The 2012 edition of the More and More Difficult Run (MMD) was held this past Saturday in Evan's Notch. Event founder, Jonathon gave up his role as director this year as he is busy with other things. There was some talk that the event wouldn't be held, but thanks to Bob N, and volunteers Robin N, Jeff L's wife Kelly, and good old Kevin, the event went off without a hitch. Bob N put everything together before the event, then handed the reins to the above mentioned volunteers so he could run. Many of the usual cast of characters showed up to participate as well as several new faces. The course was a beauty with plenty of climbs and descents, lots of great views, nice runnable stretches, some sections of challenging footing, and good support with two aid stations and a cache of water in the exact spot where it was needed most. This water was hiked in by Michelle R after she ran the first ten mile section of the course. I have to say, we were all VERY happy that Michelle lugged all that water in. The day was extremely hot and humid and that water was a life saver!
The course was a big figure eight, more or less. Link to the map below.
I found myself running the Baldface section with Craig, Bob, Rich, Fred, Patrick, Michelle, and a few guys whose names I don't remember. The open ledges were already hot when we passed through in the morning. It was just a taste of things to come. Despite my best efforts to keep up with water and electrolytes, my feet were already cramping when we came into the first aid station at about mile ten. After passing through this station manned by Robin, we crossed 113 and started up toward Speckled Mountain. This is where the temperature and humidity became brutal. Rich, Patrick, and I gained a little distance on the rest of our travelling companions in this stretch. It was much too hot to wait at the summit to re-group, so the three of us went on. Rich was moving extremely well, and Patrick and I let him pull us along for the ride. My cramps were spreading from my feet to my calves and shins. At one point, my right calf cramped so badly that my leg stretched out against my will and my foot dragged on the ground causing me to fall. I was still laying there, rolling around and pounding on my calf when Patrick caught up from behind. It was not one of my most graceful moments.
Back down at Rte 113 we found the next aid station manned by Kevin and Kelly. The watermelon and iced tea were so good there and the chairs so comfortable, Patrick decided to stay. I gave Kevin a big smooch since I had forgotten to when we set off at the start, then Rich and I moved on up toward the Royces. There was a short half mile spur trail to the summit of East Royce that was much tougher than I expected. It had looked so insignificant on the map! After a brief rest at the summit, we started back down the same half mile stretch. We ran into Fred heading up. He grinned broadly and said, "This climb is wonderfully terrible!" I think he meant it. This guy is 61 years old and looks and moves like he's about 45. This would be the last time Rich and I saw any of the MMD participants until the finish.
My cramps remained irksome, but after a point I just had to accept them and concentrate on all the things that were going well. I had plenty of energy. Other than the cramps, nothing hurt. My stomach felt good and I was able to take food and fluids well. Rich was kind enough to wait each time he started gaining ground on me even though I urged him to go on without me, so I had good company. And clouds were rolling in and thunder was booming in the distance! I was silently praying for the rain to reach us to cool things off. Finally as we started down off the summit of Mt Meader, we felt the first smattering of rain drops. It wasn't much, but it gave us a brief respite from the heat and humidity. By the time we got down to the road, the sun was back out and it was more humid than ever. We alternated walking and jogging back to the campground where we were greeted by the early finishers and volunteers standing and clapping for us.
After having Kevin dump a jug of ice cold water over me to clean off some of the grime, I enjoyed sitting and sipping a few beers while we watched the rest of the field come in. Everyone made it back by dark, no one was seriously injured or lost, and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves. All in all it was another great MMD! I'll post photos in a day or two.