Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fat Ass at The Farm 50K +

My friend and trail buddy Lauren decided to celebrate her birthday in true Ultra fashion by hosting the Fat Ass on the Farm 50K. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "Fat Ass", here is a brief description I found online:

FAT ASS is the name given to a series of low key runs that are frequented by experienced runners & walkers and characterised by the phrase "No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps". Yes, the runs are totally free to enter and are put on by passionate runners who are also running. Think of it as a bit like meeting some people for a bushwalk - except it's a run. Because the runs are not races in any sense, there is no guarantee of anything other than a course to run (although maps and directions may not provided). There are no course marshalls, and no course markers, and you should not expect any aid either. They are an exercise in self-help, and as such experienced runners only should come and join us - they are not intended for beginning runners. - Courtesy of

Since Lauren was turning 32, it would be a teeny bit more than a 50K. Her parents own a farm on 60+ Beautiful acres of land, so we had an ideal setting for the run. I accompanied Lauren to her parent's farm to scout out a course. The course wound up being a 1.2 mile loop with a little out and back spur added in to keep things interesting. The surface would be mostly field grass, with a little bit of rock trail thrown in as well. We also had to reassure her father that it would be fine to let 20-30 endurance lunatics to ramble around the farm for 32 miles without trashing the place or injuring themselves in the process!

The Farm
We were blessed with beautiful weather and set off on lap number one a few minutes past 8am. I had my sights set on the full 32 miles and started out slowly, happy that I was not instantly drenched in sweat by the end of the first lap.
 The laps began to tick off and I was feeling good. Another bonus was that many of my ultra buddies were there too, so it was nice to hook up with folks on different laps. I kept a solid pace early, and did not dilly -dally at the aid station, just refilled my hand held and kept on truckin'. For fuel I had my Vega Endurance gels , so I was not tempted by the array of snacks and treats the AS had to offer.
 About the  half way point (mile 16) I stopped briefly to change my shirt and grab a Hummus wrap for some solid food. Home made hummus spread on a whole grain tortilla and sprinkled with chopped olives, it is a yummy source of fuel! I had hooked up with my friend and ultra mad man Chris at this point, and we power walked a "digestion" lap before returning back to the run.
  Mile 20 came and went, and I was still feeling good. Chris and I stayed together, and even though I can't quite remember what exactly we talked about, I know we were laughing a helluva lot!

Coming off the "spur"
We were now within a few laps of 32 miles, and I was pleasantly surprised with how good I was feeling. My last ultra distance was about a month ago, and I had not been doing a lot of high mileage training runs either. Of course, it not being 95 degrees and humid certainly helped! A nice breeze had picked up in the early afternoon which kept things comfortable. 
  I hit the final lap and cruised into the aid station. I checked off the final lap on my lap chart, and sought out the nearest available chair. 55K in 6:40.  My buddy Chris continued on for several more laps, making it an even 35 miles for him. The Birthday girl Lauren finished not long after me, running her age in miles in honor of her B-day.
  The chairs were out, the feet were up, and we did what all good ultra runners do: Sit around and talk about running, food and pooping!
  A great time and really cool way to celebrate one's Birthday! (yes there was cake too! No, I stuck to my Vegan principles and ate more hummus wraps!)
"Partying" down on the farm!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Moving On: Saying goobye to a faithful pair of Trail Shoes

It was with a touch of sadness that I retired my Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes from active duty yesterday. It was time. They had faithfully served me through many miles along the trail. Purchased in the fall of last year, they were with me for my first 100K at Weymouth Woods. They hung in there with me at the Uwharrie Mountain 40 miler and several other 50K's in the spring and summer of this year. They had been baptised through many a creek crossing, endured mud baths and withstood sharp rocked jeep and fire roads in multiple states. I never once had gotten a blister when wearing them, even when they began showing signs of breaking down.
     So I found myself driving to the Fleet Feet Running store yesterday, ready to pick up a new pair of Pure Grit. It was when I had slipped on the new pair that I realized just how worn down my old pair was. I knew I had made the right decision, but there was a brief moment of sadness, much like when you have to ask grandpa for the keys to the car, knowing he still wants to drive, but it's just not safe anymore.
 I left the store, drove straight to Umstead State Park and christened the new Grits with an eight mile run. Upon returning home, I set the old pair out on the side porch, their tangy aroma reminding me of all the miles we shared. Since I can't stand to part with them, they will be relegated to light yard work duty. (low drop lawn maintenance)

And so it goes, the circle of life continues! Thanks to my old Pure Grits for all the good times we shared and here's to many more happy miles ahead with Pure Grit Mach two!!

Out with the old.

In with the new!