The donuts after the run were good and the company was great as always. Jon, Rick, and I had talked about going to the Sheyenne National Grasslands near Kindred, ND for a 10 mile run on Sunday. We decided against going because of bad weather and the fact that Jon and I would need to take it a little easy on our legs.
Last week I went for a 6 mile run on Tuesday right after work. It was one of those off days; I felt as though I was clomping along for most of the run. I found it difficult to get into a rhythm. I actually had a couple of strangers start up conversations with me as I passed their homes. I appreciated their friendliness, but these interruptions made it even more difficult to get in the groove. There was also a lot of slush at the intersections and plenty of snow filled sidewalks which didn't help. I was glad when the run was over.
Saturday's group run was completely different than Tuesday's run. It was fantastic! Eight of us: Jon, Erin, Rachel, Maggie, Penny, Heather D., Heather S., and I drove out to the rolling countryside near Hawley and Rollag. Half of our group comes out here often to run the hilly gravel roads as part of their ultra marathon training. I was really looking forward to experiencing this for myself. We were scheduled to run 14 miles. We dropped off some water next to a rural church and drove 7 miles south to start our run. The temperature was in the teens, but a strong north wind brought sub zero wind chills.
One of the keys to running a successful ultra marathon is conditioning yourself to walk up the hills and run the downhill portions and the flat areas. It's actually quite hard at first. Most people who run are resistant to taking walk breaks. This attitude is fine for shorter distances, but for most people walking is a must as the runs get longer and the terrain becomes more challenging. Walking up the hills was the only way I was able to complete this distance.
We ran the first 7 miles into the wind. The snow flurries and overcast sky made the quiet countryside seem very remote. The only other people we saw were some guys ice fishing on one of the small lakes we passed. I'm sure they thought we were nuts! We reached the church and refueled. The strong wind at our backs made the trip back much more pleasant. Everyone made it the whole way. Heather S. had never run 14 miles before and Penny hadn't run that far in a couple of years. It was great to see everyone succeed.
The Hardcore Award has to go to Rachel who pulled "Thor" the entire 14 miles. "Thor" is a tire hooked to a harness (see pictures/videos below). She is training for the Arrowhead 135 mile race which requires each runner to pull a sled filled with all of their necessary equipment and clothes. Her strength and determination are just incredible.
I can't wait to get back out to run these roads again.
|Jon, Me, Heather D., Penny, Erin, Rachel, Maggie, Heather S.|