I had one of my best training runs ever today at Crowders Mountain State Park. With Massanutten looming in just four weeks, I only have a few opportunities to get good quality long efforts in before my taper. Mason and I have a great day planned for next week up in and around the Black Mountain/Mount Mitchell area. Our friend Adam Hill is planning a route for us that I am sure will be phenomenal. I wanted to get a really solid workout on some technical trails with some good elevation change. My plan was to use today's run and next weeks run as "test runs" for MMT. Today I tested out the Montrail Streaks, which are what I plan to use at MMT. I will give a full review in a separate post but suffice it to say, I really like these shoes. I also tested out a new waist belt from Nathan that worked like a charm. All in all, today's run was fantastic. Over the course of about 5 hours, I got 28ish miles in and close to 6,000 feet of elevation gain. Crowders has several options for loops and I combined several sections to create the hilliest run I could. Some keys about this run:
- Nutrition worked great, ate a GU every 45 minutes and some shot blocks on the hour (I also ate two peanut butter sandwiches and drank a 20oz. Gatorade on the way).
- Hydration - drank GU2O for the first 2 hours and then switched over to water
- Had no ankle or foot issues throughout the entire run
- Finally think I have managed to get 100% comfortable "picking lines" to run on technical terrain rather than trying to "hop" from rock to rock in a timid fashion. I am certain that running with confidence and committing 100% to the "line" played a big role in my not only not rolling the ankle but also staying upright all day.
- The weather was a hodge podge, warm at first and then windy and cool as the showers moved in during the last 2 hours of the run.
- I had a ton of FUN today working the hills and running in the rain. What a blast!
I have really noticed that my climbing has gotten A LOT better. There is a ~2 mile climb that used to take me about 40 minutes (when training for GEER back in the fall) that I did today in 30 minutes! I also came back down about 3 or 4 minutes faster for a round trip improvement of almost 15 minutes. This is a big boost for me going into MMT. I was so jacked after the run that I started calling folks to tell them about it, which is something I rarely do. Hopefully next week will go as well as today did. I will write more about the Streaks in the next couple of days.