Following the North Coast 24 hour, it took nearly a week for the swelling to subside enough to see my ankles again, and another week of sore, easy jogging until I started feeling somewhat back to normal. Within a couple of weeks, though, I was back on the track, helping Laura prepare for her crack at TNF, and starting to feel pretty good. With some low-key local events offering a nice opportunity to socialize with friends and training partners, I put together a small fall season to keep myself fresh and engaged in preparation for my next big outing.
|Dr. Mike's Doggie Duathlon|
photo: Michele Halstead
My plan was to tune up the CX bike and cruise my way through an easy, fun day at the back of the back. Unfortunately Phil had other ideas; he had just finished an epic day at Grindstone and wasn't up for running, so he badgered me into joining him on a relay team. I ran the two 2-mile legs while Phil took care of the 12-mile bike segment. This was theoretically a great idea, but it ensured that I'd have to run hard to put on a good show/not embarrass myself. There was a challenge from a young post-collegian on the first leg, and I had to work pretty hard in cold, rainy conditions to split 11:11 for the opening two miles, giving Phil about a 20-second lead. Phil managed one of the fastest bike splits of the day and gave me back the baton with enough cushion that I could run a relaxed, tempo-type effort on the second leg to secure an easy team victory.
|Gump, at the start of the Monster Sprint|
photo: Martin Weiner
Six days later Laura and I were the co-RDs for yet another ridiculous undertaking, the Apple Cider Donut Challenge. Following on the heels of the New Paltz Pizza Challenge, we conceived a 50K loop that incorporated stops at six different orchards, each of which made their own apple cider donuts. Each runner would have to eat two donuts at each stop for a dozen total donuts, or face time penalties for failure to finish them. Time bonuses were awarded for drinking hard cider at those orchards that make their own.
|Four donuts to go.|
photo: Martin Weiner
Sometimes we forget that ultras are hard.
The fall stretch concluded, as always for me, with the Rockland Alumni XC Run, a 5K cross-country race at Bear Mountain with a team competition for alumni of Rockland-area high schools. As always, this is one of my favorite days of the year, and the race is simultaneously one of the most fun and most painful experiences I have each season. I have a separate website for that race, though, so I won't bore you here.
Generally it was a good fall, mixing these fun, slightly harder efforts in with a good solid training base. None of these races required a taper or any extended recovery, so I've been able to build back up fairly consistently, and training is going pretty well heading into the winter; I'm pointing to Rocky Raccoon in February as my next big effort, so it will require a big push training-wise between now and then. I'll have a few more posts coming before the end of the year, so keep checking back, and good luck to everyone in the lotteries this weekend.