Here it is, my last 'long' run prior to Martin's big, fat, fall running event. GO.
Can I just say that today was perhaps the most incredible fall day ever? The ground was dry, the leaves were freaking falling constantly while we were running and the trail was covered in a carpet of gold. So pretty.
I met Justin A at the Cougar Mountain Red Town trailhead and right away the pace felt quick. Not unbearable but it was hard for me to carry on a conversation for sure.
As we settled in I felt a little better but was constantly coming close to rolling my ankle as I was staring around at all the amazing scenery and not watching the darn trail. It was so cool. We would hit a clearing and you could see the leaves coming down like rain. If rain drops fell in a zigzag pattern that is. I got hit in the head several times by basketball-size leaves and in sections the trail was completely obscured. And because it was fairly dry out, the crunch of leaves underfoot was constant. AS the sun came up the red light started to infuse the forest and it was mind blowing. We actually stopped once just to enjoy the awesomeness. There were at least three times when I would shout something like, "OMG, look at all the color!" I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR.
After settling in I felt much better. We discussed route options and then before we decided we ran past the first intersection that would have allowed us to run for 14 miles so we opted for 12. When it came time to choose the hard hill or the slightly less hard hill I chose hard figuring this was the last training opportunity to do this. Plus the last time I went the hard way it demoralized me so you gotta rectify that.
We had been moving along at a pretty good clip for me and I was hoping to run this thing. I have only been this way once before and had to walk pretty much right away. I made it about 80% of the way up before I caved and was hiking. And then at the top I had to walk a tiny section of flat to just catch my breath! Oh well. Justin waited and soon I was up with him and we were cruising along. Huge improvement for me anyway.
I wanted to try and finish strong so made an effort to not slow down and perhaps even increase the pace. It was a chore but I was doing it until we got maybe .5 miles from the finish. I had been running up the hills to this point and suddenly on a slight rise I had to chop my stride and slow some. You know that feeling when you are close to the edge? Yeah, I was right there. But I did not blow up totally and kept rolling to the end and I am super happy with this time and pace. Especially since we had to stop three times for various reasons. Not bad at all.
For a while after we crested the 'wall' I was right behind Justin and he slowly turned on the gas. That was great as I was getting pulled along. It was this section where I was running hard even uphill.
I only had to walk one piece of trail! I think that is a new milestone for me out here as I usually am walking a couple of sections. I felt all pumped up after this run; I was buzzing most of the drive back home. Now I just need to back off the pace and keep it up for more than twice as long to finish the marathon. Ouch! Don't want to think about that right now…
|Breakfast||5:15 AM - banana, almond butter, apple sauce, water|
|Workout Food||just prior to start - gel|
run - small bottle w/1 tablet Cola Nuun and 1 scoop HEED
|Time of Day||6:30 AM|
|Weather||upper 40s, dry, partly cloudy, some wind at the end|
|Equipment||Brooks Cascadia, headlamp, hand-held bottle|
|Clothing||shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, long sleeve active T|