1. I put an incredible amount of effort into the race. It's intimidating! I will need to work my butt off on Sunday.
2. One of the things I mentioned I needed to work on was descending. I'm confident that I'm much improved in this area this year. Since I signed up for the Mt Greylock race earlier this year, I've been working on it. I either hammer or let my legs loose on downhills whenever I can. I can feel the difference.
3. Shoes. Last year I ran in Nike Free 3.0's - my favorite shoe ever. However, I questioned the choice in the race. They are not trail shoes, especially if the terrain is technical or sloppy. After the race I picked up the Nike Terra Kigers - light but sturdy trail shoes. I've had good results in them, and I will be wearing them Sunday.
4. Trail/weather conditions. The trails last year probably slowed things down for me (5" of rain a couple of nights before the race). This year the woods are dry, or at least at this point, look like they should be. The weather is forecasted to be exactly the same - sunny, high 40's at the start, 70's by midday.
I had a couple of goals for the 23K, but I've narrowed it down to one (I originally thought about going for the win - very dependent on who else ran - but that idea was nixed when my brother Greg told me he was also doing the 23K this year). Now, I'm just fixated on the time goal of sub 1:40. I don't care about my finishing position. I can do it!
Monday: 7.5 miles - hilly dirt roads and trails with Galoob. We didn't have a long window for a run, but made the most of it by running fun terrain in the Cuttyhunk Preserve, Stony Lane, and Pardon Joslin Rd. We ran at a conversational pace, even on the uphills, except I wanted to push the downhills. Mike was using his new watch with a built in altimeter and it was interesting to see that it recorded almost a hundred feet more of elevation than my watch's 679'. Total time: 55:47.
Tuesday: 9.5 miles - trail workout in Rome Point alone. I wanted to run some hard trail intervals early this week before shutting down the intensity until race day. I decided the yellow dot loop at Rome Point would be a good choice. It feels like a mile, it's single track - twisty at times, has a long gradual descent and then a long gradual climb (111'), plus a fast rooty decline to the finish. The weather was nice, if not a bit humid, and the woods were relatively empty. My legs still had some tightness in them. I ran about two miles of my favorite trails in here as a warm up. I then began the mile repeats. I planned on four of them with about half rest in between (3 minutes). The workout went very well. My first one was a bit slow, but still quick (5:58). I think that if I had done a few strides first I would have been faster. The recovery loop I did worked out perfectly time-wise. My next two miles were faster: 5:41 and 5:40. These went very well and I knew I had more in the tank. I considered doing five repeats, but opted to just stick with four, and run the last one the fastest. I ran a 5:27! My legs didn't feel overly worked either. I ran my warm up route in reverse feeling really good about Sunday. Total time: 1:08:16 with 703' of elevation gain.
Wednesday: 7 miles - Calf Pasture Point alone. Nice weather. I carried my phone to take pictures, but the tide was really high and it was really quiet. Total time: 56:07.
Thursday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. Even with the nice day, I didn't have much urge to run. I decided to stay close and just park at Ryan off of Lafayette Rd. As soon as I began, I figured out why I didn't have the desire to run - my feet and ankles were sore and tired from the workout on Tuesday. I tried to ignore my sluggishness and just enjoy the surroundings. I did a good job of this. Total time: 56:14.
Friday: 7 miles - Big River trails alone. Sunny and 58 degrees in the middle of the day! My legs are definitely experiencing the pre-race blahs. I ran the loop of trails I call Turtle Loop (since the TNT guys created it, at least on Strava). Sometimes I run this route as a tempo, but today it was just a casual affair. I ran with a shirt, but still felt chilly the first few minutes, and didn't sweat until the end. Quiet day in the woods with no drama. I was extremely tempted to run the last section really hard after Jackman had taken a segment here yesterday (from Garvin). I made sure to veer off course as I neared the segment start. I did not need to kill myself today. Total time: 57:14.
Saturday: 0 - AM shakeout run didn't happen, travel to NH with Crutch & Jeff in the PM.
Sunday: 21 miles - Pisgah Mountain 23K Trail Race, 3rd overall - 1:40:32. I just missed my time goal, but feel very happy with this race. I paced myself on the climbs, recovered quicker at the tops, and made up a lot of time on the descents. Overall I felt much stronger than past years. Separte write up to follow. Torturous 5+ mile bonus run with Jeff after the race. We couldn't find anywhere flat to run (about 400' of elevation gain even though we avoided hills). It was hot and steamy in the sun at this point of the day. Even soft trails of Friedsam Town Forest and the Chesterfield School fields didn't help the hurt my legs were feeling.
Weekly Total: 59 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 2437 miles
September Total: 209 miles