Whew, what a run today. The weather was beautiful--perfect for me. I wore shorts for the first time in a long time. I was initially planning on 17, but Emily was planning on 20. I wanted to finish up with her, so this became a 20-miler for me. The gang was all here: me, Tim, Wes, Scott, Emily, Magnus, Kathy, dad, and Bill. Tim, Wes, Bill, Scott, and Magnus are on some kind of quest to find the hardest courses in existence. They were planning to take on a new route today. I've been on that route in a car. And, trust me, if it looks bad from a car--it's going to be horrifically bad on one's legs. I asked Emily what she wanted to do. She said it didn't matter. Well--I had told dad and Kathy we were going 17. So I felt obliged to make sure we were coming by the house at 17. I told Emily we'd just do our normal, plus a 5-mile Buddha loop. She agreed, and I was happy. I ran a hard 10 yesterday and was not looking to commit suicide on the route they were running.
So Tim, Scott, Magnus, Wes, and Bill were studying their map. Well, we knew our route, so I, Kathy, Emily, and dad set off. Nice, slow pace. I knew my legs were going to be tired. I'd done a quick (around 8 minute pace--trust me, it's quick out there) 10 miles on this very terrain yesterday. I would pay for it today. We headed through town, up the infamous I street hill (which I had, until today, actually started to kind of like). The headwind was brutal initially. Then, when we turned away from it, we got overheated.
I had my camelbak on, and I was constantly hydrating. Being very well hydrated does seem to make my abdominal pain a bit better, or it at least keeps it from getting too much worse during a run. I'm just getting used to taking gels, too. I took three today. Probably didn't need three, but I'm trying to practice with them since I've never taken them in a race. I really like vanilla Accel gels and Carboom apple ones (apple pie!). Today, though, I decided to try a jet blackberry Gu. Oh, man. Horrific. I mean they had to work to make that thing taste that bad. Never again.
So we did our usual around-the-airport loop, but when we got to the airport turn, we went the other way. Into Buddha. Yes, there is a town called Buddha right next to Bedford. And, at least in my mind now, it is famous for hills. Steep uphills followed by even steeper downhills. There was one flat stretch, in the bottoms, that spanned about a quarter mile. Other than that, we were going up and down, up and down. The downs were killing me more than the ups. We finally emerged from Buddha around the 12 mile mark, and I could tell my legs were toast. With 8 more hilly miles to go. I hung on, but suffered on the hills. Again, mainly the downhills. For once, the pain in my abdomen was trumped by the pain in my legs. I kind of had to smile at that.
We got to the base of the last major hill, Slaughter House Hill, around the 15 mile mark. This hill is always, always bad. It's a category 5 climb. Not that long--just under a quarter mile. But it's a beast. The last few times I've run on it, I've been able to sort of scoot up it. Not today. No, sir. It was all I could do to keep myself moving forward. I think everyone else was feeling the same way, too. We were getting closer to town, and I heard dad calling the horses (a barking noise he makes when his legs are telling him that it's time to stop). He had toyed with the idea of maybe going 20 with us. Then he said "All the sudden it feels 90 degrees out here." I figured he'd not be joining us for the final three miles. But I asked him anyway. "No. I'm only moving one foot in front of the other now because I know I'm almost done." Kathy was looking VERY strong, despite having run 22 (yes, 22) miles the day before. So I thought she might join us for the last 3.
We approached the house and, cruelly, we were a quarter mile short. So dad would have to run past his car and around the block to get 17. We did. Kathy initially said she'd go with me and Emily for the final 3 miles but, after considering it for a moment, decided she better not push her luck. I looked at Emily. We were both tired. "This is going to be a long three miles," she said. I took that as a sign that she was just as beat as I was. We decided to go slowly and simply get the miles in. And these three miles we did in town, on the flatness. For some reason, as soon as we started running on the flat stuff--my legs hurt WORSE. Well, we made it. 20 done. We finished up shortly after the guys did, and I was ever so glad we hadn't gone with them. It sounded like a brutal course they were on.
We went to Casa Brava afterward to wash away the pain. It worked. Sort of.