Rod's pretty cool (or so he thinks:). He runs the river trail from Meadow Camp to Benham Falls once a week. This has turned into a great 17 mile roundtrip tempo run for us. I'm not quite as geeky as Rod, so I only do it a few times a year.
It took a few years of Rod geeking out, but finally a couple years ago, he broke 2 hours. So I gave it a go last spring and, despite getting lost (lame, but true), I also broke 2.
This spring, Rod started upping the ante a bit. About a month ago, he clocked a 1:53:30ish. Wow, that was definitely a fast one. So a week and a half ago, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I lost the main trail again a couple times (there really are quite a few zigzagging trails out there). But, I still was happy with my solid 1:54:40.
So Rod ran it again last week. He completely geeked out this time; no bottles, no gu...light and fast. He bonked, but still ran 1:53:40ish. Attaboy, Rod, but maybe next time you'll carry a bottle and a carmel powergel.
Today I decided to run it. I have lots of miles in the old legs; 450 in the last 26 days. I really was just looking to cruise it comfortably hard in right around 2. My time to the first check point confirmed this, as I was easily 1:30 slower than what Rod usually runs for that 1.3 mile section. But then I felt warmed up, so decided to tempo it the last 15.7 miles. I hit the turn around in 58:30 and knew a sub-1:53 was possible (the course is gentle uphill out and downhill back).
My check points all the rest of the way were keeping me on schedule for a barely 1:52-something. Then came the last section. I was at 1:45:03. A sub-8 means you're moving really well here. I was moving really well and knew I could get a sub-8. Then, as usual in this section, I took a wrong cross trail. Doh! I was climbing up onto a ridge instead of staying down by the river. So I bushwhacked back down, losing probably 30 seconds. Yep, it was definitely going to be tight.
Back on the right trail, I pushed a bit harder. With about 1/3 of a mile to go, on the rocky section, I came up fast on a couple. I slowed down and politely said "excuse me, on your left". They looked back, were caught off guard, and completely froze. They looked at each other and me, and just didn't know what to do. So I stood there for 15 seconds (yes, I checked), anxiously, but trying to look patient, waiting for them to take one step to the side.
They finally stepped aside, I graciously (I hope) thanked them, and continued on. Around the bend, I could see the car. I just ran as hard as I could. 1:53:09. Doh! Mixed blessings. Although I didn't get that coveted sub-1:53, I did whoop up on Biener's soft little p.r. So for that, I was happy.