Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Art of Being Flexible

Or in today's case opting for a trail run because it felt too windy for a bike ride.

I planned to meet Emma and Arron at the Erlton Bike Shop for the last group ride of the season this morning. I woke at 6:30 and heard the wind blowing through the trees outside my window. Since there are no leaves left the noise it was making was a sign that the gusts were in the teens at had been predicted. I texted Emma that I didn't want to ride in that.

So I went to Ridley Creek State Park (RCSP) for a trail run instead. I planned to run for 45 minutes. I set my timer for 20 minutes out and 25 minutes back. I figured I would go out too fast (typical) and would be tired on the way back. I chose the Yellow trail. I don't run or hike this one often. This became obvious when I could not remember where the trail goes when it crosses picnic area 17. I ran around the parking lot once looking for the pick up only to remember as I came around that the trail comes up along the washrooms; circles around and goes back down the other side. Signage is not great in this spot. In the end I arrived back at my car 4 minutes early. I didn't need the extra time on the second half. Cool! (and just to be sure I ran around the parking lot on the way back through 17 so the distance would be equal)

I'm taking this as a victory. I didn't slow down as much on the second half as I thought I would. In the interest of full disclosure though you should know that the yellow trail is not as steep as the white or blue trails (red is the flattest although nothing is entirely flat at RCSP). And without the MLC trail rabbits to chase I was able to keep my own pace leaving me a bit more energy to tackle the hills. Still, this is really good and the entire outing gave me a boost of confidence. My right glute/hip did make noise about a quarter of the way through but unlike Wednesday night's run I was able to run through it and felt great at the end.

I have kinda, sorta made a schedule for myself to get ready for Tyler 10k in April. I built the schedule to run for time not distance. Trail running is slower than road running and all the trail running articles recommend letting go of distance so as not to get discouraged. So my schedule is based on how many minutes I run each outing.

I have lots of time until the Tyler 10k so the schedule is not very aggressive. I know with the holidays and the sister birthday cruise I won't be able to run every weekend and lack of daylight will make my weeknight choices slim as far as trail running goes until February when after work light starts to return. Hence, it's a kinda, sorta schedule. I will not be running Tyler 10k for time. I will be running to finish. However, to make sure I can train well enough to finish I estimate that 100 minutes is sufficient time for me to finish a trail 10K. That's a 16 minute mile. I can hike 20 minute miles so this feels reasonable to me. Today I ran 45 minutes (I made up my 4 around the parking lot which only served to remind me how much I love trails over pavement now). My kinda sorta plan is to build slowly each week to 100 minutes 2 or 3 weeks before the race. I may or may not run for distance a few times before April I haven't decided yet. The upside is to see where my pace really is, the downside is maybe finding out it's really horrible and getting discouraged.

It was a nice day for a run. Cold and sunny to start. I saw my shadow but didn't take a photo and by the end the winds had brought in thick cloud cover so the chance had passed. Instead I took this photo


I couldn't see the reflection on the phone screen with my sunglasses on or I would have lowered my hand away from my face. So it's goofy photo but I kind of sums up theme of my morning. Me after a trail run superimposed through the window over my bike in the back of the car which didn't get out today.

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