Saturday, July 15, 2006

Now that's more like it!

Short version

Ran about 4 hours (19 miles) on Wildwood in Forest Park this morning. After last Sunday's bonk, I was nervous. But everything still works and it was a good run. As my son would say, "Yeah, Baby!"

Long version

This morning, I met my friend Janet at the beginning of Wildwood trail in Washington Park. As some of you locals already know, Wildwood is a 30 mile trail with a lot of access points. I've never started from "zero" before and wanted to try something different. I run with Janet during the week and we've trained together for marathons. But she hasn't been running long on the weekends lately. She planned to turn back after about 3-4 miles and I was going to continue on for at least 8. Even for that short time, I was glad to have the company. I'm certainly able to run by myself for hours. But its been over a month since I've run any of my long runs with a partner. And I think I'm starting to get a bit lonely out there. Running the 50K with Marc is going to be a treat!

I woke early at 4:45 am so I'd have time to eat some cereal and digest before running. We started at about 6:30. The trail climbs gradually for about 1/2 mile and then rolls for a couple of miles. Janet turned around at about 3-3/4 miles. The first major milestone is Pittock Mansion, which is about 4 miles into the run. It's also the high point at about 900 feet. This seems to be the turnaround point for a lot of runners, resulting in a nice 8-ish mile run with a few hills but nothing too challenging. But right after you reach this crest, the trail drops more steeply, by about 700 feet within 1-1/2 miles. With my legs still fresh it was nice running down the trail and I tried not to think about what it would be like running back up. At the bottom, the trail climbs again, but more gradually. I walked some of the steeper sections, but was able to run most of it. My general plan was to turn around where the Dogwood trail intersects at about 8-1/2 miles. But in the back of my mind, if I were still feeling good, I wanted to continue on and turn around when I'd been out for 2 hours. This turned out to be the case so I kept going after Dogwood. Just a bit before 2 hrs in, I saw the marker for 9-1/4 and thought it would be perfect to turn around at 9-1/2. However, I think the 9-1/2 marker is missing, so I guesstimated and turned around at 2 hrs 1 minute.

Running back was fairly easy until I hit the hill going back up to Pittock Mansion. The first third to half was runnable, but after that I had to hike up the rest of the way to the top. Back down the other side and I passed the spot where Janet had turned around. As I noticed the mile markers, I would remind myself how much better I felt at this point in the run than I did last week. I got back to the start in 3 hrs 58 minutes.

With the exception of a major margarita lapse on Thursday, I really paid attention to proper hydration this week. I think it made the difference. I decided to forgo gels and brought along Clif Bloks, Sports Beans and some low-fat potato chips. I ate 5 Bloks, none of the beans and a few of the chips. I had a funny sensation when eating the chips. At the time, I was by myself with tall trees all around. I took one bite and the crunching sound echoed inside my head. The sound was overwhelming! I couldn't tell if the echo was just for me or if everyone around for miles could hear the crunch reverberate through the forest. Strange.

I feel like I'm back in the saddle, so to speak. Nothing like a good run to bring you out of the doldrums! I want to run 31 miles this weekend, so that means tomorrow will be at least 12, time and place TBA. However, Marc is going to run in the morning so I get to sleep in.

Yeah Baby!


Kim said...

Wow, excellent run today!! Sounds like a really good time.
What brand gels do you use when you use them? I've tried a bunch and ClifShots seem to work best on my stomach.

olga said...

Yeah, baby! Too bad I didn't bump into you this morning - I did Maple loop and finished at 9M marker by 10:20. Love the Wildwood - it's all runnable and doesn't give excuses:) I plan to spend more time there next few months for more running (vs Gorge) and it's less driving too - good for the family!

jennifer said...

Congrats on a good run! A 30 mile trail- what a great way to get some variety.
I've been known to mess up my hydration with margaritas on occasion too...!

Ryan said...

Smashing baby yeah ;) I'm glad to see you got your mojo back! There's nothing better than putting the miles in the bank! So do you start your taper this week?

angie's pink fuzzy said...


this was an awesome post to read, I could "run along" with you, virtually anyway :)

Sarah said...

Kim...My favorites are GU and Hammergel. I've tried Clifshots and they are okay for me, but a bit too sweet. I don't like Carboom. I'd like to try Crank eGels (recommended by Olga and Angie).

I can only handle so many gels so I'm trying to branch out to other types of energy, such as the sports beans and the bloks. Pretzels and low-fat chips work for me too.

backofpack said...

Hey, nice run! 19 miles is awesome. I've heard Rob talk about running in Wildwood - I'd like to try it some day. Glad you are over your bonk!