frozen head and other things

Looking down from the observation tower in Frozen Head State Park

Frozen Head

Took my last long run at Frozen Head State Park early last week. Forgot my water bottle at home and wasn’t feeling very keen on running to begin with, so signs were pointing towards a slog of a training run. This is the first time I’ve run in this park. It’s an hour drive away, just outside of range of what I usually feel like driving for a run. The weather was great, what’s left of the summer heat was still clinging on with mid 80s.

Frozen Head is where the infamous Barkley Marathons are held each year, a crazy 100 mile foot race through the brambles and brush in the park.

I stayed with the trails that were technical enough in themselves. No sure footing in sight, just roots and rocks as far as the eye could see, downed trees everywhere that had to be jumped over or crawled underneath. With my less than enthusiastic mindset I ended up tripping a lot, falling twice, and eventually spraining my ankle. I was pissed at the end of it, cutting my long run short in a fowl mood. I was blaming my shoes for the most part. The NB 110’s I bought recently just felt too large and in the way most of the time. I prefer the minimal shoes because I get a good feel for the terrain and I can adjust quickly. I haven’t sprained my ankle in 5+ years using minimal shoes. And here I go with a shoe that has just a slight elevation and drop, and see what happens.

New Shoes!

After my stumbling around on my NB 110s I realized these shoes may not be suited for the next race I’m running. The race has some technical sections that can easily trip you up, and the last thing I want to deal with is some wobbly feet.

So I purchased another pair of near-minimal shoes, the Innov-8 trail rock 245. The fit is snugger, and it still has a rock plate underneath for protection on those real long runs in the woods. I’ll write up a review when I get more miles on them.

I’ve been buying a lot of shoes lately, partly because I’m getting very picky about what I put on my feet. But I’m also finding that having a variety of shoes helps me out in training and races. It’s good to have a few pairs of shoes to choose from. Each race has unique terrain considerations, and not all shoes are suited for every condition.

MAF test 8

orange lines: previous tests, green line: current test, red line: 8 minute mile short term goal

Another month and another test on the track in the early morning. Pretty uneventful run averaging just over 8 minute miles at my slow pace. It looks like the 8min mile mark is going to be a sticky area. I should be dipping more under 8 minutes in the coming months. 8 was the end of year goal, so I’m 3 months ahead of schedule. By Christmas I should closer to the 7:45 area. Would be nice to end the year on this solid progress.

I’ll be introducing just a little bit of speed in the coming month, I have a 5k I’d like to do in October just to see how slow I am on the shorter distances. A little speed work will hopefully jolt my system after all these months of slow training.

Stump Jump 50k

I’ve been sort of tapering for StumpJump this coming weekend. This will be my 3rd time out, so there should be no surprises. I’m still figuring out what shoes to wear, and whether to have a drop bag or not. The more experience I get, then less I tend to need drop bags.

The strategy is to just try to relax and stick to a 5 mile an hour pace. The course has some technical sections that will slow me down, so realistically I think a 6:30 will be a good goal to shoot for. I’d like to get a sub 6 soon for a 50k, I think I’m capable even in this race to get sub 6, but a lot of things have to go well.

My main goal is to do right the last two races where I went out and crashed myself. Going out too hard and bonking in a 5k is one thing, doing the same in a 50k, well it’s just a whole other level of pain at that point. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson and will run smart this time. My last 50k was just a month ago, the Norris Dam Hard Trail Race, just a bit over 6 hours, but the surface was largely easy going.

cheers and happy running