Monday, December 22, 2014

Training Week 12/15/14

12/16/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down.  HR was pretty high this morning.
12/17/14 - Ran 4.6 during our annual cookie run.
12/19/14 - Ran 11.4 around Raleigh Court and the Greenway.
12/20/14 - Ran 14.4 in Richmond.  We ran the Urban Assault mtn bike course. 
12/21/14 - Ran 8.7 around the hood and Winding Way.
Total for the week 49.9 miles running.  Congestion and cough are 80%.  A couple more days and I should be clear again. 

Training Week 12/8/14

12/9/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and 1.5 cool down.
     Went to the gym and did the step mill for 3.5 miles.
12/10/14 - Ran 8.22 up Hi Dee Ho and then down buck.
12/12/14 - Ran 18 on the road.  Did the Lewis Gale loop and then greenway.  HR did even out until the 12 mile mark.
12/13/14 - Ran 6.3 around Beverly and Fishburn.
12/14/14 - Random run with cool down for 10 miles.
Total for the week; 53.58 miles

Ankle is doing a bit better but I've also been congested with a deep cough since our trip to Illinois for Thankgiving.  HR numbers have been a bit off and I assume its because of the breathing issues. 

Training Week 12/1/14

12/2/14 - Decided to not run in the a.m giving my ankle a break.  Did the stepmill at night 3.5 miles.
12/3/14 - Ran 5.5 in the hood and greenway.
12/5/14 - Did a longer version of the 6 mile loop adding mileage on Winding Way for 8.4 miles and then later did the step mill for another 3.5 miles.
12/6/14 - Ran 9.5 on Peakwood, CRL and then back on Rosalind.  This was my first time on Peakwood.  Not a bad run. 
12/7/14 - Ran 9.95 and then rode my bike downtown to scout out the JBR 5k course.
Total for the week; 40.35 miles running and 11 cycling

Ankle is starting to feel better but isn't right.

Training Week 11/24/14

11/25/14 - Ran 7.9 miles in Tinley Park
11/26/14 - Ran 7 miles in Arcola
11/27/14 - Ran 9 windy cold miles in Ashmore
11/28/14 - Ran another 10 windy cold miles in Ashmore
Total for the week; 33.9 miles running

As this week ended I started to have some right ankle trouble.  I'm not sure if it was from a week of running roads or the off camber surface of the country roads but it is in rough shape.

Training Week 11/17/14

11/18/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
11/19/14 - Ran around the hood and Winding Way for 7.5 miles
11/21/14 - Ran 28.75 miles from route 220 to Black Horse Gap on the AT
11/23/14 - Ran 4 miles in Tinley Park
Total for the week; 47.75 miles running

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Training Week 11/10/14

The goal for this week is to get close to 70 miles.
11/11/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR and 1.5 mile cool down.  Ran loop in 45:23.
     Later that evening I did a 4 mile loop in Five Fingers.
11/12/14 - Ran 8 miles around the hood and greenway.
11/14/14 - Ran 6.2 miles around Fishburn and Grandin Court
11/15/14 - Did a 38 mile section of the AT.  We started off of Pocahontas Road near route 460 in Pearisburg and headed north on the AT to route 42.  This section is really remote except for travelling through the Mountain lake Wilderness around miles 22-28.  The day had 3 big climbs and descents for a total of around 8250 of climbing.  Much of the trail was rocky and difficult to stay in a running grove. 
Started with 100oz of water and one 20 handheld with Heed.  Ended up getting water after the War Spur Shelter from a creek the AT goes over.  We use the sawyer mini filter and it works great and has a low, $19 price tag. 
This was a challenging section of AT.
11/16/14 - James and I ran 6 around the hook, VWCC, and Fishburn Park, and then I did a .85 mile cool down.
Total for the week; 70.5 miles of running

Training Week 11/3/14

11/4/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
     Later in the day we went to the gym and did the step mill.  I've been congested and feeling off so I did 30 minutes at level 12.
11/5/14 - Did 11.4 miles at the Cove.  Forgot my HR monitor so went off of feel.  Lakeside, Hemlock, Trough and then a cool down.  Felt pretty good.  Hit the down hill pretty hard on Trough.
11/7/14 - Did a MAF test.  It was really windy so it wasn't the best day to be running on the PH track.  Did 4 miles of 7:03, 7:06, 7:10, 7:09. 
Later in the day at 6pm Joe Dudak and I did a night run of 311 - 220.  Joe had mention a few weeks ago about doing a night run for his preparation for Hellgate.  So what better night than the one after a full moon.  We started out around 6:30 for the 20.25 mile section of AT.  We took the fire road from 311 and as soon as we started out we saw the moon rise from behind McAfee's Knob.  It was a perfect beginning to the run.  Soon after we both stopped to listen to a couple packs of coyotes howling at each other. 
We picked up the AT where it crosses the fire road and took it the rest of the way to 220.  We took a couple breaks along the way to take in the views at Tinker and a few of the overlooks along the way.  Overall is was pretty smooth sailing.  Joe had done 20 miles the day before and I wanted to run at a 142 HR.  The HR spiked a few times on our way up McAfee's and Tinker but was under control the rest of the run. 
We finished the run with 4:18 of running time and 3858 of elevation gain. 
11/9/14 - ran 12.15 on the greenway, Raleigh, and Grandin Court.
Total for the week; 63.2

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Training Week 10/27/14

10/28/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
     Did 4 miles in Five Fingers later in the day.
10/29/14 - Ran 9.9 at the cove; Songbird, Tuck a Way, and 4 Gorge out and then a .75 mile cool down.
10/31/14 - Ran 9.5 miles at Pandapas Pond. 
11/1/14 - Ran 10.25 around VA Western, Winding Way, Persinger, Avenel and Laburnum.
11/2/14 - Ran 12.55 at Rock Castle Gorge with the Adcocks.  Did the loop and then a 1.9 mile cool down.
Total for the Week;  53.69 miles running. 
I've been a little run down here at the end of the week but otherwise feeling pretty good.  My right ankle has been a little off but running in the Five Fingers and stretching my soleus has been helping that. 

Training Week 10/20/14

This will be a tough week with us having the Into the Darkness race on Saturday and what is usually a hectic and stressful race week schedule. 
10/21/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR and then did a 1.5 mile cool down.
10/21/14 - Went to the gym to do the stepmill for 30 minutes.
10/22/14 - Did 9.2 at the cove.  Ran Comet, Jacob's Drop, down the BMF and then 4 gorge back.  Felt pretty good and kept my HR down on the climbs. 
10/24/14 - Didn't do anything except for mark and blow leaves off the ITD course.
10/25/14 - Ran 10.5 around VA Western, Winding Way, Persinger and Grandin Court.
10/26/14 - Ran 7.9 around the hood.
Total for the Week; 38.6 miles running

Training Week 10/13/14

This will be an easier week with little focus on miles.  Following Iron Mtn 30m I had 2 recovery weeks and then did 3 weeks in a row of 50+ and then last week at 65.
10/14/14 - Ran 7.5 miles at 142.  Sloooow today.  HR was pretty high
Later in the day we went to the gym where we did the Stepmill for 30 minutes and then cooled down on the treadmill.  2794 steps.
10/15/14 - 7.5 miles running the Gauntlet/Trough loop.
10/17/14 - Ran 9.8 on in the hood and on the greenway.  Ave pace was 7:40 at 142 or less HR
10/18/14 - Ran 7.5 miles on Read Mtn.  HR was great today.
10/19/14 - Ran 7.35 around the hood.
Total for the Week;  46.65 for the week.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Training Week 10/6/14

10/7/14 - 6 mile loop and 1.65 mile cool down.  Felt pretty good this morning.  HR was a bit more under control. 
Ran later in the day, 4 miles in Five Fingers.
10/8/14 - Ran 7.4 at the cove.  4 gorge, tuck a way, comet and out. 
10/10/14 - Ran 15.1 miles on the Lewis Gale Loop. 
10/11/14 - Did a 26.6 mile section of the AT from Route 42 to Dragon's Tooth.  This section was really rocky and due to the recent rain, most of the rocks were extremely slippery. 
10/12/14 - Did 40 minutes on the stepmill and then a cooldown.
Total for the week: 65.4miles on my feet.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Training Week 9/29/14

9/30/14 - Ran the usual 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down at HR.  This was a slow one due to a high HR.
     Later in the evening I ran 4.3 in Five Fingers through Fishburn Park and then did a 6:44 mile on the track at HR (which felt pretty good). 
10/1/14 - Ran 9.5 in Grandin Court and the Greenway.  Ran at HR and was able to pull a 7:36 pace.
10/3/14 - Did a N. Mtn Traverse.  According to my mapping software the N. end of the trail crosses Stone Coal Road and officially ends at the Junction of the Ferrier Trail and the Price Mtn Trail.  So I headed up the mtn to get to what I thought was the official end to start my N - S traverse.  N. Mtn is one of the most technical trails around, feels very secluded and has a lot of up and down.  I did the traverse in 2:46 keeping my HR below 146.  It was a great foggy fall day on the mtn.  The traverse was 13.85 and I got in a total of 16. 
10/4/14 - Ran 6.1 around the hood.
10/5/14 - Ran 10.25 with Walker around Avenham, CRL (Fern Park Trail, CRL, Nature trail and back) at 142 HR. 
Total for the week; 53.55 miles of running

