Thursday, September 29, 2005

A 16K Hilly Trail Run - Wow!

Yesterday was cool, cloudy, and 19C/66F as I headed home from work. My wife was at her English class so I decided to take my scooter to our garden club in Weingarten, a town about 11K from us. I suited up, pulled on my old jeans and a jacket for the cool ride and got the scooter out. I haven’t used it for a couple weeks so I had a hard time getting it started. Finally after about 10 minutes it coughed and gave in and I was on my way. About half way to the garden I realized that I had forgotten my sports bar and sports drink. When I run the hill route I like to get a little more energy inside before I tackle the route.

In any case I arrived at the garden, left my jeans and jacket in our garden house, warmed up and was on my merry way. I wanted to do about 10-12K, easy pace, but with some aggressive hill climbing. Typically I run 2K to a water-filled quarry, take a left, run another 1K or so which takes me over a busy highway and start heading up a heartbreaking hill climb. Now I have waited up to 5 minutes trying to get across this street sometimes, so I have been wondering how I can avoid this. There is an old tunnel that the farmers used to use to drive under the road (before their tractors got too large), but there was no direct route to the hill trails, the couple times I tried this way I always had to stumble over a field to reach my trails.

Well last night I decided I needed to look again, there must be someway, the farmer had fields out back, there most be a path or something. So I ran through the tunnel under the highway, took a left and ran maybe a 100 feet. I ended up in the middle of a farm yard, no paths here, thank God no dogs either. Whew, so back to the tunnel and down the right-hand trail. Now I tried this side before and ended up having to cross a field to get to my trail. But this time I carefully looked for any trail that I might have missed. I reached the very end of the dirt road and was resigned to having to cross the field when I saw it. At the end of the road the farmer (or someone) had a little shack with some fenced-in goats. There was a foot path that led behind this little complex. I wondered…so I take the trail, out behind the goats, past the goats and into the woodline. Yes! It turned out to be a horse trail, lots of dirt, lots of roots, streep, windy and it let me onto the very trail that I had been running the whole summer. Yes, no more dogging cars trying to cross the highway!

I decided to run the trail in the reverse direction, this eliminated the heartbreaking hill climb at the beginning, but added a couple more milder hill climbs. Well this did wonders, I ate this trail up, it was just the right mix of hill climbing, downhill and recovery straight-a-ways! I started taking a few detours towards the end so that I wouldn’t go downhill quite so drastically, rather these allowed me to “slither” down the hill.

Anyway out of sheer enjoyment I ended up running a lot further than I had planned, a total of 1:37:24, or around 16K/10M. What a totally satisfying run! My legs are comfortably sore today, that is, not achy – just a feeling that they had a good workout. I can’t wait to take this trail again – I may even do my long run up there, there are mega-trails that I haven’t tried yet! And no asphalt!!

Speaking of a long run, I am trying to decide if/when/how far for one this weekend. I tentatively wrote in 21K for Saturday. I am trying to decide if this is too much or too little two weeks after my marathon??

Sounds great! I am really enjoying the cooler weather - it's so pleasant outside right now.
Oh wow, it sounds like such a gorgeous place to run

what is a scooter?
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