Saturday, August 2, 2014
8HOP: Eight Hours of Power
My options were few: there are no good asphalt or concrete loop courses that are 0.9 miles with close parking. I could have gone to the track and set up a table, but I'm not running on the track for this race. I could have gone to the cemetery for the 0.98 mile loop, but that's gravel.
My plan at NorthCoast is to walk a quarter mile every three laps. On the track it would be close to doing 10 laps of running to 1 lap of walking. At Cornbelt I ran/walked 6:1 and that was very doable. Not sure how the 10:1 plan might go, but I wanted to see how it felt, at least for 40 miles, on dead legs. The other things I considered are: it's at 5000 feet altitude, it's warm, there are some good rolling hills on the Power Trail that won't be there in Cleveland, I'm not rested or tapered, it's at the end of a 90 mile week, and the car is an inconvenience that would take extra time to mess with things than a table.
I figured on starting around 6 and being done by 2 pm. As it turned out, thanks to those reliable night sweats, I woke up at 2:55 am. I figured what the hell and dragged myself out of bed. I made PBJs and filled the cooler with ice water and vitamin water zero. I ate a PBJ for breakfast because I didn't feel like making anything else. I drove over to the trailhead and parked, and started about 4:30 am.
I took pictures early in the morning but I didn't feel like messing with my phone later in the run. There is some interesting variety alongside the trail, like the elaborately painted utility boxes. The trail runs parallel to railroad tracks but doesn't follow the railroad grade. It has some challenging rolling hills.
By 8:30, about halfway through, I was right on schedule, and it was starting to get hot. I pulled out my ice bandana but I had no ice cubes, I soaked it with ice water from my jug. That was enough. I continued to be consistent on my splits. The southern end of the course has some nice shade for a quarter mile stretch, and doubling back it extends it to a half mile, across from the golf course on Horsetooth Road. That was my reward each time.
At 6 hours I decided to crank up the pace, but I didn't have much to give. I ran a few loops close to 30 minutes but I felt better when I ran closer to my average pace. My legs were tired. The walk breaks were perfect, I think I'm okay with that, and on rested legs I'm sure I'll respond even better.