That pretty much describes today's run. The group met at the fire station in Cool bright and early. It was chilly but not too bad. The coaches decided that we'd run the beginning loop of the Way Too Cool course. The first 2 miles of the course are on pavement. I forget how much pavement can hurt sometimes.
Once we got off the road however, we hit mud and lots of it. It rained all day yesterday and so the trails were muddy, slippery and in some cases blocked by fallen trees. I felt like a kid again playing Capture the Flag with my friends. Crawling under and over wet trees, kicking mud up my backside and sucking wind climbing up some pretty steep hills was pretty much all we did for over 2 hours today. We managed about 12.5 miles.
The coaches had arranged for some veteran trail runners to join and lead us today since our group varies from super fast runners to moderately slow ones. Robert Evans, who was second in the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 was there as well as Mark Lantz who was top 10 in Western States in 2009. Some hard core runners but super nice and filled with a lot of knowledge. Both of them had started their Western States training yesterday. Mind you, Western States is at the end of June. Wow. They said they also ran 20 miles yesterday and were running tomorrow. Again, hard core.
But they led us through some of the trails that I had run on this summer with the Summer 7 group. I can't describe how it felt to actually know and recognize the trails we ran on today. It actually made me feel like I am a "real" trail runner! :-) The Auburn/Cool area is filled with tons and tons of trails and to know one of them by heart now so that I could take a friend out there and do it on my own is really pretty darn "cool." No pun intended (is that even a pun?).
Anyway, I thought I'd share some stats from my Garmin 405 since I have really been digging the Garmin Connect program lately. I wear my heart rate monitor when training. Always. It is just a comfort thing to know whether I am really working hard or whether I am just complaining for no reason. Today my Max Heart Rate high hit 177 at mile 5. This is probably where I was thinking "what on Earth am I doing to myself!?" But then we hit a downhill section and that childlike feeling took over. Aaah I love trails.
Cool is up in some high elevation to begin with but to give you an example of what we climbed today . . . at about mile 9 on my Garmin it says we started at 669 feet. We climbed to 1,631 feet just before mile 12. My bum is definitely saying "hello" right now but in a good way. The best part about running trails vs running on the road is that tomorrow, I will not be sore. Not one bit. I may be tired but the muscle and joint soreness I get from running on the road never seems to come when I run on trails.
When we finished the run and I got to my car to remove the mud caked shoes I was wearing, I got a text/picture message from home. What a morning!
"Hi Mom. Miss U"