I'm still not able to put in big weekly miles or long Saturday runs, but I am very happy that I can run at all. I've slowly built up from 25 miles a week to 35 miles a week with no Achilles pain. This past week was my first week that I've been allowed a run as long as 10 miles...so of course I found a 10-mile trail race.
The McCall Trailrunning Classic is in its second year. There are 40, 20, and 10-mile options on the beautiful mountain trails above McCall, ID. I've been getting up on Moscow Mt more regularly the last couple weeks, so I've been getting my hills legs back slowly but surely. It was nice to get out on the McCall trails and push my legs a little bit more.
We started off on some sweet single-track and I found myself in 8th or 9th place after about half a mile. I moved up a few more spots about a mile in when there was a chance to pass. On paper the climbs didn't look too ferocious, but I found myself huffing for air and hiking more than usual even though I was employing my usual 'go slow on the climbs!' strategy to conserve energy. It's gonna take a few more months to get my hill lungs back I guess.
I passed a couple more before hitting the aid station/highpoint of the course at mile 6. That section is a short out-n-back section, so I could see that I was the fourth person to the top and about four minutes behind the two leaders (one guy and one gal who must have been within 30 or so seconds of each other). #3 arrived at the aid station just before I did and I passed her there.
So I left the turnaround in third place and feeling like I could make up some good ground because there was a lot of downhill left, and I felt fresh for some fast downhill (which I think is my strength on the trails). But when the downhill came my legs weren't there. I could tell I hadn't run this far or this hard since March (it's been that long?!?).
I didn't have much in the tank with a couple miles to go and I found myself peeking back to see if someone was coming up on me. But I was alone and holding on to third place. With about half a mile to go I came up on the guy who was leading at the turnaround. He looked like he was struggling a lot and I slowed to ask him if he needed water or anything. He said he was fine, but that he had missed a turn about a mile before and ran the wrong way for a bit before he recognized he wasn't on the course. He looked like his racing was over and that he was just cruising in to the finish line. I ran ahead and with a pleasantly surprising second place overall finish (first place male). The female (who was the wife of the guy who I had just passed) finished a couple minutes before me. My final time was 1:35:57. ( full results )
McCall Trailrunning Classic '10-mile' Course
Happy to be running again. Mostly happy to have a pair of plaid shorts.
Early part of the course that I walked with Annie and Sadie the day before the race.
After-race refreshments at McCall Brewery.
It certainly feels good to be running on the trails again. I know my ultra-level fitness will be slow to come back to me since I'm so limited right now on my weekly mileage, but I can tell even after four weeks of running low mileage that I'm definitely getting my running legs back.
My 'fingers crossed' goal is to extend my long runs enough over the next couple months to be ready for a fall 50k. The Moscow Mt. Madness 50k in September would be awesome, but that might be too soon.