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!!