Saturday at 3:30pm, a group of 6 of us left the Happy Days parking lot (mile 70.5 of the Burning River 100) en route to the finish in Cuyahoga Falls. Sun was shining, low humidity, and 80F. We were moving at a very comfortable, slow pace which was very welcoming. Once we got to Mile 85 (Covered Bridge Aid Station #2), we met up with several others and the group expanded to 15. It was around this time that I seemed to be running on empty. This made no sense at the time. How could I feel this way 15 miles into a trail run? A typical Saturday run is more than this and I feel great. Plus, we were moving way slower than I was used to. I was taking in water, electolytes, Pure Fuel, salt tabs...everything to plan. By the time we hit the 20 mile point of our run (ie: 90 mile point of the BR100), I was really dragging. Thanks to Chef Bill for realizing not all was well with me. Eventually, Bill dropped back with me and we shuffled through the last few miles to the finish. Once again, I am thankful for the friends I've made here in the NE Ohio running community. They never fail! When I got back to my car, I ached more than I did after the Green Jewel 100K a few months ago (62.4 miles). Ribs, abs, back, shoulders, neck...they all hurt, which is not normal at all...not even when racing a marathon. Ironically, the legs really didn't hurt at all. I just was out of energy...plain and simple. I didn't carbo-load to top off the glycogen stores, but instead ate my normal diet throughout the week with no concentrated increase. The end result? I tossed and turned all night long from the soreness and didn't go to the 22 mile run Sunday morning. I feel that I really needed that high back-to-back mileage to cap off my training for the BR100. At this point, I don't feel I have the time to do it with less than 4 weeks to the BR100.
OK, now that I have that off my chest, here are some pics from early in the run. Even more photos are posted over on Chef Bill's blog. Be sure to stop on by. I also want to throw out a HUGE thanks to Jim Chaney who led the group along with camera in hand. Jim has been filming segments of the BR100 course and posting them on YouTube. With at least 5 segments captured so far on YouTube and more coming, I'm not going to embed them here in my blog due to size. You can view them directly on YouTube. Jim shared a lot of the mental battle he faced during last year's BR100 and how he battled through it. Jim is also playing a huge role this year by building and running the live race webcast. Truly, an awesome contribution to the event and a great way for anyone worldwide to track their runner(s). Also, thanks to Mike George for leading the way in planning this run. There were some bumps in the road due to Summit MetroParks' rules after sunset, but we still got it done! Thanks, Mike!