It was a good week of training.  I think next week will have a good weekend for two long runs back to back and hopefully mileage in the 65+ range.  Following that we'll have the GoFest and then the ITD race that will take up some of the weekend time. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Training Week 9/22/14

     It was nice getting my mileage up over 50 for the week.  I didn't really have a goal in mind other than running at HR and getting in the, nice and easy 20+ miler.  The plan is to stick with the HR running until I start to see the power come back to my legs.  I need to get in a MAF test to see where I'm at and to create an updated baseline. 
Once these things come in line I plan to start doing some longer back to back days.
9/23/14 - Did the 6 mile loop at HR and 1.5 mile cool down.  Felt pretty good this morning but I'd still say my HR is going much higher than it should up hills.
     Later in the evening we went to the gym and did the stepmill. I did this quite a bit leading up to the Promise Land 50k and after didn't get back to stay consistent. I like the stepmill. I think it has the most effort/min of any piece of equipment at the gym. In addition, I would use this as a mini MAF test to see how my training is going. The goal of the workout is to work up to a HR of 142 and then stay at that HR for 30 minutes. I got up to level 16 for 1 minute and did a total of 2784 steps, which ended up being close to where I left off 5 months ago. I was happy with that.
9/24/14 - Ran 7.65 at the cove going up Hi Dee Ho, down Brushy Mtn, and then back on 4 gorge.  I tried to reel in my HR up HDH, which was tough, and then ran down BM at HR hitting a 6:18 and 6:28 mile. 
9/26/14 - Ran a MAF test doing a warmup through Fishburn Park and then to the track for 5 miles at HR; 7:32, 7:30, 7:31, 7:28, 7:22 and then a cooldown. 
9/27/14 - Went up to do the 3 Ridges and the Priest.  This ended up being some tough elevation and technical trail that ended up with 22.5 miles and 7650ft of elevation gain.  We parked at the parking lot where the AT crosses the Tye River and did the 14 mile 4200ft of climbing loop consisting of the 3 ridges and then the Mau-Har Trail. 
     We then restocked our supplies for the 4.5 mile climb up to the priest.  This was a constant steady uphill climb to the top.  It did get steeper in the last mile (shortly after the overlook with 1.25 miles to go).  We hung out at the top, catching the cool breeze and full sun before heading back down to the car.
9/28/14 - Ran 5.3 miles around the hood.
Total for the week; 56.55 miles running

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Training Week 9/15/14

9/16/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR and did a 1.5 mile cool down.  Legs feel good but HR is off up hills. 
9/17/14 - Ran 8.4 miles around Fishburn, Winding Way, Persinger and back.
9/19/14 - Ran 21.25 miles.  Ran from home on the Greenway to the Star Trailhead, Woodthrush, CRL (did some trail work cutting out a few trees and cutting back new growth), Fern Park Trail, and back on the greenway and through the graveyard.
9/20/14 - Did a road ride downtown and then on the Lick Run Greenway. for 18.45
9/21/14 - Did a 8.5 mile sunrise run up to McAfee's down to the water trail and back on the fire road.
Ran 6.85 later in the day around the hood. 
All runs this week have been at HR.
Total for the week;  52.5 miles running and 18.45 mile cycling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recovery Week II 9/8/14

It is interesting that this article came out on -
Recover Better: 10 Rules For Optimal Ultramarathon Recovery
An understated point that I see a lot of people ignore, is - No matter who you are, the rules still apply - Everyone can be a victim of overtraining.  Elite and casual runners have the same rules.  Just because you don't see yourself as an elite, fast, competitive (fill in the blank) doesn't mean you can fall prey to overreaching/overtraining.

It is an extension to the 3 part series that I mentioned in the last post.  Good rules, but how to practice these still seems very subjective.  Doing a better job at recovering seems to be the next "art" of training.  Figuring this out or the how to do less to get the most will be the key to success.

9/9/14 - 7.5 miles.  6 mile loop at HR and then a 1.5 mile cool down.  My heart rate and uphill power are still off from the Iron Mtn 30 miler. 
9/10/14 - 7.35 miles around Fishburn and Winding Way.  HR is still high and my power is way off going up even the slightest hill. 
9/12/14 - 10.6 miles around Grandin Court and Fishburn Park.
9/13/14 - Ran 8 on the Greenway and did a 1 mile cool down
9/14/14 - Ran 10 on the greenway and did a .3 mile cool down.
Total for the week; 44.45 miles running.
I feel good but my legs and HR are still recovering.  My HR up hills is off.  I'm really not sure what that is all about but speculate that it is a sign I need an extended recovery period. 

Got my Bluetooth HR monitor this week and started playing with the HRV app.  This is an app that was mentioned in the Maffetone "big book of endurance training" and is supposed help you know when to recover and when to GO based on your "Life" stress and how your body is adapting to it.  It is supposed to be able to help you know when to go and when to give your body a break based on how you are handling your day to day stress demands.  I'll post something when I get a chance to make sense of the info. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recover Week and Heart Race Info - 9/1/14

This one is simple, I have been working on a "smart" post ultra schedule/routine for quite awhile.  The main reason is that most coaches recommend 1 and maybe 2 marathons a year for successful outcomes, recovery and long term effects of these races.  I plan to be in this for awhile (already in year 12) so I want to maximize my efforts to play the Ultra game for as long as I can while minimizing the negative effects of running lots of miles and racing multiple times throughout the year. 

A lot of information has been coming out about endurance athletes falling out of the sport due to chronic injuries, immune system crashes and overall burnout.  I think the following article, along with parts II and III are great reads.

The truth is, that running an ultra, although a long and difficult task, occurs at a low intensity.  This low speed over a longer timeframe, typically, doesn't create the soreness of a higher intensity activity.  Participants of Ultras feel OK within days of their races.  This gives them a false sense of security.  They feel like they must have recovered, that their training and racing strategy is paying off and that its time to get back to the grind well before the body has really recovered from the effort. 
Do you only have Heart Disease when your chest hurts?
We all know that there are many things that can be going on/wrong in our bodies without symptoms.  The negative effects of Ultras can be another "silent killer" if we don't utilize some of the tools to monitor this recovery.  Here are a few;
     Resting Heart Rate
     Heart Rate during activity

The newest research is showing that you can't diagnose overtraining until you are in it.  Like you only know when your car battery is dead when the car doesn't start.  Also, many of the signs of overtraining are also signs of successful training.  What do you do?

The first step I took was to start training by the Maffetone Method.  It's simple.  Unless you get tested to find out your aerobic threshold, he recommends training at a 180-your age, heart rate.  If you've been sick or injured in the last year, you are new to endurance training or you don't have a good aerobic base he recommends subtracting 5 beats.  If you have a good aerobic base, haven't been injured or sick he says you can add 5 beats. 

The key to finding out if you are improving or regressing is the MAF test - maximal aerobic function.  I think this is a great test for any training regime.  For the test you run a 20-30 minute warmup and then run mile repeats on a track or a "time trial" course at your MAF HR and record the results.  If your training is going well and your aerobic base is getting better and you are getting more fit, your MAF test times should decrease.  If your times aren't decreasing it means you aren't improving and you need to reassess the reasons why. 

I live close to the PH track, so my test involves a 3 mile warm-up and then 5 miles on the track followed by a 2 mile cool down.  My test results have been mixed.  I've only done 4 tests with the initial test being a 7:22 ave/mile and the best being 6:46. 

There will be more on the above. 

9/5/14 - mtn biked at the Explore Park for 13 miles.  Did trail maintenance and I rode with a chainsaw backpack.
9/7/14 - Ran 12 at the Cove.  Trough, Brushy Mtn Fireroad, Drop, Hemlock, Lakeside.
Total for the week; 12 miles running and 13 on the mtn bike.

Race Week 8/25/14

This will be my 3rd Iron Mtn 30 miler.  My two previous showings were;
9/1/12 - 4:34:39 - 3rd Place Overall
8/31/13 - 4:49:36 - 5th Place Overall - I was over trained at this point and kind of felt like my time would be slower than 12'.
8/30/14 - I feel like I can push for a time similar to 12' but won't know until race day.  Part of me knows it's been a big year of running and I need a bit of a break and another part of me feels like I can break the 4:30 barrier.  I feel pretty good.  Have a couple of nuisance issues but nothing serious. 
Race Day Gear -
Salomon Trail Shorts - these have a back middle zipper pocket for my iPod, and two elastic pockets that I put in 1 serving of Heed into.
Camelbak Podium Chill bottle (20oz) with Heed in a Nathan handheld pocket (pocket had edurolytes and protrypsin pills and my timing spreadsheet).
     The race starts out with a 4.7 mile section of the Creeper Trail.  I started out at a reasonable pace that ended up being the slowest of the 3 years running this and hit the first water stop in first place.  Once on the trail a couple guys passed me as I tried to keep my heart rate (HR) under control (I normally trail at 142 but was going to bump that up 10 12-14 beats for this race and hoping for around a 148 average).  Many times over the miles to the turnaround I would catch up to or close in on the lead runner and each time he'd see me he would speed up.

