Tag training

gotta love my crazy friends

an email received this afternoon:

We are planning the inaugural Sick Bird for Feb 2nd. Start time is 9am at the commons area on Lookout Mtn.
The Sick Bird consists of:
Riding off lookout and over to Raccoon Mtn visitor center. Run the 11 mile loop (trails).
Ride back up Lookout Mtn and finish by running Big Daddy 12.5 miles.
If you’re interested this is a self supported deal.

i might create the injured bird variation (run only 1 of the loops – not quite up to that much volume. close though!) IF my road bike arrives this week. (supposedly it is being boxed up and shipped out tomorrow… JESSE, ARE YOU READING THIS?!? :) if it doesn’t arrive, maybe i’ll join folks at raccoon for a run, then ride my mtn bike. and i could graciously become a support vehicle as well…

btw, there are a few other crazy events like this. the official Big Daddy event involves road biking, trail running, and Spam. ick.

wed night run, take 1…

warnings of a winter weather mix this evening of course had me quite excited. this coming on a wed night, when our weekly trail run has moved to signal mtn, made me extra excited, as i was certain i’d see some white stuff. i left work early to scoot up the mtn. little bits of ice danced off my windshield – so fine you could hardly even see it. once on top of the mtn, i actually had to use my wiper blades a bit. only jim & david were in the parking lot… jim still huddled in his car, wearing shorts. he quickly told me he was bagging the run; david was undecided. we chatted a few minutes, the ice/sleet/snow mix quickly accumulating on my car. we decided that while we wanted to run in the winter wonderland, it was probably safer to head back down the mtn. then sol arrived… ready to run. dan arrived; ready to immediately leave (something about his trainer set up in front of his fireplace seemed more enticing i guess). david decided to run; i followed dan down, hoping the drive would be safe. it was, although i slid a bit in the parking lot. nice time to remember those 2 new tires i need for my car. i’m such a procrastinator.

wed night run, take 2….
after a quick stop at the grocery store (another thing i tend to procrastinate), i went home and immediately set out on a run – hey, i was already dressed for it…  it ended up being an awesome run. the snow was drifting down, coating everything white and bringing a peacefulness about. snowflakes caught on my eyelashes, then would slide into my eyes with a cold tickle. for some reason i usually don’t like running from my house, but tonight was on. i cut across the north chatt ridge, went across veterans to downtown, and hit walnut bridge after a short city loop. walnut bridge was a bit tricky – it was pretty slick. frozen wood?? next was a warm run up tremont, then back across the ridge to home. a bit more sleet was coming down at this point, as there was a faint sound – sorta like rice crispies – filling my ears. mapmyride.com says it’s just over 6 miles, which makes for a great route to remember. my back deck had a fluffy coating of snow when i returned; my footsteps were completely covered up by the time i got out of the shower! boot camp tomorrow morning should be interesting :)

back at it… and bruises to prove it

It was a beautiful weekend – blue skies & temps climbing into the mid-50s. While I had to work a lot, I was able to squeeze in rides both days at Raccoon Mtn. It was like pulling teeth to find people to ride with, but kman joined me Sat & farmer on Sun. My body & lungs are feeling much better than last week. The rides were leisurely and we took time to work through a few obstacles and practice some skills. Some things I did successfully; others, not so much. I did a flying superman dive after a log on Saturday (the clearing of leaves I created in the process was still there today). No big injuries, although my foot cramped up when I hit (which was fun dealing with when I was still clipped in). I did twist my ankle a bit, so I cancelled today’s run to play it safe. Today was pretty good until I didn’t make it up some rocks, sliding out and knocking the hell out of my left knee twice, in the same spot (actually have a nice cut there now). Nothing is worse than rock on bone. Took a bit of time to shake that off. Then going thru the pines (tight & twisty), my shoulder caught a tree and nearly wacked me off the bike. 

Rock/Creek Race Team

This year, I’ll be joining the Rock/Creek Race Team  at events all over the southeast. While the team primarily focuses on endurance trail running, I think they are pretty cool with my multisport adventures. The team is a great group of very talented athletes – I hope some of their speed wears off on me :)   We’ll be working closely with the Boonies on a new trail running series that will be kicking off soon – more details on the series to come.

