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.