My time at the turnaround was 10 slower than I had hoped for a sub 4:30 finish but I felt good and was running within my means.

     At the turnaround I was maybe 10 seconds behind the lead guy and was pretty confident I'd catch him as I hiked the climb out of this 3rd water stop.  At mile 16.5 or so we ran together and at 18 miles I decided to take the lead and we didn't see each other again. I was cruising along, trying to keep from blowing up and wondering if I could pull off a win.  That lasted for around 5 miles, when at mile 23 I was passed by the eventual winner.  He passed me going at a pretty good clip and I knew it wasn't worth trying to run with him.
     I continued to run conservatively knowing that the last section had a pretty good climb and then a nasty rocky steep descent into town and a .75 mile asphalt/Creeper trail run into the finish.  This section went pretty well but each year I am surprised by just how nasty this last trail is.  It's always a relief to get to the bottom and see the sun pouring into the woods from the road at the trails end.  Minus an anterior tibialis cramp on this road section, I was able to finish strong and came in 2nd at 4:45:56, around 4 minutes better than 2013 but still 11 minutes off the pace in 2012.
Drank 5 20oz bottles during the race; 3 Heed and 2 water.

Sunday we mtn biked up the creeper trail and then rode back down for a 34 mile ride to shake out the kinks.  Legs feel good with minimal soreness.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Training Week 8/21/14

This is the last week before Iron Mtn and things are going well and I don't feel too bad about tapering. 
8/19/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and ran 1.5 as a cool down.
Ran in Five Fingers in the evening.  Ran to the track and then did 2 miles at HR as a short MAF test.  Both miles were very close to each other and ended up 6:46.
8/20/14 - Ran at the cove, the lowers to the end of Schoolhouse and back at 142.  HR was good today and it was tough to run that hard.  This route ended up at 9.5 miles.
8/22/14 - Ran at Devil's Marbleyard.  G and I took the Belfast Trail to the top then got on Gunter Ridge Trail, and then the GHT back to the car.  This is a great run but the GRT is getting very overgrown.  In addition, there are chiggers on this route.  I'd bring tall socks and some bug spray next time.  Probably a better loop for the Fall and Winter.
8/24/14 - Ran around Grandin Court, Fishburn, VWCC and Winding Way for 8.35 miles.
Total for the week; 37.7 miles running.  I  had planned to get around 30.

Training Week 8/11/14

8/12/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop.  High HR and then 1.5 mile cool down.
Gina and I rode 13.6 miles that evening.  We road biked up Roselawn, Sugarloaf, Keagy and then back on Apperson.
8/13/14 - Ran 7 miles at the Cove, up Hi Dee Ho and down Buck to the Road.
8/15/14 - Ran 11.2 and biked 8 marking the Fab 5k course.  I also did a time trail on the course after I marked it and was slower this year running a 19:34
8/17/14 - Ran 14.75 from Day Creek.  Ran up Black Horse Gap, north on the AT, Down Bobblett's Gap, and then the GHT back to Day Creek.  HR was a little higher than I would have liked but there was quite a bit of climbing.  Ended up getting chiggers on the GHT.  Got to remember tall socks and bug spray.  Chiggers suck!
 Total for the week;  40.4 mile running, 8 miles on the mtn bike, and 13.6 miles cycling.

Training Week 8/4/14

The next race is the 8/30 Iron Mtn 30 miler.  This is a pretty simple event.  It runs along with a 16 and 50 miler, located in Damascus VA.  The race goes out 4 miles on the Creeper Trail and then hits the Iron Mtn Trail for an out and back race course.
The goal for this weeks training is to hit the 60 mile mark and get in a good long run.  From here it is taper time.
8/5/14 - 6 mile loop and cool down - 7.5 total
              4 mile Five Finger run.  I haven't run in FFs since 11/10/13
8/6/14 - 9 Miles at the cove at 142 HR.  Ran the new Rattlin' Run to Songbird took a left to finish songbird, then up tuck a way, and 4 Gorge back to the parking lot.  the new trail was about 2.65 to Songbird and the last 1/2 a mile wasn't finished and was pretty rough side hill running.
8/8/14 - 23.9 miles running up Poage Valley Ext to the top of Poor Mtn and back.  I run this because it is one of the toughest climbs and longest uphills that you can get around Roanoke.  You haven't experienced steep until you run Poage Valley Ext. 
8/9/14 - 5.4 miles of random running around Grandin Court.
8/10/14 - 10.25 miles running around Fishburn, VWCC, Winding Way and Persinger
Total for the week;  60 miles running

Monday, August 4, 2014

Training Week 7/28/14

Well, we are back VA and so far no vacation hangover.  Good to be back and to not be thrown back in the high humidity. 
7/29/14 - Did a short road ride with a few small climbs for 13 miles
7/30/14 - Finally got to check out the newly finished Lake Shore Trail at the cove.  Did a Horse Pen, Lake Shore, Hemlock, 1000ft Climb, Gauntlet, Horse Pen loop for a total of 11.75 miles
8/1/14 - Did a MAF test on the track.  Not very good in comparison to my 2 previous ones but I'm still recovering from the TRT 50 and the other vacation miles.  Did a total of 11 miles
8/2/14 - Ran 6.3 through Fishburn, Persinger, and PH.
8/3/14 - Ran 11.3 with James.  4 mile loop to Bridge Street, 3 hill repeats, greenway, graveyard and back.
Total for the week;   39.35 miles running and 13 miles cycling.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vacation Week 7/21/14

Well what do you do when you just finished the race that you've been planning for 7 months and find yourself in a beautiful area like Lake Tahoe? 
Both Gina and I felt pretty good following the race.  I had a few blisters, will probably lose my right big toenail, but overall feel pretty good.
7/21/14 - We went for a hike at Echo Lake just south of Lake Tahoe.  The trail is part of both the JMT and TRT.  This was a very nice area.  As we drove in we saw a running training camp was going on and being staged from this area.  The trail skirted the north shore of the lake and was a pretty smooth non technical trail.  You could take a water taxi to about the 2.5 mile point of this trail and hike from there if you wanted.  We hiked up to Tamarack lake and then headed back for a nice easy 8.5 miler.
7/22/14 - When we were in Tahoe for our honeymoon I remember heading out to Fallen Leaf Lake.  I don't remember exactly what we did there but I've remembered this area off and on over the last 16 years.  We went to the Glen Allen Springs Trailhead and did a short unimpressive hike.  This area was notable in that it was the first resort area in Lake Tahoe. 
7/23/14 - Leading up for this trip we were looking into what BIG trail to do in Yosemite.  We got to looking at the Half Dome Cables hike as the primary goal.  This is a crazy hike up to Half Dome where the last climb has you being assisted by use of two rows of cables.  One misstep and you'd be a goner.  The trouble with this hike is that is by permit only.  275 of the 350 permits are given out in the early season to backcountry hikers and day hikers and then the remaining permits are given out by lottery.
The NPS website has all the stats for how likely it is that you will get a permit.  I think they had the numbers as around 1500 people try to get the 75 permits available.  Well, we got permitted.
So our last morning in Lake Tahoe saw us getting up at 3am and leaving around 3:30 for the 4+ hour drive to the Yosemite Valley and Half Dome.  We got started around 7:45am for the 16ish mile hike, 8 miles out and back where it was described as having 4800ft of elevation gain.
In hindsight, we should have gone up the Mist Trail and down the JMT, but due to the signage we went the opposite route.  The Mist trail is a steep stair ridden trail that goes along Vernal and Nevada Falls.  The JMT goes off to the side with views of both.  Both trails are fine but I prefer to go out and back on different trails if I have the option.
Both the Mist and JMT head up to Little Yosemite Valley where we took the side trail up to Half Dome.  Before you get to the cables you get to the Lower Dome where the Park Ranger was to check our permits.  We checked in and then hiked up the very steep Lower Dome.  This trail was straight up sections of granite steps and rocks. 
Once on the Lower Dome you have only the last 400ft of elevation and the cables to conquer.  Fortunately there are a number or boards or steps in the granite where you can take a break to catch your breath, give your arms and legs a break, or let up and down traffic by you.  After a couple of breaks we were at the top and on top of Yosemite.  From here you can see almost the entire park.  We soaked in the sights and then walked the perimeter before heading back down.  We ended up with right at 19 miles.  A very tough day on already tired legs but we did it.  As we were winding the day down walking back to the care I mentioned to Gina how close we were to a 100 mile week.  That's all it took for us to look for the last 13-15 miles we needed to hit that mark. 
7/24/14 - Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias - We didn't get off and running very quickly this morning so we got caught in vacationer traffic at the park.  We were actually fortunate because the allowed us to have one of the best runs we could have wished for.  Overflow parking was sent to Wawona.  From here we caught the free park shuttle up to the Sequoias.
We started out on the outer loop and within about three quarters of a mile we were out of the crowds and on our own.  We hit all the major landmarks as we made it to the upper grove and then Wawona Point (this was a nice place to get a lookout and enjoy the scenery and day).  From here we continued on the outer loop to the Wawona Trail.  This was listed as a 6 mile trail back to Wawona and where we parked.
The Wawona Trail was a mostly downhill trail on nice soft footing through some old growth pine, redwood, and sequoia forest.  You couldn't have asked for a nicer trail.  If the vacation had ended with this run alone, I would have been fine with it.  The total for the day was 12.2 miles.
7/25/14 - For our last day and last miles heading toward the goal of 100 for the week we headed to Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  This was another park with Giant Sequoias.  This park was much more low key.  We went to the South Grove and did a pretty unimpressive Bradley Grove loop trail and then headed onto the South Grove Loop.  This loop was much better and had a lot more big trees to see.  After this loop we got back into the car and headed to the bridge and hung out by the river for a little while.  We got in a total of 7.33 miles.
Total for the week; 53.88 miles.  Add that to the race on Saturday and we had a Saturday to Friday total of 104.4 miles.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Race Week 7/14/14

