Friday, October 29, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends

I had a six mile run planned for this morning. As I waited for it to become less dark out, I finally realized I was just puttering and wasting time. For some reason, my friend and fellow NEO Trail Member, Mike Dobies, popped into my head. Mike Dobies is a bad ass runner. Finisher of MMT, the Ring, Reverse Ring, and years of running The Barkley. Would Dobies be sitting here putzing around? Hell no. Dobies would have probably woke up at 4am, ran 10 miles, and then biked to work!
So, thinking of my friend Dobies, I got out for my run. I chose a new long sleeved top, a merino wool top, and a running skirt. I head outside. Woooee, it's forty degrees! And starting to drizzle! Ugh. But I'm already out on the run. And I at least have gloves on too.
I start to warm up after about 2 miles. I have a 6 mile plan. I'm starting to have second thoughts about six miles..when do I need to turn, I'm running slower than I thought, maybe I'll just turn at 2.5..
Well, I glance down at the Garmin and it's at 2.6. Well, shoot, just a few more increments, so I might as well turn around at the 3 mile mark.
I turn at the three mile mark. Now it seems like my back course is more downhill. I'm all warmed up now, and enjoying the run. I run all the uphills. These are normally hills I've been walking up lately. I'm running them!!
6 miles in 1.09. Felt great. Thanks, Dobies, for inspiring me, to get out there on my run.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today it's Hills

As I sit here and type this and drink my coffee. I've got 30 minutes to drink coffee, wake up, eat a little something, then off for my first hill workout.

I'm going to DRIVE 3 miles to my target hill. Park at a gas wellhead, run a bit as a warm out, then tackle my hill.

Today is just going to be about establishing a baseline. Walk up the hill, run down, recover, repeat. See how much time is involved. See if I can do this 3 or 4 times.
Then jog a bit to recover, then DRIVE home.

Now the reason I am not running over to the target hill is, that would take me..36 minutes each way. I don't have enough time before work, to spend running to the planned workout, executing, then running home.

Maybe later, when I've improved more..

It's been a good week of training so far. Monday was a needed day off. Tuesday I ran 10 miles in an average 11.09 pace, on the flat asphalt bike trail. I went to the gym to check out all the equipment there. Wednesday was my 'walking day'. This is to improve my walking speed on the rough gravel road on the property. I'm so glad Lloyd stressed the importance of a training log. I did the exact same mileage, 2.91 miles, as one month ago. But I did it 4 minutes faster!! Had I not recorded it, I would not have even realized this.

Now it's off to refill this cup of coffee..

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day Three! Yes, Day Three!!

The weather has been gorgeous, and it's too hard to pass up the time in the woods.

I wandered back to Salt Fork. This time I parked in my 'traditional' spot where I run my normal loop.

I PR'd my first mile. 16.03. Now this includes a climb straight out of the meadow. Usually this is an 18 (or higher) minute mile. But I was running everything. I had Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself" ringing in my head. My husband says no men really like Billy Idol, only chicks. Guys listen because the chicks are. Is this true?

I decided to do some mapping of trails. I was curious what the mileage would be if I took a certain branch of the yellow blazed trail. So when I got to the point where the purple and yellow trail intersected, I reset my watch to zero.

There were actual people out on the trails today, which is usually surprising for me. I did have music in one ear, but I was being vigilant to look for hikers and the horses.

I did a new loop, with several trails, to see what the mileage would be. It was interesting, because I could see other trails through the woods, so I now know of several different trails I cold take for various mileage.

I finished the little loop I had started in 3.1 miles. Since I already had 4 miles in, I decided to cut across the road and bushwhack back to the trail on the other side.

I've done this before, but the spot I chose? Perfect. I did not go more than 50 feet where I emerged into a little meadow. It looked familiar. I look at the ground. Not less than 10 feet away is the trail. And the spot I am at? Less than 1/4 from where my vehicle is parked. Perfect. Now I have many more trail options, important going into the winter monthes. I have better knowledge of where I can run more (or less) without getting lost.

