And… here we go.
For the third weekend in a row Martin tries to run long. Two weeks ago it was my first time on the 'Cottage Cheese' Tiger Mt loop, last week it was a run on Cougar Mt and today I'm back on Tiger. So far these longer outings have not been easy. I seem to do fine for 10, even 15 miles but then anything longer is a chore. How do you make longer runs easier? You do more of them. Shit… I should be a coach.
Sound the charge.
Today we switched back to Standard time so in theory you can grab an extra hour of sleep. Not me. I woke at the usual crack of insanity.
I met Justin A and we headed over to Issaquah. It was cold! Like upper 20s at home and probably no more than 30 where we parked so I started out with more clothing than I have worn on any run this year.
Justin was coming down with a cold so warned me that the pace would be mellow and that was fine with me as I wanted to finally feel better for those last five miles. Still, it's funny how your mind plays tricks on you and the pace for the first 2-3 miles seemed very, very leisurely. In hindsight it was probably exactly the same as the last time we were here.
The first half of this route is basically up. It starts with perhaps .5 miles of steep, levels off for maybe .5 miles and then starts to climb again. Other than the occasional flat bit and one descent that is maybe .5 miles long it is up, up,up all the way to the top. Two weeks ago I had to
power hike walk quite a bit of this climb but today I kept churning away until I was pretty close to the summit. The last stretch is on a gravel road that tilts up at an alarming angle and here I did have to walk. At the top I proclaimed how I felt this easier pace had allowed me to run more and Justin calmly informed me that we were two minutes faster than last time. So much for my sense of pace.
After a gel, a drink and soaking in the views (they were amazing today!) we headed down.
Oh man was the trail in great shape. Dry but not dusty, soft but not wet, covered in a thin layer of pine needles but the traction was fantastic. Idyllic really. I recall remarking that descending when running on this kind of surface was almost as good as descending on bike. And at the time I meant it too.
And I still felt great! Two weeks ago I was starting to feel the effects after just 10 miles and today I had no issues. Until we encountered the trip wire that is.
I was perhaps two strides behind Justin when he stuck his foot under a thin, twine-like root that was suspended about 6" above the surface of the trail and down he went. I was about to laugh but my momentum was such that I stuck my foot under the exact same root and practically fell on top of him. Luckily the ground was exceptionally soft here and after brushing off the pine needles there was no evidence of us having taken a digger. I like that.
Down, down, down we went and 15 miles in where I had a bad patch last time I was tired but not nearly as defeated and never had to walk. There was even one short climb that Justin ran last time and I had to walk and this time I ran it! Slowly for sure but I did not have to stop. Yes. That was a highlight for me.
Fast forward to the last descent on a wide trail with bigish, round stones on it. We had encountered our fare share of hikers today and just as we were coming up to another I lost my footing and hit the deck. This time it hurt.
Of course I managed to impact my left knee so now both legs were crippled. Thank goodness I fell on the opposite knee that I injured yesterday.
I was a bit slow in getting up but after walking a few feet I was able to jog and then finally run again.
Other than the fall this section of the descent is kinda cool. The surface makes you concentrate and if you are efficient you can really stay off the brakes and fly. I'm learning that you have a huge advantage if you can descend efficiently and not hammer your quads.
At the bottom where you exit the forest is a concrete path that is just over .5 miles long back to the car. Oh how I hate concrete… I bet for many people it feels fast but to me it just feels harsh. Suddenly I was able to tell how beat my legs were. Still, I tried to pick up the pace just a little to simulate the end of a race. Ouch.
I felt a LOT better today than two weeks ago. The climb was much more manageable, I think my pace was more consistent and I never experienced the dreaded 'bad patch'. For sure I was tired and had to dig some as we hit little rises on the 'descent' but no crisis. That felt good. It's fascinating to me that we were just three minutes faster yet it felt so different. It's also fascinating to me that just three minutes means 10 seconds per mile in terms of pace over the course of three hours. Obviously little adjustments in pace can pay huge dividends regardless of whether you are trying to conserve or speed up. Knowledge is good.
My clothing selection turned out to be a bit much. After just a couple of miles I could have shed one long sleeve layer as I would not have missed it. And I ran the last mile with my hat in my hand.
|Breakfast||5:00 AM - 3 pancakes w/protein powder, apple sauce, banana, 2 scoops Perpetuem in a glass of water|
|Workout Food||small bottle w/1 tablet Cola Nuun and 1 scoop HEED, 2 gels|
|Time of Day||8:00 AM|
|Weather||low 30s to low 40s, dry, sunny, calm|
|Clothing||Under Armour underwear, Mountain Hardware tights, Craft long sleeve undershirt, long sleeve active T, thin Polypropylene gloves, knit hat|