Last Sunday found me enjoying some new friends while running a distance longer than I've run in months: 12 miles.
June, who works at the running store where I buy all my shoes, and her friend Cincie met me and my dog Yuba at the trailhead to Quarry Rd on a rainy, cool morning, ready to enjoy a long, easy run to Maine Bar along the American River outside of Auburn. I must admit, I'm a loner, and with my always revolving work schedule it's hard to find running partners. So when I had a chance to join these 2 ladies on a long run, I jumped at it. I wasn't disappointed.
We settled into an easy pace and started gabbing about a number of things and never stopped talking for the next 2 1/2 hours. The miles flew by and before I knew it, we were at the turn-around point. We decided to continue on a little farther so they could show me part of the Way Too Cool trail. We jumped the large puddles, didn't bother with the smaller ones and the incessant drizzle soon had us pretty wet. As long as we kept moving we stayed warm.
These trails are really popular with the endurance crowd and we saw a lot of other runners, some mountain bikers, and horseback riders. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the day, not even caring about the rain showers.
June and I got to talking about my race schedule and she expressed some concern with my plan to run WTC and Rucky Chucky 50K on back to back weekends and the fact that I wasn't running American River 50M. Rucky Chucky offers a relay and she volunteered to run it with me and that way I could sign up for AR50. I do have a concern that my only chance of qualifying for 2010 WS100 is that I absolutely have to finish Leadville, which I intend to do, but the best laid plans.......
So June's suggestions sounded pretty good to me. I ran AR50 last year and really loved it and I know if all goes well, I can qualify for WS100 with it. I'm running TRT 50M but there's no way I can finish it in under 11 hours. So as soon as I got home I registered for AR50 (not too many spots left) and I'll sign us both up for RC relay (and I get to run the "UP" portion).
We finished the run strong (even had a negative split by 2 minutes) and I felt great. I must admit, none of my runs have been completely pain free but after this run I've felt the best and that good feeling continued today. I believe all the aches and pains are just my body getting used to running longer distances again. It's hard for me to continue with this slow build up in mileage but I know it's the smart thing to do. This week will include more hill work and another short tempo run. I feel like a runner again and I love it.