Tuesday, March 2

Mount Mitchell 40… um, 36… miler

I have a history with this race.

I first signed up for it in 2007. I'd heard stories, seen pictures, and wanted to get get a piece of the action. ITB soreness (and beating myself up a few weeks earlier at Mountain Mist) caused me to drop down to the marathon distance (still an accomplishment but not what I set out to do). I was back in 2008… but this time a groin pull had me out for a month prior, so I played it smart once again and settled for a mere 26. Then 2009… oh, what a bad winter. Ankle injuries had me out for 2.5 months. No race at all.

2010. This was THE year. I was going to do it. Mother Nature, on the other hand, had a different plan. I'm not quite sure what happened to the south this year, but we've had crazy amounts of snow. The good: I got lots of training runs in thru snow and over ice. I was prepared, both mentally & physically (Thanks Matt!). The bad: due to the obscene amounts of snow on the trails in Mount Mitchell State Park (we're talking 50"+, with drifts well over that), the course had to be modified. So instead of 40, we got a mere 34-36 miles. Still, with snow, ice, wind gusts topping 50mph and single digit temps at the summit (no, that's NOT including wind chill! remember, we're on the highest peak east of the Mississippi. that means extremes!), we were promised an epic race.

The race weekend started by escaping work early and driving to Asheville with teammate Kathy and R/C trail series race director Jonathan out to spectate & support, and NOT direct for a change!). We met up with more teammates, Natalie, Krissy & Matt at the pre-race briefing, where Jay wow'd us with amazing photos from earlier that day. It was not just winter up there - it was more like a desolate frozen tundra. gulp.

After some catching up, we retired to our accommodations at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly - a very cool lodge minutes from the start. (Thanks William & Adam!). Dinner, race prep, sleep.

Krissy & I, ready to get moving

We gathered at the start, thankful to have Matt & Jonathan to grab our down jackets before the gun went off. The race began with a 3.5 mile road run from downtown Black Mountain and thru Montreat. Normally we catch some singletrack, but our first reroute had us skipping this and heading straight up some heinous hills that warmed you up quick. From there we accessed the Toll Road - a 9 mile forest service road that led us so the Blue Ridge Parkway. Normally pretty rocky, the snow and ice almost worked to our benefit here to fill in the gaps and smooth things out a bit. The hard part was negotiating the narrow "path" left by the snowmobiles. Sometimes it was nice and wide; other times a bit too narrow for 2 feet to easily fit. After a few slips and increasingly tentative steps, I pulled on the Yak Trax - definitely good move, giving me the confidence to step wherever I wanted.

My Pics from Mount Mitchell 2010

There was a strict cutoff for the Challenge once runners got to the Parkway. Make it before 10am, and you can motor on to the summit. 10:01, and you turn around (but can still complete the Marathon as an official finisher). I cruised thru at 9:22, feeling strong and rather positive. Onward and upward! I took a moment to refresh at the aid station (all of them were lavishly stocked! I took a liking to the animal crackers today), take off the Yak Trax (we would now be on a plowed road), and put on some more clothes. Once we rounded a turn, the winds coming thru the gap stopped me in my tracks. Seriously. So strong I could barely move. Luckily this would be the worst of it, but I hung around a group of others as we slowly climbed up to 6,684'. Clouds hung low, so we saw no spanning vistas; instead, we were transported to a crazy land where the trees were not only covered with snow, but reminded me of those fake white christmas trees you see. Surreal! I snapped a few pics, but the temps kept my fingers tucked inside warm mittens. Finally, a few hundred feet from the summit, we escaped the pavement and hit some trail. The early runners probably had it easiest - walking on top of a frozen crust of snow & ice. But by now it had been stirred up and I had to negotiate thru a mess that was nearly up to my knees. Once we tagged the sign at the summit, we were signed off and now officially half way done! It was all downhill from here. Literally. How hard could that be? (well, Black Mountain does sit around 2,300'....)

