Monday, October 20, 2008

The Goat, Cheri, and saving the squirrels

Some runs are just runs and some runs are real life experiences. On Saturday, the Goat and I set out to do a 7 hour training run in preparation for the Stone Cat Ale 50 miler. I always enjoy these runs because you learn a lot about yourself and anyone who is willing to endure your company for that long. Saturday's run was no exception.

We started out at 8AM sharp with the daunting task to run until at least 3PM. Basically, we started out saying "Good Morning" and finished by saying "Have a nice evening". We also got to have Hammergel for breakfast and lunch! Yummy!

The first 10 miles were uneventful and we actually had a faster than planned pace going. We both felt good after taking some rest days during the week. We stopped at the cars to re-fuel and headed out toward Heublein Tower to get in some vertical. After a couple miles, we started to hit the vertical and Goat pulled up lame. At the same time, a female runner in a pink running skirt came up from behind us and asked where the trail went. Since Goat was having issues, we couldn't do much to help except point her in the direction of the Tower and say, "It's got some great views". Then, off she went.

We worked on stretching out Goat's left foot/ankle, but he was not a happy camper. I gave him 2 Ibuprofen, and we started walking up the trail to see if things would improve. At this point, we were only a bit over 2 hours into the run. A short ways up the trail, we ran into the pink-skirted Athena looking for directions again. So, we offered for her to join us. While trekking to the tower, we learned that Cheri is from NYC, ran her first 50 miler at Vermont this year, and is now a full fledged ultra-head. The more we talked, the more we enjoyed Cheri's company. The miles were clicking by, and all 3 of us ran the complete trail back up to the summit. The weather was absolutely perfect and the views were outstanding. We talked about the ultra that Goat and I are thinking about establishing in CT, and Cheri was psyched to hear about our plans. Goat's foot appeared to be fine now...I'm not sure if it was the Vitamin I or Cheri's company that did the trick, ;-).

We motored back toward the cars where Cheri would meet her ride, and wished she could join us for more. We were only halfway through our 7 hour run. We exchanged blogs and within a flash, she was gone. Just like that! It was a brief encounter, but we truly enjoyed meeting another ultrarunner on the trail.

After another couple hours, we were within sight of our goal. We just needed to do one more trek to the Tower, down the other side, and back. The same route we ran with Cheri a couple hours earlier. This time, however, we were running on fumes. At the tower, we elected to keep running down the other side rather than take in the view. We were on a mission! To keep ourselves in the game, we decided to run to the top again. This would be a tall task, but we decided the world depended on us. You see, we playfully rationalized that the people on the trail would be let down if they saw us walking. Everytime we run up the trail, hikers are amazed. If we walk, they lose hope...we figured. If they lose hope, the economy will completely fail. If the economy fails, all hell will break loose. Goat said, "People will be eating the squirrels just to stay alive." We like the squirrels...poor little, defenseless creatures... We decided that we needed to run the trail all the way to the top to "save the squirrels". Damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead!

Onward we ran, picking our way through the day hikers, and made it through the first climb. After hitting a flat section, I saw someone from work. He tried to flag me down, but I had to save the squirrels...We were on a mission! We ran all the way to the tower without walking. The squirrels will live to see another day thanks to the Goat and me!

We were 35 miles in and still able to crank out the vertical. Now, we just needed to coast on back to the cars. We timed it perfectly. After the pleasant trek back, we had bagged 38 miles in 7:05...not bad for a day's work.

I felt better than I did a week earlier. The Goat is running strong, and is ready for Stone Cat. He completed his longest training run ever today. We had a great time running with Cheri and hope to see her on the trail again sometime. The weather and views were great. ...And most importantly, we saved the squirrels... Now, if they would just stop burying nuts in my yard :-)

Have a wonderful running week!

1 comment:

cherie said...

awesome! it was so great meeting both of you!

was trying to find a good 50 miler in late nov/early dec and seem to be coming up blank on the east coast.

i'm looking forward to your 100k!