All week I've been hoping that I would be able to run a long run on the trail. It's been months since I've run over 10 miles on trail; all of my long runs have been on asphalt due to the ice and snow on the trail.
Asphalt running isn't the best way to train for a trail 100, but what's a gal to do? That's what makes running McNaughton a bit tough for a Midwesterner. We've been covered with ice and snow all winter and the trail is just showing some melt now. Oh well..
Friday after work Topaz and I headed out to the trail. It wasn't too bad. There was still a few miles of snow and ice...the footing was treacherous in some areas. I held onto branches and slid on my butt down the hills, hoping that I wouldn't injure myself. Luckily, I didn't.
I had to rearrange my schedule a bit this weekend as Steve had a pool tournament on Saturday. I decided I'd run 10 early Saturday before he left and long on Sunday while he was home.
Yesterday the trail was in even better condition. A bit more of the ice/snow had melted and the footing wasn't quite so bad. I was able to run 10 miles without falling and was able to run most of the way..except for about a mile of ice through the dense tree cover. I kind of slid my way through that stuff.
Last night, after midnight, Steve arrived home stating that they won all of their games yesterday do they were again playing today, and guaranteed at least third place. Well, that meant waking up at the crack of dawn (well, not dawn) so that I could get in a good 8-9 hour run, roughly 50 miles and be home by 1.
Topaz and I arrived the trail at 4 am. It was crazy foggy. I couldn't see a thing and my headlamp cast an erie glow onto the fog. It was nuts! I wasn't sure how this run was going to turn out. Would I be able to run the icy portion over and over again without twisting an ankle? Was Topaz going to be able to run 50 miles? Were the ponds going to be melted so that he could get some water? I had Heed and a couple of bananas in the car..I guess I was set.
The trail was still icy in spots. I just walked when I could feel the coldness of the snow arrive. I couldn't see it really, it was so foggy that I couldn't see the ground in the darkness. When the sun rose I could really see how foggy it was. All of the melt was creating a blanket of fog and the wind was pretty light first thing this morning. The fog just sat there.
After daybreak I stopped at my car and dropped off my lights, refilled my Heed and tried to get Topaz to drink from a bowl. No go. He doesn't drink from a bowl while we are running for some odd reason. He will lay in the pond and drink/cool off but no drinking from a bowl while running. Whatever. At least the ponds were thawed so he could enjoy them.
Topaz found that he likes HammerGel. Each time that I unzipped my pouch he was right there for some. I figured he needed some nourishment as well and shared with him.
There weren't many people on the trail, I was out there from 4-1 and only saw 4 other people. It was so beautiful, and so quiet. I realized that I've been running long with cars and traffic and my iPod blaring. The tranquility of the trail was just what I needed!
By 30 miles my legs were beginning to fatigue. My legs haven't run that distance on trail since my 42 mile birthday run. They are used to road. It's funny; when I am running trail all summer, and then begin to train for Ed Fitz 100K, the road hurts. Today the trail was tiring me out.
On and on we went, Topaz was gaining speed and energy with each loop. He certainly was bred to run the landscape all day long. He just didn't slow down. He became excited each time we came across deer so he could do his deer hop and go flying through the meadow. I guess he's truly an ultra dog.
9 hours and I was ready to call it a day. The sun was shining, the temperature hit 60F, it was a beautiful run. After stretching out for 10 minutes in the lot, it was time to come home.
I had to make a pit stop at the gas station for a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi. For some reason I crave that stuff while running long.
Back home, I placed a 24 pound ButterBall Turkey into a cooking bag and popped it on the gas grill. Good eating!