Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kennesaw Mountain reality check

End of the first month of steady training and headed up to Kennesaw Mountain Park for my Sunday run. Being that the trail kicks off with a nice mile straight up it was good place to test my progress. Apparently I have quite a lot of hill work to do, not exactly a shocker. Still an amazing place to go for a run especially this morning as the trees up higher were hung with beautiful icicles after the freezing rain yesterday. A lot photographers out capturing them as they glittered and melted in the sun, very surreal. Later as they started to fall it was like running in strange glistening raining shower. A beautiful day to be out running in the woods.
Despite the need to get more hill work in I am feeling that I'm making good progress. Considering that today I was able to do 9 miles with 3 very challenging miles of climbing after completing 18 1/2 on the road yesterday my base building is going well. Looking forward to the marathon at in Ft Yargo at the end of February, this will be first of my big trail runs which will give me another great gauge of my progress. The goal is be around 6 hours or a little better in this one, going to be setting the mark for how I can handle the long distance on the trails, furthest up to now has been 13.1 in The Granite Grinder - 2 hours, 6 minutes & The Twisted Angle 1/2 - 2 hours 40 min last year. The difference in times is a fair indication in how much tougher the terrain is for the Twisted Ankle, so of course being smart I'm doing the full marathon at that one this year. More build up.

Another highlight in the last month was running out at Arabia Mountain State Park last weekend, it's a total change of scene from the regular trails of Georgia with a hugh amount of expoused granite which just pulls you along. Amazing setting and totally engulfing setting. Very easy to forget that you are just a 20 mintues from Atlanta. It is most spectacular on the far side of the road from the nature center. Even more so when it's raining and there is water running off all of the surfaces in sheets. Mind you not great for running at that time, rather slippery.

Also expanded my experiences last week with a leap into Hot Yoga thanks to a encouragement from Heather. Must say that holding poses is challenging enough then kicking in the 105 F temperature takes it up several notches. A non-slip yoga mat is a necessity and several towels. I'll be better prepared in future. It was an amazing experience and very eye opening as I strugged to get into a pose (say all of them) and there are other people in the room that very elegantly and gracefully assume the pose with no fuss. The work that they have done does seem to allow them a degree of flexibility that I at this time see as unimaginable. The entire session was as much work if not more than any run I've done, no slacking at hot yoga. The pay off the next few days was surprising and I must say that I have felt great, hot yoga will be getting fitted into the schedule. Just have to figure out how to get my arms in position for the eagle pose and all the rest. More work.
And for the record, Noreen you were correct I did enjoy it.

Heading into training week 9 now, runs are getting longer. Saturday is going to be my first 20 miler so thing are heading into the big numbers. The total running for the week will be almost 50 miles, hey now I just got to work on dong twice that in 30 hours.
Ah the joy of a challenge.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Feeling the love for the trails

Getting into the swing of the training now and starting to feel some improvements, even if they are just mental. Of course there is lots of room for improvement there at any given time. No input required from the peanut gallery.

Last weekend I finally had the pleasure of running the Hog Pen Gap 17 Km race from Helen, GA. It's been on the to do list for a while and I can now check that box. A lovely 10.4 mile run in the cold and wet complete with a total climb of 2500 ft. The major prize at the top to go along with the sense of accomplishment is the best chicken soup in the world. The sauce of 2 hours running in the cold and wet really finishes off the soup nicely, highly recommend it. So look out next year because I will be rounding up a crew to participate, complete with adult beverages in Helen after once the chicken soup cure is complete.

This evening I hit Stone Mountain to get in some trail running before it got too dark. Found it quite exhilarating to be running in the woods as it started to get dark, a nice extra challenge to see all the roots and rocks as the shadows get longer. The increased concentration only adds to the pleasure of being out there. As I was running along on the trail where it parallels the road I remember times when I was on that stretch of road running along seeing people down on the trail, they always seemed to be enjoying it more. I now realize that they were, on the trail you have to be totally engaged in what you are doing which adds to the sense of escape and relaxation that naturally comes with a good run. Next trick now will be to start doing some runs with a head lamp on the trails, all part of getting ready for the main event.

Right now working on figuring out diet but at least I'm getting my training routine down and it seems to be kicking in. Training in week 6, 30 to go. Next event will be the 4th Annual Thrill In The Hills at Fort Yargo State Park which is a trail marathon on February 27th, should be fun.

No need for fish, Running grows the Brain.

I'm sure every runner will be posting this link as proof that we are on the right track, no pun intended.

Friday, January 8, 2010

At the starting gate

I've been talking it up for the last few months and on Sunday night I took the plunge.
On Sunday night I signed up for the Leadville 100 Race across the sky in August.

So 4am on August 20 I'll be kicking off a nice 100 mile run in the Colorado Rockies.
Now just a matter of a few months of training to take care of.
The good news is after sitting down to work out my training schedule on Wednesday night as I work backwards with a 36 week schedule I came to the discovery that I was already 8 weeks into my training. Well now that was n't too bad.

Taking on this 100 miler has been on my mind for quite a while now and despite my 2009 running plans not really working out I've decided to just push on with the 2010 plan to do the 100 miler.

Right now I working on building my base mileage and focusing on being ready for the 4th Annual Thrill In The Hills at Fort Yargo State Park Trail Marathon on February 27th.
At this point I am going to try and consider the build up races as supported training runs.
Hopefully this will work out and I won't over do it during them and not burn myself out.

I'm looking forward to a good year of self discovery as I push to get ready for August.
This chilly week in Atlanta has been a good test, had to put faith in my winter gear to push out the door at 5:30 am with the temperature around 20 F.
Happy to say that once the blood starts to flow everything warms up pretty quickly, I can even feel my pinkie fingers after about 1 1/2 miles. It's the little things.
So for now it's get the routine down and get used to running on a schedule and building up the mileage.
Here I go..