Trail Monster Running

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Triple Jungle Run

I was a little disappointed that Zak and I didn't manage to get in a full 31 miles last Saturday so I decided to get out in the middle of the week for another long run in what I hoped would be better conditions. I didn't have the whole day free so I headed out in the afternoon from home and planned to attempt three laps of the "Jungle Run". The Jungle run is a loop that James (next door neighbor) came up with from our houses that starts and finishes with about 1.5 miles of road on each end, and has a solid chunk of gnarly trail terrain in the middle. The exact distance of the loop seems to vary each time we run it because there are so many trail options out there, so it ends up being anywhere from 8.5 to 10.5 miles. I planned to shoot for laps that would be about 10 miles each.

This loop also has some pretty decent elevation change, and it's where James did a lot of his training for Barkley (and other ultras) so this run seemed like a good punishing workout. To the best of my knowledge no one had ever attempted three laps, James and I (and Zak and Jeremy) have all done 2 laps. Even though I had my house as an aid station 10 miles is still a pretty long way between stops so I had to carry a fair amount of fluid and snacks to sustain me on the loops. Not knowing exactly what to expect for conditions I wasn't sure how long each lap would take. I had been out on some of these trails at the beginning of the week and found a few icy spots so I planned my route to avoid some of the worst ice that I knew was still out there. I had post-holed early in the week and slightly hyperextended my left knee, another reason I wasn't feeling 100% confident in being able to complete all three laps.

the first trail section from Hillside Ave

the gas line roller coaster
My first lap turned out to be a little less than 10 miles, and for the sake of consistency I decided to keep each of my laps on the exact same route so I could compare my splits for each lap and see how much I slowed down. I was pleasantly surprised to find the trails in pretty good condition, only a few icy spots, plenty of mud, but enough dry stretches to allow for some fairly consistent running. After the first lap I stopped at home long enough to change into dry shoes, pick up another gel and Honey Stinger wafer.

snomo trails in Blackstrap Preserve

the power lines at the edge of Blackstrap Preserve

deep water in some places

Skillins tree farm

nice dry trails along Blackstrap ridge

As I neared the end of the second lap, coming down Blackstrap Road, I saw Nathan running up the road towards me. I had told him I'd be doing this run today and invited him to come along for part of it but since he didn't know the loop I didn't expect him to find me. But luckily his timing was good and he found me not far from home. It was nice to have his company on the third lap and his presence helped keep me slowing down.

the Three Bitches, from the top of Bitch #1

power line mud

big puddles good for washing off the mud

pretty sloppy

I was really happy to be able to keep my pace consistent throughout with only about a 1.5 minute variation in my lap times. I have to admit though that this is partly attributed to stopping to take most of the pictures in the first lap, then running the last one without stopping.

splits: 1:33:28, 1:34:54, 1:34:50

time: 4:55:51
distance: 29.2 miles
pace: 10:12
elevation: 4028' gain

weather: upper 30's/low 40's

conditions: Lots of mud, a few icy spots, plenty of dry spots

gear: Inov-8 Roclite 295 (lap 1), X-Talon 212 (laps 2-3), socks, shorts, long sleeve shirt, gloves, hat, Nathan HPL #020

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