16 January 2011

training-trail run

6 Time
of Day
7:00 AM
Distance 11.5 miles Power  
Time Total – 1:50
Speed Overall – 9:34 min/mile
Breakfast 5:00 AM - PowerBar
5:45 AM - PowerBar
Lunch 10:00 AM – lots of macaroni & cheese, ice tea, water, yogurt, jam
1:00 PM – 2 pieces bread, cheese
Workout Food 6:45 AM - 5-Hour Energy
bottle w/2 scoops Sustained Energy
Workout Type  
Weather low 50s, damp
Course Cougar Mt
Equipment Brooks Cascadia, headlamp
Clothing Under Armour briefs, Under Armour tights, Craft short sleeve undershirt, long sleeve active t, cap

Tired? Check. Too much alcohol last night? Check. Kinda sore? Check. Not enough food in my stomach for two plus hours in the woods? Check. Going for the longest run since recovering from my injury with three guys who are all much faster and fitter than me? Check. Sounds like a perfect SUC+ day just waiting to happen.

ASIDE – I had received this 5-Hour Energy drink (in my Seattle Marathon schwag bag I think?) and it was sitting on my desk at work for ages. I finally took it home where it sat for another few weeks and I figured today was as good as any to bust it out. Did it help? I don't think so. At least it did not hurt.

I met Justin A, Mike A and Bill H at the trail head and it was pouring rain. Yet when I checked the forecast it said only a 20% chance; what gives? Turns out I was slightly overdressed but I was perhaps hoping my tights would give me some rudimentary compression or something... at least I was not uncomfortably warm.

We started out at a nice, mellow pace and soon the conversation turned to the word of the day. Today it was 'swollen'. As in:

  • Dude, I can see you swelling up right now...
  • I totally swelled on that last hill.
  • Did you see [insert name of uber fast runner here] results in [insert name of killer ultra event here]? One word: SWOLLEN.
  • Yeah, that's a pretty swell run.

We also debated the pros and cons of various headlamps, various 'supplement' regimes, the changing running fashions, how to guarantee you never recover from an injury, getting a massage from another man, the potential benefits of losing toenails and discussed each of our alternate personalities. Turns out we each have one, kinda like Oprah Winfrey. Or her guests. Mine was something like "fag in tights" but I might have misheard that... With all the rain falling and the slop slop of our feet on the trail it was not so clear. Regardless, these runs are really educational!

I tried not to look at my watch since Justin had told me he was hoping for about 12-14 miles which he predicted would take us roughly 2:15 or so. Tacking on 45 minutes to my run last weekend seemed a bit ambitious so I waited and waited and waited... Then I looked. 58 minutes gone. Not so bad. Of course this is about when I start to feel it and sure enough I went through a small bad patch. In retrospect I should have been happy to feel this way because shortly thereafter we took a right up a wall!

I was behind Bill before we started up and he mumbled something about running the whole thing and it did not even click in my state of exhaustion. By the first switchback it clicked and by the second switchback I was power hiking to save my life. In no time at all Justin was right behind me and then Bill sees me from above and yells at me to quit walking. Nice. I almost made it but another rise forced me to walk again. Rats. Shortly after this bit I was told what my alternate personality was...

The trail was WET. After a while you don't really care if you plow straight through a puddle or not but footing is still a concern. When the water is clear you know there is just gravel under it but when it's all cloudy you know it's going to be slop and leaves and who knows what. I'm sure glad it was warm out. It was a huge contrast to last week when the snow and temperature made for perfect traction.

Bill had been joking about doing two minute surges all damn day. With about one mile to go Justin twisted the throttle just a little and squirted past me.

ANOTHER ASIDE – in cycling one of my strategies is get on the front when climbing a hill, etc. as people don't always come around you. Plus, drafting is more of a concern when you are going 20 mph as opposed to 7 or 8. This strategy did not work so hot today.

As Justin passed me Bill went with him and yelled back at me, "You're not going to let a guy who ran 40 miles yesterday beat you are you?" Yes I am Bill, yes I am.

On the bright side it gave Mike and I about five minutes to chat and discuss the finer points of pace on a run with faster people. We both agreed that the best strategy is probably to hang back about 20 yards. If you run from the front the faster guys will be right on your heels and might go by at any moment. And if you run right behind a fast person they will continually up the pace from the perceived pressure. In a nutshell, slow guys can't win. Misery loves company and we got along famously.

When I got to the bridge/finish line I felt pretty darn good! I had NO soreness, my feet were in good shape even though they had been soaking wet for the last two hours and my clothing choice although not ideal had served me fairly well. And I had drained my bottle so obviously that had worked well too.

I gotta say – when you don't get hurt trail running is f'n great. Its like hiking on steroids. To be able to run up a steep hill that would have seemed impossible to me three or even two years ago or cover a distance in a morning that most other people would not even consider walking all day is pretty damn cool. And having this bunch of guys to run with is also pretty damn cool.

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