So, last week I took it pretty easy. Only two runs to be exact, one 5 miler and a 13 miler. Wild and crazy, I know. I had planned an 8 miler for Thursday but that day I woke up and felt like I'd been hit by the sleep truck. I decided that I needed to spend the day taking it easy and skipped my run. I took the next day off because I don't like to run the day before a long run, even if it was a "short" long run. I'll admit the morning of my long run I just wasn't feeling it mentally. Physically I felt great but wasn't feeling like running 13 miles. I got it done and was glad to be done with my running for the week.
After a week of not feeling the run I was anticipating a possible crappy week of running again. I have to report that this past week of running rocked my stripey socks! Monday was 5 miles of bliss. Cooler temperatures and an easier route allowed for speedy running, averaging my best trail pace in a long time. Tuesday was warmer than I had expected but wasn't horribly hot. It wasn't a stellar 8 miles but nothing to complain about either. Thursday was nice and effortless feeling. Not that I went fast but, at the end of 5 miles, including more than a mile climbing to the top of a mountain, I felt like I hadn't run at all.
Wow, my body felt great the whole week and I still had my long run to go. This week was another recovery week. My long run plan was for 13. I decided to meet up with a trail running group west of here, just under 2 hours. The plan was to run the Kitsuma trail as a time trial. Everyone starts their watch at the same spot and takes a halfway time at the same spot before heading back to finish up. We all stated what we thought we could run it in. Having little knowledge of the trail other than the elevation map. I declared my time goal of 1:45:45. I also planned on doing the time trial then follow it up with 3 easy miles to make my 13 for the day.
I was pretty excited when I got there this morning. We introduced ourselves and went on our quests to make our predicted times. The trail head had a trail closed for maintence sign but we decided to go anyway since it was a mountain bike trail and maybe it just wasn't suitable for bikes. One of the guys ran it just last week and it was fine.
As I headed up the mountain I glanced at my watch around half a mile and had already been going for over 8 minutes, crap! I know I'm not good at ascents. I'm working on my power hiking skills, something I truly don't like doing. I ran what little I could and walked when I had to, which was quite often. Halfway through the first mile I started noticing parts of the trail were turned up where they were working on it, not too bad, definitely tolerable. As the climbing went on the dirt became more churned up, lots of exposed and broken roots to be mindful of. It felt like running up hill in a really messy sand box, talk about lack of traction and no help propelling yourself up the hill. I made it to the top of the mountain and got a short break as I ran down to the parking area on the other side of the mountain. I took my split 4.5 miles with a time of 1:04:45. Crap! No way I will make my time unless I can find it in me to motor up the hills.
I turned back around and headed back towards the summit with as much vigor as I could muster. I tried to do as much hill running as I could and walked as briskly as I could in a sand box on the side of a hill. It was less than 2 miles to the summit which was a relief because it was mostly downhill from there. The churned up dirt made for nice cushioning as I blasted down the mountain. I'm a downhill machine. Nothing better than saying a prayer and letting go as you run down a torn up trail with little room for error, just a small tree here and there to separate you from the steep drop down the mountain. Arms flailing and dirt flying I managed to finish my run in 1:55:39, almost 10 minutes over my predicted time, and an awesome negative split for the way back. (my slowest mile was 16:04 and fastest was 9:07)
A dip in the stream as an ice bath and to clean the dirt from my legs was a perfect treat after such a leg beater of a run. I decided not to add the extra 3 miles because in less than 10 miles I had put in a 13 mile effort. Everyone brought food and we had a potluck cookout afterwards. I had a great time meeting everyone and eating some great grub!
I have to say this has been my best week of running ever! If I ever top this week I'll be pleasantly surprised and if I do I'm going to guess it will be awhile before I do. This week has been full of running high, both figuratively and literally! I hope everyone else has had a great week as well!