I have discovered a new love, that is the love of trails and running on them like a crazy caveman. There are no cars, no hard sidewalks, or other tenents of civilization that takes away that running zen. My new fears are bears, copperheads and what will happen if I sprain my ankle on a root out in middle of nowhere. My new obsession will culminate into a race called the Shut In Ridge Trail Run. It is an 18 mile race point to point trail race that ends 3000 feet higher than where it started. There will be 1500 feet of down hill and 5500 feet of uphill work. The last two miles is the kicker. I have seen 30 minute 10k runners take 24 minutes to finish that last two miles.
My long runs have been with a group of experienced trail runners, ultra racers and triathletes. They take place in the Pisgah National Forest, starting at the North Carolina Arboretum. Long runs seem a lot more fun with a group on beautiful scenery. Another plus is most of the trails are within crawling distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Arboretum and other parts of civilization. Last week's run went about 17 miles and pretty much was my anticipated race pace. At the end, I was pretty much spent and sore in parts of my body that I forgot about.
I'm not ready for the shut-in race yet, but will be, by the time it arrives on November 7. If all goes well, I will continue with my training, up the long runs and jump in on a December Marathon, just to measure what kind of shape I am in.
I want to have a shout out to my friend Nick Brunson, who qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. It seems like yesterday he was a new triathlete and I was able to keep up with him at times, now he is just smokin' it! Good job Nick!