Monday, September 17, 2012
Brad Ultra Training
The initial plan was to join the group for the course training run on Saturday, it seems I never run with them. I spent much of the week trying to adapt my schedule to meet the plan.
One thing that came up was the chance to run a few miles in the dark. Dave was camping at Bradbury and had a few night miles on the agenda. I was hoping to join in because I have only run in the dark a couple times and Stone Cat is coming soon.
I would not say I am scared of the dark or anything but it is a little concerning to be in the woods running alone in the dark, so a run with Dave would have worked out perfect. Safety in numbers I guess.
Well the night run didn't work out as I didn't arrive home until close to 9:00. On top of that, an 8:00 start at Bradbury was out of the question because of a 9:00 am schedule conflict.
So....my new plan was to start early Saturday morning with my son and we would both get some dark running in. Well, his knee is still acting up and he elected to take it easy this weekend and run on the road. He did not want to jeopardize his StoneCat Marathon plans.
New plan.....I would run the BBU course alone, in the dark, and hopefully not get lost or worse, get eaten by something hungrier and faster than me. My hope was to run one loop and then meet up with the group at 8am and at least say hi.
I landed at the school at 5am, got the gear together, put on the head lamp, took a deep apprehensive breath and hit the woods. The trail is so different in the dark, especially here because I am not too familiar with the trail.
I added four things to my gear for safety, my cell phone...my fold up hunting knife...an extra flashlight and a compass. Not that I felt I needed these items but being prepared is a smart thing.
I can't believe how many times I tripped or landed funny because of the limited vision. Running in the dark is totally different and you have to pay much more attention .....similar to the O trail type of focus.
Before I made it to the top of the long hill, I lost the trail three times and had to search a bit to relocate. I also noticed many new noises that seemed so much louder and more prominent when your vision is impaired.
I never felt threatened but did find myself having visions of what might be out there just beyond my tiny beam of light. My thoughts turned to Joe and how he ran solo at night on the 100 mile trek......damn he was pretty brave as those woods were surely full of many unknowns.
I felt much more comfortable when I hit the Boundary trail because I know it so well and somehow just felt relieved to be on familiar ground. I crested the mountain and hit the East side trails. I cruised around for about another half hour before the sky started showing signs of morning daylight.
About two hours and forty five minutes into my run, I was heading back down lunch break hill and actually feeling pretty good. I figured my timing was perfect and the gang would be just about ready to hit the trail when I got back to the School.
There was a large group of runners ready to hit the trail and I decided to tack on a couple more miles and run with them. It would be good training to run Lunch break hill at about the time I would at the 50K. I had no idea how my body would handle it but figured I would hang near the rear if needed.
We took off and I was running near the front and actually feeling pretty darn strong for three hours running. I ran the whole hill no problem while maintaining my position in the group.
I figured I would turn around and head back once we hit the bottom of the mountain so when we hit the terrace trail, I just let it all hang loose and let gravity dictate my descent.
It felt great though I suspected I would suffer for it on the climb back up. I turned around at the parking lot and shouted out greetings as I passed all the runners coming down the trail.
The run back up was not as bad as I figured but I was definitely tired coming down lunch break hill for the second time. It all worked out well and I made it home for 9:00
I could have easily run longer, though one never quite knows where that bonk is going to rear up. All said and done I feel the 50K training is on course and expect a favorable run at the BBU.