Cometh the weekend cometh the long run. This weekend the plan had my first 20 miler for this cycle scheduled. After the success of the changing breakfasts last weekend, I repeated that Saturday morning, grabbed my gear and headed off to the trails. I was planning on running at Cheesboro Canyon which is only 15 minutes by car from my house. We had had a lot of rain (a lot for SoCal) and during Winter when it rains it can take days for the temperatures to bounce back, this morning was no exception and the thermometer in my car was pinging away telling me it was 30f, I didn’t need to be told everything was covered in a white crusty frosty. I switched up my outer layer for a thicker one, ran through my pre-run stretches, donned my vest and headed out, it was cold and I didn’t want to hang about. Just as I was leaving I saw a runner coming out of the park; she would be one of the four people I saw over the next four hours!
Cheesboro Canyon provides a real variety of running terrain and trails. The main trail runs along a canyon floor with parallel trails either side; one on a ridgeline and the other in the adjacent valley (The Ridge and Palo Comado respectively) and my figure of eight route would take in all three main paths. To keep you additionally engaged the terrain changes from open pasture to wooded cover and then to scrubby desert like with a smattering of open rocks face, of course this meant that the potential for a varied running surface as I was to encounter later.
I was aiming for a steady 6mph/10 minute mile pace which is my permanent trail benchmark. I completed the first loop which was just over ten miles in 1:52 so I was a little behind the curve but several areas of thick mud had caused me to drop my average pace. In terms of fuel I was having a Hammer gel every 30 minutes, I keep them in a bottle rather than individual servings which makes for easier access, less waste and less stickiness. I also had two handbottles with Perpetuem in, I had made them in one batch and added a squirt of gel to that as well. The temperature never higher than fifty; it stayed that way all day in fact, and overheating was never a problem, I popped an S-Cap at the 12 mile mark and that was enough.
The second loop took me back along the canyon floor and then over a short sharp climb which then leads to a really nice three mile downhill, unfortunately it was in the last of these three miles that I really came unstuck, well actually the total opposite I was completely stuck; in the mud, grinding to halt and attempting to not go apex over elbow in the deep mud I was forced onto the grass which then stuck to the soles of my shoes in some form of gloopy concoction that in some African countries is used to make houses! They say that mud is a great exfoliate and skin conditioner and based in that my ankles will be lovely judging by the coverage I was getting. After a mile or two of this the trail terrain changed in to one that was more runable and so I picked up the pace and headed back to the parking lot, by this time a little pressed for time…as always!
So in summary, both issues that have ambushed my last two long runs; ITB and bonking were no where to be seen. I have be proactively rolling my ITB 2 x 100 times a day for four weeks and that has resolved that issue and the substitute for an oatmeal based breakfast for a bagel based one has had a significant impact on the long run fueling.
This run is the first of the next 8 weeks of 20 miles or more long runs, next weekend is my last long bike ride and two weekends after that I have my first tune up 50k race for LD50, if it goes as well as this weekend I will be more than pleased.
Here is the MotionBased data and the usual photos, there are some pretty good ones this week!