Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Run filled with options

The past few weeks I have been getting a long run in on my day off which is Thursday. This way if I am working on the weekend I wont have to run long after work and if I am off I can run with friends. That is one thing I am missing right now, running with  my friends. I run with them when I can but it seems most of my runs are by myself. This past Thursday was no exception.

I headed up to the Overlook early, I was running by 6am. The sun was just coming up and it appeared that I would have the entire trail to myself. I loaded up my pack, tied my shoes, put on sunscreen and I was off down the trail. The plan for Thursday, well I had a few plans in case I wasn't feeling the original plan of 28 miles. I knew though I was going to be doing a few out and backs on various parts of this run to Cool and back. The logic behind it, because I needed to get some good solid climbs and descents under my legs and up my mileage for Tahoe. What a better trail that is relatively close then the one to Cool.

The first 4 miles are down with the occasional rolling terrain but mostly down and then the next three is up, so sounds like a great training run. Plus the trail is very forgiving on my foot which isn't 100%.

The sun was just coming up

Down I go enjoying the cool air for I knew it wouldn't last long. I did however notice that it was going to warm up because certain sections of the trail were really muggy, glad I packed some extra salt. I arrived at no hands and then started my assault up to Cool. I ran most of it and power hiked knowing I would be doing this section again. When I was power hiking though it was with a purpose there was a sense of urgency behind each step. I arrived in Cool in 1hr and 25 minutes. Not bad, my all time fastest it 1hr 20 but my average seems to be around 1.5hrs.

Once at Cool I had to use the bathroom, luckily for me there was a port-a-john and I scored again because it had just been cleaned. Sweet, a clean port-a-john, what are the odds of that. After my quick pit stop I headed back down to No hands bridge. I didn't push to hard on the descent down, but I did let gravity do the work this way I wouldn't be causes to much stress on my quads.
Enjoying the Trail

Once at No Hands I had a few options, one I could keep going and turn around at the car, or two I could turn around now and and head back to Cool which would mean another 3 mile climb. I choose option 2, I didn't want to get back to the car and pack it up and call it a day so I headed back to Cool. By now it was warming up a bit, but most of the trail to Cool is covered so the sun didn't beat down on. I arrived back at Cool, filled my pack with water, refilled my GU supply and ate a Honey Stinger Waffle. Sort of a aid station stop I guess. I was back on the trail and heading back to No hands.
A bit tired back at Cool

My legs were feeling OK, I was struggling with some dead legs at times and then magically my legs would be back. Once at No hands the real fun begins the 4 mile climb out which is exposed and I would be baking in the sun. Glad I filled up my water at Cool.

No Hands for the second or was it the third time?

The climb out was a tough, my legs were feeling this run plus my body was feeling the previous work week and lack of sleep. I was tired, but I kept on trucking. I climb and I ran and I hiked and I ran some more. Soon though I was back at the top with a solid 21 miles in for the day.

The run challenged my mentally and physically. Mentally because work has been stressful and this run allowed me to be free again even if it was only for a few hours. I was able to let my thoughts go and just focus on being in the moment. Physically my body was tired even before I started running. But I pushed myself and gave it a solid effort.

The traditional ice bath in the canal

Now I am looking forward to this weekend. I have a 14 miler planned for today (Saturday) with Power Girl. Again we are running to Cool and back. Seems to be my new favorite trail and every time I run it I get stronger on it. After our run I am picking up Coach Nikon in the afternoon and driving up to Foresthill to see some of the runners from States go through. It should be very exciting. I will also be volunteering at the Robie Point aid station which Fleet Feet runs. I am looking forward to helping the runners and my friends when they come through and on there way to the finish which is about 1.3 miles from the aid station. It is going to be a exciting weekend for all.

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