Today: 9.1 miles at 8:21 pace
This morning was deliciously brisk, with cool, dry air and temperatures in the low 40s. This was perfect weather for my last 'substantial' run prior to this weekend's 30k trail race. I ran just over 9 miles in 1hr 16min, and felt great! Well, actually, my stomach was a little troublesome, but I attribute that to one to many chocolate cookies last night. My legs and lungs felt great, and the run felt relatively effortless, even though it was over a lot of hills. That really boosted my confidence and I am now eagerly looking forward to this weekend's race. I think I have not raced since May.
While running this morning, I had the pleasure of seeing two deer romping through some yards. I am always impressed by how graceful the movements of a deer are, which makes them very enjoyable for me to watch. These particular deer were interested in crossing a relatively busy street. I watched them move across the yard and stop at the edge of the lawn and the road. They then proceeded to look both ways, checking for cars, before crossing the street and entering another yard. It was a very interesting thing to spectate and I was the only one there to see it, which is what I love about running in the early morning.
So my 30k trail race is this Sunday morning, starting at 7:30am. Packet pickup is this Friday and Saturday. The start is about an hour's drive from central Austin, so I will probably be getting up at 5:30am on Sunday morning, leaving at 6am. I'd prefer not to be at the start too early, because I won't have anything to do while I'm waiting. The course will be three loops of 10k each, with an aid station roughly halfway through the loop (and of course at the start). I do not have a goal pace in mind. Not only am I unfamiliar with this course, but trail running is always slower than road running. I have also never raced this particular distance. My plan is to run the first 10k at a comfortable training effort and see how it goes. When I start the second loop, I will have a better idea of the terrain, where I can speed up and where I will need extra time (ledges, sharp turns, hills etc). I will try to run this second loop intelligently and then see what I've got in the third loop. Ultimately, though, I want to finish feeling strong and enjoy the race. The best part about trail racing is taking in the beautiful scenery.
On another note, I recently purchased the NB 101 Trail shoe online. The 101T is currently making its way towards me in the mail and I am definitely looking forward to the arrival. As you may recall, I am currently running in the 790, which New Balance retired. It's (quasi) replacement was the 100T, another ultra lightweight racing shoe. This shoe got really great reviews, and its improved version, currently on the market, is the 101T. In case you haven't noticed, New Balance can't leave a good thing alone! Nonetheless, I am excited to give the 101T a whirl and once I have been able to fairly assess it, I will share with you my opinions. Until then, I'll be using a pair of 790s and the Brooks green silence.