I met up with James at 5am at Pineland Farms. Plan was to get in 30-40 miles and was happy to do the longer amount. Felt really good overall for this run. Trail conditions were somewhat interesting in that 10-15% of the trails were still coated with mini-glaciers of packed ice, but on the dirt there were very few muddy spots. It was nice.
James and I headed out with our headlamps on and chatted away about Lost (best. show. ever.), as well as the Massanutten 100 he'll be racing at next month. I'll be pacing him which will be fun. James is a very strong runner, and no doubt he'll do very well.
At one point, James spotted a porcupine climbing a tree. It was quite amusing. It wasn't scrambling up in a big hurry. Just seemingly moseying its way up.
After almost 10 miles we headed back to the parking lot to meet up with the rest of the crew who had planned to start running at 7am. Ian, Emma, Randy, Jim, Shauna, John, another Jim, and Tom were all there and we headed off together. I was a bit concerned about the somewhat quicker pace at first (many of them were not running as long), but it turned out just fine.
Half of the group stopped after they got in about 15 miles. James, Ian, Emma, Randy and I pressed on. About 25 miles into the run, I got a strange second wind of sorts. I just had a big pick up in energy that lasted for about five miles. I think it was the peanut butter jelly sandwiches I had been munching on when we stopped at our cars (which was twice for each 15 mile loop). For my longer runs and ultras, this is by far my food of choice.
After my surge, I settled back down to normal levels. However, it was James' turn, and he took off. Ian and and Randy took a route back to the cars to call it a day and Emma and I continued along together along the normal Pineland Farms race route. We'll both be running the 50-miler next month, which will be fun. Speaking of 50s, worth noting Ian got in 20+ miles just a week after running the Bull Run Run 50-miler down in Virginia. The guy is an animal.
I was very excited when I heard a call that sort of sounded like a pileated woodpecker, but when I looked up, I saw it was really a Northern Flicker, a bird I've wanted to see and now have.
We reached the cars and caught up with James who was cooling off in the pond. He and I had five miles left to do at this point, and Emma had six to get in her planned 50K. Refueled, filled our bottles, and we were off.
Last five miles were a bit tough. Not a struggle though, just that the legs were starting to get tired. We walked more of the uphills and ran everything else pretty slowly. We did a few loops in the woods near our cars just to round up our mileage to our goals. Good day!
Afterwards, grub at a local diner that had darn good cheese steak sandwiches. James also taught me a cool trick: balancing a salt shaker on it's edge with the help of just a few grains of salt (pic below).
Ran 40.0 miles @ 10:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 138/158
Lower 40s to start, mid 60s to end. Sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves (morning).
The salt shaker trick (Ian in the background, obviously very impressed):