Between getting a new computer and having two kids under 3, getting this posted 3 days late doesn't feel that bad really. On 12/31 I got out in the middle of the day to run some new trails that I'd read about online. I saw that there was a 50K race on Thanksgiving on some trails about 25 min NE of me in Gig harbor so I drove out there to check them out. I got out there at a little after 2pm in light rain and 45F temps. I went with my new Race Ready shorts (that have yet to chafe) and running pants along with a base layer and a long sleeve shirt. No compression anything for this run. I found a tiny area to park the car on the South side of the forest and took off running.
The area was a big forest with what I assumed would be trails going all around it in some kind of loop. The trails were a little rocky and rutted from watershed. This gave the rain a nice channel that wandered across the trail that I had to keep jumping. I would also have to step around the occasional huge trail-width puddles.
Some of the trail was fire roads with high bush and tree lined sides, other parts were just narrow paths winding through sparse pine trees. There weren't any long hills that but there were some minor incline/decline sections. The area was nice but the trails didn't seem to go anywhere. I must have run into 6 dead-ends where I had to just stop and turn around when I reached the edge of the forest. I was trying to make a mental note of the side-trails and go back to them when I'd hit a dead end. Multiple out-and-backs aren't nearly as fun as a loop course.
My only plan was to run more than 9 miles so that I could hit 100 for the month of December. This came into question about 4 miles into the run when I was feeling slow and run down. I had taken the previous two days off and had a good breakfast and lunch before the run so I didn't think it was due to a calorie deficiency. I had two gels with me but I didn't think they'd help. I kept slogging along wondering if I had 9 miles in me at all. After another woozy mile I just stopped and ate one of the gels and it made quite a difference. I don't know why but my head cleared up and I felt stronger a couple of minutes after eating the gel. Never mind the calories in the HEED that I filled my bottles with, this gel did the trick. Strange. As the run improved for me I decided that I was going to just run how I felt instead of being a slave to the watch and the splits. I really should have set it to just show distance and not time.
The rain had picked up a bit and my shirt and running pants were getting heavier and heavier. I also happened to glance down at my feet and was surprised by big white blobs of what I quickly realized were soap suds at knee level on my running pants. Overfilled the washing machine last time maybe? It initially surprised me and then gave me a good laugh. I kept on running in the rain and had to keep pulling up the waist of the pants and hoped that the chafing wouldn't be too bad with soaked clothes having forgot the Body Glide. (surprisingly it wasn't) After a couple more out-and-backs I saw that I was over 9 miles so I headed back toward the car. It was farther than I thought and I ended up with just over 11. I was happy to have made it. I wrung out my clothes and changed in to warmer stuff in the car, testing out my compression socks for their recovery powers. (They worked fine, no soreness yet)
Good run, good finish to the year.
Avg/mi: 8:57 (slow first and last mile)
Alt: 3586 on the Garmin (1800' ??)
Here is a Link to the route on Everytrail.com. It starts out as a small picture but you can click "View Map Fullsize" at the bottom right to get an animated version with pretty stat graphs.