Wow! That's what came to mind when I received the following text message just after getting home from the Summer Cross Country Races last night: "How about Pratt Ave to California to Whitesburg to Drake, then up Powercut through neighborhood to Monte Sano Blvd and Bluffline to Bankhead Pkwy back home...with a 5lbs backpack and a couple of hill repeats on Drake Ave and the gravel section of the Powercut? Should be 12-14 miles, let's meet at 4:30AM. Woot!" Sure, why not. While those three words weren't the first words that came to mind, they were the only words my running buddies received in my text message back to them. James was the initiator and I could always blame him later, if things went south;-)
As planned, James and I met at 4:30AM....and Ed joined us at 4:40AM. We took off through some neighborhoods, running at an easy pace, enjoying the cool morning air and the constant drizzle of rain that would accompany us for the next 2 hours and 20 minutes. I have to say the run felt great. I never really struggled, except during the "hill repeats", but who doesn't struggle during those. Once again, I carried my CamelBak Octane XCT in anticipation of the Laurel Valley Whitewater Run, a self-supported 35 mile point to point race in North and South Carolina. I had filled it up with 2 liters of water as well as a couple of gels, a headlamp, an Epipen and a couple of Zyrtec. My decision to wear a worn in pair of road running shoes was probably not the best one since the Powerline Cut and the Bluffline Trail were quite muddy. The rain kept me comfortably cool during the entire run, but I also felt like I drank a lot more water than usual.
We arrived back at Richard's house 12.5 miles and 2 hours 20 minutes later. This run does involve a considerable amount of climbing (at least I perceived it that way) and considering James and I carried our packs I am actually quite content with our time. I work on pace during the weekly short distance races and track workouts, so a slower pace just feels right sometimes.