Two Days of Trail Running

Since I worked the last 8 of 9 days-no wonder I was a wreck-it was nice to get to my four day weekend.
I spent the last two days running trails at Salt Fork-following what will mostly be the loop for the Bigfoot 50K race. This is going to be a very runnable course. There are some hills, but the trails selected are very fine. Not very technical at all.
Consequently, I found myself RUNNING most of the course. I am getting out of the habit of walk breaks, just because. I even ran UP some of the smaller hills-it about killed me at the top, but I did it.
It was a nice two days of running. I felt much stronger and faster.

I also came to the decision that I need to delete the phrase "slow runner" from my vocabulary. Others had chided me for labelling myself that way.I think after a sub 5 hour road marathon and a sub seven hour 50K, I will remove that tag from my pysche.
So here on out, any time I hear myself thinking as myself in that old fashion, I'm going to banish the thought. Reframe it to a positive statement. No long a slow runner, an IMPROVING Runner.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to Training!

After taking most of last week off, it was time to commence training again.

I got up this morning, and took a shower. I got the coffee and checked my email. And waited for daylight. Almost 7 am, still dark outside. Why is my hair wet? Oh hell, why on earth did I take my shower already?

Ok, then it's down to the treadmill for me. I was feeling very positive about running today, I think it was due to feeling inspired by Elizabeth Hansen who ran an awesome 2.49.53 marathon in Columbus on Suunday!

I started out slow on the tread, then gradually increased the speed. I tend to run more lazily on the treadmill than outside I have noted. Today I decided not to deal with that nonsense, and turned the speed to a brisk 11 minutes dwindling back to 10 minute pace for the last mile. I am going to endeavor to not start out at a really "slow" speed on the treadmill for future runs.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

WV Trilogy Day Three: The 1/2 marathon

Wow, it's only been a week, and the whole great weekend at the Mountain Institute seems like a fond, distant memory already.
I had found out there was dorm bed space available at the Mountain Institute for 15 bucks a night. I wish I had known this ahead of time, I would have not even brought the tent!
Since I got back to TMI much quicker than planned, I broke camp and packed up my vehicle. I paid for a bed bunk for the evening, so that I would be able to leave more quickly after the 1/2 marathon on Sunday.

I didn't feel too badly on Sunday. The quads were quite stiff. I was hoping the little 5k loop that we started on would loosen them up. Especially for the downhill on Cardiac Hill.

The little 5K loop did help, and I was able to run down Cardiac Hill. AND I knew I had to go back up this freaking hill, AGAIN!

I had not looked at the 1/2 marathon course at all. So I did not know there would be two out and backs. While I am not a fan of 'out and backs' by this time, after running 3 days, it was nice to see other runners out there. A special shout out goes to both the other Trilogy runners, and also other WVMT runners-many of whom were working the AS all weekend, and running their event on Sunday-these were the folks that got the most shoutouts from me!

Since I had not bothered to look at the course, I had no idea of how far I had got along. We ran up a real big hill, ran around a pretty female 'cone' and started back down the hill. There was an AS (kind of like a regular 1/2 marathon AS, just water, gatorade, and some Snickers bars.) I grabbed two of these bite sized bars. I had eaten two gels (the only two I had carried) because I was really getting hungry. And tired.
I got off the road, back onto some single track. I had to climb up and over several fences. This was tiring-and hard, on some really tiring quads.
I came along fellow WVMTR Dan Todd, taking pictures on the trail. I asked him how far I was along on the course. He said he thought maybe 9 miles. Then I came upon the last AS soon after this. Imagine my delight when I asked them how far to go-they said 1.5 MILES! Woohoo! 1.5 miles, after my longass weekend! No problem!

Well, except for Cardiac Hill.I took Mark McK's example and got myself a hiking stick. This really helped get me up this hill. I was very tired at this point.