Me all bundled up! © Asheville Citizen-Times

When you don't run on pavement too much, it's a killer. There was a nice, snow-free road luring you down… begging you to haul ass and make up some time. My knees & hips were warning me though, so I was somewhat conservative. I was super happy to hit the toll road once again - snow & ice was better than asphalt. I cruised down, trying to ignore some of the aches that started to pop up. I forgot my iPod, but enjoyed listening to the woods or chatting with other runners. Time passed. And then the evil road was here again. Somehow that last 3.5 miles always takes an eternity. In my head I thought 40 minutes; 3.5-4 miles…. I can average a 10min/mile pace and make it right around 7 hrs. That should be no problem. Um, yeah. Not quite. At least half those steps were painful (I swear my kneecaps wanted to pop off my knees); sometimes I was just happy to keep a forward movement.

Finally the Lake Tomahawk came into view, along with the finish line. I hobbled across, happy to have finally made it! 7hrs, 10 min. This was good enough for 5th place which I was thrilled with! I think I surprised from friends there too :) After some delicious hot soup, dry clothes, and picking up the prized finisher's fleece, we headed back to the lodge to get cleaned up. Kathy had finished the marathon earlier that morning with a great time as her debut back after foot surgery last year. Natalie had a strong day, finishing 4th. Krissy easily won the women's division, in a speedy 5:10. It would have been great to stick around for the awards ceremony that night, as the podium went thru 5th place (Rock/Creek ladies representing!!), but the long drive back had us ancy.

me + monica, happy to be done! ©Chris Brown

Jay & I. um, not quite sure what I'm doing! ©Chris Brown

my set up. much more than i normally carry, but I have to say
I was 100% happy with the choices I brought along. ©Chris Brown

Definitely happy to finally check this one off the list! Thanks to Rock/Creek, Patagonia, The North Face, Vasque & nuun for all the support! And a huge thanks to Jay Curwen and all of the race volunteers, rangers, & medics on the course ensuring us a fun and safe race!

The gear:
Vasque Blur SL shoes - These are what I've been running in all winter, so I figured I shouldn't change them up last minute.
Yak Trax
TNF Flight Series windstopper vest & momentum top
Hincapie wool longsleeve baselayer
Insport tights
Smartwool socks
Nathan hydration vest
nuun - banananuun flavor. thinking tropical to keep me warm. :)
Marmot Randonnee mittens - yes, my hands get REALLY cold, but these were worth a million to me!
Marmot Dryclimb jacket - outerwear for the ascent
Mountain Hardwear fleece beanie
Buff - the ultimate piece of gear. (wore as a neck gaiter, balaclava, and headband)
Tifosi sunglasses
CEP recovery socks
CW-X stability tights, worn for recovery afterwards

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Sunday, February 28

Mount Mitchell Challenge: press & pics

I survived! Still writing the race report, but there's been so much great press about the race I thought I'd compile some here and get it up now. stay tuned...

Rock/Creek Pres Release

Photos by Chris Brown
Pics by Wilderness Adventure Photography
Post-race article from Asheville Citizen Times
Pics from the Asheville Citizen Times
Pics from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Pics from Steppe's Gap

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Friday, February 26

the summit, 24 hrs before the big day


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Wednesday, February 24

snowshoes, anyone?

Saturday I will be at the 13th running of the Mt Mitchell Challenge. Lucky 13.... yes, it will be a special year. Check out the weather report for today:


Saturday's forecast keeps changing... currently 38/22, with snow showers in the afternoon. Cross your fingers that it's cold enough for it to just be snow - last year's weather went from bad to worse, and runners were being rescued off the mountain. Of course the two previous years I've been out there (running the marathon distance), we had picture perfect sunny days. Maybe I'll bring some sunshine again :)

I have no idea how ready I am. Sure, physically I feel great (thanks, Matt!) Mentally I am there, pulling from that adventure racing fortitude that I haven't tapped into for a few years. I guess it comes down to gear and specific conditions. The course has been greatly modified due to the snow. (55" and 10'+ drifts?!!) Some of the trails are closed, so we'll be using the road to reach the summit. It was plowed this week, but after the snow today and tomorrow, who knows what sort of shape it will be in. Some folks are using snowshoes. I have yaktrax ready, but am not prepared with gtx shoes or gaiters. fingers (or rather toes) crossed that the fleece toe covers I've been using inside my Vasque Blurs all winter will be enough for the conditions ahead.

