Blacks Single-Track 10km Trail Run
On 5 hours sleep (due to a not so favorable national rail journey) I made the 2 hour journey to Luton Airport Parkway. This was a Sunday and for all intent and purpose, I should have been in bed. But, the sun was shining and getting outdoors to let off some steam from a heavy work week seemed like a great idea. After hitting planned engineering closures on the underground and encountering many folk who had been out raving and were only just finishing up (yes I was up early) I made it to Parkway to meet my good mate and former hill-sprint cyclist Chris Jenkins (CJ). In the car we got and he zoomed me to registration.
The views from the top of Dunstable Downs were perfect. On a clear day like Sunday you could see 5 counties (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire).
Before the race I always like to warm up physically and mentally. For this run I used a couple of Kelly Starrett’s MWods, namely pigeon pose and paleo squat. CJ then offered some first rate advice. He recommended several fast sprints to get as close to max HR as possible, in prep for the hill climbs on the trail run. The theory being, if you have been up to a high heart rate previouly, your heart is expecting further hard work and is kore prepared to supply more blood to working muscles. I have to say it worked really well. The
first climb plus the following 4.5km whizzed by. Then came the hill. A 20 degree climb for about 300metres. I attempted to attack it, but with a lack of hill-climb experience I tired quite quickly. My lower back felt most of the strain and lit up like fireworks on the fourth of July. After walking some and running some I was soon onto relatively flat land and back on track.
This is my second trail run ever and it won’t be my last. I had a lot of fun running through the downs.You don’t really pay much attention to how long you have been running. Instead you concentrate on the floor and what obstacles are in front of you.
This run was made even more interesting given that I was wearing my Vibram FiveFingers, KSOs. You feel every bump and lump under foot, so it makes you very aware of your stride length, cadence and sound of your feet. After owning the Vibram Bikila, the Komodo and now the KSO, I much prefer the KSOs as they offered protection from the stone laden single track, but did not compromise on proprioception (which is basically the feedback your body gets from your feet that informs decisions on foot placement).
I ended up finishing the 10km in 46:33 which put me at 50th, out of over 400 runners. Baring in mind my PR on a flat course is just under 42minutes and I had to walk some of this course I am really pleased. Another win for the minimalist shoe/barefoot lifestyle. I also felt really strong in the final 2km and overtook 4 people on the last 200m sprint home to the finish. The plan now is to find a flat 10km and re-test. Given that I have mostly been training using CrossFit it may be another win for the sport of fitness.