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Training Log Archive: Ari-o

In the 7 days ending Jul 28:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Trail Run2 7:07:29 36.0(11:52) 57.94(7:23) 1883
  Run2 1:54:25 12.8(8:56) 20.6(5:33) 367
  Total4 9:01:54 48.8(11:06) 78.54(6:54) 2250

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Sunday Jul 28 #

9 AM

Trail Run 3:50:48 [1] 17.1 mi (13:30 / mi) +1357m 10:50 / mi

So the Escarpment Trail race. Alex told me about this, and it sounded like fun. They've run it for 43 years, making it one of the oldest trail races around, and it is billed as being very hard. Here are some excerpts from the website about its difficulty:

The trail is viewed by many as an exaggeration of the term. It is extremely rocky and a runner must expect to navigate over boulders, downed trees, gullies and hidden roots the entire distance. There are numerous places where runners must climb hand over fist to scale a rise, conversely, extremely steep downhill sections add not only challenge to the course, but also a high degree of unwelcome danger. There are sections of the course that travel along cliffs. If you're not careful, you could fall to your death. Very few runners go the distance without taking at least one painful spill. Most runners take many. Believe me, you're going to take a flop or two, or more.

Wow, that sounds hard! The elevation profile doesn't have a ton of climb, but I've been on a lot of trails that look easy on a map and are then rocky and messy and slow. The winning times aren't that slow—in the 2:45 range—but the description, and the various articles they link to, all make it sounds scary.

But I run in the Whites. (Okay, maybe not run.) How bad can it be?

Not that bad at all, actually.

I think when the race started, there were basically no trail races, and it was the middle of the 1970s running boom, and everyone was running roads. Yes, compared to a road, this is hard. But compared to a real trail in the Whites, it was a cakewalk.

Oh, except that it was 90˚.

Anyway, I lined up in the third wave in a parking lot and ran off, with Alex 5 minutes behind. I wound up in a pack of 5 (out of 15) with a guy out in front, and the trail was pretty mellow: 500 feet per mile for three miles. But I had no idea if that was the case. After a few minutes I burned a couple matches to catch up to the guy in front of me, still at an easy jog up this mountain. Was this really the hardest trail ever? I made a joke "it's like this the whole way" and someone laughed, but I actually wasn't that far off. I did have one little spill along here, into mud and pine needles.

Got to the top a bit tired and winded, with the heat already playing tricks on me. The aid stations were excellent, frequent and well-stocked, despite volunteers having to hike everything in, often to the tops of mountains. That's pretty impressive. Drank water and gatorade and ran on. (I had my nerd vest on, because I thought I might need my hands a lot.)

Then down and some rolling. My downhill feet weren't that happy. The next climb was steep. Not really hand-over-hand, but hand-on-knees. 1000 feet over the course of a mile. By all accounts, this is "straight up." We really should get these people on the Ammy. Or pretty much any trail in the Whites. I've packed trails that go up 1000 feet in a mile, three miles in a row. So, yeah, you don't run the whole trail, but the other parts there's some really nice trail running. Probably 85% is quite runnable. I was passed by the lead woman who had a Run the Whites singlet on. I asked her if she knew where the hard parts were. Nope. The Whites this was not.

A steep section down, followed by some pretty mellow flat bits. Along here, though, I stepped funny and my back went pop, and all of the sudden pushing hard hurt. The temperature didn't help, so I figured I should drink a lot at the next aid station. Which I did, filling my nerd vest, too. Still, the last climb, which was pretty stepped and had some running, was struggly.

I wasn't the only one in struggles, having dropped some folks through here (but also getting dropped; I finished 35th, right about where my bib would predict). One guy was running with me and I asked him about the rest of the trail, thinking there was still something hard to come. Nope, he said, it was pretty mellow. Rolling mostly downhill, mostly runnable, a few ledges, nothing bad. I used this knowledge to open up, to drop him and pass a few more people. Almost caught someone at the finish, but my legs and back were still not feeling perfect, so I didn't.

Then I put ice down my back and waited for Alex.

Friday Jul 26 #

6 AM

Run 46:43 [1] 4.6 mi (10:09 / mi) +367m 8:08 / mi

Easy to get to NP when you're jetlagged and it starts at, well, noon.

Hubwayed over, then ran up the hill. The workout was something where you ran whatever you wanted to on a team, which was fine, because my team just wanted to run. So we all ran what we wanted to run. With a race, I ran not too too hard.

Tuesday Jul 23 #

7 PM

Run 16:29 [1] 2.0 mi (8:14 / mi)

So there is a thing in Amsterdam called Run Junkies on Tuesdays at 7:30. It seemed like better than trying to get to November Project again at an ungodly hour (or at least, waking up at an ungodly hour). A call went long and it was hot (near 90!) and I ran 2 miles through Amsterdam, following tram lines mostly, to get there on time.

Run 43:51 [1] 5.4 mi (8:07 / mi)

Ran out with the 5:00 pace group (kilometers!) because it seemed too hot to go faster. Watch said mid-80s, so at least it cooled down a bit. Nice run through Amsterdam. Somewhere, which was nice to have someone else lead.

Run 7:22 [1] 0.8 mi (9:13 / mi)

A few minutes run after the swim to the restaurant whose owner started the run club. For a beer and a big omelette and salad. And then more omelette, just standing in the street, watching the trams go by, drinking a beer. Kind of perfect.

Monday Jul 22 #

9 AM

Trail Run 3:16:41 [1] 18.9 mi (10:24 / mi) +526m 9:35 / mi

Another session of Finding Hills in Holland (sponsored by Maartje). Except not in Holland, per se, but over near Germany (had I known on the run how close I was, I definitely would have run back and forth across the border. Alas. Train to the start was replaced by a bus for a section (overnight work having taken too long) so I got started half an hour late, because the trains only run every half hour. Shucks.

The run started through a town and then across a ferry. Yes! You run to this little ferry, which came across with one car, pay the ferryman 40 cents (!) and me and two bikes took the ferry across the river. It was really that cute. Then some nice country road with basically no cars, then across and up a real, actual hill. About 60m. Then down, across a dune-y area, and in to more very nice woods.

I got lost when I didn't realize the trail markings changed (but way better markings than the last run) so did an extra bit through cow pastures, then through more woods and in to a little town and through it. Then some nice pasture paths—felt like portions of the AT down south almost—and some hilly bits before the final push on to Nijmegen. I missed some of the route through town, but was pretty much out of water and happy just to jog through the town center and back to the train.

Mostly in the shade, but about 80 the whole way, but I felt pretty good given the temperatures, which bodes well for next week. Will be hot this week here, I'm getting out just in time. Legs feel fine after these two 20-milers, but of course they haven't included much pavement. Will have to do some of that before NYC.

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