Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some like it hot

Well, it's the end of May here in NC, and that can only mean one thing. 90 degrees and humid! I have been doing the bulk of my running in the mid morning or early afternoon, since I work at night. I now come to the phase where I must shift over to early am runs, probably right after work.

I taught back to back spin classes at the gym, last night and this morning, which has somewhat disrupted the run program this week, along with the heat. I am determined to get out there early this evening for a short run, then back out on Thursday, early in the morning. I also hope to get in some nice long trail runs this weekend. Hoping to hit Umstead Park on Friday morning, before it gets crowded. At least the trails have a good amount of shade, and if I am really hot, there is always the creek!
Run hard, run haoppy, stay cool!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kilian's Quest Season 3 teaser

The End is nea...... oh. wait. really???

After an abysmal week of work, here I am at "Rapture" weekend. Apparently the world is coming to an end tonight at 6pm EST. I immediately snapped into action yesterday and went to Fleet Feet and picked up some Honey Stinger energy chews. If it all goes down tonight, I want to be properly fueled.

Why is it that every time the Amgen Tour of California comes around someone comes out of the woodwork and decides to "come clean" about their use of PED's? The largest cycling event in this country is going on and there is some misty eyed former cyclist admitting to a very concerned looking journalist that he could not bear the shame any longer and had to tell the world he was shooting EPO back in the late 90's. Oh yeah, and Lance was there too! Of course!! So was Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Victor Conte! When is the book coming out?
Look, I don't know who to believe anymore myself. I just think the timing sucks. We get a chance to see some amazing world class cycling in our own back yard, but all everyone is talking about is the upcoming 60 Minutes show on Sunday night.

I did manage to get in some good runs this week. The knee is doing well. Got a 5K race coming up in two weeks, so I scouted the course this morning. Uphill finish......awesome.

Now, off I go to assemble the Apocalypse emergency kit! I figure on firing up the stereo at around 5:55pm, and dropping the Doors "The End" on the CD player and dip into those Honey Stinger treats.

See you on the other side!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Aesop and Mayo

Got out early this morning to run with some friends, like 6:45am early. We had a good seven + mile run, and it was nice to have the workout done and be back at the house at 8am! It had been quite a while since I had done a "road" run of that length,  and the knee held up well.
Around mile six, we saw a rabbit, who paced us for a little while along the side of the road, before returning to the woods. We then turned onto another street, only to be met by a turtle that was crossing the road. The symbolism was not lost on any of us, as it appeared the turtle was ahead of the "hare" at the time. When I reached the turtle, it looked like he was clearly employing the "Galloway" method, but he did look strong!

The humidity was still with us this morning, even with the rain/thunderstorms pushing through last night. I was soaked from head to toe at the end, and apologized to my friend Heather in advance for leaving a huge rorchach ass print on the seat of her SUV on the ride back to her house.

While out food shopping later in the day, I came across this rather disturbing product:

Run hard, run happy. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feelin' Lucky

After seeing favorable results from my 2 mile "test" run yesterday, I decided to give the knee a "Trail Test" today. What better day to throw caution to the wind than Friday the 13th??? Now, mind you, I was still operating the knee in "safe" mode, so it was going to be nice and easy.

Spring is officially here in NC, and along with it, the God forsaken humidity. I had with me my faithful trail running partner, Hannah, and we were barely several hundred yards into the Peninsula Trail at Harris Lake when we saw our first snake of the season!  Much wildlife on the trail today. One snake, one deer, three turtles and several HUGE Blue Herons!

I am happy to report that there were no problems with the knee, and we wound up doing five easy miles.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cross training and frozen ravioli

It has been almost a week since I "tweaked" the ole left knee on a trail run. I took it out for a two mile "test" run today, and so far so good.
 Taking a mini break from running got me back on my road bike last Monday, which was a nice change. ( I had not been on it since December 2010!) I taught spin class Tuesday night AND Wednesday morning, so I did try to maintain some fitness this week.
My companion on this recovery has been a 24 oz bag of frozen ravioli, which I have been using to ice the knee. It wraps around the knee quite nicely. I have used it so much I am surprised I have not brought it to a state of "al dente", as it has sat thawing out repeatedly on my knee.

