Being off from work this week, I have the opportunity to run at some spots I normally don't get to visit that often. Uwharrie National Forest being one of them. It was in my best interest to explore the Uwharrie Mountain Trail since I will be participating in the Uwharrie Mountain Run, all 40 miles of it, on February 4th 2012!
It was ideal weather for a trail run yesterday, mid 50's and a slight breeze, with crystal blue Carolina skies. I Started my run at the southern terminus of the trail at Hwy 109. The plan was to run five miles out and back at ultra pace, since I was coming off my 26 mile Boxing day run on Monday.
Anticipating the rather technical terrain, I wore my La Sportiva Crosslites, which are a little beefier than my Brooks Pure Grit. I was glad I did. Lots of large rocks littered the trail, many of them hidden by the downed foliage.
I was the only car parked at the trail head, and I did not see another living soul the entire time I was out there. I was somewhat taken aback by the posted warning at the trail head regarding it being hunting season and to use caution and wear bright colors on the trail. My mind flashed back to the gas station down the road where I stopped right before I arrived at the trail head. It resembled something right out of a Dodge Ram commercial. Men waddling around in cammo, trucks with trailers carrying ATV's and, I'm sure, copious amounts of firearms and ammunition. I could hear Sam Elliot's booming voice in the distance: "Dodge Rah-uhmmmmm"
Thankfully, I was wearing my neon green Brooks running jacket!
The run went well. I took a lot of walk breaks, had many an ankle roll, but no face plants! There were several creek crossings along the way as well.
I finally made it back to the parking lot, none the worse for wear.
Now begins the taper for Weymouth Woods 100K on January 14th!
Yesterday I celebrated Boxing day in style by attending my friend Jimbo's Boxing Day Madness Fat Ass Run in Sanford, NC. It was a little chilly at the start, but turned out to be a perfect weather day for running! The course was a one mile loop, and you could run as much as you wanted for six hours. With breaks for food and drink (and potty) included, I got in 26 miles.
The turnout was great, and I got to see many of my ultra friends! I ran most of the way with my friend Amy, who I don't get to run with much, so that was an added bonus.
Many thanks to Jimbo for a great event! I hope it becomes a Boxing Day tradition! You can find more pics here:
Got up at 4:30am this morning to meet some friends for trail run. We started at 6am, so the first several miles were with the headlamp. The temperature at 6am was right around 37 degrees, which I actually enjoyed, since it had been warm and muggy most of the week. (Really not Christmas weather!)
Since I am running a six hour Fat Ass Boxing Day Run on Monday, I only stayed for one loop this morning, about 12.6 miles. The rest of the day has been spent resting, eating and hanging out watching football. A most enjoyable time indeed!
Got back to Harris Lake for five miles of single track today. It was perfect weather, partly cloudy, mid 60's with a nice little breeze. As usual, the trail was empty. I took it easy, coming off my eight miler from yesterday, trying desperately not to look at the Garmin and just run. I had contemplated leaving it home, but, well....... you know how that works!
Celebrated my friend Mika's Birthday by getting out at 5:30am this morning for a run at Umstead Park. Great weather, not too cold. (Around 41 degrees at the start) We ran a few miles out and back and met some more friends at 6:30am and headed back out on the bike and bridle trail. It was just getting light at 6:30am, so I ditched the headlamp for stage two. We ended up with a total of 14 miles.
B-Day girl in the home stretch.
At the finish!
We then headed over to a local Diner for some post run refueling!
Inspired by a friend's gutsy 85 mile performance at the Crooked Road 24 hour Ultra, I got my butt out the door this morning and headed out to Falls Lake for some single track work. Arriving at the trail head just after 9am, I set out with no particular mileage in mind, just to get some easy trail work in.
I had not been out to Fall Lake since all the fall foliage came down, so I had to make my way carefully through some of the more technical sections where the roots and rock were now well disguised.
It was a beautiful morning, sunny and not too cold. I shuffled along, meeting some doggies and taking pictures as I made my way down the trail.
I stopped off at a side trail that brought me down to the water's edge.
I came across this old abandoned car. I have no idea how the hell it got there. Gotta love the shotgun holes in the side!
One of the "less technical" sections of the trail, where I could give my brain a brief rest and just run!
In the home stretch!
I wound up getting in 6 miles, with no face plants or ankle rolls.
Speaking of falling foliage, when I got home I finally cleaned up the yard, a project I had been blowing off for several weeks. I just look at it as more "time on feet".
With my 50K behind me, the focus is now on prepping for the 100K trail run in January, which means it's time to get down to some serious trail/single track training!
