Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gorgeous Day Out There!!!

You don't get to choose your days off...well, I have lucked into some nice weather for my 4 day weekend. I slept in a bit, then got out for a run around 1030. The humidity seemed nil, and the temps, while warm, was still so manageable.

I did a short run, my 6.4 mile 'around the block' to test out some new trail shoes.
These are the discontinued Montrail Vitesse:

So why do I have a brand new pair of a discontinued shoe model?

Way back in 2007, I signed up for Massanutten. This was pre-lottery, all you had to do was sign up. I bought these Montrail Vitesse with the idea of wearing them on the tough Massanutten rocks. Then, when someone at work quit, my weekend training schedule was blown to bits. I withdrew very early from the race since I knew I had no chance to train well for the race. And the Montrail Vitesse shoes sat, in the very back of my closet.

Since I'm running The Ring in September, this seemed to be the perfect time to dust off these new shoes. And since I will be running at Cooper's Rock State Forest where the trails are quite rocky, I am taking them along with me.

So I decided to give the shoes a shake down "trail run" today. My back roads loop is more of a dirt/gravel road than pavement. I wanted to make sure these shoes wouldn't cause blisters or any other issues.

The Vitesse is kind of a clunky shoe. It has this strange little design feature, this form fitting internal bootie. I had to tighten up on the laces to minimize heel slippage, but that was all. My feet felt a bit warm in them.

And my, what a gorgeous day for a run! Fluffy puffy white clouds in a blue sky. Breeze blowing. Flocks of finches in the thistles. Butterflies munching on horse patties in the road. I truly appreciated the scenery and beauty out there. I'm so lucky to live out in the country. One vehicle encountered in my 1.5 hours out there.

20 in 10 Update

I returned home. I decided to go to the town pool, to work on my swimming. This is one of my "20 in 10" goals. I found my goggles (and bathing suit) and after showering off the run, went to town to the pool.

It wasn't crowded, which was nice. But I immediately noticed my shoulder issue.

I fell, at the Laurel Highlands Race, in June. I took the brunt of this on my right side. At the time, I had some sharp pain in my shoulder. It has lessened, although I have not been able to sleep with this right arm under my pillow as I like.

It was immediate apparent that I still have an issue going with the shoulder (maybe rotator cuff) as I attempted to swim, and use that range of motion.

I managed 7 laps. As a non-swimmer, I think I did okay. I think I need some help. I don't have the breathing down at all. And the shoulder kept hurting. I stopped quite early because I didn't know if this swimming would be actually helping or hurting the issue. I may look into a co-worker (she's a lifeguard) maybe helping me learn how to put my face in the water properly.

But hey! I'm working toward that goal now!!!

Blackberry Season Continues

I returned home. The weather was still fabulous. I decided to go pick blackberries still in the damp bathing suit, since the weather had not gotten out of control. The husband and dogs joined me, and I picked yet another 4 cups or so of blackberries. This has been our best season yet. We've had just enough rain, at intervals, to get the fruit out there.

A very enjoyable day off. I'm now packing the vehicle for the running/camping weekend at Cooper's Rock State Forest West Virginia tomorrow!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Training Training Training

Well, it appears I am in "The Ring". What is this? Well, it's kind of a Fat Ass Run...except with support. It's a race...kind of. It's more of an event, maybe?

This is a club event, members only, of the Virginia Happy Trails Club. It's a 70 mile run on the Massanutten know, the same trail that the Massanutten 100 Trail Run is on. But it's only 70 miles. Not 100.

I'm really afraid I'll get my ass handed to me on the course out there and be embarrassed to return.

So I've been back to training. The week in summary:

Took Sunday off after running 45 miles on Saturday.

Ran Monday on the treadmill. Trying to get DOMS out of legs. Very slow.

Tuesday: Ran 4 miles on the roads after work. Slow.

Wednesday: husband informed me that friends down the road were coming over after work. I didn't have time (after a 10 hour workday) to fit a run in. I was relieved. I was just beat after working all day and then running. But I also knew if I didn't start getting mileage in, I would be fretting about that.

Thursday: Day off from work. Slept in! Due to that, I didn't get out for a run until noon. Since we've been in a heat wave, I waved off the 11 mile loop on the roads for time on trails. I ran/hiked 7 miles on trails. It was hot, but the tree coverage made it bearable.

