Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exploring New Groups

Today I did something I rarely do, I ran with a group of people I am not familiar with. See, at Merrill’s Mile I made friends with John. He and I have been chatting back and forth on Facebook, trying to get a run together. I was always hesitant to wake up early on Sunday(the day his group meets), but decided to give it a try on my sleep deprived body.

I moved out at 7:00 AM and headed down to Cumming, GA. I was so tired that I had to stop and get an energy drink. This was after drinking a coffee mind you…

The trail we ran on was much more running-friendly than I am used to, especially compared to my run from Saturday. We were able to run sub 8 minute miles on certain sections. It was sure fun to break free!

I knew we were only doing 10 miles at a reasonable pace on reasonable terrain, so I opted to just bring my water bottle and a Hammer gel. It is funny to think that I used to have to work so hard to get 10 miles in and now I am using them as recovery runs. I feel like I am becoming a stronger runner, but also the cooler weather is playing a part.

The run was near a fish hatchery and ran near a lake. I was impressed by the cleanliness of the trail. No trash! People actually don’t litter!
The group I was with was nice and after a while I felt like I fit in pretty well. We were able to talk to one another and joke around. This is what I love about the running community. Almost 100% of the time, during group runs, everyone is happy because they are out doing the thing that they love. It is a beautiful thing.

I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, but I will next time because there are some great views on this route.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Duncan Ridge Trail Training Run #2

This weekend was packed full of steep climbs, leafy trails, and fun people.

Running Ahead Run Summary

Saturday we set out and did the Duncan Ridge Trail training run, which consisted of the 18 miles the 50k runners get to run, but the 30k runners don’t. We met up at Vogel State park, then went to the location where the trail starts.

After the race director explained that he will be running ahead to put tags on the trail for race marking(and training run marking), the runners set off. I stayed back for a minute and spoke with Mitch Pless, an ultra-running buddy of mine(and a fast one at that). We caught up, discussed Pinhoti, and separated. He was only doing a short run that day since he is running Pinhoti in 1 week.
Before I begin, let me give you a run-down of what I have. I am carrying a Camelbak with 2 1.5 liter reservoirs in it. I also have a ton of food and other useless crap. It weighed 12 pounds. I did this because:
  • I wanted a really good work-out.
  • The pack that I run with runs a little slower than I am comfortable with. To combat this, I run with more weight to make it more strenuous.
I started a familiar climb and kept following the trail. I raced down a hill and hit a fork in the trail. “Hmmm…. It looks like they went that way!” I ran down, down, down a hill until I realized that I may not be in the right place. I had not seen any blue blazes or ribbons. Great… So I did what any lost grown man would do and called my mommy.
Luckily, she was on the right trail and described what I was looking for. I used my handy dandy GPS tool and followed my way back up, up, up a hill. “Ah, there’s the blaze I missed!” I ran fast to catch up to everyone. After about a quarter mile I had an odd feeling. I still hadn’t seen any more ribbons. Dammit.
I called my mom back again, and told her what was going on. She told me that my turn was at the very top of the hill that I had initially ran up. I dragged myself back up that hill, and saw the turn that was going in the opposite direction. Ugh.

At this point I had 2 miles on my watch and I was really only a quarter mile into the course. Some people would be frustrated by now, but I was actually pretty happy. I knew since I was on the right trail I could run faster, with a heavier pack, and try to catch up to my parents.
I kept myself moving at a medium-high intensity. Miles past and I did not see anyone. I kept doing the math in my head. It made sense that I was having a hard time catching them. I was 20 to 30 minutes behind them when I finally started running.

There were a few times when I got confused, but for the most part the trails were marked extremely well, considering the very leafy conditions.
I ran into Mitch again, who told me my parents were right up the hill. I kept moving and kept running into other runners that were doing their own training runs. I stopped and talked to my buddy Ryan. I casually leaned with my hand up against a tree and something bit it. It really hurt and I felt it start to swell. Once we got done talking I picked up the pace since I knew I only had about 2 miles until a turnaround/road. If something bad happened to my hand I could make it out alive!

I hit a downhill and loosened up. I glided down it and ran up behind my Mom and Paul. At this point I was at 9 miles and they were at 7.
I ran/walked with them until my Dad, Angela, and Jess ran into us. They were coming back. They said that the turnaround was .4 miles ahead. My Mom and Paul decided to turn around there and run with the group. I started running fast to the turnaround. I ran about .1 miles and decided that I didn’t feel like playing the whole catchup game again. I turned around, caught up with them, and decided to stick with people for the way back.
The way back was less eventful. Jess and I hung back with Paul, who was having some nutritional troubles.

All-in-all it was an excellent run, filled with great people and beautiful scenery. The climbs were great(masochistic I know)! I can’t wait to run this section after running Coosa Bald in the DRT.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Unbreakable Movie - Meeting The Pros

Just a quick update.

I have been running and running, but other hobbies have pulled me away from my writing.

Anyway, last night I met Hal Koerner, a really awesome ultra-runner who I probably would never see in a race situation(would be too far ahead).

He was a super nice guy, real down to earth. We talked training strategies, pacing, and nutrition. He had a great Q&A after the movie where some more topics were covered such as race preparation, mantras, and wife material for him.

Oh, the movie was awesome! I am going to have to buy it! Maybe if I watch it with my girlfriend she will become inspired, as it is an extremely motivating movie! It was really neat to see all of my running heroes packed into one movie.

Well, that's all I got for now. I'll keep running and so should you!