|View from Laurel Bluff Trail|
Friday, December 23, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Race morning was a cool 38 degrees and I was finally feeling ready after feeling a bit nauseous a bit early. The cannon fired and I took off (after walking about 30 seconds to get to the start line). The plan was to try and run the first half at an average pace of about 7:20/mile and the last half in about 7 min/mile pace especially trying to push the last 3 miles into the sub 7 range. Needless to say the plan went off perfectly. I had conserved enough energy through the first half to run the second half quicker. My last mile was the quickest of the day, a 6:50. My legs were feeling the pain though and I was extremely relieved once I finally sprinted over the finish line. I ran the last .1 mile in 38 seconds, crossing the finish line in 1:34:21 and setting a new half-marathon PR! Actually this is really my first official half-marathon as the other previous one was about a mile too long. I feel very satisfied with this run even though I think I can run faster if I would be able to train properly and not be hampered by injury, which luckily did not bother me too much during this race. Maybe next year I'll return and try to set a new PR at this distance, sub 1:30 would be nice!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
...Damian, Isaiah, El Guapo, and myself headed off from the Folk Art Center around 7:20 right as the sun was rising. The colors were amazing as the mornings light began to strike the golds, oranges, and reds of the autumn's leaves. There isn't a better time to run than when the leaves start to change. Usually, temperatures are going to be perfect, the skies are going to be clear, and the air will feel crisp. It sure did today. We all decided to stay together as long as we all felt good during the run and did just that for a whole marathon before splitting up as we headed over Blackstock Knob. I tried to stay on Damian's heels, but he was obviously feeling really good and I was just feeling good. Surprising considering we were 7+ hours into the run. Running with Damian and Isaiah was great for keeping the pace easy and enjoying the run instead of fighting it for a fast time. I had left my inhibition to set the FKT at the door that morning after feeling a cold coming on the night before. What a great idea. I haven't enjoyed a run this much since Rattle My Heart 50k back in February, although I have had some great runs during that time. I never really felt tired until I got to the flat Buncombe Horse Trail and realized that I would have to actually "run" for the first time the whole day. The running I had been doing before this was mostly aided by gravity. So after "running" 29 miles and 8 hours I was actually running and I could only muster out 3.5 miles of maybe 10 minute pace shuffling before I knew I was walking the rest of the way up to Mitchell. I really didn't care and was just glad to be climbing up Camp Alice trail less than a mile from the summit. As soon as I hit the paved walkway to to viewing tower though, I picked the pace back up and ran all the way to the top (maybe 100m). I asked a fellow observer of the beauty that lay before us atop Mt Mitchell the time and realized that I just finished my first FAC 50k in 9:10. This is about an hour off the time I was wanting to do going into the run, but it was exactly the time I wanted to run that day. You couldn't have asked for a better day to be running though the mountains!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The FAC 50k is the half portion of the Pitchell 100k, a run that starts at midnight on top of Mt Pisgah to the top of Mt Mitchell 67 miles away on the Mountains to Sea Trail. Here is what the info page says of the run: The Pitchell.....where to begin? This is one truly epic adventure! Hope you can be a part! Birthed by the mind of Mad A (Adam Hill) in 2004, this run has proven to be quite the challenge by the terrain layed forth in the mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, as well as the finicky weather in the month of October. Start at midnight on the summit of Mt. Pisgah and run, hike, and crawl 67 miles to the finish on the summit of Mt. Mitchell! Not ready for that much challenge? Join in for the FAC 50k...run from the Folk Art Center to the summit of Mitchell with a start time of 6 am. Almost all of the route follows the Mountains to Sea Trail and is pretty much all singletrack with the exception of about 3 miles of doubletrack! (More info here- see Section 7,8, & 9).
The weather is looking to be great this weekend with temps between 40-65 all day. As much as I wanted to run Pitchell this year, that last 29 mile training run revealed to me that I was not ready to tackle this beast. Two and half hours into the run I was already feeling pretty fatigued and this was on a much easier run. Visions of me stumbling down Shut-In and into my car at the Folk Art Center already were creeping into my head. I finally made the final decision to switch to the junior varsity race and attempt to run the FKT for the FAC 50k. This will still not be an easy feat as the record is 8:29 set by Andrew Moore who is a solid runner and seems to be right with me on all of the big runs we've done together. All I can do is hope that my body responds well to the challenge and doesn't shut down on me. Either way it will be a blast and at least I get to run through the beautiful fall foliage and summit one of the most iconic mountains in the East.