Erring on the side of caution, I will not be doing the "Gauntlet" run this weekend. Mud pits, dirt walls and truck tires does not seem like suitable rehab at this point!

So I will be patient, and take things slow and easy...... and maybe put on a pot of tomato sauce for this ravioli!    

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Prom weekend

I am proud to say I have survived another grueling endurance event...... sending two daughters to the prom!
 I will take a half marathon in the woods any day!
I am taking a break from running for a few days thanks to well hidden rock on the trail Friday. Apparently, my left knee did not enjoy the run as much as the rest of me!  Teaching spin class Saturday morning was quite a challenge, as well as mowing the grass was afterwards. After some repeated icing sessions and rest, it is starting to feel better. What doesn't kill us..............

 Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!

Friday, May 6, 2011

New addition

I would like to welcome the newest member in my training arsenal, The Solomon XR Crossmax Trail shoe!
They went right from REI to the trail today, for a little test run at Umstead Park. They feel great!

It's also strawberry pickin' time here in NC. Please support your local farmers and farm stands!

Happy Friday!!! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to it!

After a few days off to reward the 'ole legs, I got back out on the trails today. A nice 5 mile run on the nearby American Tobacco Trail. It is nice and flat, so it's a good way to start back training. I had made the tactical error of drinking several cups of coffee and THEN taking a GU octane with caffine, so at the start of the run, I was WIGGIN' out! After the first two jittery miles. with my pace being all over the place, I finally settled into a nice groove. I wound up doing a negative split, running the last 2.5 miles faster than the first.

 So now I am tuning up for the"Gauntlet" run, a four mile obstacle course complete with dirt walls, creek crossings and a mud pit...... It seemed like a good idea at the time!

Run hard, Run happy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Race for the Land

This past Saturday I did a trail half marathon, The "Race for the Land". It is run on 1400 acres of private land near Stanley, NC. The owners maintain trails on the property, and proceeds go to the Catawba Land Conservency.
The trail half started @ 7:30am, and the weather was perfect. Clear skies and a little cool at the start, just as the sun was rising above the tree line. Another cool feature was that the race was capped at 200 entries. After the cattle stampede start of my last road half, the start of Race for the Land was a nice change! Trail folks are laid back. No one was updating their facebook status from their android at the start line or any of that nutty stuff you might see at a typical road event.
The horn sounded, and we were off! Not knowing the course, I went out easy. I fell into a nice rhythym, and was in with a group of 4 or 5 people for the first several miles. Around five miles, I was running by myself, which was actually nice. I was having a bit of stomach trouble for the next several miles, but worked my way through it. I took a Gu at the one hour mark and felt no ill effects from it, and my stomach cleared up. I was wearing my Nathan Hydro Vest, which was awesome, although the sloshing of liquid got to be a bit much at times. Around mile 6, there was a loop that you had to run twice. It began at an aid station which was immediately followed by a very nice climb. I walked / jogged up the hills, trying to conserve a little energy for later on.
To my surprise/delight, time seemed to pass by rather quickly! I did start feeling some fatigue around mile 9, but after cresting the large hill on the 2nd loop I caught and passed a couple much younger than myself. That mental boost provided the old man with the energy to bring it on home for the last 5K (That, and the fear that they were taking a break for a minute, then would smoke me around mile 12!)
With the second loop completed, I was back out on a fire road and on the path to the (uphill) finish!
I crossed the finish line, tired and happy, no major aches or pains/injuries to report. There was no chip timing, and as usual, I forgot to stop my Garmin right at the finish. Finishing time was around 2 hr 20 min.

After the race we stayed for the "Nature Fest" which was also being held on the property. As a awesome bonus, I got to meet Jennifer Pharr Davis, Hiker, Trail Runner and womens record holder for the fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail, averaging 38 miles a day, completeing the trail in 57 days!! She is a beast!
Be sure to check out her book, " Becoming Odyssa" about her adventures on the Appalachian Trail!
Overall, a great race experience. Thanks to Amanda Anderson and all the volunteers that made it happen! We will be back for more next year!

