Doing the 30k last weekend on trails made me want more, so I headed out to Paris Mountain this morning for a long run. I was scheduled for 20 miles, but after browsing an old Runner's World magazine, I remembered about running for time, not distance for long runs. This takes into account terrain/hills, etc, so my new goal was to run for 3 hours. After going thru different routes, I finally settled on the following: Starting at the Upper parking lot, I'd run Brissy Ridge to Kanuga, do the North Lake Loop to Pipsissewa and return back on Brissy Ridge (the way I came). Then down Sulphur Springs, taking Mountain Creek to the office/lake, turn around, Mountain Creek back Up Sulphur Springs to the upper parking lot. Nope - not done - then do the North Lake loop again! I have that at about 18.1 miles, so close enough to the 20 I was needing.
Started at about 8am when the park officially opened and headed down Brissy Ridge. It's pretty gentle thru here and a couple of very nice spots to look out over the northeastern side of Greenville. Fog had it mostly covered this early though. The 2 mile long Kanuga trail makes it a little tough in spots, but there are some downhills to keep you moving. The North Lake is just plain nice! Nothing strenuous and the sun started to come out in places - the lake was beautiful!! Only went around to get on Pipsissewa to take me back to Brissy. Only a mile, but seems longer. Got back to my car after the 1st 6 miles in 56 minutes and refilled my water bottle, took my 1st (of 2) Gu. Time to head Down Sulphur Springs. Decided to do this section only once because it would be too dangerous with tired legs - it's steep and fast! 9 minutes to the bottom and then somewhat flat all the way to the office/lake. I have old times for some sections of the mountain - I'll have to look them up.
Cutting this one short, but will finish the post soon!
The flatter section back to the start of SS was fine, but I knew the test would be once I started climbing back up. Sure enough - I walked. Quite a bit - heart rate increased to what had to have been its max (seemed ridiculously high). I eventually started running at the top and pushed to get back to my car. It was a 2hr 10min run at that point, so I knew I was going to be longer than 3 hrs as I refueled and headed back out to do the North Lake Loop. Still ran out of gas and ran that 6 miles 8 minutes slower than the first time. Still - a 3 hour and 15 minute run for me, my longest training run (and only ran longer in my 3 marathons!). I was beat afterwards, but luckily took no falls. I did leave my water bottle at the upper parking lot though - not sure where else it could have gotten to, but I haven't seen it since. Guess I'll go get a new one at Fleet Feet this week.