Another week, another long run, another trail done!
Am so lucky to be part of a very enthusiastic inclusive un-official “training group” for our 6 inch trail ultra marathon.
Our group has a pretty diverse range of abilities and endurance/speed capacities. But in true trail spirit, this does not matter. Running as a group encourages people, supports them, and teaches us to be humble about what we can do. Further respect you gain for each of the group members as you watch their struggles and their success’s is immense. The other thing is the amount of fun we have!
We have a gent called Gary. Large chap. Like 6ft 6 or something..to me he looks like 7 ft. Was incredibly overweight and took to running very slowly to get fit and loose weight. I may have mentioned this gent before. He is always the slowest, always last. Always smiling, always happy, and most important always there! Gary just never gives up. At each of our marshalling points, the first check every one makes or calls out is “where is Gary?” A couple of us are always happy to do a collie run back to find Gary and bring him in to the marshelling point. One of the most awesome things about Gary is his goal for next year. He aims to “run” from Perth to Brisbane in Australia. That is well over 4000km ! It will be slow, but seeing Gary’s determination on the track and his commitment to training, his incredible personality, I believe Gary will achieve this.
I have an interesting observation. I dislocated my big toe a few weeks ago, and it keeps popping out, which can be pretty painful and annoying when running, especially on the trails. As I run on my forefoot, it makes things a lot worse. Once again my big toe popped out. Oweee! When covering large distance in remote trails, I really have no choice but to suck it up princess. However I have noticed that I am compensating on the pain and have starting heel striking! The end result is when I get home I find my feet are now getting bruised. This is even on a not so technical trail run, and remember at these training runs it is not race pace or even tempo pace. My heels hurt and I decided last night to wear compression socks, and have even come to work with them on. I guess I must get down to a physio to sort this toe out, as I do not want to mess with my foot strike! Additionally my trail shoes have worn through so I have to go and spend money on another pair..
A couple of times during the run, where it was not too rocky, I removed my shoes altogether and ran free spirited and barefoot along the trail track (not sandy but very pea gravel and pebbly). This would temporarily relieve the pain in my feet, air them out, and confirm in my heart that I am right running barefoot. I would do this for about 2km at a time. Now please..any one researching barefoot running, I must recommend that you have seriously tough feet and excellent foot placement before you try running barefoot on trails. If the trail track is grassy, sandy and or relatively level, go for it, especially if you are at a jogging pace. But if you tend to run faster, chase the downhills and burms, rock jump and enforce cadence rules on more technical surfaces, be careful!
I may have referred to “Collie Style” runs a few times. I am not sure if every one knows what this means. Essentially when we run in a group of diverse abilities, training in unknown territory or trails, “Collie” allows the fitter/faster runners to run ahead at a much quicker pace, they then turn back to the group at various points and run back towards the group, right to the back and a little past, then turn around and chase the group down again, making sure all are accounted for, usually encouraging the last people in the group and helping them catch up with the main group. Running in this manner allows those to add mileage and speed, but still stay with the group, it also allows for regular regrouping and head counts, and then it also helps as the fast runners when on the return collie will often slow down when they have chased down the back runner, and will pace with them for a short while to encourage & motivate them. Additionally when following poorly marked trails and new routes, the front runners will do the exploring to assess and monitor the trail course!