Saturday, August 3, 2013

Trail Running Ramblings

Fences by Wayne-K
Fences, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I read an article recently discussing what trail runners think about while running. For me, trail running is almost spiritual. The solitude, peace, and serenity on the trails bring calm to my being. While I know how trail running makes me feel, I never thought much about what went through my mind during my runs. Most of the time, I think about the run itself – the next hill I need to climb, the subsequent stretch of downhill where I can recover and catch my breath, the location of the water fountain where I can fill up my water bottles, and the searing sun beating down on my head. I also consider my personal needs and condition – have I been taking in enough water, is it time to consume a gel or electrolytes, how are the legs and lungs feeling, should I increase the pace, or should I decrease the pace?

Today was my last long run before Leadville. Well, “long” is relative. I’m just the pacer for Leadville (and not the runner), so “long” right now is 20 miles. I planned on running 20 miles, but as I climbed the ridge, I felt low on energy. I decided to walk more of the hills than normal, consumed a gel earlier than normal, and consciously slowed the pace. I also decided to make a few stops to take pictures. I got a late start this morning so the high sun was not optimal for landscape photography, but I decided to enjoy the views and take a few photos anyway. I also decided to run only 18 miles today. The taper will just have to start two miles sooner!

Toward the Bay Leaf Trail
View from the ridgeline. I take the trail to the left and descend the ridge down the Bay Leaf Trail. It’s always fun climbing back up the Bay Leaf Trail after 12-14 miles of running.

Trail Ends Ahead
This sign is the turnaround point for my 18 mile route.

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