Chasing the rain

COUNTDOWN: Ultramarathon Day Minus 7

I had a nice trail run at Town Run Park today.

Well, for a while.

The rain was good enough to hold off for the first 50 minutes. Then it came down in sheets, with lots of electrical special effects.

My goal was to run the seven-mile trail loop, a favorite of mine, in under an hour.

If it were a straight, smooth road, I could do it, no problem. But it’s a tricky, technical, dirt and rock singletrack with lots of turns and short, steep hills. The general effect is running a roller coaster track.

The trail was built for bikes. Sometimes, I take my bike out there, and it is a thrill to ride the trail at high speed and try to keep from wiping out tight turns and moguls.

But on foot, it’s challenging in a different way. You obviously can’t work up the same speed as a bike. But you need to climb the numerous hill all the same. It requires raw strength from glutes and calves. It’s a workout, every time.

I started out at about 8 a.m., and nervously looked at the sky one last time before I hit the trail. Dark clouds were forming overhead, and there was a steady breeze. But I needed to do this run. That’s because I sat on my butt for eight hours yesterday at a church workshop, then came home and took a long nap, and did very little else.

So it was time to get my legs moving and my blood pumping.

I started out stiffly, as I often do after a day off. By after 15-20 minutes, I was loosened up.

The trails were busy today, thick with mountain bikers who were trying to have a little fun before the thunderstorm started.

The woods were cool and the trail was firm. I had a decent run, for a while. But then, at about mile six, the thunder and lightning started, and a few minutes later, it started to rain like hell.

I really didn’t want to chance it, so I took a shortcut back to the parking lot, cutting off the last mile. The trail runs in lots of winding loops, and once you know it, it’s easy to jump in or out pretty easily. Presto, the seven-mile loop became a six-mile loop.

The rain continued to fall heavily, and I had to laugh at the sight of dozens of  bike riders flying out of the woods and into the parking lot, trying to avoid getting drenched. Eeryone wanted to beat the big downpour. Some did; some didn’t.

My running time today was 1:04:42.

I’ll run again tomorrow morning. I expect to be more limber. And have a little more cooperation from Mother Nature.

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