Sunday, January 29, 2012

GORGEous Week IV

Mon - 0hr - rest

Tues - 1.5hr/ 9m/ 1800' - Little Mtn - Up and down the 2 times for a nice easy workout with some good elevation gain.

Wed - 48min/ 4.8m/ 1000' - Little Mtn - Didn't feel too well today, so I opted for just one out and back, plus a little exploration.

Thur - 43min/ 5.1m/ 300' - Latta Plantation - Was running out of daylight on this one and finished the last mile in the dark.  Good easy effort run, minus the last 2 miles pushing to beat the dark back to the car.

Fri - 30min/ 3m/ 1000' - Bakers Mtn - Thought I'd hit up a short summit run on the way out to Marion to hang and prepare for tomorrow's run with Matt.  This place still amazes me by its difficulty.

Sat - 6h38min/ 23m/ 6000' - Linville Gorge - Northern section of the GRAND LOOP exploration w/ Matt.

Sun - 0hr - A well deserved rest although I was itching to get out the door, but ended up being a lazy bum.  I'll run tomorrow which is my usual day off.

Totals =
Hours - 10hrs9min
Miles - 44.9
Vert - 10,100'

This week of running was pretty good, although I didn't really put in a hard effort at all this week.  I finished the week with well over 8 hours, even though the associated mileage wasn't really reflective of the time, but that is what happens when you run in the gorge! The highlight this week though was definitely Saturday's run in the gorge.  Matt and I have been thinking of attempting the GRAND LOOP in the near future and have both never been on the maze of non-recognized trails in the northeastern section.  Just to let you know, the GRAND LOOP is an ~ 40 mile all trail loop in the Linville Gorge.  Navigating and orienteering ourselves with the northeastern section of these trails was imperative for a successful attempt at this route in the future.  We made a few wrong turns at a few intersections, but we pretty much immediately realized our mistake and back tracked and found the right turn.  I was really impressed with the trails up in this section as they were fairly runnnable and not technical.  We did run into a problem on top of Hawksbil trying to find the Ledge trail off the summit and eventually had to turn around and run down the the summit trail back to the road to access Spence ridge.  We must have bushwhacked for 30 minutes trying to find the trail, but I'll get out there and access the Ledge trail from Spence in a few weeks.  We were running out of our allotted time for the run  on the river trail and we decided to go ahead and go straight up Cabin trail and hit Kistler instead of pretty much walking the the rest of the horrendously technical River trail, which would have probably taken us another   hour to finish the last 4-5 miles of it.  Plus, discovering Cabin was awesome.  I had never been on this trail and it has to be the the steepest consistent climb I've ever done.  I would hate to go down it, that is for sure.

View of Gorge from Sitting Bear w/my ugly mug blocking the view

Map Master Matt

Matt on Hawksbill

View of gorge from Hawksbill

Spence Ridge Bridge

Matt, Uwharrie, and I at the finish

Cabin Trail is STEEP!

View of gorge from River Trail looking north

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sultonic Week III

Mon - 0hr - Started to feel a cold coming on after Sunday nights run, so I took Monday off and rested

Tues - 36min/ 4m/ 200' - Fisher Farm Park - Still feeling cold like symptoms and thought a run might help, but I think it did the opposite.  Could barely breath and it obviously took me awhile to run.

Wed - 0hr - Yesterday's run was indicative enough in telling to take it easy and bust this cold by not running and chugging a full 40oz of V-8 Fusion Juice.  It did the trick

Thur - 65min/ 7.1m/ 600' - Fisher Farm Park - Felt ten times better today, even though I can tell I'm not completely rid of this cold quite yet.  Great run on some beautiful mb trails/xc trails.  Nice park in Davidson, NC.

Fri - 0hr - I don't feel any worse than yesterday, but I didn't want to take any risk of regressing with a planned 33 mile Sultan B-Day run scheduled tomorrow.  I've been looking forward to this one since last year's running!

Sat - 6hr29min/ 33m/ 6200' - Sultan 50k - What a wet day!  I had ambitions of going sub 6 hours on this run and I really think I can, but it just didn't happen today.  After pretty much running the entire out portion of the run, coming back was a different story.  My legs were stiff as a board and running downhill was becoming a chore.  Maybe it was the hard surface (gravel/jeep rd) and the steady cadence that I wasn't used to that made my legs want to stop moving in a running motion.  It was still a great day running with the WNC crew and celebrating Sultan's b-day in appropriate fashion.  Had fun catching up with Dennis and Jose most of the day and a big thanks goes to Lily for offering me her rain jacket at the turnaround, where I was contemplating quitting because I was freezing cold and completely drenched.