I'm taking my camera and will be sure to capture some epic conditions. Meanwhile, here are some my friend Chris took out there recently:

And check out this article in the Asheville newspaper today.

And finally, a webcam from the summit. It's dark out now, so I'm not quite sure what it looks right now. white, i'm sure!

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Sunday, February 14

A snowy raccoon

Once again I woke up to snow falling in southern Tennessee - a great day to go for a run on the mountain! It snowed on us for the entire 3 hrs. Unfort my run wasn't that great, wiping out twice. My right knee is killing me. Ice not doing much to alleviate the pain. 2 weeks to get it back in track!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Sunday, January 31

Another wintery weekend

PART ONE: Friday: the quest to get home
The winter storm that was supposed to just be rain for us was most definitely much more. We got dumped on. I thought I played it safe and didn't go to the Y after getting out of work early... but there were no salt or sand trucks in action yet and getting home was rough. Still had to leave my car a few houses down as it couldn't get up my hill.

PART TWO: Saturday morning: a new kind of pain
I tried something new in the new year and signed up for the TN Indoor Rowing Championships. Anders has been giving me some form tips and workouts to do, so I thought, why not. I signed up on the last day of pre-reg, a mere 2 weeks to prep. Nothing like diving right in :) There's a category called Never Ever for women that have never raced on water (today's event was held on the rowing machines ("ergs") you commonly see in gyms). Unfortunately, the winter storm kept many of the regional schools from coming out. UTC, UT, Auburn and Alabama were there, along with the local high schools and rowing clubs. And me... in my Gator tri-shorts :) There ended up being only 3 of us in our race - 6 of the other pre-registered girls didn't show. (And Rebecca flew in 5 min before the start, geared to go). It was a painful sort of fun. Just 2k long, but you're going almost all out the entire time and totally fall-on-your-face worked at the end. I won with a time of 8:11 (was aiming for closer to 8:00, but it's really hard to figure out pacing - I didn't want to bonk at the end.) Looking at the posted results later, it would have had me in the top 3 of many of the collegiate women races which was cool.

I think I was the only one there old enough to legally drink from the stein.

PART THREE: Saturday afternoon: slush puppies
i joined a group this afternoon for a snowy, slushy, icy run on lookout mountain. i decided to test out the yak tracks, since they may be a mandatory piece of gear for the upcoming Mount Mitchell Challenge. it was beautiful up there - a true winter wonderland, with ice covering tree branches and lots of snow underfoot. we did hear one big tree fall which had me sketched out a bit, so we didn't venture onto the tight singletrack.

PART FOUR: Sunday afternoon: running with hard hats
ok, not really, but it might have been a good idea. i went for another long run at lookout. gorgeous, with the sun making all the ice sparkle; and, make it melt. bits of ice were falling off the tree branches far above, causing a constant windchimey sound. luckily the pieces were small and usually shattered once they hit you.

More Pics


Sunday, January 24

Mullens Cove Loop

Wendy, Yoli & I checked out the Mullen's Cove loop today. It's featured in the upcoming River Gorge race as well as Stumpjump 50k in the fall. With all the recent rain, the dampness made for treacherous rock scrambles (the Blurs had great grip and handled the task like a champ!); however, the creeks were full and waterfalls plentiful!

Snoopers Rock

Yes, that is the trail!

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Saturday, January 16

Running around Fort Mountain

I'm down at Fort Mountain this weekend, volunteering at the North GA Adventure Race this weekend (see: http://www.checkpointtracker.com for live coverage). I had some time earlier to get a run on the trails inside the park. The Gahuti Trail (Cherokee for Mother Mountain) is an 8+ mile loop around the park. There were some gorgeous views, although the trail itself was hit or miss - very well marked, but a few sections looked to be a bit torn up from ATV'rs or logging and there lots of downed trees. Otherwise, it was a mix of technical singletrack and some flowy doubletrack.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Wednesday, January 13

Running thru some southern snow

There was still plenty of white stuff on top of Signal when I joined Kathy & Natalie for a run 2 days after 'the big storm'. Some beautiful scenery, including an almost-frozen-solid waterfall!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Tuesday, January 5

Wine for the Climb

SORBA Chattanooga is hosting this event to raise money for new trails at Raccoon that will run from the base of the mountain to the top. Whether you're a biker, runner, or other type of trail lover, come enjoy the evening ... (or make a separate donation to SORBA!) We need to raise $75k!

