Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 43: No dawdling

Mon 3/18 4 miles, including 2 miles barefoot

Tue 3/19 7 miles at Croft

from Dairy Ridge: New Edition to Lake Johnson connector to Palmetto

Wed 3/20 3 miles

Thu 3/21 2 miles

Fri 3/22 4 miles

Sat 3/23 5 miles at Croft.

from Dairy Ridge: Palmetto out and back

Sun 3/24 15 miles at Croft. Rainy and cold and all alone(except for Bristol), I hit some of my favorite trails for one of my favorite runs.

As I climbed a particularly tough hill, maybe the hardest climb at Croft, I was reminded of a kid I had on the cross country team I coached. This kid was, to say the least, laid back, kind of hard to get a read on. During a workout he was just making his way through, and I told him to stop dawdling. After explaining to him what “dawdling” is, it became my usual admonition to him to gain some focus and start running. 

The next race I told him to go out with our lead girl for the first mile, thinking that that may push him, too. At the mile marker he was about 30 seconds behind her, and just jogging along. As he past I leaned in and said, “Don’t dawdle.” He immediately picked up his intensity and came in about 2 minutes ahead of the girl. Now that’s coaching.

I was dawdling up that hill for sure, taking short steps and just not pushing. As I realized that, with one more steep pitch in the climb, and about an hour left in the run, I too picked up the intensity and the intention. Not every run should be comfortable, and these shorter runs are the best place for me to practice some faster leg turnover. I finished out the run hard, a little uncomfortable, but feeling like a runner.

Total: 40 miles in seven runs

Weeks 41, 42: The Dump, two stories about one run

Week ending March 10, 2013

Sat 3/9  8 1/2 miles at Croft. I love the Chapters. So much about it is good training--lots of technical trail uphill and down, some off-camber trails that really work your feet, and a generally unrelentless pile of climbs.

from Dairy Ridge: Palmetto to the Chapters back to Palmetto

Sun 3/10  14 miles at Croft with Scott. I always appreciate Scott’s willingness to try new trails at Croft. I took advantage of that to run Jerry Perry, which for me is pretty new still. Coming back by way of the Boy Scout hut and the Lake Trail, I tried to see through Scott’s new eyes. 

Of course Bristol ran both days. 

I felt sick on Monday, with achy ears just a little and whatnot. I actually missed work one afternoon, and slept pretty much through the next day. I tried to go by the “above-the-neck-you-can-run” theory, along with my general feeling. By Saturday I felt better, and I had two pretty good runs.

from Dairy Ridge: New Edition to Jerry Perry to Lake Craig connector to Foster Mill to the Boy Scout Hut and the Lake Trail to Lake Johnson trail to Hensington to Palmetto

Total: 22 1/2 miles in 2 runs

Week ending March 17, 2013

Tue 3/12  4 miles, including 2 miles barefoot.

Wed 3/13  4 miles on Cottonwood

Thu 3/14  8 1/2 miles at Croft

from Dairy Ridge: Palmetto to the Chapters back to Palmetto

Sat 3/16  The Dump, 24 1/2 miles 

A: This was not a good run from the beginning. I felt heavy, dead legs under me as I started in on the first climb. Not sure if it’s driving an hour and a half to get there, or if didn’t eat enough. But by the start of the fourth loop, I knew I wasn’t going to make 35 miles, and probably not 30, and I bailed. 

Felt like a DNF: I was discouraged about not finishing the run on my dad’s birthday, I felt like I had let down those who donated for this run. I felt like I was not going to be able to finish Ice Age at this rate. 

I found out later that each of the seven-mile loops has about 1800 feet of climbing. That means there was well over 6000 feet of climbing in the 24 1/2 miles I ran. That makes me feel a little better about the run. Ice Age has 6800 feet of climbing over 50 miles. I realize I have eight more weeks, and more training time. 

B. Seriously? I ran 24 1/2 miles with lots of climbing and descent, with good folks on a beautiful day, and I’m complaining? I can pretty much count the number of times I’ve run that far, most of them in the last few years. I really like the folks that put these things on and the vibe of the events.

I ran with Dave and Ali for a loop or so. Dave hung out with me after the Pisgah run last May while I hurled uncontrollably for a few minutes. I will be forever grateful. Ali was one of the few who finished 50K. The course was not particularly scenic, there was indeed trash from the dump scattered around, work at the dump was audible throughout. That scene there is totally worth it.

I’ll do just fine in May. I decided I would run every day again, which would put the race on day 55. That confidence alone will help, and the added miles will be good recovery time. 

Total: 40 1/2 in four runs

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pledge a dollar per mile I run on Saturday

This Saturday I’m running with the good folks at the wnctrailrunner wikispace. We’ll be doing laps on the trails at the Alexander Mountain Bike Park, also known as the Dump. I’ll run at least five laps of the seven-mile loop; if it’s a better day, I’ll run 5 ½ laps. If it’s a great day, I’ll run 6 laps. No matter what, I’ll have my longest training run before the Ice Age Trail 50 miler that is my goal race, and my longest run ever.

I’m asking you to join my friend Jason who has pledged a dollar for every mile I run on Saturday. The money all goes to Team Fox, whose proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Team Fox is not paying for my trip, nor for my entry fee, so I only benefit in getting your support for my run and my effort to raise $5000. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded $313 million in research for Parkinson's, which has no cure. In fact, many of the symptoms of PD are actually side effects of the drugs used to control the disease. Eighty-eight cents of every dollar you donate goes to fund that research.
Join me: click on the Team Fox logo on the right side of this page to go directly to my donation page.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 40: The Bench Marathon

Week ending March 3, 2013

Tue 2/26  4 miles on Cottonwood

Wed 2/27  4 miles on Cottonwood

Thu 2/28  8 miles at Croft. All three days have been pretty miserable. My legs feel heavy and kind of floppy, and I feel a residual soreness from something, maybe walking so much on concrete. I cut this run a little short, turning back onto the old trail from the new trail. 

from Dairy Ridge: Palmetto to Chapters back to Palmetto.

