Ewing-Hopewell Death March – The Todd Ridge Variation: 10.17 Miles

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Friday night’s pre-run nutrition consisted of four bottles of the incomparable Troegs Perpetual IPA, two heapin’ helpings of Polenta Vegetable Bake, a few slices of Italian bread, and maybe 1/3 cup of ice cream.  How the fuck is it that I weigh 225 pounds, despite all this exercise?  Jeez, I really have no idea!  Anyway, I’d truly planned on skipping/curtailing the happy hour indulgences the night before this long run, but we wound up having dinner guests who really do enjoy the drink.  And I like good beer.  Breakfast was a peanut butter sandwich, banana, cup of coffee, and a half-liter of water, one hour prior to takeoff.  For the road, I strapped on my Nathan belt with 8 oz. or water and a pack of Clif Shot Blocks, which I would devour fiendishly at the six-mile mark.

Chugging down Jacobs Creek Road as often as I do, I would always pass Todd Ridge Drive with a sense of dread, knowing full well that I would someday have tackle this sumbitch.  Well, today was the day.  From a distance, Todd Ridge looks to start with about a 300’ climb, in one tenth of a mile…because it needs to be that high, for its residents to be able to look down their noses at the surrounding area from their billion-dollar McMansions.  Oh, I kid.  I’m sure they are all very nice people.

In reality, it is a mere 6% grade over a quarter mile, but I am a fat slob who can barely crank out ten-minute miles, so this was by far the absolute least enjoyable three minutes of my entire morning.  And I was not by a damn sight finished by the time I wheezed my way to the summit of Todd Ridge, I would learn.  No, the entire one-mile loop through this neighborhood is a series of steep-ish, rolling hills.  Exiting this ‘hood, Tanglewood Drive provides a severe enough downhill that one should check one’s self before one wrecks one’s self.

Hopewell being Hopewell, I’m a little bit surprised that there is no Township ordinance or neighborhood covenant that prohibits non-residents (especially Ewingites such as myself) from using the streets of its residential neighborhoods (especially the mansion-y ones) for fitness purposes.  But, no; to the best of my knowledge, this activity is perfectly legal.  So, the next time you’re running Jacobs Creek and want to shake things up a bit, the Todd Ridge neighborhood may be just what the doctor ordered.  You will curse the day you were born while you’re in the thick of it, but you will thank yourself when you’re finished.

The Todd Ridge Variation really did a number on the rest of my run.  The legs had pretty much turned to mush by the time I finished the Scotch Road leg of this journey.  Making the left turn from Nursery to Bear Tavern Road, about 1.5 miles from the finish line, I stepped around a sizeable puddle left from last night’s rains.  I seriously considered dropping to my knees to drink from it.

This being only the seventh time I’d run ten miles or greater, my body reacted accordingly.  My breathing returned to normal almost immediately, but the hips and calves were on fire, soon to be followed by…well, pretty much everything.  It seems that when I exceed 8 miles, many other muscle groups join in the chorus of fatigue-induced whining.  Getting out of bed on Sunday was a chore.  And I keep telling myself that ten miles is (far) less than “halfway there.”  I should probably stop telling myself that.

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