This past weekend I had to attend a client board retreat up at the Biltmore in Asheville so I took the opportunity to hit the trails in the area. I emailed with Adam Hill who gave me several good options to consider on Saturday and we planned to meet up on Sunday morning to run on the trails at Warren Wilson College. This was literally on my way home Sunday so how could I pass it up. Last Tuesday, was my first run of any consequence since the GEER 100K in late September. My left heel has been giving me fits with some sort of injury but has been on the mend the last couple of weeks. I have definitely lost some fitness and put on a few pounds but was psyched to run in the mountains again.
On Saturday afternoon I logged a very solid two hour run on the Mountains to Sea trail. I accessed the trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and had a blast running the trail. Adam later informed me that where I started was about mile 25 or so of the Pitchell Challenge - one of the excellent fun runs that he puts on each year. The weather was near perfect with temps in the upper 40s/low 50s and a slight constant breeze. I was amazed at how much dexterity I had lost on the trails, then again they were ankle deep with leaves. Despits a couple of minor falls, I managed a prety good pace and really worked hard on the hills. As twilight ensued, I had to really hoof it to get back before darkness fell. I then got back to the Inn and got cleaned up for a dinner with the board.
My heel was a little tender on Sunday morning but nothing a little stretching couldn't fix (I iced it on Saturday evening as well). I met up with Adam at the trailhead and the temps were just above freezing with light snow falling. My legs definitely felt the run from the day before but I was psyched once again to enjoy the trails. Adam is a much faster runner than I am and even though we moved at a snails pace at times, he never complained and just enjoyed the day. We talked the whole time about our kids, great runs and boneheaded mistakes (like running 30 miles on 1 gel a 20 oz. of water - something we have both done). We both remarked how we enjoy running in inclement weather. Especially on trails. I absolutely loved this run. We saw several folks on the trail out hiking with their dogs and enjoying the beautiful day. Despite the cooler temps, we were comfortable in shorts and short sleeve shirts. Man, I have really missed running in the woods.
After the run, we chatted briefly and then headed our separate ways. He had to get home to the family and I had a Denny's Grand Slam with my name on it! I am excited for Adam's next fun run - the Bent Creek Gobbler 50K, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I am not in ideal shape but I am sure it will be a fun time. Hopefully, we will have a bit of winter weather to enjoy.
These runs were a blast despite "hurting" more than normal. The bright side of the hurting is that it serves as a great motivator to get my butt out the door. I hope the heel stays cooperative because I am really glad to back out there shuffling, hopefully some real running will come once I get back in decent shape.