Sunday, April 4, 2010

Some good trails to run

With the lousy weather and many interruptions to last night's sleep courtesy of my son, the bike ride just didn't happen today. After I got a little more sleep I did get out for a run though. I arranged to meet up with a couple of guys that I carpool with at Point Defiance park for a trail run. I've ridden Pt. Defiance many times on my bike and enjoy it as an easy ride with some decent hills and low traffic but I'd never run there. It turns out that it's an awesome place to run.

We met at the main parking area and headed down past the botanical gardens and up toward the zoo. We pulled off of the road at this point and headed into the woods on. I was bringing up the rear out of the three of us on trails that were only wide enough to run single-file. I spent the first 2 miles following the guy in front of me watching his calves / feet to see where he stepped and which path he took through the many sloppy mud puddles that dominated the trail. I started to feel a little woozy after the first two miles and wondered why. I had a good breakfast, drank some coffee, wasn't dehydrated, etc. I realized that I was focusing too much on the trail right in front of my feet instead of watching more of my surroundings and I was getting motion sick. I find that I'm much more prone to it when I don't get enough sleep. I backed off about 5 meters from the guy and I was fine in a few minutes. It's so rare that I run with other people that I didn't even think about it happening.

The pace was a little faster than I really wanted during my taper weeks but I knew it wouldn't be a very long run. I'd never run with these guys before and I didn't want to be the slow guy so there was a little bit of pace ego between the three of us. It worked itself out after a few more miles and much more mud splashed up the backs of our legs. They must have thought I was a total Fred running with two hand bottles and a flask of Hammer Gel. I didn't really need the bottles or the gel but I needed to find out if carrying a flask of gel in the pocket of my shorts was comfortable enough to try in a race (It wasn't) while carrying two bottles.

The trails are all dirt with leaves and pine needles covering them. If it wasn't for the early season mud and water everywhere it would have been just about a perfect trail to run. There were a few downed trees / branches from the recent high winds but not enough to block the trails. The edges of Pt. Defiance park are totally exposed to the Tacoma Narrows so when we ran near the edge of the peninsula the winds were strong. The abundance of trees in the park blocked the wind the rest of the time.  I had a little trouble learning the way around the trails and I'll have to run it a few more times before I know exactly where I'm going, which I hope to do. It was great fun getting out to run some good trails and my Brooks Cascadias worked well. They feel a little firmer than my road shoes but other than that I don't notice much difference. Maybe they're a little more grippy but it's hard to tell. So far so good with those shoes.

My Garmin didn't locate any space junk to lock onto until the run was almost over but someone else was wearing one so I just used his numbers.

Time: 47:13
Dist: 6.0
Avg: 7:52/mile

Next week I plan to do two easy runs and I hope that my legs feel better by race day. They're currently really sore from doing Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts, and working my Calves on Friday at the gym. Maybe I should knock that stuff off next week or take it a bit easy, you think!?

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