I’m training for the Double Chubb 50K in April, so now is the time that I need to get in all my long training runs so that I will be ready for the race. Every other weekend from now until the race, I will be running a long run. Lucky for me a bunch of my friends are also training for spring trail races. Today was a long run at Lost Valley. One loop of Lost Valley starting at the parking lot is 11 miles. Some of the bunch planned on one lap, while others planned on two. I had planned on two laps, but as always plans don’t always work out.
We met at the lot at the top of the Lost Valley hill at 8 am. We were waiting for Mike, but he thought we were starting at 8:30 so he wasn’t there. Emily gave him a quick call and he said to take off he would catch us on the trail. So we snapped a quick picture and were off.
We headed down the hill and toward the creek, we all made it across the creek without falling in. The snow was much deeper than I had expected. I didn’t have my gaiters on because I didn’t think the snow was so deep, that was a mistake. The group broke up a bit at this point, but at every intersection as I would come upon those in front of me I would be bombarded with snowballs.
We would also mark the direction with arrows made of sticks, this was so the group behind us would know which direction to go.
We were putting an arrow down about 2 miles from the start when Mike caught up with us, he was running like a gazelle.
As we passed the pond, Pat yelled take a picture of the pond, so I did.
We took off again, Bill and I were talking and the group sort of got away from us. We had to make some quick moves to catch up.
I started to fall off and finally lost the front group at about mile 8. My legs just wouldn’t go. My brain kept saying “Go you can do it” and my legs kept saying “no way, you can’t make me”. I was really starting to struggle. As I was running the last downhill before the finish, I saw someone coming up the hill and he had a snowball. It was my friend Mike, he was headed out for his first lap of the day. He didn’t hit me with the snowball. I talked to him for a minute and he said the group was just heading towards the parking lot, so they weren’t too far in front of me. I made it back to the parking lot and quickly ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and refilled my water bottle. We said our goodbyes to the people who only did the first lap and headed out for the second lap. Chuck, Patrick and me were going for a second lap and Kate met us to do a first lap.
When we made it to the intersection where you can take the short loop or long loop, I decided that I was having a really bad running day and was going to take the short loop, so I said my goodbyes and headed up the mile long climb. This was a real mistake, my legs just weren’t working and my quads were screaming trying to get through the snow. I was not having a good day. I stopped for a picture, thinking this would give me an excuse to stop.
So then it was back to running. I decided to try something new, a different running style, I needed to do something or I was going to be walking back to the finish. First though I stopped to puke and relieve myself. Then I started running like I had cross country skis on. Kind of shuffling my feet, this forces my body to use my butt muscles instead of my quad muscles. This should be easy for me since I have a LOT of junk in my trunk, it’s good strong junk, but still junk. This running style was working well for me, since I didn’t have to pick my feet up. My pace picked up and I started feeling better. After a few miles of this, I was felling guilty about taking the shorter loop, so since I was feeling better, I decided to head out on a third lap. I ran to the creek and jumped over it without getting my feet wet.
I ran up to the next trail intersection and then turned around and started back. I thought I might run into Mike, but never saw him. I headed back up the big hill and about half way up I decided to walk. My stomach started growling, I reached in my pocket for a HS Rocket Chocolate, and didn’t find one, I was sure I had put one in my pocket, but it wasn’t there. So I kept moving up the hill, thinking about food. When I got to the top of the hill and headed to the parking lot I heard someone behind me and it was Mike. We looked back and saw Chuck, then Patrick appeared at the top of the hill and soon after that Kate came in. So we all finished within 10 minutes of each other. I only ran 19 miles, not the 22 I had planned, but it felt like 25 miles. I’m glad it’s over. I sure hope the snow is gone for my next long run. Oh and when I got back to the car, my HS Rocket Chocolate bar was sitting on the seat of my van.