Ever since I heard about a 50+ year old guy that were running his age in miles on his birthday I was tempted to try it myself. The only upside was that I will be turning 29 instead of 50+. I made plans accordingly and was anxious a few days prior to the run. My training have been slacking since Stone Mill 50+5 and I wasn’t sure I could pull off the distance.
On the day of (1/6/2012) I set my alarm for 3:05AM for at 4AM start (same start time as Vermont 100). I had a hard time picking a trail to run on without having to do loops. I prefer an out and back so I finally settled on Carderock, Great Falls heading toward Alexandria. The reason for the early 4AM start was to acclimate myself to running so early in the morning so I am not in too much of a shock come 7/21/2012 when I venture into my first 100 mile race.
I didn’t actually make it to the start until 4:30ish since my hydration pack sprang a leak but luckily I have a whole case of gatorade in my car. I also had to wait for my Garmin to acquire an GPS signal. There’s no way I would do this sans Garmin. I need proof so I can brag about it on Facebook afterward 🙂
It was quite and adjustment running so early. It was pitch black and I had to rely on my headlight to navigate the trails. There were a few cars on the roads parallel to the C&O canal towpath. With my ipod shuffle blasting techno music I was off to Alexandria. It was deathly quiet on the trail and at one point I had to run past a white abandoned house. It was my fastest mile yet as my imagination got the better of me. I took my first break at Fletcher’s cove, about 8+ miles out.
Since this was a solo run there was no on course support so I made every effort to load up my hydration pack with everything that I would need during the run. I packed 6 packs of gu packets and filled up the pouch with 3 gatorades.
I took a 2nd break near Thompson’s boathouse, just a little after White Hurst Freeway. The views of the Potomac at 6am was definitely surreal. The real eye candy were on the Mount Vernon Trail where I got to see the DC monument across from waters glittering with lights from nearby buildings and structures.
Parts of the Mount Vernon trail was actually icy. By this time daylight was out so I packed away my headlight and continued on. There were surprisingly a lot of bikers on the trail.
I made it to Alexandria and turned around as soon as my Garmin said there were 14.5 miles left. $hit got real as I came to the realization that its mostly an uphill climb all the way back. By this time my legs have already started to feel the effect of my non training. My quads were screaming as I shuffled up the hilly parts. Making it back to Thompson boathouse was a task in itself as I had to cross a 2 way freeway during morning traffic hours.
Slowly I made it back to Fletcher’s cove. By now my legs have feel the full effect of all the combined little hills on the Mount Vernon Trail and CCT. With about 8.5 ish miles to go I loaded up on gu and took a few sips of gatorade and marched on. The elevation changes on the towpath was even worse then the other 2 trails. From mile 20 on it was truly a death march as I just wanted to finished and kept asking myself what the hell I was thinking when I figured this was a good idea.
Throughout all this there was a song playing on my shuffle that really suit my situation. The lyrics kept repeating “where have you gone” to the unce unce techno beat. For some reason I felt the need to answer but all I could say was “I don’t know“. At this point all I knew was to put one foot and in front of the other and keep moving. “Relentless forward progress” as most ultra runners are keen of saying.
I finished in 4:53:59 just in time to meet 2 of my friends at Hanabi for lunch.
As far as next year goes I am not sure if there’ll be a 30:30 Resolution. Then again I have a short term memory and by then I’ll think its a good idea to do it again.
The mile splits are available at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/139396520