Today’s workout was a 6-9 mile trail run. I’ve decided that on my weekend trail runs, I’m going to ignore pace during the first run. (Starting next week, I’ll be doing two runs every weekend.) I set the Garmin to tell me how far I’d gone and what my heart rate is; other than that, I’ll just run. Because the BMC50K has a cut-off time, pace is important. But right now, I want to be working on foot work on the descents and power-hiking on the steep climbs. I can work on my pace during the shorter runs during the week. Once I start doing back-to-back long runs on the weekend, I may keep an eye on pace just to ensure I’m pushing myself during those sucky, “my legs are tired and I’m dying” moments on the second day’s run.
Today was a 12 Hours of Badger event with the Nomad Trail Runners. They started at 6:30 a.m. I’d planned to be there around the start, but I needed some extra sleep so I didn’t set an alarm. That worked out well. I woke up at about 6:45 a.m. and made myself a normal breakfast. I didn’t get there until nearly 9 a.m., but since I was only planning one loop, there was no reason to get going earlier than that.
I walked the lower Badger Loop to warm up before tacking Canyon. I normally run down Canyon, but I really need to improve my power-hiking, and walking up Canyon is a good way to work on it. Canyon is steep – according to MapMyFitness, the lowest grade is 8% and the steepest is 20%. The trail is just a mile long, but it gains the same elevation that Sagebrush & Trailhead Loop gain over the course of 1.7 miles.
I walked up Canyon, down Skyline, then back to the east via the Langdon & Sagebrush trails. Here’s the details: Badger – East to West, Counter-Clockwise On the way down Skyline, I decided I need to get into the habit of running on the roads on Badger. They’re not as rough as the roads on Candy, but it’s a good start. (They’re rougher than the trails on Badger.)
At about mile four-ish, I recognized I didn’t bring any nutrition with me. Dumb move. I may be able to do a 6-9 mile run on asphalt without on-course nutrition — Thursday, I did a five-mile run first thing in the morning after waking up; I averaged 12:18/mile, which is pretty darned good for me — but trail running is different. Even though my heart rate declines when I’m running downhill, my leg muscles are working overtime, and I’m engaging some muscles that don’t work the same when going uphill. Running downhill is killer on the leg muscles. They need fuel.
This put a damper on the workout. I felt like I was dragging – I walked sections of the Langdon trail I normally would have run. I opted to walk most of mile six and all of mile seven as I didn’t want my fatigued legs making a mistake on the descent. I am not pleased that my average pace on Badger was in excess of 16 minutes per mile — I’ll need to average fast than that to finish the BMC50K within the eight-hour cut-off, and Badger is a much more forgiving environment than Candy & Red Mountains — but I reminded myself that this is just Week 2 of a 24-week training plan, and it’s better to be safe than to risk an injury and miss a few weeks of training.
I tripped over a rock while walking back to my car, but fortunately I didn’t go sprawling as I did last weekend.
Tomorrow is a rest day. I feel pretty good right now, but I know rest days are an important part of the equation. I think I’m still riding pretty high after Thursday’s run, and Friday’s easy run felt like a bit of victory, too. (Coulda been faster, but the trail was slippery & snotty in spots.) We have some chores to get done tomorrow, but perhaps we’ll manage to work in a nice walk.
One fun moment: I stopped briefly to take a picture at the top of Canyon, and I chatted with a man who was standing there. He asked about the new trails, and I mentioned that I’m in training for a specific event. He asked which event, and I told him. He said, “Wow, that’s almost a marathon.” I said, “It’s actually 31 miles” and I went on to explain that while running a marathon on asphalt doesn’t appeal to me, the idea of running 31 miles with 5500′ of elevation gain and loss over rough jeep tracks sounds like irresistible fun. He said, “Oh wow – yeah – that really is a lot.” ZING! Yep. Maybe after I’ve run my first ultra, I’ll do some puny little marathon. 🙂
This is not the photo I took at the top. I like this one much better. The vineyards & orchards are all different colors right now, and it was just gorgeous looking out over the valleys. I passed a woman who was taking pictures. She proclaimed, “I see why people are always talking about this place – this is amazing!” Welcome to Badger, ma’am.