Tuesday, January 6, 2015

MIA on the Trace: Part II

My “training plan” involved a ten mile run this past weekend.  Then there was the aforementioned home improvement ultra.  I had hoped to get up early Saturday morning and put in a couple hours of wrap up work and then cleanup.  I totally misjudged the amount of work that was left and Mandy and I spent all day Saturday cutting drywall pieces, laying linoleum, and cleaning up the massive mess Jeff and I had generated on Friday.
Friday night we slept like logs.  Saturday night we slept like logs.  Sunday I felt stiff as a log.
Ten miles.  Ugh.
I needed something easy.  No ridiculous Red River Gorge traverse on Rough Trail or some rot like that.  Easy.
Fellow Ruggedeer Al had thrown out an invite to run over the weekend and I had replied that I would love to but my weekend was pretty much locked in to the bathroom project.  So on Saturday evening when I sent a message that I could possibly still run on the morrow I knew likely he would be headed back home to Ohio.
To my pleasant surprise he replied that he and his wife were going back Monday and that he’d be up for a run Sunday afternoon.  I caveated that I would be slow and perhaps wussish due to wrecking myself in the bathroom but Al was still game.
Mandy said she’d take the kids hiking at Natural Bridge while Al and I ran the Sheltowee Trace south from the lodge parking lot.  So we gathered up all of our respective gear and headed out to meet up with Al.
When we arrived in the parking lot Al was ready to go, and so was the fam, so we all took off.  With almost no warmup we headed up the Original Trail/Sheltowee Trace.  If you’re not familiar with the Original Trail at Natural Bridge it’s a bear to run cold.  In four tenths of a mile the trail gains about four hundred feet in elevation.  It’s about an 18% grade average with lots of steep steps (but not as many as Balanced Rock Trail!).
Graciously Al let me set the pace.  My heartrate was high, my breathing was maxed out, and I felt like I needed a seriously long nap.  But once we topped out and had some relatively flat ridge running ahead of us I was able to settle into a comfortable pace that I was eventually able to ratchet up.  I’d cautioned Al that I would probably only be able to manage an 11:00 or 12:00/mi pace.  In the end we ran 12:04.  There were times I had to push kinda hard to keep it up.  Other times I felt like I was going to crash spectacularly. 
My trick hip hurt the entire run.  On Monday I was staggering around like an old man waiting for a hip replacement.  The same side ankle ached like I had sprung it, and the opposite knee felt swollen and inflamed.  I’m freakin’ falling apart.
The major positive aspect of the run was seeing that the USFS abused section of the Sheltowee south of the state park has been cleared of trees and is both runnable and bikeable right now.  Reportedly the Sheltowee Trace Association got in there and did some major clearing work.  Kudos to Steve and the STA!
Since the forecast is for obscenely cold weather this week I think I’m going to forego running altogether and spent my time in the gym doing general conditioning and babying my delicate appendages.  I’ve noticed distinct weakness in both my upper body and now in my knees.  I know I’m not so old that I just can’t function anymore, but something is up and I am determined to find my strength again.

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