2008-07-27 - Catoctin Preview

~12 miles @ ~19 min/mi

Foolish? My middle name! What other word describes going out for an afternoon trail run on a warm, humid day after 13+ miles in the morning? But hey, Caren Jew and I have foolishly put our necks into the Catoctin 50k 2008 noose, and if we want to make any of the cutoffs it's time to start taking our medicine.

So following the Riley's Rumble half marathon on Sunday morning with friend Mary Ewell, I give CM Manlandro a lift to her home, then return to Che^z for a quick snack and change into dry clothes. Off I go to Drop Zone X-ray, where Caren meets me and we ride north to Gambrill State Park. The slopes of the Catoctin Trail could daunt the strongest heart. Mine quails when I face them. The Tea Room where the race begins and ends is at the top of a huge hill, but we don't know the route down to the Gambrill Park Rd lot so we leave the car there, where the trail is clearer. Today our goal is to test our speed on the hills under realistic race conditions for the first course segment.

A couple of miles later an eastern box turtle crawls across our path—it's making better time than we are. Down and up and down and up again we go, pushing hard, and finally I spy what looks like a road ahead. It turns out to be a shiny pond. Ten minutes later we make Hamburg Rd, 1:50 into our journey. The cutoff here is 1:45, and that's from the official Tea Room starting line. We had a 10 minute head start.

Our return journey is even slower. I'm carrying two bottles and soon all my water is gone. Caren kindly shares from her camelback, for which I bless her. At every stream crossing I pause to wet my head. We trudge up to Caren's car and arrive in 1:54. At a 7-11 on the way home I buy a 32 oz. Big Gulp. My body soaks it up like a sponge. When I weigh myself at home I'm still down 1 pound. D, D, D, Dehydration!/

But the good news: Caren and I both survive the journey, we're within a couple of minutes/mile of the cutoffs, and our program of acclimation to heat and hills is working. The planets just haven't come into alignment yet. Maybe Race Day Magic will save us?

^z - 2008-08-18

(correlates: 2008-08-09 - Lost and Found, 2008-08-17 - CM on the CCT, SuperfluousCoyness, ...)