Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Running Blind

Tonight's run was awesome.  I parked at Pine Lane and ran out-and-back to Boston Store for 8 miles.  I started at 6, so I had to use my headlamp from the start.  From the first few steps on the trail, I knew it would be a slopfest!  There was a steady mist of rain which made it really foggy out.  It would've been good to have a handheld light tonight since it was difficult to see very far ahead of me with the headlamp.  It was like a car when you turn your brights on when it's foggy out.  Plus every time I breathed, my view was blocked even more.  However I needed my light on so I wouldn't trip.  I pointed it down so I could see my next step and any roots ahead of me.  It helped that I have run this route many times and can visualize in my head the entire trail, almost every root and rock.  It was a little nerve-racking not being able to see into the woods and I had this thought in my head that I'd run into a deer or coyote.  That thought came and pass quickly though since I had to concentrate on each step.  It amazes me how few times I trip with all the roots and turns along the way.  I think it's a combination of knowing the trail, calculating where to land before each step, running "light" on my feet and just plain luck.  It's almost like a dance.  At night you get in a trance and forget about the mileage.  It always seems like you're running fast since you have no scenery to judge your speed by.  I think I do run faster at night though because I'm more relaxed, yet more focused. 

Along the way, I encountered a pack of deer that were laying down on the ground until I disturbed them.  They were probably just as surprised as I was and thinking "what the hell is he doing out here?".  A mile and a half further down, I heard a noise ahead of me on the trail.  I shut off my light so I could see better further ahead.  I saw three guys in regular clothes, which really surprised me.  I was just glad it wasn't an animal.  I told them I thought they were deer and they joked that they're just friendly bears.  I meant to ask if they were training for anything on the way back, but never saw them again. 

As I got closer to finishing my run, I was headed down the big hill right before the stream crossing.  I saw a bunch of headlamps coming up the trail towards me.  After saying hi to them, I then realized it was Thursday and it was the Crooked River Trail group run.  Looks like I wasn't the only crazy out tonight.  However, instead of going to Boston Store, they turned down Initiation Hill back to Peninsula.

I finished the run, changed clothes and hopped in my car.  What a great run!  Nothing compares to that feeling of being tired, yet energized from a grueling workout.  I tried to keep the pace up and worked twice as hard to do so due to the mud.  I try not to let the weather conditions affect if I'll run, especially the condition of the trail.  Every time I've decided to go for a run (particularly at Pine Lane) when it's wet, rainy and muddy, I've never regretted it once.

Monday, January 23, 2012

No Time Like Now

Tonight I drove over to the Happy Days parking lot at 5:30 and ran a couple loops around the Boston Run trail for 7 miles.  The trails were muddy and there were some big gusts of wind throughout the run.  Some portions of the trail were drier than others, but the muddiest portions were tough to get a good stride in. 

After running 4 miles total last week and not logging consistent mileage week-to-week, I decided I better start my serious training now if I wanted to run a good time at Forget the PR in April.  I've become more comfortable with mixing strength training and swimming in with running.  The two side activities seem to be helping the main event: my running. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Is this winter?

Tonight I went for a 10-mile run from Boston Store to Snowville Rd and back.  The trails were in awful shape and it was a blast!  The combination of snow and warm weather recently melting it left the trails extremely muddy.  I wore shorts and felt warm the entire run.  Only my feet got numb from constantly being submerged in water, but even that didn't last too long.  The sky was clear and the moon was almost bright enough to turn off the headlamp.  I had a good time out there.  It was one of those runs where you forget you are running.  The constant attention required on each step made it interesting.  When I got to the stream crossing about a quarter of the way into the run, I found the water was too high and thin ice hung from the banks making it almost impossible to cross without getting my feet wet.  I didn't want to turn around so I found a fallen tree further upstream that stretched across the stream.  I sat on it and slowly inched my way across.  I finished the run in about 2 hours and was pleased with the effort despite the rough conditions.