Saturday Emma and I once again planned to run two laps of the Bruiser course to get in a 24 mile run. We had originally planned to run at Pineland this past weekend but a few folks wanted to return to Bradbury so we agreed. Although it's not particularly hilly the bruiser course is particularly difficult to do a long run on. The technicality of the trails forces you into an ultra-like pace (very slow) but even doing an 11 minute pace here can be extremely taxing on the body after a few hours.
We set off around 7:10 with a group of somewhere near 20 runners, probably our biggest group ever. The pack thinned a little at 6 miles and then by the time we were in the O-Trail the group really started to get spread out. Interestingly we finished the first lap in 2:13 which is the same time we ran last week on our first lap. After a short break to refill with water a few folks continued running on the west side trails while Emma and I headed back out onto the Bruiser course with Floyd. We decided to do the race course in reverse this time so we could get the O-Trail out of the way, it's a hard trail to run at the best of times but after 20+ miles it's ridiculous.
Somewhere within the first mile I suggested we try to run a negative split and do this second lap in 2:10 or less. Emma was in the lead at this point and had no trouble setting a faster pace. I did have a little trouble keeping up but wasn't about to say anything, I just wanted to see how long I could hang on. I struggled a little since the weather was getting hotter and at the rate I was drinking I was sure I wouldn't have enough water to get me through this whole lap.
At around mile 19 we crossed a small stream and took the opportunity to cool off which helped revive everyone. Unfortunately this meant that Emma's revived state was still stronger than mine, but I think I kept up pretty well. I did take a good fall late in the run and took the opportunity to pause and catch my breath, which only made getting going again harder but the end was in sight and we all pressed on. We managed to run the second lap in a little under 2:10 and make our goal of a negative split.
I can't imagine how I ever ran this race last year in a time of 1:44, I must have been on performance enhancing drugs. Or maybe it's because it was before all the long slow runs made me forget how to run fast.
Sunday we went out for a 10 mile "recovery" run on the roads of Falmouth. It actually ended up being much closer to 11 miles. We started off very conservatively since it was the middle of the day and pretty hot, but once we got loosened up the pace dropped a bit and we cruised along pretty comfortably. The last 4 miles all got progressively faster and we even managed to bust out a sub 8 minute pace for the last 0.8 miles.
Monday Emma got up freakishly early to get in a 4 mile run while I lay in bed. Later in the morning, like 7am, we met Jim and Shauna and headed up to Camden Hills State Park for a hike. We got in a nice 7 mile loop that took in many great views of Penobscot Bay and the little hills of the midcoast area. It was a beautiful day and the trails would have been great for running if I wasn't so damned tired. I must remember to return here soon for a run, and hopefully some day somebody will organize a race on these trails.
Tuesday I had to skip the Twin Brook run because of work but managed to get in a 6 mile run from home that took in Back Cove. I wanted to get some flat miles in that would let my slightly achy joints recover from all the abuse over the past few days. This was one of those great runs where I felt 10 times better after the run than before I went out.
Tonight was a similar scenario of getting a late start to my run which was nice because by 7pm it was nice and cool outside. The first 5 miles of the run got progressively faster from a first mile split of 7:45 down to 7:16 for the 5th mile. I then found myself back at work where I had to take care of a few things, ten minutes later I was back out running again for an easy 2 miles home.
I plan to do 10-12 miles tomorrow, take Friday off from running, run a slow marathon at Pineland on Saturday and then let the taper begin. 3 weeks until the Vermont 50!