Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guest blog: Boxing day Run Race Report by my friend Amy


by Amy Surrette on Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 6:19pm
To start off, for those of you who are not familiar with the ultra running lingo, “fat ass” is the type of run it is.  I am not cursing just for the sake of it.  I found a definition of them online that reads:  “These races are all based on the premise of the original fat ass concept. It's a long run, usually an ultra distance.  Finish times usually aren't recorded, that's not the point. The point is to run in a supportive environment, have fun, and challenge yourself. You'll also likely be reminded what you love about distance running, and meet some other very cool people.  Many "true" fat asses are trail runs organized by local runners and are a no-frills set-up. The slogan for Fat Ass races is "No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps." Most races follow this closely, so runners need to carry their own aid, and shouldn't sign up if they aren't sure they can complete the distance. Fat Asses aren't easy.” (see below for reference)

This is the info from Jim Plants event page regarding this run: (Jim’s words)

Kiwanas Park
Sanford, NC
Six hours to run as you please, 9am-3pm. Late or early starts are welcome.

Monday December 26th, Boxing Day for some -- and I am thinking it would be a holiday for most.

Stick with us for the full six hours, or run a loop and hang out or go home and of course anything in between. Escape the in-laws, work off your Christmas dinner and try out your fancy new running stuff that Santa got you all at the same time. If you feel like the in-laws can't be left alone, then they are welcome to come on down and get some fresh air and maybe jog or walk a few loops too.

The "loop" is about 0.91 miles according to my Garmin -- add to that a short out and back to the picnic shelter, and we will call it an even mile. It is not flat, there are a couple of hills. Think of it as a cross between Hinson Lake and Umstead as far as the surface and the hills go. I will have a board or a pad or something to record the number of laps - the Honor System will be in play.

If you don't know, a "Fat-Ass" style run is an unofficial gathering of runners, running for fun only. There are no prizes, no t-shirts, no bib numbers, no chip timing and any support will be pretty minimal -- don't be expecting someone to hand you a cup of water as you go past. As the saying goes, there will be no whining either :)

Ok - basics out of the way, here is how the race went.

My kids and I packed up and left for Sanford after 7am.  We picked up Ben Dillon and Charles West along the way.  It was nice to have a run that was a 9am start.  You didn’t have to get up well before dawn and since it was only an hour drive it was convenient.

The day started off cold - right at freezing, but it was dry and the sun was out.  We got all our gear moved to the shelter and prepared for the start.  I nearly missed the start - I didn’t hear a go, I just saw everyone take off running, and I was still in the shelter… I was ready, just not on the trail, so the day began.  I counted about 20 people who were on that first lap.

Each lap we came back to the shelter, marked on our cards a line for a lap, then went back out.  In my case I would make a line, count 3 kids heads, then go back out.  Andy was not there this race but there were plenty of other adults and children around so the kids were doing good.  I still needed to make sure they were ok each lap.

It was a great crushed gravel path with basically “just one hill” - go figure, a Jimbo race with just one hill.  You could run the loop either way.  I found that going clockwise that the ‘just one hill’ was a steeper incline and the rest was downhill, but the other way was a slow grind almost the whole way uphill, so opted for laps going clockwise.

Coming back in early on there were oranges on our lap sheets.  A gust of wind came and blew them all off the picnic tables and Jim put oranges on them to keep them from blowing away.  I drew a smile on my orange.  As the miles clicked off, it ended up having eyelashes and curly hair.  Other oranges had smiles too and one of them had the top ripped off…

Gene Meade started running with me early on and we kept the same pace going lap after lap.  He put up with my singing and he kept me laughing with his humor.   I told him he needed to pace me at U100 in the wee hours of the morning to keep me laughing (even though I will most likely feel like crying, but that will be another race report)….

I knew it was going to be tough for me from the start.  I had run 13.5 miles 2 days prior and 3 weeks prior had run my farthest ever of 83.2.  My legs were tired but I wanted to get at least a marathon in, if not a 50K before Weymouth in January.  A couple hours in I realized that the 50K was not going to happen.  My legs were feeling it, and I was also trying to keep an eye on my kids during the event which took up extra time between the shelter and the Jeep.  I was having fun though.  I was watching my kids interact with other kids who came with their parents.  I was also watching and running with parents on the trail.  It was a great kid friendly event.  I took a few loops with my kids who wanted to run or walk with me.

It’s funny how your mind works to endure the amount of time you will be out there.  About 5 hours in I was getting to the point where I was ready to be done.  I knew the finish was not long off so I started to pick it up a little.  Yep, as much as I can at that point in the run.  I knew that 50K was out of the question so I was pushing for that marathon +  so it would at least qualify for an ultra!

The last 10 minutes were on the ‘baby loop’  it was .15 miles long.  I found a good song, started singing, and started to really pick it up.  On the last lap I heard someone behind me say “come on Surrette, lets finish this up”  yep, it was Charles Akers.  I wish he would not have said that.  I kicked it into gear and literally sprinted the last .15 miles.  Of course I didn’t catch him.

Garmin read 26.7.  That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.  I think somewhere along the way I mis-lined my sheet and forgot to mark a lap.  Ehh, it doesn’t matter.  It was a great event with a lot of great people attending.  A big thank you to James Plant for putting it on.  It was a great location and well attended.  Nearly 50 people were there who filled out a card.  Rumor has it that there was a bandit on the course who ran without counting his laps, but, he is the Ultraman and can get away with those kind of things.

This FA event was great - everybody brought in lots of food.  There were T-shirts made, and prizes for the winners.  Thank you Jim - looking forward to the next event!

Rumbling through The Uwharrie

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!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day Madness

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:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Run

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!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Untitled by teebone813 at Garmin Connect - Details

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trail Images

Just a few pictures I took along the trail yesterday at Umstead State Park.

The Loblolly Trail.

6.5 miles of single track. Not bad scenery either!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Out at The Lake

   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!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Birthday Run

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!

A great Saturday morning with friends!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Falls Lake

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".

Not a bad Sunday indeed!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back on track......single that is!

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!!!

Happy Weekend!!