Today is my last day before heading back to work. I have had a great 4 day weekend that allowed me to get some much needed trail miles in my legs. This morning when I woke up my legs were feeling really strong, no aches or stiffness they were ready for a nice but challenging 14 mile run from the Overlook to Cool and back. I have been spending a lot of time on my foam roller and I believe that it is paying off, because typically by the 3rd day of long running my legs are stiff and hurting.
Once at the Overlook there were about 10 of us who ended up showing up after Captain Kirk sent an email out earlier in the week. It was good to see everyone, most I haven't seen since AR50.
I have been running a bit differently then what I am use to. Usually I tear up the descents and power hike the major hills. The past few long runs I have been keeping the descents under control so I don't blow up my quads and I am running as much if not all of the major climbs as I can. This I believe will help me get ready for TRT. If I can't succesfully run to Cool and back then I am really going to struggle in Tahoe where there is a ton of ascents and descents. Or this is what I am telling myself. But, what do I know??? It is helping as I just had a increadible run (2:57 vs 3:17 last time) and was faster then any other time out here. Something in my training is working.
The first 4 miles is pretty downhill. I was keeping a nice clip but nothing out of control, I was wanting my legs for when the 3 mile climb to Cool began just after crossing over No Hands Bridge. The speedster in the group (you know who you are) passed me, as I was just out running my own pace as I am sure they were also, they are just much faster then me right now.
There is a few tiny climbs and I tackled them and ran as much of it as I could at a resaonable pace. My legs were feeling good during the 3 miles to No Hands, but I also knew there was still a lot of trail left. When I had to hike I would fuel. I would take sips of GU from my flask and I think my fueling is more on track now.
Once at No Hands the real fun begins. The 4 mile climb to Cool. I knew my game plan, which probably also helps. I would run as much as I could and then I would keep running a bit more. I power hiked but the hike had a sense of purpose behind it, it wasn't a death march up the hill. I would power hike and fuel for about 20 yards and then it was time to run. I repeated this effort and really pushed myself mentally knowing that I had more to give.
I arrived at Cool in 1hr and 20 min which is 10 minutes faster then the last time I ran it. I must be doing something right! At the parking lot while waiting for the rest of the group to come in and they weren't that far behind I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle. It hit the spot. I also took in a bit of Gu. After 10 mintues we all decided to head back to the Overlook.
Heading back to No Hands Bridge it is a 3 mile fast descent. But, I kept it under control. I didn't over brake but I also didn't tear it up like I usually do, I wanted my legs for the killer climb out to the overlook. Back at No Hands I took in some GU and now is when the real fun begins. The 4 mile climb out which also includes a few rolling hills on the fire road but for the most part is a nice long climb.
I had my game plan, run as much of the hills as I could and then run some more and power hike with a purpose to help recover the legs and repeat until at the overlook. I did just that. I ran and hiked but for the most part I pushed myself mentally to keep on running. I pushed up the really steep hill with a ton of rocks, I power hiked the hill to Robbie Point and I pushed myself on the last little major climb to the overlook.
My legs felt strong and they still feel strong. I do not have any stiffness and my foot feels real good. This trail is more forgiving on my foot because it isn't as technical as the section of trail I was on yesterday near the twin rocks area. This week I have a total mileage of 56 miles. That is the most miles I have had a while. Glad my hill work on Pennsylavania Ave is paying off.
This week coming up I have to work the weekend so my long run will hopefully be on Thursday which is my day off. I plan on hitting up Pennsylvania Ave at least once if not twice this week to continue my hill training in preparation for Tahoe Rim Trail. Thanks for a great run everyone you guys rocked it out there.