Sometimes all it takes to accomplish something is to trust that you can do it and just get started. Jump in the ocean – sink or swim. That’s precisely how today’s run went.
Spring flirted with us then ran away, returning us to Winter’s frigid hug of death. Even so, I had to get out and do some longer runs. Facebook is exploding with reminders that Glass City is less than a month away and I haven’t done a run longer than ~6 miles in waaaay too long.
Deciding that “brave or grave” was the proper response, I pun on my tights, packed a spare GU, and went out to attempt the full 12 mile out-and-back on the UT Uni/Park trail. The first time I did this run, I got out to King Road and had absolutely nothing left. My body was spent and I had no phone, no food, no water, and no wife available to pick me up. It was a long, long 6 mile trek back to the car. I had to trust that today would go better than that ignoble effort.
And, hoo-boy, it became obvious that my legs, knees, and back are no longer accustomed to either long runs or hard surfaces. There are old aches creeping back and I’m pretty damn exhausted. But, hell, I made it! Self high-five!
Especially with today being an untested distance in recent training, I wanted a pre-workout. The gel du jour was Espresso Love. GU really did get this one spot on – smoky, earthy, and a little bitter. Mmmm.
There are certain elements of trail running that are easy to forget when you haven’t been out for while. Today’s run was put on hold for a moment when I had to turn around about a minute in to get back to Rocket Hall and hit the restroom. Here’s the science. At least it happened early!
I was really layered for today’s run – tights, pants, shirt, thermal top, gloves, and hat. At 9:00am with the wind gusting, I was glad for all of the layers. Running in Toledo is becoming difficult to predict for clothing needs.
Speaking of running clothes, based on all the expensive cold weather running gear I saw on my fellow runners this morning, I’m not the only one trying to get miles in before Glass City. But, of course, the best part is seeing the dogs on the trail. They always look so damn happy to be running, so it’s hard to feel tired or grumpy when you pass a running canine.
Too bad my beagle is more a lap dog than a track dog. Maybe if I’d been running with him when he was younger, but it has not been fun for either of us when I’ve tried now.
In addition to the pre-workout, I made sure I had a spare GU for the run as bonking was a serious threat and getting stranded was not part of the plan. And I used it. At mile 6 (you can easily tell in the Garmin charts where it happened, lol), I ripped open a Vanilla Bean GU.
The big complaint I have heard about GU is that it gets really thick in the cold. This is absolutely true. I had to chew my GU a bit because it had gotten too cold in my pocket on the 6 miles out. It doesn’t really bother me, but it is a valid concern if that’s not your thing. The other “problem” was that I had Vanilla Bean burps the entire rest of the run.
After the GU, I picked up the run again. And the sun came out. It jumped about 5 degrees by my estimation (or at least it felt that way) and made me wish I could ditch the thermal top. But that was not an option today, so I was as warm for the second 6 miles as I was chilled for the first 6 miles.
Even though I used my Garmin, it was covered by so many layers of clothing that I couldn’t check my pace if I wanted to. So I ran based on feel. Surprisingly, this worked out fairly well. Garmin reports my pace was ~8:00/mi which is where I felt I should be based on effort. It’s nice to know I can still estimate a per mile pace with some accuracy.
Finishing the full 12 mile run was great for my confidence. With the race being so close, it was important to know that I could still run the distance. And I not only ran it, I ran it at roughly the same pace that I ran the Santa Hustle in 2012. There may still be hope for a PR at Glass City!