Yesterday, Sharon and I headed out to Forest Park again for a 17 mile run. Don't get me wrong...I love, love, love Forest Park. But I'm looking forward to spring and summer when we can mix it up with some runs out in the Gorge. The nice thing is I'm starting to really feel like I know every nook and cranny of Wildwood, which really is an awesome trail.
The first few miles of the run were downhill. We started at the Birch trail, headed down Wildwood and then cut down Aspen to the road so we could cut around and head up Leif. There's a Q&A with Scott Jurek in the current March issue of Trailrunner magazine, where he gives some advice on improving downhill running. That is definitely one of my weak spots. I tend to brake and lean back on the downhills, which is exactly what I shouldn't be doing! And because I'm tensing my torso this is when I might get one of those knife stabbing side stitches I'm prone to get. So its really an area I need to work on. As we were running down the trail I tried to employ some of Scott's techniques (quick strides, lower your center of gravity, scan the trail ahead and pick a line) and I think it really made a difference! And I know running trails every weekend has boosted my confidence too.
We then headed six miles up Leif. About 3 miles up something strange happened. A women running towards us asked us, without stopping, if we had water. Since we were both carrying sports drink we answered no. Then about a quarter mile later we came towards a group of about 10 walkers. One of the men asked us if we had water. WTF? We again said we just had sports drink and he shook his head, no, that wouldn't do. We kept running and our quest for the next few miles was trying to figure out why they needed water. Were they thirsty? If so, why couldn't they have drunk sports drink? And did they expect us to give them all a drink? Was someone hurt? If so, why didn't they say so? I kind of wished I had asked since I do carry a small first aid kit with me on all my trail runs. I wondered if it were some sort of psychological experiment. Hmmm. I guess we'll never know. But it sure was odd.
We cut up Saltzman road and then headed back on Wildwood for 8.5 miles to our starting point. Final result was about 17 miles at an 11:55 mile pace. I feel pretty good about that. Next week will be our peak long run at about 22+ , followed by a taper weekend of something shorter and then the next weekend its the 50K at Hagg Lake. If the weather keeps up like it has been there won't be a lot of mud. But I'm sure we'll get plenty of rain before then to make it interesting.
This morning I'm waiting around for Marc to get back from a run so I can go out for 6-7 miles. You may have noticed that I put his race schedule on my sidebar. Yes, he is going to run a 50 miler this year too. And not just any 50 miler, but the Dick Collins Firetrails 50. That race holds special significance for me since it starts in my home town and goes through some of my old stomping grounds as a high school cross country runner. Marc is also planning on running the McKenzie River Trail Run, which I completed last year. I wanted to do it again this year since its held on my birthday, but the timing is good as a training run for Marc, so I'll sacrifice and let him run it instead. However, I'm really looking forward to crewing and cheering at both races.