“Steady. Easy. Pace. Breathe.” ***Garmin reads – 10:20 minute miles
In the back of my mind past my mantra I keep saying over and over, don’t blow up, find the easiest route, this will only last a few more minutes. Listen to how quite it is, DON”T RUN UP THIS! - This is the new plan for the up hills.
After hitting the top, the new plan is to recover on the flats, so 8-9 minute pace max. Run relaxed and get your breath back, drink a little and control your breathing. Do not push hard! Relax.
Then the DOWN: It’s gravity. It’s swinging through the switchbacks like water. It’s everything you love about this sport. It’s big glittery presents on Christmas morning. It’s a freaking blast!
From the waist down legs are in a fast turn over, but ready to hesitate in mid-air if needed, ready to leap when needed. Eyes are looking for routes, DO NOT 2nd guessing just stick with the 1st choice, keep your arms high for balance and keep those eyes scanning, and DO NOT try to stop tight. Short bursts of hard, hard running. Holding on to the tail of a bull, a very pissed off bull. One that you're daring yourself not to let go of.
Remember you can run up the sides of trails just as well as on the path, key in tight switch backs, running 3ft high around a turn works well, but you can’t hesitate. Grab trees, roots or rocks (anything) to turn on a dime. Use the rollers to lift and jump over the crests of most slopes, roots, mud puddles and any and everything else. Remember you’re traveling at 6:03 pace, if you hit something/someone it’s going to HURT!
If you see a long sweeping descent , widen stride to cover as much ground per step, almost breaking into a skip, don’t try and slow down, bound more and try and not slap your feet down. – cuz that bugs the crap out of me. On a descent like this calm down and let your heart rate drop. “I’m not really doing any work” goes through my head at times like this, but make sure you’re maximizing your pace. And keep your feet and eyes moving. And remember, this is fun!
I’ve been really working on pre-race warm ups for the trail races. A solid 2 miles at 10 minute pace, then about 2 minutes of the “grapevine” exercise, I think that’s the name of it. Nutrition during the race is still a moving target that I haven’t been able to nail down. The effort of trail running spikes the guttural efforts way more than my road running does, so I feel hungrier? Weaker? A bit washed out? All the above? Then the body gets moving along just fine after a few miles.
The last race at Dash Point I was dead on my feet at the 2 mile mark, argh! Didn’t go out too fast, was running pretty conservative, but the legs were just so heavy. I just told myself, don’t panic, slow down and enjoy the sun through the tree’s. Let it come back to you. After about 3 minutes the legs felt 100% better and I caught back up with the pack in front of me, moved through, then caught the pack ahead of them that I was running with. Again, sticking to the race plan: Rest on the flats – maintain on the hills – past everyone on the downs : )
I think I rushed the warm-up and didn’t get the full 2 miles in, my bad, I know better.
I’ve had a few great runs over at St. Eds and feel more and more solid on the downs. This last time it felt a bit on the verge of out of control, but staying confident on balance and not 2nd guessing the route along with giving into the speed seems to be key. The climbs or up hills I just have to make sure I’m not putting too much effort into. Walking vs Hiking vs Running: Whichever keeps the body from blowing up. Also, I’ve been paying close attention to recovery after a big climb and what the legs feel like 10-20-30 minutes after a big effort. Learning not to panic, just breathe and keep moving.
Tomorrow is Squak Mountain 12K, I’m thinking this will be a great test of patience. Rolling at first, then a two mile climb with 1200 ft of gain, ugh. The goal is to make it to the 5.5 mark where we’ll drop 1400ft in 2.2 miles. I’m thinking that’s where the race starts : ) but I have to be able to let people go early and not worry about keeping up with them. Should be a blast nad it might snow : ) fun fun!!