It seems when runners talk about the Bruiser race at Bradbury, they all groan at the mention of the O-trail and with good reason as the last 2.4 miles of the bruiser are surely the most difficult. Even when training on the course it is not uncommon to hear them say, we ran the Bruiser -- less the O trail.
Yes this trail is intimidating and can be very confusing because of the crazy switch backs and the rough terrain. Add to this 9 miles of Bradbury trail racing before entering it, then fatigue also plays a factor in ones perception of the difficulty.
The O trail is surely the toughest part of the race for me so I decided to do some O trail repeats to work on balance, core, foot placement and familiarize with the trail. I would have liked to run it four times but my time window was too short so I did three.
This really is a great trail to run and surely keeps one on their toes. I find it is much more enjoyable when running it fresh. My thought was to run the first lap as a warmup, the second at race pace and the third as a cooldown.
This type of terrain has more to do with becoming comfortable and settling in than actual time or heart rate, so I left the watch and monitor in the truck. Of course I am too much of a stickler with stats to just run blind so I did document the time when I hit the trail and when I returned.
It was raining and that became a pleasure as it kept the body heat down and filled the two stream crossings which somehow makes the run more tranquil than dry rock beds. I also tend to get less sweat in the face and eyes.
I started the first loop pretty conservative but before I knew it, I was popping out of the woods onto the main trail and one lap was over. Lap two, I pushed the pace more and worked on foot placement and things went real well. It was on this lap that I got a glimpse of a female runner with a red shirt on.
She appeared for only a split second and I had no way of knowing if she was behind me or ahead of me. That is one of the cool things about the O, there were people in there but we may never cross paths.
Lap three ended up feeling just as strong and fast as lap two, coming out of the trail, I wished I had enough time for one more lap, but I didn't. Had a great kick and then walked but to my truck with a very satisfied feeling. I think the race in a couple weeks will go quite well.
Warm up jog from the parking lot, three loops of the O and then 1/4 back to start
estimated mileage 7.5 and estimated time 1:42:00 This puts my average O trail loops at about 33-34 minutes.
My intent was to turn "oh no, O trail" into "oh Yeah O trail" I think I did that.