Saturday, March 16, 2013

10 in the Fells

The last time I ran 10 miles was almost exactly a year ago. My foot has been bothering me the past several months and we took a ski vacation in Europe in February so my training for the upcoming Pinelands 50K trail run has lagged behind schedule. I'm not going to be as well prepared as I hoped, but as long as I stay healthy I will make it to the starting line. I can't be sure what will happen after that but I'm concentrating on getting some good long runs in and staying healthy.

I met Robyn and Max at the Bellevue Pond parking area at the Fells on a cold but clear morning. The temperature was 32 degrees so we all had hats and gloves on. I was wearing my trail shoes with my new orthotics that the podiatrist gave me. I've been having pain in my left heel that seems related to my plantar fasciitis but x-rays also showed some heel spurs. The doctor assured me that everyone my age has some heel spurs but that it wouldn't explain the pain. He told me to stretch every day, take some Ibuprofen to get the inflammation under control, and wear the new orthodics. So far it's been pretty good and I was able to ramp up to over 20 miles this week. The highlight of my training plan was a long trail run in the Fells, and my hope was 8-10 but I was aware that I hadn't done a really long run for a long time.

We started at a pretty slow pace as we warmed up. Robyn has been working in India for a while so she hasn't been able to run much, and Max started running more recently and had a little foot pain, so our little trio had moderately low expectations. The snow was mostly gone but we encountered a bunch of wet and icy conditions that kept us on our toes. The loop is 7.5 miles and we kept a pretty steady pace between 11 and 13 minute miles. We kept on the easier footing with some occasional bits on the Skyline trail with more rocks. I felt pretty good as we got back to the cars but I had my mind set on 10 miles so I told them I was headed back out for a little more. Knowing Robyn's competitive nature it was like shooting fish in a barrel and she agreed to head back out. Poor Max didn't know what hit him.

The last 2.5 miles sucked, frankly. We were tired and chose a rough trail and nothing is fun when you're a slave to a GPS watch. We finally got to a trail with better footing and guessed at the point to turn around to ensure exactly 10.  Our mood improved dramatically as we turned around and our estimate was pretty much dead on. We had to run a hundred feet past the cars until the watch clicked over 10 miles and we were all happy to be done.

I had some discomfort in my foot but no pain. That in itself was a victory. To finish 10 trail miles was the first real indication that I might be able to do the 50K in May. It's still an uphill battle (pardon the pun) but I'm headed in the right direction.

Garmin track of the run

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