A few days ago someone on the KickRunners forum suggested that on this long holiday weekend people go out and participate in a virtual Fat Ass 50k (or Half Ass 25k) and report back to share stories about where they ran. I didn't really plan to participate in this "event" until I arrived at Pineland this morning and decided I was in the mood for a 15 mile run, why not make it 25k and say I took part.
We had a pretty good sized group today that included Jim, Jamie, Lily, Dom, Valerie, Dora, Chris, Jeff and Erik O. We headed out on the usual route which follows the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge course, minus the field loops. Although the weather forecast I saw said it was going to be about 30 degrees at 8 this morning it felt warmer in the sun so many of us left some of the additional layers behind and more were to come off shortly. I was wearing short tights, a t-shirt and light jacket, thin gloves and a baseball cap. I tried to include as many bright colors as possible since this was the last day of "regular" deer hunting season in Maine and we saw quite a few anxious looking hunters out and about on our way to Pineland, even though hunting isn't allowed at Pineland it looked like they had the place surounded and we heard more than one gun shot while we were out running. About 45 minutes into the run I took of my jacket and finished the rest of the run in a t-shirt. The dark shady parts of the trails were still pretty chilly but for the most part it was comfortable t-shirt weather.
The trail conditions were the worst that I have ever seen at Pineland. They really weren't that bad but by Pinelnad standards they were a mess with fallen branches, downed trees, washouts, mud, and standing water all over the place. It made the run a lot more fun. The maintenance crew will have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks before the snow falls in order to get the trails ready for ski season. Hopefully we'll get a few more weeks of running in before that happens, although there are plenty of people, some of whom were running with us today who can't wait for the snow to fall.
At about 9.5 miles we returned to the parking lot to drop off clothing, grab a drink, change into shorts etc. and a few people decided to call it a day there. Eight of us headed across the road to the Oak Hill trails but our numbers continued to drop and by the time we reached the end of the loop it was just me, Jim, Jamie and Jeff. These trails were in much better shape than the first 9 miles of our run and didn't seem to be affected by all the recent wet weather as much as the rest of the trails. Jamie and I had talked about repeating the 4+ mile Oak Hill loop a second time to get close to a total of 18 miles for the day but both agreed that a shorter loop on the Campus Loop trails bringing us up to 15.5 would be enough to leave us feeling satisfied with our workout for the day.
I felt good throughout the run and despite the more sloppy than usual conditions was able to maintain a good pace. I finished feeling like I could have easily gone on for another 5 miles or so at that pace but it's only been 3 weeks since the Stone Cat Marathon and I want to make a gradual progression back up in my mileage. I do need to get a few long runs in pretty soon though, before I know it January will be here and it will be time for the GAC Fat Ass 50k on January 10th. As long as the weather cooperates I should be able to get a few 20-24 mile runs in between now and then which should be enough.
distance: 15.7 miles
Today I got to try out a new pair of sunglasses I just bought. Last week Jeff was singing the praises of the Optic Nerve Photomatic glasses he got from EMS and I decided that I needed to get a pair. I specifically went for a pair that was slightly different from Jeff's, but it turns out that within the past week Jeff lost his other pair, and then bought new ones just like the ones I bought. Oh well. The great thing about these glasses is that the lenses darken and lighten depending on the amount of light around you so when you're on the trail going in and out of the woods and the light is constantly changing so are the lenses. Pretty good for about $50.