Sun - 25min/ 3.1m/ ~nothing' - Davidson - Nice little shakeout run through the beautiful town of Davidson.  Legs really seemed to loosen up on the run after yesterday's overall stiffness lingered into today.  These runs are hard to get out and do after a hard day like yesterday, but they do wonders in helping rid soreness and stiffness from the legs.  Glad I stepped out the door.

Totals =
8.6 hrs
47.2 miles
7000' of gain

Being sick pretty much killed my week day runs, but I'm glad I was over the cold by Saturday to participate in the Sultan 50k.  I still managed to get in my 8hrs for the week despite being sick, even though it pretty much came all in one big chunk.  Huge thanks to Sultan for putting this phenomenal run on through the South Mountains and to his wife and two sons, as well as all others who volunteered at the turnaround, taking good care of us by filling our bottles and feeding us delicious red velvet cake!  And as always, a big thanks goes out to the Hill family for putting Hannah and I up for the night in Asheville.  Making it out that way would be a lot more difficult without the kindness they show to me on an almost bi-monthly basis.  Happy trails!

Pics below by Charlie Roberts

Hannah having a blast in the rain

Den & I slogging up one of many steep climbs

Almost Cascades looking


The Sultan 50k Crew

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

I think that it is finally time for me to join the bandwagon and give you a play by play of what I've done each day of the week.  One reason for this is that I have set myself a New Year's resolution to at least (bare minimum) log 8 hours on my feet a week for the whole year.  Be that in running (mostly) or hiking (only if I am injured or on a backpacking trip).  Hopefully sharing this with the masses will help keep me on track throughout the year on this goal.  Last week a managed 9 hours on my feet and was quite happy with that and now I will share you this weeks log, or log-o-rhythm (ala Grand Kirk).

Monday - 0hrs - Well deserved rest after last weekend's fun.

Tuesday - 1:15/ 9m/ 400' - Latta Plantation - this is one of my favorite places to run in the Charlotte area.  Took it pretty easy for the first 4 miles then opened it up for the next 3.  Last 2 were easy.

Wednesday - 0hrs - Went to see Anton Krupicka give a presentation/Q&A at Run For Your Life.  Pretty cool experience getting to talk to some new people and of course "Trail Running Jesus" himself!

Thursday - 1:35/ 8.5m/1600' - Little Mtn - Two repeats w/Hannah on the local mountain (hill).  This has been a pleasant surprise.  There is only about a 3/4 mile of pavement on one repeat and the rest is trail on top of this local gem.  One out is about 2 -2.5m depending on the route you take.  I'm pretty sure it is private property though but I haven't been kicked off it yet.  This place will become a weekly run for sure!  There are technical pitches at 30% grade for half a mile on the backside of the mountain.  Pretty stout place to train for a run like Linville!

Friday - 1:00/ 7.5m/ 1000'+ - Bakers Mountain Park - Got out there pretty late so I had to push the pace on my planned 6 mile route on the trails at this sweet NC foothills park.  Did 45 min on the first 6 miles.  I felt really good today.  Squeezed in another 15 min and 1.5 miles to cool down after realizing a had a bit of daylight left.  This will become another weekly regular.

Saturday - 2:20/ 12.5m?/ 2500'? - Uwharrie Trail - Headed back home to visit the family and pick up my new pair of NB MT110 and couldn't think of a better place to put them to the test than Uwharrie.  Super technical trail, stream crossings, and a surprising amount of vert for the piedmont.  The views today were the best I had ever seen in Uwharrie and somewhat reminded me of distant views of the Blue Ridge.  Shoes performed well!

Sunday - 1:50/ 12m/ 600' - abrieviated Triple Lakes Half course - Coaxed my cousin on his 20th birthday to come out and join me for a 12 miler on his favorite trails.  He hasn't ran over 4 miles in like 3 months and absolutley hung with me and out sprinted me on the last half mile of this run.  Dude is a beast!  I wish he would train harder and come out an join us WNC guys for some runs.  I didn't feel particulary well until the last 3 miles which were practically in the dark.  Good way to end the running week for sure.

Totals =
49.5 m
6100' gain

Definitely not a bad week of running.  Can't wait for next weekend's running of the Sultan 50k though.  Funny how that one run will have the same vert as this entire week.  Can't wait!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ALTAR, New Years, & Tanawha!

