Feeling rather unprepared for Javelina, and dreading another dull thirty/forty-something mile run on my own, I jumped on the chance to do the Blue Cruise 50k with Iliana. "It's just a training run," we said, but one where there would be other runners, new terrain, snacks (making it easier for us to carry less), water along the route, and the potential for many exciting things to happen (you know, faceplants, eating periogies while running, talking about underwear, getting stabbed with thorn bushes...).
The course sounded easier online than it was in person - there were some gentle rolling hills, but there were a bunch of steeper climbs that we walked up AND down. There was no grilled cheese served along route (Hey, part of the reason I jumped on the race!) and the lack of filling vegetarian food at the finish was as usual, appalling. However, we still had a blast.
The course had was out-and-back, so that provided some entertainment when the first runners turned around. However, the single track (Oh, how lovely! Most of the course WAS single-track!) proved difficult to allow two runners to pass at the same time. Luckily, Iliana and I weren't in a rush so we let people go by us.
I pushed Iliana a bit more on the hills than she would have liked, but our conversation pushed me along. At one point, two men said, "We're sticking with you! The pace is good and we LOVE the conversation." We talked about great running underwear (Patagonia Active Boy Shorts, I love you!), nice drug dealers, love, sex, the impossibility of online dating, ultrarunning, races, chafing, New York City, museums, baked goods, delicious food, driving, men, women, work dynamics, weather, pretty much everything you could possibly talk about. It kept us going.
In ultrarunning, you need to do these long runs. We didn't go as fast as we would have if we were racing, but we went faster than if we had run on our own. Sometimes, seeing someone else ahead, or hearing the heavy breath of someone close behind is enough to push you to run a little bit faster.
In the end, what did we have? A great time. Finishers' hats. Scrapes from thorn bushes. Dirt and cuts on the legs. Sweat. A sleepy drive back to NYC. And another fun 50k run under our belts.