Oh yea, Matt Kirk has just thrown his hat in for the 50k and if he tries to "run" it then I can kiss the FKT goodbye. Matt just earned the title of Kitsuma Krunk! 'Nuff said!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
When I took my split at the turnaround I realized I just took off two minutes from my fastest climb. Maybe it was the lack of views, as I could only see 15 ft in front of me due to some heavy fog, but it revived me and I knew I could make it back down just as fast as before. Then, I turned on the jets and shaved another 2 minutes off my time on the descent. I set a 4 minute PR and came in at 1:51:10!!! Here are the splits from my previous best 1:55:30 (48:28,20:12) - 1:08:40 (13:13, 33:37) - 46:50 and my new best 1:51:10 (45:55, 20:33) - 1:06:29 (13:05, 31:36) - 44:44.
All of this was very surprising considering I thought I wasn't in as good of mountain running shape as I was when I set my old PR. I guess all the vertical I got at Hanging Rock State Park this summer is still with me or maybe the speed sessions I've been doing is getting my legs used to quicker turnover. Whatever it is, I just got a huge confidence boost in my running. Now to go out and get some more miles on the legs on some new trail at Lake Norman State Park!
Also congratulations to Tim Weed (1:34:21), Adam Hill (1:35:20), Lindsay Weed (2:03:31), and Rick Merriman for doing an equally hard summit run, just to the wrong summit. He actually summited Big Yellow Mtn, which would have been even more of a beautiful sight if not for the fog. The bench mark has been set by Tim and Adam with their stellar times! Those are going to be hard to beat!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sunday, I was suppose to run with Damian, Dave, and Terry 17 miles from the Folk Art Center to Craggy Gardens via the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. But the 8 am start was a bit too early for me and I didn't make it. I was pretty bummed too, because that would have been a great run on some unexplored trail on the Pitchell course. At least I got a few more hours of sleep in and got some more school work done. I then went back over to Montreat and ran up to the summit of Greybeard Mountain. The Greybeard trail is phenomenal, especially the old trestle switchback section. It is a must run trail as is the West Ridge trail I came down back into Montreat. This was another run was about 12 miles with 3500 ft of gain. Just amazing mountain running.
Next week, Little Hump Fitness Challenge!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
- I've sweated prefusly running up and down the hellaciously technical trails of Hanging Rock State Park and continued to get more of a tan working at the lake
- I went on a road trip out west for two weeks (helped pace and crew Mike Mason at Hardrock 100)
- Running suffered during the road trip and it was hard to get motivated when I got back because of 95+ temps with near 100% humidity everday, so two weeks with little to no running
- Finally got motivated again and will be attempting first true long run of the summer since RAM this weekend
Well obviously, the road trip is the highlight of the above mentioned list, but there is so much to share and remember to write down that I might be here for hours and would probably soon get so sick of typing a blog that I will never do it again. I don't want that and maybe you don't either (doubt it, haha). Anyway, you can check out pics from the trip here by following these links below. Sorry there isn't more to this post, but maybe I'll have more to share from this weekends adventure next week.
Out West Road Trip '11
Stephen's Rd Trip Photos
Daniel's Out West Photos I
Daniel's Out West Photos II
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It has been really hard in the recent weeks to find the time to sit down and right a new post. I just started a new job at Hanging Rock State Park and I have no internet were I am living at in the park, so you can see why things have been a laging a bit. Even today, I am busy visiting family and friends on my day off, but I at least thought I could give a quick update on what has been going on in the past 3 weeks.
1. I am really enjoying the new job and have great co-workers. I've been swimming and getting a sweet sun tan pretty much everyday. Plus, I've got great trails to run in the park, with plenty of vertical. My runs have been inconsistent and of shorter length because of the heat lately, but I can defintely tell an improvement in my running just because of how tough everything is at the park. It's pretty hard to run easy runs when almost every trail is straight up or straight down on some of the most technical terrain you've ever seen. It has been a blast though!
