The third weekend of every month is Silent Sunday at South Mountain. This means that no cars are allowed on the roads and runners, bikers, walkers and skateboarders flock to the park. There are a couple different roads you can take and a ton of trails. For today's long run I ran up to Dobbins Lookout. Dobbins Lookout is 11 miles round trip with 5.5 miles being uphill.
John and his buddies were running up to the TV towers which is 15 miles round trip and they quickly left me behind. Many times we run up to the same point and I push myself up so they don't have to wait a long time for me at the top. Today since we were going to different spots the pressure to run hard up the hills was gone. It was still a very challenging run up the hill and many times I thought about stopping and walking. Many times the pace was probably close to walking and I could have power walked faster than I was running but I kept running. Up till today I hadn't run more than 8 miles in months and hadn't run this route since March. I knew that it would be challenging to run the 11 miles.
It was very hot and humid and the whole run was challenging with the heat even though we started at 5:30am. With 1.5 miles left to the top an older guy with long silver hair pushed past me. I've been passed plenty of times but what amazed me is that he was running with no water. I always run with water and usually have plenty but today I was running low as I had finished more than half my water by time I hit the top and still had my Tri-Berry GU to eat. (Does one actually eat GU?) I run with the Nathan yellow water bottles and had 4 on my water belt and I guess I must have looked on the overkill side. As one of the bicyclists was coming down he told me I looked like a suicide bomber with all the yellow bottles attached.
Once to the top I downed my GU, caught my breath, remembered to actually look at the view and headed back down. Looking down a the ground I noticed an IPOD laying on the ground and picked it up. When I got home I posted on Craigslist a found IPOD so we'll see if anyone claims it.
When I started downhill I had this image in my head that it would be easier. After all, it is downhill. What I found a couple miles in is that even running downhill is tough work and I was quickly worn out. My pace got slower and slower and I kept negotiating with myself of where I should stop and walk. I did stop about a mile and half mile to go to get more water and then SLOWLY jogged back to where the road to the parking lot started and then walked.
My entire Sunday was packed and once I got home although I was physically worn out and would have loved a nap, there was just enough time to eat cereal, shower and head back out the door. I was physically beat, my legs were tired all day but I did the run and tomorrow officially starts week one of marathon training.