Double trouble. Double the fun. The Daily Double. A Double take. Double or Nothing. Double Vision. Double Down. Double Up......I could go on. Lots of things to reference with Doubles.
The last two days I pulled off a noteworthy double double of sorts for me. Not just because it was something that I haven't ever done before. But because it was really good endurance training - for me at least.
Not that it all went well.
Tuesday: I am fortunate to live just a few minutes from the entrance to the Air Force Academy where the Falcon Trail is a favorite trail of mine to train and run on. When I tack on a loop of the parking lot it is a 13 mile run - with 1300'+ of elevation gain that gives added work to a good 2 or so hour run on a really nice trail that is usually not very travelled upon during mid-week.
I had run only once since last Friday - that one run was just an easy and short-ish effort. So I expected to go into this Tuesday's run with some pep. Didn't happen. I started out feeling tired, not really feeling slow, but just feeling fatigued. Maybe not enough sleep and/or not eating well the previous couple of days. I stuck to what felt like an easy to moderate effort and ended up with a 2:05 lap going counter clockwise. In hindsight this was too fast. But it didn't feel too fast - it just felt tiring. I possibly should have stopped, but I had the day off work and wanted a long run.
I turned and was now heading clockwise for a 2nd lap. I tried to be conservative and really slow down the effort in order to keep moving without walking. It seemed to work for almost 4 miles - then I couldn't muster any effort or desire to run any further. So I resorted to walking, a lot. Every now and then I convinced myself to run / jog. Sometimes I even ran for a mile or so. I also walked for larger sections. I seem to bonk each and every time I try a Double Falcon run. Don't know what it is - I'm sure the 26 miles has a lot to do with it, but I also believe I have a mental roadblock built into it.
What had the potential to be a new 2 lap PR (old one is about 4:15) quickly went by the wayside.
I kept moving alternating walking with running and feeling like I would never make it back to my car. Finally with 3 1/3 miles to go of almost all downhill with the exception of the last 1/2 mile I convinced myself to move - and maintained a slow run / shuffle all they way to the end, including the last 1/2 mile of misery. 2nd lap was 2:25 almost for a 4 1/2 hour total for the 26 miles.
I lay down on the picnic table in the parking lot after I was done - and if it wasn't for not having any fluids left - would have gladly stayed there and easily fallen asleep.
Wednesday: Much better sleep the night before. But woke to rain and 46 degrees. I waited until just after 9 am - had the day off work so I could afford to get a late start - the rain stopped as I pulled into a parking area at the foot of Mt Herman.
I started out slow - way slow - really wanting to pace myself for this days effort. I wasn't feeling too sore or even overly tired from the day before. I also wasn't feeling overly peppy either though. The 1700' climb up the first 1.3 miles was and always will be a wake up and get it over and done with section of the 8 mile loop. The trail was a little slick in places but by the time I reached the summit the clouds had lifted and the sun came out.
This brightened my spirits and I continued over the Southwest side of the mountain and onto the lap. I felt okay and managed to get into a steady rhythm - finishing the first lap only 30 or so seconds slower than last weeks first of 2 laps. Today I was also doing 2 laps - but last week I had not been out for 4 1/2 hours and 26 miles the day before.
Needless to say my second lap - particularly the climb back up to the summit was slow. The weather was good and clear now and I had shed a full layer of clothes at the beginning of lap 2. After I came back down the mountain and neared the approach to Limbach Canyon I ran up on and passed 3 mountain bikers struggling up the trail. I saw them from about a 1/4 mile away and they worked as a good motivation to keep me from walking.
I always have a sick satisfaction of passing people on bikes - gives me an ego boost thinking that my foot power is stronger than their pedal power. It may be the case on steep uphill terrain - certainly not on downhills though. In any case - I passed by them, cheerfully saying good morning and trying to make it look like my effort was so much easier than theirs.
Minutes later I was heading downhill - moments after that they came flying by me.
Fun was over - just keep moving. I did, fairly well even. It wasn't till about 2 miles to go that I let my mind give way to my weary legs and resorted to walking some of the uphills. I didn't walk too much though - I had more of an attitude of just get this done with. So my second lap ended up being only a couple of minutes slower than lap one. Overall time for the 16 mile, 2 lap effort (with over 4650' of gain) was 3:49.
For my double double I did a combined 42 miles, over 6300' of gain and 8 hours, 19 minutes of movement on the trails. I have never run this back to back workload in the space of a 2 day period ever. I'm thinking it was a good investment in the endurance-o-meter bank.
Needless to say - was quite tired afterwards. Glad it was over. Looking forward to another good night sleep and a rest day tomorrow. I have another double lap of a nearby loop in mind for early Friday morning.