Well the race is right around the corner.  We leave on Thursday 7/17 for Sacramento and then a drive into Lake Tahoe and then Carson City where the race is headquartered. 
The negatives;
  • I injured my back 3 different times this winter.  One doing trail maintenance, one with a horrible fall, slipping on ice and once in a random "tweak."
  • The legs haven't felt good for awhile.  They've felt heavy since Promise Land.
  • My HR has been pretty unsteady. 
  • I've been working on a very sore place on my left quad that was injured late in the winter when I slipped and caught myself on some ice.  Bracing myself I put all my weight on my left quad and since then it has been sore when powering up hills.  I've been rolling and using the stick on it.  It has felt better but it has been nagging at me lately.
  • The 6/14/14 Highlands Sky 40 miler didn't go as planned.
The positives;
  • I've been training and racing in preparation for this race since 1/1/14.
  • I've been training by the Maffetone method of running slower to run faster.  Almost all of my non race training has been at a HR at or below 142. 
  • I had a successful Promise Land 50k
  • I ran 82 miles in 2 days in the Smoky Mtns in May.  This distance was done easier than in 2013 and it was a good training trip that inspired confidence in running 40+ miles.
  • My training stats have continued to improve.
7/15/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a .5 mile cool down at 142.
Since my legs have felt like crap lately I decided to take the rest of the week off until race day.
7/19/14 - The TRT Endurance Runs are comprised of a 55k, 50 miler, and 2 lap 100 miler.  100 Milers went off at 5am and the rest of the field of 500 went off at 6am. 
This race has around 9000ft of elevation with the altitude of the race spanning 6900 to 9000.  Highlights are a screaming steep climb out of the Diamond Peak ski resort at mile 30 and a 7.5 mile decent to the finish from mile 43.
I was fortunate to find a garmin connect link to a runner in last year's event that ran a 9:44.  Based off of my fitness, the expected terrain and elevation, I thought I could pull off a 9:45-10:15 finish which would put me in the top 10.  This was my goal and I had a spreadsheet with my splits to base this off of. 
Since the 50 mile race started with the 55k race, and an hour after the 100 miler, it was really tough to figure out who was who and what place I was in.  So from the start I decided to just run my race and not base what I was doing off of other runners.  It didn't take long before I started catching up with the slower 100 miler traffic.  The course started out with a climb up to around the 10 mile mark where it started to descend to the first "big" aid station, Tunnel Creek, that we would hit 3 different times.  This is where David Landes was crewing us, having everything set for when we arrived. 
I was 3 minutes over my projected time here and felt good.  I hit the trail at around mile 11 and skinned up my palms and right thigh but overall didn't do much damage.  Nothing that would interfere with the rest of the day.  I took off my Nathan Vest, ate two HS waffles and took a hand held bottle.  The next section was side loop starting with a steep descent and then an equally steep climb back to the Tunnel Creek Aid Station (first hint of adductor cramps but nothing serious, just made a note to dial back the steep climbs).  In the middle there was the Red House Aid Station where I got some ice and topped off my bottle with water. 
Back to Tunnel Creek I was 7 minutes under my projected time.  I took my pack back and hand held, ate a honey stinger bar and was off.  This was the longest section of around 11 miles and where I seemed to loose the most time on my projections.  I'm not sure why.  It wasn't all that tough and actually was easier than I expected.  I did go to the bathroom in this section and stopped to put my handheld in to my pack but nothing that should have eaten up much time. 
At the Diamond Peak Aid Station David was there ready for a pit stop style transition.  I stopped to get a new bladder, cleaned myself off, put on sunscreen, and ate a bar, leaving my handheld to start this extremely steep 2.8 miles to the top of the Peak.  I was actually looking forward to this climb.  I was noticing up until this point that I was doing my best when the trail started to climb to the point of hiking.  Any place it was level I was loosing ground on the runners around me.  I'll admit this climb was way more than I planned on.  It was the steepest thing I've been on in a race and the terrain was 1-3" of soft sand/gravel.  In addition, this was probably the hottest I've ever been in a race.  The sun was scorching and I was sweating profusely.  I wasn't sure how this was going to play out later in the race.  Hitting the top was a relief and probably provided the best overlook of the day.  Turning around at the top there was a great view of Lake Tahoe's Northern border.
This next section was an up and down 10 miles to the race's high point, Snow Valley Peak at 9000ft elevation.  This is the next section where I lost ground on my projected times.  I did a bit more hiking on this section than I would have liked.  I was feeling a bit of hamstring twinge on sections where I had to climb for any significant incline.  So I'd back it down to a hike and be fine. 
This is where I was walking the fine line of running a race slower in the hopes of banking speed and power for later on during the last 7.5 mile downhill section.  Just like Promise Land, it doesn't matter how fast you get to the top if you can't run downhill.  In both of these races you can loose a lot of time if you aren't able to run the downhill at a good pace.  In hindsight, I think I could have pushed better on this section.
At the Snow Valley Peak aid station there was an issue with getting my bladder filled, closed, spilled all over my back, refilled, closed and back onto my back for the decent.  Maybe 4 minutes lost.  But I wanted a full bladder for this section and all the way to the finish.  Because of the pack I was able to run through 3 of the aid stations without needing any fluid. 
From here to the finish it was really uneventful.  The course was almost all downhill to around 1 mile to go and then it flattened out and made you work for the last bit to the finish.  During this section I was doing the math on a 50.5 mile race and seeing what pace I needed to be under 10 hours.  I was over a 12:05 minute average pace per mile at the Snow Valley Peak aid station and knew I needed a 11:50 or better to get under 10 hours.  As I ran the last down hill I was watching the pace gradually come down, on my watch, hoping the wheels wouldn't fall off.  Thankfully I was able to run this entire section and I came in at 9:57:16.  I didn't know my finish place.  They guy at the finish tent mentioned there were 4 females in front of me (first female was 2nd overall) which didn't make me feel like my place would be that good.  When the dust settled, I found out I was 9th overall and 3rd in my AG (1st if you take out the top 3 overall males from the AG placings). 
All in all this was a perfect day.  I finished just before the skies opened up in rain, thunder, wind and hail.  The last 10 miles were under overcast skies which were a blessing after the initial spike in heat earlier in the race.  The course was fantastic.  Great footing all day, great views in all directions, great aid stations and volunteers.  It had everything a great memorable race should have.  I would recommend it to anyone.
Total for the week; 57 miles of running

Training Week 7/7/14

Goal for the week is to run at least 30 miles at HR 142 and to try to keep Friday's FNL races from causing to much of an energy drain.
7/8/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and cool down at 142.
7/9/14 - Ran 6.6 around Grandin Court
7/11/14 - Ran, cleaned up and marked the FNL course - 7.1 at 142.
7/12/14 - 6.6 miles of running around Grandin
7/13/14 - Ran 5.25 around Grandin
Total for the week; 33.05 miles of running

Training Week 6/30/14

This is my last big week before the TRT50.  The goal for the week is to get adequate sleep, get in 50+ miles and to run at or below 142 HR.
7/1/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down at 142 HR
7/2/14 - Ran 7.5 at the cove - 4 gorge, ext, comet and road back out.
7/4/14 - Went out and did some cleanup on the FNL course at Montvale - 8.2
7/5/14 - This is the last long run before Tahoe.  Chad Braby and I went out for the 19.5 mile Hollins Greenway loop.  The goal was to go hard but stay at or below my 142 HR.  We did the loop in almost exactly 3:30.  HR was pretty stable today and legs felt so so.  The legs did start to feel rough once we hit Happy Valley at around 14 miles.  It's funny but this was the exact same run I did on this Saturday last year.  See the stats here -
This loop has become a time trail loop for me to see where my fitness is.  It is a great loop with a little of everything.
7/6/14 - Ran 8 with a .75 mile cool down around Fishburn, VWCC and Winding Way.
Total for the week; 51.15

