And no good reason not to go.
At first, only the agreement to meet a friend and run together got me out of bed at 4 o’clock this morning. Even up to yesterday night’s text exchanges confirming things like distance, meeting place, and clothes debate, I kept thinking “Eh, maybe I can just bail…”
When you’re looking for an excuse not to do something, one is as good as the next. But excuses are just that…excuses, not reasons.
It’s predicted to rain. I hate getting wet. Especially wet and cold.
It’s already been raining. The trails are going to be muddy. There are going to be water crossings. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid water crossings on foot, fearing blisters and chafing. One crossing is absolutely unavoidable (unless I can bribe someone to give me a piggyback ride), and at least knee deep, so I’m going to get wet.
I was in a sad frame of mind after the bad news that a close friend had to put one of her horses down.
But the Black Canyon race is coming up in 5 weeks, I’ve made a commitment to pace, and I’m for sure not going to be the anchor that slows my runner down. (Pretty sure that’s the definition of “bad pacer”.) Plus my own plans of Crown King mean I need the long runs, mileage, hill climbing, and make sure I’ve got gear dialed in.
The above was all written at 5 o’clock this morning before I headed out the door. And I’m very, very glad I did, because I had a fabulous run today.
13.67 miles in 3-1/2 hours. Half and hour faster than what I figured (and hoped for). And the best part is that I don’t feel like it was an all-out, now-trashed-for-the-rest-of-the-day effort. I feel like I got a really good run in, it felt like a productive training run, and I definitely still have gas in the tank.
The same friend I ran the Javelina Jangover with back in September came down for this run as well…I think she’s thoroughly hooked on trail running, and we had a blast today running together. Chatting on about all things endurance and horses makes the miles breeze by compared to slogging it out on the trails by yourself.
As promised, we got wet. Probably partway through, the clouds rolled in off the Bradshaws, and we had probably half an hour of getting slowly drenched. It was chilly, but not too bad…good motivation to just keep moving, and I couldn’t even be bothered to pull out my rain jacket.
One of my main purposes today was some major gear testing, and I’m really happy with how everything worked.
I went back to the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta (the newest model) and I really like the new soft bottles. I had that thing loaded — there was only one aid station on today’s run, at 13.5ish miles, which was our end-point (whole run was 25 miles), so we had to be self-supported. I packed a water bladder, one of the soft bottles, a ton of snacks, a jacket, sunglasses, and basic first aid kit in there. I really should weigh it at some point. I need to start training with the weighted pack more often…I think that would help my shoulders from getting quite as sore.
My Hoka Challenger ATR 2 shoes were a success. No blisters, no rubs, and feet are still really comfortable. I don’t love them over small, ankle-rolling rocks, and I caught the toe box several times today, especially towards the end when I was shuffling…but I got them with the intended purpose being Crown King (not technical, but really hardpack roads, so cushioning is a must) so I would feel comfortable in saying they’re good to go for that, and I’ll probably eventually look for another pair to add to the arsenal for more technical type of trails. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep putting the miles on these, and just pay attention in the technical stuff.
I had a major internal debate going on over what to wear. Shorts or capris? One or two top layers? Jacket? I ultimately went with InkNBurn capris, singlet, and long sleeve tech shirt. I typically don’t wear long sleeves — I get too warm — but today, with the rain and cloud cover, it ended up being a good option. Tech tube to hold the hair back. Balega socks got a two thumbs up…must stock up on more of these, because my feet felt fabulous in them.
The river crossings weren’t horrible…although the Agua Fria has now been re-named the “Agua Freeza Your Ass” because that sucker was cold. I pulled my shoes and socks for both water crossings, mostly because I was reluctant to trash my still-shiny-and-pretty shoes so soon. I know it’ll eventually happen, but let me enjoy them while I can.
At the deepest point, it was mid-thigh deep…which meant I got wet. Oh, well. My pants now matched my upper body, which was wet from the rain.
(Pro tip: When you store your phone in one of your running pack pockets that is placed up high almost to your shoulder, that is a prime location for it to be pelted with rain. Mesh pockets do not stop rain. Fortunately LifeProof cases do.)
So, I got my training goal of “at least a double-digit training run” in for the weekend, got to course preview some of what I’ll be pacing through, got in some good socializing, and gear tested and approved.
The Road to Crown King 50k continues on…