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!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

7 sisters - great, great run!

My sister is engaged. Planning her wedding has risen to the top of my family's priorities. details; details. With this background, my weekend was focused on doing an awesome run and hurrying back to Greenville, SC to assist with the planning (footnote here - originally was going to do Terri's 24 hr birthday run...). With my weekend beginning in Charlotte for another family obligation I opted to run the 7 sisters with some great folks. And, i am glad that I did. This ended up being one of my favorite runs ever. It was challenging & beautiful; the people were friendly, and the weather was amazing. The cumulative effect of all these factors had me smiling post-run through today.

With that background - on saturday, I woke early and met another runner in charlotte. we traveled to Montreat in Black Mountain, NC to meet the group and begin. We began, after announcements, and headed up the rainbow trail to the first summit - amazing. amazing. We climbed stairs and huffed and puffed to the top. My lungs were burning (I always struggle with the first climb until my body wakes up). This first view was the best. It was a difficult summit & we stopped took pictures , did some yoga & enjoyed a brief rest. From there we proceeded on the East Ridge trail towards Greybeard & Walker's knob. The rest of the run resembled the first climb. Up & down & up & down. When there was any flat - I tried running quickly & enjoyed the brief respite & leg turnover. We continued, and I recognized areas from running Greybeard & the Mt. Mitchell marathon previously. We summited Greybeard & Walker's knob. These peaks were covered in clouds, and there was no view. Then, we grabbed the West Ridge trail and ran towards Big Piney. After descending some, we stopped for a brief rest and enjoyed another amazing view before a quick descent into Montreat. We all averaged around +/- 3 hrs & 19 minutes for the run @ 16 miles- I was happy with the time considering the terrain.

Another great run in Western, NC. I am grateful for the good spring running.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good Bent Creek weekend - Enjoying Western, NC

When I go to the Asheville area to run - I usually end up running some of the time - in the Bent Creek Area. Really amazing place. The area itself has extensive trails, and it connects to the Botanical Gardens; the blue ridge parkway; the Shut-in trail, and many other places.

Saturday, after feeling ill in the morning and missing the Dupont 1/2, I dragged myself out of bed at 12:30!! (fortunately my hostess had a significant amount of work to do), and off we went to Bent Creek! Since spring had come, I had been craving some time in this area, and my friend had prepared quite the adventure. We started near the Hard Times parking lot and headed up the Renegade trail towards the blue ridge parkway & the Shut in. My still recovering lungs failed me on the way up. My legs were moving, but I had to stop and walk 2X because of the lungs... When we reached the Blue Ridge Parkway, I bent over and felt so out of shape. To my dismay, we were only at about 2900 feet in elevation. My lungs were screaming and my heart was pounding. I wondered how many miles I could actually take. But, as is my custom, after I warmed up, I took off. We cruised over to the Shut in and ran there for a couple of miles before continuing our loop in the area. We returned to the car sunburned, tired and full of smiles.the 2 hours had been a good session to break in the aerobic capacity for spring running!

Sunday - I was by myself - the friend had to go into to work. Of course, I forgot my camera, but I was able to take some pretty good phone photos, which I was able to load. I was tired from Saturday, but the blue sky and still cool air were enough to keep me in the Bent Creek area, again, for about 1.5 hours. I started on Road 491, and followed the Ingles Field Gap trail to the 5 corners area. From there, I went a little higher, until, again, the lungs screamed at me to stop... ay yi yi. Here are the pics - ENJOY!! Such a great weekend. I hope everyone, at least, got some sunshine!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

stronger and stronger

After 3 weeks at a new job, and leaving every day with my head spinning & recovering from bronchitis (i am still on an inhaler) & the flu, my body is finally starting to respond to requests for sustained speed.

