This morning I ran an out and back on the Wildwood Trail over in Forest Park. I didn't really know the mileage for the route I was planning, but I didn't care. I wanted to focus on time on my feet, rather than on completing a particular mileage or running a specific pace. My goal was to run for 3 hours and, considering my route, I thought that might be about 15 miles, more or less. Since my run would be uphill going out, I didn't necessarily want to turn around at 1-1/2 hours. So I took a guess and picked a landmark where it made sense to turn around. I could always adjust if I got there way ahead of schedule or vice versa.
I got to the trailhead at 6:45 am. Mine was the first car in the parking lot. The first section was uphill and I walked a lot. That's okay. I wasn't feeling 100 percent. Yesterday I did some strength training for the first time in about 5 weeks. I woke up this morning with a literal pain in the butt from all those squats and lunges the day before. That'll teach me to lay off strength training again for so long! On the trail I only saw a few people the first hour. Despite the clear morning, in the dense forest there were sections that still seemed dark, as if it were just dawn. After about 45 minutes I was glad to get to the top of the ridge so I could run more consistently.
I hit the turnaround at 1:37 into the run. On the way back I was meeting up with more and more people. Mainly runners, but also some hikers and walkers that had come in from some of the spur trails and fireroads. I passed three women who were stopped on the trail. They all wore hydration packs and I suspected they were ultrarunners. A few minutes later they caught up to me and passed me. This happened a few times and we'd smile and laugh about meeting up again. I overheard them talking about SOB (Siskiyou Out and Back) and I was more confident that they were ultrarunners. But when I passed them for the last time and discovered them squatting to pee at the side of the trail, I knew for sure they were ultrarunners! I was hoping that their run would end at my trailhead, but they must have taken another spur, so I didn't see them again. I would have liked to chat them up about their running, etc.
My run ended in 3 hours 11 minutes. When I got home I added up the mileage and it was 15.12 miles. Not bad estimating, if I do say so myself! I would like to try a back to back this weekend. I've never done more than 5 miles or so on the day after a long run. So I'm going to try for 10 tomorrow.
Some of my trail running essentials:
My beloved, discontinued Montrail Leona Divide's. Fortunately I have a brand new pair waiting in the wings. But what am I going to do when those are shot too??
My 2-litre Kelty Pulse. I also have a 128oz Gregory RPM. I tried out Carb Boom on this run. The verdict: Apple Cinnamon....yum. Chocolate Cherry...yuck. I prefer HammerGel or GU. I've yet to try Crank E-gel.
My good karma bandana. It was given to me by the kind, unknown hiker after I gashed my head on the Eagle Creek trail. I've taken it with me on every trail run since. Accompanying the good karma bandana is my first aid kit, which was purchased not long after the above mentioned head gashing. Gotta be prepared out there!
And last but not least, Crocs for the car ride home!