JUNE 2nd: Blessed indeed. I ran with JT (a friend from church) at the retreat… and while running hinted that I wanted to do a long training run in the night this weekend, but was anxious about doing it on my own. Without hesitating he said he would join me. I thought he was being polite, but alas he phoned me in the week and we organized a 50 k run for tonight! The cross county trail runs for 38 miles through the whole of Fairfax county (you run in the woods crossing a hand full of roads- its hard to believe that you are running through suburbia). I scoped out a thirty two mile run and spent the afternoon making peanut butter sandwiches , cliff shot electrolyte mix, gathering salty treats and hiding them in a safe place at the mid point on the trail. I also went to the pharmacy to stock up on pain killers, muscle cream and lube. After a big bowl of pasta and chicken John and I set out for an epic run (8pm). Once the sun goes down the challenge of running becomes quite different. The mind has to stay well alert for rocks and logs on the trail, bends and stream crossings, tracts where other trails cross and trail signs seem to disappear, movements of deer and other animals and after a few hours of running when you start getting tired shadows definitely start playing tricks!! During a night trail run you can expect to spend a fair amount of time retracing your steps and running ahead a bit on unknown trails to make sure they are correct before you commit to sticking to them- but either by luck or skill John and I only lost a few miles doing that the whole night (I think it would have been quite a few more had i been on my own!). Another point to note was that my estimate of the distances we were running definitely seemed a little off (some of the maps i researched hadn’t quite taken in to consideration the many little bends in the trail!)- one of the miles seemed to go on for about 4… we just made that in to a bit of a joke, and adapted our route accordingly. Great conversation, 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some muscle rub, gallons of water and gator aid, some pain killers, wheat thins and 7 hours and a half later (3:30am) and quite frankly who knows exactly how many miles later (definitely over the 50k planned) John and I were stretching and smiling by the car! It should be noted that John had never run a 50k (although he has done marathon running) – and he breezed through this run – awesome!
The plan for me is now not to run until Tuesday to let everything recover slowly and not risk any injury!