Lately, Saturday has meant trail run day. Today was no different. 12 miles of fun to be had on the High King/Tecumseh trails in Brown County. Who was coming? Well, initially we thought it would be me, Tim, Wes, dad, and Scott. Bill stopped by our house to deliver some Carb Boom gels I'd ordered, and we bullied him into considering joining the trail run. I explained to him that it would be a moderate run--I had already told Wes I didn't want anything crazy. I'm getting too close to my peak week of training to go and do something stupid. Bill told us he really wanted to...but, but, but.......he only needed 4 miles, he was close to peak, too, etc. When he left, Tim and I both commented that we'd probably be seeing him in the morning.
And we did! He showed up and we headed to Bloomington. Our group expanded. We picked up Magnus (who is, unfortunately, returning to Europe in 40 days!), Wes, and dad, and Emily, Scott, and Emily's brother met us out on the trail. I've never run this trail. Well, that's not totally true--I've run parts of Tecumseh. But never High King. All I was told was that there was one really big hill early on, and the rest was pretty moderate.
It was a little chilly, but otherwise nice. That one big hill came quick. Oh, within about a minute and a half of even starting to run. Big, long, and steep. I went very slowly on it. I didn't want to push, as I was worried that Wes' idea of moderate was different than mine, and that perhaps the rest of the run would be just as hilly. I couldn't blow it all on the first hill. Plus, I have a 21 miler tomorrow. Anyway--we all survived the hill. From that point, the course was much easier. Lots of roots and rocks, but no major climbs. Just a beautiful place to run.
Unfortunately, Emily was feeling sick and decided to stop (a good decision) at 5 miles. Scott and her brother went with her, so Wes, dad, Tim, Magnus, Bill, and I continued on to complete the remaining 7 miles. The first 5 miles, my abdominal pain was there, but I couldn't deny it was better. I had worn the TENS unit in a little pouch thing, but never had to put it on. My legs felt good. We headed out on the Tecumseh trail, the guys joked about being "chicked" (i.e. passed by a FAR SUPERIOR female athlete), which ruffled my feathers a bit and made the pace tick up a bit.
We turned around at about 8.5 miles. Wes told me to lead. Me? I don't even know where I'm going. I just watch their feet and try not to fall. He told me just to follow the white marks on the trees. I figured I'd be too slow for them, but they all said that was fine, so I just ran a comfortable pace. I really do like to run trails. It's not until I'm out there that I really enjoy it, though. I just hate driving there. I'm actually a pretty good trail runner, but it takes a lot of effort to get me there (find a baby sitter, drive, etc.). Anyway--as I led, my legs felt fantastic. My turnover was easy, as was my breathing. From about 10 on, I could feel the pain in my ribs the most. Sort of like someone is poking you between the ribs. It's not severe pain, but it's pretty darn uncomfortable. We finished up and I felt very strong.
The only really bad part of this run was that, within about 3 miles, both my feet were soaked. Oh, well, that's trail running. Again, I can't deny that my pain was better. It's still not good, but I think I've built up quite a tolerance to it. You'd never know it was bad unless it got to about a 9/10. 7/10 or less and I can pretty well hide it. I'm not proud of that--I just think it shows how long I've been dealing with it.
I was pleased with how my legs felt. This is a big week for me--61 miles. That's the highest since August of 2009. While I did feel awful on Tuesday, Thursday's run and today's were much better. Now, we'll see how that plays out during the 21-miler tomorrow. All I know is...I'm winning the points game!