Trail training for the Algonquin 50K

Here’s a view from a road or road-like portion of our run on Saturday. Don’t be fooled — most of the trail’s terrain isn’t so flat. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I’ve run on the Algonquin Cross-County Trail, which is basically in the middle of nowhere between Snow Hill and Pocomoke City, before, but Saturday’s run was my first time running on the trail since signing up for the Algonquin 50K.

I meant to write about signing for the 50K around the time I signed up (August), but I guess I haven’t made the official announcement via this blog — I’ll be running my first ultramarathon, the Algonquin 50K, on Feb. 11, 2017.

I mostly signed up because a bunch of my friends were doing it and I didn’t want to miss the fun. Since I’m training for The Louisiana Marathon now — it’s on Jan. 15, 2017 — the timing also seemed appropriate. And, distances of 50 miles or more still confound me, but five miles past a marathon — a distance I’ve completed — seemed reasonable.

Since I don’t have a time goal for the Algonquin 50K and it’s on trails, I’m planning to just follow my marathon training plan and get through the additional five miles. But I do plan to work in some runs on the trail, just because it is different from running on the road.

Fall colors like these could be seen on the Algonquin Cross-County Trail on Saturday. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I jumped at the opportunity to run the Algonquin Cross-County Trail with Justin and Matt on Saturday, Nov. 19. I left my house a little before 7:45 a.m. and we headed down together to Milburn Landing in the Pocomoke River State Park, where the 50K will start. When I ran this trail before, I started at the other end, which can be accessed off Snow Hill Road (the sign is for “Foster Public Recreation Area”).

We ran four miles out and four miles back for a total of eight miles.

This trail isn’t like the NCR Trail that I blogged about earlier this week. This one is certainly a technical trail. Multiple times throughout the run, I could feel my ankle bending, although I had no real issues and did not end up falling (knock on wood for next time). Fallen leaves covered roots in parts of the trail, and there were also some trees or logs across the path to jump over.

The Algonquin Cross-County Trail is well-marked, with mile-markers every tenth of a mile. It ended up being an unseasonably hot November day, and I wore a long-sleeved shirt and long pants — the long pants were mostly to avoid the chance of chiggers or other bugs; it didn’t seem like they were out — but that outfit got hot.

We were also running a little faster than I probably would have on my own, but that was a good thing, as I need to push myself more. It felt tough, but the pace still was just barely under an 11-minute mile because of the trails.

Since I had already cut my long runs short earlier in my marathon training, I decided to run the remaining four miles of my marathon training plan’s 12 miles when I got home. My boyfriend Mike and I did those miles together — after I changed into a tank top and shorts.

I know I’ll need to log some more mileage on the Algonquin Cross-County Trail before the race. It’s great to have this trail right on the Lower Eastern Shore.

Read my previous post about the Algonquin Cross-County Trail here

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