Friday, February 25, 2011

Looking to Spring 2011

After a winter of not expecting personal events to derail my training, I have started building a base, and I am looking to the Spring for some racing.

One race, which is close in proximity and has an alluring creek crossing is the Sweetwater 50k.

And, of course, the trips up to Western North Carolina to gallivant with folks up there.

I will add Sweetwater to the racing calendar, and I will keep looking.

If anyone has any suggestions for GA races - please post!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

transition post - coming back..

Although this is a belated post - the end of 2010 was a whirlwind, which left me exhausted and ready for change.

Change is what I was presented with, so I accepted and have bounded forward to capture new opportunity and more time for the activities, which I enjoy: running & yoga.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Great video of our Roan Marathon Run

Check out this on You Tube:

"Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast..."

To all those who work desk jobs (or to anyone who spends too much time indoors); you will empathize:

Today, I have been writing an appeal all day; it is extremely warm outside; I live in Georgia, and I ran for the first time in 7 days. I miss the fall; the cool spring, and its breezes and flowers; I miss the peaks, and trails. To not sound anymore cliche, I leave all with a favorite quote from Edward Abbey

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." Edward Abbey

Sunday, June 13, 2010

RAM - Roan Mtn Marathon (+)

To all who have not experienced the AT near Roan Mountain--> must immediately plan their next ultra adventure to run the 27+ miles (out and back).

On Saturday, I woke early in Asheville, and I rode north & west to the base of Roan Mountain to join the other runners for our start on the AT. It was warm when we started, and I had some trepidation about the run because of my lack of training and the early heat. An aside: another runner asked me early on - what I was training for, and I instantly knew - while I was not training for a specific race, I was training to regain lost confidence. I had lost confidence, in part, because of my performance at Twisted Ankle - the feeling of being overheated, dehydrated, and humbled...

We began at 7am. The first 2-3 miles (and the last 26-?) were my favorite. We hiked up about 500-1000 feet to a series of balds, which were slightly runnable. The rhododendron were in full bloom; the air was clean, and the views were spectacular. It reminded me of my running in Colorado, and I was invigorated. We proceeded to a 3rd bald (I forget the names) where we started our descent. We descended through some thick forest areas to a section of the AT, which crosses another trail - again, I cannot remember the name, which goes to a farm preserve and towards TN... This part of the AT is also where there is a nice open shelter, which is visible from higher up. This part of the AT has special meaning to me. This is where my husband and I took some pictures for our Save the Date cards.

We continued on the AT to hike up again towards the mountains named: Little Hump and Big Hump. Again, these peaks - have significance. I have been coming to this area of NC for about 15 years, and I have hiked to these peaks numerous times. I have seen them in the snow, the fall when the colors paint their sides illustriously, and in their summer bloom (albeit little b/c they are balds). When we arrived at the section before we started climbing to little hump, it took all my energy not to call out in glee. I felt at home. Each step and each view were like visiting an old friend. I felt light and joyous and as though I was home. Again, the tops of these mountains are balds, which have are interesting, in part, because ecologists in the area have conflicting reasons as to why they don't have trees.

We continued past Big Hump and started our descent towards 19E. We returned to the trees, and I missed the balds - although I have say it was nice to be out of the sun. We descended for many miles down, and the feeling of the legs turning over was enjoyable. We ended up at the half way point - the intersection of 19E where a volunteer had set up the best aid station. We had watermelon; we had GORP; we had water; there was so much food.

After filling up and resting and bringing down our body temperatures, we began our ascent and our return to the base of Roan Mountain.

Overall, one of the best runs I have ever done; it was beautiful and welcoming and such a lovely day.

Thanks to all who volunteered and put in time to bring all of us together.

Update: check out

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dehydration & Humility - Twisted Ankle Marathon

My last month of training consisted of some mountain running: Coosa, Western North Carolina & several days at Amicalola State Park - a strong recommendation for anyone who wants mountain running with awesome views in Georgia.. And, several of these runs have been in warmer weather... Yet, none of this training could have assisted my physiological decline (from leading the race - for women), on Saturday.

