ORN: 12.2 miles, 1:56:35, 9:33/mile
Took a different route today, a long lollipop. The "stick" was 5.5 miles on my normal route on the West Lafayette Trail System. The candy was a mile loop around the intra-mural fields at Purdue.
I picked this route because the top of the lollipop was a wood mulch, hilly, trail-like path. Since the HUFF, two weeks from today, is 2/3 on a trail, I needed to get the legs/feet a bit used to the difference from my normal asphalt pounding.
Wow. Good move. And two big things to ponder on the trip home along the lollipop stick.
First, I had forgotten from last year's HUFF race just how much things change when you get on uneven ground. First off, the same effort is about one minute/mile slower pace. Soft ground, picking your way, poor traction all combine to make it really tough. Note to self: cut the expectations on the trail in 2 weeks. Relax and just enjoy the run, forget about the pace.
Second, I felt like I was plodding on the way home. So, I simply cranked up the pace, 8 miles into the run. Didn't figure the legs would respond for any length of time. Wrong. After some 9:50 and 10:05 miles midway, I did the last four in 9:16, 9:30 (into the wind), another 9:16 and 9:07.
The base is holding up.
Two weeks to go. The taper continues, and it is fascinating how the strength is staying in the legs.