Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We will miss you Kim Leasure......

This morning a very dear friend passed away..... Kim Leasure. She has been battling cancer since this summer. She never....never....never gave up hope and always had the most positive outlook about her situation.

(This picture was taken at the dam on a Monday night during swim practice)

Kim competed in many triathlons, running events and cycling events. She was willing to try just about anything that would physically challenge her. She was a joy to be around and always found the good in things.... no matter how bad they might really be. I feel special to have met her and think that I am a better person today for knowing her.

(This picture was taken at the Light Up The Night Lymphoma Walk... she ask us to come walk it with her)

We will miss you Kim.........

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Lookout Mountain Fun......

Today I ran with my best friend Michelle on Lookout. It was just me, her and Trey. We did around 15miles.....which was great for me as mid-distance run. Next weekend will be a longer run as we will be ramping up mileage for Mountain Mist coming up in January.

The trail was wet and muddy due to the mass amounts of rain we've had over the past couple of weeks. There were many falls flowing that would not normally be visible. Also... many small streams to cross over and run through!

I ended up taking them on a newer trail up by Point Park as I thought they'd enjoy the new views. An added bonus was getting to see the Incline go up the mountain as we passed through one segment of this trail.

What a great day for a run!

Jingle Bell Run.....

On Tuesday the 23rd the YMCA hosted a Jingle Bell Run. It's a low key event that invites runners of all levels. Two of my clients were attending... so I thought I'd run along as well. Besides... what a great opportunity for a recovery run from the 38miles I had run on Saturday.
Me, Yoli and Wendy

Run Lisa run!!!!

Me and Lance.

Nik the Grinch!

Runners going up 6th Street.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lookout Mountain 100K.....

Now that that Christmas is over and the dust has settled.... it's time that I give a race report about the Lookout Mountain 100K.

I arrived to the race start before daylight so that I could get the pre-race jitters (aka bathroom trips) out of the way. After taking care of business I was glad to find Lucky (Michael Green) at his car grooving to some Hip Hop. Ah... just what I needed to take my mind off getting ready to do the longest running race of my life. Lucky and I share some similar taste in music : ) Before I knew it... we were ready to make our walk to the official start line. Once we got to the start line... we had to wait for daylight.... then it began to rain. There was a magnificent waterfall here to look at. Unfortunately... my camera didn't do such a great job capturing the beauty of this in the rain and lack of daylight.

Before the race started I had decided to stick with my friend Joanna since we were both virgins to this distance! We slowly started and at times questioned whether or not we were going too fast or too slow. About 2.5-3miles in there was a creek crossing.... Well.... so much for dry shoes!... Not that they would have been dry for long as it was already raining. It continued raining off and on for quite some time after this leaving the trail a mucky mess. We passed on the first aid station at Covenant College and made our trek down to the Craven's House from there. Once to Craven's House we stopped for a bit and then headed on down to the bottom of the mountain where we made our way through even more mud! After a seemingly LONG jeep trail we finally came up on the Blue Beaver aid station where we grabbed more nutrition and fluids. Now we were on our merry way to Skyuka Springs..... then our Trek back up the mountain began! On our way upthe mountain it came an absolute downpour and the temperature was dropping. Slowing or stopping only caused me to chill. Had to keep moving! I did stop briefly at the the upper truck trail at the aid station and waited on Joanna. Brrr... I got cold! Once Joanna was ready... we were off to the the end of the upper truck trail to John Smart Trail. Up up up the mountain we continued till we hit the Covenant College aid station. It was really raining hard now! This is where we decided that we would drop at the next aid station.... mile 38.

Those last 6miles in were nasty. HARD rain.... the trails looked like streams from all the run off. There was no dodging puddles.... instead we just went right through them. about mile 33 we came up on a fellow trail runner who was walking. He told us that his feet were covered with blisters and he could hardly manage the pain. My heart went out to him as the weather conditions were only getting worse. The creek crossing we had passed early on in the race was now much fuller and was carrying a nice current as well. It was never so nice to see mile 38! Here I dropped without shame. I was wet and cold and did not want to suffer anymore. My legs were in good shape and had it in them to go the full monty, but the rest of my body just wanted to be warm and dry. Still..... 38 out of 62 ain't bad and it's the longest run ever for me. There will be other 100K races to conquer!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Night Trail Running Group.....

Tonight after our run... I had the group over to the house to celebrate the holidays. I spend alot of time with these guys and just wanted to show them that they are special to me. I feel very fortunate to have these great people in my life. They help me stay focused and keep me aware of why I do the crazy things I do to stay fit.
Since it was so nasty from all the rain we've had for several days straight.... we decided to run the roads instead of getting all sloppy on the trails. If you've ever run on the Stringer's Ridge trails after a rain... you truly understand why we decided against the trail run.

I've attached some pictures from tonight. Thanks to everyone for coming out on a nasty rainy night!

Raccoon Mountain Fun!....

Sunday we all met up on Raccoon Mountain at the East Overlook for a 12.5mile run. It was cool starting out, but we figured we'd warm-up after running for a bit. Boy... was I wrong. The wind dictated otherwise! Usually the trees will provide a little blockage from the wind.... NOT the case on this day!

