The plan today was to run 16 miles of hills out at St. Edwards Park and Forest Ridge; horrible allergies kept my buddy Jason from joining me, so I was going solo. And I actually felt really happy to be running on my own. I had things to reflect on and felt that I needed to be assessing where I was in getting ready for Pocatello.
The day was perfect for me: overcast, slightly windy, and a tad cooler (upper 60s, low 70s to start). I decided to do two repeats of the basic 8-mile loop. On the way out, I took what I call the waterfall way, which is a right turn after the gates at Jester but before you get to the water tower and big rock at the end of the jeep road. On the way back, I took the left at the Y to come up the water tower trail and past the big rock, running all of the jeep road. My goal for the run was to be as consistant as possible.
I saw only one person on my first loop, a fellow who was walking in Forest Ridge. I liked that — I felt very much by myself out there among all the beauty. Tons of flowers, so many little yellow daisies in one field that it seemed I was running on a yellow road. The smell of honeysuckle in spots was almost cloying.
I kept my splits and was pleased with the time I made and how good and strong I felt. At one point, I thought I could skip going back to the car since I was wearing my Camelbak but I realized that I’d only taken out half my food, so I did run back to the parking lot. As I came back in across the creek, there were two dads with a passel of little kids crossing on the rocks; one said, “Here, kids, let the lady walk on the rocks.” But of course I just headed into the creek and every kid said, “Oh, can we do that?!?” to which Dad replied, “I bet her shoes were already wet.” It was so cute.
I took as little time as possible back at the car — just grabbed my fuel and sent a “done with loop 1” text to the hubby — and went back out. As I started up the hill, the dads and kids had met up with some folks riding horses, so I waited a bit for that to clear out. A bit further up, a giant group of 20 some-odd walkers and dogs appeared, and several people seemed quite miffed to have to yield me some trail. Oh, well; I had one loop of solitude!
I was keeping a close eye on the splits and telling myself to “mind the gap,” which is my mantra for closing the distance. I was surprised at how good the uphill felt. Honestly, it was like I was doing it for the first time.
Had to make a quick pit stop before I hit the Y; at least I was hydrating properly. Down to slap the sign…and turning around to come back in felt great; I told myself I needed to make sure I didn’t lollygag. I tried to push it both on the big uphill and the big downhill and to continue to run strong through to the end, because I often let up in the last few meters of trail after the creek.
When I got home and ran through my splits, I was very even. Almost every split between the two loops was off by only seconds, and the two that were a minute longer were due to the bathroom stop and waiting on the horse/kid/dad trail traffic jam. 2:04 for the first loop and 2:08 for the second — I was really pleased with this. With all the climbing and the more technical nature of the trail, I’m happy with that time.
And even better is how good I feel right now. The only thing is I’m starving. Hopefully, dinner will be soon!