Monday, February 27, 2012

Feeling Strong in Week VIII

Mon - 55min/ 6.5m/ 600' - Fisher Farm Park - easy run after resting yesterday from the weekends fun.  Felt good.

Tues - 61min/ 7m/ 1500' - Crowders Mtn St Park - got there pretty late and turned a planned easy run into a tempo style effort to make it out of the park before the gates locked me in.  Went Turnback, to Pinnacle, up to King's summit, Ridgeline out to first rd crossing, and back.  Finished with a couple of loops around the parking lot to get the extra 4 minutes to reach an hour of running.

Wed - 50min/ 5m/ 500' - Lake Norman St Park - legs were completely dead after yesterdays hard effort.  Orginal plan was to do all 9.5 miles of the Laurel trail, but decided to cut it in half to not get locked in the park.  Can't wait for the parks to stay open until 7 next week.  No more rushing to squeeze a run in.

Thurs - 60min/ 4m/ 200' - Latta Plantation - was planning to run for an hour, but I forgot my running cloths and instead Hannah said she would hike with me for an hour.  After yesterday's dead legs, I really wasn't complaining and I really enjoy these hikes with my beautiful lady.

Fri - 55min/ 6.5m/ 1500' - Bakers Mtn Park - squeezed in a solid effort on the Bakers Dozen loop.  Pushed the ups, but stayed conservative on the flats and downhills, although it is hard not to go into full Killian mode running down the trails out here.  Love this small little park!

Sat - 3h10min/ 17m/ 2500' - Uwharrie - out and back of the first 8.5 miles of the Uwharrie 40.  Got Stephen to join me on this beautiful day that provided views once more in the land I had never seen them in before.  We could actually see Charlotte's skyline from the summit of Dark Mt.

Sun - 52min/ 6.5m/ 200' - Hagen Stone Park - returning to the sight of my first ever trail run on the beautiful XC trails of this little park near Greensboro.

Totals =

Time - 8hrs43min
Miles - 52.5
Vert - 7000'

I felt really good this week after Rattle My Heart and had good runs throughout the week.  I felt really strong all week besides on Wednesday after my impromptu tempo effort out at Crowders the day before.  I spent another awesome day in Uwharrie and I am so glad that I have this place close to my childhood home.  I can still get vert in, which is very nice.  Unfortunately this week though, I missed out on a second exploration of the Grand Loop in the gorge with the Grand Kirk.  It looks like he had an awesome day out there and has the confusing northern section dialed in.  Also congratulations to Scott Williams, Paul Scouten, and Tim Weed for placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at this year's Mt Mitchell Challenge.  Sultan put up a solid PR time out there as well.  Another congrats goes out to Mark Lundblad as well for setting a new FKT on the 77 mile Foothills trail this weekend.  WNC Trailrunner was well represented this weekend.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Rattling Week VII

Mon - 0hr - rest

Tues - 35min/ 4m/ 300' - Easy run at Fisher Farm

Wed - 60min/ 7m/ 600' - Lake Norman St Park - nice easy run on the Monbo trail.  I really don't know why I don't run here more.  It's closer to my house than Latta and all singletrack.

Thurs - 0hr - complete lazy bum.  Should have ran, but like I said, just being a lazy bum.

Fri - 28min/ 3.1m/ 150' - Denver XC - felt really sluggish today, but at least it was a planned easy run and I usually run extremely well the day following a sluggish run, which is good considering Rattle My Heart 50k is tomorrow!!!!!

Sat - 6hr5min/ 31.1m/ 6200' - Rattle My Heart 50k - What a day on the trails!  Weather was perfect and I felt nearly perfect all day.  More info on this run below.

Sun - 0hr - Body felt pretty rough after yesterday's 50k with 12,000' net elevation change throughout, so I took the day off.

Totals =

Time - 8hr8min
Miles - 45.2
Vert - 7250'

I really wanted to feel fresh for the upcoming Rattle My Heart 50k this weekend so I decided to keep my mileage during the week low.  Come Friday night, Hannah, Stephen, and I headed west to Asheville to hang out with the Hill's and the Harrison's.  Melisa cooked up some delicious paella and we ended the night playing "Things" which quickly got ridiculous.  Saturday morning came I couldn't wait to get on the trail.  This run is one that I have always put high on my list as a favorite.  The weather was perfect and after the group photo, we took off and of course began climbing up the Rainbow Trail.  Andrew and I ran most of the first half of the run together from Rattlesnake Mtn, over Kitsuma/Youngs Ridge, and up the road to Graphite.   This is where I picked up my cousin Stephen for his first mountain run with our group.  On up Heartbreak Ridge we went, at what seemed like a good pace at the time until we finally hit the toll road and realized that it had just taken us 1:50 to make it up this beautiful trail with 3500' of vert in its 7.5 miles.  Once at the top, I was in a mood to take a nap and actually laid on the side of the Toll rd for about 30 seconds.  Then it was time to start descending the gentle grade but horrendous terrain of the Mitchell Toll Rd.  Stephen and I were both hoping that the Trestle switchbacks would soon appear.   Once they did, we were flying and having a blast.  I took a gel as a precautionary measure to stave off any potential bonk and not 5 minutes later after we got of the switchbacks I started bonking.  With less than 4 miles left and 30 minutes to make it under 6 hours I couldn't go any faster than 10 minute pace it seemed.  Stephen had dropped me and I was just holding on.  I didn't get my energy back until Lookout trail/rd where I caught back up to Stephen who was feeling the steep downhill of this trail.  I had already missed my goal of 6 hours by this point but still decided to bring it in fast and finished the day with a time of 6:05:30, 5 minutes faster than last year on a course that was about a mile longer this year.  I have to say that I am still very satisfied with that time.  After the run, everyone gathered around Tim's fire until everyone rolled in and then we took the party over to Ole's for a post run feast that my appetite didn't seem ready for.  It was a great day on the trails though and another great run with WNC Trail runner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A High Windy Week VI

