I'll use the term "run" loosely for this activity. I think we hiked more than we ran and some of the uphills were more of an insanely slow crawl (with me staring up longingly at the top of the hill, wishing I had trained for more hills and realizing my goal to run most of my 10k race is a pipe dream). We were on a bit of a time crunch and I was lagging behind so I didn't take many pictures, but I couldn't resist taking this one - just one of the crazy steep hills we climbed (not ran, but definitely climbed). It was just after the 5k mark, we had just stopped for a quick refuel and had restarted on our journey. My friend and her daughter are training for the 50k trail run (yup, they're a little bit crazy 😜 ) so we thought we would hit the back side of the 50k trails yesterday, aiming for at least a 10 km run. Her daughter had to work at noon, giving us about 2 hours to meet our goal and allowing them to test some different foods to fuel on the go. They have 10 hours to complete the 50k, so this will give them an idea of pace they need to sustain and what we can cover in that time frame. We had planned for an 8:30 am start but they woke up to rain at the lake. The narrow game trails on the sides of the hills can be really tricky in dry conditions and super sketchy in wet conditions so we waited until the last minute to see if the rain would stop. It did, so I quickly hustled around to get ready and get out there (it's a 35 minute drive from home). We ended up starting about 9 am. It was 20C and humid as all get out at the start and 29C and sunny & hot by the end so not ideal temperature for a challenging run but could be the conditions we have on race day so best to get acclimated to it. The first 3k were tough (who am I kidding, it was all really tough), but when I looked at the elevation map, the first 3.2 k were a steady uphill with an elevation change of 131m - no wonder it was such a hard slog. We climbed many hills, went through a thick grove of trees where the trail was partially grown over making it a guess as to which way to go (fortunately they had been on this trail once before so kind of remembered which way to go), had one water crossing (and no bog foot for me this time!), saw several little frogs, a gorgeous deer, possibly a little snake - wasn't sticking around to explore it closer, and only 2 ticks between the 3 of us despite going through some sketchy areas. And I'm super proud of myself ...... as I picked the tick off my sock, I didn't run panicking and shrieking and only called him a mildly bad word instead of a really bad word that would've got my mouth washed out as a kid 😂
Tough as it was, I always learn something from each of these crazy trail runs that I've been doing:
Lesson #1: I'm so glad I only signed up for the 10k this year. That being said, I am loving exploring the other races trails this year as part of my training and have full intentions of signing up for the 20k next year.
Lesson #2: As refreshing as a cold, wet buff is around your neck in this heat, trying to use water from your water bottle that has literally become hot does not make it any more refreshing later on in your run. Neither does spraying that insanely hot water on your face. I must remember to partially fill and freeze my water bottle the night before next time.
Lesson 3: When your allergies are acting up and the tissues you packed in your hydration belt just become a soggy mess in your insanely sweaty hands, a buff works in a pinch as a hankie. You just have to remember which part your using on your nose if you want to use it on any another part of your face after that 😖
Lesson #4: My friends use trekking poles on these runs. I'm klutzy and worried it would just be one more thing I have to contend with. However, climbing and descending some of the crazy hills we were on is a challenge and breathing when I'm all bent over trying to keep my balance is an even greater challenge. I borrowed one for one of the hills and Wow! What a difference! It keeps your body upright, keeping your chest open and your breathing easier, plus helps maintain your balance, giving one more contact point with the ground when you're lifting one leg off the ground. The 10k route isn't quite as rugged so I'm not worried about this year's race but will definitely get one next year for the 20k race. Plus, I'll probably get a hydration vest instead of just my belt so I can carry more water and fuel for the longer training runs. Time to go shopping 😁
Lesson #5: I must, I must, I must improve my ...... leg and core strength😉. I guess I better go back and find Rignold's squat challenge - might be a good place to start.
Fun fact: My gps map looks like something finally...Yay! I always run boring out and back or very linear lines or laps through the campground that make nothing interesting. But on this trail run, I see a giraffe. I don't know if they run very fast, because this giraffe was very, very slow in the making 😆