Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Highland Road

There is a conspiracy afoot. I planned to get up and do a long run this morning. Naturally, I set the alarm, since I don't exactly spring to readiness first thing in the morning. Somehow, the clock lost power. I figured we had a power blip in the middle of the night, but the alarm clock was the only thing that lost power. I ended up getting up about a half hour later than I planned, and, of course, it took me a while to get my butt out the door. But, I did.

Plan was to run the ol' Highland Road loop from the Bowdoin Fieldhouse. Back in the day, we always called this run 12, but I suspected it was a touch shorter. According to, it is. Here's the loop:

Aside from the clock malfunction, there were other mental hurdles I had to get over for this one. First, as I listened to NPR on my drive to the fieldhouse, the weather report called for "unhealthy air." Delicious. It was already in the mid 70's and the humidity was off the charts. Second, Highland was always one of the "long runs" in college, and I only ran it a dozen time or so in four years. And, finally, it was all road. Yup, 12ish on the road. Grrr...

Speaking of grr and NPR, they had a story this morning about the new car safety ratings that are coming out, and the new crash test dummies that will be used. They closed the segment with this song:

Clever, yes. But I hate that song! Add that to the mental hurdles as it was stuck in my head for the first couples miles.

Oh yeah, the run. That sunnabitch is hilly. I knew that Pleasant Hill Road had a couple goodly bumps on it, but I had forgotten about all the others. There is a big one just after you turn off Highland Road about halfway through that made me cranky, and the hill that takes you away from the ocean as you turn onto Maquoit Road is tough. The latter especially so due to the fact that the heat really kicked in at that point. Otherwise, the heat wasn't too bad. There was a breeze, albeit in my face, for all of Highland Road and a couple other stretches, so it made things fairly bearable. That being said, the heat was definitely on my mind. As evidenced by the song that replaced the Crash Test Dummies:

An incident arose from circumstance, indeed.

I have to say this is quite a pretty run. Pleasant Hill Road has some great fields you run past, and Highland Road is beautiful. I was really enjoying Highland, and I had to hold myself back from going to fast. Tons of wildflowers in the fields, and then you run by the ocean. Not bad. I saw handful of goldfinches, a cardinal, a couple red-winged blackbirds, a belted kingfisher, and what I think was a veery (90% sure).

I loaded up the Fuel Belt (not pink) for this one: 8 ounces of water, 16 ounces of the rest of the HEED, and 8 ounces of a Espresso Hammer Gel and water mix. Anyone who doesn't think the Espresso Hammer Gel kicks ass is wrong. This stuff rocks. It's sooooo deeelicious. 3 ounces of gel/5 ounces of water. Kick ass. I'm sold on the HEED, too. I never felt thirsty or out of gas on this run. Good stuff. Of course, my legs were tired, but overall, I felt strong. So, I think this stuff really works.

It's amazing how you go through different phases on a long run. In the first 5 minutes, I almost turned around and went back. I felt like dog meat. It was morning after all. Then things got better, and I started moving. I worked the hills on Pleasant Hill and was pleased to find that I could move pretty well up them. At about a hour, I thought I was toast. It was probably all in my head, but I felt like I was crawling, but that subsided, too. By the time, I turned onto Maquoit Rd. for the last couple miles, I was feeling good. I worked that hill up from the ocean, and then put it in full-on, old man fast shuffle mode. My strides weren't exactly long, but I was moving along. Admittedly, I was ready to be done by the time I tunred up Longfellow St. But, thankfully, I had one last song in my head to push me through the finish:

I have no idea where these things come from. But, it was a really good run.

For those keeping track, that's a solid four days:
Sunday - hike, 8.5±
Monday - hike, 9±
Tuesday - run, 5±
Wednesday - run, 11.75...on the roads

Maybe I should be officially training for something...

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