Bunchgrasser’s World

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Posts Tagged ‘Wildwood Trail’

15 miles on Leif Erikson Trail

Posted by bunchgrasser on March 15, 2010

After getting only a couple of 6 milers in during this past week I was determined to get my long run in over the weekend. Saturday was booked up, so on Sunday I grabbed my gear and headed to Forest Park. At least the weather cooperated – with mid-50’s temp, overcast skies and no rain in sight it was close to perfect for a long trail run.

Unlike the very popular Wildwood Trail which is single-track heaven, Leif Erikson is essentially a wide rock/dirt road that spans the entire 11 mile length of Forest Park. It is mostly flat with a few moderate hills, and this time of year has a few shallow mud holes to make it interesting. More importantly, it is closed to all traffic other than runners, hikers, bikers and the occasional horse rider. It is quite popular on weekends, so runners should listen for approaching mountain bikers.

For this run I used my Ultimate Direction hydration belt with a single bottle, and also carried one Nathan hand-held bottle for backup. Both bottles contained Nuun. I also carried one GU gel, four Salt Stick caps and one Bonk Breaker for energy replacement. As it turned out, I could have used more liquid as I ran short the last few miles.

I started my out-and-back run at the Germantown Road trail head and continued until mile marker 3 which is exactly 8 miles. At the turn-around point I stopped long enough to eat my GU gel, another 2 SaltStick caps and Bonk Bar before heading back the other way. It took a few minutes to find my rhythm again but the peaceful scenery made it easy to find my “happy place”.

At around mile 12-13 I could feel my upper legs starting to complain. By mile 14 my hamstrings and glutes were hurting pretty bad. It actually surprised me how fast they went from mild soreness to obvious pain. Clearly I need to work on strengthening these muscles as there seems to be an imbalance. My lower legs and feet felt fine, as my North Face Rucky Chucky’s seemed to be doing a great job.

I ended up cutting my planned 16 miler short by walking the last mile. I’ve battled injuries consistently over the past few years so I try to ease up and listen to my body when it complains. Walking the last mile also gave me a nice cool-down period before jumping into the car. My lessons for the day were: take more liquid and energy food for a run that length. And, I need to spend some time strengthening my hamstrings and glutes to support longer runs.

Until next time…

Cheers

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14 mile trail run on Wildwood

Posted by bunchgrasser on February 11, 2010

Catching up on my posts here…I’ve been trying to ramp up my mileage some over the past few weeks in anticipation of the Feb 20th 50k ultra. Clearly I’m way behind due to the 2-3 months of lost time from my Achilles injury. At this point I’m not very confident that I’ll be able to finish the Hagg Lake 50k, but since the course is a double loop around Hagg Lake – I will be able to drop after the first lap if necessary.

I’ve been getting pretty decent mileage lately without any substantial pain in my left lower leg, which is very exciting. Running injuries are so depressing and I’m just happy to be out on the road/trail again. Hopefully I can stay injury free for awhile as I have many races planned for 2010. Most importantly being my first ultra.

I recently did a 14 mile out and back trail run on the Wildwood Trail in forest Park near my house. I’ve ran Wildwood many times, but what made this one different was the driving rain, mud and 40 degree temp. My intent was to closely simulate worst-case conditions for the upcoming 50k – and I think it more than qualified. I did opt for running tights and gloves that day, which I’m typically loathe to do. In retrospect, it was a very good decision. By the time I finished the 14 miles and arrived back at the trail head – I was close to hypothermic. I learned a good lesson that day – that you cannot count on running to keep your body heat at sufficient levels. Once you get soaking wet your body temp can drop no matter how hard/fast you run.

I also learned that I need more than 2 Nathan water bottles (filled with Nuun) and a Bonk Breaker bar for that distance.

Needless to say, the copious amounts of mud and the many ups/downs on the Wildwood trail helped me use some muscles that don’t get much action on flat ground. I was quite sore for the next few days.

Cheers

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7 mile trail run

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 17, 2009

My wife Kirsten and I took our very first trail run “together” last night. We don’t normally run together much because we run at different paces. However, I’ve really enjoyed the trail runs in Forest Park lately and I convinced her to join me. When the temp is above 80, running in the trees is the only way to go.

I rushed home after work and changed into my running gear. As we left the house, the temp was well into the 90’s. A short 10 minute drive and we arrived at the Wildwood Trailhead. I grabbed my hydration belt and we hit the trail. We had planned to run the Wildwood Trail (singletrack)¬†for the first 3 miles, then cut down the Hardesty Trail and run the much-wider Leif Erikson Trail the last 2 miles back to the road. However, we somehow missed the Hardestry Trail cutoff and ended up going quite a bit further. We finally came to Firelane 7a and used it to cut down the hill to Leif Erickson.

In spite of our navigational error and running 2+ miles longer than we originally planned – the run was amazing as usual. Kirsten loved her first trail run (at roughly 7 miles it was her longest run ever). My legs were a little¬†sore, but mostly because it was my 3rd consecutive day of running. I normally run every other day. Ahh…days to remember.

Cheers

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