Got in a nice five miler on Tuesday at Harris Lake, then got out to Umstead State Park for some real trail work yesterday. It went well, considering I had worked Thursday night and was only going on about 4 hours of sleep. (Ultra sleep deprivation training, right??)
I have a spin class to teach this morning ( Saturday ), then maybe a quick little run after. (To keep avoiding yard work!) Sunday's forecast is for 14 miles, not sure where I am running at yet. This maybe the start of a December run streak????? Who knows.
In other breaking news, I picked up a pair of Brooks "Pure Grit" trail shoes yesterday from my good friends at Fleet Feet.
Can't wait to take 'em out for a test drive tomorrow!!!
We were greeted with a beautiful, crisp autumn morning for the start of the Derby 50K Ultra. Three 10.5 mile loops with a mix of paved and dirt road awaited us as we set off promptly at 8 am. With my running partner Hannah still recuperating from an ankle injury, I had talked my fried Mika into joining me for the race, which would be her first ultra.
Lap number one went well, a little quicker then I had planned on, around one hour and forty five minutes. I am always paranoid about "blowing up", but we felt good as we left the aid station for lap two.
Lap two was a little slower, and we took our time navigating the rolling hills. The temperature was rising, but there was a nice little breeze to help keep things cool. I carried my hand held, as there were three aid stations along the course with food, drink and awesome volunteers. I was concerned about how the body would feel with all the road running, but everything was holding up fine. Mika was having some ankle issues, and was going to change shoes at the end of lap two.
We stopped at the aid station briefly before heading out for lap three. Mika changed her shoes and I slipped on my compression calf sleeves. We then set off for the final lap. The lap of truth!
Around mile 23, I felt strong and picked up the pace. Mika's ankle felt a little better after the shoe change, but it still bothered her. She had told me to go on ahead. I knew she was still in good shape and would finish, no problem. So off I went. I ran a little while with my friend Jimbo, and we crossed the 26.2 mile mark, just before we turned onto the dirt road. I was still feeling good and kept running along the dirt road stretch. Leaving the aid station at the end of the dirt road, I headed out for the final push. There was a steady incline before the course flattened out for the last 1.5 miles to the finish. I ran/walked the incline, then picked up the pace again for the home stretch. Making the final right turn, I had a half mile to go to reach the community center and the finish.
I made it. Right around the six hour mark, which was my goal. I was happy. I was even happier when I saw Mika cross the finish line 20 minutes later! We were then treated to an awesome meal of pasta and all types of yummy stuff provided by the local "Church Ladies". A great ending to an awesome day!
I have been easing back on the miles this week, in preparation for the Derby 50K. That, and I have had a really tough two weeks at work. I did get out last weekend for a 30 mile overnight trail run with my friend Lauren, which was quite fun!
Today I got out for a light run/walk/hike with daughter Olivia and the dog!
Tomorrow I am meeting some folks at 1pm for some single track miles (10-12) at Umstead State Park, the last long run before the Derby!
After not getting many miles in during the week, I was able to work in two nice trail runs over the weekend. Saturday's run was a bit of a mental challenge, due to the fact that when I woke up at 5am it was 39 degrees and pouring rain. I was scheduled to me my friend Lauren, a talented and strong ultra runner, at 6:30am for a 12 miler at Umstead State Park. Driving to the park, I began to have doubts that we would be running at all! Heavy rain pelted my car as I semi hydroplaned along the road. By the time I met Lauren at the Tile Store parking lot, the rain had subsided. We both put on our hats and gloves and headed down the road leading to the park, where I was promptly almost run over by a car.
Entering the safety and security of the park, we started pounding out the miles. The plan was to do six miles out and six miles back. Around mile five, the rain returned. The trails were empty, with most folks electing to sleep in and avoid the rain. We finally saw our friends Amy and Joey at around mile nine, they were just starting their run!
By mile ten I began to feel very heavy. Water had penetrated every inch of my gear, including my shoes and sox. We pushed on, and before I knew it, we were back out on the road and headed to the car. We were wet, cold and tired, but proud we had gutted it out.
I headed home and then took one of the greatest showers of my life!
Sunday morning I treated myself and slept in. I knew I wanted to run, I just didn't know where it would be. I finally decided on Raven Rock State Park. The "Campbell Creek" Trail is a five mile loop that goes down to the Cape Fear River. The skies were crystal clear and temps were warmer, a really beautiful fall day.
I felt good as I completed the first five mile loop. At the start of the second lap, I hooked my right foot on a root, resulting in a rather spectacular "Pete Rose" style face plant! Stunned for a second, I immediately began laughing hysterically at nyself. It was quite liberating, I must say.
Dusting myself off, I pressed on, taking a short side trail to Lanier Falls, then back up a section of stairs to the main trail.