Friday: Luckily I had already decided on a treadmill workout before I even saw the heat index was something ridiculous like 100. I did one hour on the treadmill, walking, at a 10% incline. I gradually increased speed to 3.5 MPH. This is harder than it sounds peeps!

So I did get a pretty good week of training in toward the Ring. Not a lot of time to train toward it. I'm going to focus on getting some weight off (I lost 3.5 lbs of the vacation weight so far) eating clean, and getting good workouts in. This coming week should really rock with workouts!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

12 Hours of Big Bear

I had a solid performance at Big Bear Lake12 Hour Trail Race this year. I ran 7 loops of the course, for a total of 45.5 miles. (The Garmin died around the 50K mark). I just posted the map to show it is a very runnable course, although now looking at the elevation, it doesn't look that way. And ignore that drop to 2200 feet, that's an anomaly.

So how did my race experiments go:

Perpeteum-it worked well. I used it for laps two and three. But it seemed like I was drinking the Perp to get the calories in, and so not sipping on my tube from my water supply. So I stopped using the Perp and went to gels. There were Hammer gels-plenty of them-at the two AS, so I was able to just use those. I did supplement with a few Pringles out of my vehicle from time to time.

New Trail Shoes-the size 9 shoes are just too small. My big toes had pressure on them into the second lap. I switched to my size 10, old trail shoes for the rest of the race. I had no blisters issues for this race either!

The S! Caps worked just fine. I tolerated them with no problems. The weather conditions were in the 80's. I was sweating heavily and covered in salt. But I did not have any swelling issues. So perhaps that was why I didn't have any blister issues?

Okay, onto race musings:

This is a 6.5 mile trail loop. There is a water drop/gel at mile 2, and a manned AS at mile 4. So you really don't need to run with water if you were running one loop at a time as a relay runner. But since this was a training run, and I am planning on wearing my hydration vest during all runs, I donned it after the first loop through.

I wore the Garmin to keep an eye on my pace, and a regular watch on the other wrist with the chronometer set with each loop.

My first two loops were good. 1.28 and 1.34. The third loop was a bit slower. It was getting warmer. And warmer! I glanced at my time as neared the Race HQ. I t was something like 1.45. My first thought is "well, that's not bad." And I immediately get angry at myself. It's not "not bad". It's very good dammnit! It's a hot day out there, and I am doing very well! I was proud of myself for turning this almost negative thought into a very positive one.

Heather (the Race Director) asked me on one trip through how many loops I was doing-I told her 8! Although as the afternoon melted away, I glanced at my watch and saw that 8 wasn't going to happen. I was still doing each loop under 2 hours, but I would need to speed up-and that wasn't happening. Still, I was moving well. Nothing hurt, I was eating and drinking, and listening to music. Kind of an uneventful race.

I am out on lap five. I know now that 8 loops will not happen for me. I am kind of not looking forward to lap six-it's just a placeholder lap, on my way to lap seven. So I immediately banish that thought too; lap six is just important as the others! I resolve to make lap six a good one.
I do have the low thought during lap six; of just stopping. I eat another gel and glance at my watch. Heck I got plenty of time! Low point resolved!

Lap seven. For the last two years, I have stopped at lap six-for no real good reason, both years still had time to go 6.5 miles more. This year, after the low point, there was no way I was stopping. No reason to!

Started out on Lap 7. Had fun saying 'good bye' to all the little nature spots I'd seen all day. It was fun counting down. At the unmanned water stop, it was just four (ish) miles to go. Then, two miles to go!

As I glanced at my watch, almost to the end of the race, I was pleased to see I was bringing this lap to a close two minutes faster than Lap 6-yep, time to get it done!!!

As I carefully ran up the mountain bike ramp over the road and down the other side (not the time to take a trail spill, in front of everyone!!) I was so pleased with my performance this day!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trying New Things on Race Day

Okay, we all know that's the golden rule on race day, right? Do nothing new that you haven't tried in training.
The exception to this would be a race you are using as a training run. I have the Big Bear Lake 12 Hour Trail Race this Saturday. Since I've been at low mileage since the Laurel Highlands Race in June, this is going to be a good day just to get some good miles in on a trail.

