Saturday, September 26, 2015

Early AM Loop with Julia

Last week, Julia asked me if I wanted to meet up to run at Trexler this weekend.  That was perfect for me, since my training is winding down.  I need to practice early morning runs too, so the 7 AM start was perfect.

It was nice and cool this morning and still is.  It finally feels like fall outside.  I hope this weather stays.  I had a regular short sleeve shirt and was comfortable throughout.

I tried to get Julia to lead, since she is slower.  I didn't want to push the pace too much.  She insisted that I lead though.  We took it easy on the new section.  It was great having someone to chat with.

She ran here at the Ten Hours of Trexler.  A lot of the course came back to her, including the starting area that we ran by at the bison pen.  We then went downhill.  Shortly after that, we came to a group of runners going the other way.  Tim and Tim were among them.

Then, it was on to the road.  Before that, I flew down the one hill.  Every now and then, I'd take off for a short section.  Julia almost didn't take water, but it was a good thing I convinced her to.  She drank as we hiked up the long hill.

Surprisingly, the dogs didn't bark at us.  One dog did, but I think it was a different one.  The hike took some time.  It was partly cloudy up here in the wide open field sections.

Julia then had to stop to use the bathroom.  I did too, so I went when I got to the view.  She took a picture of the hills and we continued on.  I was certainly enjoying this relaxed pace.  I'm not sure Julia was liking the hills, but I knew she enjoyed the challenge.

We went up over the false summits.  We came across a woman running in this area.  Then, it was up the giant climb.  I hiked on ahead.  I showed Julia how to hike faster.

After this was the first steep downhill.  I blasted past that and waited for her.  Then, we had another uphill.  In between was a lot of annoying overgrown trail.  We continued along.

On the next steep downhill, I flew ahead again.  I waited for her at the bottom.  Apparently she fell this time and cut up her leg a little.  I felt bad.

We crossed the ice cold creek.  It is very low and although cold, kind of refreshing.  Then, it was across the road and another climb.

Julia seemed okay, so we ran a lot of the grassy section at the top.  We ran more after that too.  Now, the miles were clicking off faster.  I was happy to see the time we were making.

We ended up hiking at times and running other times.  I'd often run ahead and wait for Julia and then when she'd catch up, she would hike too.  When we came out the bridge over the road, there was a truck parked there.

Next, it was the last long hill.  We hiked up this too.  I got a little ahead.  At the top, there were two guys, one of them in cammo.  I assume either hunting or getting ready for hunting season.  The area we were in was archery hunting only.

Now, we were on the jeep road.  We ran along.  Julia kept on this road instead of turning back on to the trail during the race.  This time with me leading the way, we made the correct turn.

We had about 1.5 miles to go.  This rolling section is fairly runnable.  I tried to force her to run more than she would've liked.  I knew we were almost done and she just had to push through.

As we neared the road crossing, a guy was riding a mountain bike up it.  I thought that was crazy.  I could never do that and he didn't look to be in great shape.

Julia caught up to me again after the road.  I tried to get her to run the remaining runnable part.  Then, we hiked up the hill to the finish.  I had been hoping to get in under 2:15, but we were over that.  We ended up with a 2:20, which was still a solid run.

This was a good workout for Julia and a solid day for me.  I probably could've done another loop, but I didn't want to force it.  I had an easy day and still gave myself some work.  It was nice to be done early in the morning for a change.  I can't get used to this morning stuff though.

I may run again tomorrow.  I'd like to get to Mt. Tammany.  However, I'm just not sure about that.  We'll see what I feel like.  If I do go there or elsewhere, I have to go early, since the Eagles game is at 1 PM.

9:07 miles - 2:20:22 (15:28 pace) 1266 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pocono Environmental Education Center

I took yesterday off and wanted to head somewhere new today.  I didn't want to run long, so I decided to try a few trails at the Pocono Environmental Education Center.  It is in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area.  I arrived after 3 PM and began my run.

It was pretty hot in the parking lot.  Therefore, I went with just a singlet.  I had a handheld instead of my vest.  I had to put my phone in my shorts to take pictures.  Even without wearing much, I still became very hot and was drenched.

I started across from the parking lot.  This is an interesting place, as it has some cabins as well as many places for children to camp or do other activities.  I wasn't expecting much from the trails here and I ended up quite surprised.