This weekend's weather was lovely. Saturday I convinced myself to really stay close to home; I ran around the town & took a walk with the hubby. Today, I could only convince myself to stay closer to home (going to be out of town for the next several weekends) as I sulked as my thoughts kept drifting to the trails in North Georgia. But, I did go to the trails at chicopee with a good friend and ran about 12 miles (total). The first 4.5 miles were faster, and the rest were a slow enjoyable transition to running in the hot weather (it was about 80 today!!). Today, was also a focus and introspection as to how my body would respond if i decided to sprint up a hill or down. It responded adequately, but I still have my doubts about my performance at the Dupont Half next weekend. Oh well - I guess I cannot expect too much so soon after a bad illness (which I ignored for many weeks before I addressed it). I will call the Dupont half - a training run for the Twisted Ankle marathon.

This week, I am goin to try to incorporate speed work! I really want to add some speed work. I think it will help...

Happy trails to all this spring!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Enjoying the trails again!

After spending several weeks with weak lungs (from the bronchitis), and having an inhaler for the first time since I was 16, I had some trepidation about today's adventure in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

An old friend met me near Demorest, GA, and we headed out to do all the trails in the Lake Russell Recreation Area. I was excited to see my friend, but nervous about my lungs' performances, and bummed about the rain. However, my concern about everything evaporated when I pulled up to the trail head, and I remembered why I loved trail running, and how much I had missed it in the last several weeks.

We started on a short trail, Sourwood, which starts climbing soon. I was out of breath quickly, but then the trail flattened out, and I recovered, again, quickly. I had that feeling - was I born to do this - haha. More simply, a feeling of joy flooded over me, and I picked up my pace. Generally, this is how the next 3 hours passed for me. Every time we approached a hill my lungs closed up, but once I summitted, and the trail flattened out or we proceeded down hill, I relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of really using my legs again.

The day included the 3 main trails at Lake Russell: Sourwood, Ladyslipper & the Lake Russell trail. Although I have done more difficult terrain in North Georgia, this area is still one of my favorites. It provides diverse terrain & many miles of good climbing. The trail also passes over many streams & is well marked with green markers on the trees & signs. It is well shaded - good for summer. but, in the winter when the trees are bare - you can see Curahee Mountain, and the views are awesome.

This Sunday provided a good reminder and motivator to continue training for the next adventure - Twisted Ankle Marathon (with some shorter races in between).

Monday, March 15, 2010

After a period of rest - transitioning back to training

After performing well at the Mt. Mitchell marathon - my body seemed to fall apart - I knew I was fighting a virus, but what I did not anticipate - was developing bronchitis.

Since last Monday, I have not run - I actually have barely walked. I have been putting effort towards resting and recuperating. I have taught yoga, but the amount of energy I would expend during class was lower.

Today, the weather was beautiful, and I felt rested, so I ran a mile. Tomorrow morning - I may run 2-3.

Many thoughts abound - how to slowly transition back into my heavy mileage before the marathon... For a couple of weeks, my miles were in the 60s for the week. I know for many runners, this is low, but for me - this has been a new high. I enjoyed the high level of miles, and I am looking forward to doing it again - especially before the Twisted Ankle - but, I know it will be more than several weeks before I reach that level again.

And, of course - I want to add some speedwork... - this spring - I hope to be stronger!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

when not running as much, time to write

These past 2 weeks have been interesting - as I said, in my previous post, not a time for me to feel ideal for long/strong runs (the marathon an exception- adrenaline must have taken over) - rather - the effort has been to keep some kind of aerobic level during the tiredness. Today, I know good GUTS folks are out on some of my favorite trails in North Georgia. But, today, my joy today will be to have a late coffee in bed and run a slow 8-9 on FLAT surfaces.

This next week my efforts will be toward, again, maintaining some level of aerobic, and then next weekend - a look to jump the miles back up. The craving for another 30 miles has started.

Everyone - run some miles for me today!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pass sickness, Pass! I have many runs to do

Before the Mt Mitchell Marathon, I had been feeling ill all week. The kind of ill where you are not sick enough to not run, but no matter how early you go to bed, getting up is almost impossible - this was my curse last week before the marathon. Although I knew I was beginning to feel sick, I tried to ignore it. I ran less miles during the week, and the ones that I did run were slower. Fortunately, because this was the week before the marathon, I was able to get away with such low mileage. And, at the marathon, even though I woke up feeling less than ideal, my excitement was high to really challenge myself on this beloved course - and I did.

