Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mountain Man

Today, I did a group run organized by at Pontiac Lake Rec Area on the Mountain Bike Loop (the same one I did in July). This is the hilliest course I have run to date and is filled with rocks, roots and other hazards. The first time I ran it, I wasn't ready for the course, but I did it. This time, I felt a bit more prepared.

I arrived a bit early and it was cold - below 40 F. I walked around a little bit to warm up. There were about 15 - 20 people in all there at the starting time and, after a few words by Karl, the organizer, we were off.

For the first 4.5 miles, I ran most in front of a little pack of runners. I could hear heavy breathing and footsteps behind me during this entire time. While they would prove more than capable of catching up to me, they didn't. Once they did catch me, I offered to let them pass, but they said they liked my pace. They passed me at mile 5, but we swapped places leading a couple times after that because, at points where the trail split, I chose to take the shorter, "easy" paths while they did not.

I was very happy to even come close to keeping up with these runners because, while they were not "elite", every one of them were good, veteran runners. They seemed surprised when we were talking during the run that I only started back running in the last year and that I did mostly road, rather than trail running.

I ended up doing the loop over 20 minutes faster than I did in July. This was due to 1) being in better shape and having more running experience, 2) running with other people. (While it wasn't a race, they certainly made me push myself) and 3) The weather conditions were much more favorable and the bugs which previously attacked me without mercy were no where to be found. While running at an 11:45/mi pace would typically not be good at this point in my running career, I was very happy with it today considering the course.

You aren't a kid anymore alert: My knees and other portions of my legs don't like running more than about 6 miles or so. After my longest runs, I my legs are usually sore the rest of the day and often the following day too. Based on some tips from the forums, I have been icing my knees (I don't plan to sit in a full tub of ice - that may be effective but does not sound fun at all). I've done this after doing a 3 mile run yesterday and again today. It really seems to help, so I think I will start doing this as a regular thing, especially after a particularly long or tough run. Any other tips out there?

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