Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mountain Mist 50K........

Friday afternoon Trey and I headed down to Huntsville for packet pick-up and a pre-race pasta dinner at the Monte Sano Lodge. It was great to see so many of our friends down there for the race as well. Chattanooga was well represented. When we headed down the mountain to our hotel that night it had started raining... GREAT.... definitely wet trails for our race the next day!

(This Picture was taken right after we crossed the finish line)

Saturday morning we woke up and headed up to the lodge where the race start would be. The rain had stopped, but we knew it would be a sloppy mess on the course. We quickly found that to be very accurate after about 5-6miles of running. Temperatures starting out were in the mid 30's, but the windchill factor made it feel 8-10 degrees colder. The day wasn't too bad other than some really cold wind every now and then. We ended up keeping our vest on the entire day and only shedding gloves.

(Picture of Mitch after finishing his first Mountain Mist... he is all smiles)
Sergio started with us and had agreed that he would stay with us as long as he possibly could so that I could keep him in check on nutrition during the race. Somewhere around mile 18-19..... he had dropped back to slow down. It was just Trey and I from there to the end.

(Kris and Randy. Kris took 3rd overall and is now sporting a "ten time finisher" jacket for the event!)

The trails were mucky here and there and occasionally there was the unavoidable mud hole, slippery rock or technically advanced segment to push through. We slowed to a power walk on the Waterline Trail to ensure that our legs weren't totally spent upon arriving to the top. At the 2nd to last aid station before entering the Land Trust we both downed some Ibuprofen.... refueled and made our way to the last nasty hill (straight up the side of the mountain) after a very technical downhill. There were a couple of guys behind us on this nasty ascent.

(Me and my new friend Mark from Atlanta)

One of which I've recently friended. His name is Mark.. he is from Atlanta and we've run into each other at a few ultra events lately. We chatted the whole way up that steep mother doing some brisk walking and what I like to refer to as power walking! Mark kept asking "how much longer.... how steep does it get" and so forth. I don't think he liked any of my answers.... I'm brutally honest.... BUT we did make it to the top... at last! Once to the top we started a slow run and then built-up to a good pace and brought it on in to the finish line. Mark was starting to get tired, but Trey and I told him to "come on... you can do it... almost there"... and he picked it up and finished with us.
(Lucky, Mitch and Sergio)

After crossing the finish line I was amazed at how good my legs felt. WOW... maybe I'm getting used to this long distance stuff! Even better.... I learned that I had actually placed at this event!.... taking home 3rd in the 39-under division! This was a huge accomplishment considering this race attracts some of the best around.
(Trey and I after changing and getting some food)

If you ever want a challenge..... put this 50K trail race on your calendar, but.... you better register quickly as it fills fast!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some of my favorite things......

Well... today I was lucky enough to run on my all time FAVORITE trail in the area. The Cumberland Trail / Possum Creek Segment. We had planned to start the run that morning, but had to delay it till after lunch due to iced over roads.

It really warmed up nicely as the day went on and we even ended up shedding clothes as we ran along. I had gotten a new wool shirt and decided to give it a try before Mountain Mist 50K this coming weekend. Turns out.... this is my new FAVORITE running shirt!

Other than running with a nagging cold I've been trying to shake for the past week..... The run was great. I got to run with my FAVORITE trail people Trey, Sergio and Joey! We enjoyed running under icicles and then seeing the famous "Immodium Falls" all frozen up. It looked like a winter wonderland!
Enjoy the pictures. It was absolutely gorgeous out there today!

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Lookout Mountain running....

Today I was feeling ansy.... so I called Sergio and ask him if he'd like to hit the trail with me. He was also eager to run... so we headed back up to Lookout.

We figured we'd hit the bluff trail and go on up to Covenant College... this time we would find the lake! I've included pictures so all those who missed it yesterday can see how beautiful it is.

It had been much colder the night before... so there were icicles dangling from the rocks. Very neat stuff.
Cha-ching.... more miles in the bank. Taper is almost here now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lookout Mountain running....

Well.. we've been running quite a bit on Lookout these days. Largely due to the fact of convenience.

Sergio showed up with duct tape and a bandage taped to his head. At first glance... you would have thought he was playing a practical joke on us..., BUT no not Sergio. He had fallen out of bed the night before and cut his head open on the nightstand. So bad.... that he probably needed stitches! Trying to tell that man to go to the doctor is like telling a cat not to groom itself! Geesh... I hope that I'm just half that tough at the age of 68!

A really large group showed this morning and we decided to split up into a few groups since some had different training plans for the day.

We ran to Reflection Riding and then up to Skyuka and up to the Bluff trail. From there we headed on up to Covenant College and somehow missed the lake! We then came back down to the Bluff Trail and most of the group headed on back to Craven's House (our starting point). Sergio and I pressed forward and ventured over to the Mountain Beautiful Trail and then down to the Hardy Trail.

Ended up with a solid run and more miles in the bank for Mountain Mist 50K coming up in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just Sergio, Joey and me.....

So.... Sergio, Joey and I went for a run today on Raccoon Mountain. We decided that we'd run the loop (13 miles).

The weather took a nasty turn for the bad while we were out there. It was windy when we started and then the sun went in and it got really cloudy. Not long after this... we were running in sleet and snow! Once we got back to the East Overlook where we had parked.... we realized the temperature had dropped quite a bit!

I tried to caputure the snow on my camera, but it didn't do as well as I'd hoped.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A marathon of a day......

Today we headed up to Foster Falls & The Fiery Gizzard Trail for an out and back totaling 26miles. We decided to run this trail as a training run for our upcoming race...the Mountain Mist 50K in 3 weeks.
The weather around here lately has been rainy, foggy and cool. Today we were lucky enough to get a slight break which made for excellent running conditions minus the slippery rocks. Fortunately... the rain did provide some excellent falls which usually aren't flowing so beautifully as today. I've attached pictures for proof of this. Some of the other neat things to see on this trail are enormous Eastern Hemlocks, cool rock formations and rock bluffs with the most stunning views.

It was nice to run with friends today and share seeing some of the amazing sites that most people in the world never get to see. This alone motivates me to continue to run and truly makes it a joy. I felt pretty good on most of the run and the only thing that nagged me on occassion was my swollen ankle from a twist on the trail on Thursday's run. Hopefully that will work itself out in a few days.
Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Frosty Challenge 2009........

There is no better way to welcome the New Year like participating in the Frosty Challenge!

I started the Frosty Challenge 3 years ago for the multisport minded athletes here in Chattanooga. It's a Bike / Trail Run / Bike. The bike segment totals 34.69miles and the run totals 10miles on the beautiful Cumberland Trail.

It was COLD starting out! So cold.... that it may have changed the minds of some who said they would be there earlier this week. Only 4 individuals completed the whole event. Some met us at the trail head and ran the run only leg. Since I am not in primo shape right now.... I rode the first half of the bike and then did the run. I did not do the last half of the bike like the previous years. I could have made it, but wanted to save my legs for a long run this weekend.

The trail was perfect.... just as always. This segment is gorgeous! Definitely worth checking out if you like to run or hike. We started the run from the Hotwater Road trail head and went toward Mountain Road. This way is 5miles out and 5miles back. If you go the other way from Hotwater Road (toward Hwy 111) that is 11miles. The segment totals 16miles point to point.

Check out the pictures. They really say it all. Happy New Year!