Although Saturday didn't go as I had planned that it would, I still managed to kill it out at The Wild Oak Trail.
Each 27-mile loop has about 8,000 feet of up and down. Translation: This one is hard. Real hard.
I was shooting for two loops this time.
Here's how it actually went down for me ...
One counter-clockwise loop with my dear pal/training buddy Jack Broaddus in 8:50, then off on my own for a second counter-clockwise loop with a promise to myself that if i didn't come across anybody going in my direction before I had to take on the really tricky snow-covered section on Big Bald solo in the dark, I'd bag it and run the road back. That's what I did. Final 9 miles on road with 3 outta every 4 iPod songs at marathon pace. 47 challenging miles total in 14:30:00.
Things I learned ...
• Ice isn't so scary bad if you have screws in your trail shoes.
• Ate a lot more than usual and drank a lot fewer calories than usual. Think I'm gonna continue that behavior if I'm going as slowly as we were (see Umstead 100, Three Days at the Fair 72-Hour, Hot TWOT).
• It's a lot easier on your legs if you stay mindful of how much you are running even on the seemingly "easy" trail sections of this loop. Nothing at all wrong with walking stuff that you would normally run if, say, you were only gonna do one loop. (Thank you, Jack, for taking the point for the final 2 hours of our shared loop and saving me from my sometimes greedy self.)
• Solved a bunch of problems throughout the day, and stayed positive and happy the whole time. A bonk-free 14h30m is something pretty sweet with all that 10,000-plus-feet of up and down.
• I know in my heart now that I have 4 continuous loops in me this October, and that it makes sense for me to line up pacers for Loops 2 and 4.
• It was pretty damn awesome to do 38 miles on those trails, then hammer the final 9 miles on the road. Very pleased with the training effect. (And when coupled with runwalks of 3 hours Tuesday, 3 hours Thursday and 2 hours Friday, this day pushed my weekly tally to 22h30m. Rough estimate of 85 miles. In only four days.)
• Saturday's 250-rep push-up review: 1x30 and 1x20 at the Big Bald lake. 1x50 at the fake Hankey summit. 1x30 and 1x20 at real Hankey summit. 1x50 at start of "new" Lookout Mountain trail. 1x50 on bridge crossing river before heading back to start/finish.
Overcame my fear of ice. Completely trashed my quads. Started in the dark. Finished in a different dark. Had a silly smile plastered across my face the whole time.
Loved. Every. Step.