This is a 6.5 mile loop. The loop makes it very nice for drop bag status. Just one stop to plan for-and it probably will be my vehicle/tent/cooler. We camp out right at the race HQ, so you walk about 100 feet to the race start. Being able to access your own 'stuff' every 6.5 miles is convenient.

  • Perpetuem-I am going to use Perpeteum as my fuel during this run. I 've measured scoops into plastic baggies. These will be ready to go, at my cooler, just dump one into a water bottle, add water, and go. I have used Perpeteum before (hence the big jar of it.) I want to go back to using it in future races, since it will take up less space in drop bags or in my hydration pack. But since it's been over 2 years since I used it last, I think it's prudent to 'experiment' with it during the race to make sure I can still tolerate it.
  • New trail shoes. My blister problem resurfaced at LH. I do believe too big of a shoe helped lead to my foot sliding in the shoe. I bought size 9s, which do fit, but it seemed like my toe was hitting the toe box on a downhill. I had ordered a 9.5, which probably won't be here before leaving for the race. Nevertheless, I believe I will start out the race in the size 9s and see how it goes. I will bring the older shoes as back up.
  • Taping the feet-I am undecided on whether to tape or not. I won't arrive at the race site until around dark, and then will have to get my tent set up. And socialize. And remember that the race starts at 7am!
  • French press coffee-I just got a french press coffee set up. Since I'm going to be at least three camping/running scenes this summer, I would like to have coffee one step between that Coffee Singles. So today at least, I will rehearse how to use this French Press, so perhaps I can get a cup of coffee made on Saturday morning!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

People on the Trails!!!

I ran at Salt Fork State Park today, Saturday. What a nice day for a trail run. The big thunderstorm on Friday brought us less humidity and cooler temps.I started my run in the high 70's.

Being that it's summer time and Saturday, there were actually people and horses out on *my* trails!
I first caught up to a horse and rider around mile 3. He 'sped up' but I caught him in a 1/4 mile. He then let me go by, remarking he couldn't believe "how fast" I was moving. I didn't try to change his belief of how fast I ran; he evidently didn't realize his horse was ambling along about 1 MPH.

I ran over to the lake beach, and then started back. There was someone on the trail in front of me..and they go into a big clinch as I approach. " Hi there folks" I sing out LOUD as I continue running toward them. They disengage, and have the sense of humor to laugh with me as I pass them and say "I'm going this way, and not coming back. Carry on". I don't tell them they should move off this well travelled trail...

Being as the husband was out of town for the day, I didn't feel any pressure to get home at a certain time. I am getting very familiar with these trails closest to the lake. I would follow one trail for a few miles, then take an intersecting trail back to a water source (ie camp restroom) to refuel, and carry on. I can pretty much carve out a run where I am not double backing on myself with these trails.

Very nice day on the trails!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Central Ohio Trail Runners

I wanted to give a shout out! to a pretty new group of trail runners out there. (Well, the group is new, some runners are new, but many are experienced runners.)

This would be the Central Ohio Trail Runners.

From their web site: "COTR's mission is to support and promote the trail running community of Central Ohio. We host informal trail runs throughout the year, at a variety of parks througout Central Ohio. Our goal is to have a signature trail race as soon as 2011 - we hope to have more details on this soon. We also plan to give back by volunteering at and supporting other great races in the area as well as doing trail work to improve the trails in Central Ohio. COTR charges no membership fee but if you would like one of our cool GET DIRTY shirts it will only set you back $10 - sizes are limited."

It's nice to see trail runners coming out of the "dirt" so to speak. It seemed like to me there was an awful lot of road runners around Columbus. But there seems to be a good group of trail runners who are now starting to connect with one another.

COTR also has a Facebook page too. So if you are around the central Ohio area, looking for some folks to run trails with, check out the pages. There's fast people (like race winners!) to run with, and back of the packers (like me) to run with.

