Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Methow Training Week, Day 3

Today was scheduled for running. I've been a bit gimpy lately with a sore hamstring/adductor. It really flares up when I run hard surfaces (read streets) but not trail running. So, after last Thursday when I could barely hobble, I was really looking forward to extended time on soft surfaces.

As has become my habit I started my day with a swim in Patterson Lake. This time I did a circumnavigation of the south end of the lake. I woke up to light, threatening rain today and noticed surface raindrops a time or two when I had stopped for new sighting.

Then back for breakfast, a little work, and off to Wolf Creek in the middle of the day - trying to catch a bit of mid-day heat. Not much heat today, though. Up high it was even more threatening than down in the valley and it had showered pretty good sometime during the night or early morning.

This left all the bushes wet. Just 10 minutes or so into my run I encountered a couple hiking out in full, wet rain gear. I remarked that they must have hit some pretty bad rain, but was I ever wrong. It was the bushes!

I encountered my first set just 1/2 mile or so into the run and sporadically thereafter. The plant growth was pretty close to the trail's edge and with a load of rain drops it bent down, sometimes totally obscuring the trail.

Soon enough I was all wet from pushing through the bushes. The worst part was getting my shoes and socks totally soaked. My shorts and shirt dried pretty quickly, in between the wetting places, but my shoes didn't.

Luckily the temperatures were comfortable. Warm enough for my level of dress even though a bit muggy. And today there was no wind, so no wind chill to deal with.

I have to admit that I did think about how uncomfortable an unplanned night out would be under these circumstances. This thinking made more more than cautious than normal.

My plan was for 2.5hrs total running. However, given the great deal of uphill I encountered on the way out, I decided to go a wee bit longer, figuring that my return would be faster, what with more downhill and all. In the end I ran out 1:24, took out my energy bar, and started walking back while I ate it.

By the time I was about 2/3 of the way back I was starting to feel heavy legged. Even tripped over a rock once by not paying attention and flew forward onto my hands. Luckily no scrapes, no broken bones, just dirty hands. Time back was 1:13 so I did time it pretty well.

Back at the car I was really glad to have a dry shirt and my flip-flops so that I could get out of my soggy shirt and shoes.

This trail is every bit as wonderful as I remembered from 2 years ago. It starts out with a pretty good downhill to the creek then works its way back up the valley side, staying a 100 yards or so above the creek. Plenty of ups and downs, meadows, open woods, trail generally in great shape. Due to our extra cool spring there were a couple of very short boggy sections, easily bypassed. There's a great foot log crossing where a side creek comes in.

The return trip was everything I thought it would be: mostly downhill, with some short, steep (and walked) uphills, and slowdowns through the brush-covered sections. The final 1/2 mile or so is uphill back to the car, but I could smell the barn so it went by pretty quickly.

All in all, my timing was impeccable. On the drive back to my motel the skies just opened up and it poured for a while. I'm sure glad that I'm camped in a motel room.

Tomorrow: back on the cross bike with Lester Road?

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