Reaching the finish, I could not resist. I got a shot of myself "Tebowing".
The Derby 50K is in four weeks. Time to get in some miles!
I got up at the ass crack of dawn Sunday morning to meet my friend Mika at Umstead State Park for a 12 mile run along the Bike and Bridal trails. It was a little more challenging getting out of a warm bed when the outdoor temperature was 41 degrees, as opposed to the last few months where we were running early to escape the heat!
I normally use the half hour drive to the park to fully wake up and prime all the vital organs, but I was feeling sluggish this morning, even with the two cups of coffee I downed back at the house. I texted Mika upon my arrival, and she wrote back she would be there in five minutes and that she was moving slow this morning. Great news!
There were already scores of people at the park. like some kind of mini Vail, CO right in the heart of Raleigh. This was indeed inspiring, but not quite enough to free me from my morning fog.
I greeted Mika, we both talked about how we thought of texting one another about bailing on the run, then we were off!
The crisp Autumn morning air quickly brought me to life and we settled into a nice pace along the trail.
Mika had to take off her jacket by mile one, hanging on a tree along side the trail. ( Which we completely forgot about on our way back)
The sun was up now, and it was a beautiful morning indeed. We stayed at a comfortable, steady pace, only walking in a couple of spots to take in some water and fuel. The conversation flowed, encompassing a wide array of topics, and the miles passed by quickly. We hit the turn around at mile six and spotted four deer crossing the trail ahead of us, including a rather large buck.
Before we knew it we were in the home stretch, blissfully blowing by Mika's jacket at mile 11 and headed for the barn.
Needless to say, we got in an additional 2 mile "cool down" going back to retrieve the jacket.
12 miles in 2hr 11 min. 3800' ft of elevation. 2 mile run/walk cool down, and the awesome feeling of finishing a workout you almost thought about blowing off.
All this before 10 am!
While having made many a home made pizza using traditional flour, this was my first attempt at a gluten free crust. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free pizza crust mix. Not bad at all, I must say. The crust was a little thicker than I wanted, so it was more "deep dish" than thin crust, but a tasty crust nonetheless Some olive oil spread on the crust, then chopped garlic, then pizza sauce. Topped it off with some Daiya mozzarella "cheese", a little salt and oregano, and that was it! Total prep time was about 30 minutes. Bake time 18 minutes at 425 with the baking stone!
Had a good run at the Triple Lakes Trail Half yesterday. Beautiful weather for a race! Temp was around 50 degrees at the start time of 8am. The first mile was paved trail, so I went out faster than I should have. (As I am known to do!) My first mile split was somewhere around 8:30, which is usually my 5K pace, but I felt good, so I dialed it back just a little and continued on my way. I felt really good up untill mile 8 or so, then I began to pay for my quick start. The terrain became a little bit hillier, and I was having to work hard to stay in a nice rhythm. I also was nearly run over by four deer that came scampering through the woods around mile 9! I held my form together and emerged from the woods thinking the finish was right in front of me, but there was a surprise waiting for me. We had to run on a grassy loop around a small lake, then run uphill to the finish! One final staggering push later, I was done. Finished in 2:25, a little slower than I wanted, but I was happy none the less.
Watching on crutches from the sideline was my buddy and training partner Hannah. A fractured Talar (ankle) has her off the trails for a while, which makes us both sad.
In the meantime, there has been an addition to my training/support crew, a 10 month old hound mix named Culliver. We picked him up from the shelter a week ago and he is such a good boy! There have only been several "accidents" so far, and he is a pretty chill dog! I have not taken him out on a run with me yet, still waiting for his bones to mature, plus he has no ability to run in a straight line! He does however seem to have that whole "taper" thing down already!
Now the plan is to get in some nice long runs in preparation for the Derby 50K. I am not entered in any races until then, but you never know...............
Had a great weekend at the Lake Hinson 24 Hour Ultra Run. This being my first official ultra, I did not enter the race with any specific mileage goal. You had 24 hours to complete as many laps around the lake as you could. Each lap was 1.5 miles. I was however going to use this as a gauge to measure how the training was going for my 50K race scheduled in November, so I really wanted to get 30 miles in at the least.
With the help of copious amounts of Gatorade, Mountain Dew and PB&J sandwiches, I cranked out 40 laps, for a total of sixty miles. I was going to attempt to run the entire 24 hours, but around 19 hours I really started to wear out. No blisters! But I did have some chafing going on south of the border that was starting to make life a tad uncomfortable. The last few laps I felt like a marionette with all it's strings tangled up, so I shut it down. I had exceeded way beyond my expectations, so I was happy as I staggered back to the tent to collapse in a heap.
