Last weekend I had my last long run for this cycle before I start tapering for the Beat the Blerch Marathon. Yes, the marathon plan called for a 22 mile or 3 hour run whichever came first. After a long run on the flat gravel that will be the race course in 3 weeks, i really was not looking forward to a flat road run in the city. Fortunately this plan is flexible enough that I could join a group run and get some trails in instead!
The Paradise Valley Conservation Area is a new trail system for me about a 30 minute drive northeast. It's easy to get to from here. It is comparable to my favorite trail area Soaring Eagle out in Sammamish in that the trails are never steep. These trails are perhaps less technical than out at Soaring Eagle but there is plenty of forested goodness to keep me happy. I really enjoyed just being able to run continuously and since I wasn't marking a group run course, i also didn't have to think and plan out a course.
My only goal was to keep this a true easy run and these trails were perfect for that. I ran with TR (pictured above) who was marking the course and it ended up being a really nice relaxed long run. I still managed nutrition (3 gels) and made sure to keep the effort even. We did a 5 mile loop three times. The first loop was 1:04, the second loop was 1:04. You can't get any more even than that! Would I switch out all my road long runs for trail runs like this? No. This is definitely a harder run in that it requires more strength overall but using the different muscles require for trail running really helped keeping everything feeling good.
I can't wait to go back to this trail area! It's easier to get to than Soaring Eagle and will be a great resource during winter for longer trail runs. Meanwhile, last long run is done. It was great to sleep in for two days in a row because of the Labor Day Holiday.