I started across from the parking lot on the Two Ponds/Tumbling Waters Trails.  This trail started off nice and easy around a pond.  It was beautiful and well maintained trails.  There's no surprise to that with all the use they likely get.  I had to stop by the pond and turn my phone on and off again.  After that, I just carried it.

The two trails split a short while later.  I took the Tumbling Waters Trail.  I wanted to see the waterfalls.  I was very surprised with this trail.  I figured all the trails here would be easy.  I guess it is hard to get to a waterfall easily, so these trails were fairly steep and semi technical.

It wasn't long and I was to the access trail to the falls.  I took that down.  There were two beautiful waterfalls with a pool below them.  I took some photos.  Then there was another waterfall and some serious rocks in the area.  I saw some trails to get below them, but it didn't look easy.  I was all alone, so I had to be careful.  I didn't venture much.

Spending time here certainly slowed my pace.  Coming out of the falls would do the same.  It was a steep climb back to the main trail and equally steep climb out from the main trail.  I was hiking up this stuff and sweating like crazy.  I've been on plenty of difficult stuff, but I was caught off guard with how challenging this would be.

There was a clearing when I finally got to the top.  There was a great view into New Jersey and the ridge that the AT runs along.  Again, I was impressed with this trail.  A short time later, I came out to a chimney.  This was probably an amazing view long ago.

From this point, there was still some up and downs back to the parking lot, but most of the trail was runnable.  I cruised along, although I didn't feel great.  I ate a hoagie beforehand and it sure wasn't fueling me.

A little later, I came to a junction with the blue trail.  I stayed on the trail that I was on.  I followed a sign to a cool log cabin learning area.  I then was back at the main building, at over 3 miles into the run.

I definitely needed to refill my bottle in this heat.  I decided to look at a map again.  This time, I was taking the Scenic Gorge Trail.  I figured that this two miler could be a challenge, but it was only two miles.

I took the loop starting at the edge of the parking lot.  There are some cabins you can rent that the trail went above.  I was climbing again.  I really didn't expect this much elevation.  This trail was well maintained too.

It wasn't long and I began descending.  I figured I must be going into the gorge.  Then, the trails split off.  The gorge wasn't too bad.  It was narrow walled along a small creek.  The creek was nearly dry.  Where the other section surprised me with its beauty, this section was a bit disappointing.

There wasn't much to see.  The trail was pretty and fun some times though.  One part was outstanding, as there were ferns next to the trail and up on the hillside.  It was so green and spectacular.

I could run most of the time here.  Really, I could've run all the time, but didn't.  I was worn out.  The trail left the gorge and became boring again.  I came out to some cabins and the end of the trail sooner than I had expected.

I followed the pavement out and came to the main building.  I ran briefly on the road to get to 5.5 miles.  This was a solid run.

I might come here again at some point.  It was a pretty, little place.  It was more than I expected.  That said, there aren't a lot of trails here.  Still, it had a lot of charm.

I will likely not run tomorrow.  Julia and I are planning to meet at Trexler at 7 AM on Saturday.  That should be a fun trip.  Hopefully, my foot will feel better.  I'd love to double loop it, but one loop is more likely.

5.5 miles - 1:15:41 (13:46 pace) 645 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kind of Fall

I have been slacking lately.  I like to tell myself that it is good to rest my sore foot, but really I've just been lazy.  I have low motivation.  I thought this was just a summer weather issue, but it seems to be more.  It is getting nice out now and I still don't feel like running.  I'd be up for running new places, but the same old trails make it hard to get out there.

Despite all that, I decided that I had to get out today.  Around dinner time, I headed to Trexler.  I haven't been there since the day before Quadzilla.  It is too exposed to the sun to run there much in the summer.

The weather was good today, low 70s.  I messed up with my clothing selection though.  I went with a regular short sleeve shirt and wore my hydration vest.  In the sun, combined with the hills, that was quite hot.  Other times, in the shade, I was actually chilly.

I started off nice and easy from the Environmental Center.  It was on to the new trail section.  I felt pretty strong and cruised on up here.  My breathing was slightly labored, but not too bad.  With all the time off, I definitely did feel fresh.

I ran near the bison pen next.  That was overgrown for some reason.  I didn't see the bison at all.  One weird thing in this area was a soccer game going on on the LCCC fields next to the trail.  I was reminded that it isn't really remote.