I'm glad of the option of more loosely organized groups of trail runners. It's much easier to plan an out of town run with a date announced in the future. I plan on hosting a trail run over my way, at Salt Fork State Park, for the COTR. Check them out!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Trail Run

You usually don't get to choose your day off each week. Tuesday, today is my day off. I got up early to get to the trail before the weather got too hot. It was a nice 70 degrees when I started. It was also foggy here at Salt Fork Lake:

My Zunie had died so I had to run without music or podcasts. I need to do this more often. I was able to amuse myself quite well on my run. I wrote blog posts, made to do lists, pondered life as I ran. I reflected on my job change from one year ago. I chose to take a step back and make personal Kim more happy, since my career was starting to make personal Kim quite uptight and stressed. I'm not on any career advancement of any sort right now, and that pleases me. I chose to focus on me and make me a happier person. It's been working.

Speaking of happy, and different worlds, I stopped to tie my shoe. And lo and behold, I nearly ended someone's else world!

This little guy was right between my feet. One inch either way and his short snail life could have been over.

A warm, actually hot run. I took the perimeter of my horse trails. We are getting short on water here. All the streams I normally cross are dry. Even the big patches of mud are hardening. I'm glad my run was mostly in the shade. The few instances I was exposed to the sun was quite unpleasant.

And, in case you are wondering, I take both the "high" and "low" trail. Today was 'up' so I started up the trail, and returned by the low trail.

And before I forget! My friend, DC Rainmaker, is having another giveaway! I wanted to plug his blog so I have another entry into his contest to give away a Garmin 110 that he reviewed, so give him a visit!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Training Commences! Again!

After Laurel Highlands, I ran about...3 miles until yesterday. The blisters helped make that less "guilt-free" but I had noticed way back before vacation that the mileage would take a serious dive. It took me a little bit of time to not feel guilty. I'm just one of those worriers who think they will blow all physical endurance. So I did okay with practically no running and not freaking out.

I did, however, step on the scale yesterday-ouch, up six pounds! (I had actually dropped another lb before I left on vacation, so I had a lb cushion there). I'm hoping some of that is still water retention from the air flight. This morning, though, I have logged all my food for the day into WW, back to work there! I actually don't feel that bad about the weight gain (the guilt thing again). Having lost weight successfully the last few months, I have my confidence back about being able to carve this off. And tracking all the food into the body certain helps.

I'm happy to be back to running again. My quads have been pleasantly sore..a sure sign it's time to get back to running on hills again!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Napa Vacation Report

There was usually a winery dog at each winery!

Way back in snowy January, we decided to spend our 20th wedding anniversary in Napa Valley. This is the heart (well one of many now) wine country in California.

We had a blast. It was a very nice trip, we spent Monday through Friday in Napa. Just Napa. Didn't stray over to Sonoma or anywhere else.

If you have never been to Napa Valley, the choices are just overwhelming. Luckily, I first got the hotel reservation made. We stayed at a Best Western-The Best Western Elm House Inn. If you want an economical place to stay in Napa, this is it. This is not your usual chain motel. This is pretty much a bed and breakfast. Great breakfasts each morning with fresh fruit, fresh made waffles, just baked muffin bread. Eating there, we didn't even feel the need to head out anywhere else.

My next recommendation is to procure someone to drive you around. The choices on these are also overwhelming. A favorite that kept popping up on Tripadvisor was Platypus Tours: wine tours for people who want to have fun! These are smaller buses, holding between 0-12 or 14 people comfortably. We used Platypus on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and I highly recommend them. We were picked up promptly on time, we toured 4 wineries each day (none repeated from the previous day) and lunch was provided. There was also cheese and crackers and cold water to have on the bus as we toured.

Looking over my map after the trip, Platypus took us to very small wineries. One was not even open to the public. We got some varied experiences. Ken, the owner of Elkhorn Peak Vineyards was a grower. He gave us some great education on the wines themselves. Being a gardener, I appreciated the knowledge. Other stops were more mellow, and as the day progressed, everyone loosened up quite a bit!

On Tripadvisor, someone had mentioned the pairing menus at Signorello Vineyards. It was wine pairings with food-think like tapas here. I think Dennis and I enjoyed this the most. Two other couples, five wines, and exquisite food pairings. I learned alot about pairings here.

View from Signorello Vineyards
I think I will discuss our food outings in a shorter post to follow. We really had a good time. Dennis even mentioned a return trip here! So when is the Napa Marathon?