2. I finally ran RAM (Roan Adventure Marathon) this year with the good folks of WNC Trail Runner. This is the run that caught my attention and made me want to join the group and it provided everything I expected and bit more too. The plan was to run this 28-29 milish run in around 6 hours. On the way out, I ran 2:36 and never felt like I was pushing myself as I was chating with Scott Williams almost the entire way. The scenery was outstainding as it always is though my favorite section of trail I've ran to date. I pushed myself back up Hump Mtn to try and catch up with Adam and Jeremy and that is where things started to turn downhill. I'm pretty positive that consuming two gels that had been sitting in my car for three weeks, being reheated on a daily basis, were the colprit to my feeling of illness the last 10 miles of the run. I was forced to walk everything from that point on because my stomach would cramp up something fierce and my kidneys were screaming in pain. It ended up taking my 5 hours to return back to the start. I stuck with Damian on most of the return, as we were both having some issues. At one point, I even began to get scared for my life, but I filthy water source and the sight of round bald 2 miles ahead rejuvinated me just enough to push it to the finish. It took me a good 30 minutes of laying in the parking lot with a cold wet towel drapped across my body while Hannah hand fed my salty chips before I came back to life. I'm glad I survived this one and I can't wait to take the lessons I learned from this years race and come back next year and get that sub-6 hour finish!
3. I got to help out the Grand Kirk (Matt Kirk) on his MST thru hike journey as he stayed at my place in the park a hundred yards of the trail. The Grand Kirk was looking strong and had pushed 49 miles through the last mountain range on the trail to get to my place for some brews, food, and shelter. I woke up early the next morning to join him for the last 5 miles out of the Sauratown mountains. Like, I said, he is looking strong and there is no doubt that he will be finsishing ahead of schedule and enjoying his break from the mounatins for at least a little while. Check out this page to see daily updates on how his progress is going: http://runthemst.wikispaces.com/
Until next time...
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Friday - Day 1 - Warren Wilson
On Friday I headed down to Asheville to get a head start on the amazing few days I had planned ahead to meet up with Adam "Mad A" Hill around noon. Upon arrival in Asheville the temps were approaching 85 and a run around Warren Wilson College along the Swannanoa River was a must. Mad A and I tackled an absolutely beautiful 9 mile loop and ended the run with a a quarter mile drift down the river. This was the first time this year that I had gotten completely in one of the cold mountain rivers of NC and it was perfect. As we floated down the river we were greeted with the improvisation of a hippie's guitar and he even threw out some lyrics about us drifting by. Quintesential Warren Wilson! A trip to Highlands Brewing followed that evening and wrapped up a great Spring day in the mountains.
Saturday - Day 2 - May Mountain Mama's Half
Hannah made it in late Friday night to join us on Saturday for Mad A's May Mountain Mama's Half marathon out of the Turkey Pen Trailhead. Eight others from WNC Trail Runner made it out for this super sweet loop in the Turkey Pen Area. Hannah and I stayed together the entire run and I had decided to just chill and run super easy, especailly after making a wrong turn a quarter mile into the run. When I say easy, I mean a trot. The easy 13 mile loop ended up taking us 2 hours and 40 minutes. I never run that slow, but I knew it would be wise considering the next couple of days that were planned. I still really enjoyed myself and the trails were fantastic. I love exploring unknown trails and this was just awesome. Hannah and I had a blast crossing multiple creeks and strolling down beautiful singletrack. Later that day, Hannah and I went over to Jeremy's home and had a good time hanging out playing some corn hole, corquet, and conversing with new aquintances.
Sunday - Day 3 - Art Loeb Trail Run
This was the main trail run I wanted to get in while I was in town. Hannah and I had lost the trail the last time I was out here and I wanted to make sure I summited Cold Mtn this time around. Mad A and his kids joined me on the hike up to Black Balsam Knob and then we parted and it was time to run to Cold Mtn and back. The trail through Black Balsam and Tennent Mtn is phenomenal with 360 degree views the whole way. Running through this section of trail, you do not even feel like you are in North Carolina anymore. Its a different world on this section of the Art Loeb. Running through Flower Gap, Stairs Mountain, the Narrows was awesome. I was completely in love with the path in front of me no matter how challenging it was. The climb up the trail to Cold Mtn might have been some of the sweetest mountain path I have ever set foot on. Although the view from the top wasn't superb because of some typical smokey mountain fog it, was quite rewarding finally reaching the summit. The return trip back to the car was quite slow, but I had the opportunity to do some trail discovering on some proposed section of a 100 mile route I would like to put together. Although it was longer, the amount of climb was minimal and the trail was awesome and will be a must in the route.
