Yesterday on my running schedule was 22 miles. Trailmomma and I decided that a few loops would be best for our long run. One of the cool things about doing loops is the aid station at the car, which also means we didn't have to carry as much water and fuel, only enough for each loop. I enjoy doing loops every now and than as it makes my long runs not seem so overwhelming.
Trailmomma and I met up and carpooled to the base of stagecoach as this would be our starting point and mini aid station. I was excited about today's run because I was going to be showing Trailmomma some new trails that I had been running on since last summer.
We had and early start of 7am which meant it was cold out so cold that when we started we pretty much were sprinting and didn't realize it for bit until we both sort of looked at each other and said it seems we are running rather fast. We ended slowing down knowing we had plenty of miles left. Our first loop I was taking us on was the Clementine loop. This loop has some climbing which was going to be our theme for the day. Lot's of climbing. It is a pretty tame loop, nothing to technical but it does have a nice steady climb at the beginning which we would run and then power hike run some more and power hike some more. I was focused on my power hike and noticed that my legs were responding really well and felt strong. Must be the previous weeks worth of hill repeats.
We hit the green gate and I told her now we are going down, as I wanted to show her the boat launching area and the Clementine lake. Once at the lake I took a quick restroom stop, and Trailmomma took some photos and then we were off to start our second climb of the day. Again we tackled it like before, run some power hike some. This climb has a nice gentle grade and is very runnable. I even took the time to point out where we had been. I always enjoy doing that, just to get a different look on things. Instead of looking at how far I have to go, I look at it like wow, look how far we/I have come (or climbed) or whatever the case the may be. I seem to do it every run, I will stop at a random spot and point out over the horizon where we just came from and it blows my mind some time.
At the top of the climb we hit the descent we took the short cut trail this time as there are many options available. The descent was nice and smooth and my legs were feeling great. I was fueling with a handheld of perpetuem and I had a packed some gels and salt and my hydration pack of water. The single track trail brought us into the sun light and warmed us up. The sun felt really nice. We arrived back at the car in no time and quickly grabbed a snack, filled our bottles, used the restroom, and took off our long sleeves and we were off for loop #2.
This time we were going up stagecoach, which is also very runnable. Again, I found my legs were responding really well with the climbing. There was only one mishap when a mountain biker came flying around the corner, I was on the left side of the trail and trailmomma was on the right. I looked up and just about froze, well I did freez but quickly regained my composer and ran over to the right side of the trail just in time as the mountain biker flew past us. Trailmomma and I both laughed about this for a bit. In fact most of the day we were laughing and in really good spirits.
We hit the top of stage coach and made our way through town and over to the overlook where we would hit the single track trail and on over to No Hands Bridge. The descent felt great, again my legs were feeling strong, I was fueling properly and most importunely I was having a great time on the trail.
We arrived at No Hands in no time and from there we decided to climb K2. Which is a pretty steep climb. We started climbing and my legs felt strong. I quickened my pace and kept things lively. I joked about each false summit as we arrived, I even started singing and once on top just let out a taadaaaa. I was feeling great.
We took the Western States Trail back down to No Hands Bridge crossed the bridge and ran the trail along the road to the base of stage coach. 21 miles never felt so good. I am liking where my fitness is. My legs are getting stronger each week and my mind is getting focused as well. I have my eyes on the big picture called Redemption and I can't wait to get there in July Tahoe Rim Trail 100.
It was a great day on the trail for us both and I can't wait to do it again.
-Fruit and Spinach and Flax Seed Smoothie when I woke up (I wake up really early due to work 2:30am)
-Oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast about 1.5 hours before the start
-Banana at the start
-2 bottles of pertuem, one on the first loop and one on the second loop
-1 Mojo bar at the aid station
I found it interesting that I didn't take in any gels or salt, I felt a steady flow of energy during my entire run.