When the Spanish Armada took Camden Harbor in the Battle of the Swine Pigs, they looked upon the hills above the harbor and dubbed them the "Ocho de Camden." The Spanish soldiers weren't a very creative bunch as there are 8 hills that make up what is now Camden Hills State Park. On this day, a rag tag band of Trail Monsters took on the challenge of running all 8 hills.
Things started innocently enough as the crew met at the Mt. Battie parking lot. Jim, Ian, Floyd, Jamie, Stephen, Jeff and I headed off together up the Mt. Battie Trail. The much smarter female contingent, which included D, Kelly, Cacky and Shauna, thought it was a nice day for a hike.
I lagged a bit behind on the climb up Mt. Battie, but I was planning on taking it easy at the start to ensure I had plenty of energy for the long haul. Then I kept lagging behind the rest of the way. I felt great, though. Very comfortable mixing up my running and walking at what felt like a comfortable pace. Jim hung back with me for the majority of the run, and as is customary with Jim, the conversation flowed freely. At the intersections, we'd catch back up with the rest of the crew, and it stayed this way from Mt. Battie, down the Nature Trail, up to Ocean Outlook, over Mt. Megunticook, down the Slope Trail, up Zeke's Trail, across the Sky Blue Trail and up to the summit of Bald Rock Mountain. Running on these trails is tough, but great. The park is beautiful, and we were treated to frequent views of the ocean.
At Bald Rock Mountain, the crew split. Everyone else turned back due to time constraints and the pull of beer and burgers. Jim and I decided to continue on with plans to complete the entire 20 mile loop. I was still feeling good, and although I knew it would take a long time, I was confident, we'd finish it up. We dropped off Bald Rock Mountain, and took a wrong turn. The map indicated that the trail was "unmarked and may be difficult to follow," and it certainly was. But, instead of continuing out to Frohock Mountain, it dead ended after about a quarter of a mile. Oh well, no trip to Frohock Mountain, but at least we tried the full loop. Once back to the main trail, we continued on for a few minutes only to come to a sign that read "Frohock Mountain Trail." Looks like the full loop is back on, so onto this out and back trail we went. This trail was marked, but it was unfortunately difficult to follow due to a lot of blowdowns. We did manage to reach the underwhelming summit of Frohock Mountain, so we could turn around the way we came.
I was started to tire, and stopped to sit on a log once we returned to the junction with the main trail. Jim and I were debating options, knowing that we were going to out for a long time with about 7 miles to go to complete the full loop. I jokingly said, "Well, the quickest route back would be to take the rest of this trail to the multi-use trail, turn right, go a half mile and have someone come pick us up." Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
At this point, we were pretty close to the opposite end of the park, so we knew we still had a long haul. We headed down the trail, and soon reached the multi-use trail, which is basically a dirt road. We turned left on the dirt road and started to climb. I elected to walk and about a minute later I just stopped.
Jim: "Are you OK?"
Me: "Nope, I'm done."
My legs were wobbly and the road seemed to be waving in front of me. Not good times. I thought briefly about continuing, but I knew the better choice was to send out a distress signal. I called D, reassured her that I was fine, and asked for a ride. Jim and I walked out on the road while I ate a Power Bar, and not long after Cacky and D arrived to save us...well, me.
The timing turned out to be perfect as the rest of the crew has just finished by the time we returned to the parking lot. Burgers and beer was then had by most at a pub in Camden, which is the only way to properly end the day.
So what's the deal? What happened to me? It wasn't a matter of fuel. I had plenty to eat beforehand. I had drank a good amount of Sustained Energy and eaten 3 gels, 4 shot bloks and some Pringles (of course) throughout the run. I think the answer is simple: I'm overtrained. I thought that this might have been the reason I've been feeling not that great the last 2 weeks or so. And, today made it clear. So, even though today didn't go like I had hoped, I think it might help. I'm going to take it very easy the next 3 weeks. Really easy. From this point until Pineland, I can pretty much only cause more damage. Trying to do another long run would be counterproductive. I've done some good training, and that's what I'll have in my quiver on race day. Hopefully, I'll have enough arrows, and they'll straighten out.