I got to the top and here I go again. Last chance downt this trail. The Trilogy is growing to a close. There is an older gentleman in front of me. He's held me off, the whole second half of this race.I bet he doesn't know I've already run 50 miles prior to this race...I can't catch him...

I run, downhill, and Adam catches me.....

And just like that, the Trilogy is over! I'm returned as a mere mortal, feeling guilty spending so much time away from home. I do have some great lunch, a pig roast, put on by the Mountain Institute, before I quickly say good bye and head on a five plus hour (there's no quick way around in WV) home.

This was a most excellent, special weekend. I think it was a combination of the people, the area, the scenery, the trails, the committed effort every Trilogy Runner had to give. I learned alot on this weekend. I think Stage Races are HARD! And I think I learned a bit about running in a stage race. This is another great race put on by the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners-thank you ALL for your dedication and enthusiam this weekend-I had a most excellent time!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

WV Trilogy Day 2: The 50 Mile Race

The 50 mile race has a cut off of 33 miles in 9.5 hours. As I had just run 31 miles in 9 hours, I was not feeling all that confident about the cut off. WVMTR club members are the greatest. John Logar told me to shoot for ten hours, and Adam Cassedy said he thought I could do this in about 13 hours.
But the 50K time loomed on my head. I went to the tent Friday night, making sure I kept it all positive. You can do this, Kimba, but you're going to have to work at it. You need to hammer it.

I woke up on Saturday with my freaking asthma cough going. The cooler 50K temps and the cold tent probably helped exacerbate my lung conditions. I was starting to feel less and less good about this day.

There is a smaller group of runners today, the Trilogy folks and a few other solo 50 mile runners. We are starting off on the same way we began the 50K-down the TMI dirt road, through a meadow, then we will turn off to begin our climb to Spruce Knob.
The gang gets away from me, and I get turned around, in the first meadow. It's dark, and I can't see the markers. I see an opening through a fence with a bunch of rocks-but wait, we didn't go through that yesterday! I am actually feeling frustrated, panicky and bereft-I'm losing it in the second mile of a freaking 50 mile race?!!! Of course, these feelings help elevate my heart rate and breathing also.
I finally glance up the hill, toward the road, and get a glimmer of a ribbon. I've somehow stumbled way below in the meadow. I see where we go through the fence, in a different spot, and finally get through and start on the climb to Spruce Knob. Way to hammer through some easy miles, Kimba!
I'm still in a foul mood as I climb and climb on the way to Spruce Knob. Now I'm overheated and sweating, yet still trying to cover my mouth with my scarf. I finally get out on the road, and know I'm pretty close to Spruce Knob and our first Aid Station at mile 5.

Well, the smooth road conditions and the views really restored my sense of humor. It was awesome! No fog, so I could see miles and miles of mountains! I really don't have the words to describe it.
As I power walk up the mountain, two runners catch up to me. This is Mike and Peihune, 50 mile race runners, who got lost on their way to the start. They are such strong runners that they have caught me, and continue to run UP the hill. I console myself from negative thoughts that they didn't run a 50K yesterday.
The Race Directors of the Trilogy, Dan Lehmann and Adam Casseday, are manning this AS. I strip off the gloves, the long sleeve shirt, light, and breathing mask. Adam loads me up with gels, telling me it's about 9 miles to the next AS. Although I am still cold in a short sleeved shirt, I know I will be descending, and the day will warm up!

The next trail is the Huckleberry Trail. I feel pretty at home here, because it's just like the Massanutten Trail-full of ROCKS!! In fact, the first part was eerily similiar to the Signal Knob Trail except "it didn't suck so bad". It's all a matter of perspective! Had I not run the Ring, I would have found this trail to be horrible and difficult. After doing 24 hours on trails like this, it didn't bother me much at all!

I kept almost catching up to Mike and Peihune. I was now getting warmed up and feeling good. The wheezing was gone. Peihune was being a bit cautious on both rocks and mud, and I could tell where there would be a section of this because of her running in front of me.

