First, my motivation. I've been toying with the idea of running my first ultra marathon next year. An ultra marathon is anything longer than the traditional 26.2 mile marathon. The standard distances include a 50k, 50 mile, 100k or 100 mile. I know very little about these races but the one thing I have been told is most ultra runners do not consider you a 'legit' ultra runner, until you've run at least a 50 mile race. Which leaves me no choice but to skip right over the 50k and start daydreaming about my first (did I just say first?!) 50 mile race. I've been looking at the possibility of doing this race in 2012.
So, I get to the park, with no plan in mind. No pace. No distance. No expectations. Just go for a run until I don't feel like running anymore. After parking, I find an entrance to the trail and off I go.
This led to a big open grassy area which eventually led up a pretty descent size hill and out towards the highway. As I neared the highway, I was thinking, I would have to go back the way I came or head out towards the pavement. No pavement today, this was a trail run. About 50 yards away I happened upon a fork in the trail, which lead into a wooded area. I made the turn and headed that way. It was quite the scene. Much more tranquil than looking at houses, dogs and cars through out my subdivision. I decided to disconnect my music and just take in the experience. It was at that moment I thought, maybe I should blog this run. So I pulled out my phone and started rolling the video. I don't think the video does the scenery justice. And, I'd be surprised if you could make through watching the whole thing with out feeling nauseous, but here is my very amateur attempt and videoing while running.....
I think it's pretty obvious, from watching the video, I was not having an easy time on this run. I was actually running about 30 seconds per mile slower than my normal easy run at, what felt like, a much greater effort. My heart rate was about 10% higher than normal. The elevation change for the entire run was less than 100 feet but F#*k, it was hard!
After the video went off, I ended up around the same area I had started and took another turn in the trail. This led to another wooded area. I had seen, on-line, that it was hunting season in the park and started hoping I didn't get mistaken, by some over zealous hunter, for being a small animal. Shortly after this I came upon three people walking along the trail. I knew I was breathing heavy and my feet were hitting the ground much louder than the do on the road, so I never thought to warn them I was coming up behind them. I felt really bad when the girl jumped as I was passing her, but I was slightly entertained by it.
Then there was the mud! I saw a pretty muddy looking area coming up on the trail and figured I could just run around it. This was probably the best test of my Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes, because there was no going around this mud. As I hit the mud I could feel the cold wet mud penetrating my socks. Damn it, there goes my $10 socks! After surviving the mud I made my way up another hill and stopped to take a picture. I swear the hill felt a lot more challenging than it looks. But the shoes managed very well in proving good traction here and through out the run.
When I got to the next clearing I looked at my watch and discovered I had only run 3 miles. Seriously! 3 freakin' miles!? And I think I'm gonna run 50!? I made it back to my car shortly after that and headed for home.
I've got a lot less confidence about doing an ultra now than I did before I went on this run today but I think that may be a good thing. I'm going to keep hitting this trail, hopefully once a week, and decide in a month or so what my plan will be for 2012.
To be continued.............