Sunday, December 03, 2006

Where Mike & I try to kill Marc.

In a most shocking display of blissful ignorance and an amazing failure of mental aptitude, Mike & I trotted off into the biting wind and left Marc to find his own way home. It didn't occur to any of us that running gear only protects you when you're running. Limping 5 miles back to the car in the blowing cold - on a lonely, desolate road - populated with unhappy canines - wet with 7 miles of sweat - and wearing only nylon and other thin polymers - is a most unwise activity. And friends don't let friends die in shallow ditches on Maine's back roads.

Well, some friends don't.

Mike and I were oblivious to the real walking hell that constituted Marc's soujourn back to the cars as we vocalized our sympathy to one another and occasionally uttered 'poor Marc!' as we climbed yet another frozen hill. In the end, he lived. That's good.

The Story

Marc pulled a calf muscle coming down the steep hill at 7 miles and it laid him up by the time we got to the Sipayik trail. A down & back, we left Marc to 'walk it out', and Mike & I headed down the beautiful paved trail along the Passamaquoddy Bay. When we turned at the end, we were confronted with the extreme nature of the wind today. It was cold.

I was properly dressed with my Goretex jacket and one thin layer underneath. Mike on the other hand was dressed in Nylon with more layers than I, but he suffered more. He immediately picked up the pace in what he claimed was "the only way I know how to stay warm".

We had been running 8:30's or so, I'd say, to this point. Maybe even slower. We had been chatting up a storm as we enjoyed the bright sunshine and the wind at our backs. Now the effort was increased and unfortunately, the pace didn't have a 1:1 corresponding drop. It dropped a little, but our effort into the wind was much harder than what the watch was giving us credit for.

We came back upon Marc at the beginning of the path. I thought something must be wrong as I had hoped to see him jogging slowly down the path to meet us. All the time, I was under the impression it was his knee that had acted up. But here, we found out that the old calf injury from two years ago was the culprit. A quick group meeting determined that: 1) the new injury was due to overcompensating for the bad knee (now how do we know that? and why are we discussing this now?); 2) Marc needs to bow out of this workout and 3) he will walk back using the cutoff road ~ 5 miles.

Marc was in good spirits. He's a hardy soul, ready for most things, and even predicted having enough time, after he reached the cars, to go get us some tea or coffee. Mike and I had over an hour left to go (we now had gone about 11.5 miles or so) so off we went. Marc boldly marching behind us on his way back.

As it turned out, and he can tell his trekking story himself, it was "the most awful experience I have had in a long time". Other comments he made were just as frightening: "You just be glad you weren't there with me!" and "uggh mahgbug, brrg mphff, aacck!" He was attacked by dogs, demoralized, driven to run on the injured leg from desperation, re-aggravated the injury, and at last was reduced to a frozen popsicle. He found himself, at long last, at the car unable to work his hands to unlock the door. Heat beckoned from within, the wind blew without. The options were this: Lie on the ground and die or get the car unlocked somehow.

We found him inside the car. Very unhappy.

Meanwhile, Back on the Roads

Mike and I pressed on. The pace kept quickening once we were over the most grueling portion that involved total exposure to the strong icy wind and up a steep, long hill. We hit the top like conquerors and we never looked back. We pressed on into the wind bringing the pace down to 7:43, 7:36, 7:28, 7:26 and I think a final mile of 7:10 (all uphill). Mike has the correct splits but that's the gist.

We finally got out of the wind with two miles to go. And we were ready to be done. I wasn't cold, and I think Mike had warmed up some. But the winter effort was enough to say 'enough'. This was our first taste of the new winter. Perhaps we'll be better acclimated in a few weeks. It was still shocking nevertheless.

All Together Again

Marc had arrived a mere five minutes before we did. So he was still frozen. The good news was, he was no longer alone and it didn't take long with the heater to thaw him out. He could barely talk from the cold. His hands were like ice. I now have serious doubts to whether he will want to come down and run with us again. None of us realized the trial that walking back would entail. We'll have to come up with a different plan for this type of scenario. It could happen to any of us.

I think the reason we were so low key about it when it happened was we thought that this might happen anyway. Marc's been having problems with his knee. It allows him to run one day but not the next it seems. So, mentally, we were prepared for the knee to act up. To us, calf or knee, it was all the same. Marc was rightfully calling the rest of the run off for himself and would meet us back at the cars. No problem, we knew it might happen.

So I feel badly. He didn't seem too keen on a repeat weekend in January when I suggested it as he left for home.

The good news? He's had this injury before and it does heal with a week or so of 'no running'. You can't run through it, and 7 -10 days off does the trick. So that's what's next for him. To think, he went through all that trouble with his car to get down here, and he's handed a 5 mile Artic trek across Perry, Maine on a bad leg.

With friends like us, he doesn't need enemies.

Training: 21 miles 2:51:43 8:11 pace. Biting cold wind from the west. Felt great. Nice low heart rate of 134.


Blogger Jamie said...

Poor Marc, but a very entertaining tale nonetheless. Hope his injury heals up quick. Glad you and Mike had a good run, despite the cold. I opted to wait until it warmed up a bit before I set out this morning.

12/03/2006 5:24 PM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

I don't know what to say, except "Sorry, Marc!" We didn't really have many options, except maybe to run back directly and get the car for him. Maybe next time we could park one car at the Farmer's market and the other at the usual spot? It was a tough day.

12/03/2006 6:57 PM  
Blogger Mark I. said...

yikes. the only think i fret about running in the cold is having to stop so i can feel for Marc - stopping is when things get cold!

12/04/2006 3:41 PM  

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