Saturday, July 19: A whopping 6:42 in the Trayfoot Trail area with my buddies Sophie, Tom, Gary, Q, Deb, John, Jill, Dave and Marc. Great group. Great fun. I met them on the trail from the Grottoes side, which means a steep climb up Furnace Mountain, then down, then back up and onto the Trayfoot Loop, then back on the Skyline Drive and down Brown Gap Road. Smokin' hot, terrific chance to slow down and manage the pace, way encouraged that I was able to do just that and still have enough energy left to mow my yard.
Sunday, July 20: A pleasant 5:00 out at Wild Oak, climbing Hankey and descending to the fire service road at the base of Big Bald, then rolling back 8.2 miles on the road, then drinking beer for 2-plus hours while the real studs (and studdettes Sophie and Marty) finished the entire monster loop.
Saturday, July 26: A steamy, rocky, up-and-down 7:06 at Catherine's Big Butt 50km. Wow. Stayed pretty steady, climbed well and then fell apart a little bit in the final hour. Still, another brick in the wall in prep for Hinson Lake 24-Hour Sept. 27-28.
Speaking of Hinson Lake, working up from the ill-fated DNF at Old Dominion, I have put in at least one 4-hour effort in six of eight weeks. And, after a little break this week, I'm going in a bit late on Tuesday mornings each week in hopes of continuing the 4-hour string at least one day a week. That mimics my prep for The killer Massanutten Ring event back in 2005, one of my best ultra efforts.
Extra stuff: Reffed six varsity girls' hoops games (two Fri, four Sun) during the July 26 weekend, and have continued push-ups, pull-ups, yoga, Pilates and trying to eat more. Have reffed a total of 26 high school games this summer at various area college camps. Wonderful, wonderful cross training.
Should be interesting to see how this 4-plus-hour thing plays out. So far, so good.