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Saturday, December 26

real winter running

Sure, I know all about winter running in the south. but how do the folks up in the great white north do it? Well, I got a taste of it last week up in CT. I finally made it to Sleeping Giant State Park (about 20 min NW of New Haven). (Trail Map Here) I had checked out the trail map previously (tons of routes to choose from!) but this was my first visit to the park. We had about 10” of snow 2 days prior, so this southen girl was smiling ear to ear. I didn’t know what to expect as far as trail conditions, so my expectations were light - no matter what, I knew that I’d be having fun. I found the trailhead and set off on what looked like a frequently traveled snowshoe path. Looking at my map, I decided to follow the blue tail - the most scenic, but also the most difficult. :-) The shoe prints ahead dwindled until there was just one set - which definitely helped mark the path and pack down the snow a tad. The few times I stepped off trail, I sunk well above mid-calf. (At that rate, my toes would have been cold quick! The breathabe mesh of my Vasque Blu SL’s are geat for running in the south, but let too much of the dry fluffy snow in. maybe gaiters would help some? or gore-tex?)

The trail lived up to my dreams - A true Winter Wonderland! White snow, blue skies, and great views fom the giant’s knee & leg :-) I was able to get a light running pace going a few times, although it wasn’t easy - high stepping (to minimize the snow covered shoes) and keeping a balanced center of gravity (to offset potential slipping). Had one close call crossing a snow covered creek - one foot broke though some ice, but I didn’t get too wet. Although time was getting short (the sun sets so early!!), I was stubbon and kept going to the tower - a beautiful rock structure built in the 30s. Instead of taking the orange or yellow back as planned, I played it safe and took the red trail south to Mt. Carmel Road and ran back to my parking spot off Chestnut. I didn’t see a soul out there (maybe because it was midday on a Monday), but I imagine it is a popular spot with the locals year round. (On a sidenote, the Quinnipiac Trail is on my to-do list: 24 miles in its entirety!)

In general, I dressed well for the run - temps were close to 30, but the wind creeping up over the west ridge blasted me a few times. I was glad I had a backup jacket in my pack. This was my first run with the Ultimate Direction Wink pack - normally I stick with thei handheld or the tiny Nathan pack, but needed the extra room and hydration tube insulation - quite comfortale to run in as well!

(let me know you fav winter items, as this is still new to me!)

mountain hardwear gloves & fleece hat
icebreaker wool baselayer
TNF fleece and vest
patagonia nine trails jacket
smartwool socks
Vasque Blur SL shoes
Ultimate Hydration Wink pack... with banananuun (to make me think of tropical warmness!)

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Monday, November 30

Checking out the Pinhoti

The Pinhoti Trail is a huge network of trails reaching from Elijay, GA well into AL (where the Pinhoti 100 race is held each fall) - 324 miles in full! The Snake Creek Gap time trial series is also held here each winter, a 17 & 34 mile mountain bike race (I always loved the sound of this endurance event, but have always had a schedule conflict).

One particularly idyllic fall afternoon, I headed down to Dug Gap with a friend to check out a new-to-me running spot. It’s only about 35 min south of Chatt, yet somehow I hadn’t been there yet. Parking is limited, with only a few spots on the side of the road (although the nearby Dalton convention center should offer plenty of space fo carpoolers). The trail is well marked and easy to follow. With the trees bare of leaves, plenty of scenic vistas were offered. We had to keep our mind on the trail though, as the leaves were now covering all the rocks, making the footing a technical challenge. (hmm, maybe THIS is why I hvaen’t tackled the mtn bike race yet!)