Monday - Day 4 - High Windy
It was now time to check out the Splashdown 15k route up to the top of High Windy with Mad A. The climb up such an eclectic mix of trail was amazing. The plan was to run the whole route, but the 42 miles of running the past three days were starting to catch up with me and I tweaked my calf crossing a flimsy bridge which sent me into walk mode for a bit. After running for about 5 miles of 2500 ft of gain, it was time to return back to the car. But both Mad A's and my energy levels had plummeted because of a lack of nutrition and fatique, and I was practically stumbling down the mountain feeling like I was about to pass out. It was slow going, but we made it back and I got another amazing mountain run in. Later that day we hung out at William's mountain house below High Windy and had a blast drinking some brews, splitting wood, eating a delicious vegetarian meal, and singing songs around the fire with many new and old friends. This was definitely the highlight of the whole trip and I had tickets to see Amos Lee the next night.
Tuesday - Day 5 - Amos Lee Show
The weather today was horrible after 4 days of phenomenal weather, so i decided not run and I was extremely fatiqued from 52 miles in 4 straight days. Rest was in order while I waited for Hannah to arrive for the show later that night. The show was amazing and Amos ending up playing for about 2.5 hours, which is unheard of. It was an exellent treat and was a great way to wrap up the trip.
Huge thanks to the Hill family for housing me during my stay. I always felt welcomed and had a great time hanging out with them. I ended up running the biggest week of my running life last week with 73 miles. Granted, I ran almost every single bit of this remarkably slow as to avoid injury and it worked. I've built a huge base for training and after this coming weekends 43 mile excursion in the Iron Mountains it will be time to start getting some speed in the legs so I can tear up races later this summer. I'll be putting up a video of the Art Loeb run once I get a chance so stay tuned for that.
Monday, May 2, 2011
|View of Little Hump from South|
So I headed out to Roan Mountain, TN and on the way picked up a couple of AT thru-hikers walking down US 19E to get some grub and a rest at the local hostile. Just a word of advise, pick up thru-hikers if they need a lift into town, they are generally very nice people. Anyway, after dropping them off at the barbeque place in town, I headed over to the start of the OVT.
Soon after heading up the OVT I remembered how hard this run actually was. My heart rate had to be maxed out and I was doing my best to stay in running mode, but that soon faltered after about 1.6 miles and 1000 ft of gain later. I broke into a walk for about tenth of a mile and started taking little walks breaks through the next 2 miles up to Yellow Mtn Gap (YMG). As usual, the first quarter of mile up the AT out of YMG forced me into a walk, but I was able to run the rest of the AT up to the summit of Little Hump (1:08:40).
Once I reached the top I took a quick break to enjoy the views and down a Hammer Gel. I ran into a few thru-hikers up at the top as well and chatted a little with them before I headed on down. I knew this would be the opportunity to really take some time of my previous time and hammered back down the trail. My knee felt good all the way down which is good sign considered the ramp up in training for the next 10 weeks. I got back to my car in 46:50 in a total time of 1:55:30!!! A new PR and almost 6 minutes of my previous time! It was a great day for this run! Check out the garmin data here: Little Hump Fitness Challenge
Ok, on to even more exciting news. I will be crewing/pacing Mike Mason out at Hardrock 100 this July!!! Since the race coincides around the time when I was planning my OUT WEST Road Trip, I will be able to help out a friend and a phenomenal runner. Mike ran the fastest time out at Linville a few weeks back and even ran a bit extra to squeeze in a couple of extra miles after everyone else was done. It will be an honor to pace/crew Mike, especially at the most revered (and hardest) ultra in North America.
|just a sampling of the course|
Friday, April 22, 2011
Ok, now on to the main premise of this post in bullet form!
- I have to get in at least two more attempts on the Little Hump & Elk Knob Double Summit Fitness Challenges
- Got to head down Asheville way to get some runs in near Shining Rock and maybe do some camping. Hanging out with the Hill's is mandatory when heading down that way as well
- Run the May Mountain Mama's Half-Marathon with WNC Trail Runner May 14th
- Hike up to the top of Rich Mtn Bald (near Boone), catch the sunset over the Roans, Beech, Grandfather, Unaka, and the Blacks, camp out for the night, wake up to a beautiful sunrise over Elk Knob and the Blue Ridge. Should have some good company for this as well.
- I will be running the ~45 mile AT/Iron Mtn Trail loop out of Damascus on May 21st as my last hooray before I have to move out of my Boone lease and start my summer job the following weekend! The good folks of Iron Mountain Trail Runner may be joining me and hopefully I can get some WNC Trail Runners to show up as well.
