Yesterday I took advantage of our state birthday celebration to go out and run some Trek loops in the morning. I have not been running much distance lately so running two Trek loops would be a good challenge for me to step up my distance a bit. I know some H.U.R.T. runners see the Triple Trek as the start of training for the H.U.R.T. 100 and I have always agreed with that. For me the TTT (Tantalus Triple Trek) is just an organized training run.
However a couple of years ago I noticed something else about the TTT. For many runners, it is a pretty competitive race. I mentioned this to John S. a year or two ago. My analogy was that in many ways the TTT is like a 10K race for marathoners or another analogy would be the TTT is like a cycling criterium race. With the multi-loop format and because there are opportunities to see people coming in and out of the start/finish and on the crossover trail from the top of center trail over to the four-way, the course allows runners to see just where they stand in relationship with other runners. The terrain also allows for some good competition with the long uphill and downhill sections. So this is one way to view the TTT or something to think about as you are out there running Trek loops.
Here is another perspective and this is more for those who are new at running distance on the trails or for those who have had some challenges with running distance. Use the TTT to start dialing in your nutrition/hydration and running at a pace you can sustain for 50, 75, or 100 miles. Forget about racing or trying to run the TTT at a fast pace and think about what your pace might be for a much longer race. What would your nutrition be? If this was the H.U.R.T. 100 would you really be running all those uphills on lap 4--80 miles into the race. I know there are runners out there who can do that but are you one of them? It is easy to cheat on your nutrition/hydration for a short race or training run. I do it too. However when the distances get long, cheating on the first third or even the second third of a race will come back to bite you in the you know where. Don't forget electrolytes in your mix either. This is another area I see people trying to cheat on and then I see post race cramping--for no reason. Be smart out there.
Ok, enough of my ramblin thoughts. It was beautiful out there yesterday. The trails were dry, the sky was blue, the breeze was cool. Lucky we live Hawaii! Perfect conditions. This morning my legs feel surprisingly good considering I have not run that distance in a long-long time. I was really enjoying yesterday and had my music with me listening to everything from U2, to The Clash, some Black Sabbath, Blink 182, a real mix of stuff and then it happened. I had just turned onto Kalawahine on my second loop and all of a sudden I heard the haunting voice of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole singing Hawaii 78. This was the major chickenskin moment. It just happened. I stopped, looked around and then I ran on. It was a great finish to my day on the trails and the start of the rest of my day.