July 23 (evening after race): Relaxed at the bunkhouse until about 2:30pm. Did a little grocery shopping (3 cans of refried beans). Drove to campsite around 4. I had to bike up with just a small pack filled with some food, my running shoes and other miscellaneous things. Any other day would be okay to bike up but this day. My legs were toast from the morning. I made it up without walking, but I have almost run as fast as I biked up this day. It was brutal to say the least. I got right to work once I revived myself with a little H2O and trail mix. My round lasted from 5:30 to 7:30. The campsite was completely full. 47 people the time I went to bed. The most I have witnessed at the campsite. Also, I successfully accomasated an overfill person. I was back at my tent site when a guy asked if there any more space. I knew it was completely full, but I knew who to ask. Dave from the New England Disabled Sports group. Without hesitation, Dave said he could pop his tent up anyone he could find space. Wonderful! Mission complete. The best part of my round was talking with this couple and the husband was a cross country and track coach. We blabbed on for a while and I wasn't even half way done with the sites. One of groups at site #23 forgot eating utensils. So they reverted back to caveman ways and using sharpened sticks. They were cooking up some small bits of meat over the fire so it was logically. Luckily they didn't bring up soup or pasta. Though thinking about I now, they would of used two sticks like chopsticks if they needed to. With all the sites settled in, I made it back at 7:40 and quickly prepared dinner. I mean super quick. I prepared, eaten and cleaned up everything in under 30 minutes. I wish I had timed it because it would of been a new record (I need to amuse myself somehow while I am alone in the woods).
Summary: The bike was probably beneficial and acted as a small shakeout for my legs. I am planning on heading to Franconia Falls and back at a shuffle tomorrow. A new slow course record. Going for 90+ minutes and getting it out of the way in the morning.
July 24: Woke up at 5:15am and contemplated running then. Slept until 6:15am. On the trails by 6:30. Sipped some water and threw back a handful of trail mix (almonds and peanut m&ms) for some fuel. Super slow to Franconia Falls. Soaked the feet and lower calves to numb them up for the 2nd half of the run. Worked like magic for the first 10 minutes, then the soreness set back in. Ate a Clif bar immediately after the end of the run because my stomach was eating itself. Did a rinsed at the river because it was chilly in the morning, mid 60s. I didn't produce enough heat during the run to want to go jump in the water. I converted my towel into a turban for the walk back to my tent site and received some strange looks from the campers passing by. It was keeping my head warm so I didn't care. Made myself a hearty breakfast of 3 oatmeal packets with applesauce, pretzels with nutella and hot chocolate. I was a tad bit hungry. After breakfast, I relaxed at the picnic table and read some Born to Run. A couple was leaving and stopped in to say their goodbyes. Oh, and to let me know there is bear at the end of the campsite. It was pretty nonchalant. I was like, "Okay, I think i will go check that out. Thanks." I grabbed the air horn and earplugs to make a round and check it out. As I was walking down the trail, a man was approaching me and looking for me to notify me of the bear incident. We discussed the situation and he gave me some of the details of the incident. I ran back to my tent to grab a bear incident to fill out (for the 2nd time this weekend, John only gave me a couple copies so I actually didn't have any left, jotted down the details in my notebook). The family was cooking bacon and other breakfast delicates. The bear "snuck up" behind their tent and the wife spotted it. She blew her air horn and the bear trotted off away from them. The site next to them was a father and his 3 young sons. He took the two younger ones around the other way with his camera and bear spray to try to capture a photo. Hmm and left the oldest (maybe 14 years old). The bear didn't travel far and began to climb up the hillside behind the son's tent. The wife from the other site hit the air horn once again and the bear responded by trotting off away from both sites into the woods. The oldest son was grateful because he was within the tent and didn't know the bear was back heading up to his tent. The father, what an idiot! Leave one of your sons when their is a bear in close proximity. F for the day as a father. Plus, he said he didn't even get a quality picture of the bear. That is called karma, biotch! And yes I spelled it that way because I am that gangsta. Once the incident reports were completed, I was off to perform some renovations at the Lincoln Brook/Franconia Brook junction. I was entirely sure if