Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Running 2013: Weeks Thirty-eight and Thirty-nine

I got my mileage in week 38 with another weekend combination of a trail run Saturday, Sept. 14, and a road run the next day.

There was still one section of Quail Hollow trails I hadn’t visited yet: a 1.5-mile loop shared with the bridle trail. On the map below, it’s the dashed blue and yellow line.

So I thought I’d include that trail this time around. I started up on the sedge marsh trail – that standalone yellow line at middle right – and then, as I had the week before, followed the southern portion of that green loop.

And then I started reaching forks. This is a pretty densely wooded, hilly, area, and the trails are narrow, so you can’t see a long way in any direction. It’s the area in the right 1/3 of this image:

20130914QHdetail

Now, I’d been to this area the week before, and I had made a wrong turn that had led me to the mountain bike trail, so I recognized that decision point, and made the opposite call this time around. But after some twists and turns, I realized that I was heading away from the trail I wanted to find. So I doubled back, like when you pick a quick death in a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, and went the other way at my last decision point. Then I managed to find myself back on the same section of mountain bike trail that I’d been on the week prior. So I turned around again and found a third option, and took that trail westward.

When the landscape opened up a bit to a less-wooded region, and I hit a T-intersection running north and south, I figured I was at the eastern edge of the loop I’d been seeking. I turned right for a short bit, then thought I’d rather run the long way around, so I headed in the opposite direction. And then somewhere along the path, I made another decision that landed me on the mountain bike trail again, heading exactly where I didn’t want to go. On that big map above, this would be the black trail running roughly parallel to the brown dashed line in the lower right corner.

Oh, fine. I doubled back again. Having added about a half-mile thanks to this detour, I opted to stick to the shorter, northern section of the blue-and-yellow loop, then took the bridle trail branch that led back to the park road, which I followed back to my starting point. (There was, in fact, one more brief detour: Not shown on the map is a weirdly groomed and maintained offshoot of trail that leads to…a house with a big yard in the middle of the woods.)

Here’s what the entire route wound up looking like:

20130914TrailRun

It was fun. Yes, for real.

The next day, I did a four-mile road loop and managed to save my best mile – a 7:53 – for last. Overall pace was 8:26, which was the best I’d managed for that distance in a couple months.

Total miles for the week: 7.5. Total to date (week ending 9/16): 257.8. That was the 259th day of the year, so I was just 1.2 miles shy of my goal.

Week thirty-nine began with a rare Tuesday run on the 17th. I had worked from home, and the writing had not come easily that day, so by 6 p.m., I needed a quick two-mile out-and-back just to clear my head.

It’s not a distance I run very often anymore, so when I do, I try to push myself a bit. While I didn’t go really hard on the outbound mile, I made a point of not letting up too much either, and I felt good about my 7:43 time. Heading home, I maintained that for about a quarter mile, slowed up a bit for another quarter, and then poured it on for the last half-mile, which is mostly a gradual incline. My second mile wound up at 7:34, and I actually hit a 5:25 pace for just a second or two in there. My total time of 15:18 was only 15 seconds off the fastest Hall of Fame Two-Miler I ever managed, and I used to feel really beat up after that race.

Did an uneventful 3.5-mile loop on Saturday in 29:45, for an average pace of 8:29 – although I did have to push myself the last half-mile to get there.

I went out Sunday and decided to do another two-mile for speed. I did my first mile in 7:27, but I could tell I was going to be hard-pressed to maintain that and crack that 15-minute mark. Right after the turnaround, and again at the 1.5-mile mark, and again a quarter mile later, I kept hitting a wall and slowing up.

really tried that last tenth of a mile, though, and clocked a 15:06.

Total, then: 265.3 miles. Today’s the 268th day of the year – but while it looks like I’ve lost ground, that’s really because my running week starts on Tuesday, and I haven’t done any miles this week yet.

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September 25, 2013 - Posted by | Ohio, running | ,

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