Our run was pretty nice once we surrendered to the wind. We did the 12.5mile loop since some of us are tapering for the big 100K this weekend!

Wish me luck for the longest running race I've ever attempted on Saturday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just me, the boys and my new socks.....

Yep... tonight the weather was ify... so it was just me, Sergio, Joey, Kevin and Warren. It's been a while since I was the only girl on the Wednesday night run. Back in the day... it was very common for me to be the only girl, but I think the guys think of me as "one of the guys" regardless. In fact.... I've been told that I don't count as a girl before. Not sure if that's a compliment or not!

We decided to run the grave yard instead of the usual trails at Stringer's Ridge since the rain was so heavy today and it was still misty out. We figured the trails were a muddy mess. Not that I minded getting dirty, but the group vote wins!

This would be my second day to try out my new socks! Yes.... I love them so much that I wore them on yesterday's run and tonight's run too. Don't worry... they don't stink... they are wool! They are Injinji's and I'm hooked. These are probably not for everyone...and are either you like em or you don't type thing. Well.... I like em! I think they will save me from some toe blisters at minimum! http://www.injinji.com/tetratsok/outdoor.htm

Fat Ass 50K (11, 21 and 31mile options)

Saturday was the 4th annual Fat Ass 50K. This was the first year for me to run the low key event as there has always been one reason or the other I could not attend.

I'm not going to sugar coat it...... IT WAS COLD!.... Try 24 degrees cold for the start. So cold that the sweat was freezing on everyone's tobogons! The run started from Kris and Randy Whorton's house in St. Elmo at the base of Lookout Mountain. Upon leaving their house.....you go straight up the Guild Trail crossing over the road and through the Ruby Falls parking lot. After the parking lot... you hit a jeep road and not far there is a right turn. This trail brings you out at the bottom of the Gum Springs trail.... which you climb up until reaching the jeep trail again. Once back on the jeep trail you take a right and stay on it till it dead ends into the John Smart Trail. The John Smart Trail takes you to the bluff where there are some pretty amazing views. If you are afraid of heights... this trail might make your tummy sick. Personally... it has never bothered me, but I've got friends who feel differently than me about it. You follow this trail till you see signs pointing you in the direction of the Craven's House. After you reach the Craven's House you decide whether or not it's going to be 21miles or 31miles. Since I'm doing a 100K on December 20th..... I opted for the 21miles. No need to go into that event feeling worn down!

Early on.... Michelle joined us for about 35mins and ran a portion of the jeep road till she needed to turn back. A group of us ended up running this thing in together. It was me, Trey, Sergio, Kevin, Cathi and Mark. A very awesome group to run and chat with for sure! I certainly enjoyed catching up with Kevin as it's been a while since we've run together. He is one of my favorite people! I noticed that my pace got faster and faster and we were chatting and we had put a little distance between us and everyone else at one point. Funny how you don't realize these things when you are into a conversation like that! : )

The guys who opted for the full monty were Joey (coming in 1st), Mitch (coming in second), Sal (coming in third) and David. I'm glad I didn't do the whole thing as I would have come in after David and would have gotten lonely out there all by myself!
Kudos to all who came out and ran this thing..... we all deserve a pat on the back for running on such a COLD day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday Night Trail Run....

Wednesday nights are special to me as it's the mid-week trail run. We run complete with headlamps and all! I know it sounds crazy, but it really is a GREAT workout and a ton of fun! Try it sometime... it's addictive.

Lately we've been running on the trails over at Stringer's Ridge since it's closer to downtown and everyone is more crunched for time with the daylight ending early and cold weather setting in. This is not a location we run regularly through the warmer months. Top choices for the warmer months are Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain. We have even ventured over to Booker T a time or two.

Come join us sometime, but don't forget your headlamp!

Giving thanks and spending time with friends and family....

So... This might be the longest period of time in a while that it has taken me to update the blog. Pardon me for having to back track to bring things up to date.

Thanksgiving day was spent with family and we did have a very nice meal indeed! While Trey and I TRY to keep the menu healthy... it's very hard as there are always desserts, rolls and other really bad things to tempt us. I think I've been feeling guilty for the past few days knowing what all my body consumed on that day. So... must workout more and.... again... clean the diet up!

On Friday (after Thanksgiving).... I met some friends on Lookout Mountain for a trail run. My friend Kim was in town from Indiana and I wanted her to see some things up there that she might not even know were there without a local guide. We ran the "Big Daddy" loop from the Craven's House and even stopped off at Sunset Rock so she could see the wonderful views from up there.

Afterwards we met Trey, Michelle and others for lunch at Greenlife and ventured over to Rock Creek for some shopping. Couldn't let Kim leave town without visiting these fine establishments!

Then Saturday came. It rained and rained and rained some more..... all the way into Sunday. In fact... we even cancelled the Sunday trail run due to the downpour and cold temperatures. YUCK. I was so dissappointed. Yucky rainy days make me appreciate the good ones.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A cold start, but a great day.......

