I arrived at the same answer this year, but the cold, dark mornings are quite an obstacle to overcome when the alarm goes off. In particular, the months of November and December are tough for me to train through. For the last two years, I've had the Bandera 100K to keep me motivated through the end of the year and it works well because that race scares the pants off me.
After last year's DNF at Bandera, I've decided to return yet again and see if I can put together the kind of race I know I can run. Whether that happens or not, I'm pleased that it has translated into the necessary desire to train. At the end of October, I set a goal to run a minimum of 5 miles every day in November and top 300 by the end of the month. I know that's nothing special, but so far so good on keeping the streak alive.
After dropping my folks off at the airport early Friday morning, I hoped to get in the first of two 50K training runs while the ladies of the house hit up Black Friday shopping. The plan at first was to head to Buffalo Creek, but with the mild weather, I couldn't resist the urge to see if I could get the long miles on the Indian Creek trails. Without touching the same trail twice, I racked up a 32 mile loop and left some options on the table for next time.
|To avoid paying a parking fee, you can park here and run the 4 miles into Indian Creek.
This run was all about time on my feet and building endurance. I was in no rush and wasn't sure of the exact mileage anyway, so I knew it would be about going with the flow.
First up was running all the "tail" trails (Sharptail, Swallowtail, and Ringtail).
|Sharptail Ridge is smooth running with a few ups & downs.
|I was once again ready for my first bear encounter, but sadly, this was the only wildlife seen all day.
|Ah, it's going to be a good day!
|Came up this cabin/barn on the Swallowtail trail. A truly sweet spot with nothing around it. I'm ready to move in.
|Starting the long climb up the Ringtail trail. It provides a cool view of Roxborough from the south.
|The Ringtail trail looks like this until you get close to the Indian Creek trailhead on Hwy 67.
|Creepy cabin on the Ringtail trail.
|This was as far as I went in.
|Nice views of Pikes and Devils Head.
|Human encounters for the day = 3 mtn bikers.
|One month ago, these trails had 3-4" of snow on them.
|Had to take the requisite shot of Roxborough descending the Carpenter Peak trail.
The only downside of this loop was the two miles of running the dirt road heading out of Roxborough SP. There was consistent traffic and the dust kicked up was bad. Instead of coming down the Carpenter Peak trail, you could take the Powerline trail as an alternative and re-connect with Sharptail Ridge, but that would add another 1-2 miles.
- Bring more water than I think I'll need. I ran out of water with almost an hour to go. Not fun.
- Eat!! Duh. I was out there for almost six hours and only ate around 600 calories. When will I learn that eating more will make these long runs much more enjoyable? I had another 500 in my pack, but just didn't feel like eating.
- I'm not ready to go 100K right now. Especially at Bandera. I've got some work to do over the next month.
- I'll be back soon!