Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wapack Taper at Macedonia Brook

The weather man said Beautiful Weekend! Get out and Enjoy!

I always have a hard time not running long the weekend before a race. I know I'm not supposed to, but I'm so jazzed to run. I just want to get out there and run all day, screw the race.

This weekend I came up with a brilliant plan. Family camping! It was supposed to be 75, 80, even 90 degrees the first weekend in May. No rain in sight. And if we camped, there would be no opportunity for me to run long. No way I could leave Brian alone with the kids at a campsite for hours and hours.

So we packed. Damn, did we pack. One night in the woods for five people takes an unbelievable amount of stuff. And we had very graciously given Susan's dad our cartop Rocket Box for his month long visit to Florida (who knew we'd be camping in early May?!), so the car was stuffed.

This the way our van looked the morning we left. Two of the back seats are folded down. All this stuff for one night out......

Our destination was Macedonia Brook State Park in Kent, Connecticut. It's about 2 hours away in the Litchfield Hills, at the bottom of the wild (!) northwest of CT.

Camping with kids is kind of like running an ultra. It sounds like a great idea when you sign up. You look forward to all the great times you are going to have. You imagine the hikes, the swims, the idyllic children running wild in the great outdoors. The marshmallows, the hot dogs, the open fire, the birds singing merrily at dawn.

And then 8-hours in, you are tearing your hair out, because the kids are overstimulated and exhausted and out of their element. You have no place to put them; they have no Off Switch. You very much wish they had an Off Switch. It's kind of like that big hill in the middle of an ultra, when you're half way up and you're sure that you'll barf all of your gels if you take another step.

And then it's over. You survive the weekend, you finish the race, and already you are making plans for the next one. You remember the great times you had; you promptly forget the insanity. You just know that the next one will be perfect. And it is. It is.

So here are some pics from our trip. (You can click on them to see them bigger.) It was 90% great, 10% nutty. I think that's pretty good.

We hiked to the top of Cobble Mountain in the 90 degree heat. We are not used to that kind of heat yet. We were hot. Hot, hot hot!

Those are the Catskills behind Ben. Possible destination for our next trip!

Our campsite was right on the brook and we had the whole place to ourselves. No other campers around for a quarter mile. The kids swam and caught frogs. I was thanking my lucky stars all weekend for my last-minute decision to toss in the swimsuits. This water is cold! And full of trout. I took a furtive naked plunge after my run Sunday morning and my skin tingled for hours.

We went back up Cobble Mountain by a different route Sunday morning. We went straight up a cliff face. It was very cool. I want to come back here with my running buddies for a long trail run this spring. There is a great 7-mile loop with lots of climbs and descents. Anyone up for some loops? Anyone?

What are they looking at? Do you see a yellow frog here? How did they find that frog??

And up we went. This bit was really fun.

I did manage to get in about an hour and an half of running. Just enough to whet my appetite for more. I definitely want to come back here.

Wapack next weekend! I am thoroughly psyched to run all day. The only scary part is getting there. I hate staying in motels or camping by myself the night before a race. I never sleep. The race is just over 2 hours away, and it starts at 5 a.m. The best solution for me: wake up ridiculously early in my own bed and drive up the morning of the race. This feels like the coziest plan. And that's what I'm going to do.

Here's to standing at the starting line! It's all downhill from there.......

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