Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stone Cat 50 Course Preview

On Saturday I met up with several friends at the parking lot at the Doyon School in Ipswich MA. We are all running in the Stone Cat Trail Races (50 mile or marathon) and wanted to get a feel for the course prior to race day. The plan was to meet for a group run hosted by the race RD from GAC. There was a very large turnout despite the chilly morning. The RD explained this would be an easy run (about 12 min/mile) but if anyone knew the course and wanted to run it faster they were encouraged to do so..

Emily (aka Trail Pixie) was running late and had not yet arrived when the group was about to leave. We decided to wait until she showed and hung around the parking lot as the group ran off into the woods. A short time later Pixie came bombing into the parking lot and was apologetic for being late. No worries! None of us cared that we were without trail guidance from GAC. We had a trail maps and could find our own way around. Plus, we like to act goofy on our long runs and the "strangers" in the other group may not appreciate our humor as much as we do. :-)

The trails were in good condition except for some low areas that were under water. We were able to pass most of the water obstacles without getting too wet. With the addition of Streph to the group, our navigation skills were much improved from our first run here last weekend. Still, we managed to go off trail once or twice but that was more a function of not really taking a good look at the map at some of the trail intersections. The detours were not much of a distraction. Miles are miles no matter what trail you run.

Steve, Emily and Streph rambling along.

Kevin and Paul were the speedsters of the group running ahead of Streph, Pixie, Steve (aka Cookie Monster) and me most of the time. Unfortunately (for them, not us) they didn't have a trail map and would often have to wait for the snails of the group to catch up and give them directions. We were still managing a faster overall pace this week vs. last week since we didn't need to check the map as often this time around. I also think we were just running faster when we weren't walking. Steve complained we weren't taking enough waking breaks. Although true, his objection fell on deaf ears, except for maybe the lone female in the group who showed him a little sympathy. Pixie has a thing for walking, and talking for that matter, especially about animals. On this run, she seemed to have a particular fondness for a certain primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent, but I digress here.

Streph, Steve, Paul, Kevin and Emily taking a break by the abandoned car.

After finishing a loop in Willowdale we head over to Bradley Palmer (sans Streph) for some additional miles. We did one loop each on the Fat Ass course (10K) and the 6 Hour Run course (5K). That gave us a little over 22 miles which was enough for Emily. Kevin, who was having hip issues, stopped at 19 and was resting in my truck. Steve and I had a plan to do 26 but once we stopped at 22 to say goodbye to Emily (and to refuel) the cold air and wet clothing got the better of us and we called it quits too. Paul was looking at a 30 mile day but once we all bailed on him (sorry Paul) he decided to finish his final 8 miles over at the Fells which is closer to where he lives.

I got off to a sluggish start but once I warmed up got into a good groove and felt strong. I'm not sure if it's the cooler weather or some faster mid-week running I've been putting in lately but my long runs are starting to feel easier. That's giving me a little more confidence as Stone Cat approaches but 50 miles stills seems daunting to me. Daunting, but doable.


  1. A little fear is exciting, sounds like you are strong and ready.

  2. Aw, you are going to do great! Sounds like a fur time. I HAVE to get out and run with you guys...though I suspect I will be THE slowest, as I can't laugh and run at the same time...something tells me that there's a lot of laughing going on... ;)

  3. I feel I must object at the way you say I was complaining about the lack of walking breaks. I was not complaining, I was in fact whining. Continuously. I object to the way you make me look more reasonable than I actually am.

  4. Julie, don't worry about being too slow. No one is left behind, plus you're not that slow!

    Steve, complaining, whinning, objecting, what ever you call it, no one seemed inclined to walk much for some reason. It didn't seem to hurt you at all. If fact, I recall you leading the pack on more than one occasion.


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