This weekend we are headed to the rodeo! We are going to stay at the same campground that we did last year. For those of you who’ve been around since last spring, you’ll remember this is the campground where I nearly lost my mind. I had 10 miles to do, and only a quarter-mile loop to do it on. In the spirit of not going crazy, I decided to do my long run this afternoon. It worked out well, since I had a short workday today.
I decided to head over to Pandapas Pond to run on the Poverty Creek Trail System. I’m planning to focus more on trails for the next month, in order to prepare for the Conquer the Cove 25K. Plus I finally decided to invest in a pair of trail shoes, and I wanted to take them for their maiden voyage!
Aren’t they pretty? I ended up deciding to go with the Hoka One One Stinson Trail, which are the trail counterpart to the Stinson Tarmacs I already run in. I didn’t notice a big difference in how the two feel, but overall I felt like I had better traction in the trail shoes. Kind of the point, right? I’m really happy with them so far.
Today I planned to run an out and back on Horse Nettle Trail, which is roughly 3 miles long and goes up Brush Mountain. The Conquer the Cove has a 3 mile climb from miles 7-10 and I need to be as ready as I can be for that.
Horse Nettle Trail starts very gently, on a wide, smooth path, and lulls you into a false sense of security. Then you start climbing for about a mile and a half before coming out onto a gravel road, which I think may have been a fire service road.
The gravel road had rolling hills, but they were pretty big rolling hills! I had to take frequent walk breaks on this road, as well as on the climb up Brush Mountain. It actually took me about 45 minutes to cover the first 3 miles. I’m hoping to improve on my climbing abilities on trails before my race in June.
Just before I got to the top of Brush Mountain, I passed the fire communications tower. There was a nice view from there, but it was a bit hard to capture.
I finally reached the top, and then the trail dipped back down on the other side of the mountain. I had to do a short out and back on the Jacob’s Ladder Trail in order to hit 3 miles before turning around to head back the way I came.
On the way back it was mainly all downhill and I was significantly faster (relatively speaking) on the way back. One thing I am really proud of is that I never walked during the last five miles. There weren’t any really tough climbs, but there were still a number of hills.
As I made my way down the mountain, there were a few spots that provided me an opportunity to make my trail shoes look like real trail shoes. A little mud and dirt and wet 🙂
Once I got back down to the bottom of Horse Nettle, 6 miles in, I headed towards the pond and wetlands area to do a loop. It was really hot running around the pond, though, because there was hardly any shade and it was 90 degrees.
I ran with my (somewhat) new Nathan hydration vest today. I think it was my fourth of fifth time running with it and so far I really like it. It can hold two liters of water, and I think I drank about three-fourths of it during my run today due to the heat.
If you want to read more about the hydration vest, check out Logan’s great review! After I finished my loop around the pond and wetlands area, I headed over to the Poverty Creek Trail.
I had less than a mile to go and was ready to wrap things up. My legs were feeling very heavy and tired, but luckily the first part of Poverty Creek just has very gentle rolling hills.
I finished back at the parking lot with a little over 8 miles for today’s long run. The elevation profile for this run looks pretty neat. Going up Brush Mountain and back down kind of makes a heart shape. 🙂
So now my long run is in the books and I won’t have to worry about it while we’re at the campground. My sanity will remain intact!
What are your weekend plans?
If you run/walk/hike trails, do you have trail-specific shoes?