February 2008
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Month February 2008

more maps from black mountain

being the map geek that i am, jay sent a few others to me. looks like the elevation gain was around 2790′ (most of it being in the first half!). also, robert from wilderness adventure photography sent me a pic right before the first aid station. it was a pretty steep area; i had to fake my run :)

black mountain marathon

i am back from a wonderful weekend in asheville! the drive over on friday started off with rain, but blue sky peeked through as i was driving through the nanty gorge. the weather for saturday ended up being perfect! temps began in the mid-40s and probably got close to 60. as we gained elevation, the wind did whip around a bit and temps remained lower, but it was quite comfortable thoughout. sections of the trail were wet & muddy from the rain, but nothing to slow you down too much. 

the race starts in downtown Black Mountain (elevation 2400′). after running through the small town of Montreat (all of this being on pavement), we hit the dirt. these 2 sections seems to be the steepest uphill of the marathon course – or maybe it’s just the first one of any significance, so it feels that much worse. otherwise, the next 10 miles are just a steady uphill, with a few flat spots and maybe 1 or 2 teeny downhill sections. we spread out pretty quick, so the few miles on tighter singletrack aren’t problematic. the majority of the marathon is spent on an old dirt road (trestle trail?!), littered with lots of rocks.with a good bit of rain this past week, some sections were muddy and the rocks slick;  while i had a few good trips, i thankfully didn’t take any spills and my feet stayed dry.

map of the marathon
my plan for the first half was to remain consistent and strong, keeping any walking to a minimum (and only when my heart rate/effort felt too high). i kept fueled with the hammer gel & heed supplied at the great aid stations (and a few refreshing orange sections); i brought 2 espresso hammer gels for the latter half of the race to give me a kick. (i started the race with my water bottles filled with nuun – 1 kola, 1 lemon-lime. yeah, i did carry 2 water bottles – i tend to drink a lot and hate to go thirsty. while i do carry a bit more weight that way, i do save a little time going through the aid stations. not sure which is wiser though!) while i’m on the subject of gear, i was sporting my new orange shuffle, which arrived friday about 30 minutes before i hit the road – what timing! and on my feet, my trusty montrail hardrocks - hey, that’s annette (marathon winner) featured on that page!)
at the marathon turnaround on the blue ridge parkway (approx elevation of 5100′, around mile 14), the wind had picked up and we were covered in clouds. after checking in quickly, i turned around and picked up the pace. my time was 2:43 and if my counting was correct, i was in 10th place. it had been about 5 minutes since I had seen the last female, so i had my work cut out. (i had passed the leading female and eventual winner, annette bednosky, on her way down around 2:28; the winning male, jared crave, at 2:12). most of this section i was flying solo… i’d catch up to a few people (unfortunately always males), and a few would pass me (luckily just males). i got to the 2nd to last aid station shortly after 4 hrs. i was told almost 7 miles were left… hmm, a sub-5 time was going to be tight. it was mostly pavement which, while fast, hurt more. then there was approx .5 – 1 mile of what i think is the toughest section of the entire race – steep steep downhill, partly paved, partly dirt road. you want to fly down it, especially with it so close to the end, but that is just a recipe for knee issues and shin splints. after this bit of torture, we ran back through montreat (thankfully using a trail part of the time) then finally towards the finish at lake tomahawk. i felt great and ran as hard as i could (at a pace i knew i could sustain for 4+ miles). finally the lake came into view along with the finish line. now, just 1 loop around the lake path…  i came under the finish line banner feeling (& hopefully looking) strong, with a time of 4:52:53; 10th female, 50th overall (out of 139). this was 17 minutes faster than last year!
the post-race food was great, with homemade soups from the chamber of commerce. all finishers received full-zip fleece jackets embroidered with the race logo. after hanging out with friends, i went back to the curwens to force myself into an ice bath (i swear this was the most pain i felt all day, made bearable only with a hot latte & liz on the phone chatting). that night was the awards dinner back at montreat college – great food and more friends. the awards for the winners were amazing – gorgeous original watercolor paintings of mount mitchell by local artist scott lowrey (he has created something new every year the race has happened – this was its 11th year). 
the rest of the weekend was fab too. i went to the bike love party saturday night with a friend – this was a fundraiser for asheville on bikes to raise $ for the downtown bike locker initiative. it was a wonderfully diverse crowd, with young and old, athletes, industry folks & commuters, great live music and beer from the french broad brewery (abbey ale – mmm!) this was held at the wedge gallery, in the river arts district (looks like a cool place to check out one day). chattanooga really needs an event like this! sunday i got caught up on my play time with chilton – we goofed around with photobooth on my computer making pics & videos. we checked out a new place for brunch – cafe azalea. good food and away from the hustle of downtown, so service was quick.
i drove back to chatt sunday afternoon – a lovely 4 hours (not really; i got sleepy & my legs are now stiff). hopefully i’ll feel ok tomorrow and can have a good recovery week, followed by a taper week :) as i prep for my next event in 2 short weeks: the checkpoint zero adventure race

off to asheville for a little old run

tomorrow i’m headed to asheville for the Mount Mitchell Challenge; however, for the second year in a row, i’ll only be running the Black Mountain Marathon. not that a marathon is anything to turn your nose up to, but I’ve had my heart set on the 40-mile Challenge for two years, and each time, circumstances have forced me to drop back to “a mere” 26. Last year it was ITB trouble not yet cleared up from the Mountain Mist 50k 3 weeks prior; this year it was my 6-week training hiatus during the holidays (the groin strain & sinus infection that caused me to sit on my butt way too long). i just have not been able to get the mileage necessary to safely run the full 40. in fact, i’m hoping to finish the marathon somewhat respectably; my longest runs post-injury have only been 3 hrs. my goal would be to beat last year’s time of 5:09 (which earned me an 11th place finish in the women’s division). hmmm, maybe a top 10 this year? the weather for saturday looks good right now (partly cloudy, 55/35), although right now they are under an ice storm warning!


