November 2007
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Oct   Dec »

Month November 2007

YMCA Strong Adventure Race

Since February, Kevin and I have slaved away working on this race, from the permits to the course design to the post race food to fill the tummies of hungry racers. Every minute showed as the last team crossed the finish line with big smiles on their face. I will say though that taking a vacation and returning only 2 days before the event was not the smartest thing. Friday night I got a mere 3 hrs of sleep, ran out of paper for my printer, and was waiting for Kinkos to open their door at 7am. But the last minute scrambling transitioned to a smooth time once the racers started arriving.

The youth race started at 10am. 14 teams toed the starting line, most for their first adventure race ever. The kids race, which included trail running, biking, canoeing and a few mystery events, kept racers busy for about an hour. This was a bit short of our target time – they were much more energetic than we anticipated!

The main event for adults was the 6hr race that afternoon, lasting until 9pm. 36 teams of 3 participated, with everything from top regional racers to first-timers. Happily everyone finished and only 1 team came in after the time limit (causing them to be ranked unofficially). The event began with a 1 mile prologue in which racers retrieved their passport. This spread out teams nicely as they hit the water for a pretty long paddle, taking teams anywhere from 2-4hrs to complete. Next up was a mountain bike section followed by a trail run, taking racers to every possible corner of the mainland of Harrison Bay State Park. (I really give Kevin props for utilizing every bit of the park. He did a great job!) A few mystery events (including archery and a rope climb) spiced things up a bit and added to the fun.

some of the newbies were challenged in keeping their canoes upright

One of the hardest times of the day came in tracking teams as they finished. People were asking me questions about tshirts when I was knee deep in checking passports and tabulating results for our 3 different categories. Quite stressful! But we got it done with few complaints. We had $1000 in cash prizes to share amongst the top 3 coed teams, with lots of great sponsor prizes going to the top female and male teams (big thanks to Scott’s Bikes, Fast Break, Rock/Creek Outfitters, The North Face and Checkpoint Zero!).

Stressful situation #2 came in the cleanup. We were able to provide more than half the teams with canoes. During check-in, we failed to tell teams to put their canoes and gear back on the trailers after the race. Sooo, all the canoes (24 of them to be exact) were laying down by the waterfront at 11pm. That left us, the tired race staff, with the task of loading them all up… which kept us busy till 1:30am. That was simply not fun and we will definitely make changes here next year!

In all, this inaugural race was a great success, raising nearly $5000 for the Strong Kids Campaign. Yeah!!

> more pictures here

Upchuck Adventure Run, TBARC Bike Nav

So it’s a lazy Thanksgiving Day, so I thought I’d catch up on a few posts before braving the chilly temps & wind for a run or bike – trying to wait till it warms up a tad, but I don’t think it’s going to get much better (cloudy & 50 degrees, winds around 10-25mph, and pretty wet out after over an inch of rain yesterday).

The Upchuck Adventure Run was an “event” put on by the Boonies 2 weeks ago on the Cumberland Trail. A few run distances were available. Matt & Chad ran the whole thing, starting at Hotwater Road and running the 11 mile Soddy segment, followed by the Possum Creek Gorge and Rock Creek segments (20 miles). Another Matt joined them for the first segment, then Natalie, Kathy and I ran the last ones together…although we didn’t time our start right and had to wait on the guys for about 45 min at the end. (or maybe we just ran that fast??! :) ) Big thanks to Chad for the pizza and beer at the end and the warm blanket from Nat since I forgot to leave a drop bag at the end.

Natalie & Kathy

the two (k)cathi(y)s

Last weekend was the local TrailBlazers‘ end of year party, consisting of a bike navigation event and mystery beer party. Jim put together a fun course that showcased our lovely townships to the north (Soddy Daisy, Bakewell, Sale Creek). Since my road bike is still not here, I borrowed my old one from Michelle and hit the course solo style. It was another beautiful day to be out. I nabbed all the points in around 4 hrs. Carol and Cecilia beat my time by a little bit to sneak in the win… but having someone to ride with in the wind definitely gave them the advantage :)

After the ride, I jetted downtown quick to see some friends that were in town riding Raccoon. Then I showered and headed back to the Farmer casa to chill in the backyard with cold beer & a hot bonfire (and s’mores). Oh, the mystery part of the beer was that the hosts handed you random stuff – you didn’t get to choose what you got. But I did sneak my own stuff…Denver IPA from the Great Divide Brewing Company. It had a great label :)

In the news…

Here is a scan of an interview that Kevin and I did for the Community News section of the Times Free Press. While it was great to get media coverage, I’m not too thrilled with the overall quality of the article itself… I’ll be posting a race recap soon!

