I was listening to some old Lagwagon on Friday afternoon when suddenly I had the urge to text Boj to tell him this. Then it dawned on me that he might be coming to Rhody soon, and maybe he'd want to run. Sure enough, he was actually in his car travelling to RI at that moment. It was our destiny to meet up in Arcadia for another epic adventure.
He suggested the loop we ran in November with Greg and Justin, only this time in reverse. I was thinking of the exact same run. Rather than ending on 2.5 miles on dirt and paved roads, we would start with it, and get it over with. The entire loop is 24 miles, and encompasses Mt Tom, Escoheag, Breakheart, John B. Hudson, and Arcadia trails. Last time, Boj showed up completely unprepared, but I was pleased when he let me know he had eaten and hydrated well, and that he was bringing Gatorade and granola bars. I was unsure of what I wanted to carry with me, but after speaking with him, I thought that we would set up two aid stations for ourselves, and be able to run light. I stashed Gatorade and granola bars on top of Mt. Tom at the approximate 1/3rd mark, and Boj dropped of Powerade and bars at the entrance to the John B. Hudson trail at the 2/3rd mark. We were well prepared for an epic run.
We left the DEM Headquarters a little after 1PM. We took it nice and easy. I started to feel hot as we scaled the ledges of Mt. Tom. It seemed to be more humid than I expected, and the temperature was in the low 80's. I was a little concerned about the heat, so I kept the pace slow, and knew that we would have several streams to cool off in a few miles ahead. As we descended Mt. Tom and approached the Falls River, I couldn't wait to get wet. I was able to cool off by splashing water over my head and back. My shoes and running shorts got wet, but I didn't care. I felt completely rejuvenated. Boj said he was ready to push on, and we began the steady and at times steep climb up Penny Hill. I was climbing really well and felt fantastic. Boj was dropping back and was possibly overheating. I wasn't concerned since the weather wasn't that hot, and he has run in much worse conditions. We reached the next major stream crossing, and he took a long time trying to cool himself off. He was beginning to get annoyed with himself and didn't want to mess up the run. I was beginning to get concerned, but I thought if he could get to our next aid station on Rte 165, everything would be fine. We were about 3 or 4 miles away.
I kept thinking that it was mostly downhill - except for the hill right after the second stream crossing (Acid Factory Brook). Unfortunately, this hill was a lot longer and tougher than I remembered. I was still feeling great, but worried. Boj lagged behind on the hill, and didn't sound very optimistic. Things improved as we ran downhill to Breakheart Pond. We reached the northern end of the John B. Hudson Trail - 1.5 miles left to the aid station. Boj stopped running. He said he would die if he ran anymore. He told me to run ahead and get what I wanted out of the run. He apologized for messing it up for me. I was very worried. I wasn't sure what the proper procedure was in this scenario. I told him I would run the most direct route back to my car (5 miles away) and come back and pick him up. He would just need to walk or crawl 1.5 miles. As I ran away, horrible thoughts ran through my head, but I tried to not overreact. I didn't stop to drink, and ran at a good clip until the last half mile when my legs got tired. I reached my car after 2 hours and 32 minutes of running. I felt really good just about the entire time. I normally would have been really excited about this, but I was still worrying if Boj made it out of the woods. I drove to hopefully meet him.
I was so happy to see him standing by the road. He was in decent spirits. I was elated. So I ran 19 miles instead of 24, but at least Boj was alive. I guess we'll have to wait until next time he's in Rhody to complete the reverse loop.