- Plan for my "Heading West" road trip! (to be taken at the end of July)
- Just thoroughly enjoy my short summer break!
This is pretty much what I want to accomplish while on my ~20 something day break. My summer job should be a blast as well though. I will be living inside one of the coolest state parks in North Carolina, running up a mountain most mornings, and lifeguarding at the lake during the day. My place in the park is 100 yds from the MST! Plus, I will only be 40 minutes from Hannah in Winston and and hour and 15 minutes from home. This is looking to be a great summer before the real world of career sets in.
|View of Hanging Rock|
Sunday, April 3, 2011
But I can't wait to come back next year and do it all over again!
I'll give you some background information on this run before I get into the report side. I came up with the idea of this run because I love the gorge. It is without a doubt one of my most favorite places in the world. So the thought of a run that would circumnavigate the gorge and reveal so many different aspects of its beauty had to be created. And why not make it around the marathon distance? I choose the trails we would run and made a 27ish (maybe 28) mile loop around the gorge with no thought of what the elevation gain of this run would be. I knew it would be difficult, but it wasn't until I plugged the route into gpsvisualizer.com did I know just how hard it would be. Approximately 10,000 ft of vertical gain in 27 miles! 19,000 ft of elevation change in those 27 miles!!!! It hit me that I might have just created the hardest marathon in the country.
A few of us had decided to camp out near the start finish at Tablerock the night before and we thought, "Why not squeeze a run in before we set up camp?" So Adam, Jeremy, Rob, and I ventured up the Jonas Ridge Trail up and over Sitting Bear Mtn and Gingercake Mtn for a quick 4ish mile run (Adam and Jeremy decided to hit up Hawksbil Mtn for an extra 3.5). I had never been up to Sitting Bear and it was worth the trip. I love discovering new trails and mountains. After the run, we soon made it to the camp site and began setting up and trying to start a fire (took us about 2 hours). Hannah and Martha joined us around 7:30 that night and we spent the rest of the evening cooking, conversing, and relaxing before the day ahead. Sleep was hard to come by though. As soon as we retired to the warmth of our sleeping bags and the coziness of our tents, a violent wind and ice storm come over the west rim of the gorge. The wind was incredible to hear with gusts that must of reached 50 mph or more. I kept hoping that our tents would survive the onslaught and by morning they had.
Everyone arrived around 8:30 except Matt Kirk who was running from his camp on the Pinchin Trail 6 miles away (plus the extra 20ish miles he ran to get to his camp the night before), but he arrived right around 8:45! Matt is a beast! We gathered for a group photo and a little after 9 we began our arduous journey around the gorge.
|Back: Ryan, Andrew, Damian, Myself, Doug, Mike, Matt, Scott||Front: Adam, Rob, Jeremy|
What was really fun about this run was that we practically stayed close together the entire time. Going over the Chimney's, down to Chimney Gap, up and over Shortoff Mtn, across the river, and up most of the climb to Pinnacle, we were all within a minute or two of each other. It was great having all of the camaraderie through the run and I'm sure it helped everyone stay in good spirits. The views, needless to say, were outstanding from Shortoff Mtn and it was fun running with almost the entire group through that section. The river crossing was quite comical since the footing was slick with algae.
The climb up Pinnacle was a bit tougher than I remembered it and the group soon began to disperse. Mike was running the entire thing, and putting us all to shame. Once you reach Pinnacle you hit Kistler Memorial Hwy and it still doesn't give you any relief as it steadily climbs up to our first aid station at the Pinchin trail head. I ran with Rob, Damian, and Andrew on most of this section and was elated to see the aid station. Hannah and Martha had everything set up out of the trunk of their Honda and being able to see everyone pretty much still there was another moral boost.
By the time we reached the gravel rd again I was bonking, as was Jeremy, and we practically hiked the entire road to our next aid station at the Babel Tower trail head. A few roadside campers offered us some PBR's and Coke's, but we denied the offer (Adam and Damian took them on that offer). Seeing the aid station up ahead was a welcomed sight and the thoughts began buzzing in my head of dropping and hitching a ride back with Hannah. But I was the creator and organizer of this run, I couldn't bail with only 6 miles to go. So after some refueling I headed down the Babel Tower trail wishing I was sitting down in the car. But after about 5 minutes, my legs came back and my energy seemed to be restored. I was glad I had decided to keep going and was really happy throughout the second section of the Linville Gorge Trail, which was much easier and runnable than the first. Andrew followed close behind me the entire way and helped my stay on the right path a couple of times.