Training week 6/23/14

6/24/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR 142 and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
     Ran 4 with a cool down in the evening for 4.85.
6/25/14 - Ran the Hi Dee Ho 4 gorge loop at 142.  Felt Pretty good.
6/26/14 - Biked 10 and ran 4 at Douthat
6/27/14 - Ran 7 miles on Fore Mtn and 7 at Douthat
6/28/14 - Bike 12 at Douthat
This was a great weekend staying in an old CCC cabin at Douthat.  The setting was great, quiet, limited cell/data service, relaxing, and we were surrounded by great trails.  We've already decided to use this as a home base for a running retreat next year as we prepare for our Colorado races.  If you haven't stayed or played at Douthat I highly recommend it.
Total for the week - Ran 37.75 and Mtn biked 22

Training Week 6/18/14

Took some days off from running to mentally and physically recover from the race.  Post race there aren't any real wounds but it did take a few days for my right hip flexor to loosen up.
6/18/14 - Ran the bridge street 6 miler and cool down for 6.4 miles.
6/20/14 - Ran 7 around Fishburn, VWCC and grandin court.
6/21/14 - Ran 6.75 at the RNUTS social on Mill Mountain
6/22/14 - Ran 11 on the greenway 10 mile loop and 1 mile cool down.
Total for this recovery week - 31.15 miles running

Race Week 6/9/14

This is the week of the Highlands Sky 40 Miler.  It's been quite a few years that we've wanted to run the HS40 but the schedule didn't match up until this year.  This is a race that fills up and you have to get in early. 
My legs have felt pretty heavy lately and my HR data has been a bit erratic but this is the last "tune-up" race before the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miler on 7/19.
6/10 - 6.6 mile loop and cool down.  Legs felt heavy and HR was high.
6/14 - In an effort to let my legs wake up I decided to take the rest of the week off before the race.  Race morning was cool and humid.  I had a spreadsheet with splits and hoped to finish in the 7-7.5 hour range, which from prior results should land me close to the top 10.  Another goal was to try to keep my non moving time to around 5-6 minutes, getting in and out of aid stations as quickly as possible. 
Things were rolling pretty good to start, I was a bit behind my pace in the first 10 miles but felt OK.  Somewhere in the 16 mile range I caught my right foot on a rock, went down, and strained my right hip flexor in the process.  This would continue to be a problem for the rest of the race and ended up making me walk a lot of the miles to come.  I just didn't have power in that right hip after the fall.
Over the last few years my ability to run more of a race and run longer into a race has gotten better.  When I used to cave into the "it's OK to walk" desires, I have been able to push through.  That wasn't the case in this race.  I'm not sure what it was or if it was the combination of rocks, water, mud and the hip flexor, but I spent more time in this race with a "I've lost the will to push" than any race of late. 
I would say that much of the course reminded me of the races and running we've done out west and I think on another day I would have really enjoyed the course, but today, it beat me, mentally and physically.  This is like my Catoctin experience.  The race beat me today and it makes me want to come back and give it another go to see if I can come out on top.
This is one of the reasons I lost my will to keep up to date on this blog.  But that's why I'm writing this, as a first hand account of my ultrarunning experience, what I've learned, done wrong, and done right. 
This was a very tough course with plenty of fire, gravel, and asphalt road that should really make for a faster finish time than what I had but I found that not only did the hiking have a negative effect but my leg turnover on the road sections wasn't there either.  The last 4.5 miles were on road and my pace should have been much better but it just wasn't there.
Somewhere in this negativity I checked out of race mode and turned it over to a training run.  No need to get too down or excited about how poorly things were going.  The big picture is the race next month and all road since January go towards Tahoe.
The final stats are here -
Finish in 7:32 and ended up 15th overall

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Training Week 6/2/14

Well minutes after the Conquer the Cove races ended I started to loose my voice and get some deep chest congestion.  So it looks like the stress of the RNUTS took a toll and now it's time to pay up.  Two weeks to the Highland Sky 40.
6/3/14 - Did the 6 mile loop with a .5 mile cooldown.
6/4/14 - Ran at the cove doing the Hi Dee Ho - Buck loop for 6 miles.
6/6/14 - Ran 9 miles on the greenway and around Grandin Court.
6/7/14 - Ran at Greenfield park in Daleville on the grassy paths, following the Bear Bait 5k.
6/8/14 - Ran 12.8 at Black Horse Gap.  This was probably a bit more than I needed a week out from the big race but I was feeling like I needed a challenging run and wanted to work in some new shoes and needed another opportunity to get rid of some leftover chest congestion.  We ran a lollipop loop of the AT to Spec. Mines, down to the gravel road, a right to Hammond Hollow, and then a right on the AT back to Black Horse Gap.  I love running in this area.  It was a tough humid sweaty loop but a good time.
Now to rest up before the HS40
Total for the week;  Ran 41.05 miles

Training Week 5/26/14

I always have trouble training the week of a Mountain Junkies race so I don't expect much.  This would be the week of a long run in preparation for the Highland Sky 40 miler but since we have the Cove marathon on Sunday I don't expect a whole lot of training.
5/27/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down at HR 142.
5/28/14 - Ran 6.4 at the cove.  HR did better.
5/30/14 - Starting to feel signs of being run down.  Biked the CtC course to clean it up and mark it. 
Training for the week; 13.9 miles running and 26.45 mile mtn biking.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Traininf Week 5/19/14

Recovery is the name of the game this week.
5/20/14 - 10.5 miles of random cycling around Roanoke
5/21/14 - 19.5 miles cycling to Green Hill Park and back.
5/23/14 - Ran 9 at the cove, trough, buck, Hi Dee Ho, Gauntlet.  Felt OK.  HR staying a bit high.
5/24/14 - 6.9 Fishburn and Raleigh Court run
5/25/14 - 8 mile Greenway run
Total for the Week;  23.9 miles running and 30 mile cycling
Legs are feeling OK after the SMT 2.0.  There is a lack of power on hills and my heart rate is a bit erratic.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Smoky Mountain Traverse S to N (SMT 2.0)

Well, Jonathan Adcock and I are embarking on our 2nd attempt of the Appalachian Trail section from border to border in the Great Smoky Mtns National Park.  The quest started last year as the last big training run before Gina and I went out to Colorado to tackle the San Juan Solstice 50 miler.  Last year we ran the AT North - South in two 31 mile days.  We didn't have the legs to continue on the 8 miles between Newfound Gap to Clingman's dome, so we bypassed this section and started at Clingman's on day two last year.

This year, the plan had us finishing this thing off, putting in an uphill day from Fontana Dam to Newfound Gap for around 41 miles followed by a 31 mile day from Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap.  The girls were going to do the opposite direction as us on day 1 and then do their own thing on day 2 to get in 50 miles.

I choose a Camelbak Octane 18.  I carried 10 bars, 1 bagel with Nutella and PB, 1 serving of Heed, 100oz of water, 2 20oz. camelbak podium chill hand held bottles with HEED (carried one and packed the other for later), 1 gel (for the carb emergency), some Endurolytes and Protrypsin pills, phone, camera and a sawyer mini water filter.

Jonathan and I started at around 7:20 on a 50 degree morning.  The forecast was for a sunny 65 degree day.  After 10 miles on the trail we realized the forecast wouldn't be so kind.  We were first greeted with light falling sleet, followed by light rain and fog, followed by snow, where we met up with the girls at the mile 21 and the Derrick Knob Shelter.  They were in much better spirits.  We put on our light rain jackets hung out and shared trail stories and then headed out for 20 more miles.

The point I was looking forward to was Clingman's Dome.  This signified the highest point we'd be reaching, and, along with it, a mostly downhill 8 miles of trail to the end of day one.  We were treated with brief periods of spotty blue sky that quickly got eaten up with clouds and fog.  At one point we hit a .3 miles to the Clingman's Tower sign and I could see the tower in the distance.  I should have taken a pic here because as we approached the tower we were engulfed in fog, rain and wind.

The last 8 miles were OK.  We were blessed to have the down hill but much of it was over steps 2+ feet off the ground, so we were having to run, hop and jump down much of the trail, which for me was tough on tired legs.  I kept thinking about catching a toe on a rock and biting it.  Jonathan on the other hand went down hill like a champ and I was on the chase most of this section.

These last 8 miles were through very impressive old cedar trees, many of which had fallen and had been cut out of the trail.  There were a number of sections where they had been cut into discs and these discs were used as stepping stones.  It was in one of these sections that we started to get hailed on.  The hail was about half the size of marbles and looked as though it was packed snow.  It didn't hurt and in many places it covered the trail.  I have never seen hail like it before.

At the end of the day the trail wound around a corner and we were brought back into the real world of Newfound Gap.  This is one of the busiest sight seeing stops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There is a sign here that marks the state line between NC and TN.  We got in a few pics and got the heck out of there.

Overall the day went well.  I think I ended up with minor chafing and both Jonathan and I felt pretty good with no major body aches or complaints.