Last weekend I headed up to Knoxvegas for the 3rd race in their cross series, at Melton Hill Park. Highland-Adventures put on this event (same crew that puts on the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth); this crew puts on top notch grassroots events (no bells and whistles, but always a great course, great prizes, and attention to detail for a very reasonable price… and always a ton of fun!)

It was a gorgeous sunny day, but the wind kept it nippy out. I drove up alone, but met a few other Chatt friends there. The C race (with the women’s division) went last, so I had a nice long warmup and plenty of opportunity to ride the course. It was pretty straightforward, winding through the field. There was a fun drop, 2 tight turns near the lake (with some dried mud – this had the potential to be quite nasty if wet!), one serious climb we switchbacked, and 1 barrier on a slight incline (although not steep enough to be a runup…. still gave me problems though on the remount. I definitely didn’t earn any style points there!) The course in general was deceptive though, with several false flats that really wore you down. All the women raced together which made for a large class (and where did all these Bike Zoo chicks come from??!) It’s really great to see lots of us out there; but it made for a tough race. I don’t know what the final results are, but I think I was around 7th. Jeremy Chandler took some great pics – here are a few of me in action.

After the race, we refueled with some locals & Asheville folks, then I headed over to Michelle’s for the weekend. On Sunday we did a great trail run at Norris Dam with some of the Runner’s Market team. (OK, we started with them, but those speed demons did their own thing). We ran for 2:17, then I added another small loop to get to my 2:30 goal for the day. Yeah, I know, Iwasn’t that far off before, but I’m really trying to stay on task with what Matt puts on my schedule. I was a bit short on my ride time for yesterday, so as soon as I got back to Chattanooga that afternoon, I rode at the Bend for 1:15.

time to get high in the sky

they say be careful what you wish for; it just may come true. well, after 5 anticipation-filled weeks of wondering, hoping, and thinking about every what if in the book…… IT has happened. the participants of the 2008 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike “Race Across the Sky” has been announced. AND…. I MADE THE CUT!!

jeramie called me at work to congratulate me. i really had no clue what he was talking about at first…then i was jumping up and down in my cube at work. (they all think i’m crazy anyhow.) i thought we had a decent chance to get in – there’s actually a group of us from Chatt that turned in our applications as a team. it’s great that i’ll have local folks with the same goal to train with. but what’s even cooler is that my cousin Amanda, who lives in leadville, got in as well! (i recognize the names of several of her friends too).

to make sure i stay on task, i do have a coach that will be whipping me into shape and keeping me focused. this is the first time i’ve had one, but i’m super excited about his plans for me. (he’s a pretty kick ass athlete too… his focus on off road endurance events of many disciplines is what made him attractive to me. while my focus is the L100, i don’t want to stop running and plan to still do some adventure races and duathlons…..)

if you have any altitude tips, please send them my way (the race is between 9000 & 12,600′!!). i’m trying to figure out when to head out there for the race (maybe 8 days before??).. and possibly planning an early summer training weekend out there with some locals.

(now to figure out how to actually fall asleep tonight!)

running update

the crew at Edward’s Point

still playing catchup with some pics. these are from last weekend’s run at signal mtn. i felt good and ran somewhere around 15 miles (2h44min). i’m definitely making progress, although starting to feel a little apprehensive with the upcoming race. i’ve resigned myself to the fact that the Challenge will once again not be a possibility and at this point, i’m hoping i can whip out the 5hrs necessary for me to do the marathon. (‘course i would like to beat last year’s time). we’ll see. my plan will be to continue to increase my weekly mileage smartly. (but i bombed that with no long run this weekend. dumb me. there was a velo vixen training ride i joined saturday, with intentions of running after, but some errands and dealing with AT&T; (#!%!?*!) just wore me down. i did have a nice run today – in the rain – but much shorter than it should have been. i did try to work in every nearby hill though, which in this neighborhood is pretty significant).

Suck Creek

Joey at Mushroom Rock

Sergio on the Swinging Bridge

the Tennessee River from Edward’s Point
(looking towards Chattanooga)

snow pic, greenway cross race (report + pics)

finally getting some pics uploaded!

my back porch a few weeks ago!

The pics below are from the SCV Cyclocross Race at the Greenway Farms last weekend. (I didn’t really take any at Columbia since it was so flippin’ cold.) This race (my 2nd!) was much more technical than the previous: full of tight twisty turns and some mud thrown in for good measure. One turn in particular was nice and slick – my bike was dancing under me each time, but luckily I didn’t slide out.  After this was a set of double barriers (these were definitely a few inches taller than Columbia!), followed by a steep hill – totally rideable, until it turned to peanut butter. I made it up during my 3 warmup laps and first 2 race laps, but only got halfway up before jumping off and running up the last bit (for the last 3 laps). The women’s Cat4 field was pretty stacked – Kim & Susie, the #1 & 2 gals in the state that I met last weekend; Lisa, and 3 others. I got 5th place – not bad, but not fab. Fun times though! (still no pics of me racing cross yet unfortunately).
The pics below are from the Women’s Pro/1/2/3 + Mens 3/Masters race. I stationed myself at the top of the peanut butter hill, as that seemed to be the biggest challenge. As the race wore on, the mud only got worse. 
There’s only 2 more races in the season, up in Knoxville. I’m planning on hitting one more. Then it’s on to the rest of the year!