Monday, July 26, 2010
With Dan Northrop in hand, I met Ben Ingram at Riley’s Lock at 8am. It was going to be another one of those days. We exchanged pleasantries and then off we went. Ben had already run 8 miles and was preparing to run another 13 with me. A brave man. As we started our run a dozen vultures peered in our direction. They were hopping along the ground like those flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz. Soon we were bounding down the towpath. Ben was already warmed up and I had to push it a little bit early to stick with him. Within a mile we were soaked in sweat, but at least the canopy of the towpath provided us with some relief. Still the humidity was stifling. The entire forest hissed at us as if it were a jungle. The lush, thick green swamps were filled with snakes and clicking bugs. I shuttered at the thought of falling off the towpath and into the green abyss. After about 30 minutes we arrived at the water pump, which thankfully was working (last time it was not). The water pump is literally a giant behemoth of a pump and is unlike your standard water fountain. It requires one man with two hands to sea saw the handle with all his might while the other sneaks his face under the faucet head. Ben pumped and pumped and soon a rush of cool water poured out onto my face. I could have stayed there forever. After we all had our fix, an elderly gentleman came over and asked us to pump the well so that he could fill his water bottles. Dan and I turned and sighed, but Ben jumped at the chance and soon he was jumping up and down with the pump handle getting the arm workout of his life. The old man was on his way from Pittsburgh to Georgetown. Go figure. At least we had AC to retire in after a run like this. Not him. The tent he stayed in must have been 130 degrees at night. He told us that a day or two earlier an ambulance scooped him off the trail due to dehydration. We all looked at one another and continued our run. Dan decided to turn around shortly thereafter while Ben and I headed out of the trail and onto the road. There was no shade on the road. The sun by now had climbed into the sky and beat down on us without mercy. Heat waves wafted up from the asphalt. We moaned and sighed. Our pace quickened to around 5:50 (just a guess) and together we tried to get off the shade-less road as fast as we could. The sun beat down with all its might. We leaned our shoulders into the sun and we smiled. We finally made the turn down Hunting Quarter Road and before long we were back in the shade and back on natural terrain. The swamp hissed with glee; we were back in her pocket. Ben and I opted to return to the water fountain after finishing the 5.5 mile loop to refuel. I sucked down water as if it would be my last swallow of the day. Bees poured out from some hole in the menacing pump. How ironic. Not only was the only pump for miles a contraption that needed to be operated by two people, but now it was held hostage by a group of yellow jackets. We continued down the humid tunnel of doom and ended our run. By the time I got back to my car I was feeling very warm. As noted, the fountain at Riley’s Lock was out of commission and I saw Dan laying under a tree in the shade. I thought he might be dead. To my left and right the vultures licked their lips. It was time to get out of here.
I then found my way over to Scott Koonce’s pool party. It was only 10:30am but there was all sorts of stuff going on. Most everyone there had just run the Riley’s Rumble Half Marathon and the party had started. Kids were flying down slip and slides and runners were beginning to crack beers. People were everywhere. Soon I was pulled into the party and was eating fruit salad. Anything to cool me down. Charlie Ban was clowning about and soon we were all in the pool sucking down Coors Light. I declared myself a king. I had to be if I were drinking beer in a pool before noon on a Sunday. “Get me another beer” I ordered, “I am a king today”. Soon I had another beer and I sucked it down with glee. We decided to find out how long we could hold our breaths underwater. Charlie surprised all of us and came up for air after being underwater for 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Before I saw the time, I had been happy with my effort of 2:04. We decided to play water polo and after an hour of that we were all sore and exhausted. Then, suddenly, a giant storm swept in. Tree limbs cracked and toppled to the earth and debris was flying everywhere. It felt like we were in Kansas. Patrick Huge’s car was smashed by a large branch and it took Karl and I two hours to get home (it normally would have taken only 20 minutes) due to all the fallen trees, power lines and the knocked out traffic lights. I had no power at home and fell asleep at 9:45.
My leg/groin felt fine on Sunday, but things would change by the time I ran on Monday evening. More on this tomorrow...