Friday, January 8, 2010

Back to the Bridle Trails

We're back to rain today and I had to decide between running outside and running on the treadmill at the gym. It wasn't raining when I walked over to the gym at lunch so I figured that I'd run outside. I'm volunteering at a 50K race tomorrow that's near work. I would have liked to run it but volunteering will have to do this year. I figure that I won't get to run this weekend so I planned to run over to the trails that the race uses for a quick 6 - 7 miles. I went in the locker room, got changed, and when I came outside it was raining pretty hard. I waited for my Garmin to lock onto some satellites and debated turning around and running inside instead. I told myself that I need to overcome my dislike of running/cycling in bad weather and just run.

The race that I'm volunteering at is held in January partially because the conditions on the trails get so bad that it increases the challenge. The finishing rate for the 50k race last year was 65% and was only 37% (18 of 49) in 2006. With the race starting at 3pm everyone gets to run most of their miles at night. It's a sloppy dark mess. When I lived in CA, it rained so seldom that it was almost a novelty and I loved running in the worst conditions possible. Now it's just a regular annoyance. (who predicted that one? :)

In any case, I set off trying my new (longer) Race Ready shorts for the second time (it rained last time too) thankful that I remembered the Body Glide. It's about a mile on the pavement and then I take a corridor trail between a golf course and a housing development out to Bridle Trails State Park. I was soaked by the time I reached the trail. The corridor trail is itself pretty muddy and wet so I'm constantly hopping over and around puddles as I run. When I reach the park (which is more of a giant square forest) it gets a little better. The tree cover is dense enough to block most of the rain but the trails are still strewn with puddles, mud, and horse poop.

I didn't have time to run a full loop of the park so I just ran out on one trail and then came back on another. It's been a while since I've run there so I missed a few turns and ended up running a little farther than I'd planned. The running felt good but with all of the deep shoe-sucking mud to avoid you can't really get into a good rhythm. After a few miles I found my way back to where I started and headed back down the corridor trail. I picked up the pace a little bit between sliding around on the wet clay/mud and put the rest of my energy into the last mile (6:47). It rained the entire run and I was soaked and really cold. My fingers were almost numb from the cold and I was starting to have trouble manipulating them. It was one of those times when even a mildly warm shower hurts because your skin is so much colder than the water.

By the time I got dressed and left the gym to walk back to the office it had stopped raining. Figures. I'm glad I stuck it out for a run in the mud instead of overheating on the new goofy treadmills that they have at the gym. Actually reading through the marketing information, they're probably pretty good treadmills. It's just strange looking down at the ground right in front of your feet. On another positive note, the shorts held up to the challenge again and felt good. They feel kind of small. I'll pick up an even longer pair and see how they work for me.

Garmin said:
56:40 (8:07/mi)
143/174 (avg/max HR)
2951' (ascent)

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