Sunday, January 04, 2009

Watchung Reservation Long Run

My run today was 12 miles in Watchung Reservation.  It was my first run of 2009.  I have been skiing for the past week, and got only one run in, on New Years Eve.  That is OK - this is typically running down time, during the winter when skiing takes a lot of my time.  I run a lot less.  It is probably good for my body and mind and the entire training cycle.

Today's run was important, however.  I am scheduled to run a Fat Ass trail marathon, The Watchung Winter Ultra, at Watchung Reservation next weekend.  I have run hundreds of miles at Watchung Reservation.  Other runners that frequent the reservation and I agree, that the distance of the Sierra Trail there that is stated on the map is short by about 2 miles.  The maps claim 10, but running times always seem to support 12 miles.  We have collectively decided that a 10 mile loop of Watchung Reservation using the Sierra Trail is to eliminate the part to the south of Sky Top Drive.  That section is also the most technical section, with lots of sharp 4-6" rock scree, and radical uphill and downhill sections.  I am too old school and too cheap to Garmin that trail, but maybe someone else has.  I will have to ask around.

Today I figured I should include that technical 2 mile section on my run today so I am ready for it next weekend, and I figured I should run the rest of the trail clockwise, since I always do it counter-clockwise.  Trails look different in opposing directions, especially hours into a run.  The race next weekend does one lap in each direction.  I only took one 10 foot wrong turn because I was distracted by people and dogs at the intersection.  The trails were busier than usual today.  I passed 47 people and 12 dogs, not counting the people playing hockey on Lake Surprise - which I couldn't believe was happening because some of the lake was not even frozen.

My time was 1:47:14, which supports the 12 mile theory, at just under 9 minutes per mile.  It might even be longer - it felt like I was running 8:30's or better for a lot of the trail - but we know that trail running times per mile are decieveing, so I am accounting for that by about 30 seconds per mile.

I think people will be running 4 or more miles longer than they expect on Saturday.

The trail conditions today were varied.  There were sections that were icy and wet, and a lot of it had frozen mud in uncomfortable configurations.  The ground was generally very hard, not muddy as it usually is at the reservation.  We are supposed to get some rain and some snow showers this week, and currently the forecast is for rain & snow showers on race day.  Trail conditions, fueling and keeping warm might be a challenge.


Anonymous said...

I got about 10.5 miles on the Sierra trail loop on my Garmin. My running partner got about the same.

Thinnmann said...

Yea, but Garmins don't get it right because there are weak and no signals in that Reservation. It is distance-haunted. Since I wrote that entry, I did get a Garmin and I will have to check it out myself.