The beautiful trees I couldn't see on the morning drive
I was fortunate enough to be in PA for the final training run of the Fire on the Mountain Trail 50k. We would be running the second half of the course again. The day started out very foggy which caused me to be a bit late to the start but luckily they knew I was coming a waited before ending to the half way point to begin running.
It was again a small group, only five of us. Having not given my legs the "rest/lighter" days they need coupled with the race the day prior, I knew I would have a problem with the hills. What I didn't know was that my competitive nature would over power my common sense. On race day I use that drive to help me push through when I am tired and the terrain is challenging but on a training run I thought I would know better. But Heidi was running. She really is a mountain goat. Well, she runs like one anyway. She has legs as long as my entire body and is built for light running. She is one of those graceful runners.
the jealousy just oozes doesn't it?
As we started I struggled with finding a pace that wasn't too slow and one that wasn't too fast. I had to talk my legs into wanting to do this even though the conversations flowed around me.
Ready to put my feet up
The first 8ish miles were on the logging trails which will be the boring part of the 50k but hopefully will be the place I can put in some faster miles to offset the first 16 miles of very technical trail. With the chatter now behind me as I fell into my own pace I started to enjoy the morning.
Our group separated into two pairs and me. That's usually how it goes. I like to run solo. On trails I rarely hold a steady pace. I go too fast on downhills and flats and slow much more than I wish I did on uphills. After being in the lead I slowed and tried to stay right behind Heidi and Dave for a distance simply to watch her form but as the tops of the hills stretched beyond my view so did my fellow runners.
Now completely alone, behind the front two runners and ahead of the last two, I quickly made a pit stop before leaving the logging roads and entering the mountain bike trail.
Luckily for Heidi and Dave, I had to pee because they had missed the very small, slightly obscured mountain bike sign and the entrance for the trail and had ran passed it.
So we ran together again for a bit but as the hills lengthened and I was alone. I was happy to be alone. No pressure to run faster than I wanted or honestly could on those hills. It was time to remember that I run for me. Not an AG place or a medal. I run because I simply love doing it. Even when I am tired and my legs are screaming. I love telling my body that it can do it and it simply does.
Another nature call (yeah I wasn't feeling the greatest) and I heard voices behind me so I waited. And I was glad I had. Because the Kevin the RD was planning to drop and head back to the finish line. His running companion, Troy wasn't familiar with the course. So I had a running partner to finish the run with after all.
My apologizes to Troy for talking his ear off.
It was great to get to know Troy and take my mind off the fatigue in my legs. After a few fallen trees, a creek crossings or two we were suddenly back to the finish area. One quick trip around the "victory lap" just to practice the way the course ends for race day and I was done.
everyone else bailed on the victory lap but if by the grace of God I get close to a distance PR sub-6 I don't want that little required "victory lap" to push me over, I want to be mentally ready for the final push!
The views alone recharged me!
The run was great for many reasons. I needed that reminder that my current goals are still working against one another and I MUST alter them if I really want to be successful in any of them.
With a lot on my mind, I headed home. It had been a very successful day.
We spent our afternoon at my sister's watching football.