Jim, Alan, Scott, Lily, Mindy, Valerie, Erik, Rachel, and Dave all joined us at 7am for a run of the Scuffle course. Despite being significantly wetter and muddier than last week we completed it in almost the exact same time. So much for taking it a bit slower this time around. I guess I was proceeding under the plan of getting in as many miles as possible before it got too warm. I did want to try to make our stops back at the car between each race course as quick as possible but not sure that we managed to do that.
Yana joined shortly after 8am as we headed out to do the Breaker, a few others went back out for a longer run on the West Side trails. I made sure to take it a little easier on the big uphills this time, I think last week I wasted too much energy early on by running too many of the ups. Both Chuck and I were really taking advantage of the downs, it's just not as much fun when you put the brakes on. I was reminded of the advantages of doing speed work (5k's) relative to trail running, it really helps to be able to have a quick turnover of the legs when you're going down hill. Short but very quick strides means less braking and less impact on the feet and legs.
We finished the first 4.5 mile lap in about the same time as the week before. Although less than half way through the planned distance I felt a lot better than I did at this point last week and I knew finishing the whole run wouldn't be a problem. The big difference is that I was drinking Sustained Energy today, in addition to taking gels and S!Caps, whereas last week I drinking plain water with the gels and S!Caps. I don't know what I was thinking last week.
A few people stopped after the first lap of the Breaker and there were about 6 of us that headed out on the second lap. This time around it took us about 50 minutes, a little slower than last week which was probably a good thing. By now we were doing a little more walking, not because any of us were that beat, it just seemed like the smart thing to do.
After finishing the Breaker Jim, Lily and Yana decided to end their run, Chuck, Jeremy and I took a few minutes at the car, probably our longest break of the day. Since we were heading out for 12 miles, our longest stretch without the chance to refuel, we all needed to be sure we had enough to get us through 2+ hours of running in temperatures that were starting to warm up quite a bit. Luckily the single track of the West Side trails is shaded enough that we never felt the heat too badly.
One of the toughest parts of the Bruiser course is all the tight turns that slow you down. No matter how good you feel or how fast you want to go the switchbacks limit the speed and the harder you try to go (or the more tired you are going into it) the more of a full body workout it becomes. So we chugged along at a pretty easy pace knocking down the miles. Our legs were definitely starting to get a little tired and our feet a bit sloppy. This was my longest run in my Mudroc 280's, I've always thought of them as better suited to shorter faster runs but they were perfectly for the gnarly muddy trails of Bradbury and they had no problem hanging in there for the distance.
This was Jeremy's first visit to the O-Trail and Chuck and I had been trying to prepare him for the final 2.5 miles of this run as we approached. The O-Trail is bad enough at the end of the 12 mile Bruiser but as far as we knew no one has ever tried it after running 25 miles.
This is how you fit 2.5 miles of single track within a 1 mile loop:Despite the distance we had already covered going into it the O-Trail turned out not to be too bad. We were all ready to be done and pushed the pace as much as we could, to the point where I felt like I was getting sea-sick from all the switchbacks. Jeremy had run out of water before entering the O-Trail and when I stopped to give him some of mine Chuck took off and really picked up the pace. From that point on we kept seeing Chuck ahead of us, or sometimes behind us. Sometimes running straight at him before the trail sent us on a sharp turn that had us running the opposite direction. It all became a bit maddening, but we weren't actually trying to catch him. Finally we crossed the fallen birch that marks the almost end of the O-Trail, one more rocky outcropping and then the craziness was over. Jeremy and I put in a little kick at the end and found Chuck sitting down with a fresh bottle of water when we returned to the parking lot.
After last weeks disappointing attempt at this run it was great to get back out there and kick it's ass. Thanks Chuck and Jeremy!
distance: 27.2 miles
weather: mid 60's to mid 70's, mostly sunny
conditions: wet trails, many puddles, plenty of mud
gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 280, Wright Socks, shorts, sleeveless shirt, hat, Nathan HPL #20