February total: 129 miles in 18 runs

Sat 3/2  24.8 miles on the Foothills Trail. The Bench Marathon is a segment of the 77-mile Foothills Trail through the mountains of northwest South Carolina. I’d still not gotten out there with these good folks who love it, and was treated to snow, stairs, and long runnable sections. Did I mention 5000 feet of climbing, a ton for around here. Most of that comes in the first few miles and the last few miles before the turn-around. A good four or more miles is pretty flat and entirely runnable.

Lots of snow for the first couple hours.

We started out slowly, staying together early in the snow. They’d had a lot up there, the wet, sticky kind that makes for beautiful running. After climbing to a ridge, we dropped down fast (note: that will be painful on the way back, wet stairs and mud...) to Virginia Hawkins Falls. Group photo 4 1/2 miles in.

From Virginia Hawkins Falls to Laurel Fork Falls is pretty flat, unless I’m blocking something. The trail crosses Laurel Creek several times, and the bridges were slick from snow. I stayed with Jason through this part and the part from Laurel Falls to the Bench itself, a great treat in my book. Jason is a real supporter of running and runners. He’s always positive, even when he’s talking about getting to dark places through the over-nights of 100-mile races. We ran most of the way. Bristol had gone ahead with Bo, Justin and Lester. 

The weather changed to blue sky and sunshine.
This trail is amazing.

The Laurel Fork Falls to the Bench section has another pile of climbing up Heart Break Ridge, with a whole bunch of stairs and false summits. Bristol, by the way, was waiting for me through this section after spending a good 45 minutes with those ahead. I was ready for that part mentally, choosing to be surprised by getting to the true summit, not by getting to a false summit.  I spent some time running with Lester, another inspirational runner who’s willing to take punishment over a long way. He’s planning a 100-mile attempt that includes the Foothills Trail, with thousands of feet of climbing and descent over rooted, twisting, ankle-breaking trails.

Lester and I got to the Bench in 2:56. I ate some chips, and a couple gels, and filled my bottle with Perpetuem, which I’d had before but not on such a long run. I have to say I loved it, and used two packages on the way back. We left at 3:05 or so. 

Bristol set the canine FKT for the Bench Marathon.
Yeah, he's happy about it.

I was a little surprised by how runnable I found the way back. I still didn’t feel loose, the heaviness I’d been experiencing all week sticking around, though not enough to make me stop. I went into it thinking I’d run when I could, and I was pleased that I could so much. The climbs were less than I thought, the flats were easier than I thought, and the excitement of finishing the run more energizing than I thought. I caught up to Jason, then Bo and Justin. Justin had gone beyond the Bench, caught up to us all again and then ran in with Bo. I had the feeling we’d never see him if he pushed harder. Seeing them ahead of me gave me some push, too, not to pass them but to catch up and discover I was indeed on the right trail and all. 

Did I mention the steps?
I ran most of the last 4 1/2 miles with just Bristol. As always, he amazes me with his trail finding, his endurance and his discipline. The trail on the way back was dry, the snow having melted and clouds given way to sun. The trail follows the contours above the gravel road you park on for a mile or so. I was glad I noticed that on the way out, because it just hung down there,  the trail even dropping down to it and then back up onto the ridge once. I watched 6 hours go by--going in I thought that would be a reasonable expectation of my time, and Jason said he was shooting to go under six. I finished in 6:02:something. I ran almost the same time back as out, which I think is a pretty good sign of my fitness.

Next up: The Dump 50K+

Sun 3/3 A nice walk through the neighborhood with Christy and Bristol. Jogging a little to keep Bristol from crapping in someone else’s yard was plenty of running.

Total: 40 miles in 5 runs

Week 39: NYC

Week ending February 24

Tue 2/19  3 miles. More tired than I thought I would be.

Wed 2/20 The trip begins. I picked L up at school. All four of us of us at dinner (I’m getting a little nostalgic about that), and packing.

Fri 2/22 5 miles on the Norotuck Rail Trail. I got up early in Amherst, Mass, where L was auditioning at UMass. Fourteen degrees and sunny at 7 am. I ran on the rail trail a few miles toward Amherst. If I had to do that regularly, I’d own some kind of traction, for sure.

The weekend in New York City was amazing--C’s first trip, L’s audition, Big City multi-modal transportation, and even the rain. We did things I hadn’t done in 35 years, and L and C had never done. We got to experience small-town NYC at the Lexington Avenue Candy Shop, where the cooks wore ties, and all the wait staff were women who’d worked there for years. 

We saw Ground Zero and the Empire State Building, and looked at the area from both those perspectives. Ground Zero reminded me of the unity we all felt while under attack, how I put a flag on my car and waved at others who did. That unity was squandered, and the flag was again taken over by war hawks. At Ground Zero we focused on an empty space at ground level, something missing and something bigger replacing it. The Freedom Tower is visible above all, but the real building seemed to come between the people there. They handed out tissues in the museum shop.  

The Empire State Building after lunch in Koreatown showed a whole other element of New York City. From the guy who sold us tickets on the street to the top of the building, there was a touristy feel for sure, but one that brings people together. There were so many languages there, and different types of people, but everyone was very polite with space, allowing others to get the view from the edge. Maybe it was so cold we all just wanted to get back inside, but it felt like cooperation.  

Total: 8 miles in 2 runs

We walked all over this place.