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...