Life has been some kind of hectic since Christmas ended.  I've searched for a new living place near my new job, found one and moved in the next day (Hickory area), one day later drive up to Canton to run the spectacular ALTAR put on by good friend and extremely talented runner Matt Kirk, come back to Hickory and work my first job for the whole week, and then head up to Blowing Rock to organize and run the Tanawha Marathon, 50k, & Half (which I only ran 20 miles of the 50k).  Needless to say I have been busy!  And later today I plan on joining the WNC crew for a VericALE mile!  So anyway I'll just concentrate on the two runs for this post.


I cannot write enough about this run/experience.  Matt and his family had set everyone up with some sweet lodging for the run at the terminus of our 30.1 mile adventure that lay before us the next day.  It is always fun to catch up with the WNC crew the night before a run, but it sometimes leads a lack of needed shut eye for the following days adventure.  After waking up on New Year's eve way to early to as to  make it out to the 7 am start at the Davidson Campground, I fought through the nausea of riding in the back seat on a super curvy Hwy 276.  Glad to not be moving anymore (in a car that is), we snapped the starters group photo and took off down the Art Loeb Trail for 30.1 miles and 9000 ft of vert that laid ahead.  I ran with the lead group to the base of our first big climb up Pilot Mtn before they promptly left me in the dust.  From that point on it was a slog fest up  the 1800 ft climb to the beautiful summit of that peak.  Then it was time to run down it for our second chance to fill up our water bottles.  But right after the descent, the worst climb of the day starts as you ascend the trail up and over the parkway.  Pilot Mtn had wounded me, but this climb destroyed me.  After finally reaching the top, running the flats were beginning to become a chore.  The beauty of this run really is highlighted in the last 12 miles though as you run over the bald summits of Black Balsam, Tennent Mtn, and Grassy Cove Top.  The Narrows are majestic as well and I couldn't be upset by my slow hike/shuffle pace as it allowed me to enjoy the views that surrounded me more.  Plus the company of Isaiah and el Guapo one the run was appreciated.  We ran the majority of the trail together.  By the time we reached Deep Gap and would then head down four miles to the finish, I still could barely muster up enough strength to run down hill and ended up hiking must of the descent.  It didn't really matter that much, I made it to the end in 9 hours flat and feel very satisfied with my performance considering the lack of 4+ hour runs in my schedule since mid October.  Huge thanks to the Kirks who made this all happen and I can't wait to tackle this run again next year!  Check out the slideshow of pics below!

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So this year marked to 2nd time I have put this run on with the WNC crew.  Last year's running was in a blizzard and this year's running was the exact opposite.  High's in the upper 50's and mostly cloudy with some good breaks of sun through the middle part of the run.  We had a huge turnout this year as well, with around 26 people showing up to the start.  After being away from the area for about 8 months I had forgotten how ungodly technical this trail was.  I guess that all of those miles I had logged on that trail during my App State year's made me immune to its difficult footing.  You literally step on a root every other step and the last 4.5 miles of the trail after you summit Rough Ridge is some of the gnarliest tread you could every step foot.  You practically boulder hop until the turnaround at Beacon Heights.  As far as my run went, it was awesome, minus the last 4.5 miles I just described.  The astonishing thing about Tanawha is that it is still completely runnable despite its extreme technicality.  Although I will admit I did not run every bit of it for various reasons, mainly health to run the next day.  I decided to run the first 20 miles of the 50k, which follows the Daniel Boone Scout Trail to the top of Calloway Peak that intersects about 6 miles into the out section of Tanawha.  This trail is amazing as it takes you through spruce forest, scrambling over huge boulders, and climbing ladders to finally reach the summit of Grandfather Mtn.  And guess what, this trail is completely runnable too, minus the ladders and the boulder scramble.  The last half mile of the trail was practically an ice covered stream which was pretty cool, but since it was relatively flat it didn't pose a great risk and the use of microspikes wasn't necessarily needed.  Even though we were fogged in at the summit, everyone had a great time summiting this iconic Appalachian peak.  I had a blast running back down the trail to Tanawha as well.  It was easily the funnest descent I had run on that trail ever.  Rough Ridge was spectacularly beautiful as well and gave everyone the much needed epic Blue Ridge Mountains view expected.  After everyone finished, must of us went to hang out and grub down on some delicious cuisine at Canyon's in Blowing Rock.   I think everyone left the run extremely satisfied no matter what distance they completed that day.  Can't wait to put it on again next year!  Here is a slide show with pics from the adventure yesterday.

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