The the end of summer has officially come as the Fall NMTC Trail Series has begun! I can't believe that it's already September, though - something is not quite right about that. Don't get me wrong, I think fall might be my favorite season and I LOVE the fall trail series but still . . . what happened to the last three months? Didn't we just finish the spring series?
So I took last weekend completely off, no long run for me and in fact, no run at all for me over the weekend. I did an easy run on Monday where my knee was unhappy for the first half and fine for the rest. I've started already running through scenarios in my mind of 'what ifs' for October regarding my knee, but I think I should probably calm down and wait and see what this weekend brings me. It was mostly fine on Wednesday's race, so I'm a little hopeful again. I have another race followed by the rest of my long run slated for Sunday so we shall see. The 25K on roads that I'm planning on racing next week is a big indicator, too. I don't want to run Whistlestop if I'm not in the shape I want to be in.
The first Fall Trail Race is in Superior - Brown's Point. Usually, it's on ski trails and contains some very nice parts and some evil and steep down/ups of the type that throw off your balance if you're on skis. However, the trails hadn't been mowed and the decision was made to move the race to the gravel roads around the area. 2 miles out, 2 miles back. I actually kind of enjoyed having the race on roads for a change, it was fun being able to run abreast with people where we're used to being on more narrow trails. I actually ran with someone for pretty much the whole way, which was nice and made for lots of short talking and joking. I ran even or probably negative splits - I glanced at my watch at the turn and saw 14:something and came in with 28:09. I was worried as it seemed as though there was an awful lot of downhill on the way out, but I didn't notice much uphill on the way back, so it must have been a deceptive slope. I was going hard with about 800 to go when I realized that I have a race on Sunday and I didn't want to burn all cylinders trying to race someone up the uphill finish, so I backed off a bit to make sure I wouldn't be tempted to try and race down the guys in front of me. A smart move, I think since my legs weren't sure how interested they were in going faster anyway :)
Wednesday was a good practice run for my 10K on Sunday, I think - it'll be mostly on rolling dirt/gravel roads. It'll be harder to maintain a nice pace since I tend to end up on my own out there but that will also make it a good test of mental strength to go the pace I know I can go, right?