I was happy to be running and cruising along.  I was well under a 10 minute pace.  I ran up the long gradual hill.  The only issue here was that it was exposed and quite sunny and hot now.  I was sweating a lot and the breathing labored some.  It was nowhere near as bad as summer though  There was an older couple hiking here.  They were the only ones I saw out on the trail.

I was wondering about the back section.  They are supposed to do some work on the grass there.  They haven't touched it yet, but they also haven't cut along the trail in some time.  It was a bit overgrown.

I ran up the two false hills and knew running the whole loop would be quite tough.  My legs were burning on these easier ones.  They actually did feel a little better on the steepest hill.  However, I just started to hike about halfway up.  I wasn't as strong as I'd like.

This is always a tough balance.  I probably could've ran this hill, but then who knows how much it would've impacted me later.  I had to be conservative this early, especially when not feeling too great.  Taking a gel, which I was carrying, could've given me a boost of energy, but I opted not to.

I recovered and decided to be cautious on the next hill too.  I hiked a lot of that one.  I crossed the creek next and it was probably as low as I've ever seen it.  After the road crossing, I would've liked to have run up the next hill, but then the grass climb after that would've been very difficult.  I hiked the hill and ran the grass.

It was a little hot in the grass.  It was exposed.  At least running it was easy.  I lost a lot of time while hiking the hills.  I was now over 10 minute pace and hoped to get back on track.

Luckily, the next section is some of the easiest running.  I cruised along, taking it nice and easy.  I wasn't falling off bad, but I wasn't exactly strong at this point either.  I couldn't make up as much time as I would've liked.

I ran up the gradual hill, but it was tough, as I was breathing heavy.  When I'm feeling strong, I cruise up that one and almost don't notice it.  I was around mile 7 now.  I decided to hike up the last steep hill.  I knew it would take too much effort to run it.

I saw three deer at the top.  Later, when I came out onto the jeep road, I saw another one stare at me.  It was likely one of the three.  It then took off.

I had taken it easy, because I didn't think I could break 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Looking at my watch though, I now realized I was close.  I sputtered along the rolling hills.  I was still running though.

The new part in the final section is a little tricky.  It isn't as steep as before, but it is still steep and drawn out.  I probably should've forced myself to run it, but I was quite dead.  I hiked a little and it wound up costing me.

I came out on the old section and ran the short uphill to complete the loop.  I was at 1:29, but realized I'd just miss hitting what I wanted to.  I ended up just over that.  It is tougher to go under 1 hour and 30 minutes now that the new sections have increased the distance.  I actually came to the old distance around 1:26.  I'm also not in great shape at the moment.  Still, I should be able to do better later in the fall when it is even cooler.

This was a great run anyway.  It was exactly what I needed.  I got out of my comfort zone and pushed myself a bit, but not too hard.  I feel like I ran the route pretty smart.  Could I have run 24 seconds faster?  Probably, but I also might have blown up.  I am so glad fall is almost here.

I'd love to say I'll run tomorrow, but who knows when I'll run next.  Julia and I are meeting at Trexler on Saturday.  Company should be great.  Maybe I'll run before that too.  If I ever get off, maybe I'll try upstate New York.

8.8 miles - 1:30:23 (10:16 pace) 1200 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In Between Summer and Fall

I wanted a lot of recovery following last week's three straight days of 30 miles, 15 miles and 15 miles.  I should've probably run earlier this week though.  I was slacking and didn't get out there until early this evening.

I wanted to go far and explore somewhere new originally, but couldn't convince myself to drive.  Instead, I stayed close by and ran at South Mountain (Lehigh).  I did want to do the slightly longer loop this time though.

The weather was tricky.  It definitely isn't the heat of summer, but it isn't quite the coolness of fall.  It was in between, I guess early fall weather really.  I could've went shirtless and would've been comfortable at times and cool at other times.  Instead, I wore a singlet and got a bit sweaty.

I started off cruising downhill from the top.  That is always a fun way to start.  The trail is a bit overgrown heading onto it though.  I definitely worry some about ticks there.

Last time here, it was a 15 mile day after 30 miles the day before.  Today, I planned to be running more of the hills.  I tried to take them easy.  I ran a good portion of the first big hill.  However, it was just too much work and my breathing was labored.  It was too early to push through, so I hiked to the top.