The day ended at around 6:30pm.  You can see all the Garmin Stats here -
Photos - I wish I had taken more but the weather condition weren't good for a camera -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Training Week 5/5/14

5/6/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cool down.  HR was high today, legs were heavy and my breathing is still off.
5/7/14 - Ran at the 7.75 at the cove.  Up the 1000ft climb, down Hi Dee Ho and then did the warm-up loop.  Legs still heavy.
5/9/14 - Ran 9.25 in the hood and on the greenway.  Definitely was affected by the pollen today.  It was windy and I felt like I could have coughed up a tumbleweed.  HR below 142.
5/10/14 - Ran 11.25 with Matt on MM and CRL.  Legs felt a little better and breathing improved.
5/11/14 - Ran 8.5 miles of random running around Raleigh and Grandin Court. 
Total for the week;  44.25 miles running.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Training Week 4/28/14

My legs feel pretty good following Promise Land.  They were most sore on Monday and then felt pretty good after that.
4/29/14 - Ran 4 easy miles around the hood.
4/30/14 - Ran the 6 mile graveyard loop
5/2/14 - Biked and marked the Trail Nut long loop of 9.4 miles
5/3/14 - 7.1 miles of running around Raleigh Court and Fishburn Park.
5/4/14 - Ran 12.5 miles on the Lewis Gale loop.  Legs felt really heavy and by breathing was off today.
Total for the Week;  Ran 29.6 and mtn biked 9.4

Race Week 4/21/14

This is the week of my 6th Promise Land 50k.  Previous best was in 2010 in a time of 5:41:26.  I think I am in better shape that when I last ran this but my training so far this year has been broken up 3 times due to some back issues.  Also, 90% of my training has been with a HR at or below 142 (train slower to run faster).
4/22/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop with at HR below 142.
4/23/14 - Ran 4.2 miles around Raleigh Court at HR below 142.
4/26/14 - 2014 Promise Land 50k.  The best case scenario would be to break 5:30, settle for finish would be to PR, worst case scenario, break 6 hours.  I also had a goal of having less than 5 minutes not moving on the course.  Garmin gives you a moving time and total time.  This is where you can see how much time you lost at Aid Stations and bathroom breaks.
Here is a rundown of my 2010 splits and what I ended up running this year.
Next 2010 2014  diff.
AS 1 2.74  7.21  30.15.00  28.30  1.45
AS 2 9.95 3.88  1.37.02  1.33.00  4.02
AS 3 13.83 3.98  2.14.26  2.12.42  1.44
AS 4 17.81 3.1  2.49.09  2.48.00  1.09
AS 5 20.91 5.18  3.17.23  3.15.10  2.13
AS 6 26.09 3.33  4.07.38  4.05.40  2.18
AS 7 29.42 2.1  5.01.00  4.56.50  4.1
AS 8 31.52 2.75  5.22.40  5.19.32  3.08
Finish  34.27  5.41.26  5.37.53  3.33
The Yellow highlighted cells are where I lost ground on the 2010 race. 

Start to AS1 - This is a gravel road that climbs and then gets steeper and steeper.  I ran to about the 2.2 mile mark and then hiked to the water stop topped off my handheld and moved on quickly.
AS1 - 2 - This around 2 miles climbing on trail that then dumps you on a grassy fire road that rolls, mainly downhill to AS3.  I took it easy on this section but it would be a good place to make up some time in the future.  I filled my bottle up with GU Brew and grabbed 4 PB and J squares.

AS2 - AS3 - I felt off on this sections and hiked a good portion of this climb.  I did stop and tighten one of my shoes along this route.  This is a mostly uphill climb to the BRP that finishes with a nice gravely road decent to AS4.  I grabbed 3 more PB and J squares and topped of my bottle with GU.

AS3 - AS4 - this is almost all downhill on mostly rocky technical trail.  There is a short section on grassy fire road but otherwise it is down down down.  I hit this downhill pretty well but stayed conservative.  I did have to stop of a Nature Calls moment but other than that this section went well.  Grabbed a couple potato wedges and salt and was off. 

AS 4 and 6 are the same.  My original goal was to conserve to this point and let the race start here.  And have legs for the climb up Apple Orchard.

AS4 - AS5 -  This is a 2 mile mild downhill gravel road decent to the White Tail Trail across from the North Creek Campground (I took 2 ecaps on this section).  I was feeling pretty good and the weather was perfect.  I ran almost all of this section minus the beginning of the White Tail Trail and the steep grassy road into AS5.  Here I grabbed a few more PB and J squares and topped off my bottle.

AS5 - AS6 - I ran this entire section and gained ground on a number of people that has passed me earlier.  Things were right on track.  Topped of my bottle and grabbed a few more potato wedges and salt.

AS6 - AS7 - This is an all uphill section that gradually ascends until you get to some rock steps and then wooden stairs at the Falls (I took 2 ecaps at the beginning of this section).  It's a ball buster and the point in which you will either gain ground and time or lose it quickly.  I was able to run everything until it got pretty steep and then was able to power hike to the BRP.  Any point that the trail sort of leveled out I would go back to running.  Filled my bottle and grabbed a few potatoes and was off.

AS7 - Finish - As soon as I left the AS and ran across the BRP I began to get quad and sartorious cramps.  From feeling great to walking in a split second.  I was able to shake them off shortly and got back to a slow jog until they subsided.  I did feel like I had to "nurse" my legs until hitting the last road and 2.8 miles to the finish.

This section is almost all downhill, minus a short .25 mile steep section.  One back to Overstreet Falls Road I felt pretty good and was able to hit this section in a under 7min/mile pace.  I finished 21st in 5:37:51

Here are all the details.  I did wear my HR and was pretty happy with those numbers -

I think that the "Dark Side" of the course is still the place to make up time.  From AS 4 to the finish there is a lot of climbing and places you feel like you should hike but runnable.  This was a really good race day in which I felt good almost the entire time.  My prerace strategy went as planned and there really isn't anything else I could have done differently.  We'll see how many year's it take before I come back. 

I did get in 2 extra miles going back out to meet Gina on here way in to the finish.  That last downhill mile didn't feel good at all.

Ended the week with 44.83 miles running.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Training Week 4/14/14

Well it is taper time for the Promise Land 50k on 4/26/14.  We'll see if this training slower to run faster process has worked.  I feel pretty good but normally would be putting in a few test or time trial efforts to see where I am.  So it will be race day before I get to see exactly where I am. 
4/15/14 - Took it pretty easy on the 6 mile loop and then did a 1.5 mile cool down.
Went to the gym and did the stepmill at around 120 HR.
4/16/14 - Ran 6.2 at the cove.  Comet, tuck, 4 gorge.
4/18/14 - Ran 6 miles around Grandin and the greenway with a .85 mile cool down.
4/19/14 - Ran 10 miles around Grandin and the greenway.
4/20/14 - Rode 23 miles on the road bike.  To Green Hill Park, Wildwood and back.  That headwind on the way back was tough.
Total for the week;   34.05 miles running and 23 mile cycling.

Training Week 4/7/14

4/8/14 - 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down.  Ran under 142 HR.  Legs felt better than I thought they would following the race.
Went to the gym and did the stepmill at 142.  Hit level 16 for 3 minutes (new high) and did 2840 steps in 30 min.  Did a .5 mile cooldown on the treadmill.
4/9/14 - Ran 6.2 at the cove.  4 gorge, tuck, comet and road out.
4/11/14 - Pre rode, marked and then ran the MMM 10k course.  Ran the course in 48:24 conservatively up and hard on the downs.
4/12/14 - Ran the MMM 10k course with Gina
4/13/14 - Ran 19.25 on the Hollins greenway to the Cove/AT loop.  Felt good and took it pretty easy.  Legs were a little rough from the two MM days.
Total for the week; 50.25 miles running and 7 miles on the mtn bike.

Race Week - 3/31/14

Gina and I will be mtn bike racing at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek on 4/5/14.  This is our 5th or 6th time here and a year in which we have done very very little riding due to the nasty winter weather.  Should be interesting.

My back is still jacked up so I'm going to keep it simple this week and just ride easy until race day.
4/1/14 - Rode part way to Green Hill Park and back for 12.2 miles
4/2/14 - Rode to GHP and back for 19 miles.
4/4/14 - Did a 8 mile pre ride at the race course
4/5/14 - 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
           - 43.3 miles of riding in 3 laps - 1.20ish, 1.12ish, and a final lap of 1.16ish.
           - First lap I felt good, hit the trail in good position and hung on for the entire 16.5 mile loop.
           - 2nd lap I was starting to feel my power diminishing and needed every gear towards the end
              of the loop.  I kind of dreaded a 3rd lap just knowing I would have to face the cramp
           - 3rd lap really went better than I thought.  I rode within my means and just tried to stay even
              throughout and avoid getting cramps on the sections that required me to use a lot of force. 
           - We ended up 5th in co-ed duo.
4/6/14 - Did the Henry Lanum loop in the Mt Pleasant area east of Beuna Vista.  This loop is part of the Mountain Masochist 50 miler.  It is a great loop with a fantastic overlook at the east Mt. Pleasant overlook.  You get to 4050ft of elevation and the loop as around 1250ft of climbing in 5.6 miles. 
Total for the Week;  5.6 miles running, 51.3 miles mtn biking and 31.2 mile road biking.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Training Week 3-24-14

3/25/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR 142 and then did a 1.5 mile cool down.
             - Went to the gym and did 30 minutes on the Stepmill at HR 142.  Was able to do some at
                level 16 today.  2750 steps.  Cool down on the treadmill.
3/26/14 - Run at the cove - Hi Dee Ho, Gauntlet, Trough, Buck and road back.  Lots of climbing today. 
3/27/14 - Tweaked by back at the gym last night. 
3/28/14 - Warmup 3 miles to the track and then ran 5 miles at HR 142.  7:25, 7:29, 7:31, 7:25, 7:13.  Didn't go as well as I had expected.  My back is sore and it was windy.
3/30/14 - Did 16.6 miles at the 3 Ridges.  This was a blizzard hike/run in 20-30mph winds and 2-6 inches of snow.  Crazy day in the mtns. 
              - Ran 5 miles later in the day.

