Thursday, December 11, 2014

On The Trail With IronNerd

Last year, Week 6 of the 4HB Challenge signaled a major turning point in my life. For the first time, things felt GREAT during a run. Lighter. Faster. Stronger. Would the program be a game changer? Would my efforts and determination be rewarded? It all felt great going into the halfway point of the training. But the first significantly long run of the Challenge was also my last. After breaking THREE personal records that night, my 2014 season was unofficially over before it began.

Today marked a cautious return to that same training plan. No PR's though. (Not gonna happen again!) Slow and steady on The Tuxachanie Trail. Unfortunately it was a solo event as my wingman (LUKE!) tore up his own knee on a run this past weekend (on the same trail!) And the length of the adventure cost me a vacation day. But it was well worth it.

Several lessons were learned during this adventure:

  • If you are going to do a 15k+ trail run at 1PM, you should eat more than a protein bar for lunch. 
  • Never trust the MS Gulf Coast weather to stay cold for very long. Long sleeve running weather can turn into near-shirtless running weather quicker than you'd imagine.
  • Nature has an evil trick on trails: holes are easily covered with pine straw. (At 3.5 miles into the run, my right foot found one and something popped in my ankle. Walked off the worst of the pain. But it was sore the rest of the way!)
  • The forest isn't full of wildlife like you see in movies. Aside from a lone armadillo sullenly enjoying its lunch, nothing crossed my path or appeared to lurk in the distance. 
  • Last, but more importantly,you should NOT do hundreds of jump ropes and box jumps the night before your trail run!
Anyway... Turned around at the 5 mile marker.  58:47, including a 10min walk after the first 5K. Felt PRETTY good. Significantly under my 10K pace. But glad to be half way into it.

Word of advice. Trail running isn't street running. You get beat up on the trail. Back. Knees. Ankles. Calves. They all suffer. Mightily. So my complaints came as no surprise. Around 6.5 miles, my left ankle started acting up. Fortunately, it wasn't horrible. And left to its own devices, my brain would frequently shutup and my body would pick up the pace.

Walked most of the last mile. Still finished just under two hours. Surprised at my pace towards the end. Was rarely struggling to keep breathing. Wasn't really tired. Mainly just sore in the ankles. But NOT in the knees! Thankful for that.

Overall, fun excursion. The trail was great. The weather held up. And so did IronNerd. Though waking up in the morning might reveal a different story...

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