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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wa-Wa-Wapack Weekend - Part 5

The run back over the Pack Monadnocks was every bit as "memorable" as the first time I did it - 1.5 hours earlier; except in reverse. If the first trip over was "FUN", you could say this time was e-"NUF". I caught up to Bill somewhere around North Pack and was able to press ahead over Pack and down the insanely steep headwall to Miller State Park. I caught up with three other runners on my way down and one conspicuously dressed woman in jeans - not really what I'd consider running gear. Oh wait - that was my wife Jen. "I didn't think this was the trail and when I realized it was, I had to climb up to get some pictures," she said accompanying me and my three new friends down into the aid station.

We were now at 27 miles - a good time to check with my average marathon pace - 3 hours, 45 minutes. It was just after 11:30 AM, I had run the marathon distance in 6 hours, 38 minutes and change. I wasn't impressed. The bright side was that it took only 1 hour and 30 minutes back over the Pack Mountains - the same time on the way out meaning as I got more tired, I didn't lose any time. I followed my three new friends out of the aid station and towards the 7 mile return over Temple Mountain.

During the climb we spaced out a bit. The noon sun was beating hard now and the exposed climb offered little shade. I passed one of the three once we hit a more shady section and I was able to get some relief. I caught the other two on the descent - about 5 miles into this 7 mile stretch.

One of the two and I hit the short downhill road section and were able to pull away until the trail started back uphill and he pulled away from me. We had about 1 mile of gentle uphill left and I ran out of water. I was sipping so regularly from the midday heat during the climb and the longer distance to the aid station (7 versus 5 miles) left me wanting with less than a mile to go. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but with 33 miles already run, my body wanted some water ... and food!

I slowly pushed to the Windblown aid station where Jen met me again, Bill caught back up and the two other runners I had paced with all replenished our bodies and supplies. I drank several cups of Gatorade and water and downed some "ultra" potato chips. That would be boiled potato dices hand dipped into a large bowl of salt. Who knew a mouthful of salt would taste so good.

The other two runners left before Bill and I so we took off into the Windblown ski area again keeping pace. I felt awful now. Copious amounts of water once you're thirsty aren't going to rehydrate you - you need to keep a steady flow from the start. My extra full belly bounced with every step. I knew I'd be OK, if I could get through this 20 minutes of uncomfortable feeling while my stomach decided what to do with the calories I just consumed. My vote was to keep it down, my stomach thought otherwise. In the end, I won. I found myself wishing for an uphill so we could walk.

Be careful what you wish for. We started up Barrett Mountain.

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