These legs haven't hurt like this in quite a while. Not coincidentally, it has been quite a while since my weekend consisted of two runs like this, with Saturday's mileage being half the distance of Sunday's long run. This principle that Hal Higdon advises has been a hallmark of my marathon training for the past few years.
My focus has been a bit more intense these past two weeks in advance of marathon training, which officially starts next week. My weekly mileage was 19 the week before last and 22 last week. Sunday's 10-miler on the Buckeye Trail pushed my yearly total to 266 miles, exactly half of last year's total of 532.
Soon my running schedule will ditch the "pre-training" moniker and enter full-bore training mode.
Saturday's five-miler returned me to the familiar terrain of the Mingo Trail at Sand Run, where I haven't run since February. The trail has been under maintenance because of some erosion that created a four-foot drop-off in one spot. I ran it anyway. The Mingo tricks you into running too fast, as the first mile is mostly flat and then it's a never ending series of rolling hills.
Sunday's 10-miler took me across a new-to-me section of the Buckeye Trail, from Red Lock to Station Road Bridge. The loop I ran was about eight miles of single-track trail and about two miles of the Towpath. As my GPS app counted ever closer to my goal distance, I started to get worried I'd taken a wrong turn.
My route took me over the northernmost portion of the Akron section of the Buckeye, where the trail enters the Brecksville Reservation and splits, one way heading west on the Medina section and the other way heading northeast on the Bedford section. My choices were left or right, but the map I'd consulted before my run didn't inform me of having to make this choice, nor did the large overview map at this juncture indicate which way to the Towpath.
Having a relatively decent sense of direction, I chose to go right, but it was almost two miles before I knew I'd made the correct decision. Not only would a wrong turn have made my run far longer than for what I was prepared, but I was also due to pick up Mrs. Viper from work in about an hour from that point. This concern may be why my 12:05 average pace was the fastest I'd run such a distance since Martini tried to kill me a little more than a month ago.
So, yeah, I'm a bit sore.