28 July 2012


'Twas a doozie for sure!
This was to be the final long run in preparation of the Laurel Valley Whitewater 35 Mile Run in two weeks. To be honest, it wasn't just the final tune-up, it was a last reality check for some of us as well, questioning whether we were ready to take on the beast that is known as a 35 miler that feels like a very tough 50 miler. For me, it was going to be one of many long runs in preparation for the Georgia Jewel 100 Miler. While I will be running LV as part of my 100 mile training, I won't be "racing" it. However, I am looking forward to LV very much as I will be running it with some really good friends and I will be seeing a lot of other familiar faces as well.

James, Ed, Richard and I met up at Richard's house at 6AM sharp to tackle a run that had been created by James...or should I say it grew out of what is known as James' sadistic running mind:-) He might not like to hear it (then again, he is a boy scout and there could be a badge awarded for this type of stuff), but James has an affinity for finding pleasure in the most challenging of running routes. While other runners including me would shudder at the thought of it, doing hill repeats...on Waterline Trail...in the dark...with no headlamps sounds like "a good time" to James. The steeper the better. He is also the guy that had the ingenious idea last week to do a couple of repeats on the Powerline Cut at the end of Drake Ave in the middle of an already challenging 13 miler. Yes, we all did it and yes we all laughed about it afterwards, but come on, who thinks of stuff like this?

James thought it would be fun to make us run Drake Ave, not once but twice in the middle of a long run and to convince us to do it, he used "Jamescology". He offered up two routes, one a 26 mile double loop and the other a 22 mile figure 8 loop. Of course we all chose the 22 mile option, for one because it was shorter and most of us just don't want to run the same loop twice if we can help it (again, unless your name is James, of course). But guess what, both routes consisted of having to run Drake Ave and the Powerline Cut twice, so James would get what he wanted either way. Very smart James, excellent use of Jamescology, like I said;-)

The weather was actually kind of cool or at least not hot when we first took off. All of us were wearing packs. For one, we wanted to train for LV, where we would have to carry all supplies needed for the 35 mile race. In addition, we actually needed to carry that much water. We knew it would get hot very quickly and there was one thing I didn't want to be during this run...thirsty. Richard was kind enough to stash 3 Gallons of water and a 2l bottle of Pepsi at the top of the last major Drake Ave hill, since we would pass that point twice during our run. Rich, I am extremely glad you had the vision to do that. That Pepsi hot the spot both times!

We decided on a slow pace as our goal was both distance and time on feet, not speed. In that regard, we succeeded. We did end up with one minor casualty as Richard had to call it quits prior to climbing the Powerline Cuts for a second time as he was overheating in a hurry. Ever the boy scout, James hung back and waited for Richard's rescue crew & extraction transport (e.g. his girlfriend and her car;-) to arrive before he continued on. Ed and I had continued to walk on ahead until we reached Monte Sano Blvd and picked up our pace to a slow running pace again. We knew that neither James nor Rich would be alone, even though we only received the details of Richard's plight after we returned from our run.

Ed and I continued on Monte Sano Blvd until we hit the Bluffline Trail, which marked the final 5 or 6 mile stretch of our run. Ed had been struggling with some stomach issues all day and I was only glad to settle at a slower than usual pace. We completed our run in just under 5 hours, which included a few stops here and there. James arrived shortly after us. Overall, it was a great run and I'm feeling pretty good about my ability to finish LV next month. I might not be fast, but I think a race strategy of running the downs and speed hiking the ups at LV might be a great practice run for Georgia Jewel 100. I really want to see how fast I can move when I speed hike the uphills rather than try to run as much as possible.

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