A while back I invited/encouraged Phillip and Erik to join me on this trail run. I had so much fun last year that I wanted to do it again. This year I have done zero training for it and it is 1.18 miles longer. My main focus was to have run and enjoy being in nature.
The 54k started at 7:30am and there were about 50-60 runners. The next 30 minutes flew by and I was rushing to the water cooler to fill up my bottle during the countdown for the start of the 18k. I caught up with Phillip and ran with him for about the first mile. He was going to at a 10min pace and my goal was to stay between 12-13 min/mi and just finish (under 2.5 to 3 hours). I warmed up fast and took off my gloves and jacket within the second mile and it felt great.
I lost of sense of time and just focused on each step avoiding rock and roots as the trail winded up and down small rolling hills. Around mile 3 I saw a runner ahead of me fall down. She skinned her knee and torn a hole in her pants. I walked with her a bit until she felt ok. A little after this I got to one of my favorite views along the trail, running along a small cliff next to the beach overlooking the lake. I just smiled and enjoyed the view. Shortly after I took my first gel pack.
The first aid station was right at the end of mile 5. I stopped and had a delicious almond oatmeal bar and a cranberry. After about 1 minute I was back on the trail and feeling strong. The next two miles were very full of curves and hills. I started to power walk up the hills and run down. A little after mile 7 there were two photographer taking pictures. I stayed strong until mile 8 and began to lose endurance.
This was not my longest run since mid-September. "Just a 5k to go" I told myself. I walked briskly on all the inclines and ran down the hills trying to keep my average pace under 13 minutes (I guess I can't just relax and ignore my watch.) I did my best too keep up with a father and son just ahead of me. During one of the uphills the boy fell and cut his hand but he seemed to be ok. Once we got to the wide concrete I knew there was only half a mile left. I sped up to a sub 10min pace and finished strong and tired. As I crossed the finish line the race director, David, patted me on the back handed me a jar of honey that said, "Sweet You Finished!" I finished in 2:20:09.
As soon as I got back to the van I kicked off my shoes and headed for the food tent. I found Phillip and noticed a cut on his lip. He had tripped on a root and hit his face on a rock, ouch..
Bratwurst im Speckmantel at Gerhards in Denton.
I averaged about a min slower per mile than last year. Not bad considering I did not train, I weight more, and it was was a warmer day.
It was fun! This was my first long break from consistently running since the wedding. I am surprised how easy it is to get back in shape. I ran more miles last week than did in November.
Just for fun here is the chart from my spreadsheet showing daily, weekly, and monthly mileage. I ran more miles in one week in the middle of September than October and November combined.
It only takes one good run to make it fun again.
The key to success for me was planning ahead and picking a race for every month.
Next month we have the Hotcake Hustle