Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No, I didn't hike this past weekend, either

I have my reasons. The first is rain. It rained most of the weekend. James was going to come up and we were going to hike Sunday and Monday but his car broke so he was marooned down south. And I didn't want to hike 34 miles in the rain on my own.

Why 34 miles? Well, the trail meanders away from Highway 61 for 34 miles. If I wanted to get back, I'd have to spot a bike or try my luck hitching on very small roads to 61. But I have a plan for this weekend.

On Sunday, when it was 53 and drizzly here, I decided to go for a run. I thought of it as a baseline run and a fast run, from my house to the river, up to the Lake Street Bridge, down to the Ford Bridge, then back home. I was shooting for running 7:30 miles, but wanted to see how fast I could do it.

I had an ulterior motive, too. There are two trail runs this weekend, both of which traverse lovely ski trails I'll be hitting up this winter. Both are half marathons. I know I can run a half marathon (I ran 17+ miles the weekend before this past one) and I know I can run pretty fast, but I wanted to see how fast, and how good I'd feel, and whether I should try one of these half marathons (Birkie Trail and City of Lakes Trail). The answer was...yes.

I had a few minor cramps which worked out by the river. I really turned it up once I'd crossed the Lake Street Bridge in howling winds, and started south along the river. This was one of the runs I've had in the last couple years where I was happy (this never happened before — I used to despise running). As I climbed to the Ford Bridge, mist keeping me cool and happy (53 and drizzle is perfect running weather) I passed a couple decent-looking runners and left them in my dust. I was moving. I hit the Saint Clair Hills and then sprinted from Fairview. I ran in to the house, checked the time (1:04) and after a few minutes cooling down (mostly on a hammock) outside I looked up the distance. 9.4 miles. I'd run 6:49 miles for 15 km. Extrapolate that over a half marathon (I know, hills and trails and distance will slow me down — although given my endurance distance is probably not the biggest issue) and I'd have fun.

So the plan for this weekend:

Saturday: bike to the Trail Loppet in Minneapolis (I decided not to leave at 5:00 to run on Birkie Trail), run the race, eat a free brat for not driving there, and bike home. Throw my pack together and drive north. Hike 9 miles in to a campsite. Sunday: Hike the rest of the way to Highway 61, hitch down, drive home.

If it works out, it will be very fun. And I will be very sore.

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