Monday, June 15, 2009

the bluff preview

It's freakin hot. Austin has skipped June and July and gone straight for August. The entire forecast has 100s on it. I'm still feeling fatigued from the Hell's Hills 25 km, but I dragged myself out to Reimers Ranch on Saturday to preview the tricky course in the third and FINAL (woot!) race of the rogue trail series: The Bluff.

I can definitely say I'm starting get burnt out on the trail. Probably because the group I train with is so hard core. My coach loves to dish out the tough terrain. I've had to pass on a few wednesday workouts because I'm concerned that running on the technical stuff on sore legs is a recipe for a real injury.

Saturday's run did not go well. The first part of the course goes past the parking lot through an open pasture. It's not well shaded, but it only 1.75 miles. When we ran it, it had not been weed wacked, so the spear grass was nasty and jabbing my socks and sneakers. I was dropped almost immediately, which doesn't bother me, except that some turkey locked the gate on the way back (it was an out and back) so I had to climb over the fence. My legs were stiff and tired and it was hot hot hot.

I got back to where we parked, and headed out for the rest of the run. It was quite pleasant running across the bluff with the breeze coming up of the Pedernales River. There were still a lot of rocks obscured by spear grass, so I was stuck in a fast hike tempo. When we dipped down off the bluff, I got lost. There seems to be a hiking path that runs along the bluff to access the climbing walls. It became more pronounced as I headed south, but I was long out of flagged territory. I was majorly irritated that I was climbing over boulders and not doing anything much that could be considered cardio or a trail run. I tried to back track but couldn't find a single flag. It didn't help that some of them were green, and very hard to see against the foliage. I never found my group, or the course. I went with my gut and hiked back past the rock climbers up the path back to the cars. From there I saw some flags and headed back out, hoping maybe I could run the course in reverse, see some more of the sweet terrain (I hadn't even gotten to the "tough stuff" apparently) but all I found was a dirt road with some flags. I got to an intersection and found my coach. All this time, I was thinking I wouldn't find the group because they had gone back out to the pasture for a second loop. I bailed on the run about 50 min in, certainly the others were done shortly after I gave up, lost and angry. That was not the case. They rolled in at about 90 min. That's 10 min slower than MY pace on race day and about 30 min slower than their usual race paces. The whole damn group got lost. Joe offered me the chance to go back out. It was getting hot. It was almost 11 by now, and I also had some sort of pollen burning the skin on my legs. I'm not well adapted to thistles and bugs and weird grasses and get a lot of skin allergies here in Texas. I opted to walk down the road to the river and rinse off before the ride back to town, rather than complete my course preview. Saturday I was really the worst runner I could be: crabby, tired, hot and aching. Talking with the group, I was bragging that I had not yet registered, and was no obligation to come back out there for the race, but Monday morning in front of my computer I sealed the deal. I hope on Sunday with appropriate dress (gaiters, capri pants ect) and some rest and icing I can complete the rogue trail series with a smile on my face.

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