running (sand) 6:00:03  43.02 km (8:22 / km)
shoes: Merrill Bare Access XTR
Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass, COVID edition. Clint had done this a couple of times, once the whole 50K and once the 25K plus the shorter loop, and mentioned on his log that he might be interested in doing it again this year. The website said that you should do it with a buddy, so I mentioned that I had MLK Day off and it seemed interesting enough. So we decided to meet there around 7:30.
Off we go. Started out with LS/SS shirts and a running jacket, O pants, light gloves, and a cap. I had a belt with a 16 oz bottle. Started out on the short loop, into the wind, and that loop went pretty well. A brief pit stop and I grabbed an apple, and we started on the marsh trail in the back. The gloves had come off fairly early, and I also ditched the LS shirt at this point.
I had been imagining this to be all soft sand (oof), but it was a much more gravelly course than I expected. There were stretches of soft sand, and some firm sand, but a lot was pebbles that would be no fun barefoot, especially on the beach side. When we popped out at the east end, we were greeted with a pretty stiff headwind (had to be at least 10 knots, sometimes more), and I could see the building at the parking lot several miles away, but it was like a mortgage, for a very long time it feels like you're making no progress toward it. Quite a few pickup trucks drive on the beach, and at times the tire tracks provided the best running. As we approached the halfway point, I felt like I must be fading, because I was having trouble keeping up with Clint.
Up to the parking lot (once we negotiated the one big step that was tough with tired legs), and Clint said that he thought he'd had enough (that was why he was pushing at the end). I said that was fine, I didn't necessarily need to do the whole 50K event, since the 25K is also one of the categories. I sat down in the car and had half a PB&J and some cookies, along with some Coke, and Clint munched on some leftover fried chicken. It was such a nice day... and it would be great to take advantage of more of it... so I proposed an idea. We could head out on the long loop again, only as fast as we felt like going, maybe walking, and just do as much as was comfortable. There are four trails that cut across from the marsh side to the beach, and if we so desired we coud take one of them and see what the terrain looked like in the interior. So after a fifteen minute break, a change of socks for me and off we went.
Jogging felt okay, interspersed with bit of walking when the sand got soft. At some point Clint mentioned that if we did feel like doing the whole loop, that would put us right about at a marathon. I made one stop of a few minutes: nature was calling, and it occurred to me that I could do something other than scoot off into the dunes. Along the marsh trail there are about a dozen rustic beach cottages, boarded up for the winter. They have no utilities, so they have outhouses. I checked an outhouse, and it was open (the door was falling off), so that was more civilized, and I appreciated the people's unknowing hospitality. The time and the distance went by quite pleasantly with good company, so before long we were at the far end again, and turned back into the headwind after I ate a gel. It occurred to me later that it would have been more clever to do that loop in the opposite direction, to get a tailwind on the beach and then head west on the more sheltered back side.
We hit 42.2 km shortly before we got back to the car, and less than 100 m after I last looked at my watch, the battery gave out. I adjusted the time and distance to account for the last bit back to the parking lot by using Clint's track. I did better than usual in terms of taking in calories during the event, so that was good as well (and I was able to start eating more as soon as we finished). There were quite a few people out enjoying the very blustery but warm (46F at the end) day with a walk on the beach, but Clint and I were in a very small minority in that we were not wearing masks.
This place would, I think, make a fantastic orienteering venue. Unfortunately, I think the chances of that happening are pretty much zilch, because there are signs all over the place saying to keep off the dunes and that there's a $50 fine for going off trail.
When I was younger, I used to say that I wanted to stay in good enough shape that I could up and do a marathon on any day without any specific preparation, with no particular time expectation. Now that I'm pushing 60, I'm glad to know that I still can, even with funky conditions (weird surface and the headwind).