Monday, November 17, 2008

trail run

I spent a perfect fall morning running on the greenbelt on Saturday. Im going to attempt an organized trail run next weekend, so I figured I should get some practice in. I set out to run to twin falls and back from zilker park. I had done a couple of runs when I was tri training and one in preparation for the human race, 3 miles and 6 miles respectively. Those are both on the easy, flat part of the trail. The weekend before we had hiked in from the other end in Westlake and scoped out the Hill of Life to Sculpture Falls portion. I would definately recommend that section for a vigorous hike on a recovery day. I did it after the Wurst Ride and found it to be quite pleasant. I mention all this background to reinforce that I had a bit of experience on the trail. I did not go out completely blind, which I think would be a bad idea.

There had been a freeze warning the night before and it was about 45 when we left. Of course, excited to be bundling up, I wore a hat and gloves and a thermal shirt, before I even got to campbells hole i had to take it all off and stash it. I'm always hot. I can pretty much exercise in shorts and a t shirt anytime anywhere, but I love to make hats and mittens wear tights and hoodies, so consequently, I am always overdressed. I had selected selected some appropriate fall trail running music: The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison. I had a bunch of snacks in my running belt and had a good amount of coffee.
It was fun to run in the brisk air The sunlight illuminated the fall leaves like stained glass. I kept turning down my music to listen to the thumping of my feet on the trail. I ran and ran, making the markers and keeping on the pace I had set for myself. For the whole first half of the run everything was super. To push it, at an hour out, I decided 10 more minutes... maybe I WILL make it all the way to Sculpture, clearly I was getting delusional so at and hour 10 minutes I flipped it around. On one of the creek crossings I was so busy hopping throught the rocks and singing Moodance I missed the turn and ascended on a very narrow, barely there, single track, mountian bike path and ran up the side of the hill until it evaporated in a stand of cedars. I was LOST. I called my trail buddy, freakin out. He was trying to ask me to describe where I was. Really, I had a pretty good idea, I was behind the shopping center and apartments by Hobby Lobby on South Lamar. I felt like I was in the woods where rapists hung out, but as far as features, it was pretty nondescript. Go out on the greenbelt and see how many places "I'm kinda on the top of a hill in the middle of a bunch of cedars." I'm on the far side of the creek and the last crossing had medium rocks." describes, really, its harder than you think. So 30 minutes in to part 2 of the run, I've wasted a bunch of time and energy running around in the woods cursing and tripping over shit. Finally I pulled my head out of my ass and followed the path back. I found my way in a matter of minutes, crossed the creek and went on my way. Thankfully I had covered a good bit of ground before I lost my momentum. I was about 3.5 miles out. I had to re-warm up and start over with tired legs. Having gotten lost and judging that the markers on the trail are far from accurate this was the furthest I had a ever run. I remembered how this happened when I ran my 10 miler. The first 8 miles we ecstatic and the last 2 on the trail downtown took me a brutal 45 minutes. I ate another goo and sipped my water. I had one bottle in my running belt, and with no other water access on the trail I was not adequately prepared. I was losing my legs, so I slowed to a walk in a few rocky patches I could have run, but might have twisted something. Thankfully as you near civilization the surfaces improve. I jogged past landmarks and mile markers, even the turnaround landmark on my well measured 3 mile run oblivious to my where abouts. I was really tired and tingly from lack of hydration. I kept on running. About 3 more times in the last mile I could have sworn I was gonna round the corner and see the skyline in the distance and the fence at Barton Springs, but really it was a mirage. Finally I was back at the car, sitting in the sun, gulping down water and snacking on a banana. The first 8 miles were grand, but the last 3 were hell. Next time I'll know to bring more water and snacks and maybe slow down my early pace even more. It was a great run, on a pretty day,

Friday, November 14, 2008

DOs and DONTs and race/ride reviews

So Ive tried to write a review of the trick or treat trot 10k I ran in Chicago last month like three times, all of them (obviously) unsuccessful. Now, a month later, nobody cares about the costumes ect. So instead I have a few 10K do's and don'ts. 1) DONT try to run back to back 10k's. If you fail to follow this advice and decide to throw down the back-to-back 10k gauntlet and you slaughter your PR in the first one, you are probably not going to revise it further in the second. 2)If you are going to partake in-town urban racing and run to the start... make sure you stay on top of your pre race distance and pace, DONT have a partial panic attack as other runners fly past you headed to the start on their bikes, and run your warm up so fast you have nothing in the tank when you turn back in to the wind for the final two miles of the actual race. 3)DO NOT allow members of the opposite sex to hurl thinly veiled compliments (pick up lines) at you at the finish line, especially if your parents are standing there and your face is encrusted with salt, snot, chap stick and gu. 4) DO proceed directly to the Melrose diner and shove copious amounts of greasy eggs and home fries. 5) DO NOT fail to stretch, cross train, attend yoga class ect. for two weeks after the race and then get on your bike for a 30 mile ride while still recovering from the flu.
6) DO be sure to take ridiculous and strange pictures while on the bike ride that have absolutely nothing to do with bike riding.
7)DO drink lots beer after the bike ride, eat various meats on a stick and participate (even if it is with comically sore hamstrings) in the Chicken Dance with elderly German folks wearing Lederhosen.