Running quote of the week

“It’s an honor to hit the wall… If you hit the wall you know you gave it everything.” – Lauren Fleshman

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fashion backwards at Stillwell Woods

At the top of a rise
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's run (Street): 3.2 miles

Hot couture
This morning's run was delayed due to a fashion-related protest by the female representatives at Emerging Runner Inc. I have long been in the camp that men aren't meant to wear running tights without shorts. I've done it a few times during races, but that's different. There are numerous shorts/tights posts in online forums and Runners World did a survey that favored the more modest combination. I wanted to run at Stillwell today and the weather seemed too cold for trail shorts and too warm for track pants. I decided to go with some lightweight running tights.

I knew I'd be running in the woods and thought that would be a situation where shorts-over-tights wouldn't be necessary. After seeing my outfit, my wife and daughter insisted that I add shorts or lose the tights. I was fine with that except that it added an unnecessary layer. I don't think it improved my look. When I got ready to leave, it felt much colder than the 42° that the local news station reported.

Once I adjusted my outfit to match the temperature, I headed over to Stillwell. There were baseball games going on, but the parking area near the trail head still had spots. As usual, there were a few mountain bikers preparing to ride and I zipped in before that happened.

I usually cut left toward the Black trail but decided to run the CLIMB bikeway trail instead. I soon encountered a couple of high school age girls coming from the other direction. About five minutes later I heard them coming up fast behind me. I sped up, mostly because that part of the trail was so narrow that passing would have been difficult. I managed to stay ahead of them until the trail split and I went right while the girls went left.

The downside to going right was that I had to scale a 50' rise at a steep angle to get to the next section of trail. I've taken on that hill many times in the past and was grateful to be wearing my Brooks Cascadias because the surface is mostly sand and loose rocks. People say that you can run trails in road shoes, but this hill is nearly impossible to manage without good trail runners.

Today's route
Once I passed that point, I was on my usual loop. The decision to wear shorts may have made me more presentable to the critters in the woods, but they did restrict my stride. After the initial encounter with those girls I saw few other runners or bikers today. I didn't run well or get into a comfortable rhythm until I was close to finishing. However, I did enjoy the experience of running in the woods.

Later in the afternoon my son and I watched The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young on Netflix. The race involves running five 20 mile loops (that are actually closer to 26 miles each) in some of the most rugged terrain in North America. The total course has more than 54,000 feet of vertical climb (and vice versa). Many years there isn't a single finisher. After seeing what those people went through, it's hard to complain about the 50 foot challenge at Stillwell this morning, even though I was forced to wear shorts.

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