It all started yesterday morning when I headed over to Pine Lane by myself to attempt a back-to-back 50K in consecutive days. This was my plan after finding out that Tanya Cady was organizing a Winter Buckeye Trail FA 50K for this Saturday. The only difficulty… low temps were forecasted to be in the single digits on both days with high temps only reaching the teens. Not really a problem, but it definitely added to the challenge.
Since I was starting my run from Pine Lane, my first challenge was to get past the large water crossing about a mile or so into the run. After running downstream to see if there was an easy way to cross I realized that there wasn’t going to be an easy way. The snowmelt from our last warm-up had added a lot of water to the stream and despite all the cold weather we’ve had recently, there was still a lot of flowing water and thin ice. I eventually decided to cross the stream where there was a rock in the center, just in case the ice began to break. As I stepped across I could hear the ice slowly crack so I hurried across and luckily made it without getting wet.
I continued heading north on the Buckeye Trail and realized that the first 4-5 miles were very rutted up from the recent warm-up and freeze that followed. I told myself to pay special attention to areas where the trail had frozen over but still had water/slush underneath. Even with this in mind, I eventually made the mistake of stepping in the wrong spot and soaked my right foot. This normally wouldn’t be a problem with wool socks on, but since the temperature was around 10-12 degrees I knew I had to quickly change into new socks that I had brought along in my Camelbak.
I picked up the pace and soon made it to the Boston Store (4 miles in) where I stopped for a moment to get dry. The lady inside thought I was crazy for being out in the cold and told me that I was the first visitor of the day. After changing into new socks, I continued heading north on the trail. I made it all the way to the stream crossing before Snowville Rd. and decided to turn around because this crossing was even more difficult to navigate than the last and I didn’t feel like getting wet for a second time.
Once I arrived back at the Boston Store I decided to run some of the Brandywine Trail and the Towpath. After doing this for awhile my mileage was beginning to near 20 and with the middle of the afternoon closing in I was starting to get very hungry. So, I decided to take the Towpath east towards the town of Peninsula and head up the old brick road back to my car at Pine Lane. I finished up with 20 miles (a little short of my goal) but decided to save the rest of my energy for Saturday’s 50K.
The next morning I met a group of about 15 people at the Oak Grove Pavillion in Brecksville for the 7am start of the Winter Buckeye Trail 50K FA. I ran with Mike George for the first half, all the way to the Boston Store where he had to stop early. From there I ran the last 10 miles or so with Mark Anson. I felt good throughout most of the day despite running 20 miles the day before, so I was very happy about that! Mark and I did the last 10 miles at a fairly easy pace since we were tired and not in any rush, and finished up in 8 hours and 26 minutes.
Click Here to view photos from the run.