it needed a new post as well as a sign replacement so I brought along all the essential tools for that (shovel, switchblade saw, and a bark peeler tool, as you can tell I am still figuring out the names of the equipment). I took my time getting there as I hiked out to the destination at 11:30am. I was expecting to return by 3pm with the the majority of time spent replacing the sign and post. It was much cooler out for the hike, but I still sweated like crazy hiking the 1.7 miles. Once I reached the junction, I completely forgot that the post was the dead tree stump (about 6 feet tall). So that means, I lugged all the equipment out for nothing. I sat down and took a break before replacing the sign, replaced the sign, documented the old and new sign with my camera, hiked back to my campsite. Made some freeze-dried pasta primavera. Delicious, but too much water. A large amount of broth at the end. I don't know if its even supposed to have broth. 2 cups on the directions, only need 1 1/2 cups next time. As I was preparing my lunch at my picnic table. I had a couple visitors. One was a foreign women (it was mostly her accent and broken English, but I don't from where) that was mad creepy for the most part. She was wondering if she was gonna see more trees as she continued on the trail. I politely said yes (Obviously lady, we're in the friggin woods). Her reasoning was that her father loved trees and she loves taking pictures of them. Nice, but she was still a little freaky. She almost reminded me of a drug addict with her body language and stuff. I don't think she was, but you never know. My next group of visitors were 3 dudes that were either drunk or drunk and high on something. I could smell the alcohol on their breath. They were frozen in amazement by my canvas tent. They asked if they could check it out inside and was glad to to show them. It was pretty entertaining. We started talking about bears and such. I mentioned I was technically a level 1 bear hazer. One of the guys suggested I should totally get a tattoo of that across my back. Ridiculous. They said they were headed to Franconia Falls, great. Hammered and swimming near waterfalls is not the best combo (a former teammate know the dangers of the power of waterfalls and he was sober). After they left, it was 3:00 and I didn't have much to do. I was deciding on running another 8-10 miles. Like the Tarahumara people. Maybe just throw on my crocs or go barefoot. It not always the best to be reading up on ultra running (Born to Run) when I am just trying to hit 70 miles a week. No worries. I checked out the vacant campsites and found some underground fires. Its basically the soil smoldering and smoking. You wouldn't expect it to be crazy hot, but they definitely were. Hot to the touch. Instantly. Pretty scary. I put them out with a bucket of water each. Swung by site #1-2 to greet the group setting up camp. The underground fire situation was a good starting point for conversation. Unfortunately, their fire pit also had a case of the underground fire. Not good! They fixed it with a shovel and I asked about their plans. Using my campsite as a base camp for 7 days worth of some serious day hikes. Hitting most the peaks in the general area. Cool! One of em had a hammock and talked about their black bear experiences. On one occasion, a black bear walked right underneath the hammock causing it to swing back and forth. Wow. That is too much for me. I returned to my site and ate some appetizers of cheese, crackers and pepperoni while I waited for more campers. Made another round and visited 2 guys doing some fishing for the next couple days. Ended up talking to them for a while until reaching site #15. It was a mom, dad, and daughter. She runs mostly the 800 at Penn State. I was like, "Oh man, you must be fast then." Her parents asked me to guess her time and nailed it right on the head. 2:11. I could just tell. She is best friends with Cas Loxsom. We talked about running, job opportunities such as Alaska, and other things. They lived in Anchorage, Alaska, for a couple years and they said it was beautiful. I walked to the end of the campsite and cleaned the bathrooms. I ended up talking to a woman about job opportunities and she said Juneau, Alaska, is amazing. She says everyone that lives in Alaska WANTS to live there for a variety of reasons. Cool! Prepared dinner at 7:50pm and still in my tent by 8:45pm. Bam! Like clockwork!
Summary: 12 miles on the day. New slow course record of 93:18. 49:01 out, 44:17 back. Felt amazing. My calves were sore, but didn't affect me too much. 74 miles for the week. For the last 7 weeks, I have averaged 70+ miles. Staying true to my goal of at least 70 miles a week while I am here. A day off on Monday and back to the grind on Tuesday between landscaping and running. I do need to remember take the first few days easy on pace because of the two races on Saturday.