I ran. I walked. I ran some more. I walked again. I did a 40 minute interval workout beginning at mile 8 that lasted through mile 12. I drank water (probably should have had more, actually). I drank about half a mouthful of neon green slash yellow syrup at mile 10 ish, then dumped it on the side of the road. The local ants will be VERY excited about that.
I saw one person get hauled off the course in an ambulance between miles 9 and 10. Several people were loosing their Gu over the guardrails along that stretch. Less than 10 meters from the finish medics were loading a person onto a stretcher. About 30 meters beyond the finish line there was a man down with people slowly pouring cool water onto his armpits and groin. I used my newly acquired t-shirt to help provide some extra shade. Ten seconds later he sat bolt upright and hurled. YAY! progress…i gave the medics the bottle of water i got after crossing the finish and proceeded to the snack tent. Grabbed a water, a coke (i know, right?), some cookies, half a bagel, half an orange (no English word rhymes with orange, btw), and another cookie. I tied my new t-shirt into a sack, put my stuff in there (except the coke; THAT i opened and started to drink!) I walked the half mile back uphill to the truck and drove back to my place where i tried to take a nap. HA.
ok, more details? IT WAS FLIPPIN HOT AND HUMID this morning. Temps at the start were approaching 80, which isn’t common in Central VT for early June. Last year I wore arm warmers during this race. This year i contemplated running shirtless, but then it would look like i was running in a sweater, so i kept my shirt on! Because there was shade about 150 meters back from the start, that’s where I lined up. Can you see it in this picture? Maybe if you click to enlarge it. At any rate, it took a few minutes to get to the start, and of course we had some false starts of jogging only to stop 3-4 steps into it. Yea, THAT’s fun. The first few miles of the course are gently rolling, and the road is a bit cracked and uneven. Tough to find a good rhythm off the bat, but that’s ok because it usually takes me a few miles to get my breathing settled. As we ran past my pal Pam’s house i shouted, “Everybody say, HI, PAM!”…AND THEY DID! just like last year! Pam and her hubby always sit on their porch and watch the runners go by, so why not shout and wave, right? Right.
The first four miles ticked by without issue or concern. One home owner was out in his yard with a hose, spraying runners. As refreshing as that looked, I’ve never run in these shoes (Saucony Virrata) when wet, so i swerved to the other side of the road to stay dry. There would be 3 more occasions when I did this along the course. The spectators were great, as usual. I love running near the edge and giving high fives to the little kids who are brave enough to stick their hands out. Good times.
After a lolli-pop shaped 2 mile loop into Woodstock, VT, the course heads out along the river on a back road. there is a stretch of about 2 miles (3?) that is on dirt, which was a welcomed break from the pavement. Not only is that a bit softer (i guess?) it is mostly in the shade. Holy hotness, Batman. I had grabbed a bottle of water from the start area and was sipping from that, but still walked the water stations, just to give myself a bit of a break. My training plan, though typical for me, isn’t all that it should be. Combined with the heat and humidity, there was no reason for me to expect a PR or to shoot for one. I ran the race to enjoy the course and the event.
I planned to switch from just music to an interval training programme (number 2) after mile 8. Last year I did programme 1 starting around 9.5 miles. It was a bit of fun to be zooming passed people during the high intensity part of the intervals, but when I look at my splits i can see that i wasn’t REALLY running very fast at all. It FELT like my mile splits were faster on the second half of the course, but my runkeeper data says otherwise.
My last mile and a half were brutal. The heat coming off the road was insane, I was low on fuel, and my calves were really starting to knot up. I managed a good kick for the last 1/4 mile, but since there was the runner in the road at the start of the chute, I wasn’t pumping all that hard at the end. I was glad for it to be over at that point. I’d finished uninjured, no puking, and no mental breakdowns.
I’ve registered for the Vermont 50 this year, so for the rest of the summer my focus will be on trail running, longer runs, nutrition, hydration, and….FUN! yes, FUN! (Lord help me….)