Definitely put these trails on your to-do list. Easily accessible, great running, and more trail than your feet know what to do with!

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Wednesday, July 15

a glimpse of heaven, a taste of hell... - Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tsu

OK, it's just going to be 50 miles, but that single step thing still holds true. I've been working towards this event for awhile now and feel strangely ready for it. Not that I should be surprised - Matt is awesome and he knows what he's doing. Sure, I may have looked with wide eyes at the time and mileage I was putting in (my high week was 64 miles - I've never come close to that before - but somehow, my body always responded well when called upon. Of course I had the occasional bad run, but I could usually attribute that to a combination of high temps & humidity, poor nutrition that day, and maybe some lack of sleep the night before. (that's definitely the #1 thing I need to work on!)

I'm heading out last minute this time, arriving in Reno at noon on Friday. (Last year for the Leadville100, I was at 7000' for 8 days, then got up to 10k' the day before. In general I felt good on the course there, but did have some late race breathing problems... cause still unknown). TRT stays between 6000' and 9000', so nothing quite as severe, but it should still be a big factor in my success. Our total elevation gain will be just under 10k' so stout but not impossible. I think one of the big unknowns is how the sandy areas will affect my feet. Bringing some duct tape just in case :) Kathy, Natalie, Wendi, Jamie, Chad, Kris, Randy, Brenda & Lee are all going, so we should have a great time. Unfortunately Jaclyn has 2 torn ligaments and has to sit this one out. (stay off your feet & get better!!) After the race I'll be hitting Steamboat for some R&R before heading back east.

Check out the course description here, with a link to the map.

A couple of thanks to folks integral to my prep:
• the best coach around, Matt Hart
Rock/Creek Outfitters, for their support of our team.
• my magical massage therapist Christian at Body Wisdom
• to all my friends keeping me company on the trail
• to Rebecca & Dreama for watching Ollie & Lenny while I'm gone!!
• (and to my bikes for not hating me while i've ignored them :)

I'll try to post something in regards to my survival soon!


Monday, June 29

bug season

unfortunately, it's still gnat season in the south. (does it ever end?)

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Monday, June 15

riverbend festival

every year, madness converges upon downtown chattanooga for 9 sweaty, loud, drunken days. i biked down a few nights to help out with Outdoor Chattanooga's Bike Valet (free bike parking right outside the gates!), sneaking in on occasion to catch some of the groups on the smaller stages (in particular, Bluetastic Fangrass, Alejandro Escovedo and Jennifer Daniels were awesome!).

there is also the annual Riverbend 10k/5k run. i decided to jump in the 10k as the week's speed workout. i haven't done a road 10k since the '05 Peachtree, so it would be interesting to see how my speed was progressing. it was one big messy mass start - 1100+ runners were participating. luckily wide roads helped people spread out quick. the course was ok - it started downtown, through the mess of early morning music festival grounds before trash cleanup, over a few bridges for some hills, along the riverwalk, and down the not-so-scenic amnicola hwy. my first 2 miles were good, the next few hurt a bit more... a bit literally, as we were mostly on nasty concrete with no give for your joints. short races are tough for me; i have to remind myself constantly that it will be over soon so there is no time to relax.

around mile 5.5 we're back in the festival area and merge with the 5k course. normally i wouldn't have thought this to be a problem, but with lots of walkers meandering along, it got a bit tough for us runners wanting to push through quick. in one spot i was trying to pass a pair of women chatting it up, when one veered into my path with a baby stroller. aaack!! luckily no one went flying, but my groove got out of sync. seriously race directors, this sort of course planning is simply not smart.

anyways, mishaps were avoided and i made the final turn and started the ascent to the finish line (how cruel!) i finished with a guntime of 56:50, a pr for the 10k distance. go me!! it ended up being good enough for 2nd place in my age group (out of 35 women). and because i'm a statistics junkie, that put me 6th overall woman, and 57/337 total in the 10k. not so bad for an off-road endurance runner ;)

one note of something new i tried pre-race: banananuun. MMMM! go out and get some. this stuff is fantastic and only around for a limited time!

