At 6:30am, Patty, Kurt, Steve M., and myself headed out for the 18.5 mile loop I came up with that took us along the Buckeye Trail to Boston Store, to the Brandywine Falls, then a short connector over to the Valley Bridle Trail. From there, we followed it to where it intersects Riverview and Snowville Roads. From that point, we picked up the Buckeye Trail and headed on back to Pine Lane. I had my camera today since no rain was forecast and snapped a few good pics. There's this one section in between Snowville and Columbia Roads that has good pine tree coverage and runs creekside. It's one of my favorite areas in all the CVNP. I slowed Steve down a bit, snapped a few, then got our tails moving again.Patty was cracking me up today. Steve and I kept putting distance on Patty then she would catch up to us out of nowhere and then thanked us for slowing down and waiting for her. "We weren't slowing down! You sped up and came out of nowhere!" Out came her comment: "You're just putzing around today." Moa? Me? OK, to be safe, I looked up that word to see if it is actually a word and sure enough, it is...and defined as "To behave in an idle manner." Well, that is one way I've never been described on the trails. Usually, I'm being told to "Slow down!" Well, I had a great time today "putzing" around and enjoying the trails. BUT, once back at Pine Lane and adding an additional 3 miles on the Valley Bridle to get to 30 miles, my time was only 15min longer than yesterday at 6hrs, 3min so yea, a bit slower than yesterday but that's what I get for "joyfully putzing." Patty was actually one of the first runners I met when I moved back to Ohio in 2002. She ran with a Saturday morning group led by Bill Mann. That was the "chubby" Nick that existed back then (50+ lbs heavier) and pre-Vertical Runner. Patty still remembers those runs as do I. That group was my introduction to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
All day long, I was looking forward to one section more than any other...that being 1/2 mile out before returning to the Boston Store: the Rollercoaster Hill. I've recorded this rapid descent before but I thought with Spring springing on the trails, I'd give you the Mile 53 of 60 version today. It's very amateur and I apologize in advance for the side-to-side shaking. I was trying to "float" it with my right hand and hold two handheld water bottles in my left. You'll get the idea, though.
So that's it...my last back-to-back training weekend before the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run 35 days from today. This was the 3rd or 4th back-to-back. It started with a 15mi/20mi back-to-back and graduated to this weekend's 30/30. In each instance, the 2nd day felt better, easier, and was more fun. Today was no exception. I finished with less soreness and many more miles in the tank. I honestly felt like I had at least another 20 in the tank. In my opinion, these are all good signs that my training has gone well and significantly increased my endurance and especially my recovery times. It's almost as if I don't need recovery days anymore...that is, unless the long run is on asphalt which is far less forgiving than the soft-n-supple trail bed. From here on in to the Kettle, it's pretty simple: this next week will be absent of trails as my family will be heading to Florida for a short mini-vacation and a Navy conference. The next weekend I am considering doing one more 6-8 hour trail run on one day...3 weeks out. It's taper time after that. All in all, I feel incredibly ready. I feel I've put in the work and put everything to the test with successful results. (you know I love my boiled potatoes!)
35 days and counting...
Happy Trails, everyone!