Yesterday I arrived home from work to find some of the fun little products I ordered waiting for me on my doorstep. I got a headlamp ( Petzl Tikka XP) but the only testing I was able to do was later last night when I turned off all the lights and ran around my house :) Now I need to find some nighttime running partners and put it to a real test. I also ordered the Tikka Plus so I'll write up a comparison once I try them both on the trails! I also got my Ultragen and EFS sports drink from First Enduranc e as well. I've head good things about First Endurance from several ultra runners. More on that later.
I set out to run 6-8 miles with a significant amount of hills. I put on my Nathan waist pack and put EFS in one water bottle and Cytomax in the other. Then I pre-filled and mixed a bottle with Ultragen to have in my car for post run. One of the keys to recovery they say is drinking that within 30 minute of your workout ending. I also tried out my mobile posting to my typepad account and you'll notice a pic from yesterday that I posted live as I ran. Very cool. I just may use that on my next ultra run or maybe even my upcoming half marathon :)
The course in Whiting Ranch was basically 2.5 miles uphill then 1 mile down. Then 1 mile back up and 2.5 down. The first 2.5 miles uphill is definitely a challenge. Up until about 1.5 or 2 miles it's fairly gradual, but noticeable. The last .5 mile or so is pretty dang steep. I was testing out my power walking skills and passed a guy on a mountain bike who was determined to stay on his bike all the way up as slow as he needed to go. I got to the top and paused for about 20 seconds before heading down. I took a trail called Cactus that I've been wanting to take for quite some time and it was awesome singletrack. In fact the picture I took during my run was from this trail. It was narrow, steep in some places, technically challenging and lots of fun. It had a few ups and downs near the end before dropping into the floor of Whiting ranch.
At the bottom I rounded a corner and it was straight back up. This trail takes you from about the same starting elevation and ending elevation as the first 2.5 miles but does it MUCH quicker - so it's fairly steep all the way. Again - another good chance to try out my power walking. I think my average pace up much of this trail was 17 minutes walking which I'm pretty happy with.
Back at the top again I went to get some plain ole water. I had been drinking my EFS and Cyto. I still had some Cyto left but thought I'd put some plain water in my empty EFS bottle. I got over to the water and the spigot was SWARMING with bees. Needless to say I very quickly turned around sans water and started heading back down.
I had started my run earlier (4:45) for fear of it getting too dark while I was out there. After all, this was the location of the fatal mountain lion attack in January of 2004. Apparently that didn't stop the mountain bikers, runners and hikers from still enjoying this beautiful park. I swear on my last 2.5 miles heading out I saw 50+ mountain bikers heading in as well as a few runners and hikers. This place was packed last night and they were just starting their ride at 5:30 or whatever time it was. I said hi to nearly every one of them. They were all so nice. I love the camaraderie on the trail even amongst the different sports. Though I was rather amused at the guy who looked at me to say hi then got stuck in the sand and had to hop off his bike. Even better was the guy who looked to say hi and turned into a bush for a nice spill. That one kept me chuckling the rest of the way down. To his credit it was a tricky corner :)
When I got back to my car I was sore. I had been a bit sore when I started and in fact was fairly sore the last couple days from my weekend running. I was feeling it on this run, especially the last couple miles. I stretched out a bit and hoped into my car. On the way home I chugged the Ultragen in Tropical Punch flavor. It was refreshing and went down smooth. Not gritty or too milky. The same could be said for the EFS I drank during my run. I had the Tangerine Flavor and it tasted good. However, I've still found nothing as good as Cytomax. I like that Cytomax basically tastes like flavored water. Like you are drinking nothing at all. Good stuff!
So what's the verdict on the products? Well... The verdict is still out on the EFS because its really hard to give up my Cytomax. However.. My muscles feel GREAT today and I think that can at least in part be attributed to the Ultragen. So after trying it one time I'm already a believer. I will definitely keep using it and will be curious to see how it helps my recovery between runs.
I ran 12:38 miles for my 7 miles last night which I'm pretty happy about too. Considering the tough 3.5 miles of hills and how sore my legs were that's not bad. I'm only running one more time mid-week (3 miles Thursday) and just once on the weekend. So only 3 runs this week :( Ah well, I guess I should trim my miles just a little before my half next weekend.