So, with that good run, I have been feeling the consequences. Again, this week, the inability to get out of bed. The sleep, sleep, sleep & the morning slowness and feeling of flu like symptoms have now magnified. Before, they were slow undulations, and ignorance was a valid tool. This week the flu-like symptoms grab me and pull me down.

My first attempted run was on Tuesday, and, again, feigning ignorance, I could not understand why my legs felt fine, but my aerobic capacity was of a sedentary person. It was perplexing, but then, after talking with a good friend, I remembered my sickness - my silent and slowly draining sickness. So, on Wednesday, I gave in and pouted. But, on Thursday, after somehow getting through a day of work feeling half-dead, I rewarded myself with - a run - what else?! (all you runners support me on this one). It was slow. I made sure it was slow - I just needed to move - with this holding on sickness, I needed to feel alive and strong - the way I was last weekend - to anyone who knows me and the way I run - you would have been horrified. I was slumped over, and I had a hacking cough. I sounded like a smoker who was trying running for the first time in 10 years. I shuffled up hills and look terrified on the down hills. Somehow I made it back to my house and collapsed on the couch - I was so proud. Proud that I had pushed through and been on my feet for almost an hour - no matter that is was not aesthetic to the curious driver as to this supposedly out of shape person - proud that I had made it through another great run

As, I usually end my posts - ode to running. To the sport that allows the freedom to run anywhere and almost anytime.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mt Mitchell Marathon weekend - treacherous toll road, but a positive 3rd overall for women

Mt. Mitchell Marathon and Challenge:

After a long winter - this race proved to be a welcoming test of my training.

We started at the usual 7am (report at 6:45). The skies were clear; the temperature was in the 20s, and there was snow forecasted.
Because I had been reading about the adverse weather conditions, and because I was cold the weekend of the Woody Gap + Coosa adventure, I overdressed, so I was warm when I started. (I learned lessons this weekend - as I do with long races).
We started in downtown black mountain, and we progressed on pavement towards Montreat College. From there, usually we would have headed up the single track towards the toll road, which was a wide dirt road with lots of rocks, but this year, again becaues of the snow, the course went up the steep, steep paved road in Montreat College to the Toll Road.

At the first aid station, everyone quickly stopped to put on their yak traks or other traction devices. From there, the usually dirt road was covered in snow - deep snow. I was glad to have some traction devices over my shoes. The 4 wheelers had left tracks and had hardened the snow, but it was still slow going. Even with the traction devices, much of my effort was spent trying to stay vertical. The sections for feet placement were narrow, and I had to balance and keep running.

We reached the turn around point for the marathon at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Challengers kept going while we turned around. Going downhill was a welcome reprieve from the climbing. The upper section had mostly melted, so I was able to start the trek downhill with speed. I think it was pent up frustration from the slow going and balancing act to the turn around that helped the speedy downhill. Here, again - the lesson of not wearing too many layers -

After we took the toll road downhill, we hopped back on the pavement and took the trail and road back into black mountain.

23 miles later and 3 hours and 48 minutes later - I was done and had finished 3rd overall for women. i was sooo excited!!!

It was a great race, and it provided me with confidence to race longer distances.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A little burnout = a good mileage weekend around the town

To all those who feel tired and burned out on a weekend - what are your remedies?

Fortunately, for me, one of my remedies is sunshine. When the weather is nice, I feel compelled to be outside. Outside lounging around; outside running with friends - just outside. And, the combination of the weather + avoidance of doing work on the weekends = running. This was the background for 2 great, great days of running!

On Saturday, about mid-afternoon, before the parents arrived and when the husband started playing video games, I knew it was time for some pounding on the pavement. I laced up my Montrail Masochists and headed out. The first 5 miles I had Grendel, but he overheated quickly, so I returned him to finish the final 4. Most of the miles were fast. Pavement does that to me; it makes me want to run fast - ie to have a quick clip and move. Move across the street, around people in the park, and to dodge other obstacles. So, Saturday under blue skies I coasted to two laps to = 9 miles.

