[This part of the post was written before I left my house.]
I got a little more sleep last night but not much. My body seems destined to get what it wants.
Last 'big' run today before Chuckanut, just trying to stay in the rhythm and not go too hard or anything. Still, 14 miles (which is what is on the agenda) has been kinda hard for me of late so it will be a solid day.
I really wanted to try my old trail shoes today so I did. The Hoka Combo XTs sure have the cushion but not the traction or the road feel. Part of what I like about trail running is feeling the surface and I found myself wanting that today.
[This part of the post was written after my run.]
FUCKING YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.
Today was a huge confidence booster which was just what I needed prior to this impulsive, stupid thing that I will be going next Saturday. I have been hating life on the trail (and road) of late and after today I think I know why. Every long or hard run I have done this last month or so has been the day after a scorching cycling workout so it's no wonder that I have felt dead/slow. Yesterday I finally rained it in while on the trainer (thanks to Ryan D's advice) and it paid off big today. For a change I scorched the run. Nice. And by 'nice' I of course man NICE.
I met Brian and Justin A at the Red Town trailhead (they had run three miles up to here from Coal Creek Parkway) and we headed out. Right away I was breathing super hard - I always think people can hear me from miles away - but my legs were feeling good. I had misjudged the time it takes to drive here so had to lead foot it the last bit and I was still a couple of minutes late. :( This means Justin and Brian had to stand around in the rain for those couple of minutes. Not good. I jumped out of the car, threw may jacket in the car, grabbed my bottle and was running within about 60 seconds of shutting off the engine. Warm up? Stretching? Maybe some other time.
As usual these Cougar runs start with a bit of climbing so it was up, up, up which did little for my breathing. Once the trail leveled off some I got back under control and things were looking up. Justin was in the front and he usually sets a very sane pace for which I was very grateful today. He even asked me how I was feeling once and I was able to say - honestly - that I felt fine.
After the climbing and some flat we started what seemed like a big descent down the Bear Ridge Trail. It was really beautiful out here with big ferns right next to the trail and good footing. There were even some fun switchbacks and steps that were a pleasure to run down today in my Brooks Cascadia shoes. After we had been descending a while I casually asked Justin where we were going after this and he said, "Right back up." Oops.
Sure enough, at the bottom we hit 900 and stopped just long enough for me to open a gel but not long enough for me to squirt all of it into my mouth and already Brian and Justin were heading back up.
At this point I was mentally prepared to get dropped. Especially since this is what has happened the last few trail runs I have been on. But I figured I would hang in as long as I could. 15 minutes later I was still right behind Brian and although pretty pegged, I was not off the back yet. Yes.
Thank goodness the pace did not increase because near the top came all those 'fun' steps and switchbacks. I had to dig a bit here but the feeling was good! I was on one of those days where you can go hard and not blow up. Kind of like when you are cycling and can shift to the big ring instead of calling 911 after cresting a climb. I was actually able to recover any time the slope eased.
I'm not sure when it happened but after a bit I noticed that our pace had been building. For sure we were speeding up and for once it felt okay. A few miles from the end I had to stop for a minute to remove a rock from my shoe and the interruption almost killed me but after I was running for a few minutes I was right back on my game; I was almost feeling frisky!
Of course as soon as I started entertaining thoughts of ramping up the pace myself, Justin beat me to it. With about three miles to go our speed was fast. With about two miles to go we were hauling ass! For once I was really running on the trails and not just jogging. That last mile I was going as fast as I could and you know what? I was not blowing up! Every little rise was a challenge to hang with these guys as I had to sprint up the hills AND keep the pace on for the descents after just to stay with. But I was doing it. Whew.
As we hit the bridge just before the parking lot and finally slowed to a walk I had a huge smile plastered on my face. I also had a shit load of mud plastered on my legs! Funny how different runners collect different amounts of dirt… I was the muddiest by far, Justin was somewhat less muddy and Brian looked like he had maybe accidentally stepped in a puddle or two. What gives?
And my feet/ankles/knees felt fine running in my Cascadias! What a relief.
Another revelation - I ran ALL of the course today and never had to walk once. I think that is actually a first for me. In fact, I only stopped four times total today; twice to pee, once to get my gel and once to take my shoe off.
I was buzzing the rest of the day.
|4:30 AM - Smoothie 2.0
8:00 AM - half a PowerBar, bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 1 scoop HEED
|bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 1 scoop HEED, gel
|Time of Day
|endurance with pace at the end
|mid 40s, rain
|I was told this loop was more like 14 miles…
|In which case our pace was more like 8:55.
|shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, Patagonia long sleeve shirt, Patagonia gloves