Got to get out for a group long run yesterday. Invited by friends for a 15 mile trail run a couple hours from home along the Buffalo River. With a sunrise like that, I knew it was going to be a good day!
We left a vehicle at the start and finish, an 11 mile stretch. The plan was to go the 11 miles and then do a little 2 mile out farther and back to the car to make 15 total. There were 6 of us total. I led us across the first water crossing and up the first 1 mile climb. legs were feeling really good as we climbed the single track rugged trail. Since I was leading I knew I needed to keep myself in check and be aware of feeling the need to push with faster runners behind me. I let them know they were more than welcome to climb past me. I decided I would climb allowing myself to get into hr zone 4a but not go higher. We got to the top of the ridge with views of the valley and river below. Hit the next descent and spotted this beautiful little waterfall and grabbed some pics.
It was also a strategic stop, I let the others take off ahead, I really did not want to lead the pack.
The group had divided up now into 3 smaller groups and I was behind the second. I caught up to the second group on the next climb as they hiked. I wanted to work a little going up and take it easier
on the downs and knew there was another up ahead, so I passed them and climbed in zone 3-4a for the next mile. At the top I met Tom, my friend from Arizona. We took off and cruised along the top of the ridge for about a mile or so before descending again. I led our flight downhill focusing on keeping my legs under me with good form, relaxing my upper body and avoiding braking on rocks...just trying to flow and allow my hips to open up and legs to kick behind me. It felt great and my legs were liking it! Up to now I had taken in very little water...It was upper 30s and cloudy with about 80% humidity, so I felt very cool and moist which kept me from feeling thirsty...but I was sweating and should have been drinking more. I was enjoying feeling good and not thinking much about how I was likely getting behind on hydration and calories.
At around 7-8 miles I took in a serving of pocket fuel- an almond butter with banana and blueberry mix...very tasty! Maybe about 150 calories. I took in a little more water and we crossed the creek and off onto the next climb.
This one was about a mile long and steep at first...the late fueling caught me here. I hit upper zone 3 and felt like I was maxing out 4b. I eased up into a power hike and resumed running when the grade lessened a bit. My climbing lagged a bit here, but felt good again as we cruised along the ridgeline. The final descent to the parking lot was about 500 feet over ¾ mi. It was a hoot!
We had completed 11 miles and stopped here to see if the others were close behind. This is where I should have taken in more calories and water. We were going to head another 2 miles down the trail and 2 miles back to make 15 total. We debated waiting vs. going. We both started getting cold and decided to go on and just ease up a bit. This is where my legs were like…”Hey..Hey!..I thought we were done!”....They felt quite tired and uninterested in continuing. My brain kept telling my legs, “It’s just another 2 miles then turn around….perk up..you’re almost there”. My leg
s were like, “well, brain...if you had taken care of me with more calories and water like you should have I might not complain so heartily!”....did brain listen and take care of
legs? NO! Brain said, “You’ve only got 2 miles out and 2 miles back, you’ll be just fin
e, now do what I say. My legs just wanted fuel and water...it would have taken less than 2 minutes. So I plodded along 4 miles, the brain mad at the legs and the legs mad at the brain and neither willing to do what needed to be done to actually correct the situation (stop and eat/drink). And brain was trying to convince legs that there was really only 2 miles left of work and the return would be a “cool down”. I payed for that poor decision with about a 4 lb weight loss and a bonk that lasted about 3 hours. Not good racing strategy, that’s for sure. Still playing around with my fueling choices. One thing is for sure, I need to stay on top of the calories and water and not get sloppy thinking I am feeling well enough that I don’t need anything or close enough to the barn to quit fueling/hydrating altogether. Unfortunately
, once you start feeling bad it is hard to correct and the mental g
ames begin….I want to quit, my legs can’t, I won’t...which is easy to handle when you only have 2 miles left...but when you have 20...that can be tough to recover from and can end things or make for a REALLY unpleasant day. So, tomorrow on my 15 miler which will include significant climbing...Lori is going to hydrate and fuel like she is racing
….will it make a difference at mile 11?....to be continued...