Sunday we were up way early for a 5am start. We were starting at the Happy Days Visitor Center, which is mile 65 of the Burning River Course, and run to the finish line in Cuyahoga Falls. The four BR runners were Josh, Mike, Tony, and Rob. I was the mere lackey pacer (for Mike) along for course familiarization. We started just a bit after 5am, where it was ALMOST light enough to not carry a headlight, but our hero Josh insisted upon it.
It was a very good run. I think we took a wrong turn somewhere along the route and ended up with about 38 miles instead. This 35 mile section, at least in my opinion, is far less hilly than Mohican. It was very runnable. Now, this last 35 mile section would be when the runner is going to enter the night time running sections also.
We had a blast. The whole time was spent running and laughing and cracking jokes at each others expense. We also had plenty of time to discuss the route, finish bags, pacing strategies, Rob and I talked about making stupid mistakes.
We made an unscheduled stop at a Farmer’s Market around Bolanz Road. This was a very good idea because we had eaten up most of our supplies and still had 8 miles or so to our aid wagon, Josh’s car. I spotted the ice cream stand and had my cone half eaten before the guys came out with supplies. That was some mighty fine ice cream after 5 or 6 hours of running!!
We were now heading into the heat of the day, and out of the shade quite a bit now. (During the BR race, this won’t be an issue, because it will be dark, except for Josh, who is going to work on his sub 16 hour race plan…) The sun really was sucking some of my will to live out. I also was developing blisters in the same freaking spots that I had at Mohican!! At least I was smart enough to bring tape and scissors to the aid wagon, so when we stopped, I was able to add more tape to my feet and they felt much better. Stopping for more food and lots of drinks helped too, and we were soon heading south again, to the finish line.
We were getting more tired and silly as we went, and I think I must have been the easiest target, because I was giggling at every stupid joke the guys were telling. At least you had a captive audience guys!
We hit the last piece of dirt single track and Mike almost took a header over into the river himself; this might be a precarious portion of trail less than 3 miles from the finish line. You come off the trail, turn right, and head into downtown Cuyahoga Falls to finish at the fountain. Hurray! We were done.
Oh no, not yet. Now we had to run the two miles over to Mike’s house. The guys pulled away from me, as I kept feeling all my energy vanishing, but there was no way I was going to eat a trail cookie to get through the last ½ mile to Mike’s. In fact, they sprinted the last ¼ mile to his house-guys!! Luckily, since I am the Trail Goddess I don’t have to play silly masculine games and just trudged in myself.
We collapsed on the lawn and Tony, who had to leave earlier, came over and was impressed with how we looked. Well we only ran eleven hours, we should look okay.
The best news of the day was the food waiting for us in the kitchen-Mike’s wife, Lasheda, had prepared us a great meal---thank you so much, that was so thoughtful to have available!!!
Today, I know for a fact that it was a much less hilly section than Mohican because my quads are barely sore at all. However, I had to get up in the middle of the night to take some ibuprofen, my IT band on the left leg woke me up it was hurting so bad. Note to self-you need to seriously stretch today!!!
Thanks Mike and Lasheda, for putting up with us all weekend long. It was a very good weekend with friends!