Holy Freakin A. Eastern States is coming. I ended my last blog post with this phrase and it wasn’t until I typed the period that it hit me.
Eastern States is coming.
And not coming as in here comes Christmas or the weekend is almost here sort of way. Coming as in my car has coincidentally stalled on these railroad tracks and I think I hear a whistle off in the distance. Only it’s not so far off now and I definitely see a headlight.
There is knowing something intellectually. Say along the lines of the terminal velocity of a skydiver is about 120 miles per hour. Then there’s knowing something emotionally. Like seeing the earth scream towards you at 120 mph. I thought I had reached terminal velocity by typing those 4 little words last weekend, but apparently not.
This weekend’s long run dramatically sped up my emotional approach to the race and I’m now a borderline headcase. I did the same long run as last weekend: same course, same distance (20 miles), and same vertical gain (6k). The only differences were the temperatures were a little hotter and the humidity was off the charts high.
Hmmm. . . now where have I experienced that combination 90+ degree temperatures and high humidity before? Wait, don’t tell me. It’ll come to me in a second. Oh, that’s right! Eastern States back in 2016.
So the good news is that I got a long run done in perfect ES100 training weather. The bad news is I had to endure ES100 weather during my long run. My pace through 10 miles only started out about 20 seconds slower than last week (13:40 vs. 13:18), which I was very excited to see. I knew my legs weren’t back to 100% after last weekend so this was a pleasant surprise as I was expecting nothing but 14s to flash across my Garmin.
Unfortunately, the suck arrived not too long after the halfway point and my pace slowed into the 14s before hitting 15+ minute miles for the last four. I was beyond overheated and in complete survival mode. I brought 16oz more fluids and still ended up running dry with about 10 minutes left. Guess what you think about as you’re slogging through the end of a miserable run. Hint: it’s typically the next race you’re signed up for. And if you feel this bad at mile 18 now, just imagine feeling this bad with 85 more miles to go.
I ended up walking just about the entire last mile back to my truck, crawled into the cab, and turned the AC up to 11. I sat there for a couple minutes thinking that this felt awesome, yet knowing it wouldn’t be an option once I get to Waterville in six weeks. I started feeling better pretty quickly, but there’s no reprieve on the trail. Only heat and humidity await me there. And while no one was there to see it, a smile was starting to spread across my face. You see, Eastern States is coming.