I ate a hoagie for lunch and seemed to feel the effects of that.  It was a little humid and that wasn't helping either.  For the gradual hill, I just looked right in front of me and went slow.  That worked and I made it to the top without going too hard.

I actually was happy with how fresh my body felt early on.  Oddly, it seemed more sluggish as I kept going.  Normally, the reverse happens to me after a long layoff.  I cruised down the hill.  I then saw a mountain biker.  I think I saw him again a few minutes later on the technical section.

I coasted over the rocks, simply running steady.  I was disappointed that the bottom of my foot bothered me slightly.  I just can't shake the issue.

I ran out to the overlook.  Then, it was back up the hill.  This was a gradual climb and didn't seem too bad this time.  It is amazing how much easier a hill can be if you only do it once.

Instead of heading to the top, I went down the switchbacks and around the mountain this time.  It was a little overgrown on the switchbacks.  Combined with the rocks, I couldn't exactly fly downhill.  The switchbacks seemed to take awhile.

This section is one I don't do much.  It is quite tough, as it seemed to go up and down a bit.  I would've had more fun, if I wasn't so beat.  I battled on.

Not knowing the route hurt me.  One part went up and up and up.  I ended up hiking the top, but then after that, the trail leveled off.  I could've run it.

It is very rocky through this section too.  Still, I ran most of it, albeit slowly.  I crossed over the powerline and was glad I knew where I was.

I knew the last climb would be difficult.  It switchbacks a little and wasn't as big of a problem as I thought it would be.  Last time I ran up this, it was snow covered, so that made it more difficult.

I ran most of this.  However, at the top, some guys were whacking the weeds.  I had to stop to get by them.  I was grateful for the trail to be cleared though.  I was breathing heavy, so I walked a little of the pavement.

Then, I ran on in to my car.  It got me to the 10K distance.  That was a perfect run back after a layoff.  It was a decent run and I was able to run for most of it.  The weather is getting better, but I can't wait until it gets really cool.

I might run again tomorrow.  I'm unsure of my weekend plans.  I'm thinking of doing an epic run in Virginia, but not sure if I want to drive that far.  I was supposed to pace Virgil Crest this weekend, but now that isn't happening, so the weekend is wide open.

6.2 miles - 1:14:13 (11:58 pace) 925 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another J-burg 15

As far as summer weather goes, 2015 hasn't been all that bad.  Still, I hate summer and had been looking forward to the calendar changing to September.  Evidently, that had no impact, as these last few days have been some of the worst of the summer.  Today might have been the worst weather I've run in yet.

Running back to back days of 30 miles and 15 miles was tough.  Adding 15 more miles today would be quite the task.  It is what I needed to do to train for the West Virginia Trilogy next month.

I wanted something flat, easy and fast today.  I headed up to Bushkill in the Delaware Water Gap to run the McDade Trail.  There was a fee there and some of the other areas of the trail looked too exposed to the sun.  That would've destroyed me, so I couldn't risk it.  As much as I don't like Jacobsburg, I headed down there again.

By the time I got started, it was 4 PM.  I thought maybe it would be less hot, but it wasn't.  I was dieing early on.  It was so humid.  Even going shirtless provided no relief.

Mentally, it was so tough to get out of the car.  Today was the kind of day I just normally bail on.  I thought about it, but then talked myself into running.  I knew I needed a tough, miserable day like this for the mental aspect of training.

Running 15 more miles in this heat seemed overwhelming.  The legs were slow and sluggish early on.  Still, I was able to run quite a bit.  I sputtered along.  I started off with the main loop.  Some of the exposed sun sections were hot.  I walked the early uphills.

I did enjoy the singletrack part.  The Sober's Run loop has so much stone.  It kicked my butt the other day.  Instead of going on it, I turned left after the road crossings.  I went along the singletrack.  I was clicking off the miles.  I was near 4 of them at that point.  Even with this easy part, I couldn't get myself to run the whole time.

I got back to the road a short time later.  If I would've finished the loop, I probably would've had about 5 miles.  I wanted more, so I headed up behind the new building and along the ridge.  This section is fun.  However, adding another 1.5 miles in the heat probably wasn't a good idea.