EDIT: As I was so kindly reminded, locally in Chattavegas you can purchase nuun at my favorite running shop, Fast Break, and my favorite outdoor retailer, Rock/Creek. Show your love to these fine retailers!


Tuesday, June 2

$5000 raised for The Boonies at the Scenic City Trail Marathon & Half...

(from the press release:)

Locally-owned specialty outdoor retailer Rock/Creek today announces a $5,000 donation for The Boonies, the latest in a string of donations stemming from the Rock/Creek Trail Series. The Boonies will use the money to help run future events as well as secure access to single track trails. These funds came from last Saturday morning's third annual Scenic City Trail Marathon and Half Marathon, presented by Vasque PROJECT and Rock/Creek. Other contributing sponsors include SmartWool, Marmot, The North Face, and Hammer Nutrition. Local sponsors include Greenlife Grocery and Cleveland Toyota.
Proceeds from both events go to The Wilderness Trail Running Association (aka The Boonies) and will be used for future trail races, trail maintenance, and sustainability efforts in the Cumberland and Southern Appalachian Mountains. A portion of the money raised will go to help with SORBA's trail building efforts.

read the full press release

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Sunday, May 24

and speaking of tahoe....

it's going to be an incredible run!!


scenic city trail marathon report

Now that the countdown to Tahoe gets closer, it's time to indulge in some longer runs. Up till now, I've done a few 2.5-3 hr runs with my ankle reacting favorably. Fingers crossed it would go the distance in the marathon.

A little about the race... This is the 3rd year we've held it, although it was in a different location the first year (Possum Creek Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail - gorgeous trail, but more of a scramble than run in some places and aid stations weren't easy to set up). Now it's at Raccoon Mountain, a favorite mountain bike spot for me; it's definitely weird to run somewhere that you love to bike - just not the same experience :) But a great location for a race. The half'ers did 1 loop, while those running the full did 2. Can I tell you that I'm just not a fan of multiple loop courses? It messes with your brain... Oh you're at the finish line. but HA, you have to go out and do another loop!

OK, back to race day.
I started near the front to get a decent position going onto the singletrack (there was a few minutes of road running to spread people out before dipping into the woods). Once on the trail, it was your typical early race backup.... a long line of runners ahead and behind. A few people chose to pass, but most just hung out as the pack naturally disintegrated.

There's really not that much to say about the next few hours... my heart rate was too high for the first 45 min or so and it was hard to get it down, but that seems to be the norm for me. The terrain is pretty varied. 90% hardpacked singletrack I'd say, with a few real rocky areas. In general though, it is very runnable. You wind through open areas with grasses to your shoulder, pine forests, hardwoods, blooming mountain laurel, with the occasional view of the Tennessee River Gorge. It seems at most points you're either going up or down, but most of the climbs were relatively short. The first half was much more social - twice as many folks were running the half, so there were plenty of people around to chat with. I ran with a guy from Steamboat for awhile - and he knew my uncle. Small world!

After the rock sidewalk by the dam, the 2 distances split up - the second loop was pretty quiet and all but void of people. I turned on the Shuffle to jam a bit (a little Disturbed always makes the hillclimbs a bit easier!) After the final aid station (manned by teammates Wendi & Jamie Dial - always nice to have familiar faces cheering you on), we had about 2 miles to go. Thank god... my body was feeling it. I had tripped earlier, causing a muscle cramp in my right calf that never seemed to fully let go. My left ankle was hurting - same spot as the previous "injury" that was never diagnosed, and the top of that foot seemed to want to cramp up too (weird spot!) I was persevering the pain.. when out of nowhere a girl with too much late race energy passed by me. Dang! There was only a mile to go, but at this point I had nothing in the reserves to chase with.

The race ended with me officially in 6th* place in the women's field, with a time of 4:27:09 (a trail marathon PR!) (*or should I say 7th... Jaclyn and a group of guys took a wrong turn to the finish, causing her to be DQ'd. She led start to finish and would surely have been our winner...). After crossing the finish line, my body seemed to know it was quitting time. I sat down, stuck my foot in a bag of ice (thanks to stephanie & dawson for warm clothes needed to combat my resulting shivers), then had my calves worked on by Dee at Archer Physical Therapy. Then refueling time with yummy grilled Boca burgers at the post-race cookout.

