This past weekend I ran the Devil's Burdens relay race. I ran with friends from my local running club, and I did the first leg. In this leg, two runners were required from each team, and I ran with M. from the club.
There were two starts for the race. The 9:30 start was for the slower teams, and the 10:30 start was for the others. Because we were unsure where we'd finish, and in part because I had to get home for child-care, we opted for the early start.
We lined up towards the front of the 39 pairs of runners, and with the horn we were off.
We made our way through the historic village of Falkland, and headed up through the woods to East Lomond, the hill above the village.
The pace wasn't too hard, and I found myself near the front with another woman. Shortly after, a guy from a nearby hill run club passed, and I ran with him for a bit. I didn't know the route, although I carried a map, and was happy to follow someone who had done the route previously, as this guy had done. M. was just behind us.
We emerged from the woods and headed up the steep, grassy slope of the hill. It was too steep to run. I was breathing hard, but felt good.
At the summit there was a checkpoint where we had to make a hole punch in our checkpoint list. From the summit there were terrific views of the surrounding countryside (photo: copyright Scottish Hill Runners).
M. and I descended quickly. Although we were second to the summit, we somehow were the first team down, and had to navigate on our own. M. was familiar with the area from previous cross-country races, and led us in the correct direction. Occasionally, when pausing to look at our map, one or two teams would catch up to us. This proved useful, as we were able to confirm our route.
The first leg wasn't too long - 4.4 miles - and as it neared the end, we pushed to finish first, and were able to do so.
The next day, Sunday, I had to get in a long run.
I'd done 10.8 miles for my long run the weekend before, although my schedule called for a 15-miler.
The week before this, my schedule had called for a 13 mile run, and, tired, I'd only done 3.
So, I'd been short-changing my long-runs, and it was time to address this.
My first lap around town - 5.4 miles - went fine. It was around 5 p.m., my children were having their dinner, and my wife knew I'd be out for a while.
On my second lap through town, I started to feel the fatigue from the race the day before. After finishing our leg, M. and I had run most of the route back to my car, so it ended up being about 8 miles all told.
I'd borrowed my daughter's ipod shuffle, and listened to podcasts: American Public Radio's Marketplace, and Steve Runner's Intervals and Pheddipidations. It was now dark out.
I wanted to get my distance in, but I was tired. I switched to a 8 min run, 30 sec walk schedule. This got me through the second lap around town, and the third.
Tired, but not exhausted, I finished my longest training run so far in this cycle: 16.2 miles in 2:24.
I still have a lot of work to do before I'm ready for Boston.