Rough Run

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The view from the trail: Letchworth Gorge

Yesterday I ran (and hiked, and finally trudged) the first preview run of Sehgahunda. I’ve posted before about rough runs leading up to this race, and yesterday was a humdinger. As with last time, it was muddy and cold, which makes for a miserable situation.

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The upside of puddles: your shoes get rinsed off.

The upside was, I had a buddy to run with this time. We were able to chat which was both a pleasant distraction and a good way to gauge our running efforts. I’ve been using a Garmin but I still think “running by breath” is the best way to judge effort, since it’s simple and intuitive. By “running by breath”, I mean being able to run and talk at the same time.

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Cue the spooky soundtrack…

The Letchworth Park woods were cold and misty and the trail was cold and muddy. The run was an “out and back”, meaning out to a stopping point, then turn around and go back the way you came. The trick to that is, the trail gets hillier and twistier the farther you go, so the way back is harder than the way out, in that you are more tired and the hills a harder at the beginning of your run.

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The elevation change (fancy runner talk for LOTS OF FUCKIN’ HILLS) are intense as well. And this isn’t even the hilly part of the course.

BY the time I completed the run (12 miles, 2 and a half hours) I was cold, tired and pissed. My fingers were so stiff and cold I couldn’t get my shoelaces untied and I was so frustrated I just threw a new hoodie on an drove to Dunkin’ Donuts in my muddy gear so the car could warm up.

Looking back, I can see I made several mistakes:

  1. I decided to run in the woods on a cold, rainy day. Hot chocolate and Netflix instead!
  2. I tried to stay too close to my road pace on trails, and then did not adjust for conditions (cold and muddy require more effort, hence less speed)
  3. These miscalculation led to burnout and frustration at the end of the run and (probably) a slower time overall. Plus, I left so quickly I didn’t eat, change or warm up properly which wiped me out for the rest of the day.

So lessons learned. Sadly these are lessons I should know, but I suppose it’s better to be reminded before the actual race. Now back to my hot chocolate and Netflix.

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coming off the trail…

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