I've gone trail running three times since my last entry, and each time went well. It's become something of an obsession.
The first couple minutes of the run are still the worst, but I attribute that to the lack of warmup before the run and the incline of the initial hill. The first of the three most recent runs saw me more motivated than usual. I grabbed a log off the ground around the 1.5 mile mark and ran it down the hill to where I usually rest. I took a short break, grabbed the log, and ran it back up the hill while people looked on. It destroyed my legs by the time I reached the top of the small hill, which was only a short distance, so I placed the log at the top of the hill and kept running. It certainly added a dimension to the run, but it made me wonder how the log part is incorporated into the actual races. In the videos and pictures I've seen it seems like the people are simply walking the logs up the hills instead of running. I figure that if I train by running I'll be a lot stronger in the walk, or I'll just end up running the damn thing up the hill anyway.
I also noticed that the trail run itself is longer than I initially estimated. The run from the beginning to the Museum section is about 1.5 miles, which makes the round trip around 3 miles total, which is perfect for these events. I'm running the three miles of trail hills in around a half an hour.
I was initially apprehensive about running this morning considering the forthcoming event's proximity. I decided to just run anyway and it seems like I got out unscathed. I slowed down by the end of the run because my calves were crying and I was worried about shin splints. They seem fine now; I think the protein shakes have a lot to do with avoiding that condition. My recoveries have been swift and I haven't had any soreness after even the most intense exercises.
I have another friend coming to visit this weekend, and Saturday is the Shawnee Peak Challenge. My friend will accompany me, but not to participate. I'm considering dressing up in some ridiculous costume which I'll likely find tomorrow. I'd rather not be another run-of-the-mill competitor with UnderArmour uppers, gloves, shorts and running shoes.
I'll be writing in again after the event with a full report. I expect it to be not only a great time, but a springboard for my training and a gauge of my current level as compared to the other competitors.