Inspiration From an Old Friend
Through Mendon Ponds 16.1 mi 02:42 10:01 pace
I am notoriously bad at getting out of bed on cold mornings, so I set up my running stuff prior to going to bed. The forecast was for 8 degrees. The 5:30 AM alarm went off and I dozed it, this was progress as I usually will just cancel it and roll over 10 minutes later the alarm sounded again and I got out of bed and started dressing:
TNF Tech T (TNF = The North Face, GREAT CLOTHES!)
Asics Long Sleeve Tech Shirt
Mountain Hardware Shell (my absolutely favorite piece of cold weather clothing)
Ultimate Directions Fuel Vest (went in between shell and jacket to keep water bottle and clif bloks from freezing)
Dri-Fit Heavy running jacket
Nike Thinsulate hat
Buff for the neck
two pairs of gloves
Columbia Master Fly shoes
a bad headlamp (lost my good one and waiting for Mort to get them back in stock at Medved Running and Walking Outfitters)
Now that I was all dressed, I sat down in front of my computer and looked at Facebook. Usually this is the kiss of death as I will start commenting and liking all sorts of posts and about an hour later will just scrap the planned run. But today there was a message from John Prohira, my biggest ultra inspiration and mentor who has been out of the game for a couple of years:
“Dreams are good things. Waking dreams better. And big waking dreams the best. No longer fearing disappointment nor failure I’ll again embrace the distance. Signed up for the MMT100 lottery today. With a couple of finishes under my belt my chances are pretty good. Come what may.”
If you look at my Daily Mile or Strava Profile picture it is the “Visitor’s Award” from Massanutten Mountain 100 mile foot race (MMT100. You get this piece of shi… hardware if you complete over half of the course but fail to complete the entire course, your name goes on the official MMT visitors list, posted on their site for all of the world to see, and does not come off until you come back and run the entire course. I got this piece of hardware in 2002 during my first 100 mile attempt. John accompanied to the race and he finished (not his first, nor last finish of that race, and I don’t believe he has ever DNFd there). This race, this rock, they are my running muse, bane, albatross, inspiration, disappointment, all wrapped up in a neat little 100 miles. This has been my long term goal ever since coming back from a layoff from the sport. My intention was to try and enter this year, but a stress-fracture last year cut my entire 2013 season short and I was unable to get my 50 mile qualifier. This is one of the main reasons my entire focus this year is on Cayuga Trails 50.
Getting this note, understanding that he was jumping back in, both feet (MMT is one of the top 4 toughest 100s in the east: Barkley, Virgil Crest, Grindstone, and MMT). This race is not for novices (as I proved in 2002). To see him get on this was all the inspiration I needed to get out the door. I went upstairs, kissed Amy goodbye and told her my route so if I wasn’t home in 3 hours she could find me, and went out the door.
I’m not going to bore you with too many details of the run, but here’s the highlights. The Lehigh Valley Trail North, Hopkins Point Road, and the ATV/Powerline access trails were covered in 8 inches of untouched snow. That was 3+ miles of trail breaking including 2 miles in the final three of my run. It was fun to get the ultraslog on.
My run started at 9 degrees F and ended at 19 degrees F, that averages to 14 degrees. I ran 16 miles, I therefore imperially outran the temperature. It’s easy to do metrically, not so much imperially.
At mile 11ish the sun started peeking through the trees and I got a good picture of the sunrise over 100 Acre Pond. taking this photo/walk break I noticed about 10 ice fishers on the pond, combine that with running with deer, foxes, rabbits, and hawks it was a tremendous morning
Long Hot Showers after Long Cold Runs are DIVINE
Ibuprofen and ice are now part of my regular preventative maintenance on my ankle
Next week is a needed step back week as tomorrow I close out my second 40+ mile week this early in my CT50 training cycle.