I got back to the car exhausted and at only 6.5 miles.  I wondered how I could keep going.  I toweled off, but was sweating so much and overheating.  I ate a couple pretzels, refilled my Tailwind and drank some more water. 

I went back out.  I knew I had to simply focus on finishing this loop.  I couldn't think about the whole run.  It would be too overwhelming.  I felt like such shit, but kept moving.  It was great to get to halfway.

As I closed in on 9 miles, some mountain bikers passed me.  They also stopped and went by me again.  That caused me to run a little more and cover more ground.  This mile or so went by quicker.  I was thrilled to hit mile 9.

Getting to mile 10 was even better.  This was on the easy singletrack, it was walking and running mixed.  I kept going.  That was the key.

I got back at the car at mile 11.  Wisely, I didn't try to add on this time around.  I refueled and toweled off again.  Being less than 4 miles from finishing was a big boost.

I was really undecided on where to go.  I decided to cross the road right by the parking lot this time.  I didn't need as many miles now.  I ended up walking so much of this early part of this loop.  It was mostly uphill and mostly stone.  Around mile 10, my legs really fell off and by now I was merely hanging on.

At least it was getting cooler.  The bugs were bothering me though, at the slower (often hiking) pace.  I knew coming back things would get better.

It was great to get into the singletrack section in this area.  I ran again and had fun briefly.  I nearly got hit by a mountain biker.  I saw the group earlier and they were flying.  I moved out of the way. 

I ran along the downhill then.  After that, I turned to head back.  I knew this would be awful, as the part I was doing was stone and mostly uphill.  I walked a lot again.

Finally, I got to where it started going downhill, near 13.5 miles.  I was able to run the descents, so I just did that.  It was fun.  I cruised on back.  I looped around a smaller lot to add distance.

There was a small hill with about a mile to go.  I dug deep and ran it.  I ran all the way back to the water fountain.  I was too beat though and still had a half a mile left.  I ended up walking a little.

I then walked past the new building.  I turned around and ran back downhill.  I finished up in the parking lot, feeling very dead.  I was relieved to be done.

I was so tired and beat.  All I wanted to do was sit down.  It felt great.  My foot is quite sore and so are my legs.  I'm so proud of pushing through though and training well.  This was without a doubt the hardest training segment of my life.

Now it is rest, rest and more rest.  I won't be running until the weekend at the earliest.  It may even been later now.  I think this is my key training stretch, but I'm not 100% sure.  The weekend I was supposed to pace Virgil is still open.

15 miles - 3:07:24 (12:30 pace) 903 feet of elevation gain

Monday, September 7, 2015

South Mountain (Lehigh) 15

Yesterday was a tough 30 miler.  I wanted to do 30 again today.  I definitely thought going to Jacobsburg would beat me up much less than it did.  In the evening, I was so sore that I wondered how I'd be able to run today.  However, I woke up feeling much better and was more encouraged by that.

Originally, I was going to go to the Delaware Water Gap.  However, I needed to get back for dinner.  I had to make sure work didn't call me, so I wasn't able to start until mid morning.  I slacked for a little bit too.  I decided that I would run loops at South Mountain (Lehigh).  That would give me some elevation, but also fairly runnable trails.  I began at 10:30 AM.

Even that early in the morning, it was already pretty humid.  The first loop felt worse than I felt at all yesterday.  By the end of the run in the afternoon, it was around 90.  I definitely suffered a bit.  My shorts got quite soaked.

The nice thing is that this starts with some downhill.  My legs, not surprisingly, were sluggish.  They clearly weren't recovered from yesterday.  I could tell early on that it would be a long day.  I figured that I would just see what happens.

I was conservative of course, walking any early uphill.  Even with that, I felt very slow.  My running portions sure weren't crisp.  I saw a couple deer early on and began to count them.  That kept my mind thinking of other things.  I counted 9 throughout the run (and one groundhog).

Most of the middle of this loop is a slow ascent.  It is runnable on a short run, but not today.  It was super hot too, as there isn't much shade and that was the sunny side of the mountain.  I also was breaking a bunch of spider webs.

I cruised along when I got to the downhill.  I was careful on the technical terrain, as my legs weren't sharp.  I also probably didn't come into the run with enough calories, although I was now taking Tailwind.  I was surprised to see another runner on the technical stuff.  It looked like a college student.

