Last week I headed in the Hills for my first trail run and ran a 5K stroller PR. This week ended up being almost a mirror image, but with higher mileage and a 10K in place of the 5K:
Monday - Rest. We did a prescribed burn at work. It wasn't as big of a unit as last Wednesday's, so much less hiking involved, but still got a decent amount of time on my feet.
Tuesday - 8.3 miles.
Wednesday - 6 miles. Also played basketball at lunchtime.
Thursday - 8 miles with 3 at marathon pace. Still struggling with running fast...just can't seem to easily get into a good rhythm when I try to push the pace.
Friday - 13.1 miles. Didn't run a half marathon intentionally, that's just how far the loop I ran ended up being. It started sprinkling about 3 miles in and was raining pretty good by the time I finished. As soon as I got done, the rain stopped.
Saturday - 17 miles. Headed back into the Black Hills for another long trail run. This time, I went to the Old Baldy and Rimrock trails. I ran the Old Baldy loop first, including the spur to the summit and then headed over to Rimrock (these two trails, along with the Little Spearfish trail, are connected, giving you access to about 20 miles of trails from a single trailhead). I had hoped to be able to loop around the Rimrock lower loop, connect to the Little Spearfish loop and then back around to the Rimrock and Old Baldy trails, but I was halted when I reached a narrow canyon and totally lost the trail underneath snow up to my thighs. So, I had to double back and ended up not reaching the Little Spearfish portion. In any case, the goal was to get 3 hours on my feet, which I did.
Sunday - 6.2 miles. Kind of on a whim, I registered for the Wellspring Stampede 10K in Rapid City. Shannon had planned on running this for a long time and I was just going to go along and watch her run and then run the 1 mile kids race with Caiden. The race was originally scheduled for April 26th, just one week after Boston (hence me not planning on running it), but a snowstorm postponed it until this weekend. I figured that I was planning on running 5 miles anyway and it would be easier to fit that run in if I just did it during the race. But, that meant I would have to push the kids in the stroller again and it would end up being the longest I have ever pushed them, plus it would come less than 24 hours after running a tough 17 mile trail run. Common sense has never been a strength of mine, so I went ahead and registered. This race is infamous for "the hill", which occurs in the first mile and features a grade of 7% (according to MapMyRun). Yeah, pushing a stroller loaded with 80 lbs. of kids up that thing was not fun. Going down the other side was pretty fun though, although I worried that if I lost grip of the stroller I wouldn't be able to catch it again. My first mile pace going up was 8:38, the next mile going down was 7:02 and then I started to feel the effects of the long run. My pace slowly slipped to the 7:20s, then 7:30s, then 7:40s and by the final two miles I was barely keeping it under 8 minutes, even though we were running on a relatively flat bike path by that time. Through the last few miles, I exchanged position with a guy I know from the local racing scene 3 or 4 times. Finally, just before we re-entered Canyon Lake park for the final stretch, I passed him again and stayed ahead. As we looped around the park, there was one lady in front of me that was within striking distance. I felt like crap and wasn't so sure if I was going to keep my breakfast down or not. I remember thinking that I just didn't know if I felt like trying to outkick her, but finally my ego/competitive nature kicked in and I sped up. I think she noticed me coming, because she surged a little, so I had to surge back, which brought me alongside her. She surged again and I surged again and I could tell then that she was hurting even worse than me. I pulled ahead and finished a few seconds in front of her. She promptly pulled off to the side of the finishing chute and puked. I thought about it, but managed to keep it down. If you're out there, lady in black, good job! Oh, and I finished in 47:20 (unofficially), which I think was 28th overall. This race had almost 200 finishers last year, but I haven't seen this year's official results, so I'm not sure how many there were or where I finished in my age group.
Total - 58.6 miles
And the racing story doesn't end there. About a half an hour after I finished the 10K, Caiden lined up for the kids mile race. I alternately paced him/tried to keep up with him as he alternated pace throughout (he's really good at hammering the downhills and running fast when there are a lot of spectators watching but then gets easily distracted by ducks or playground equipment). At one point, I looked behind me to see how far behind he was following and couldn't see him at all. As I'm wondering where in the heck he went, I turned and looked forward and he had surged about 10 yards in front of me. I had to hit full stride just to catch up. He ran a 9:47, which I think is pretty damn good for a 5 year old with relatively short legs, but I don't really have anything to compare it to. He did get a really cool framed copy of the official race print as a prize. Shannon had a rougher day during her 10K, although she did run a 5K PR in the first half. The second half didn't go as well, but we still had a good time.
This week, more fun on the trails is in store, but this time there's a race involved. My third race in 3 weeks, as it turns out. No stroller this time, though. This Saturday (which is also my 31st birthday) is the Fat Tire Trail Challenge on M Hill in Rapid City. It's a 4 mile trail race on some new trails they've constructed recently. It's also the first race in the Black Hills Trail Series. I'm hoping that my recent trail training will help me to not run this trail race as stupidly as I've run some in the past (I have trouble shedding the road racer "I'm gonna drop the hammer from the start and see how long I can hold on" mentality). We shall see...