|Tablerock Mtn from Linville Gorge Trail|
By the time I reached the Spence Ridge Bridge, I had caught back up with Adam, Damian, and Ryan. I wanted to hang with them the rest of the run, but I had no energy once the climbing began for the last 2 miles up to Tablerock Mtn. They soon gaped me and I was all alone for the steepest of steep climbs up the Little Tablerock trail. I felt like I was going at a snail's pace (probably was) up this steep ascent, but apparently I wasn't the only one. Right before the summit of Tablerock a caught back up with Ryan and we summited together. Adam was up there waiting on us. I stopped my watch at 7:31:05 and had just completed the hardest run of my life.
|Little Tablerock from Little Tablerock Trail|
-Huge thanks to Hannah and Martha (our aid volunteers) for saving us on this grueling run. Without you two, this run would have not been such a success.
-Thanks to everyone who came out and congratulations to all who attempted this run. (Ryan, Adam, Jeremy, Matt, Rob, Mike, Andrew, Doug, Damian, Scott)
- Garmin data here: Linville Gorge Madness Marathon
- Make sure to stay tuned into WNC Trail Runner for future adventures
- Enjoy this little video I put together of the run and I hope to see you out there next year!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
|The crew, Sultan style|
|Climbing up Clawhammer Rd|
We awoke to gobbling turkey's and we all hoped that the rain would hold off long enough for us to enjoy some views on the run. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, but we were running anyway. We all ran together up Clawhammer Rd before we began to separate and Damian, Hannah, I ran together for most of the run. It was somewhat disappointing knowing that we wouldn't be able to see the expansive views from the Black Mtn Trail but Hannah and I had a blast running and conversing with Damian throughout the run in the rain, fog, and thunder. We definitely will have to head back out there to do the run again in fairer weather.
|Hannah and I nearing the end|
With the weather looking to get worse and having evening plans in Boone, Hannah and I had to pack up soon after the run to get back on the road. We had a great time and a big thanks to Haley and Damian for putting this on. We had a great time! Now to look forward to next weekends Linville Gorge Madness Marathon! Pics by Matt.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
|Start of the run|
|View from OVT on the way up|
|OVT singe track|
After following the single track up along a stream bed, the trail took a right and I was soon back on double track. I knew that I must be getting close to Yellow Mtn Gap because the top of the ridge line was close in sight. After pushing through the climbing I finally made it, but then had to immediately take a left straight up the AT to Little Hump Mtn. The steepness in this initial climb out of Yellow Mtn Gap is quite severe and one where running does you no good. I grunted it out until the trail returned to a more tolerable grade. After about a mile of ascent up the AT, I finally reached the open balds that lay before Little Hump Mtn and a string of beaten out dirt path winds its way to the summit. It is a beautiful sight and one, in my opinion, everyone should experience.
|View from the AT|
|The AT on the way up to Little Hump|
|The OVT on the way down|
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Ok, now onto this week. I got a new pair of shoes and was itching to get out for runs, but still trying to save the knee. So I took it comfortably hard and short for the week. The new shoes were performing well and my knee was feeling better each run. This was getting me excited for the Seven Sister Summit Run (SSSR) coming up this weekend.
So, I decided to head down to Asheville a day early and hang out with Adam Hill (MadA) and his family. We were able to squeeze in a short run around Buzzbee Mtn between board games, soccer, and ice cream. Needless to say, it was a pretty good afternoon before SSSR. Always thankful to the Hill's for putting me up in their home when I head down Asheville way.
|View from Lookout Mtn|
|View from Walker's Knob|
|View from Greybeard Mtn|
|View from Rattlesnake Mtn on Big Piney Trail|
Since the day was still young after the relatively short SSSR, I decided to tour around the Asheville area and then check out a section of parkway previously unexplored from Asheville to Mt. Mitchell State Park. I pulled over to take a quick trip up Craggy Pinnacle before heading to the start of the Big Butt trail. The goal was to run to Big Butt and catch the sunset and the "supermoon" rise at dawn, but I forgot my headlamp and it was a bit to cloudy to catch a glimpse of the sun or moon. So, I had to head back in enough time to get me back to my car no less than 10 minutes after sunset so I could see where I was going. This means I missed summiting Big Butt, but I did make it to Little Butt and captured this beautiful pic of the Blacks.
