Something just didn’t feel right about the Kancamagus run, so I altered the plans and moved the run to the Seacoast of New Hampshire, opting for a safer more feasible route. The participants are at such varying levels of fitness and readiness, myself included, that I felt like running the Kanc might not have been such a hot idea. That combined with a pending snowstorm looming on New England, I knew I was making the right decision for the group. In moving the run, we lost Tom Parent. Adam is dealing with ITBand issues so he needed to pull out. And Nate, who had pulled out of the Kanc Run previously, decided he would show up late to the new route and join us then. The new route is a 10 mile loop through the streets of Dover, Durham and Madbury New Hampshire. We parked our cars at a Store 24 which acted as the Start/Finish location and served us well. To start Loop 1 with me was Josh Robert, the kind soul who accompanied me for 50 miles on the Run Across New Hampshire, most of which then was at night. This was out first “run” together since then, and it was appropriate that this run would also take place at night, under frigid temps and an overcast sky.
Loop 1: Miles 0-10
At 9:12pm Josh and I took off from the car at a modest clip, catching up on how each other was doing as of late. The temp was around 27 degrees. Josh was heming and hawing a bit and experiencing a bit of heartburn from the dinner he shoveled down before showing up. We talk about school, relationships, life and where we thought the fountain of youth could be located. Not really, but it was great to have company on my usual training loop through town. It gave me a chance to act as tour guide while we fought the enormous amount of traffic still out on the roads. We ran down busy Stark road and through the big cemetery (spooky at night). On to Garrison and then Spur as we race adjacent to the Bellamy River towards where it empties into the Great Bay. As we got closer to the bay, we marveled at the warm breeze that came up off of the water and how warm it felt. We hopped onto route 4 and crossed the bay as cars whizzed by one by one. Its a busy night on the seacoast and we wondered how many drivers we drunk. We turned onto Piscatiqua Rd/Back River Rd and took time to stop and walk the steeper hills that lead us back towards the finish. Josh is still having issue with his stomach and some heartburn and he starts toying with the idea of “booting.” He hangs in there strong as we negotiate the hills quickly and make our way to where Nate was to meet us for the 2nd loop. As we made it back to the Store 24, Nate was waiting for us. We greeted him and then Josh went over to the other side of his car at which point he upchucked his dinner rather proudly. Poor guy puked out of his eyeballs. NASTY! After refreshing with fresh fluids, gels and whatever else we needed, we were ready to take on loop #2.
Loop 2: Miles 11-20
Te three of us took off. While Josh and I started to slow down a bit and tried to continue our moderate pace, we got to observe Nates current level of fitness. Nate is rebounding from the foot injury that stopped him from Running Across New Hampshire and I can verify that he is rebounding well. It was almost like Nate could have run circles around us. It was great to have his company as the usual jokes started pouring out as we laughed our way around the 2nd loop. Traffic is starting to slow down and become less numerous but there are still plenty of cars out at 11pm. BUt as we strolled down Spur Rd, we saw no cars at al on this section and the night was growing more peaceful. That is until we got onto Back River Rd again. Tw cars came screaming down the road and they were filled with either dunk or stoned college kids. With their window’s rolled down and the clock striking midnight we hear, “What the hell are you doing!? It’s late… GO TO BED!” We got a huge laugh out of these clowns as they drove down to route 4, tool their turn and from afar… continued to yell at us, “It’s LATE!!! GO TO BED!!” And soon they were gone. Josh is feeling much better stomach wise, but now his hips are starting to bother him, poor guy. He is beginning to wonder if two loops is going to be enough for him. As he and Nate talk it up on the hill section, I feel my stomach drop and I come to a screeching halt in the road.. in a split second, I run off into the woods to take care of business. DAMN it’s cold. The temp is dropping ever so slightly and I feel it now that I’ve stopped. The guys continue up the road and wait for me just ahead. I catch up with them and we run the last 2 miles together to finish loop 2.
Loop 3: Miles 21-30
As we return to the cars, Josh mulls over his decision and makes the right one in deciding to call it a night after 20 miles. His hips are killing him and there is no sense in pushing the button on a training run. We wish him well and Nate and I take off into the night for one last loop. As we take off up the hill, we talk about what kind of a stand up guy Josh really is and how well he did tonight in cranking out the 20 miles that he did. And then.. conversation was come and go as we ran mostly quietly into the night. It’s just after 1am now. There are virtually no cars on the road aside from a few here and there. The temp has dropped to 20 degrees and we feel its frigid infliction upon our faces. Nate was cold at the cars and Josh lent him his fleece coat. Now Nate is overheating a bit but its better than being cold. We laugh it up as usual as we make our final round. My feet are killing me from the pavement and the kink in my neck is starting to hurt. I’m tired, and ready to call it a night. As we reach mile 29ish.. we see a truck come hauling ass up the hill in front of us and as it gets closer, he actually swerves to try to hit us. You’ve got to be kidding me. We give him the one finger salute and hustle down the road to our finish. 30 miles, at night, in February… complete.
I’m very pleased with how the run went. My training is still not back to normal but I’m slowly getting there trying to piece a few days together during the week. I just need to get my daily mileages up. But for 30 miles, I did much better on this 30 miles then I did with the Boston Prep x2. I felt better before, during AND after. I think things are starting to come together again finally.. but I’m pretty far behind on my training for McNaughton Park. The goal at McNaughton is to simply survive at this point. The only issues during the run were my feet hurt. I was pretty capable of turning the legs over on the late loop and even pushed myself running up the final hills on the loop. The bottoms of my feet are getting hard and rough again which is good as well. Really glad I had some company on the loop, it always makes it a lot more fun.
Next up… Pittsfield Snowshoe 50 Miler