Still smiling here, but it was early!
Thank God the weather wasn't hot, as I heard at last year's race it was 97! We did wake up to rain at around 6am, with the race start at 8am. The rain stopped, but the air was THICK! I had put on a long sleeve shirt to start, but quickly sent my trusty pacer/crew member/training partner Hannah back to the tent for a sleeveless shirt! I started out wearing my La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0's, which were awesome since the trail was a little muddy in spots. I then switched over to my Nike Free 3.0's, and did the bulk of my mileage in them. Once they got soggy ( mainly from my profuse sweating) I changed into my New Balance Minimus for the final few laps. I changed outfits four times, sox five times.
Since half of the run was to be in the dark, I invested in a great headlamp by Fenix, which I had taken out on a 13.5 mile night trail run a week earlier. This thing is BRIGHT! I feel light a locomotive coming down the trail with it on.
It took a while for me to get to sleep when I arrived back at the tent, but I did manage to sleep for an hour or two. Then came the fun part of trying to take down the tent and canopy in a post ultra stupor. It was quite comical.
We managed to get everything broke down and stuffed in the car, then stopped for coffee and a bite to eat. We then made our way north to the town of Southern Pines, and treated ourselves to a room and hot shower at the Holiday Inn Express! Using my "Priority Club" clout, we were able to check in at noon instead of 3pm.
At one point I was tempted to bring a chair into the shower so I could sit, but thought the better of it. The rest of the day was spent napping, eating and watching football on TV. Glorious, indeed.
Now for a few recovery days, then back to it! Triple Lakes Trail Half is next on 10/15, then the Derby 50K will be here before ya know it!
I have added a new member to my Trail shoe collection. I've picked up a pair of La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0. I took them out for their first run yesterday at Harris Lake. Four miles of moderately technical trail and they felt great! I think we will be spending a lot of time together out on the trails!
One of the other instructors at the gym is on vacation this week, so I have four spin classes to teach on my schedule. I taught last night, (75 minutes) another class this morning (60min) and have classes on Friday and Saturday morning. This is on top of my regular 3rd shift job. Then there is the little matter of fitting in my run training as well. Then did I mention one of my girls is tracked out of school? Good times. So today after class I got my butt on the treadmill for an easy three miles. Tomorrow is a six miler, then a 13.1 mile night trail run on Friday. then another 10 miler sometime over the weekend.There will be some serious power napping going on! I will be monitoring the 'ole body closely. Hopefully I will not be feeling like this:
I will be tapering next week in preparation for the Lake Hinson 24 Hour Run!
It's Sunday, 5:40pm. It feels like I just got the opportunity to sit down.
I got off work Friday morning around 4am. Got my butt up at 8am to take a spin class my friend Amy was teaching. It was nice to be TAKING a spin class instead of TEACHING one! Went to the bank after class, got home and was about to get in a nap when my boss called and told me we had an emergency service to take care of. Back out the door I went. Emergency service completed, I returned home around 4pm. By this point, I was fried. I was rocking 2 hours of sleep over 26 hours.I got myself something to eat, claimed my spot on the couch, and spent the rest of the evening drifting in and out of consciousness. Then I officially went to sleep.
Got up early Saturday morning to head out on a trail run with my training partner. New location, some wrong turns, getting separated, running endlessly around the trails looking for each other...... well you get the picture. 18 miles later, "Lewis & Clark" were reunited. What started as a training run turned into an adventure race.
What does one do to recover after that? Why they come home an mow the lawn. All 3/4 of an acre of it. And they do it in compression calf sleeves.
Then I got something to eat, claimed my spot on the couch.......... you know the rest.
Up early again on Sunday morning, taking care of all the stuff I did not get to on Saturday. I was hosting a two hour 9/11 Memorial spin class at the gym, and had still not finalized the music or routines. Several cups of strong coffee later, that task was completed.
Headed out to the gym at 11:30am, class was from 12-2pm. Legs felt good 'till the last half hour, then they got tired.
Got home, did laundry. (The workout/funk pile) Then took the girls to Starbucks, went to the supermarket and got back to the house for the 4pm NFL game. I made myself and awesome smoothie, ( hemp protein powder, Udo's oil, avocado, frozen fruit,chia seeds and macca powder) and parked my ass in the comfy chair.
All that's left is to get my workout gear off the clothesline, slip on my compression sleeves and get myself something to eat. Then I will claim my spot on the couch...........
I could tell today was going to be "treadmill" kind of day. After much procrastinating, I got my butt out the door this afternoon and down to the gym to get in my four miler. Got her done in 35:19. Felt good (for a treadmill workout!)
Hoping for better weather tomorrow, then its back outside!!!