In fact, I was getting in a really good mood. I was running through the mud and just over the rocks. I knew it was fruitless trying to keep my feet dry, so I gave up. I think the race endorphins kicked in early, after my early morning drama. I was truly in a "don't give a rat's ass" (and I mean that in a very good mood sort of way) and just plowing over rocks. I got ahead of Mike and PEihune on a section of technical downhill. I may have been going a bit too fast, but I just didn't care. Heck, I'm on my way to the Judy Springs AS, to see my peeps and have quesadillas! All should be great, right?

Judy Springs is located besides the Seneca Creek. Which would be, um, at a low point of elevation, right? So WHY am I going UPHILL?????? (It appears this was about a mile of uphill.) And it was a climb. I was trudging up this. I would catch a glimpse of a white ribbon up above. I called Adam a bad name. Just one. And I climbed more.

At some point, I burst into the same meadow that we climbed UP yesterday. The views were just as gorgeous. But now I was focusing on trying to do some downhill running. I did pretty good, except for one spot where I over ran the trail and cut up my leg on some briers. I had some good blood going, and it was pretty. But then I stepped into a mud puddle and got mud into my pretty wounds.

I get to Judy Springs Aid Station, for the famous quesadillas, in 4.5 hours. Well, crap. 15-16 miles in 4.5 hours. The cut off is 9.5 hours, 33 miles. It's not looking that good. I enquire about the trail ahead. It's not getting better. In the 50K race, we ran down the Horton Trail. Now, on Saturday, we're going to go UP the Horton Trail.

I believe it took me almost 50 minutes to go less than 2 miles. Of course, this was two miles UP. Now, I had been planning on getting my long sleeved shirt and light at the AS at mile 24.9, in case I would have to drop at mile 33. Now more of the math was going through my head.

I turn onto the White Run, which is an out and back. The AS, at mile 24.9, is at the turn around. I arrive just to catch a smiling Darryl Smith (he would win the 50 miler) emerging from the trail. I then saw a few guys, including Goncho Slavov, the winner of the WV Trilogy, and John Logar.
Then it was a real long time before more runners emerged running back at me!

All this time I am doing math in my head. Well not really. The 4.5 hours at 16 miles was telling me everything I needed to hear. I estimated I wouldn't hit the 24.9 AS until 1.30 pm-which I did. And I can't run 9 miles in 2 hours-even on a flat course.

What I didn't expect was seeing a Bradley Mongold there, getting ready to go sweep the trail! I had not seen Mongold for quite a while, and in fact, had been thinking about him out on the trail. Mongold did his best to cajole and make me get back out there. But I knew I would be getting to the mile 33 AS way past the cut off-and I didn't feel like making my friends wait for me to get my slow ass to the AS so we could all pack up.

I tell Mongold I'm good with not running 9 more miles today-after all, I do have a 1/2 marathon to run in the morning, someone hands me a beer, and I'm done for the day!!

I guess my big issue was quitting before I am timed out. The runner ahead of me, Mike, he got into the 33 mile AS at 4pm. I would have been around one hour behind him. So all I would have got was 9 more miles in on the trail. And I would have kept the AS peeps on the trail 1.5 hours past their last official time cut. I am very sympathetic toward AS workers-been there, done that. Would I have folded if this was a race where I didn't know everyone working the AS? I don't know. I can say, I won't worry about this at MMT.

