There are five weeks left before my first big race this year, in which I plan to run 18 kilometers over hilly mountain trails in the K-100 Relay.
Last Saturday, May 12, I managed 90 minutes of hilly trail running, which sounds like a lot until I confess that I walked more than I would like to admit. Last weekend was warmer and sunnier than anything I’ve trained in so far this year, so I’m chalking up my slow pace on that run to seasonal conditioning.
I ran my usual route through the Ranchlands parks, up through Hawkwood and into Edgemont. I made it up to the top of the ridge above the rec. centre, then came back down and home through Dalhousie. I took a chocolate Clif Shot gel at about 50 minutes, and sipped Lemon Lime Gatorade mixed from a powder throughout the run. Even chocolate Clif Shots have a bitter taste to them, blech. It must be the brown rice syrup. Immediately after the run I took a cool bath, and suffered no residual stiffness.
This Saturday I broke my usual 10% per week increase rule for stretching the long run, and ran happily up and down and up over much of the same route for 128 minutes. This time I made it all the way up to Nose Hill Park, where I touched the entrance sign, stopped by the bathroom, and then headed back home. I took a chocolate Powergel at about 50 minutes, and thoroughly enjoyed the rich caramelly taste of it – way better than a Clif Shot.
Instead of coming directly down the hill and home through Dalhousie like last time, I nosed my way back around the Edgemont plateau ridge before returning the way I’d come out through Hawkwood. The panoramic city and weather-laden view towards the west was spectacular, and I struggled to keep my eyes on the trail.
The wind was stiff and cool, and perfect for keeping me cooled as the sun peeked in and out of the clouds. In the few moments where the wind was blocked by trees, I actually missed it, as several mosquitoes found me and took advantage of my bare arms and legs.
There is a big dip in the middle of Edgemont, which means I had to climb up out of it before I could cross back into Hawkwood. After 90 minutes of running I was having a hard time running UP again, but remembered how Linae counts steps when the going gets tough. I started counting steps. I thought I would just run 20 and walk 5, but gained some momentum and ended up counting to a hundred at a time. Yay me.
After almost two hours of running I was nearing my home neighbourhood and my stomach had begun to slosh. I stopped sipping the Gatorade and focused on getting home. Little drops of rain started to fall sporadically, and I dared the skies to open up. My legs were getting all wobbly and achy, and I was really glad to be close to home. Once there, I immediately took a 4 minute long cold bath just barely deep enough to cover my legs (shiver). The bath did the trick again, because recovery has been a breeze.