Tues - 61min/ 7.3m/ 1000' - Hickory City Park - Just another easy run on the local trails.
Wed - 60min/ 6m/ 1300' - Lower Steels Creek Exploration - Well long story short, I didn't find Lower Steels Creek trail. Apparently I was right on top of it, but just didn't see the opening of the trail. Most likely it is a bushwhack these days. Will need to clear it out and find it officially before the fall.
Thurs - 47min/ 6.3m/ 600' - DART - Made it back out to the Wolf Spider Run this week. The run was nice and relaxed for the first 4 miles, but then the pace began to pick up. I started the pace pickup, but Dexter picked it up even more. I tried to hang onto Dexter for the rest of the run while we most have been going 6:30min/mile pace or below in the last mile. Good times!
Fri - off - Hanging with the wife and resting up for the Sultan 50k tomorrow!
Sat - 5hrs59min/ 33.6m/ 6800' - The annual Pisgah Nation January birthday celebration did not disappoint. I showed up to the start minutes before, got tossed some pink flagging to mark the course, and quickly took a starting photo. Before I knew it, we were off and climbing up our first long sustained climb of the day, one of many that would come. After the first 3 mile 1600ft climb, the lead pack was Action Jackson, Shaman, Mo, and myself. The pace we were running was sustainable so I stayed with and conversed with everyone. We all stayed together until we got into the South Mountain State Park trails system about 11 miles in. My stomach decided it was finally time for me to take a pit stop and I wouldn't see much of them for the rest of the day. After my pitstop, my legs started to feel the sustained effort of the previous two hours and I was beginning to not feel so great. None the less though, I did get some breaks when I had to stop to flag the turns. I soon caught up to Phyllis who had passed me during the pit stop and we ran together the last 2 miles to the turn around. I didn't want to hang around too long at the aid station as I had in the past so I quickly downed some red velvet cake, did a couple of yoga poses for the camera, and picked up Matt to be my pacer back to the finish.
Upon leaving the aid station, we shortly arrived to a grand view of a frozen High Shoals Falls! I had seen the falls like this once before a few weeks back. It is amazing how something moving that fast can freeze. As Matt, Uwharrie, and passed the falls, a light snow began to fall. Surprisingly, this was one of the warmer parts of the day though and I shed my gloves. Leaving the park, the trail just keeps climbing and climbing. Some parts are runnable (well all of it actually, but I was feeling pretty beat by this point) and I ran then, but the steeper pitches just reduced me to a walk. Thankfully, Matt was willing to slow down on the steep climbs as well. After a six mile climb, we finally hit some sustained downhill. My legs felt shot though, so running was still going slow. At this point, I thought that going sub 6 hours on this route was completely out of the question. I knew there was a lot more climbing left. I took a Clif Espresso Shot and then things started to feel better. My pace at least increased to maybe a 9min/mile on the downhills so that was good. And upon entering the last long climb of the day I was able to run most of it, thanks to Matt and caffeine. I still didn't think that going sub 6 was possible, so as we crested the top of the climb to what I think is the best view on the course, Matt and I stopped to snap a few photos and tried to point out and name notable peaks on the horizon. My legs were still feeling pretty beat up once we started running again, but I was able to keep the motion going. We soon bumped into some fellow Sultan 50kers that called it a bit short, right around the 3.5 mile to go point. All of this last 3.5 miles except for 0.5 of it is downhill, so I checked my watch again just to get a bearing of about what time I would finish. My watch said I had about 30 minutes to get to the 6 hour point. It hit me that sub-6 was still in the cards, especially since it was practically all downhill. If I could just let gravity take me down the hill then I could make it. Matt stayed back to chat with Terry, but I put my head down and dug deep. When I finally crested the last hill I had about 3 miles left and 25 minutes to get to finish. Now this last descent is STEEP and my legs really hurt as I picked it up to make the goal. Soon, I bumped into Hannah hiking up the road to meet me! She decided pace me in which was great and I needed the extra motivation to keep pushing through the pain. I finally reached the finish area and stopped the watch and read 5:59:42!!! Whew, that was close, and man did it hurt. Maybe the worst general muscle pain I've felt during a run although things are feeling better today, unlike after Peak to Creek which felt similar but the pain lasted much longer post run.
After the run, we all hung around the fire and waited for everyone to come in, all while enjoyed some friendship and brews. Of course, per tradition, we headed over to Jalapenos Fresh Grill to indulge in the best Mexican food I've yet to taste. Another great year of the Sultan 50k down and looking forward to many more to come!
Sun - ~60min/ ~2m/ 300' - Disc Golf - Hannah and I attempted to play speed disc golf today at Glenn Hilton Park. My tight hamstring had another plan as did our poor disc golf skills. By the end we able to jog most of the course. It was a great recovery idea though and I think it did the trick.
Time - 9hrs47min
Miles - 55.2
Vert - 10,000'
|Action Jackson and Shaman|
|Phyllis "Bit-Sized" Tsang|
|Matt and a frozen High Shoals Falls|
|Matt checking out the view|
|Matt & U-Dog on Roper Hollow Rd|
|Action and myself|
|Terry and something delicious|
|the Sultan himself....in a sombrero|