This week was full of big pay-offs. After spending about 10 hours reclaiming trail around the house, I was able to get out to enjoy the running along it! Before that I set out to run come area trails.
Mid week I continued my hill training phase with an extended hill climb at marathon effort on the Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain. This 30 minute climb took me up above Foscoe, NC and to the sky's ceiling that fall afternoon. I was pretty winded by the time I reached the turn around point- which was the point. Then, being careful on the slick rocks (in racing flats- all I had in my car...) I bounded, sped, turned, careened and floated downhill for the 3.5 miles over small creeks, passing large trees dipping into and out of ravines and around exposed vistas!! Always a fun time at Grandfather!
The weekend brought a 90 minute long run to the schedule as I build back up slowly to the requisite long runs for Boston in April. Saturday I stepped outside to the first hard frost of the year and clicked the watch to move about for 90 minutes at a casual long run pace. Within 10 minutes the hat and gloves were off and the air while nippy- was perfect for running! Warm sun spots and cool in the shade... Running The Dragon Trail I completed the first 6 mile loop in about 45 minutes, such symmetry for home based long runs complete with all sorts of hills.
I stopped in at the aid station (my house) for a quick Chomp and some water and back out onto the trail for a second and final loop.
Of course, as magically occurs- I was now less fresh and the onsetting fatigued proved to complicate things slightly. Suddenly there were more roots, loose stones, and slick footing... and I was slipping and sliding about. Figuring I was moving a little more quickly as well, being warmed now- I settled back down and patiently moved forward up and down, left and right through the woods along the Watauga River. Upon reaching the river for the second time that morning I paused and listened to the fall of water as it met the large granite boulders it conspires with. Then I turned and move away and uphill for a final ascent.
Imagining the hills of Newton I pressed a little harder and moved closer toward the edge of aerobic capacity. On the steeper sections I was forced to gulp oxygen and forcefully expel carbon dioxide, rapidly exchanging currency to meet immediate demands. The hill receded and I was into the final half mile of the day. Without effort my breathing and heart rate returned to "normal" and I was playfully moving through the small meadow.
In the invisible distance critters moved through dried leaves and up trunks of skeleton trees. Occasionally I'd come upon small herds of deer and 2-3 of them would bound away, up the steep hills typical of the area. A quick blast of air from the nose and 4 bounds later the deer would be 30 feet uphill! Impressive...