Case in point: yesterday. My program called for 3:30 to 3:45 on trail. I decided to try a new section of the Bruce Trail and headed up to Milton to do a loop of the Halton Hills side trail. That loop is about 20km and I figured I would neeed to run a bit extra but that's OK. Little did I know. The trail ended up being the most gorgeous section I've run yet except for one thing: the trail surface is just nasty. I've been battling a bit of a knee pain and by the time I was 3:00h in, I had to break the seal on my emergency Advil bottle. A few sections were runnable around the Hilton Falls Conservation area but by then the damage was done. I shuffled the last few kilometers to my car, walking whenever the footing got questionable, which whas often.
On the drive back, sipping on my McDonald's Chocolate shake, I started to wonder if maybe I should run on flatter surfaces where I could sustain a faster pace. Wouldn't that be better training? Then I remembered my most brain numbingly boring training run ever: a 5:30 hour, 50k training run on a pancake-flat bike trail near Welland. I was just a grind. There was no joy involved. I actually listened to music for a couple of hours, something I rarely do. I couldn't believe I finished. Yesterday, the run wasn't quite as long but (other than the knife stabbing at my IT band) I had a great time. I took pictures of some of the nice spots; I lost the trail numerous times and got to play with my GPS; I had to go around flooded sections; I had my first shit in the woods (is that what my kids call "over-share"?); I swore at the tectonic plates and/or glaciers to create so many rocks. Never a dull moment. I'll stick to trail. I figure that if I stick to it, next year I'll think the Iroquoia Trail Test course is nice and easy.
So I was slow on Sunday. Who cares? I had a great time.
I have 48 hours to run 100 miles on February 13. I'll be happy just to finish, and that's a pace of 18 min/km. I better get used to slow. And I look at the bright side: there won't be any rocks!