Good news: I was on or at a trail 5 days this week. Bad news: the smoke is back…and this time it’s from nearby fires, so I think we’re officially in smoke season.
Back to my usual steep hill training trail. For 2 days after a 5K, it felt surprisingly not bad. 2.9 miles. (My least favorite thing about this trail is that it isn’t an even 3 miles.)
I knew Tuesday would be my best bet for getting in a long-ish run this week, though I had a doctor’s appointment first thing and thus couldn’t start as early as I would have liked. I headed to Chestnut Mountain, a trail I haven’t been to before even though it’s a short drive from town. The roundtrip distance is 9.5 to 13 miles – depending on what source you consult – and I thought I might just have time to run the full trail if it was the shorter distance.
By the time I got to the trailhead I knew I actually only had time for 7-8 miles…and then about 5 minutes into the run I realized that I had forgotten to put on sunscreen. Fortunately it was still a bit early to be getting sunburned, plus the trail was mostly shady. I guesstimated that I could probably run for about 2 hours without getting scorched. I ended up running 7 miles in almost exactly 2 hours, and with only the slightest hint of sunburn.
I also did a strength workout that evening. While I usually wouldn’t do this on a long run day, I wanted a full rest day Wednesday.
Strength workout. Today’s workout ended with 8 minutes of sprints, so technically I did a small distance of running too. I managed 6 (~50 m) sprints in the 8 minutes – those things require a lot of recovery time!
I left the house a bit late (that seems to have been the theme this week), so my planned 5 miles turned into 3.5. The trail I ran on is in a canyon, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still almost chilly down the canyon despite my late start.
Saturday afternoon I volunteered at the finish line of the Bridger Ridge Run. The Ridge Run is famous in the trail racing world for being one of the most technical races. My volunteer shirt helpfully illustrates the kind of elevation change runners face for 19.65 miles:
The course record for that nonsense is 3 hours flat. Can you imagine? Anyway, Saturday turned out to be the hottest day of the year. I don’t think it quite got to 100, but it was close. I was dripping sweat, and I was standing under a tent – not running above the treeline for several hours. I feel like about half the volunteer work was dealing with ice – getting ice into coolers, adding ice to the drinks, making makeshift ice packs to hand to runners, and making literal ice runs up the mountain to the aid stations. (I didn’t do this – you want someone faster than me running ice up a mountain!)
My shift was supposed to last until 4, but the final runners didn’t cross the finish line until after 6. Then I stayed to help pack everything up, because I know everyone starts leaving once an event is “over” and sometimes you end up shorthanded when you’re ready to finish everything up and go home.
The smoke had started to make itself evident Saturday evening, and it was still hanging around Sunday. I had planned on 5-6 miles, so I drove to a trail in Hyalite, hoping the smoke hadn’t migrated into the canyon yet. Alas, it had. I needed some significant walk breaks heading up a trail I would normally be able to run continuously. I called it a bit after a mile and ran back to my car for a total of 2.5 miles.
What’s the hottest race you’ve run?