I headed back to Clark’s Creek this morning for my last long run. I am only 3 weeks out from the Leatherwood Ultra 34 mile race. And I’m only 2 weeks out from the Ragnar Trail Relay I am doing with Christine and friends. So today seemed like a good time to slog out a final long run. My goal was 20 miles. The universe had other plans.
It is kind of sad that Christine and I only discovered Clark’s Creek about a month ago. Sure it’s an hour and a half drive from the house, but the climbing (and more importantly descending) is vital to my training this time. One of my major downfalls last time was my lack of hill training. And for this attempt, I have added a lot of lower leg exercises and climber workouts to my routine. But nothing beats climbing and descending. And in Baton Rouge, it just isn’t there.
Because I can’t sleep, I got up there about 30 minutes before any sign of daylight. Kind of spooky considering I watch The Quiet Place last night. So I was quiet. I finally gave in and hit the trails as soon as I could see most of the ground. And the first 7-8 miles went very smoothly. Good climbing. Running a good bit. And it seemed like the entire park was mine alone!
And then I started feeling my right insole sliding in my shoe. It was annoying more than anything. But I knew that if I left it bunched up in one spot, I would end up with a blister. So about 8 miles in I stopped and checked it out. It was disintegrating. So I chunked it in a garbage can. And for the inquiring minds, yes, my foot is very tinder right now. But the run was still going well.
After 11 miles, I stopped by the truck to reload my supplies and the parking lot was getting full. I was passing a lot more people and many had dogs (or multiple dogs). It was getting a little more crowded. During my next loop, I noticed two things: there were a lot of people out there and my shoes were falling apart. These were an older pair of shoes that I thought were still in good shape. They weren’t.
I finished out this loop at about 14.8 miles just as the battery died on my watch. The battery life seems to be fading quickly these days. I grabbed my iPhone from the truck and tried to use it to track the remainder of my run. As I was heading out, I noticed there were about 20-30 people in the parking lot. Crap. I’ll just head down the road. After about 3/8’s of a mile scooping gravel with my shoes, I turned around and called it a day. Total was about 15.5 miles with about 3700 feet of climbing. For reference, the race will be 34 miles with about 8000 feet of climbing.
The difference will be Clark’s Creek is a lot of ups and downs. Leatherwood will be a lot of up followed by a lot of down. (One loop below).
I didn’t get the mileage I wanted to today, but I’ll take what I got. I already know that this race is going to be all mental. And since I am usually a mental case, it should work out perfectly. Either way, it is what it is.
On a side note: I ate my peanut butter sandwich on the way home while driving through West Feliciana parish. After their council’s decision to practically ban cyclist from riding in the parish (due to new ordinances), then I will not spend a penny there.