Yes, that's what today's run was. The group included me, Madeline, Rachel, Emily, Jon, and my dad. Dad was the only non-RER runner (but we were glad to have him just the same!). Madeline and Rachel had never run in Bedford, and they wanted to come down to run a new course. Jon (who is from Bedford) and Emily and dad (who have run down here numerous times) also wanted in on the action.
It was SO nice to run with a group again. So many of my runs have been solo lately that I forgot how the conversing makes the miles tick by.
They were up for 14 miles. The course I had mapped out was actually closer to 15 (14.6), but that's close enough to 14, right? ;)
Jon was well aware of how heinously hilly this route is, but he wanted to run it anyway. I think Madeline and Rachel had been told it was a hilly route, but they didn't get the full flavor of what "hilly" meant until they were out there.
We headed out from town to I Street. All was grand until we hit the I-Street hill. It's the first major (and I mean major) climb of this course. Run this one too hard, and you'll be toast the rest of the run. It's one of those tricky hills...you think you see the top, but it's not the REAL top. It keeps going past the point that you can see. We all survived it.
I had stashed water the night before, so we were able to stop at the top of the hill to rest and hydrate. Dad told the rest of the group to consider that and the next few hills as "candy," and that the run wouldn't really start until we got to the bottoms..this is where we hit the twin tower hills.
Still, they soldiered on. Madeline and Rachel didn't seem at all fazed by the tough course. They were hanging in there. Everyone was doing very well. And, though it was terribly humid, it didn't feel that hot. The sun was not out and there was a breeze. We were all drenched....but it could have been worse.
After the bottoms, we started climbing, and our group splintered a bit. Dad fell off a bit, as did Rachel. Rachel, though, is one of the best downhill runners I've ever seen--she can make up for any lost time on the ups by flying down the downs. We reassembled at the top of the first twin tower and headed for the next one.
I'm used to these hills--I run them all the time--and they're really hard for me. And, again, Rachel and Madeline, who'd never run on this course, were hanging tough. We again reassembled at the top of the second hill, and it was at this point that I thought dad might be in trouble. I just know that look. We took off slowly, but by the time we turned onto Tunnelton, dad had faded a bit more. I could still see him, and he was still running, so I was not worried.
There is a short, but very steep, hill that goes from Tunnelton up to Hidden Acres. Jon and I didn't seem to mind this one, but it affected everyone else. Madeline was right behind us (she's a tough cookie!) and noted something like "you guys are killing me!" But she was doing great.
We stopped for water, and I noticed that Emily was way behind. Turns out she had taken a Gu and gotten sick--intermittently vomiting. I'm glad it was that and not her knee! We all fueled up and took off for Slaughterhouse Hill. At this point, dad really dropped behind. Again, he was still running...so I left him alone.
Jon, Madeline, and I made it to the base of Slaughterhouse together. We stayed pretty close together on the way up...and we were all happy to stop at the top for water. Then I saw Rachel come up. Then I heard Emily (puking). But where was dad? For a moment, I was worried. Then I saw him surface. He said he had stopped at the bottom to get his wits about him before ascending it. I asked him how he was doing: "Not good." 'Nuff said.
From the top of Slaughterhouse, the run is almost over. But it's still not flat. Jon, Madeline, Rachel, Emily, and I were together. Jon decided he wanted to get back to the house a slightly different way to make the run closer to 14 than 15. Madeline went with him. Rachel, Emily, and I were going to make it 15. And we waited for dad at the top of a hill to see if he wanted to go with us or cut it a bit short.
So I said: "Dad, do you want to cut it short?" He looked at me like he didn't know what I meant. I asked him how he felt, and he said he couldn't feel any worse. I explained to him that Jon and Madeline had turned right there in order to make the run a bit shorter. Did he want to follow them or go the usual way with us? "What, now?" he asked. I explained it again, and it still didn't register. He fiddled with his watch and said he'd like to cut it short but where should he turn? I tried to explain that he'd just go through the square and then to my house, but he wasn't getting it. He was confused.
So I rescinded the offer for him to follow Jon and Madeline (who were already down the road), and told him he was coming with us. I've seen dad get like this before. This time it was actually really mild. He wasn't argumentative yet, and he actually knew he was a bit confused. He does not do well in the heat.
We took off at a really slow pace, but dad still fell back. As long as we could see him, I was okay. Rachel, Emily, and I did the full 15...which required circling around the block. Poor Emily did it despite the fact that she was still tossing up her Gu.
In the end, we all survived...and they even want to come back next Saturday. Success!