There was also another guy with a weed whacker.  I could tell most of the sections along the trail had recently been trimmed.  I was very thankful for him.

Instead of the normal route, I decided to try to run some of the loop across from a foot bridge.  I often get lost in this area and it seems like I run forever to get out of there.  However, I thought it might be flatter and more runnable.  It turns out it wasn't.  I hiked about a quarter of a mile and then ran back down.  At least I added on to this loop.

The top of my right foot bothered me on the downhills yesterday.  During this stretch, it started to bother me now.  It seemed like when I ran a straight line downhill, it was an issue.  If I went side to side, it wasn't as much of a problem.

I ran on the road by the lookout.  I then crossed the road and headed back up on the trail.  This is uphill and I mixed running and hiking.  I came out to the Mountaintop Campus and went across to my car.

I was at 5 miles and beat.  I knew there was little chance for 30 today, unless I recovered miraculously.  I toweled off, refilled my water and Tailwind and ate two pretzels.  It was actually breezy and chilly at the top.

That didn't last though, as I went out for the 2nd loop.  It was muggy again, especially when I climbed.  I hiked the uphills this time too.  I started trying to figure out how long I'd go.  I figured that since my goal race(s) are three straight days, maybe I could do less on this day, but do a decent amount on Tuesday.

I plugged away.  I felt like crap on the uphills, but enjoyed the descents.  My right calf was a little sore.  Since I was going so slow, I stopped paying attention to pace and just kept moving forward.

I finished the second loop, by adding some paved running around the top of the campus.  Actually, I walked a bunch of that too.  I got back to the car at over 10 miles.  I knew I had one more loop in me.

I had my usual pit stop and was on my way.  Things started off slow in the first loop and got even slower now.  I just concentrated on getting to the next mile.  I hiked even more now, although I could still run.  The technical sections had me very cautious though.

Near the disc golf course a bunch of college students were doing something.  It was nice to see some cute girls.  Most of this run was lonely.  Then, I saw some mountain bikers after crossing the road. 

I cautiously went down the technical section.  I was so wiped out by now.  The combination of the heat, humidity and fatigue were really getting to me.  I slogged along.

It was great to get to the final mile.  I then ran up through the campus again.  I had to add on about .4 miles to get to mile 15.  I did that on the hot pavement.  I finished right at my car, exhausted.

This was definitely a disappointing day, especially because I didn't really push myself like I could've.  I did that more yesterday.  Today, I quit earlier than I probably should've.  I was hiking so much and just gave in.  That said, this isn't the time to test my limits either.  That is next month.  I was hoping I could do more today.

If I can do 10-15 miles again tomorrow, I'll be much happier and more confident.  I had run back to back 20s before, but never tried this much on consecutive days.  I'd like to think with less heat, I could've pushed to at least 20-25 miles today.

My training hasn't been where I have wanted it to be.  I actually haven't run all that much, outside of the long races I've done.  I definitely should've done more going into the West Virginia Trilogy.  Of course, I also know this, but decided I would give it a go anyway.  I want to see where my limit is and how far I can push myself.  I may be able to run that whole thing in a month, but hitting that 50 mile cutoff could be very tough.  I will certainly have to feel better than I did today.

I don't know where I'll run tomorrow.  I'd like to get up to the DWG.  That would give me a tough 15 miles and leave me more satisfied with these three days.

15 miles - 3:36:16 (14:25 pace) 2044 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jacobsburg 30

I haven't run since the middle of the week.  I wanted to start my back to back long runs on Saturday, but realized I might cut finishing close to a football game I was going to.  Instead, I started with a 30 miler today at Jacobsburg.

The weather was a little concern, but in the woods it was great.  I went shirtless as usual.  My shorts were only partially soaked after a long day out there. 

I wanted to start off with an easy run.  Of course for me, running at Jacobsburg isn't easy.  It is so mentally challenging.  I knew that that part would help me, even if I'd be running relatively fast.  I was also hoping it wouldn't take me too long to run 30 miles.

I decided to park at the little lot near the horse trailer lot.  This was a good choice, as I could refill water at the main lot.  Then, I could do more miles without having to go back to my car.

My biggest worry in the beginning was certainly the horses.  I knew the riders would be out in full force on Labor Day weekend.  They definitely were when I began at 10:30 AM.  A couple of them were in front of me as I hiked the powerline.  Luckily, four were behind me as I went up.

