Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things Can Change a lot in a Month

The last time I ran the Ice Age trail (Glacial 50M area) was a month ago.  With the taper and recovery for Grandma's Marathon - It just did not fit into my schedule.  I feel like I lost a lot of training for Leadville for that silly marathon.

Yesterday I took 1/2 day of vacation to get a nice long trail run.  Temps were in the upper 70s, high humidity, with a good chance of strong storms.  I was a pack mule:  Camel back, handheld water bottle, 5 baggies of Endurox, 14 gels, handheld flashlight, a baggie of s-caps, cell phone and TP.

The 1st few hours I took my time and looked around at how the trail had changed.  I did not have a plan, I just wanted to enjoy a long run.  The trail is 80-90% dirt trail through thick trees (nice and shady), the rest is through fields of grass.  Immediately the horseflies were on me and they did a relay with all their horsefly friends to keep me company all day.

Immediately I was struck by how high the grass had become in the meadows.  I could just make out the line of the trail with shoulder to head high grass.  It grabbed my feet as I went along, hiding the rocks and undulation of the trail.  I think it would have made a great picture, a little head riding along the grass tops.  At one point a turkey picked up out of the grass about 5 feet away from me - followed by 6 or 7 babies.  I really did not know they could fly that young.
Butler Lake has a hand pump that I have run past 10 time and never thought of using.  I was looking to mix some Endurox, so I thought I would give it a try - What a treat.  After pumping for 3 minutes to clear the line, I found cold and great tasting water. 
I ran down to the Parnell Tower parking lot to refill my camelback - It is really nice that the trail has so many drinkable water sources - If you know where to find them!  I continued northward, but decided to turn around at 3 and 1/2 hours - That should get me done right at dark.    Around 4 hours, I started to feel really good.  I might have not been moving faster, but motion had become effortless.  I stopped at Greenbush group camp for more water ... rusty but cold.

My focus the rest of the way back was to run the best lines down the hills ... no matter where the rocks or roots.  With each hour the run just kept getting better.  I am learning the less I try to avoid rocks and roots (Doing the dance) the easier going fast down hills and the less I roll my ankle or hurt my feet and knees.

Before I knew it I was back at Butler Lake with a little over 7 miles to go.  I usually walk up the steeper hills, but I was feeling good and running almost everything.  5 miles to go the sky became angry, dark and rumbling like a good storm was coming.  As it started to rain lightly the horseflies intensified, looking for a snack before the storm.  It was dark enough that I really had to focus on the trail to see the rocks and roots.

I put the pedal to the floor, I really do not like being in the woods when the flashy stuff or hail comes.  I am sure I slapped my head 100s of times trying to kill the swarming pests. 

In the end the storm past without unleashing its fury and I made it back to the truck just before I needed to get my light out.  4 packs of Endurox = 1,200 calories, 10 gels = 1,100 calories, 15 s-caps, 3 potassium pills and 250+ ounces of liquid.

3:30 out
3:16 back in

41 miles - Man was that fun!

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