What I wasn't planning on...was the weather and course conditions. Slim gave us a course report Friday, which led to me screwing my shoes late Friday night. Although Ohio had a bit of a thaw, the ground was still half frozen and the rain had started on Friday.
Working until 9 pm Friday put a crimp in my "early start" plans..With a two hour drive, I was already getting up at 330 am for a 630 start at Mill Creek Park.
Gombu, Victor, Nick, Rich and I started at six thirty. I ran into lighting issues with my headlamp at Volney Rogers Field, and Rich hung back with me. Then, as we descended away from VR, I yelled ice, but Rich was behind me and went down with a huge thump.
Luckily, he was "okay" and we proceeded at an easy pace. Vic, Gombu and Nick were well gone at this point.
The Monkey Trails were in the worse condition. With the repeated footfall on these sections, it was just slick mud to descend, and then try and climb out the other side.
I thought I was doing rather well. The first loop was 2.10, with the darkness and a few stops to chat with friends. Loop 2 was 2.22 (I found this out later, looking at my Garmin) and then loop 3 was 3.09. Blegh. I still had a long ways to go. Slim had mentioned earlier that the park police had chased them out of the park since they were there before the official 5am opening time, and they had mentioned the park closed at "dark".
Well, crap, on the shortest day of the year, darkness would be upon us before 5 pm!!
I took off on Loop 4, thinking over what I wanted to do. I wanted to run 50 miles. But I didn't want to spend the next six hours out there on the trail doing so. I knew I would get slower in the dark. I also didn't relish the idea of the stress of hiding from the police. I didn't want to report back to the Coach that I bailed on my 50 miles (50 mile goal was my idea, not his.) But just one mile or so into Loop 4 I decided to just call it quits after the 50K distance.
I ran into the Gombu-Victor-Nick trio, and told them to tell Slim I was bailing on the 50 mile idea, so he could continue to drink. (Slim was planning on accompanying me on my last few loops.)
Now I am the only runner left out on the trail. I get halfway through the Monkey Trail, sliding backwards down the hill. I see the Silver Suspension Bridge, and decide to bail on the traditional URINEO course. Now that the arbitrary 50 mile goal is gone, now I have the dangerous thinking of "what's the point"? I cut out some of the extra mileage and just go for the 50K finish, with asterisks all around for this one.
Did I mention it rained almost all day? At least it was somewhat warm, in the 50's. At some points, I had my rain jacket sleeves pushed up and the jacket unzipped. But the last loop, the temperature started to drop. If I had done the last two loops, some more warmer clothing would have been needed (which I did have, in my vehicle.)
So, another successful URINEO. I missed out on seeing most of the people, with my focus being the 50 mile goal. With it just turning out to be 50K finish, I could have started at 8am, been sociable, and just run for fun instead of for time/distance. It's always a hard balancing act, trying to get "training" in and still wanting it to be fun too.