I wanted 2012 to be about more trail running and I'm working hard at keeping to that goal. Out of necessity my mid-week runs need to be on the roads. But I have every intention of getting to the trails each and every weekend if at all possible.
Some of my recent trail running adventures include:
Tuesday, February 21st
I did manage to get in a trail run on this mid-week day. I took the day off because it just so happened to be our 25th wedding anniversary. And doesn't every couple celebrate their anniversary by going on a trail run? After coffee at one of our old haunts, we parked at Pittock Mansion and ran to the zoo and back for just under 8 miles. We had so much fun. We don't usually celebrate our anniversary (and didn't even exchange gifts or cards for this one), but I can say that this was one of the best days ever.
Saturday February 25
At the end of this month I'm crewing my friends Desiree and Jeff as they take on the Badger Mountain Challenge 100. They planned a night time trail run in Forest Park and asked me if I wanted to join in. Yes! I've done plenty of night and darkness running where I've had ambient light and didn't need a head or flashlight. But I've done little night running on trails where I needed a light. Since I know I'll be in the dark for a good 2 hours at Waldo I definitely wanted the practice. Plus it sounded like a lot of fun.
We (Desiree, Jeff and other friends Sarah and Adam) got started at about 10:30 pm from the Thurman gate of Leif Erickson trail/road. Our plan was to head up to Wildwood via Wild Cherry to the zoo and back for a first loop of about 17.5 miles. After that, more friends would join and Sarah and Adam would likely call it a night. I was waiting to see how I felt before deciding to stop or go out for a second loop. I was the slowest of the group and most tentative in the dark so I was quickly at the back of the pack. With recent rains the trail was really muddy. After trying to keep up I finally settled a bit behind the group and was sometimes as far as a tenth of a mile back. Having been a little anxious about the dark, I surprisingly felt in total peace and harmony alone in the night time forest. Knowing the trail and where I was helped. But it was still a happy revelation to me and gave me the confidence to commit and register for Waldo when it opened the next week on March 1.
It was a wild night with snow and sleet up by Pittock Mansion. At the zoo we were supposed to meet Mike but he wasn't there. It was so windy and cold at the zoo we didn't want to linger. Somehow he had missed us in the winding trails of the arboretum and was back by Burnside. As soon as we discovered that we quickly headed back the way we came. I felt pretty good, but the slip sliding in the mud was pulling on my left adductor just a bit. So I decided to call it a night after just one loop. Jeff and Desiree went out for another loop for a total of 33 hours.
Saturday March 3
I've been running in Forest Park since 2006 and have been on every section of Wildwood trail numerous times. But I've yet to run the full length of Wildwood in one shot. So when my friend Teri invited me to join her to run the full trail I jumped at the chance. After taking most of January off from running, I spent February doing a pretty quick ramp so I was a little nervous about completing 30 miles. I needn't have worried. Despite the mud, that was one of the easiest and most enjoyable (almost) 50k's I've completed. Teri and I had a great time chatting and the miles just flew by. We walked some hills but ran some too. The weather was perfect - no rain and in the high 40's or 50 the whole time. We originally thought it would take us at least 7 hours and I though maybe even 8. But we finished in 6:37, which included about 3 breaks.
Recovery went very well too. The next day my muscles weren't sore, but my feet were a little achy. I had 50+ miles for the week and didn't feel the need to push too much so opted for an enjoyable 4 mile coffee walk instead of a recovery run.
So I'm very pleased with my ability lately to get out on the trails. Despite that my upcoming race on St. Patrick's Day, the Pacific Rim One Day, is more of a road run. I guess you could call it a gravel run. I'm going in to this race with a very casual attitude. Aside from hitting 50k, I have no goals. It's just part of my Feb, March, April base building. I want to get in some miles, have fun and see all my friends.