Sunday, September 27, 2015

Joe English Twilight Challenge 6 Hour Race Report

The Joe English Twilight Challenge consists of a 6 hour ultra, 1/2 marathon, full marathon and 1/2 and full marathon relays starting at one hour intervals beginning at 5PM. The 2.6 mile loop course on the equestrian trails of Freestyle Farm was more difficult than I expected with enough ups and downs to fatigue my under-trained quads. I was drawn to this race because much of it would be run under the cover of darkness, which is something I like, but don't get an opportunity to do very often. Paying little regard to my 10 mile per week training average, I entered the 6 hour race. Hey, I'm a Tugger (member of The Ultra Gang) at heart and this is what we do. Of course, I had no intention of running for 6 hours. My goal was to cover 6 loops or 15.8 miles in 3 to 3.5 hours. This was a super fun race, great venue, well marked course and stocked aid station, small old-school feel. I hope it stays that way.

Some thoughts from the trail.

Loop #1 - Legs feel like lead weights. I'm working way too hard. I should have trained more. DFL again!
Loop #2 - Legs coming to life. This isn't so bad. Is that a runner up ahead? You're going down sucker!
Loop #3 - I'm feeling pretty good. Whoa, an 11 minute split! Damn it's getting dark. I knew I should have taken a headlamp. Go slow, don't fall.
Loop #4 - Why did I bring this headlamp? It sucks. Don't step in a hole and twist an ankle like that limping guy you passed. F@&K!! what did I just tell you?!
Loop # 5 - Are these hills getting steeper?  I can't see shit out here. Don't step in that hole AGAIN!
Loop # 6 - Is it getting cold or am I just going THAT slow? OK, my legs are toast, last loop for me. Whoo Hoo there's the barn!

My first race bib since the 2011 Stone Cat Marathon.

Select group of elite endurance athletes about to start on a 6 hour journey. Or 3 hours, 19 minutes in my case. But I'm old and injured and don't train.

Off they go. I'm dead, f'ing last from the start.

Nice view of Fearon Farm Pond.

Sun piercing through the trees on a long, gradual uphill.

Follow the yellow-flagged trail......If you can see it. 

The full moon didn't help much with illuminating the trail.

This is what night running looks like. The bonfires along the course were a nice touch.

The girl in the pink pants was an enthusiastic cheerleader. The others, not so much.

Approaching the finish line in the horse barn for the last time. Alleluia!

Can't wait to do it again next year.

Oh, I almost forgot. After being dead last after the first loop, I managed to finish the race in the middle of the pack. Not that it makes any difference. I was just out there to have a good time, and at that, I succeeded.

I'm back...sort of.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Cycling Cape Cod

I spent a few days exploring lower and outer Cape Cod by bicycle using Nickerson State Park as my base camp. Discovering the many salt marshes, quiet coves and beaches as I traveled along coastal roads only increased my desire to do an extended bike tour in the future. Here are a few images from my trip.

Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Chatham

Flax Pond, Brewster

Rock Harbor, Orleans

Tower at The Church of the Transfiguration 

Boat Meadow Cove, Orleans(?)

A coastal inlet in Eastham

First Encounter Beach, Eastham

Boardwalk on Nauset Light Trail

Nauset Bay, Eastham

Nauset Light Beach

Nauset Light

Old rail station scene on the side of a brick building.

 PJ Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet. Best stop for french pastry!

Le Count Hollow, Wellfleet

Ride on!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Fantasy

This past winter, when I wasn't even running, an uncharacteristic moment of optimism prompted me to register for a number of fall trail races. The first race is now less than two weeks away and I am woefully unfit. I'm not sure if I'll attempt to run this race but if I do I may just hike the course. I've been doing some running, (ok very little running I admit), averaging less than two days a week over the past four months. I don't think that volume of training has prepared me to actually RUN a long(ish) race.

It's sort of funny(?) that during the three years I was unable to run all I thought about was getting back to running. Now that I'm able to run again, albeit in a limited capacity, I really don't enjoy it all that much. Irony's a bitch I'd say! I'm not really sure why I'm not into it. Maybe it's because I suck at running in the heat. Maybe it's because running 1-2 days a week hasn't gotten me fit and every run is a struggle to complete. Or maybe it's just because I spend way too much time alone and I'm not the best company.

Whatever the reason, thoughts of racing this fall may just be a fantasy.
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