I have two alarm clocks, and both are quite reliable. One plays the local sport station. The other bats me in the face until I wake up. The latter started at the usual 4am, and I woke to see the usual dark silhouette of The Cheat (my cat) staring at me from less than a foot away. Bap, bap, bap, bap. He does it again, only instead of ducking under the protection of my covers for another hour, I crawl out of bed and immediately walk into my computer room to check on something in progress when I went to bed. Sweet, the Red Sox won.
After downing some coffee and a quick breakfast, I was on the road to meet with Stephen to get in some miles on the trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park, which will be the home of the Bradbury Bruiser 12-mile race in a few weeks.
As we were getting ready in the parking lot, I tucked my car key inside the gas lid cover, only to find that it fell down in an area just out of reach. Crap, I thought for sure I was going to have to ask Stephen to drive me all the way home and back to get my spare, but after several anxious minutes, I finally finagled it loose and retrieved it. Whew. Probably should just carry it with me anyway, so I think I'll do that for now on.
We headed out as the sun was in the very early stages of rising, and it was still quite dark. But with each passing minute, we had more light and picked up the pace, albeit very slightly. Going fast here is difficult. The trails are very technical, full of rocks and roots that make running feel more like a game of Dance Dance Revolution at times. And the constantly winding trails and rollercoaster-like hills definitely make it a fun place to run. I hadn't been here in a while, so I relished it.
Stephen and I enjoyed our usual gambit of entertaining conversations which ranged from running, hunting, races, and several dozen other topics. Perhaps that contributed to taking wrong turns here or there. Several times, the following conversation took place:
Stephen: "Hold on, we shouldn't be here. Let me check the map, sorry about that."
Me: "Don't apologize. We're in the woods. We're running. That's all that matters."
Conversation resumes for 10 minutes, and then...
It was pretty funny. Stephen's orienteering skills are actually top-notch, but given our yakking, it was early and dark, the fact that the trails are so technical that if you take your eyes off of them for one second there's a good chance you'll tumble (we both fell twice), and the leaves obscured the paths, it seemed pretty easy to become a little misplaced. For the record, the race will be a different story. No doubt the course will be very well marked.
We ended up getting in over nine miles which suited me fine. My legs felt fresh and I continue to feel good about the MDI Marathon a week from tomorrow. Speaking of marathons, Stephen, and our Vermont 100 partner in crime, James, will both be running the Maine Marathon in Portland tomorrow. I look forward to heading over to cheer them on.
Ran 9.7 miles @ 9:29/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 130/154
50 degrees, sunny.