by Valerie Abradi
Saturday, I joined Ian and Jim in finishing marking the Bruiser course (a large portion had been done the day before by Ian, Emma, and Ryan). I shamed Jim into running between flag and arrow planting, telling him multiple times that’s what Snowman and I had done when marking the Scuffle course. I didn’t even feel bad that he was hauling the arrows and I just had the flags.
When we had finished our assigned portion, Jim headed over to the O trail to help Ian and I went to run the Island loop to see if it needed any flags. It didn’t really, but I put a couple out where the trail was less obvious if the sun wasn’t shining and propped up some flags that were left from another time. Then ran back to the parking lot to find Jim and Ian still out. So I ran out to the O to find them, of course starting from the end. They didn’t have much left to do. Jim asked me if I would run up to where the Ginn meets Fox West to retrieve his hand held that he left when putting an arrow in. Since I was still looking for some mileage, I said sure.
Unfortunately, I didn’t wear the Garmin, but, having run the Bruiser course in various parts for lots of weeks now, I feel fairly confident saying I ran a bit over 6 miles.
Sunday, Rick and I packed what seemed like far too much stuff into the car; you’d think we were heading out to drive 12 hours to Canada and win the Haliburton 100 (will link this to Jame’s results once they’re up)!!! After the required Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we were off to Bradbury to help with registration.
It’s always fun to be there early to get to chat with the Monsters we don’t see regularly. Mindy and Pete were there to volunteer (Happy Birthday, Mindy!). When George checked in to get his number and shirt, he told us Ann was home recovering from a migraine : (
It was a huge (relatively) group that lined up to race, making it a little more important to place yourself wisely in the pack. I wanted to get to the single track with only people faster than me ahead; I didn’t want to hold anyone up or be too held back. Maybe that should have been my first clue that some part of me had intended to really race. Based on all my training, which included no speed work of any type, I didn’t expect to come close to my PR set last year (2:03:09). In fact, I thought 2:10 would be about as good as I could expect. Still, I placed myself carefully.
As I ran the first mile, I felt really good. The weather was perfect, cool and cloudy. The clouds were important because sunshine coming through the trees make the roots even harder to navigate. The further I ran, still feeling good, the more my plan came together; I was going to run hard. I would just go for it. If I bonked, I could always recover enough to finish.
I’m sure it’s obvious how familiar I am with the course. It’s a big advantage to know the terrain in detail. It’s good to know where to push, where there’ll be recovery if necessary, where things will hard. There were just a few times that my pace had me worrying about keeping it up; mostly I felt strong.
A bit after mile five, I noticed my left shoe was sloppier than usual. Crap! My shoelace was untied. They rarely come untied since Blaine taught me a special knot to combat just that. About 1/2 mile later, a guy coming up behind warned me my shoe was untied. Thanks, just waiting for a good spot. That wouldn’t be till the snowmobile trail. I figured I’d be able to be out of the way easily. I’d planned to take my first GU then and have my first drink, but was too anxious to get running again after tying the lace. I think six to eight people passed me during that time.
I was feeling a bit tired pushing on the slight up of the long stretch of double-track, but knew my favorite part of the course awaited when we turned onto the Ginn. I think it was here that I took my first sip of Gatorade from my Fuel Belt – good thing it wasn’t hot!
I was pretty much by myself for miles 7 and 8. I still tried to push; it’s such a runnable stretch of trail! When I was just cresting the hill of Knights Woods, I decided I really should have a GU. I washed it down with the rest of my first 8 oz of Gatorade. I checked my time for pretty much the first time during the run. Whoa! I had a chance to PR. Good to have motivation heading into the O : )
Just a few steps into the O, Yana announced her presence! I told her to tell me when she was ready to pass, knowing from group runs that she’s the faster runner. Nope, she was happy to have me leading the way through the O. We had company; Martin, who I’d run with just a couple of weeks ago (even introduced him to the O), was right with us.
It was great to have Yana along for the O. It really helped having such an upbeat person for those crazy miles. I’m sure we chatted most of the way. I tried to point out all my mile markers as I recognized them. After the eternity that is the O, we heard Lily announcing we just had 1/4 mile left! Around the last crazy clump of rocks and we were off! When we turned off the O, I again encouraged Yana to take the lead and go for it. She’d have none of it and we finished together : ) Big happy high-fives, but then I spotted a Great Pyrenees and….I meant to catch up with Yana again, but, didn’t.
Oh! I did PR: 2:01:07. Did my shoe lace cost me a sub-two hour performance? Or did it just give me a real reason to work on next year’s time?!
Lots of Monster had amazing races. The series was a huge success. Ian surprised us bad asses with hoodies instead of the usual T’s! It just keeps getting better.
PS. sorry again, but I’m not proofing this.