|View of the Black Mtns from Little Butt|
I took the parkway all the way back to Boone (it is actually the quickest that way) and was able to catch glimpses of the supermoon once the clouds cleared out. It was a great way to end a great day.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
During the down periods between February and April, I started doing P90X and rode on a stationary bike 3-days a week to keep up my fitness. It worked and when I started running again in April, I was laying down some really quick 5 mile runs but still lacked the endurance to run solid much longer than 15k. I was pretty satisfied and figured I would be able to run the Iron Mountain 50M that coming September if I got my mileage back up. But then came the summer heat, as mentioned before, and I ran about once a week for no more than 5 miles each run. One run a week was all I was motivated to do and my fitness and endurance plummeted. It wasn't until September that I started really running again.
Needless to say, I don't want that scenario to replay itself out again this year with the same injury showing it's annoying presence again. I am so much more motivated and passionate about running this year and I don't want to fall into another slump. I have plenty of little fun runs on the calender coming up soon as well that I would hate to miss out on. I want to deal with this injury and get over it as quickly as possible, but still be able to run during the recovery. Long periods of complete rest don't ever seem to do me much good. Especially considering that last week I took the whole week off and when I went to run for the first time in 6 days the pain was still there.
So, I will probably start doing yoga again (something I probably should have never stopped doing) and start using a foam roller to alleviate the tightness of my IT band, which I am sure is the cause of the Runner's Knee problem as well. Hopefully this combined with some flat, gentle, and unshod running for the next few weeks (as well as icing) will help the problem and get me back to running 50+ mile weeks as soon as possible.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on dealing with these types of issues, leave a comment. It will be very much appreciated and might spur a pretty good conversation.
Monday, February 21, 2011
My last post was on my Linville Gorge run and that is where the knee began to start bothering me. I took a hike instead of a run that following Sunday, took Monday off, and then ran a nice run with Dennis on Tuesday down in the Wilson Creek Area. After that run, I knew that my knee would need some rest if I was planning on running the Rattle My Heart 50k the following weekend. I promptly started taking ibuprofen and icing at lest three times a day. I also did zero running for the rest of the week. Friday night, I could still feel some slight discomfort in my knee, but I wasn't going to miss this run.
Hannah and I got to the start in Montreat a bit early and I was ready to get moving. Hannah was planning to run over to Rattlesnake with us and then go off on here own to piece together some more miles on the trails around Montreat. Slowly everyone else started showing up and we snapped a few pictures and then took off probably somewhere around 9:15. We ran some paths through Montreat over to the first trail of the day and everyone was reduced to a power hike. It seemed like everyone was in the mood to take it easy during the early part of the run and that was fine with me. I was going to take it as easy as possible in hopes of the knee surviving 30 miles. We soon made it to Rattlesnake Mt. and everyone was still together to take a few more pics from this scenic summit. It was starting to get a bit toasty at this point and I decided to shed the shirt.
|The crew on top of Rattlesnake Mt|
|View from Rattlesnake Mt|
|Youngs Ridge (Kitsuma Peak far right)|
We soon were headed over to hit up the Kitsuma Trail and get our first aid of the day. Everyone began to break up during the Kitsuma portion of the run and I began to run with Rob and Andrew. We all stayed together down the roller coaster that is Youngs Ridge and the 2 - 3 miles of road to the beginning of the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, the highlight of the days run. The exposed road section was really hot and the sun was blaring down on my back (have a nice tan to show for it now). We soon hit Heartbreak Ridge and the last bit of aid for the run. This trail is about 6 miles long and gains approximately 3000 ft in that time. I stuck with Rob for about a mile on the trail and then decided to go ahead and push the pace a little. But about as quickly as I decided to speed up, the grade got a bit steeper and I was reduced to a power hike for most of the climb. The trail was beautiful and really wasn't that steep, but after already running 14 miles to get to there, it was steep enough to walk. I would love to do an out and back run on that trail. I also started to suffer through a bonk session about half-way up the climb and began consuming a few more calories than I had planned. Subsequently, I was soon caught by Andrew and Rob once more for the final mile over to the junction with the Mt Mitchell Toll Rd.
|View from Heartbreak Ridge Trail|
|Mitchell Toll Road|
At the last tricky intersection, my knee finally decided that it had enough and promptly sent me into walk/stagger mode. My energy levels were fine, but my IT Band was screaming. I was worried about a runner's knee flare up before the run because that was what was hurting me this whole week. Weird how the pain migrated over to a different region. At least I was about 2 miles from the finish and I was able to slowly stagger on into Montreat. I finished in 6:11. I was pretty proud of that effort. If I would have been healthy, I know I could shave at least 30 minutes off of that time and maybe even more.