The day started out warm, but I don't think I was aware of how warm it was. We were at Sloppy Floyd State Park outside of Summerville, GA, and I thought - it is North Georgia, it won't be that hot.

The race started at 9:00am. The first several miles were relatively flat and there were some hills; nothing too extreme or that my last runs (7 sisters, amicalaloa & Coosa) had not prepared me for. It slowly started up and up until we were walking up a steep incline. We got to the top of the ridge quickly, and from there we went on a Forest Service gravel road where we ran for about a mile. From there we traversed to another trail, which dropped us down into a valley. This is when I started noticing that I was not feeling at my best. I kept asking other people with watches - how long have we been running... And, how far do you think we have been? I usually am more concerned that I am not enjoying the views or watching for rocks. These thoughts continued and were heightened around mile 13. At this aid station, I started noticing how hot I was - how I could not cool down. I thought it was just the heat, and I started dumping cold glasses of water on my head. But, this was not cooling me down. I was leading the race for women, so I did not want to slow down my pace, so I continued back on the forest service road feeling OK (not great). There were several other aid stations before we started another decline down a bluff. Usually, I would have been excited for the downhill rest, but, again, no - I was tired and annoyed & kept wondering why I was so warm! So, I started the Jeff Galloway method & started to walk some to try and get my body temperature down. This, again, did not work. So, around mile 18 - I arrived at an aid station, and I was exhausted. And, so warm. Then, my muscles started to not work. It became difficult to run. Then, around mile 19, I was passed by my first women, and I did not care; I was in such a state of decline - my legs hurt; everything hurt. I continued this way until mile 21 - where I received more gatorade/water, and I started the verbal complaints - I am just so hot - they advised that I should sit down, but I declined and trudged on. Then before the last aid station at mile 22, I laid down under a tree. My symptoms had peaked: I could not walk without staggering on the trail; my vision was blurry; I had stopped sweating; I was chilled, sometimes, everytime I drank water, I was nauseous, etc etc. An all around decline. I gave up. I realized that I was going to get a DNF, and I did not care. I just wanted out of the heat & off the trail. I was carted off and down the trail I went, and I was mortified, but relieved. I had not ever, ever in my over 15 years of running felt that badly. That weak - that horrible. Several people stopped and gave me words of encouragement & stories of their own IVs they had to receive, which kind of helped the embarrassment but not the bewilderment. I kept going through my mind - what had i done wrong - how had I become sooo dehydrated? How could I have let it get this bad?

This experience was very humbling, and made me really think about some of my, perhaps, nutritional mistakes - too much coffee?? Too much work stress? And, it gave me humility in recognizing my own mortality and acceptance of my limitations... As I sit here several days later and still exhausted -Today, I watched with envy as a group of young men raced around the soccer field, and I realized how lucky we are, we runners, to be able to run and train the way we do. It has only been about 2 days, but I miss that freedom...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Running short distances can be fun, sometimes

After you spend your weekends in the woods for hours and hours - sometimes adding a pavement speedy 5k can be a nice change.

On Thursday evening, my employer - the large Hall County - entered, as a team, the Corporate Challenge 5k around Riverside; it was a 3 loop course with about 2 hills on the course. The course was pretty good; however, I would have preferred to not have dodged the people who started walking on the second loop. To prepare, with lunch, I drank a coke and had sufficient snacks! The weather was nice- a little warm for such speedy running, but the sky was clear, and the sun was high.

Not wearing a watch, I knew I had to do some internal monitoring. Wes, from the Lanier Track Club, started the race. Before he gave the go, he warned us not to start too quickly as the first 1/4 mile were downhill. This time, I did not let my nerves overpower me, and I took off quickly, but settled in when we started the first short hill. After we finished the 3rd loop, the course again went downhill for a flat .75 miles. I ran hard & finished in 19:59!! And, I won for women overall.

Upon reflection, I have to admit - running that fast and really feeling my legs turnover, was a good & different challenge & feeling. I can say - I will do it again!