Sunday, December 28
After church in NJ with Heather's family, headed to the Columbia Rail Trail, which is the only flat stretch in the vicinity. Did some hard running out and back, covering ten miles on the trail in under 57 minutes. Took a shot at a few Strava segments, and got 2 or 3 out of 5. Then had a slow uphill grind back to Heather's parents at the end. (13.05 total in 1:16:57)
Monday, December 29
12:10 pm - headed out with an ambitious, hilly long run in mind and wasn't disappointed. I had originally planned to run up and down the "ridge" 4 times, but compromised to 3 climbs. Still ended up with (according to Garmin) 2,018 vertical feet over 22.6 miles in 2:38:45
Tuesday, December 30
7:15 am - w/ Heather before heading to Lancaster, PA (10.19 in 1:19:35)
Wednesday, December 31
9:02 am - last run of the old year with my lovely wife on a chilly morning in Lancaster (PA) County Central Park (10.31 miles in 1:22:13)
Yearly Total: 3393 (second highest annual total to 2011, when I ran 3700)
Thursday, January 1
7:50 am - rang in the new year with Heather (I joined her for the first 2 miles of her run), finished three mile loop in 24 minutes
10:22 am - 9-mile loop in Long Valley, with Heather's brother Andrew in 1:05:12
Friday, January 2
8:09 am - 4.92 miles in 45:30 with Heather on morning loop plus some barely runnable trails near her parents before heading back to MA. My lower legs were killing me, but it turned out just to be pre-50k jitters.
Saturday, January 3
9:01 am - G.A.C. Fat Ass 50k in Bradley Palmer State Park (a mile from my house); showed up at about 8:30 and couldn't believe how many people were out in the 20-degree weather to run the trails. Dropped off some PB + J sandwiches at the aid station/start/finish area and tried to stay warm without running too much. Very hydrated. We went off on the first loop and I went (gently) to the front but could hear footsteps. Before one mile, Paul Young pulled alongside and we chatted most of the first loop in around 42 minutes, which was my goal (3:30 for 50k). Second and third loops, I ran alone (43 and 42 minutes). Had to stop to de-hydrate on the second loop. Made sure to get a couple good food items each time through the aid station.
The hosts, Gil's Athletic Club, did an amazing job supporting the runners on a cold morning, at an event with no entry fee! There was tons of food and drink - lots of snack-type stuff (pretzels, m+m's, cookies, etc.); cups with water, gatorade, coke, ginger ale; sandwiches; boiled potatoes (which I grabbed heading into lap three!); and a lot more which I didn't have time to take in during my brief stops at the refueling station!
At the end of the third lap (30k), I heard someone call my name at the aid station, and turned to see Scott Traer, who I had met at the Bear Brook Trail Marathon last summer. At Bear Brook, we had run together for a few miles, then Scott and Brandon Newbould got away from me. After the race, Scott and I bonded over both getting lost.
Saturday, Scott and I ran the fourth loop together, conversational, but I felt like the pace was quickening a little, and I was starting to feel it. We also had company from Colton, a third lap runner, who picked it up and ran three or four miles of the loop with us. Heading to the last lap, Scott asked what I'd like to do for the final 10k. I (honestly) told him, I would love to hold 6:30's, not knowing if that was possible.
Scott graciously kept me company the rest of the way, although we slowed some over the final 10k (about 44 minutes), and that was due to me getting tired. We finished together, in 3:32 and a half (I stopped my watch briefly at the fourth aid station, so my time of 3:32:18 is a little short). I was pleased with the experience and effort, and grateful to Scott for the good company over the final 20k.
Staying on my feet for three and a half hours convinced me that I should try to make it to Caumsett for the US Road 50k Champs in March. Heather and I have started the conversation (it is on her birthday) and I'm really hoping to take a crack at a good time there. Running close to three hours would be awesome!
Week Total: 103.57 miles
Sunday, January 4
6 miles easy out and back recovery in the afternoon