Sunday, August 29, 2010

Night Trail Running - What was I thinking?

This week I received an invite on FB to join a 12hr night trail run.  The run would consist of 8 mile loops out on some Mountain Biking trails.  I thought this was a great way to finish up my training this week.  It didn't occur to me not to do 3 x 20 miles on T,W and R respectively.  So going into this run I had about 62 miles on my legs.  I didn't know anyone that was going so I was a little nervous about it.  I promised Doug if the people looked sketchy I would turn back.  He said he didn't believe me.  Said something about me not being able to say "No" to a good run.  :), OK, maybe the guy knows me better than I know me.  So I drive almost an hour and find a group of ultra looking runners in the middle of a field, this pretty much had to be them, who else shows up to a park at 7pm at night with camelbaks.  There were about 7 people running and one lady manning the gear.  As they are explaining the route I am thinking, ok I can do this.  One guy crewed at Badwater and I wanted more than anything to get a chance to run with him and hear  what Badwater was like.  But, since the guy paced at Badwater he is a bad ass runner and therefore I just could not keep up to get a chance to talk to him.  As we headed out on the first loop I initially hung with the front group: Badwater guy, next guy and really fast Jen.  I hung with them for a whole mile before I knew that was a horrible idea.  I slowed to my pace and began working the trail.  It was pretty dang technical, it had tons of steep up and downs that I bet are super fun for mountain bikes but for a runner it is really hard on your knees.  The paths had stacks of logs you had to run up and down and the there were tons of roots.  Needless to say it didn't take me long to figure out this was not my best idea for a night training run.  My next race is on dirt roads, nothing this extreme and my knees and feet were screaming by the 5 mile mark.  I rolled to plan B in my head, run this loop and go home.  I am not risking an injury this close to race day for some fun night running.  I think I would actually like the trail much better during the day and Doug would love it too, so I figured I would just head back with Doug  some other day.  So all in all it wasn't a loss but, I am still not quite sure what I was thinking. 

The trail gave me a little time to reflect on this year in running.  You know last year at this very point I could barely walk due to a back injury and hadn't even decided to sign up for my first 100 yet.  Now here I am today having run Rocky and Lone Ranger and am on my way to Heartland.  When I thought of it in those terms it suddenly was obvious why I still feel like such a newbie and why I feel like I am struggling to get a nutrition plan.  I am super new at this.  Experience is key in the sport of 100 mile running.  You can run a 50 miler and not worry too much about nutrition but, you just can't allow yourself to get into a deficit on a 100 miler.  It is a whole different ball of wax.  I think I need to learn patience.  I was reading a Race Report from Leadville (Leadville 100 mile trail run, one of the hardest races in the US), it was amazing to hear one of the top runners talk about why he thought he DNF'd (Did Not Finish).  One of his biggest take aways from the experience was patience.  He said he should have slowed down and taken the time to get his nutrition plan back on track.  I was shocked so even the top dogs in the sport have trouble with nutrition.  He was absolutely right, these races are journeys and patience is key. 

Along the line of patience, I have been taking a more patient approach with my training.  Lately I haven't let mileage drive my running.  I have been listening to my body and let my legs decide the mileage.  I am pushing for higher mileage but if things hurt I am taking the time to let them settle down.  I am hoping this approach will allow me to better prepared for Heartland. 

So here it is: The Mileage Contest/Prediction.  Post your bets by Tuesday Midnight.  How many miles do you think I can do this week?  My week runs from Monday to Sunday.  Doug won't be in town so I will have to get in my mileage around Chloe's schedule.  The person that gets closest will get some Aquaphor and whatever else I can think of :). 

Happy Running Everyone!

10 comments:

Howard said...

I'll go with 80 miles.

Reyna said...

UMMM - I am going to go with 72 miles...

Anne said...

I will have to go with 77 miles, jut because I like that number.

Emily said...

i am going with 85

Emily said...

by the way this is CATHY not EMILY so if i win I GET THE AQUAPHOR, LOL!!! :)

Anna said...

That's great that you're listening to your body. I can't believe how much you've done in a year! I'm going w/ 88.

Anonymous said...

I'm going with a 100, as I think you want to get a 100 miler in soon as you can rest and get another one in before Heartland. XOXO

Anonymous said...

By the way I went w/ 88 as in crazy 88 ;-)

Meghann said...

I'll go with 83! Maybe one day you'll motivate me to go 1 but don't get your hopes up :-)

cathycrisp said...

ok this is cathy and i have upped the ante. i am changing my vote on the mileage!! i say 98:)