Florida may be flat, but it is beautiful. Today I had the opportunity to run 30 miles in the Seminole State Forest. Running through swamps, forest, fields of palms, and much more.
Before I get into my run report, I must explain this 50 day challenge that Brack, Spencer, and I are doing. Beginning today, for the next 50 days, we are running with no rest days. The only stipulations are a MINIMUM of 5 miles per day, and AT LEAST one double digit run per week. The challenge will end on March 14, 7 days before the ING Atlanta, in which all 3 of us will run. Now for the report.
I began at the Southern end of the Seminole State Forest at one of the Florida Trail Trailheads. I really had no clue how far my run was gonna be, but I was thinking between 20 and 30. Standing at the trailhead, I tried to memorize the trail map, but there were intersecting trails everywhere, and I was planning to run 3 different loops off of the Florida Trail. So I decided to take pictures of the map at the trailhead, and this ended up being a great idea...yet another reason every runner needs an iphone.
My pack was a little heavy, due to carrying 5 hours worth of water, and probably enough calories for 40 miles. So the first couple of miles were tough because of the weight, but when I got to around 4 or 5 miles, I started getting in a rhythm. The trails were awesome, and I rolled through miles 10-17 and really felt good. As I got to around mile 18, I ran into a really soft sandy section of the trail, and it really got to me. This stretch lasted for about 3 miles, and as I ran through it, I hardly felt like I was even moving. At mile 21, at the end of the sand, I felt rough. This was nothing a pack of peanut m & m's couln't fix. I shouldn't have sat down! I got up and decided to head back to the car via the Florida Trail, having just completed the third loop off the the main trail. As I started back, it probably took me 2 minutes to waddle back to my pace, but I got back in the rhythm.
I struggled at numerous points on the way back, but continued to move forward. I did stop about halfway back and chatted with the park ranger at the pond. She was sitting and smoking a cigarette chatting with an old guy fishing. I shot the breeze with them for a minute before making the final 3 miles of the trip back to the car. I made it back to the car at mile 27. Great run.
So then I called one of my team leaders at Chick-fil-a whom I told I would run with. So I drove 5 minutes to his house to run 3 miles with him on a paved bike trail. He hadn't run in a year or so, so I had to get over there.
It is nice to be an Ultra runner again! See you on the trails.