I had hoped to run 20-25 on Friday and then do the 3 Ridges and The Priest on Sunday for a big 65 mile week.  My back and the weather intervened so that I only got in 54.6 miles running.

Training Week 3-17-14

3/18/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at HR 142 with a 1.5 mile cool down.
3/19/14 - Ran 6 miles at the cove.  Did the Hi Dee Ho / Buck Loop.  Ran up Hi Dee Ho in under 20 minutes.
3/21/14 - Random Raleigh Court Running under HR 142 - 6.85 miles
             - Also rode 7 mile marking the Montvale Trail Race courses.
3/22/14 - Rode 7.5 miles at Montvale doing the Friday Night Lights Course.
3/23/14 - 21.81 miles running from Day Creek up Black Horse Gap, the AT north to Spec Mines, down to the gravel road, west to the Hammond Hollow Trail, up to the AT, north to Bobblett's Gap, south on BG dirt road to the Glenwood Horse Trail and back to Day Creek.  Felt pretty good and really enjoyed this loop. 
Total for the week:  42.2 miles running and 14.5 mtn biking

Monday, March 24, 2014

Training Week 3-10-14

3/11/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop at 142 and then a 1.5 mile cool down. 
             - Did a road ride up Roselawn and Sugarloaf for a 13.5 mile loop.
3/12/14 - 6.5 mile run at the cove.  Ran the road to Buck, up Buck, across on the BRF to Hi Dee Ho and back to the parking lot.  Legs felt pretty good until hammering down Hi Dee Ho.  Quads could feel it after that.
3/14/14 - Marking at Montvale - did a 6.4 mile run and 11 mile mtn bike ride.
3/15/14 - 8.2 miles running to the greenway and back.  HR stayed pretty low on this run and made us work to hit 142.
3/16/14 - 13.1 miles running the Lewis Gale loop at 142. 
Total for the week; 41.75 miles running, 11 mtn biking, and 13.5 road biking.

This ended up being a good week following last weeks 50k and high mileage week. 

Training Week 3/3/14

The goal this week was to hit 60 miles running.  We have had the Catawba Run Around (CRA) on our schedule for a few weeks.  This is a loop of the AT from 311 to Dragon's Tooth Parking Lot, North Mtn to the Catawba Valley Trail, down to 779 (good place for aid from a staged car), up Andy Layne, and then the AT back to 311.  See all the details here -
3/4/14 - Very cold 6 mile run and 1.5 mile cool down.
           - Went to the gym at night and did 30 minutes on the stepmill at 142 HR (2740 steps) and .5
              mile cooldown.
3/5/14 - 8.75 mile run at the Cove.  Ran Songbird, Tuck-a-Way, and 4 Gorge. 
3/7/14 - 5 miles around Raleigh Court
3/8/14 - 31.25 miles on the CRA loop.  Snow on North Mtn and lots O' mud going up Andy Layne but other than that it was a good loop at a respectable pace.  Set out with 6 guys.  4 did the lite version stopping at 779 with 18 miles.  Matt and I finished up the loop.  Heading up to McAfee's was a tough climb. 
3/9/14 - 4.3 miles of random running to get in my 60 for the week.
Total for the week; 60.3 miles running

Monday, March 3, 2014

Training Week 2/24/14

This week is the Explore Your Limits 5k & 10k.  It is always hard to get in the training on race weeks.
2/25/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop in 46:09 at HR 142.  My running times have gradually come down while using the 142 training plan.  The first run was on 1/14/14 at 48:04 and in 6 weeks that time has come down almost 2 minutes.  I can tell that my pace at 142 is improving every week. 
2/26/14 - Ran at the cove.  4 gorge, down the fire road to the end of Songbird, ran Songbird and out on the road. 
2/28/14 - EYL course marking 6.5 miles.
3/1/14 - EYL course cleanup 6 miles.
3/2/14 - Ran 10.5 miles in the morning and then 4 miles later in the day.
Total for the week 45.5 mile running.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Training Week 2/17/14

2/18/14 - Due to my two falls this year I've been paranoid of falling on the snow and black ice.  Since it is everywhere I look on my runs I've been in a constant state of paranoia.  Ran the 6 (6.3 miles today) mile loop with some slight changes due to the snow and ice. 
Decided to get in some elevation training by going to the gym and doing the stepmill for 30 minutes with a HR below 142.  I got in 2750 steps in 30 minutes and noticed I was able to do quite a bit more at the 142 HR.  Did a treadmill walking cool down.
2/19/14 - Ran a 10 mile Greenway loop with James at below 142.  Did a .3 mile cool down.
2/21/14 - Ran 6.2 miles at the Explore Park checking the course and marking it. 
2/22/14 - This was a big day of running -
     We decided to get a small group together to do the loops at Sharp Top.  If you haven't been to Sharp Top, put it on the list.  It is a must see and I rate it as the highest, effort to reward ratio mtn, in the area. 
     We headed out to start at 6:15 so that we could see the sunrise at 7:01.  I think the climb up took about 33 minutes from the Visitor's Center hitting it at a respectable clip.  We had planned to head down the bus road but it was still covered in snow and ice.  So we ended up heading back down the trail back to the car.  Dropped off our lights and some clothing and headed out, north on the BRP, to Fallingwater Cascades.
     Fallingwater Cascades is about 2.5 miles north on the BRP from the Visitors Center and then is a short 1.6 mile loop, taking you down to the bottom of the Cascades, and then climbing back up to the BRP.
     Here we headed across the BRP to start the long long climb up Flat top.  Flat top isn't a terribly steep climb but we started to get into snow about a mile from the top and my "I can't fall down" paranoia started to settle in.  At the top of Flat Top (false peak) there is a small overlook and then you head down a bit and climb up to the summit.  At this spot there are a few boulders to climb on that take you to a giant flat rock that is perfect for reveling in the accomplishment of the climb, selfies, and a great view.  Taking the trail down the other side we hit the campground taking us to the lake trail and back to the visitors center and car. 
     Here we refueled and headed out on the 3.3 mile Harkening Hill Loop.  This loop doesn't climb up to the heights of Sharp or Flat Top but it is a pretty tough climb, especially on tired legs.  Here you once again hit a flat area thinking the climb is done but you soon find  out that there is another pretty tough climb ahead.  As you climb this last section there are a number of crazy big boulders spread out over the hillside.  At the top there is another giant boulder that is perfect for taking in the view and accomplishment.  Coming down the other side of the loop isn't too exciting.  The trail is pretty steep, rutted and rocky but will get you back to the parking lot and car. 
     I think the loop ended up being 17.5 or so.
     Chad and I decided to hit Sharp Top 1 more time for the extra miles and elevation gain.  The trail had started to thaw out and there were quite a few hikers by this time but we managed to hit it hard getting to the top in around 27 minutes from the Visitors Center.  this was an almost all out effort and really put the burn to the legs and lungs.  Once we recouped we decided to head back down the bus route.  The road was 50% covered in snow and ice and the rest was clear.  So we got in some decent running that was broken up with random moments of panic as we hit the ice and snow.  I managed to stay on my feet the entire day and was happy that I was able to run this distance and difficulty without any back trouble.
8/23/14 - Mtn Cross IV.  My legs were feeling dead and sore from yesterday's run but these races are low key and fun and I wanted to give one last effort in to trying to beat Gina.  Things were going well on lap one but quickly changed when I burped half the air out of my back tire about .4 of a mile into the second lap.  I had enough air to ride up to the S/F area and add enough air to get back into the race.  I figured I lost around 2 minutes.  From there each of the 6 laps total clicked by and we finished up our Mtn Cross series on a near perfect February day that saw temps climb into the 70's. 
Total for the week;  47.1 miles running and 11 mtn biking
It was a good week of training and one of the first long mtn runs in awhile.  I needed that!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Training Week 2/10/14

2/11/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop below a 142 HR and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
2/12/14 - Got home early for a snow run with James.  We got in 7.3 random road miles in 3 or so inches of falling snow.
2/14/14 - Ran 7.3 miles with James and then Gina and I went out for 7.1 in the deep and melting snow. 
2/15/14 - Decided to hit McAfee's in the fresh snow.  We followed one pair of tracks that looked to be put down before the last snow on Thursday.  Much of the route was mid shin to knee deep snow.  Lots of work but worth the effort to get to the top and see the Blue Ridge Mtns Covered in snow.  We tried to go down the backside of McAfee's but lost the trail in waist deep drifts, so we bushwhacked back to the fireroad and took that back down the mtn.  The full route was 9 miles and it felt like 15. 
2/16/14 - Ran 6.5 miles with James heading to the greenway and back through Grandin and then headed to Bedford for the 3rd Mtn Cross race.  The race was a short track of snow, deep mud and asphalt.  I got in 9.3 including a warm-up and cool down.  It was fun.  I love the balance work needed to ride through the snow. 
Total for the Week;  44.66 miles running and 9.3 mtn biking.

