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Mountain Marathon

Just finished with the mountain marathon. It was hard.
But when is running a marathon not hard? It always seems hard to me.

 I had originally scheduled this event for the last day and was hoping to run it pretty fast. By moving it up it changed it to a training day. Plus, a hadn’t given it a thought and woke up with no idea where we’d run. I got on the net and choose a trail at random. Reed seemed suspicious of the idea but I assured he and Bob that it would be much more adventurous this way.

 “Hey, it doesn’t matter to us. We can quit  whenever we want.” He said.

It was hot at the trailhead and it had me wondering if I’d sandbagged us, er, I mean me. Reed mentioned the trail Hans and I had chosen sans knowledge that turned into a torture test. When we started, though, I had a good feeling about it.

I lucked out with a beauty, at least most of it. We ran out a river valley, so there was plenty of water for Tuco. We found a pretty impressive cliff that sidetracked Bob and I for long enough that Reed complained “You guys gonna walk 26 miles?” The trail was rocky and slow in places, with numerous (maybe 50) river crossings but there was also long stretches of single track where you could move pretty quickly. There was plenty of shade and not too much elevation gain.

The first 8 miles went really well. So well that I was contemplating doing some interval training. Reed, who hadn’t planned to go very far, turned around at the 8-mile mark. The run would end up being his longest single run and second longest day running ever (see his challenge for his first).

The next 8 sucked. Bob and I got lost in a weird, network of (sometimes very steep) dirt roads. We heard gunshots and their were signs of habitation. We didn’t feel welcome. Bob mentioned that it felt as though we were suddenly in West Virginia. Since it was a out and back run, we thankfully didn’t have to spend too much time here, and didn’t run across any locals.

Have I mentioned that we were sore from yesterday? We were. Both our hamstrings were tight and my foot had somehow become bruised yesterday. Interval training became an afterthought and just finishing started to seem troublesome. However, we had the memory of Bob’s challenge in June for reference and whenever we thought things seemed hard we just thought to how we suffered that day.

Since the course was only 24 miles I needed to do two extra. I turned around about a mile from the finish and—slowly—ran back to the 2-mile marker. Then I decided to see if I could beat the 16-minute time from our way out. I focused on my breathing and tried to block out the--now substantial--pain in my hamstrings. I imagined I was Phidippides running to Athens. I finished in 15 minutes. The guys said I looked like hell but it was nice to see I had some reserves left anyway. 

Bob and Reed were stellar in support, both going much further than they had originally intended. Ratso was a monster. Man, is he fit. He ran 20 miles with me once this summer and was pretty sore the next day. Today, while we lagged around the car afterward he was barking and running around trying to get us to throw rocks for him. Makes me wonder how a dog food diet would work.

We celebrated with one of the best Cuca’s burritos I’ve ever had in my life.

Tomorrow is the kayak. Reed has done a lot of paddling but nothing like this. I have done no paddling whatsoever. I’m looking forward to it but need to go ice and get some sleep. It’s going to be an early day.

Thanks for reading. Hasta manana.

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