As I got closer to the power pole (my marker of 8 miles) I contemplated how I would get the balance of my 20-mile run in. Continuing up the trail would not be an easy option, but it would guarantee me a total of 20 miles. I considered heading back and adding on elsewhere in the park, but wasn’t sure where to add on a 4 mile loop. By the time I finally reached the power pole I had decided that it would just be smoother to continue onward and upward…and so I did.
With 1 1/2 miles to go until my turn around, the trail suddenly got really tough. Not only was it brutally steep, but it was rugged with areas of loose rocks, deep ruts and fallen tree branches. I began to question my decision to continue in this direction. Since I had already gone some unknown distance, I was committed. I walked, and then ran, and then walked again. Finally, I decided to run for a songs worth of time. No matter how hard it was, or how slow I was going, I ran. Finally, I reached my sign and turned back towards home.
I’d been running for 1:49:10 by this point in my trek. I was satisfied that had done what I had set out to do. It was somehow different from running a flat run – I still had 10 miles to go but felt that I had already done the job. It was true. The following 10 miles was down hill. All I needed to do was relax and roll down the hill…AND pay attention. If I twisted an ankle or something horrible like that it would be all for nothing.
The return trip was indeed fast and easy. It was not without pain however. My quads were feeling the effects of the continual down hill. Ouch!
With 3.7 miles left to go, I stopped to stretch. I began running again, determined to finish with less than 3 hours (moving time). I felt comfortable picking up the pace a bit more as I am more familiar with this part of the trail. The only difference was that there must have been a tractor shoveling through recently. It left the trail smoother, but the ground felt more compacted. Ouch! I muddled through and was soon turning the corner with a little over 1 1/2 miles to go.
Woo-hoo! Like a horse returning to the stable, the last section is always faster. I picked up the pace even more. I finished my run with the elapsed time reading 3:02:18.
It’s officially Taper time!!
wow, what a great job! Fantastic time, too! you are so ready.
Congratulations on what sounds to be a great 20 miler.
Over the river and through the woods..well almost. The trail looks great from the picture and sounds like a nice way to get in 20 miles, especially the downhill 10, yeah!
Hi Darrell, 10 miles downhill does sound nice, until the quads start complaining (not so nice). It was a beautiful run though.