Sunday had a similar weather background except this time I had human company for the first section of the run. My friend and I met at Chicopee woods, and we did a mellow 7.5 (approx). Grendel did accompany this run. Again, he tired quickly (from the heat?), but I was rejuvenated. When Grendel and I returned to town, I, by myself, took off around town. Again, my pace was quick. I almost stopped after another 5 miles, but, again, the sunshine held onto me, and I squeezed another mile for a total of 13.5 miles.

As my training has progressed, when I start running - the miles come more quickly. One current observation - sometimes it is harder to get out the door... Ah burnout/tiredness. Good reason to have friends who run - to motivate you!

Happy Sunshine for those of us in Georgia.

Monday, February 15, 2010

35 miles - new record mileage for me

Some of the GUTS guys and I had an adventure on Sunday (yes it was Valentine's day, but the hubby and I celebrated Friday night).

I woke at 3:30 am, stumbled out of bed, grabbed some food and jumped into my car - and I was off around 4:00am (luckily I had packed the night before, so I would not forget anything). Fortunately, Woody Gap in Suches, Georgia is only around 50 minutes from house (I had to stop for coffee), so I made the hopeful 5:00am arrival. When I arrived at the trail head, it was dark & cold & windy and cold. It took us some time to get going. We all bundled up, turned on our headlamps and we were off around 5:45. We were off for 10 hours of moving, um, pushing through the snow.

We started at Woody Gap, caught the Duncan Ridge Trail, and proceeded into Vogel State Park to the Coosa trail. (For anyone who has not done the Coosa trail - it is awesome! They say it is over 4000 feet of elevation gain. Approximately 13 or so miles of up and down and up and down. There is walking and recovering down hill, and some mellow -a challenge and different terrain).
Here are the GUTS guys at the top of Coosa Bald.

There was a significant amount of snow. On Woody Gap, we were breaking trail. When we first started on Coosa, some people had preceded us, and we were able to gain a little bit of speed until - the snow was deeper again... And, then on Coosa, we slowed down, again. The adventure slowed more as it started snowing, and the temperature dropped. But, we proceeded on and returned to the Duncan Ridge Trail. But, more adventure - one of the group members stopped for a quick break, and we went on - only to take a wrong trail and get lost, but we though the other member was lost. After back tracking to find our "lost" friend, who was not really lost, we found the correct trail (note the AT is ALWAYS a white blaze - ha), and tried to catch our friend, but, of course, he had taken the correct trail and beat all of us by about 30 minutes.

Overall, it was one of the best runs I have done. Good company, tough terrain & conditions & my first distance past a marathon. I thank all those who were in attendance!!!!

End picture - happy & delirious!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recovered after feeling ill this weekend. Good week of hour long pavement runs

This weekend, on Saturday, I knew. I knew I would not be driving to Cartersville to run the Red Top Rumble, and this saddened me. My training has been consistent (for the most part); I felt strong after my performance at Hogpen, and I was hoping for a good time at Red Top. But, the sickness engulfed me, and I stayed on the couch for most of the day.

By Tuesday, I felt recovered (my sicknesses usually do not last too long), and I took Grendel for a slow hour long experiment run. It was smooth although apparent that my energy was lower than usual. Wednesday, I tried to repeat the experiment, but this time, at 50 minutes, I stopped. My body kept repeating no more until it was deafening, and I relented.

Today, I hope to repeat another hour run + hill repeats. Hopefully, I have recovered sufficiently...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coosa + Bear Hair Gap + Extra = Happy

To all those who are unfamiliar with running in GA (here I would drop a footnote about my limited exposure, but..., as we would say, in our memos to judges - sufficient experience) Vogel State Park contains some of the best trail running - especially the Coosa trail - over 13 miles & over 4000 feet of elevation change, and the views are amazing; the climbs tear your quads, and rolling hills for recovery. Every time I run this trail, it is a different and enjoyable experience.