Of course we had re-fueling #2 that night at the Terminal - their Oatmeal Stout does wonders for sore bodies :) We also caught up with a few people in town for the race from Boulder. It was great to get an insiders view of the trail running community there... and more contacts for my next visit west!

Race day gear:
Patagonia top & shorts
Smartwool socks
Vasque Velocity shoes
Nathan hydration vest
Nuun, Cliff Shot Bloks, Hammer Gel & Endurolytes
Fresh oranges... mmmm!

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Thursday, May 21

running the sahara

oh no, not me... that would be crazy talk! but some folks HAVE done just this and a wonderful documentary was made on it, which will be premiering next Wednesday here in Chatt.

AEC cordially invites you to the Chattanooga premiere of Running the Sahara, a feature length documentary directed by Academy Award winner James Moll and executive produced and narrated by Matt Damon.

Enjoy a welcome reception, receive a gift bag with goodies from national and local sponsors and a copy of the DVD, and meet Charlie Engle, ultra-marathon runner from the film!

This event will kick off the AEC's 2009 Back Row Film Series. A portion of proceeds will benefit H20 Africa.

Buy tickets online: http://www.nehst.com/chattanooga

When: May 27
Reception: 6:45 pm
Screening: 7:30 pm

Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre
400 River Street
Chattanooga, TN 37405

Cost: $25


Thursday, May 14

fall in love with ultrarunning

my awesome coach matt (coachingendurance.com) made this. if you aren't a runner yet, you will want to be after watching this!


and this little piggy...

as in my little pinky toe[nail]...went bu-bye!

i think the initial aggravation happened during a run last week, but saturday's mudfest at DSG (report coming, i promise!), entailing 3+ hours of slogging through the mud while carrying my bike, is what did it in. oh, and the 2:45hr run the next day just confirmed it all.. every step around raccoon, with what felt like an ice pick in my lil toe. OUCH! i investigated that night, finding a blister under the nail. i drained it, but no relief came, so i figured there was another further up that just wasn't safe for me to get to.

so, off to my rock/creek teammate chad's wife, lisa, who is a podiatrist. she fixed me up quick! since the nail was small, she figured the best thing to do (with the quickest healing time) would be to extract the entire thing. ICK! she ensured me the bandages should be reduced to a simple band aid tomorrow (for ease of navigating the airport - on my way to CO!), and that i should be totally fine to run the Scenic City Trail Marathon next weekend. fingers crossed!


Saturday, November 15

upchuck 50k

Our weekend adventures on the Cumberland Trail continued today with the 6th event in the Rock/Creek Trail Series: The Upchuck 50k. While I've been running much more lately, I didn't want to commit to the full 50, so some friends joined me on a tour of the Soddy Segment - about 16 miles of fun.

The story of the beginning of the Upchuck is a funny one (yes, it did deal with one of my teammate's upchucking during a training run on these trails). The Cumberland Trail is awesome, but tough. Opportunities for aid stations along the way are few and far between. So when we wanted to include this race in our series this year, we emphasized that this was NOT for beginners; that it would be primarily self-supported; that you would get wet from creek crossings. As if that wasn't epic enough, today's weather added to the adventure. The temp when I left my house at 8:30 was 52. It was a few degrees colder at the start, and only dropped as the day went on. The rain continued intermittently throughout the day (as it has for the previous 24hrs), with a few sleet showers thrown in and wind gusts up to 25mph. Yeah, not a day for the faint of heart.

Luckily though, we were only out for 4 hrs; I don't know how long it took the winners, or my friends sweeping the course (by then I was dethawing in a hot shower :P ) Anyways, here's a few pics from the day...

Oh, and the race logo was courtesy of me... thanks to chad for being my model!

the sleet was really coming down here although it's hard to see

Stephen Smith, 3rd place male at this point

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