interested.
Today will be a hill tempo. This is supposed to be on the treadmill at a controlled pace and incline for 30 minutes. But I have a steady incline at Green Mountain that takes about 30 minutes. I think I will take advantage of the beautiful day and run there for my hill tempo. I can keep the effort and pace steady if I wear my heart rate monitor. BJ is eager to do another Green Mt run so I will have some company today.