Oh, and speaking of MMT...I got a great kudos. Mongold finished sweeping the course. As I sat at the finish line with Adam, he mentioned that Bradley was very impressed with my training and results. And once Mongold got in, he volunteered (unless he is hunting grizzly) to PACE ME at MMT! Wow! I was so touched and honored by this. I believe Mongold would drag my dead body over the finish line (I wonder if that would count??) so I may have a crazy rock star runner pacing me at MMT! That gave me more more incentive to get the solid training and continued weight loss in this winter!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trilogy Day One

We were off promptly at 7 am. The solo 50K runners took off very quickly. A group of us Trilogy runners immediately slowed and walked up the first little incline. It was going to be a long weekend of miles, why waste the energy!
There was a great downhill at mile 2.5-dubbed Cardiac Hill. The only reason Cardiac Hill was not fun at all, was the fact that we would climb back up this hill around mile 30.
The course was beautiful. Big climbs and fast descents. There were two absolutely gorgeous areas-when we were running beside (and THROUGH) Seneca Creek. Adam warned us we would get our feet wet. I believe I counted 15 major water crossings.
Picture stolen from Kathy Goad-Wolf
I was feeling great out there. I still had my stupid muscle cramp in my left calf, but I started spending a minute in each water crossing-it helped to ice down my calf.
After the Judy Springs Aid Station-where we ate the coveted quesadillas, there is a huge uphill climb. But once up on the top, some very runnable terrain. Then there is the big descent down the Horton Trail, over one mile of downhill.
I then returned to the Judy Springs Aid Station. Paula warned me there was a big climb ahead.

She wasn't wrong. I climbed up through the woods, and then, all of a sudden, burst into this huge huge meadow! Two items went through my head: I knew we were going to climb to the very top of this huge hill, and this view was worth the whole 50K run.
I had a huge grin on my face as I climbed uphill. The tree colors were explosions of red, orange, yellow. And it was all for me to see. And only a few others. I felt so lucky to be out here on a Friday morning, to experience this, to see these colors. Other folks were grocery shopping, at work, riding in cars. I was out HERE, in nature, so lucky to see this! The only ones to see this spectacle was us runners and a few backpackers.

At least I had this great view to savor as I climbed up and up and up. I finally summit ted the meadow and was back to the woods. To my dismay, it appeared I must have sucked up all my water on this slow climb through beauty. I knew I had one more Aid Station, around 28 or so miles. This was a pretty but tedious section. It was, at some point, an old railroad grade, so while it could have been runnable, it just wasn't! Every time I would get into a groove, I would have to pick my way through rocks, or a patch of mud would slow me down.

I was monitoring my watch and was pretty confident I didn't have to worry about the 10.5 hour cut off. I had been thinking about a sub 9 time, but this rocky/muddy/no water section was wearing on that idea.
Until the course dumped me onto the road! And it was a slight downhill! Now, I'm not so much a road runner, but I was pleased to get on this and make up some time! In about a 1/2 mile or so, I was being cheered in at the AS, and told I had a 5K to finish!

Back into the woods I go. I KNOW Cardiac Hill is ahead. Can I make it in 9 hours?

Right at the bottom of the hill, Mark McK and Melissa catch me. They went off course and got in some extra miles for their 50K. They pass me going up the hill. Rats. I need to get faster on the climbs. I ascend the hill and out in the pasture. I can see our tents, away in the distance. Now it's just a little dip downhill, a slight uphill climb, and then the TMI Road, and then a nice downhill finish. I'm running now, trying to get closer to Mark and Melissa. I really need to use my inhaler. I should have used it at the last AS, but I forgot. I have a bit of a wheeze going on.
Still, I am almost done! I turn for the finish line, and run for it! And can see I WILL break 9 hours! I finish the 50K in 8 hours 57 minutes!

With a stage race, there's not that much time to celebrate. The Mountain Institute provided another awesome dinner. I drank a few beers (2.5) and attended the 50 Mile race meeting. I was showered and in the tent at 8:15 Pm. The 50 Mile Race will start at 6 am, and I need all the rest I can get!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

WV Trilogy: 2 out of 3 Ain't Bad

Just a real quick post. Great weekend, old and new friends. Weather was perfect, courses were gorgeous and challenging.

Completed the 50K on Friday in 8 hours 57 minutes.

Bowed out of the 50 Mile race at mile 25 since I would not make the time cut off.

Finished the 1/2 marathon in 3 hours 20 minutes.

