Our group run this morning was a planned 10-mile trail run on the white, red, and candy cane trails in Percy and Edwin Warner parks. My schedule called for 12 to 14 miles at easy pace, so I got to the park a little early for two additional miles before the group run started.
Once the group arrived we ran up the main drive in Percy Warner for about 3/4 of a mile and then connected with the white trail. From the start of the trail run we essentially broke up into two groups, with Nathan, Bob, Kelly, and I taking the lead. About 5 minutes after starting on the white trail I tripped over a root or rock and started going down. Fortunately I had a handheld fluid bottle in my right hand, which I immediately stuck out to absorb the fall. I landed squarely on the bottle and my hand rolled over the top of it slightly scraping some of my knuckles. Other than this I just got really dirty, which was not a big deal.
Other than the fall I was feeling fantastic, even on the steep climbs. When we came to the red trail, we decided to run backwards to meet up with the rest of the group. Once we found them I ran with Paul for a little bit and showed him the “souvenirs” on my knuckles from the fall. He said “wow, so you went down? Down goes Frazier!” This famous quote from Howard Cosell led to an argument between Paul and Grady about which opponent had knocked down Frazier when the Cosell line was uttered. They went back-and-forth between Norton, Ali, and Foreman.
George Foreman knocks down Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica in 1973.
They finally agreed it was George Foreman and then launched into another back-and-forth of Howard Cosell impersonations. At this point Nathan and I again broke away from the main group and were soon followed by Bob and Kelly. The four of us continued together on the red trail and then took the candy-cane connector over to the Edwin Warner nature center for a water stop. I was still feeling great all the way to the stop, but it was nice to get a break and some water.
At the Nature Center, the main group again caught back up with us after a few minutes. Paul came up to me and said something to the effect of “Tim, you look like Salazar out there” followed by a description of how my form mirrored that of Salazar. He then said “you look like a real runner.” Before I had a chance to soak in the compliment, Marc came up and said “Tim, he doesn’t mean the famous runner Alberto Salazar, but just an Italian guy he knows named Sal Azar.” Without missing a beat, Paul added that his friend “Sal” runs a “metal emporium.” We had a good laugh! I love my group.
Alberto Salazar leads Dick Beardsley in the famous “Duel in the Sun” – Boston 1982
For the second half of the trail run we headed back down the candy-cane connector to the other half of the red and white trail. For most of this half, Nathan and I ran by ourselves, but were occasionally joined by Bob and Kelly. I told Nathan later that this was as good as I’ve ever felt on a long(ish) trail run in the heat and humidity. My legs felt strong until the last big climb on the white trail coming back when my quads began to scream “UNCLE!” The total elevation gain for this route was 2,182.5 ft!!
Now THIS is a trail run…2,182.5 ft of elevation gain!
Final total for me was just a hair over 12-miles with an average pace of 10:04 per mile. Nathan’s Garmin showed an average pace of just under 10:00, but I joked with him that this difference was because he failed to pause my watch for me when I fell. He said that next time he would dive into the dirt beside me 🙂
Overall this was a great run. I love running trails and I felt fantastic today. Nathan also looked strong and it was good to run with him as always.