Monday, February 1, 2010

30 at 17

That’s 30 miles miles and 17 degrees, respectively.  It's been a harsher winter here in the Keystone State than in several years.  On Saturday I executed the next planned installment of my training for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on March 27.  Got up at 4:15 AM, out the door soon after.  That’s actually my normal alarm time on my regular workdays…somehow seems morally wrong, though, on a Saturday.

Since the wind was minimal, the actual air temp, while in the teens, was not much of a factor. I just dressed in another layer and ran pretty much as usual. And NO, despite conventional “wisdom” to the contrary, I did not freeze my lungs (and I didn’t ruin my knees, either).  Did freeze up my moustache, though.

I started out, predawn, carrying a flashlight. Although the skies were overcast, the nearly-full moon managed to provide some indirect, diffuse illumination, so that I did not need the light to see the road. Combined with my reflective gear, the flashlight was handy and comforting for making sure that passing cars did indeed see me.  Cars passing me on these rural roads around my house were minimal, no more than 1-2 per mile (total of both directions).

Since the Umstead course is eight repeats of a 12.5 mile course, I wanted to simulate that looping to some extent in this run, to see what the psychological effect was about running a medium distance loop, coming in for a short break (5 min) for food & drink, then immediately heading back out again.

My first loop was northeast, through Marion towards New Franklin, on the way crossing Swamp Fox Road (I love that name!). That loop was 16 miles and it was daylight when I arrived back at the house at the end of Loop 1. I came into my unheated garage, chugged a cold coffee and some water, ate a quick bagel with cream cheese, and a handful of peanut M&Ms.

I dropped off my flashlight, reflective sash, and empty water bottle. I changed my gloves to a dry pair (even in the winter, my hands sweat enough to make a pair of gloves noticeably damp), slipped a full bottle of water into my waist pack, and headed back out the door for the 14 mile Loop 2.

This loop was basically to the west. It, too, went uneventfully, and I soon arrived back home. Total elapsed time was 6 hours, not a land speed record by any stretch, but a decent time, which included recurring walking breaks on the steeper uphills.

I was slightly tired at the end of 30 miles, but definitely had miles left in the tank.  This was a good, solid training run for Umstead and a real confidence booster that my training remains on track.

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