Harley and I have slowly been amping up our trail running miles since transitioning to minimalist shoes over the last two months. I’ve not only changed shoes – but have also moved to almost 100% trail running. So slowly but surely we are getting back to the modest distance (12ish miles) we used to run on road. We all too quickly did 16 miles at Kennesaw about seven weeks ago while I was still transitioning to my Merrell Pace Gloves and that set me back a bit. They are so fun to run in I did not heed all the warnings posted everywhere that encouraged me to transition to minimalist running slowly. So I developed some Achilles tendinitis and likely a stress fracture to my 4th or 5th metatarsal. Maybe some bursitis around my heel. After laying off running for a couple of weeks and taking to biking (20-50 miles a whack) – my “top of foot pain” slowly went away although it has been replaced with a gel phenomenon of my Achilles (gets very stiff after periods of inactivity). In any case – Harley and I are back on equal footing with regards to distance and comfort in our new shoes. Me and my post-op bunion feet have taken to the Altra Lone Peaks for now. I will retry the Merrell’s once my feet stop barking all together. I’m currently running between 20-30 miles per week hoping for 30-35 within the next 2-3 weeks. Our first race is August 4th in Chattanooga – the Still Hollow Half Marathon.
Ok – so the Coosa Backcountry. We went into it knowing it was a loop out of Vogel State Park just south of Blairsville, GA. The topography map looked a little hellish but I knew that there was an H9 Marathon run out here so it couldn’t be that bad. And it didn’t start out that way. First mile was ascending followed by about 3-3.5 miles of slow descent on a beautiful path through a beautiful forest. Then we crossed a Forest Road and it was uphill from there. Seriously. A lot of uphill requiring flat out strenuous hiking. I was disappointed as I was looking forward to our first “backcountry” trail run. By mile 6 we started running again and it started to rain – which was lovely. We started with temps in the low 70s. So it was just a nice day albeit a little humid. The trail quickly became a hiking trail again for the next 2 miles or so. By the time we started hiking up Blood Mountain we had a decision to make. We had passed a road that would take us to Vogel State Park in 3 miles or keep hiking up the mountain. I went there with the mindset that I was running 13 miles and we had already hiked about 3 miles of the trail. So we turned around and ran to Vogel (must have been on US-129) – meeting up with last mile of the Coosa Backcountry Trail. All told – it was 13 miles in 3:15ish. I know now that I have very little interest in running the H9 Marathon out there. Our goal for the year is the Pine Mountain 40 on December 2nd. I am hoping to get a run in soon out there to check out the topography. Please, please be doable!!!! Also – Harley and I promise to bring our cameras next time so our blog isn’t so boring!
Badwater race is tomorrow. To all of those doing that race – y’all a crazy lot – but more power to you!!!