So recently I learned that fell running is the word that our European bretheren use to describe hill/mountain running. I know I am square and behind the times for not knowing. The actual definition is: Fell running, also known as mountain running and hill running, is the sport of running and racing, off road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty. The name arises from the origins of the English sport on the fells of northern Britain, especially those in the Lake District.
Shamus and I went to Fruita, Colorado this weekend and I was lucky enough to get to run a good portion of the course for the race that I will be running in April, WHOOPA! This was all trail/single track, hence the fell definition and it's more fun to say "I'm a fell runner," than "I'm a trail runner;" especially since I came close to a fall about 6 times, but never actually fell...badoom chi. We drove over Saturday morning and I was able to start running at about 11 AM. It was mid 40's, mostly cloudy with a slight breeze. The first portion of the run was on a jeep road to the trail and was a good little warm up. Then, once on the trail the climb started, which was nothing too huge. I was a little off at first, but I think it was just the switch in my brain back to hopping over rocks, roots, etc and not worrying about slipping on the ice. The colors were not at all spring yet, but I was blissed out by the birds, red rocks, sage and periwinkle, lime green and burnt orange lichens on the rocks. Shamus insisted on taking the camera, so sorry no photos, just my rambling. This trail continued for a little over 4 miles and came down to a main parking lot area that met up with the start of the Kokopelli Trail (yep, THE Kokopelli trail - 142 miles of trail from Loma, CO to Moab, UT). Once on the Kokopelli, there was a bit more "traffic" with a couple groups of mountain bikers and then it was just the dogs and I again. At about mile 8, Natty the brat-tastic dog took off chasing goodness only knows what poor woodland creature and didn't come back. Luckily, I came upon a group of bikers and asked if they'd seen her and they said yeah sure about 3/4 mile back the way I'd just come from. On an 8-10 mile run, an extra 1 1/2 mile is no big deal, but because I was doing 20 when I came upon her she was in the doghouse for the remainder of the run. This trail winded up and down and eventually skirted high above the Colorado river, which is quite muddy with all of the runoff at the moment, but there was grass on this side of the ridge and seeing the rafters floating lazily by was great. At about mile 18 on the trail, I flushed out two grouse which about made me jump out of my skin and the dogs lose their crap. We got situated again and finished the run. I ran for a total 5 1/2 hours, ~22 milies and only saw 10 people. I did not see one patch of snow the entire day, which was absolutely STELLAR.
I had another exciting milestone in my running adventures, but at about mile 6 my stomach started growling. Not the kind, oh no I need to sacrifice a sock, but holy crap I'm hungry. Luckily, I rummaged about in my camelback and found a bar that's been in there for probably about a year and a little hard, but I scarfed the whole thing down. The NEW and exciting thing here is that usually I take my Hammer gel/Gu on schedule as needed, but as far as food went nothing even sounded good and sometimes the thought of it made me want to yack. I've always heard/read that after about 5 hours of running gels aren't really sufficient any more for keeping up with your body's nutritional needs because they can't be broken down fast enough. So, my uninterest in food was kind of scary with my goal of one day running an ultra, but apparantly I've rounded a corner, yippee!