cougar mountain miles

Cougar Mountain is about twenty minutes from here.  It’s a park with many miles of nice well-marked trails, and is perfect for distance training.  Although the climbs tend to be more gentle than many other mountain trail systems, miles there are still longer than they are in other places.

Yesterday Cougar Mountain illustrated this point to me again.

I’d done a loooong run last weekend, and have entered my taper for the Free State Trail Marathon.  I’d gotten in a couple of speed workouts this week, so simply wanted to go out and get some time on my legs.  I’d planned to run between 10 and 15 miles, not fast, but with some challenging climbing.

Well- from the outset, I was dragging.  I’d charted a course of about 11 miles, that took me clockwise around the park, starting at the Sky Country trailhead.  The eastern portion of the run is pretty easy, with the bigger climbs coming later (De Leo Wall and Cave Hole trails).  But I was struggling on the easy stuff, going up Coyote Creek (for example).  And it was warm too!

I pressed on, and toughed out ten and a half hard miles, and did lots of walking on the hills.

It wasn’t until later that I found out that the temperature was pushing eighty.  That’s a thirty degree swing in a week.  Also – some quick addition while writing in my training log reminded me that Sunday-Saturday included about 54 miles of running (30-35 is my average).  That explains the fatigue.

I’ll need to back off a bit for the next two weeks to recover for the marathon.  I don’t want to feel this lousy running the trails in Kansas.  I don’t really have a time goal, but definitely won’t enjoy running as tired as I was yesterday.

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