When I arrived at Bradbury this morning Jamie was already there, apparently sleeping in his car, and Blaine was keeping warm in his own car looking a little more alert. Expecting icy conditions I laced up my screw shoes and tried to delay stepping outside as long as possible. The weather forecast I saw this morning predicted a temperature of 13 degrees which was supposed to feel like 4 with the wind chill. Erik arrived and I knew is was time to get out into the cold, thankfully there wasn't much wind and it didn't feel any colder than 9 or 10 degrees. Nice.
We set off on the Northern Loop trail and then took the Tote Road trail to the summit which has become the usual way to start our runs at Bradbury. Erik lead the way, pushing the pace to the summit, and by the time we got there I had to stop and remove the windbreaker I was wearing along with my mittens. Running up this little mountain is a great way to warm up. Back down the Terrace Trail then across Rt. 9 and onto the Knight Woods Trail which leads to the Snowmobile Trail that takes us northeast out of the park.
I had hoped to get in 20 miles today, to make up for a week of pitiful mileage due to a nasty cold, but I wasn't sure if I'd be up for the distance. Jamie was in a similar situation of recovery and determination and agreed to attempt the distance with me. Erik was up for anything and had come prepared to go long, Blaine was without water or nutrition and was happy to "cut it short" at about 15 miles.
On the power line trail at around 10 miles we stopped for a drink and a gel and I struggled with the unique consistency of partly frozen GU. In an uncharacteristic moment of immaturity Jamie made a crude reference to an even cruder episode of South Park that he was reminded of. Just to prove that I can be an immature as the next guy, here's a video clip from that episode:
Check out this video: Red Rocket South Park
We turned at the top of a ridge at 12 miles, knowing that the way back would be shorter since we weren't planning to do another trip to the summit of Bradbury Mountain. We scratched our heads for a moment as we tried to figure out which town we were in. Jamie spotted a low-flying P-3 Orion off in the distance which suggested we weren't too far from the Brunswick Naval Air Station. After getting home and uploading the GPS data from my Garmin 305 I found that we were in Durham, about 2 miles from the Androscoggin River which separates Durham and Brunswick.
Despite a consistent uphill climb during the last few miles of the run I was feeling good and attempted to pick up the pace. What I think I was really doing was just keeping myself from slowing down, either way it felt good and I was glad to be out running. When we got back to the parking lot Jamie's Garmin told him we were just a bit short of 21 miles so we did a lap of the parking lot and a little out and back on one of the trails to get our distance up.
distance: 21.08 miles
heart rate: 161/183