Thursday, December 28, 2023

Clinton Lake Winter Solstice 30 Miler (dnf)

For the last few years, on the winter solstice (December 21), our local buffalo trail runner group has run the Clinton Lake northfork trail. We try to run 3 loops (30 miles), but often many of us just do one or two loops. Still a nice achievement on this hilly trail. I did the full 3 loops (30 miles) last year and was confident it would happen again this year. In fact, I was a little cocky in thinking this year would go smoother and faster. I was wrong! Last year I was feeling good for 22 miles, then dramatically slowed down for the last 8 miles with lots of walking. Had hip pain. This year, I felt good for only the first 17 miles, then dragged myself through the last 3 miles and stopped. Again, a little hip pain, but mostly just plain tired. A big DNF at 2 loops (20 miles). Dang! It was the right choice. I could have pushed through one more loop, but it would have been nasty...and slow...and I would have needed a long time to recover. Wise choice to stop at 20 miles. Today, one week later, I feel fine. I might be older and slower, but I'm a little bit wiser too! Next year I'll finish the full 30 miles. With better training.

This "event" (not really a race) is the last in our Free Ultra Trifecta (Riddle Run 28M, Backyard Ultra, Winter Solstice 30M). Last year I did all three of them. This year just the first two. I was not ready for the darn hills at Clinton Lake. The other two events of the trifecta are at Lake of the Woods trails. Gentle rolling trail through forest, prairie, and farm land. Plus those loops are shorter so you can more frequently access food, water, new shoes, etc. To do better at Clinton Lake next year I need to run more at Clinton Lake! Simple. No substitute for the real thing. I was humbled last year at Clinton Lake Winter Solstice, and humbled again this year. Next year will only be better if I admit my short comings and actually train harder. Plenty of 10-mile Clinton trail runs, with a couple 15-20 milers leading up to the winter solstice. Simple. Rule of specificity applies usual. 

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