Today our group ran on the Cumberland Trail (Rock Creek Segment) http://www.cumberlandtrail.org/rock.html The temperatures were cold when we started and we were all dressed with gloves, toboggans, tights and vest. It didn't matter to me how much clothing was required... I was running no matter what. If I don't get my time on the trail.... I tend to get grouchy!

Once we were a couple of miles in... I unzipped my vest to cool-down a bit. Sure didn't take long to warm-up! The leaves were thick and this always makes it harder to maneuver over unknown objects below such as rocks, roots and more..... a small price to pay for a run on beautiful trails. I've learned to proceed with caution in the fall and winter months in order to avoid injuring myself.....so....it's all good.

We stopped at one of the overlooks for a quick break to enjoy the scenery (picture attached). Then once we arrived at the new bridge I had to have pictures of that too! Last week when I ran through there I was running in a race so I didn't get the camera out and really walk around to inspect this incredibly constructed beauty. Before this bridge was there it was almost impossible to cross the creek without getting drenched. Now it's so easy!

Our total time running on the trail today was around 3.5 hours. This did not include some of the times we stopped to "play" along the way. Trey and Sergio even stopped at one point to do some rock climbing! Wow... what a fun day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Upchuck 50K Race Report....

Whew.... it's over... thank-god. Today was a really tough 31 miles on the trail! For one.... the weather was absolutely nasty with rainy conditions making everything slippery and wet and the temperatures plummeted all day.... secondly... the course was extremely technical! Even with all this said..... The insane "I liked it in a sick sort-a-way" part of me is grinning from ear to ear!

Since this was a point to point 50K.... we all met this morning at the location of where the race would end to be shuttled to the race start via bus. Sergio and I carpooled up and gathered our things for our really long day on the trail and boarded the bus. Once we were at the start.... we stood around for 7-8 minutes and then we were off for our run!

We started out slowly....knowing what was to come on this very hard trail. It rained on and off.... and even started SLEETING about half way through the race! The trail was wet, slippery and covered with leaves..... which kept things interesting the entire time. The first part of the race I enjoyed the company of Kathy Johns, Joanna Crooks and Sergio, but somehow we were separated before the first aid station. I began to run with two other fellas who were enamoured with my knowledge of the trails. It wasn't long before I was separated from them and ran the rest of the race solo. Along the way I would see deer, squirrels, and even chipmunks as I was by myself and didn't alarm them to my presence. While I did take a chance to enjoy the "nature"..... I also closely watched every dangerous step so I did not slip or fall!

Then came a series of creek crossings that I knew would leave my shoes and socks soaking wet! Argh.... I had to toughen up and take the plunge. The first one was ankle deep. The second one was calf deep. The third one was knee deep and in order not to fall further in I had to put my arms in up to my elbows! After that nasty crossing.... I had to regroup on the other side as I seriously thought to myself "Oh my god.... I'm going to get hypothermia!". I was shaking and downright COLD. Fortunately... I had stashed a vest and Smartwool gloves in my pack and I took a minute to put these items on. Thankfully the extra clothing helped warm me up and I was able to slowly press forward. The last creek crossing had a rope to help guide you across.... I did not get wet anywhere above the ankle there.

Finally the end was near after some serious climbing!.... and then came the descent to Hotwater Road!, but it wasn't over yet. I still

had a 1.6 mile run down the mountain on the ROAD! Yes... on the HARD asphalt road! My dogs were barking! After that trek... I ran into the finish area and found out that I had taken 2nd overall female! NICE. My friend Natalie had taken 1st overall female.

Post race I am feeling soreness in my legs from the elevation gain/loss and technicality of the trail. My back and shoulders are also sore from carrying a heavier than normal pack with everything but the kitchen sink in it! Don't you know tomorrow's soreness will only be worse?!

This race was very well organized and if "epic" is what you are looking for.... put it on your list for next year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An amazing day in the woods.....

Sunday our little trail running group met for a run on the Cumberland Trail / Possum Creek Segment. http://www.cumberlandtrail.org/possum.html Some of the group turned back early and 4 of us went out longer.

This particular segment is known as the "the hardest" segment around here. When we run it.....we know what we are in for (lots of elevation gain/loss & some really technical areas). With the freshly fallen leaves on the trail it made things a bit harder as well.... as you can imagine. Not knowing what exactly is under them can sometimes lead to slipping or twisting an ankle, but it's all worth it to me. Seeing all of the brilliant colors each tree had to offer was simply breathtaking. Why can't it last longer?! Seems like there is a 2-3 week window of opportunity to soak it all up.... and then it's gone..... The trees are left bare and everything is ugly again till spring arrives.

The lack of foliage does not keep us off the trail for the harsh winter months as many would think. Instead we engage heavily in big miles and "train up" for some rather grueling events. I am certain I would go mad if I were told I could not run on trail in the winter months as it's the only type of running that I find peace within. With all this said..... I'd like to tell Old Man Winter...."bring it on......you can't stop me"!

Here is a picture of the new bridge just built at the first creek crossing.