Training Week 2/3/14

2/4/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cooldown.  Ran the loop at a HR below 142.
2/5/14 - Ran at the cove doing the Gauntlet/Trough Loop.  Did a couple out and backs as I waited for the rest of the group to get in 8 miles.  My low back is still hurting on steep climbs and any place where I have to hike. 
2/7/14 - Ran the 10 mile bridge street greenway loop at HR below 142. 
2/8/14 - Did the Mtn Cross II race at night.  Got in 12.75 miles total with warm-up, race and cool down.  These races are non stop, lung burning, go go go races.  It feels good to get the HR up for these short events. 
2/9/14 - Ran 18 which consisted of a 11 Lewis Gale loop and then 6 miles with James.  Both runs were kept at a HR below 142. 
The low back is getting better but I'm not back to 100% yet.  I'm starting to see the effects of the running at or below 142.  My pace is getting better at the same HR week to week. 
Total for the week; 43.5 running and 12.75 mtn biking.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Training Week 1/27/14

1/28/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop in weather in the low teens with a 0 degree wind chill (HR below 142). 
1/29/14 - Ran 8 miles at the Cove in the freezing cold (12 degrees) and in the snow.  We were the first to lay down tracks at the cove.  Up Hi Dee Ho, down the fire road and back on 4 gorge.
1/31/14 - Did a long road loop.  To Lewis Gale and then the greenway for a 16 mile loop and then a .9 mile cool down.  Kept my HR below 142.
2/1/14 - Ran 8.15 miles around Raleigh Court then went to the gym and did the stepmill for 30 minutes at HR 142.  I'm having a hard time pushing off going uphill without my low back hurting.  Any torque causes some pain.  Since I'm not able to run hills I decided to do a rolling road run and then head to the gym and do the stepmill. 
2/2/14 - Mtn Cross race I.  Gina and I entered the mtn cross series in Bedford.  These are short track mtn bike/cyclocross races.  This was a 25% muddy 1.6 mile loop that you ride for around an hour or so.  I got in 5 laps.  I'd say I was riding about 70% due to the back issue.  Hopefully I'll be back to speed next week for the 2nd race, which is at night.
Total for the week;  42.65 miles running and 11 mile mtn biking.

Training Week of 1/20/14

1/21/14 - Ran the 6 mile loop and 1.5 mile cool down.  Kept HR below 142.  My HR was higher today because I'm a bit run down. 
1/22/14 - Did 30 minutes on the Stepmill under 142 HR and then 1.5 miles on the treadmill.
1/24/14 - Ran 8.6 miles at River Bend County Park in Hickory NC. 
1/25/14 - Ran 18 miles at Montreat.  Up to Rocky Knob and back.  Ended up being in a snowstorm with high winds, low visibility and a couple inches of sleet and snow.  On the way back down I went down hard on my sacrum again, reinjuring my low back from a month ago.  Not good.
1/26/14 - Ran Kitsuma trail outside of Ridgecrest and came up old route 9 for an 11.25 mile loop.  I took it easy today.  The uphills are rough on low back.
Total for the week;  49.85 miles of running
We'll see how next week goes and how my low back feels.  This hasn't been the best start to the year for my training plan. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Training Week of 1/13/14

1/14/14 - Ran 8.35 miles.  Warm-up, 6 mile loop and cool down.  Ran keeping my HR below 142.
1/15/14 - First hard run since my low back injury.  Ran Hi Dee Ho, BMF, and down Buck taking the road back to the parking lot.  Felt good running hard today. 
1/17/14 - Did my first Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) test today.  3 mile warm-up, 5 track miles keeping my HR at as close to 142 as possible, and then a cool down.  The miles ranged from 7:21-7:28.  I was happy with that pace at 142.  It was better than I thought it would be. 
1/18/14 - Ran with Decker and Braby on the AT.  We ran from 311 to McAfees, continuing north on the AT to Tinker and then down Sawmill Branch Trail into the cove, Arrowhead, Songbird, and then out on the road.  This was 17 exactly and we did a .6 mile cool down -
Most of the run on the AT was in the teens, wind chill of 0 or below, which caused our hydration bladder tubes to freeze from the start, and in snow from 2-5 inches deep.  A great day to be on a trail.  We had a good time.  Right foot began to get sore at laces around mile 11. 
1/19/14 - Right foot was still sore today so Gina and I decided to hit the gym.  Did the elliptical for 10 minutes and the stepmill for 30 minutes and 2430 steps.  I'm giving this the equivalent of 4 miles running.
Total for the week - 46.6 miles running.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Training week of 1/6/14

Man is my back still giving me problems.
1/7/14 - Did 3 miles on the elliptical at an easy pace without pain.  Sore afterward.
1/8/14 - Did 3 miles on the elliptical and ran one easy on the treadmill.  Running did not feel good. but I feel better today overall.
1/10/14 - Decided to take a test run today and did 6.95 miles around the neighborhood and greenway.  Felt better today and almost felt normal running.
1/11/14 - This is the Willis River 35/50k day.  My plan was to go and run the as much of the last 10 miles of the 50k course while everyone else was running the race.  This was a cold rainy morning with a forecast of lots of rain and mid 50's. 
- I did run the entire 10 mile section and it was wet and sloppy.  A couple of creek crossings were thigh high and deeper on the return trip.  Footing was OK except for the downhills. 
- After I finished I decided to head out and bring in our friends.  First up was Matt Prescott.  He came in 6thish in the 35k and was motivated to go out for the remaining 10 miles since he would be the first on the 50k section.  Johnny Robinson was 2nd to come in about 2 minutes back.  He headed out for the 50k too. 
- On my second trip out I caught James Decker.  He was another couple of runners back and decided to hang it up after the 35k finish. 
- 3rd time out I met up with Ed McKeown and after a brief time he decided to head out for the 50k.
- 4th time out I met up with Carla Cross and Lorraine Moore.  Both talked about getting swept out and down in the river crossings.  They seemed a little shaken from it and said the water was over their waist in a couple of places. 
- Next up was Gina and David.  They ended up getting off course and doing a few extra miles.  Both wanted to do the 50k but they came in after the time cutoff and weren't allowed to continue. 
These were the wettest muddiest conditions I've ever seen in a race.  On each of my trips out to catch my friends the course got worse.  First it was muddy, next you could see deep footprints, then the footprints were full of water, and lastly the trail became a creek with water flowing down it.  It was a crazy day but it made for quite a few stories and laughs.
- Matt Prescott ended up 1st and Johnny was 2nd in the 50k. 
- I ended up with 19.2 miles for the day, so I was happy.
1/12/14 - Ran 10.2 keeping my HR below 142 and cycled 14.3. 
Total for the Week - 43.35 miles running and 14.3 mile cycling

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First Week of 2014

Well this week didn't go over very well.  I really injured my low back during my fall on Chestnut Ridge.  I tried to do some running this week but the pain and muscle strain got worse with each effort.
12/31/13 - Ran the 4 & 6 mile loops for 8.15 miles total.
1/1/14 - Ran the 6 mile graveyard loop and then went on a 13.25 mile bike ride up Roselawn, Sugarloaf, keagy and back.
1/2/14 - Timed the Resolution Run and opted to not exercise.
1/3/14 - Ran 6.2 miles marking the Chestnut Ridge Loop for the FT
1/4/14 - 5.7 miles running on the trails of Fishburn Park.  After this run my sacrum was on fire and I regretted not taking more time off to let this injury heal.
26.05 miles running and 13.25 cycling

I'm going to take some time off this week to see if I can participate in any of the Willis River 35/50k on 1/11/14.  I've enjoyed this race over the last few years and have done well.  I was hoping to attempt running sub 4:30.  Now I'm not sure I will even race or run it at all.

Week of 12/23/13

12/24/13 - Ran the 6 & 4 mile loops ccw for an 8 mile run.
12/25/13 - Ran and hiked 13.55 miles up to Brushy Mtn in the Smokeys
12/26/13 - Ran and hiked 11.4 miles up the Prong Trail and down the main road from Newfound Gap.
12/28/13 - Cleaned up Chestnut Ridge Loop - Hurt my low back clearing a tree.
Also went out for a short 13.1 mile road bike ride.
12/29/13 - Ran 5.5 mile in Raleigh Court
Total for the week;
44.5 miles running and 13.1 cycling