So with that background, we headed up on Sunday for a day in Vogel. We were well rewarded by snow on the ground; strong sunlight and perfect temperatures for 4+ hours playing on the trails. First, we did coosa, then we dropped off Grendel, so as to not ruin his joints, and then I headed over and did Bear Gap. Another great trail with good climbing. Also, cannot forget to add the approaches + the parts where wrong turns were taken, etc.. What resulted: 4+ hours of greatness.

This weekend is the Red Top Rumble - hope my training will have paid off!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dawson forest

After roaming around Hall County with the husband, I finally, at 3pmish, felt ready to do some running. (my legs had been sore since Thursday after a good mileage week and some hill repeats). I opted to meet fellow runners and some GUTS members at Dawson Forest outside of Dawsonville. - off 400

The weather was warmer, and there was little precipitation. I arrived late and missed the 3pm group, so I was only able to run 1 lap. When they did arrive, we took off. the chatting, much to my surprise began immediately. Everyone was friendly and we shared stories of trails run - ultra & marathons - our injuries and employment. I think it was about 5.5 miles. The course was a typical georgia state park trail: muddy, rocky and had some good climbs. not too much elevation gain or lost; consistent. Enjoyable.

A good reminder of why I love trail running - can finally share what many people view as not normal or they shake their heads in bewilderment when you tell them what you did last weekend. Good company today. Hope Jon meets his goal!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Signed up for my First 50k

I just signed up for my first 50k. October 9, 2010. I am very excited!
New River 50k

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Although I am sure I am not the first person to use this term, it describes the activity well. For most, I deduce, it includes rather flat and rolling terrain where the leg turnover is high, and the rate of stopping is low. This description is in contrast to the type of running I usually enjoy. Usually, I prefer climbing, climbing and more climbing with breaks, and on trails.

On Saturday, I opted for camaraderie with others who were pavementing down in Flowery Branch as opposed to solitary running in the woods. We started with laps around a parking lot to warm up and to wait for others, and then we set off. I have to admit - it was enjoyable. We spent the next 2+ hours running a loop of about 6 miles. It had some rollling hills, but mostly it was flat. We kept our pace quick, yet there was plenty of conversation. We had the company of middle and high schoolers who filled me in on the latest video games and cool movies. I ended up meeting some nice women with whom I finished running. We started the finishing miles slowly, and then ended the last 2 miles with a quick pace. My legs were thankful to be done and hoped for trails soon.

Overall, an enjoyable and relatively high mileage day. Although I was supposed to do 20 miles one day, I ran 16 on Saturday, and have run 5 today, so I guess I did my goal - just in 2 days? Although as I have mentioned before, my miles have been greater this go-around - I still need to get a 20 miler somewhere - next weekend, next weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A training plan & keeping up the motivation

This blog was intended as an expression of the frustration and rewards of training for the marathon, and to assist when I lose motivation. Then, after I so enjoyed my marathon, I decided to keep blogging about my running experiences and reach out to others who enjoy long distances. Now, i am looking forward to running my first ultra - hopefully the New River 50k.
My second marathon will be the Mt. Mitchell Marathon in Black Mountain, NC (where I got married in sept!!), and for the first time, I am really trying to follow a training plan for the marathon. (last year, I got sick in the middle, and gave up and just tried to run miles).
For example - trying to run double digit runs back to back. And, one pretty long run during the week. Some weeks are great, and I am really close to the 50 mile a week, but some weeks, I am too tired from work, etc etc. For as much as I love to run, it is difficult to stay on schedule, week after week. Training for a marathon, ultra - takes up significant time, and sometimes I really just want to sit on the couch with my hubby & Grendel. Or, read a book (from my stack of unread books). Or, any alternative but go to the woods.

Ode - to trail running and the mountains/ frustration for the hours out pounding mile after mile

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quasi-Race Report - Hogpen Hill Climb 17k

In thinking about those who compose long and interesting race reports with photos, etc, I did not think I could title my Post as such. Mine will be short and without pictures.

Hogpen. We arrived early enough for some warming up (although we missed the pre-race meeting), some water gulping and gauging the temperature. We started on a road behind the main road through Helen, and we started our climb.

