Some of you know I’ve been training all summer for Stone Cat 50 which takes place in early November. I’ve got a decent number of marathons under my belt, but trail running has been new to me. And the distance is….intriguing.
Fast forward to this past weekend; a 10.5 mile training run, followed by my longest training run ever of 31.18! Scott mapped out a challenging route that included 16 miles of trails and 15 miles of road. Here’s what it looked like on the elevation chart –
The course fell nicely into 3 loops –
- 1st 6 miles on trails in the dark with headlamps. Bella rocked this 6 miles alongside us!
- Next 12 miles on roads. Hilly but manageable.
- Finally, 2 loops on trails of ~ 5 miles each. Also hilly (refer back to elevation chart) but manageable.
And here’s the prettier version –
|So lucky that I can run to/within this beautiful wildlife conservation area! Check out the crane!|
|Trail head, where miles ~19 to ~29 went down|
|Our drop box....aka our BFF for our later miles!|
Here’s what I learned from my 31 miler –
- The anticipation was much more intense than the actual run
- Very similar to marathon training; more mileage of course, but same mental focus (just for a longer period of time)
- Falling (only once!) doesn’t have to be earth shattering to my running psyche
- Although I could curse the latter 10 miles on trails for the difficulty, I realized just how valuable that was. It was a great simulation of running on trails when my legs/feet/mind are tired.
- Training in the dark on trails with a headlamp was a great way to take that mystery out of the equation!
- Clusters of migrating birds can easily be translated into applauding spectators (hey, it worked!)
- I’ve confirmed a number of successful foods that seem to work without much intestinal fanfare (i.e. peanut butter cracker sandwiches, jelly sandwich, pretzels, Coke). The chicken soup and potatoes worked OK previously, but during the 31 miles, I had absolutely no interest.
- Too much GU in the first 18 miles left my stomach a little queasy; thinking that more food instead of GU might solve that.
- Salt tablets were my friend