I got into the woods and it was still uphill.  However, I wanted to stay in front of the horses, so I didn't have to pass them on the downhill.  I started running.  However, they decided to have their horses trot and they trotted past me.  I thought this was good because they'd be running downhill.  Instead, they began walking there.  That was so annoying and frustrating.  I had to navigate around all four of them anyway.

I went around the other two horses near a fork in the trail.  I didn't alert them that I was passing.  A short time later, I came across two more horses.  The ladies saw me and moved their horses.  She told me to yell sooner that I was coming.  I never know what to do with horses.  That is my big issue.  At least now I know to give them plenty of time.

Luckily, I didn't have any more issues with horses, although I did certainly see a few more.  I did a little out and back and then ran on some dirt singletrack.  I finished up the loop with a fun singletrack ridge section.  That got me back to my car at 3.5 miles.  I wanted to go longer between stops though from then on out.

For the next loop, I didn't climb the powerline.  I wanted to avoid the climb and also avoid the horses.  I ran straight across.  I also was just looking to run out to the other parts of the park.  I crossed the road and headed to the main area.  I went uphill and behind the new building.  Then, I ran along the fun ridgeline singletrack.  I saw a woman running here either on this loop or the next time.  There were a few runners out, several mountain bikers and lots of families on this day.

I headed back to the water fountain to refill my bottle.  The first hour was a little slow with all the horse traffic.  The second hour, I was feeling good and probably ran too fast.  After the drink, I headed out for the open field loop.  This was quite hot, with the exposure.  I hiked a lot of the uphills.  Throughout the early part, I was trying to be conservative.

I was happy to run downhill and finish this loop and get more water.  Again, I went on the ridge singletrack.  I was over 1/3 of the way done with the run.  Now, I was going to run back to the car.  That would get me over halfway down.

I was okay through miles 14 and 15, but definitely starting to feel pretty crappy.  I kept running along though.  I crossed all the roads and then decided to head back on some of the ridge trail along the Sober's Run loop.  This would add more mileage.

I ended up with an out and back and got to my car around mile 17.  That was perfect and right where I wanted to be.  I was starting to struggle a lot though.  I was tired, but more than that my feet were beat up.

I got some Tailwind and water at this stop.  I took 3 S-Caps and then also grabbed a handful of pretzels.  I began hiking to the powerline and then up it.  I was hoping I'd be recovered by that point.  Instead, going both up and down the powerline was a massive struggle.  My feet, especially my right foot, was killing me.  I ended up hiking a lot.

I headed out across the road, for the longer 6 mile loop.  It was good to get to mile 20, but I was hurting.  This place is so runnable, but it beats me up.  I ended up mixing running and hiking.  At one point, I actually ran on the road briefly.

This was perfect training, as I was suffering and simply had to push through it.  Every new mile was a milestone.  I really looked forward to getting back to my car.  I decided to do more out and back on the trail ridge.  This got me back at the car at over 25 miles.

I was out there about 5 hours at that point.  Earlier, it looked like the run would be about 5 hours and 15 minutes.  Now, I had slowed considerably.  I just plugged along.  Refueling at my car was good.

I decided I'd finish with the Sober's Run loop and add a little more.  I hiked up the powerline.  I started running the downhill and couldn't.  My foot hurt like crazy.  Around mile 27, I was struggling to even hike.  I realized that it was the crushed stone they used as a surface.  It beat my feet up.  Whenever, I could get on the grass, it was a huge relief.

Getting back on the dirt singletrack was a massive relief too.  I went from barely being able to walk and now I was running.  I probably didn't have enough calories, so I was beat at this point.  However, I ran some and was able to push on.

I didn't want to add on any more when at the car and I needed dirt, so I went out and back again.  I figured I'd get back to my car at 29.5 miles.  I tripped on a rock, but the rock plate saved my toes from pain and I didn't fall.

I got back to the car at 29.5 miles.  I decided to do a short road run out and back.  This was better than running on the terrible stone.  Even on the road, my feet hurt some.  I stopped my watch over 30 miles, but it showed 29.99 miles on the Garmin data.  That was so frustrating.

