Monday, April 12, 2010

A Bash in the woods

Sunday was my first time running the Bimbler's Bash"10kish" trail run in Guilford's Westwoods.

The day was partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s but climbing, pretty good running weather. I arrived with plenty of time to get my race number (and technical shirt!), walk over the start/finish areas to help warm up, and stretch. While I was no expert on the course, I had walked and run portions of it on two occasions earlier in the year. I knew it could be waterlogged when wet and offered plenty of rugged terrain.

As this was my first race since last fall, and a longish run for me in any event, I started conservatively. The early going was congested and there were several forced stops for walking due to congestion of the single track trail. On the plus side, this kept someone like me from starting too fast, and I knew there were miles and hills yet to come.

And before long those constant ups and downs took their toll. The course would wind past some cool boulder caves (28:03) I had explored with my wife and kids earlier in the spring. I was working too hard, and watching the tricky footing, to notice too much of that on this day.

To avoid overtaxing my poor Achilles, I ran the hills very slowly (if "gentle"), or walked (if steep). This meant I would fall behind other runners for a time, but I found myself catching up steadily on the flats and downhills. The flags kept me on course throughout.

The scramble up to the Lost Lake aid station (about 54:30) left me gasping and I was grateful for some liquids. I staggered on, at times feeling I had nothing left, but found that a brief walk or pace reduction left me ready to press on. Despite the fatigue I was able to speed up my leg turnover on the flatter portions. Eventually the sound of bagpipes came floating through the the trees. The finish beckoned! I accelerated along the soccer field and into the finish (1:25:20). Pretty slow for a "10k" but this was not just any 10k. Once I could breathe again, I found some water and was glad to find PB&J, bananas, and mini chocolate bars available.

Any why 10kish? Rumor has it the course may not be exactly 10K. For more information I can only refer you to the Bimbler's Sound website, but I will say that was the longest and toughest 10K I've ever done. And I would return again next year for more.

I have to add that from beginning to end the volunteers were friendly and helpful, and their task was no easy one given the needs for marking the course and getting drinks to the fairly remote aid station. Great job, Mr. Bimble & co.!

Gear report: Brooks Cascadias felt fine throughout, and are clearly a step up from road shoes for the trails. I wore a hat and sunglasses to minimize glare, although it was not the brightest day. Wicking t-shirt was a good call.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Humbling day but a neat deer encounter

Tackled a hilly trail course today and the uphills got to me, leaving the legs very tired. I'm still easing gently back into hills after living in flatland for years and having my Achilles issues in 2008-2009. I suppose I made some progress today, but it was hard.

Ran past a tom turkey but my neatest wildlife encounter of the day came earlier. I came up on a young deer, then realized there were two more near as well. They did not run off, but stood staring at me, the nearest maybe 30 feet away. One of the others bobbed its head at me repeatedly. I stood still for a time watching them, then slowly walked on before resuming running. Pretty neat I thought.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No medium tights to be found

So there's an apparent national shortage of medium running tights right now. Who'd have thought my size was so hard to find? Is it because winter is ending?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mud run

More spring rain had left the woods pretty soggy this evening. My Brooks Cascadias handled it all pretty well.

I saw four wild turkeys together.

Two weeks until the Bash trail race. I'm going to have to hold back in the early miles, until I get stronger. The last two racing seasons I've started with a 5k, but the Bash is twice or that... or more. It's billed as "10kish".

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rainy day

Resting the hip I tweaked last week. Have a cold. Hope to run again soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springing forward

21 days to the first trail race of the season on my calendar.