Sunday, May 12, 2013

True Weekend Update

Yesterday was a long day with the "Rode To Joy" challenge. Exhausting yes, but really a lot of fun. Kudos to my friend Pete for organizing such a great day for all the challengers. Running buddy Michelle S posted about her experience here. She gives a good account of the event in general and details from the participate perspective.

The challengers ran as many of 7 stages as they wished along various routes all of which started at base camp along Yellow Springs Road (near the  covered bridge if you are familiar with Valley Forge) to the summit camp where the Horseshoe Trail meets Forge Mountain Road. Here is a photo of the route for Stage 1 to give you an idea. Base camp is at the bottom of the photo and summit camp is where the black line ends on the left hand side. All but the very beginning of that black line is hilly, dirt packed terrain - about 2 miles worth.

Each stage was variations on getting from base to summit all over this map. The plan was to eliminate a % of participants after each stage and only 7 (out of the 26 that started) would do the final stage. As it was the group diminished on it own - some had other appointments, some knew their limits and stopped when they knew they should, etc - so that only 7 did the final stage anyway. The event officially kicked off at 8:30 am (although the volunteers were there at 7 to set up) and the final challengers returned to base camp just over 6.5 hours later!


Our view of the trail from summit camp.
My friend Candy and I covered the summit camp. As each challenger reached us they turned in three tokens they gathered along they way. This ensured that no short cuts were taken. We exchanged tokens for a descent fortune which told base camp they were eligible to continue on. Many of the people we knew but there were a few new faces. Pete assigned everyone a state so as they arrived at the top they told us their state so we could log them in. Pete also encouraged folks to represent their state for the challenge. This guy did the best and most complete job of dressing the part. He kept most of the costume for half of the 7 stages (he was one of the 7 who did all 7. You do know what state he represents right?

Even after he ditched the hair and basket - and his signs came unattached due to the humidity - we could see him coming up the trail because of the "munchkin" striped socks he wore They flashed through the trees as he approached. If I remember correctly his real name is Chris but to us he was Kansas all day.

It was a long day (I was up at 5:30 and did not get home until almost 4) but I had fun. Each challenger arrived at the top exhausted but smiling. And although many times we heard - I think this is my last stage - more often than not they would return for at least one more. They all had so much fun that I really hope I can be a participant for the next challenge - tentatively scheduled for the fall at Forbidden Drive in Wisahickon.

The rain held off until the very end. I got poured on getting stuff into my car at the end. It rained and thunder stormed off an on the rest of the evening. That combined with how tired I felt meant that I skipped going into Media for Second Saturday.

Today I decided to go for a walk. Oh, Emma called last night and warned me that she wasn't feeling well after work and that I should call her before heading up to Mt. Holly. I called and woke her up. She wasn't feeling much better - probably allergies.  So we postponed our plans to get together for another time. So I decided to go for a long walk.

Since April 27th I've only gone out about 2 miles at a time. I was feeling a bit down today about the whole thing - wondering if I did right to pass on the marathon, etc. So I decided a longer walk would do me some good. I ended up doing 9.71 miles in a loop from Media to Swarthmore and back. It was a gorgeous day although a bit windy with  gusts at times. But for the most part I had a nice time. I stopped my garmin while I stopped in the Giant to pick up a few things- figuring I'd lose the satellite in there anyway. Hence the difference in elapsed time and moving time. I haven't walked this route since the days when I was training for the MS Walk in 2008. It really is a pleasant walk. Mostly on the streets/pavements but a little bit on the Leiper Smedley Trail which runs alongside the Blue Route mostly. Despite that it is a nice peaceful trail.

All in all, I was fine for about 7 miles. Then I started to feel really tired and the flutters came more often. That last hill did me in. I felt like I was 103 not 53. Grrrrr.... the silver lining is that it became obvious that I did make the right choice skipping the marathon. Hopefully the doctor will have some answers for me this week.

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