Pilot Mountain Training Weekend

I had a few days off from work, so last weekend I headed out to Pilot Mountain state Park for some camping and trail running. Not being too familiar with the trails out this way, I brought along my trail running partner Hannah,so I would not be wandering around the forest by myself. The rest of the fam opted for the beach. ( They have become used to my trail journeys, and the beach seemed WAY more attractive then camping.
  We arrived Thursday afternoon after an uneventful three hour ride, with minimal traffic. I had reserved a site in advance, so we checked in with the host, and began to set up camp.

The weather was good, so after settling in at camp, we decided to go on a hike to stretch the legs a bit. The grindstone trail head is right at the campsite, and it is two miles one way to the summit. It also gains around 500 ft. in elevation on the way up.

After a sucessful hike, it was back to camp for dinner, reading and turning in early for the night.

Then the rain came! All day Friday, except for a two hour window in the afternoon. We set out to run the Grindstone Trail and take that to the Mountain Trail towards the river. Well, a wrong turn or two and we were on an alternate trail up to the summit, complete with quad searing ascents up multiple stone stairways!

Then there was the delightful knee jarring descent back to camp. The rain held off, I grabbed a shower after returning to camp, which felt amazing! With it still raining, we had some dinner, read and turned in early to bed.
Some more showers splattered on the tent overnight, and we awoke theSaturday morning to overcast skies once again. (There was a rumor from other campers that today was going to be sunny and 80 degrees)
We now knew where to go to access the mountain trail, so today's run was scheduled for two hours.
After a quick breakfast and some Vespa, we headed out to find the mountain trail! Considering the rain we had, the trails were in pretty good shape. We had to take the Grindstone Trail the opposite direction, pick up the Grassy Ridge Trail, to the Mountain Trail, which led us to the Corridor Trail, that goes down to the Yadkin River. The first mile was extremely technical, and since we were doing an out and back run, I made a note to myself that there would be some suffering over that last mile back to camp.
We made our way slow and steady, and finally picked up the trail headed towards the river. A natural archway greeted us!   
The Corridor Trail is a Hiking/Equestrian trail, so it is wide, but does have some nice climbs and difficult sections. The trail itself is owned by the state, and there is private property on either side.
We settled into a nice pace, and my friend Hannah felt good, so she went up ahead of me. Suddenly, we heard a rather loud shotgun blast, and seconds later I see Hannah hauling ass back to me, totally freaked out!! "Someone shot at me!!". For a brief moment, I thought about saying "Well that should teach you not to drop me on the trail!", but I could tell this was not the time to be a wise ass. We collected ourselves, and gingerly made our way back down the trail. We then saw a hiker, who explained that there was private land on either side of the trail, and that he had heard the shotgun blast as well. That made us feel somewhat better. ( On our way back later on, we stopped and chatted with an older gentleman on horseback, who explained that there was a shooting range located on the property we had passed. He was a local, so I believed him, but Hannah was still not convinced!)
Back to the run.....We settled back into our run (Hannah now staying along side of me) and took in some of the beautiful scenery, including what looked like an old moonshine still in the woods

 We hit the one hour mark and began our return trip back to camp. No shots fired, but I felt like I wanted to be shot that last mile back to camp! We managed to crank out ten miles. My Garmin later indicated that we had climbed over 4300 feet of elevation during our run. That would account for this lovely picture of me back at camp after our run.

At about 5:30 that afternoon, the sun finally came out. More reading, a huge dinner of pasta in red sauce with veggie sausage and then to bed for a nice dry night in the tent. It was nice and quiet without the rain dancing off the top of the tent all night.
We got up the next morning and broke camp. Of course, Sunday's weather was fantastic! We did stop in to a park on our way back home, found a mountain bike trail, and ran for a hour. The course was nice singletrack, not too hilly. A nice way to end a training weekend.......