I was unfamiliar with the course, and had been warned to start out more slowly, and then attack towards the end. So, as I was going,I kept telling myself to "hold, hold." But, then after a couple of miles, I was wondering - what am I holding for? If the hills are to be done in "granny gear," then you don't need a rested body for that - (there sometimes is a point in races where you just cannot pick up those legs)? So, I increased my pace. The beginning 5 miles were nice. The climbs were relatively under control, and you could do some turnover. There was a nice break after mile 5 before the treacherous climbing began. Then, it began, and my mind repeated: keep going; keep going; pump those knees and lift those legs. It was difficult until around mile 9, and then we had a steep break down again. But, to the end - more climbing.

Overall, it was a difficult race - strategy wise - in part - because it was hard to see people that were in front of you - usually in a race, I can pinpoint a person and try to work towards catching them, but here - you really had to do that in beginning and just hold your pace. Next year, I think I will hold onto someone early, and then hope for the best - ha!!

Overall great run! Challenging, challenging and very beautiful!!! I think I ran it in 1:32...I think i did 3rd Overall for women.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bucket list - trail - ultras and marathons

Still trying to compile - a list of races for this year:

What is your bucket lists of races, i.e., are there races that someone MUST do! eg ultras; trail runs?

Please leave a comment of your must do race.
(someone left a comment about Western States)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow brings lovely winter runs

On Thursday, I ran for a couple of hours while it snowed and snowed. I did not realize how much I missed the snow until I was out in the silence with snow resting on my eye lashes as Grendel and I floated along the pavement trying not to slip. Peaceful, methodical and calm described the type of running. There was no use to hurry around the streets - the conditions did not ask for a quick gaunt. The conditions required of me and my companion a certain patience; to breathe slowly, trek lightly and watch as each different snow flake rested someplace new. I tried to hold it all in; each immeasurable moment of this infrequent experience.

Fortunately, the snow remained, and on Saturday, we went to Chicopee woods to run for a double-digit morning. To our delight, the snow remained! The trails were not icy; only covered in a nice layer of snow, which covered the leaves and smoothed the trails. This provided for a lovely couple of hours floating, again, over the rolling trails. My only complaint was a dry hacking cough that would intermittently arise, but, overall, the pace was fast, and our legs felt fresh and light.

Two great runs - I have the snow to thank

Bucket list for trail, ultras, marathons, etc?

While I was compiling a list of races for this year, a thought arose - Do other runners have bucket lists of races, i.e., are there races that someone MUST do! eg ultras; trail runs?

Please leave a comment of your must do race.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

enjoyable treadmill

For all of you - trail enjoyers & those who love being outside (this does include me)- being on a treadmill is torture (even sometimes with the aid of a music player).

Last night I had the best time on the treadmill. I am not sure if it is the stress at work; reading born to run; or some kind of general epiphany about running in general. But, I really enjoyed myself. I practiced running on the balls of my feet, keeping my back straight and pumping my knees. I was singing and had the pace up high, and I kept moving and moving (well...). I squeezed out 5.3 miles. I know i have done longer, but the emphasis here is the enjoyment. It has been a while since I have enjoyed such a previously torturous activity. Are the gurus right? Can you choose happiness so easily even in the midst of such discomfort?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twisted Ankle Marathon

I just signed up for the Twisted Ankle Marathon in May - who hoooo!!! The training keeps going, and going, and....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

14 miles - sign of a good 2010

After making it through holiday season (too many dinner parties; too much traveling; too much flat pavement running), I embarked on an adventure with a local friend to see how my legs could stand 14 miles.

I returned to parts of the National Forest that I had avoided during the deer hunting season. I had missed the Forest's opportunity for miles of climbing; single track and unmeasurable views. The hours passed quickly as we climbed, descended and rolled over the various trails. Grendel could run and run, and we could jabber and jabber.

From my late fall (post wedding)/winter running, the miles felt easy and my legs turned over more easily than I remembered. Maybe it was just my absence - or a change in my physiology? To leave analysis, I choose to enjoy the memory of the quick turnover of our legs and easy climbing.