Surviving Shut-In

I’ve heard a lot about this race… there’s the challenge of getting in (it sells out every year), the challenge of the weather (warm or cold? how many leaves will be on the trail, hiding the rocks?), and the challenge of the terrain (17.8 miles, 5000′ of cumulative elevation gain). I’ve been warned the last 2 miles are unrunnable. Despite all of this, I was excited for my inaugural event.

First, a bit of history… the trail was initially developed by George Vanderbilt, as a way to get from the Biltmore to his hunting lodge on Mt. Pisgah in the 1890s. Now, a large section of the trail is part of the infamous Mountains to Sea Trail (yeah, the same one I have a love/hate relationship with, from the Overmountain Extreme AR).

Saturday morning, my friend Stephen and I shuttled cars, leaving mine at the finish and taking his to the start at the NC Arboretum (luckily the race didn’t start till 10am, so we didn’t have to get up too dreadfully early). The drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway was stunning. Fall colors were close to their peak; the sun filtered through the trees and intensified the yellows, oranges, rusts, crimsons, and greens. The temps were brisk to start – mid to upper 30s? – but were to warm up to near 60 midday. The first few miles followed a gravel road through the arboretum and spread out the crowd of nearly 200. It was a gradual incline which was not my favorite way to start, so I took it a bit easy in an attempt to find my pace. Once we hit the singletrack, the trail alternated between hard packed dirt and rocky sections, and between ups, downs and flats. It was quite ideal; a gorgeous course. The variety kept it interesting and challenging.

Racers were encouraged to have a support person meet them at aid stations, as only water was provided along the course. I’m sure it helps the top athletes move quicker, but independent me got long ok without. I used my Ultimate Direction dual water bottle holder that had a small zippered pouch for a few gels and clif bloks. I also attached a small pouch to the belt to hold my inhaler and endurolytes. Sure, I could lighten my load a little bit, but when I’m used to my adv racing pack, it wasn’t that bad :)

When the course crossed the Parkway at the intersection of 151, the “fun” began. We had a pretty intense climb, but nothing that wasn’t doable with a solid hike. Then we were up on the ridge and could run some more. But then there was more… even steeper. And then more. Wow, it just wouldn’t stop. It was the kind of hike where you put your hands on your thighs in order to move, praying you wouldn’t cramp up with the next step. Luckily I managed not to, but I passed a few folks immobilized along the way. My back was pretty tense from bending forward in order to move ahead. As I finally crested the hill we were on and began the final descent into the parking lot (and finish line), the tenseness spread throughout my midsection and I was all but doubled over. I kept looking at my watch, which was creeping quickly to 4 hrs (my initial goal of 3:30 now a distant memory). Finally I could hear cheers at the finish line and knew I was close. 3:58.43. phew! That was good enough to crack the top 20 female finishers (19th), with an overall place of 114 out of 170 finishers.

After an ice bath back at the cabin (yeah, it totally sucks but the few times I’ve done it the recovery time has been incredible – and now 24 hrs after the event, I’m feeling great!), I realized that driving 4 hrs home was just not going to happen, so I headed over to the Curwens for dinner and a great night’s sleep. Breakfast the next morning was at the Over Easy Cafe – very yummy! I had the hotcake special: strawberries, goat cheese, & chocolate chips (just a few so not overly sweet) with maple syrup. Delish! Asheville really has the best breakfast spots :)


I’m headed to Asheville tomorrow for the Shut-In Ridge Trail Run: 17.8 miles, starting elevation around 2000′, finishing elevation around 5000′. and I’m sure there is some rolling terrain inbetween!

Here’s a peek: