Mark S., Glen, and I rode over to Bankhead National Forest to run the Black Warrior 25k course. There were several runners meeting there for a training run that the race director organized. Barry was the other Limestone County runner there, and there were several Madison County runners there.
It was my first time on those trails. It was well worth the drive. The trails are not nearly as technical as the trails on Monte Sano, but they are challenging in their own way, and lots of fun. MUDDY! My legs were covered with mud. I felt like a little boy playing in the mud. I was laughing out loud some during the run!
We did the 15.5 miles from the start to the finish of the 25k. I really wanted to get 20-22 miles in today, so Glen and I kept going. We ran the 2.6-ish miles back to the trailhead and then back to the finish. I ended up with just a little over 21 total. Along the way I did a couple of hill sprints with walk breaks afterward on the 16-17th mile. I dropped the pace at the end to finish strong. I did miles 20 and 21 in 7:27 and 7:21. They were significantly downhill, but I'm still pleased with those splits. I hope to beat that on those last two in two weeks.
I actually felt better after 15.5 miles than I did after 10. At the 10 mile mark, I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to go beyond the 25k! I just didn't feel well at all. I'm not sure why.
At the end of the run, I waded just above knee high in an icy lake. Ohhhhh it felt soooo good!