Very pleased with my performance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

25 !!!!!!!

It's official! I weighed in, Thursday, since I will be busy running around the woods today..25 lbs lost (actually 25.5 lbs, but you try and find an image for that..)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Off to Spruce Knob

Off to Spruce Knob, West run the West Virginia Trilogy, a triptych of three runs..

50K on Friday...50 Miles on Saturday..and 13.1 miles on Sunday.

I've never been to Spruce Knob before, so I have been happily exploring the Internet about the highest point in West Virginia.
It's actually higher than I thought, the summit is 4863 feet (I was thinking it was about 4000 feet). The pine trees at this elevation only grow on their leeward (east) side as the west wind is so strong.

I've been trying to decide/decipher what the weather conditions will be way up high. The Mountain Institute advises checking the weather for Circleville (which is only at 2500 feet) and subtract 10 degrees from that. Plus, it may/should be windy. I have my race clothes assembled, but I keep throwing additional shirts and windshirts and hats and gloves into the gear bag!

Once I get to the mountain, I won't be leaving. As per the web site:

Tent camping at The Mountain Institute is highly suggested due to the remote location. There is no additional fee to camp. There are showers and bathrooms, and supplemental portojohns.

You should try to bring whatever supplies you may need, as the nearest store and gas is a 40 min drive.

(Dinners and Sunday breakfast is provided via the race. Maybe more breakfasts, I'm not too concerned about. I'm bringing my oatmeal, little propane single burner, and french press.

Interesting fact..

I also found out about the National Radio Quiet Zone: The National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Docket No. 11745 (November 19, 1958) and by the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) in Document 3867/2 (March 26, 1958) to minimize possible harmful interference to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, WV and the radio receiving facilities for the United States Navy in Sugar Grove, WV. The NRQZ is bounded by NAD-83 meridians of longitude at 78d 29m 59.0s W and 80d 29m 59.2s W and latitudes of 37d 30m 0.4s N and 39d 15m 0.4s N, and encloses a land area of approximately 13,000 square miles near the state border between Virginia and West Virginia.
the National Radio Quiet Zone, cell phones, pagers, and other wireless devices do not work. The use of wireless networking cards, cordless speakers, and so forth are also strongly discouraged in the Quiet Zone, and any radio stations must coordinate their transmissions with the staff at the telescope to ensure that their transmissions do not conflict with the telescope. Near the telescope, only diesel vehicles are allowed, as gasoline vehicles need spark plugs, which can cause interference.

To summarize, there is a big Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank. And they need quiet around them to hear sounds from outer space. Now, I think that is very cool, especially as I kept reading about this, about how difficult it is becoming to keep this space clear. What about if you want to move into the area? Does the realtor warn you that your cell phone won't work here? I'm a bit confused about this.

Anyway, I will be off the grid after leaving Elkins on Thursday. There will be lots to report on next week!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Comparison

More for my affirmation than anything. I can see I lost my double chin from last marathon to this marathon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Getting There

Today is my "weigh in" day on WW. Since I only do WW on-line, it is entirely up to me what day I weigh in.

I weigh myself most days. I don't think I'm obsessive about it, but getting the weight off has been a daily goal since the beginning of the year. I don't let the number bug me; lately it's been more of a delight!

So I see the numbers diminishing. Last Monday, I hit the elusive 25 lbs lost!

BUT--I don't officially weigh in until Friday. Would the weight fluctuate, or could I keep it at the 25 lbs?

We ended up going out of town on Thursday and having some great Lebanese food, and I didn't work out that day. So I didn't hit the 25 lbs last week.

This week, although journalling my food and following WW for the most part, I didn't feel like this would be a "loss" week. Which does happen, when you have been having a pretty consistent weight loss pattern. (I have been losing 1 or 2 lbs every week or so.)

So imagine my delight when I stepped on the scale, to be down a 1/2 lb, and I'm at 24.5 lbs gone!! Almost there!!