So the Pisgah Mtn Trail 23K is on Sunday. I've got the usual pre-race nerves going this week, which manifests itself in tight/sore legs despite keeping the runs easier and shorter. I was still debating the 50K as recently as last week, but I've decided to stick with the plan of running the 23K as hard as I can. Hopefully I can get sub 1:40 (1:44 last year). The weather looks awesome - clear and cool. The woods should be dry too. Bob Jackman (my winter trail race nemesis and getting back into good shape) will be there and probably Todd Bennett (who I met at the Bluff Point trail race), so I will have guys to chase or push me. I was planning on getting a pair of trail shoes for this fall's races, but never got around to it. Nike Frees it will be. Throw in the family (both brothers are doing the 50K) and NH running friends afare that this race is and I can't wait to head north this weekend.
Monday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails alone. I wanted 10 miles, but it became apparent that my motivation was lacking. The tidal stream was raging, so I wasn't going to get 10 without alot of repeating. This somehow soothed my mind, and I was able to have a nice run for the duration. I kept the pace easy as my legs were tired from the big miles last week.
Tuesday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. Another easy day. The course was very similar to my original 7 miler I would do years ago here. I kept it easy again in anticipation of running the Stavros Beach Run at night.
The beach race didn't happen. There were a number of contributing factors that I won't get into here. I felt bad missing it, knowing my running friends would be attending, some bringing their kids along. It looks like it was a fast night on the beach - congrats to Mike, Chris, 5K, and Nate on their speedy times!
Wednesday: 9 miles - Big River trails solo. Since I missed the beach race last night I wanted to do some sort of workout this week, before tapering for Sunday. My plan was to do a Strava segment fartlek. I was gunning for KOM's, but the weather derailed me. It was 92 degrees with a 78 degree dew point in West Greenwich where I was running. I actually opted to carry some water with me and I stopped a couple of times to splash water from a brook over me. This first segment began right away. I felt like I was moving fast despite the heat. At the 10 minute mark I developed a stitch which never happens to me. I tried to fight through it, but gave in and slowed way down until it went away. I ended up running this long segment in 14:09 - a PR but a minute off Chris Garvin's CR. I took a long time to recover. Twenty minutes later I went for the next segment - an outrageously twisty and tight new trail I hadn't run much of before (only the beginning). This trail was a blast. It just constantly switches back on itself and changes elevation. I was trying to keep a good pace (always changing speeds), but heat fatigue set in and I couldn't wait for the end. 8:38 was my time, well off Bob Jackman's CR of 7:42. I trudged along trying to recover. I came upon the beaver dam crossing and thought I could better my time from last week, knowing the fastest line now. It was a lot of fun - really short and dangerous (I didn't fall). I cut my time down 20 seconds to 26 seconds. I then jogged to the final planned interval - a straight, rather even trail that would take about 2 minutes. I pushed it, surprised at how many more obstacles I had to navigate than I thought. I finished at the brook and cooled off. I finished 13 seconds off my own CR. Oh well. My times were slow, but the effort was there in the extreme weather conditions. Good enough on this day.
Thursday: 10 miles on two runs. In the afternoon I ran with my boss in Rome Point. It was very muggy again, but not as hot. Good lunch run meeting. 5.5 miles in 45:33. A few hours later I was running again. I needed to meet my family at my son's soccer practice at 6PM, which happened to be across the street from the Carter Preserve. Hmm. I got there early and ran 4.5 miles in 33:31. I was pushing the pace, despite feeling like I was bonking. I couldn't believe how short this run was measuring on GPS. It was a good workout.
Friday: 8+ miles - Cuttyhunk trails and nearby dirt roads alone. Wasn't sure where to run today, but finally gave into the desire to take back my KOM's on the Pardon Joslin Rd climbs that Chris Garvin took from me yesterday. It's a long hill (almost 200' climb) on an unimproved dirt road. My plan was to run easy and give the hill a good effort. I didn't think a couple of minutes of hard running would effect my race on Sunday. I began running the trails of the Cuttyhunk Preserve and didn't feel as creeped out as I usually do here. I eventually made my way over to Pardon Joslin Rd by taking the mess of an unimproved dirt road Stony Lane. There is a good, extremely rocky climb that I used to practice my low climbing gear. I ran the full length of Pardon Joslin, which includes a long downhill and then a good climb up the other side which I again used my low gear. I came back down and increased my pace on the flat section before the big climb of the day. I wasn't sure if I was working hard enough because I didn't feel terrible until the very end. I ended up getting both KOM's here (different length segments). I was pleased with the results, but mostly happy that I feel ready to rock the climbs in Pisgah in a couple of days.
Saturday: 3+ miles - local roads with some trails in the morning. Just a quick shakeout of nerves before morning soccer games and then afternoon drive up to NH.
Sunday: 21 miles - Pisgah Mountain Trail 23K - 2nd overall, 1:42:xx. First place was 1:41 but I never saw the guy after the 2 mile mark, although people kept telling me I was close. Led the entire field for over a mile until Ferenc passed me right before the woods which was a very strange feeling. Trail conditions were more challenging than normal since they received 5" of rain on Thursday. I just wasn't as fast as I hoped on the tricky stuff. Absolutely hammered the last 2+ miles from the summit of Hubbard Hill. Boj tricked me into running another 6 miles with him post race. Full write up to follow.
Overall: Really fun day at Pisgah and besides running a race I was proud of, I ended up with a lot of mileage (which I need for Nipmuck) thanks to Boj. I'd like to get another long trail run in (2.5-3 hours) this upcoming week.
Weekly Total: 67 miles
Last Week: 81 miles
Year to Date: 2277 miles