May 19th – Day 2
Total miles run for the day: 12
Total miles run for the week: 28
Total elevation for the day: 1,558
Total elevation for the week: 2,521
12 miles – Trail running
Average pace: 9:19
Elevation gain: 1,558
Effort level – 7
How did I feel – Strong and confident
It’s trail day!! I knew that I wanted to keep the miles for today to a single workout, and I knew I wanted some softer surface. Trail running is what really pulled me back into running over 8 years ago. I remember watching videos of Killian Jornet and being utterly mesmerized by the way he could move through such technical terrain. His passion for trails, wilderness, and mountains was an incredible motivator and pull for me to start exploring more of my surroundings. At the time I lived in rural northern California, with access to redwood lined trails just out of my door. While my surroundings and locale have changed to a much more urban setting, my passion for the trails is still strong!
I didn’t really want to put in loops at the closest city park, so I figured I would make the drive across Lake Washington and head to Coal Creek. This greenbelt is really an amazing gem in the Seattle area. Starting on the shores of Lake Washington, you can run a gorgeous single track trail for about 5 miles headed uphill toward Cougar mountain. From Cougar mountain you can link up with literally hundreds of miles of trails into the Cascade foothills. The trail is perfect for out and back runs of any distance. While never being extremely steep or difficult, there are short sections that allow you to practice the more technical side of trail running, while the overall flow of the trail allows you to push some speed if you want.
I met my brother at the parking lot trailhead. He was excited to document some of the run with his drone. We decided on a couple of meeting points where he would be able to access the trail, and after that I was off. I knew I was shooting for about 12 miles, so I wore my Salomon vest to carry some calories, my phone and keys, and used a handheld bottle for water.
After about 1.5 miles I came to the first meeting point with my brother. We attempted to have the drone follow me, however some of the trail was a little too narrow and overgrown with vegetation for it to navigate through. I spent a couple minutes running back and forth on the trail, trying to coordinate different shots with the drone. We repeated this process a couple more times as I made my way through the first 6 miles. I would meet my brother, and run a couple of different attempts at getting the best drone shots. It was actually a lot of fun seeing what the drone was capable of, and what types of images we could come up with. I think I ended up accumulating about 1 mile of my run, by doing different “takes” for the drone.
As I turned around at mile 6 to head back toward the car, I was ready for some uninterrupted harder running. I put the earbuds in, took a swig of water and let the legs go. It felt so amazing to be moving on a soft, single track. I had a couple of miles of real trail bliss. Around 9.5 miles into the effort my legs started to feel tired. On the downhill and flats, they were still feeling good, but any uphill was feeling difficult. I knew I only had about 150 ft of climbing from this point, so I worked on good arm swing and just staying relaxed.
As I headed back towards the car I realized I would need to make up a little extra distance to make up for all of the “drone running” I had done on the first half of the run. I had access to a flat bike path so I went an extra half mile out, before turning around. This was my fastest mile of the run, and it felt nice to try and get the legs moving even though they were tired.
I made it back to the car feeling excited about the run, and excited about the miles to come later in the week. After a little bit of stretching and a couple of photos of the cottonwood seeds, I was ready to head back home and prep for the next day.
Andrew O’Connor is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Andrew, check out his coaching page.
Read more about my week here: