Thursday, October 30, 2008

And darkness falls upon us......

Last night the group met on Lookout for a trail run. We had made our way to Point Park just as the sun was setting (beautiful stuff).... and it was not long at all before we were running in complete darkness! Starting out it was a bit chilly, but after running for a bit it was actually just perfect for our workout. Our run totalled about 7.5-8miles and half of that was in darkness. Thank goodness for headlamps! Now... we must learn again how to run at night without tripping and falling over roots and rocks!..... Last night was definately a refresher course!

Monday, October 27, 2008

20 miles on Piney River........

Yesterday a few of us met in Spring City for a trail run on the Piney River Segment on the Cumberland Trail. Since Larry Lyda lives so closely to the trail head.... he was our guide for the day.

Starting out it was downright COLD! The temperature was reading 38 degrees! Luckily... we did warm-up after we had been running for a bit.... then the sun came out and really did help to thaw things out. Upon finishing the run the temperature had risen to 68 degrees.

While the terrain was not so bad..... it was a pretty constant grade up for the whole 10miles in.... with only a couple of exceptions. There are 6 bridges along the way.... one of which is a pretty good size crossing Piney River. Our pace was easy as many of us have races coming up this weekend and weren't looking for a hefty and tiring run. Still.... 20miles is 20miles. Once we made it to the top of the mountain Larry had some snacks waiting on us. We were all very appreciative of his kindness in stashing these there!.... I think Trey was most appreciative since he was nursing a hang-over from the night before and much needed the extra nutrition! The run back was much it should have been since it's basically ALL downhill! When we popped out of the trail..... Larry's wife was waiting with some barbeque and such for us to eat after our long run. Wow.... Larry is quite the host! We couldn't thank him enough for the food and good times!

If you ever have the chance to check this trail out..... I would suggest you give it a try. It's beautiful and I can only imagine what Piney River looks like when water levels are up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vixen's skill clinic......

Sunday Cat and I held a Vixen's skill clinic. We met at River City Bicycles in North Chattanooga for an easy spin to North Georgia. Our turn-out was good and it was nice to catch-up with the girls and welcome newcomers as well.

The most notable of the day was Lisa Meek coming out to ride with us. We gave her a quick lesson on gearing and riding etiquette.... she caught on very fast! It won't be long until it all comes second nature for her!

Thanks to everyone who came out!

Strong Adventure Race....

Saturday Trey and I headed down from the Smokies to the Ocoee where the Strong Adventure Race would begin. Even though the race started at noon.... it was still quite cool out. There was also a constant wind to accompany the cool air. My teammates were Michelle and her dad. We had not practiced together at all for the race and were hoping for the best.

Before the event started I was fumbling around trying to get some help with my front brakes. They weren't working..... AT ALL. Jim Farmer tried to help the best he could, but when I test rode it... they stopped working.... AGAIN. Finally... a mechanic from Scott's Bikes helped me out and the brakes were fixed and working great! I can't remember his name......I owe him big time though!

After the break issues.... I regrouped with Michelle and Richard so we could get a plan together. We decided to do the bike leg of the race first. Off we went...... The first mistake we made was taking a road that we thought was the right way. This costed us nearly 1:45! Finally... we were back on track and off our bikes to run to more check points. We found 1 of 3 on this part of the race. For the life of us.... we could not find those other two! On the way back in we decided to hit 2 more check points. Mission accomplished. Back to the start where we decided to hit the paddling segment since our time was dwindling away fast. The paddling went much better than any of us thought considering we had never been in a boat together. Two more check points on the water and had to book it back to the start in order to meet the cut-off. We made the cut-off with time to spare and were very happy to be done.

All and all it was great fun and a learning experience for all of us. Honestly... it was more fun than I thought it'd be as it was my very first adventure race. Michelle and Richard made for good teammates and good company too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Great Smoky Mountains....

This week (Wednesday-Saturday) we rented a cabin in the Smokies since the kids were off for fall break.

While there.... we were able to do some short hikes with the family and see some beautiful sights. One morning we hiked to Grotto Falls and drove along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. After lunch we headed over to Clingman's Dome (the highest point in Tennessee). It was very foggy and even started drizzling on us a bit while there....and I can only imagine what the views are like on a clear day. While at Clingman's Dome.... Trey and I were able to jump onto the Appalachian Trail for a bit while the rest of the family made their way back to the car. Wow... it was amazing... I cannot wait to go back and run on segments in the very near future.

On Friday it was raining the entire decided to hit the Ripley's Believe it or Not Aquarium. It was pretty neat. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves...and I think we saw just about every type of fish known to man while there. Friday night we hit the sack early since I had to get up early for the Strong Kid's Adventure Race at the Ocoee the next day.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First night run of the season.....

Last night a group of us hit the trails on Signal. We ran out to Edwards Point and from there hit the Cumberland Trail winding us around and then back onto the Jeep Road we had run in on. My time on the trail was like 1:40. I'm not going to lie.... It was tough.... I felt the 50K from Saturday on my legs the whole way back as there just wasn't any power to tap into! About 2miles from the finish the darkness was setting in... and I had left my headlamp at home! Doh! Luckily I was able to see fairly well and made it in without tripping or falling. I think the total distance for our run was over 9miles.

This morning I ran 5miles with a client and now I'm thinking tomorrow MIGHT make a good "off day" from running! It's important for me to recover fully from the 50K.... as I've signed up for a trail marathon on Nov. 2nd called the Mystery Mountain Marathon

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stump Jump 50K Race Report

Well.... It's another 50K under the belt....not to say it was fact it was really tough! Race results were just posted and it looks like I was 7th overall female!....which is an accomplishment for me.

The weather was rather cool at the start of the race and I could not decide if starting in short sleeves was a good idea. Some of my friends convinced me that I'd warm-up left my arm warmers in the car. Thankfully I had warmed-up in less than 5mins! The course was longer this year compared to when I raced it in 2006. Apparently it was measured incorrectly and was like 3 miles short! Those extra 3 miles made you wanna cry for mamma toward the end of the race! These trails are not easy once you pass Mushroom Rock going out. There are a series of steep descents and ascents that wear on your legs. Combine that with the rockiness... and it can get dangerous real quick if you let your guard down!

Trey and I decided we would skip the first two aid stations so we did not get stuck behind slower runners. Once we got to the Indian Rock House we stopped and very speedily filled our hydration pack bladders and off we went. On the way to Snooper's Rock we found ourselves behind a group of fellows that were not moving quite as fast as our legs wanted to go and finally passed them on the left of the trail. We were moving at a steady pace and passing people who normally would have been way ahead of us. At one point Trey said to me "I think we might be going too fast because we just passed so-in-so and I bet we will pay for it later in the race"! Somehow... we were able to hold the same pace. We skipped the aid station at Snooper's Rock and kept plugging.. passing more and more people along the way. We hit a point right before Haley Road where we were stuck behind the Ooltewah Cross Country Team and felt as if we were handicapped as none of them would move out of the way! They were nearly at a hiker's pace and it drove us nuts!!! As the trail dumped out onto Haley Road....we once again fueled up and were stuffing our packs while walking/jogging to get ahead of the slower runners. Whew... mission accomplished we had gotten away from the group that had us "boxed" in! From there to the next aid station after the Rock Garden it was smooth sailing! We had even made up enough time to catch my friend Sergio. This aid station was our last one for refueling and we spent the longest amount of time here. Sergio had regained his lead on us up until right after the Indian Rock House where we caught and passed him again. We were getting tired, but knew we were getting close to being done... it must be what kept us going. On this leg of the race we passed a ton more people and knew we were carrying a good pace when we passed Dave Buntin! That's has NEVER happened before! After crossing Suck Creek Road we learned that the 11milers had stirred up a yellow jacket's nest and the trail was slightly detoured to avoid the mess. We made our trek up the hill and then down to the swinging bridge.....and up Signal (at a very slow pace). At the top I decided to keep going and Trey slowed a bit. We finished very closely and were less than 2mins apart!

I would recommend this race to anyone looking to run a 50K. It is very well organized, the swag is great and the raffle prizes are like no other! We won a Patagonia messenger bag and a pair of North Face shorts in the drawing alone! The race packets were filled with a Mountain Hardwear shirt, Smartwool socks, La Sportiva water bottle, edurolytes, and much more!

Notables from the day include: Michael Green (aka Lucky) taking 2nd overall. Jaclyn Greenhill taking 1st overall female. Natalie Sims taking 3rd overall female. Robyn Wilham, Hope Hessler and David Yann completing their first ever 50K trail race.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ready or not.....

Ready or not.... the Stump Jump 50K is this Saturday! Last night I had a nice taper down run on Signal at a fairly easy pace and this morning ran about 5 miles with a client. The temperature this morning was below 50 degrees....brrrr...., but was rather nice once running. I can only hope for such weather on race day!

Tonight I plan on getting in some quality sleep and hope my careful watch on nutrition the past couple of weeks pays off on race day. The race will be enjoyable no matter what as I'll be doing my favorite thing....Running in the woods!