Well, with all the winter we have been receiving this winter I have not had much occasion to get out there on the Dragon Trail this year. BUT- sometimes it just feels right to get there and slop around in the woods, so **Lil' got her "shoes" on and we ran along for an hour this weekend.
The course meanders through rhododendron and up to our christmas tree acreage where a loop is completed with some flowing downhills and progressive uphills. After this section, we zoomed downhill through the woods for the next 15 minutes over untouched trail, aside from a deer or raccoon and even one turkey... the cool winter air brushed us and soon we were riverside for a minute to reflect and for Silly Lily to do some swimming and drinking. What a nut!
Watauga River in Winter
Well, then we turned and headed back uphill to get the day's work in. Halfway up the gradual climb things felt great and we had even pushed a few times.
We then reached Aster's Ascent. Here, severe switchbacks give 500ft of elevation over the next half mile on primitive deer trail. This is the most direct route up to the highest point on our land. Severity was compounded by the slippery slope and the breaking of the underlying crust during each footfall. What great work though!
The power needed to run this type of terrain is normally demanding, in "ideal" conditions; and that I precisely why I run this trail. This day though, we required additional body form checks to minimize slipping, increasing (hopefully) mechanical efficiency. No matter how well we ran, the physics of the conditions demanded a greater workload. Another half mile later we were back up to the christmas trees and getting in a nice cool down as we stared out across the Watauga River valley and up toward Beech Mountain.
These types of runs are only available in the winter and really provide a wonderful training stimulus to the entire body. The arms are pumping, the quads are burning and the heart is pumping at maximum volume... and those lungs are doing their best to deliver sweet oxygen. 5k season is nearly upon us...
I was pleased with my body's ability to handle this run pretty easily and very proud of my mentality when it got tough. I thought, "Form, form; move ahead... up this climb. Push."
These moments will come back to us. They will benefit our racing. We cannot expect to train one way and race another. Success is a choice. Running is momentum. Once month until Leprechaun Leap 5k:) Can I make it 3 in a row?
Like winning free things??? Go see Adam at 'I am Boring'
**This was Lily's longest run ever, she extended another mile and we did not loaf as we had before. When we were finished she slept for about 5 minutes and then was running wild again. What an animal!!