Afterward, most of the crew gathered at Ole's for some delicious mexican cuisine and brews. Another great run with the crew and big thanks to Adam Hill for putting this amazing run on once more. Hannah and I had a great time. Here is the Garmin data: Rattle My Heart 50k
Check out a vid Adam Hill (Mad A) put together of the run! Two Parts!
Monday, February 14, 2011
I met Matt and Uwharrie around 2 pm and we headed on up the trail. The ascent up the OVT had two open fields with excellent views of the Black Mountains to the West. We soon hit Kistler Memorial Hwy for a mile of gravel road running to the entrance of the Pinchin Trail, which would be our route into the gorge. I had never been on this trail until today, but have noticed it from Shortoff numerous times and couldn't wait to descend it's burnt out surface with expansive views. This trail was everything I thought it would be and more. It was beautiful!
We were soon at the river and it was time to take the Linville trail and a blue blazed side "trail" to the MST to ascend up to Pinnacle. This section of trail was slow considering all the blow downs, lack of knowledge in trail construction (blue blazed trail), and super steep ascents (60% at some points)! It was almost a relief when we got to the MST, but then we were faced with a 1100' 1 mile ascent up to Pinnacle. The climbing of this run was starting to take its toll. Although tough, this trail was a beauty too and the views from the top of Pinnacle were awesome.
After soaking in the landscape, Matt and I made our descent back to the car down the OVT. We got back to the fields right as the sun was setting behind the Blacks and were able to get some good sunset shots before we ended the day a mile below. My knee started to hurt on the descent and I had to slow down my pace just in case something bad might happen. It seemed fine after the run, but it was a bit sore today. Matt and Lily had me over for some dinner and good conversation afterward. It was a great end to a great day. Enjoy this little vid I put together of this run and see some of the beauty for yourself. Here is the Garmin data: Linville Gorge w/ Grand Kirk
Monday, February 7, 2011
We left the house around 5:35 and I was trying to make it to the race as quickly as possible, but the rain just got heavier and heavier, keeping my speed to a bare minimum to avoid wrecking on the curvy back roads of Randolph County. The forecast was for light rain in the morning, not for a torrential down pour with a few claps of thunder and lightening. My mood was getting even worse. As soon as we got to the shuttle area, I rushed out of the car to get to the bathroom. My stomach was not going to cooperate with me for the second straight year it seemed. After spending too much time in the pitch black porta-john, I had missed the shuttle and needed my crew to rush me to the start before check-in closed. It was still pouring and my mood continued to get worse and worse. What a "crappy" morning. Upon arriving to the start, I was telling my crew "Let's just go home, I'm so upset right now," which Hannah responded to with a masterful tone "No we are not, your getting yourself out there right now!" Needless to say, I got out of the car, signed in, and stood in pity under the drop bag tent with at least 20 other crazy people (not sure if they were standing in pity though). A few of them I knew and some I knew of from WNC Trail Runner (Rick Gray, Brian Bedhun, Mike Mason, David Olsen, & Jason Smith).
|About to start|
The first 11 miles were pretty much uneventful other than one bathroom break and a pull off to the side of the trail to empty my shoe of sand after a creek crossing (the creek crossings were deep this year, one was up to my waist). I felt solid the whole time and was hitting my splits dead on, despite the two breaks which may have cost me a total of 5 minutes. I mainly ran by myself from the 5 mile point to the 8 mile point and after the bathroom break at mile 8.5, I started to run with a pretty cool guy I met named Jonathan. We were pretty much evenly paced so it worked out running together.
At the 11 mile aid station, I got caught up and he went on ahead and I couldn't catch back up with him until mile 16 on the toughest climb of the day. The section between 11 and 15 looks pretty easy on the map, but it always kills me and I lose significant time on it every time. Its a constant roller coaster of short ups and downs and you can never get into a rhythm. On the climb at 16, a caught 2 more runners and found myself in 8th place. At the 17.5 mile aid station, I passed Jonathan and was in 7th feeling strong heading into the turn around.
|Coming into the turn around|
|Heading back out after taking care of business|
|Coming into the 32 mile aid station.|
|Crossing the finish!|
|Glad to be done|
Check out the garmin info here: Uwharrie Mountain Run 40M