I was thrilled to get this done.  It was frustrating and very mentally challenging.  I pushed through some crap and just kept going.  That is what I'll need to do at my goal race.  My feet are my only issue right now.  I hope they can recover for tomorrow.

Since my West Virginia Trilogy goal race(s) is in the mountains, tomorrow's run will be there too.  I'm hoping to recover well or somewhat well anyway and do 30 more tomorrow.  I'll be going to the Delaware Water Gap.  That will be quite the test.  I can't wait to get through it and rest up.

29.99 miles - 6:07:37 (12:16 pace) 1742 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Glen Onoko Waterfall Run

Today was my first run since Mega.  I recovered fine, but the temperatures have gone through the roof.  I've had no motivation to run and decided recovery was a better option.  I finally got out there this afternoon, even though it still sucked.

I wanted to do a run that I'd really enjoy.  Last night, I was telling Destrie how awesome Jim Thorpe is and specifically Glen Onoko Fall.  I haven't run there since the fall of 2013 though.  I did that run with a group.  I figured now that school is back in, it would be a good time to head there.

I pulled in in the early afternoon and I was correct.  It was not crowded at all.  There were a few hikers along the way, but mostly I had the trail to myself.

I was also correct that it was super hot.  I wore my vest so I could film with my GoPro.  However, I went shirtless with the vest.  I haven't done that to this point.  I figured I'd be alright though because it wasn't going to be a long run.  I was definitely very hot by the end and even chafed some.  I wore a new pair of New Balance shorts.

I started off in the parking area and headed under the bridge and to the trail.  I don't know why I didn't bother to follow the orange blazes.  Instead, I followed a trail along the stream.  It sort of disappeared, but I came out on the main trail.  I remember when I was there last time, there were many routes to take up.

After missing that first part, I decided to follow the blazes.  That worked out great.  This is a beautiful trail to follow.  There are two main waterfalls, but also many little ones as well.  The trail is quite rocky and root covered and fairly steep.

I hiked up, stopping to take videos and some of the falls and along the trail.  I was in no rush.  However, I did blow by all the hikers I saw.  I wanted a bit of a workout.  The trail crossed over the stream at least twice.

I stayed at the bottom of the big falls for awhile.  Then, I arrived at the top of them.  There's this great view at a rock ledge.  I was hoping to get some video of it, but they now blocked it off.  A couple people fall off that ledge and die every year, so I guess they are taking more precautions.

I continued on.  The second big waterfall was cool too.  At the top of this one, you could walk.  However, there was no ledge or view.  I think there were a few more small falls before getting to the very top of the trail.  It was about 900 feet of gain in over a mile.

I was already hot and drank a lot.  I was now on some sweet singletrack.  However, it was narrow and rocky.  At times, it was fun running along the ridge.  Other times, I couldn't get myself to do it.

There was a decent view at the end of the loop.  I saw some people there.  I then took off on the unmarked singletrack.  I was running along the ridge.  I had seen some spectacular photos from somewhere in this area and hoped I could find it.

I ran along over mile 2.  I decided I would go to 2.5 miles.  Between 2 and 2.5 miles, I came out to a firepit.  Then, there it was.  It was a stunning view along the river and all the surrounding mountains.  I could even see up to Lehigh Gap.  It took it all in for a few minutes.

The singletrack didn't seem to go far.  I was now to a wide woods road though.  I ran on that very briefly and got to 2.5 miles.  These roads are State Game Lands roads and there were nice.  However, they added these annoying big rocks that were hard to run on.

I was glad to head back.  At least I was on singletrack.  Although it was rocky here too, these rocks were natural. 

I ran along the ridge to the orange blazed trail.  This time, I'd finish the loop by going down the other side.  This is away from the falls.  This descent was actually fun.  It had a lot of rocky steps.  Taking a couple videos did slow me down, but other than that, I cruised.  It is funny because I remember thinking this was hard in 2013, but now I'm used to descending.  I found it quite easy.

I was to the bottom in no time.  I was disappointed when I realized that I wouldn't even get close to 5 miles.  I ran along the river briefly and just ended the run back at my car.  It wasn't too challenging, but it was a very fun run.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'll do.  I'd like to run again.  The weather will probably suck again though.  It is September, but summer doesn't want to leave.

4.4 miles - 1:23:01 (18:53 pace) 1,065 feet of elevation gain