After more than a week has passed my memory of Chocolate Bunny training run condensed into
across the road, don't get hit by a car, up a trail, turn left onto the white trail, jawbone, ridge line, rock, rock, rock, gets really fuzzy....to gravel road...to paved road. Then an aid station...bird knob...on and on forever. purple, pink,...done. But of course a lot more happened than just following the course and that is what follows.
With this training run taking place Easter weekend, the super secret spy took the kids and headed to PA to join family for pre-Easter activities while I got to spend the day gearing up to be running all night.
We met at 6:30 we met along Rt 211 to drop off aid and check in. My pacer, D had spent the day along the Massanutten course crewing her husband as he put in his miles during the day. Our group lingered waiting for everyone to arrive before heading across the highway and onto the trails.
Right from the start D and I fell into running with Mark who would stick with us through the entire run. Several others, Larry H and Mark M, would join us through the miles before going off on their own pace. Running at night after being up all day was really about moving forward with as much urgency at the trail conditions would allow. I quickly discovered something. When I run trails at night I know exactly what my form looks like.
Elaine Benes dancing.
It wasn't long after my graceful form discovery that Mark M, who had taken his turn at lead, took a major fall on the rocks hitting his knee and hand but luckily avoiding hitting his head. After a few moments we were on the move again but Mark would end up calling it a night after helping us fly down the gravel and paved road to the aid station.
However our other Mark hung with us tight all night long. He was great company and reminded me that I enjoy a lot of trail chatter. D was not having the best night and had fallen silent but was moving really well and setting a great pace. Mark and I would fall back chatting maybe a little too much but I was completely enjoying the miles and recognized the end was near far before I was praying for it. Thanks to D and Mark I figured out a few other things. 1. I was reminded that I need that trail chatter to really enjoy the miles. 2. I can quickly go off trail if I'm talking too much. 3. Having a "target" in front of me to chase really helps me push when the terrain is making me want to slack. 4. I was also reminded how much fun it is to run with a group.
The run was over much faster than I had expected and a great medal was waiting for us as we finish. But my night wasn't done yet after lingering with my trail brethren and finally peeling out of my wet gear, I still had the 3 hour drive to PA to join my family. This was by far the most enjoyable training run and helped me feel a little bit closer to ready to tackle the 103 mountain miles come May 18th at the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100.