~13 miles, 3:10:52 (the "~" will be explained later)
Today I went back to the Sierra Azul open space preserve to do my 13 mile long run. I wanted to start getting in some trail running in preparation for Skyline to Sea 50K.
This is the toughest training run I have done, I was going to say in a while, but I think it may be ever. Unless you count some of the organized trail runs I used as training runs.
Here is the elevation chart. You can probably understand that there were many moments when my thoughts were, "Sheesh! What the hell was I thinking? I am turning around"
I had run 3 miles of this trail as an out and back for a total of six miles. You can see in the elevation chart that a 3 mile out and back is challenging, but very doable. It is very beautiful out there, so I thought "hey, that would be a nice trail to be on for 3 hours." Picture: Pretty trail views! Isn't it a lovely day!
At mile 4, I had already changed my tune.
At mile 5, I was cursing Theodore Roosevelt himself for instituting government funded parks programs and plotting the demise and eventual extinction of several species of, what I like to call, "fucking sticker bushes" or FSBs. The FSBs were growing all over the trail after mile 5 because NO ONE except my dumb ass continues to go up 2 miles of exposed trail with over 1200 feet of vertical gain.
Well no one, but me and the creator of this little gem!
For those of you that do not find comparative physiology of vertebrate digestion as fascinating as me, this is MOUNTAIN LION shit.
Yep, M O U N T A I N L I O N shit. A smidge unnerving, wouldn't you say?
This is when I said, "Screw a 6.5 mile turn around, 6.3 is FINE BY ME! I am outta here!" Yeah outta here, but I still had 6.3 miles to run. At a pace , I may add, significantly slower than a mountain lion.
After I got back down to where the trail looked like it was used more frequently by humans, my mind settled down and stopped seeing things moving in the bushes above me. But now I had steep, rocky downhill to navigate. This was part of the reason I was out here as well, to train my legs for long downhills which I will see at Skyline to Sea 50K and the Bizz Johnson Marathon.
Here is the rocky, downhill where I decided that I didn't care if trail gaiters cost 10 million dollars I am ordering them tonight!
Here are what gaiters are and the fabric I chose from DirtyGirlGaiters.com BTW, I was pleased to see that they are NOT 10 million dollars. Only $13 AND free shipping!
At mile 8.5 the trail was downright perfect! Shaded, soft footing and a gentle down hill that was not bone jarring.
Gear Review of sorts:
I had worn my hubby's 50 oz. Camelbak (he has the one with the chest strap. Mine is cheap and for biking only and no chest strap) and carried 8 oz. of "emergency water" on my run belt. I had emptied the CamelBak by 9.3 miles and had to nurse the 8 remaining oz, until mile 11 when I was out of water for good. Bummer.
It was much hotter, and miles 4-6 where much harder, than I had planned for, but I was ok until the end. I am going to experiment with a 100oz. Camelbak (also hubby's) next time, but it looks REALLY big so I am not sure how it will work.
So the review part. It was not bad running with the pack. I thought it would shake, or chafe, or just generally be irritating, but it was ok. The water sloshing was loud and would have driven me bat shit crazy, but I turned up my iPod and I couldn't hear it. This could be a problem for running w/o and iPod and/or with a run buddy (i.e. Jane may shove me off the trail at Skyline to Sea.)
Other concerns: I would need to get a woman specific model if I decided to go this route, because you have to tighten it as you drink the water or it does shake and could chafe on a longer run, and at a certain point I couldn't tighten anymore.
Ok, back to the run. When I got in I was only at 12.6 miles and I wanted to do 13. This bugs me. Maybe some latent Type A personality, but it bugs me. So I proceeded to run across to the other side of the trail head to get the extra 0.4 miles. That is when I ran into this:
This is a horrible picture of a rattlesnake. A RATTLESNAKE! It is a horrible picture because after I scampered back I was NOT going to get close again. So I zoomed, and cropped and at least you can tell that it is a rattlesnake.
Ok, game over.
Back to the car for a total of 12.82 miles.
Whatever. I'll get over it. That was enough nature for one day.
16 hours ago