Mon - 0hr - rest

Tues - 45min/ 4.6m/ 1000' - Little Mtn - easy effort

Wed - 85min/ 10.8m/ 1000' - Fisher Farm Park - easy effort on the typical 6 mile route with 4 hard hill repeats in the middle, each repeat about about 1.2 miles with 100ft of gain

Thurs - 60min/ 7m/ 400' - Latta Plantation - easy run

Fri - 55min/ 3m/ 1000' - Bakers Mtn - feeling pretty weak and thought it would be nice to go on a hike with my beautiful girlfriend.  Loved every second of hiking a route I usually run.

Sat - 2h12min/ 12.5m/ 2600' - High Top/ High Windy - crazy cold, super windy, and snowy run/ scramble up to the top of the High Top and High Windy peaks of the Swannanoa Mountains with Mad A and Ryan.  So a couple weeks ago I said that the Cabin Trail in the Linville Gorge was the steepest sustain climb I had ever been up.  Scratch that, the trail to High Top actually is.  It pretty much is a class 4 scramble the entire way! 

Sun - A.M. - 82 min/ 9m/ 1000' - Black Mtn Quarry - Running around the Black Mountain Quarry with Mad A on a frigid February morning (15 degress with a -4 windchill).  Nice easy effort run that was mostly flat other than the big 800' climb in the middle.

          P.M. - 26min/ 3m/ 100' - Davidson - shakeout run with my gorgeous lady

Totals =

Time - 8hrs7min
Miles - 49.9
Vert - 7100'

Another great week of running, but I am feeling a little worn out at the end of this week which may be due to what seems like another oncoming cold.  Hopefully I want get sick again.  The highlight of this week was definitely the High Top/ High Windy Loop I did on Saturday.  This run definitely goes down as the funnest run of the year so far.  Temps were in single digits and wind chills were in the negatives.  Snow was falling at near white out conditions on top of the ridge and I scrambled my way up a trail that would have been wiser to do in sunny a dry conditions.  Not freezing and snowing.  Either way, it was a jovial experience and it epitomizes why I run in the mountains.   Just pure mountain bliss with a couple of like minded friends on a day that most would have stayed inside and watched a movie.   I LOVE MOUNTAIN RUNS!!!!!!

By the way, check out Matt's blog about his RAM adventure the same day.  Makes our run look like a walk in the park.  Well, condition wise.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Striding Into Week V

Mon - 64min/ 8.3m/ 600' - Fisher Farm Park - first 7.5 miles ran in 56min, 8 min cool down

Tues - 62min/ 7m/ 400' - Latta Plantation - easy paced effort today on some really technical trail

Wed - 0hr - lazy bum

Thur - 75min/ 10m/ 500' - Latta Plantation - first 3.2 in 27, next 5.2 in 33:30!, last 1.6 in 15 min for a cool down.  Wow, what a great work out.  Didn't really know I possessed that type of speed, but I guess the recent  consistency of time on the the feet is really paying off!

Fri - 35min/ 4m/ 300' - Fisher Farm Park - nice easy effort after yesterday's speedwork.  Legs felt good.

Sat - 3hr50min/ 22m/ 4000' - Ridgeline Trail - met up with the Rock Hill Striders and ran from Kings Mountain State Park in SC to Crowders Mtn State Park in NC.  Sweet trail for sure and a great time on the trails running with Jose and some other new folks.

Sun - 26min/ 3m/ 100' - Davidson - shakeout run around Davidson, NC.

Totals =
Time - 8hr12min
Miles - 54.3
Gain - 5900'

Pretty great week of running.  I decided to take a little break from the vert side of running and decided to work on some speed this week.  I've been purposely running slower (comfortable pace) the past month as I've been changing my view on training for ultras.  Time on your feet is the most important thing in my opinion and speed should come second, well actually third, because vertical gain is definitely the second catalyst in successfully preparing one's self for a mountain ultra.  But at the same time, I believe that you need to still incorporate speed into your training regiment or you want be used to pushing yourself in a race or a FKT attempt.  Hence, this is the reason I thought it was time to test my turnover.  And the test was a success!  I was able to get in two tempo style efforts that really  blew my expectations of what I actually could do.  Especially Thursday's run!  For those that don't know, running slower can also help you run much faster.  It seems counter intuitive, but it is true.  You just have to make sure you at least run fast a few times a month.  Okay, thats enough of my coaching advise.  Saturday, I joined a local Charlotte area running group, the Rock Hill Striders, for a nice run in Crowders & Kings Mtn State Park.  I'm really glad I joined these guys because this run was the one I was actually planning on doing this weekend.  I had a really good time and ran solidly for almost all 22 miles and 4000ft of gain of this run.  The Ridgeline Trail is one of the nicest trails I have been on and contains a lot of diversity.  Glad to know that we have some gems like this in the Piedmont.  The Rock Hill folks are definitely a great crew of people and I look forward to joining them on future group runs in the area.