Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things I Learned on Today’s 20 Miler.

1)  When you ask a race director or an elevation profile, and the response is ‘I don't have elevation of the course but it is relatively flat except the hill into the school at the end.”  DON’T BELIEVE HIM! This trail was one long single-track, with many short hills and switchbacks.  I so under estimated the difficulty of the terrain.

2)  Whenever you’re going on a trail run that even has the remote possibility of crossing water, take extra socks. I hit my first crossing at mile 1.5, and sure enough, foot went right in the water.  I ran with we socks the other 18.5ish miles.  Thankfully, no blisters.

3)  Electrolytes, they’re your best friend until you forget to pack any, then they quickly become your worst nightmare.  To be honest, I think this is one of my biggest failings.  In my normal life, I try to eat as salt-free as possible, due to blood pressure issues.  I have got to stop thinking that way when it comes to long runs.  I used to be good about using Nuun, but I forget about it, often.  For today’s run, I had three burritos with mushed black beans (unsalted), hummus, kale, mixed peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  I also packed out a couple of Justin’s Peanut Butter with Honey packets.  In hindsight, there wasn’t much sodium there.  I’ve noticed a pattern with my bonking and a lack of sodium. Must…. investigate…. salt tablets.  I used them on the Golden Gate Trail Marathon, because they were provided at the aid stations.  I think it really helped.  thoughts?

4) Always leave a treat/drink in your car.  I was very low on water after today’s run, partially because I was out much longer than I anticipated, and partially because of the difficulty of the trail.  No, I didn’t run out, but I guzzled down the last bit when I was in sight of my car, and then I had nothing waiting for me.  I did stop at 7-11 for some much needed Gatorade, but it sure would have been nice to have something to drink as soon as I got to my vehicle.

5)  When your mind bottoms out, don’t forget about the reasons you run in the first place.  Somewhere around Mile 18, I was feeling down.  I’d given up running about 2-3 miles back, and was just hiking to get back.  It’s amazing how your mind came make you feel like a failure when it’s exhausted (I did finish TWENTY MILES today, who cares if the last 4-5 were 95% hiking.  I was still tough!).  Anyways, all of a sudden, I saw a couple of deer bound off, but another remained.  I got a shot (camera not gun!) in and the click scared him off and he jumped the creek.  But then, he turned and just stared at me. We stared at each other for a good 30 seconds before I could get my camera out and ready.  He let me get several pics in, then jumped away, leaving me with a clear reminder of just how much I love trail runs.  After that, the hiking wasn’t so bad.

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 20 Miler

I decided last week that this Sunday’s long run would be on the trail for the Stone Mill 50 Miler (my first ultra scheduled for November).  What better way to get to know a race, than to run the route, right?   I planned a 20 miler, with the potential for more, if I felt up for it, unfortunately, this did not happen.  I severely under estimated it’s difficulty.  I mean, after running the Golden Gate Trail Marathon, something “flat” shouldn’t be too hard, right?  wrong!  I’ll take a couple of monstrous hills, with relatively flat or slowly rolling hills, over small and steep hills with tons of switchbacks.  It was NEVER ENDING!  The trail was 95% single-track with lots of overgrowth and hidden roots. 

The run started off, very enjoyable.  Weather was excellent, I had some yummy snacks, and I was ready.  That is, until the turnaround.  I dive-bombed so fast my head nearly spun off!  Well, not really, but it was like night and day.  The first several miles coming back were difficult.  Many relatively big hills, wet socks, and a low supply of electrolytes just chewed me up and spit me out.  After about mile 14-15ish, I didn’t have the energy to fight my mind and succumbed to full on hiking it.  Not that hiking is anything to sneeze about, but still.  I do have to run this again, plus an extra 30 miles in 3 months.  Will I be able to get myself ready by then??  I think so.  Learn the lessons above, train hard, and I’ll be there.  Now that my rant is over, enjoy some pics from the field!
20 miles of this! 
I loves me some burritos!
One of the old stone mills.
taking a breather while eating my last burrito.
This would have been a great shot, had my camera focused properly.  Grrr!


mom said...

yes, if you are doing a lot of sweating taking in more sodium should help. When your dad was younger and worked outside he used to take salt tablets in the summer when he would sweat a lot and it really helped him. Neat you saw a deer!

Fox said...

That looks like 20 miles of AWESOME.