The rattlesnakes near where I live are about to emerge given some consistent warm weather (currently an illusion). Sage brush lined single track will be moving off of my trail list and hopefully be replaced with USDA Forest Service Trails. The rattlesnake running I am referring to are the beautiful trails found in the Rattlesnake Recreation area near Missoula, MT. Within a few minutes drive from downtown Missoula you can be parking your car and venturing in a number of directions. Personally I prefer the single track trail found paralleling the river which provides some nice ups, downs and curves amidst the Ponderosa Pine trees. If you want to climb – just turn left on any number of well marked trails as you head up the drainage. I have used this area as a source of a trail run when I have business in the Missoula area. If I lived there – a weekly trail run “up the Rattlesnake” would be on my schedule. This area receives (for good reason) a lot of trail traffic so watch for mountain bikers, hikers, runners and yes dogs. Not a place to get away from it all but the farther you go the less traffic there is. I have used this area for long trail runs, tempo runs but my favorite is a fartlek workout. The grade is gentle- good footing on the trail, plenty of shade for warm summer runs, at an elevation that is not too taxing. I did have one bad dog experience approximately 4.5 miles in. I will share some lessons learned on how to handle “bad dogs” later. I have encountered both deer and bear in the area.
Recently I grabbed an hour run up the Rattlesnake – then hustled off to make an appearance at a business meeting. I needed a shower beforehand so I headed to a local running pro shop located downtown Missoula called “The Runners Edge”. I like this shop – quality merchandise, friendly experienced staff, super local support for running events (check their website or sign up for their e-newsletter) and just a great place to hang out. A big thanks to The Runners Edge for the hot shower made available for a sweaty runner. This shop oozes with energy – great gear, nostalgic running posters, bib numbers, race t-shirts, area racing information – you just feel fast upon entering!
When do you change a training schedule? Answer – when you need to! How do you know you need to change a schedule? That is an answer only you can provide. Watch for; changes in performance, attitude, recovery, illness and injury. I have recently suffered both. Not good timing either as I was moving from general training to specific training. I picked up a nasty sinus infection 20 days ago. Still haven’t shaken the effects. Missed a number of training days. The injury happened late last week. I was feeling decent enough to get out on an early morning run hoping to get in a short fartlek workout. I was warming up – cold (25 degrees) with 2 – 3” of new snow on top of ice that had formed from the previous evenings’ rain, which turned to sleet, which turned to snow. Stepping off a paved trail onto a gravel road I planted my right foot, slipped, attempted to catch myself with a left foot plant while trying to spin a 180 degrees to my right. The pain shot up my left leg – high into my hamstring and into my glutes. Ouch. I hobbled through an easy jog but canceled any type of up tempo stuff. This was an old injury that I had been making recovery with. Not fun. Definitely a setback. Sure put me in a foul mood for the remainder of the run. At this point I had to remind myself – I have had more good days running than bad. Good to be alive. Give thanks for being physically active. Often we forget to celebrate this.
Next up – a bio review of Casey Jermyn – Continental Divide Running Clinic 2011 Staff. Until then enjoy the run!