Big thanks to Rock/Creek Outfitters for their sponsorship and support, as well as Patagonia, who will be supplying great gear for us to race in. 

highs and lows of the weekend


i finally got back outside! the dr gave me some antibiotics on thurs and i was feeling a million times better by saturday. i got a short trail run in at lookout (45 min – didn’t want to push it on day #1 back!). on sunday i headed up to raccoon for a lap. it was perhaps a bit more than i should have done, (i was wiped out at the end!) but the temps were warm, the company great, and i’ve missed my bike a lot (haven’t been on since thanksgiving). we even went on some new stuff that was a blast!

ice on lookout mtn from last week’s hard freeze

on new years day, meredith emerson went hiking with her dog at vogel state park in blairsville, ga… a place i’ve trained and raced in many times. she never came home. the story was all over the news and it really hit home, even if i didn’t know her. tonight her body was found in Dawson Forest – the site of the two Midnight Rush Adventure Races Kevin Fordham and I put on a few years back. we knew that area like the back of our hand. to think of what happened there gives me the chills.
my run on saturday was solo. i must say i looked over my shoulder a few times and left the ipod at home. granted, i was on well-traveled trails, but that just isn’t enough sometimes. there has been much talk on the trailblazers message board about all the solo training we end up doing, whether it be on foot or bike. it’s always nice training with a group, but with work schedules, family commitments, etc, inevitably we go about it alone. shoot, even small groups aren’t foolproof. last fall i was with star & lisa on a 4+ hr ride on the forest service roads south of tanasi when 3 guys on motorcycles went by. we kept moving forward until we saw them stopped up the mtn a bit; we promptly turned around and hauled ass out of there. luckily they didn’t follow. 
this brings up the question (posed on TBARC) of personal safety when training in wilderness areas. i was surprised to hear how many folks have handguns they carry. but would it do any good in a pack? in your saddle bag? i don’t know what the answer is, but i think a lot of us will be searching for one. it won’t stop me from going out… and i don’t think that i have to be with a male at all times (as has been suggested by some people). but i will definitely be more aware, try to make smart decisions, and let people know where i am + for how long.
my prayers and condolences go out to meredith’s family & friends.

still sidelined

The end of week #3 is almost here and I’m not sure if there is any improvement yet. I’ve been laying off any exercises involving my leg and it is slowly driving me nuts… esp with the nice weather (the trail run sunday had snow!) I got a massage yesterday to try and work things out a bit, which was painfully good as always, followed by an epsom bath. This morning however that whole quadrant of my leg was sore to the touch. Granted, sometime this happens naturally after one of Mr. Alley’s sessions, but I guess I’m just hypersensitive to anything in that area right now. I scooted home from work just now for alternate sessions of ice & heat (can’t exactly treat that area in a corporate office, although they think I’m a bit odd as it is….)  Everyone I talk to has different suggestions of therapy and I have no idea what is most right. (ice – reduces the inflammation vs heat, promoting stimulation/rebuilding in the area).  Anyways, I am really hoping I can bike up at Raccoon on Saturday before I jet to the flatlands of central FL on Sunday for Christmas week.

on the injured reserve list

last thursday was our normal speed workout at the GPS track. it was a bit colder out, but i didn’t think much of it. we warmed up around coolidge park, then did 2 laps of cat & mouse. next we planned a hawk and dove lap before the real workout began. this exercise has a staggered start, with the goal of everyone finishing at the same time. the slowest person goes first, then you have to judge when to go based on your own speed. i let the dove get about 100-150m and started. 2 strides in i felt an instant tightening in my groin. oooh, not good. i kept running, but could tell it wasn’t quite right. it felt worse as the night went on (yeah, silly me kept on running, although not at a normal speed night tempo). for 2 days i had some pain, but that subsided and has left me with a stiffness there that isn’t quite right. sigh.

i tried to take it easy this weekend…. i was definitely out of the Boonie’s FatAss 50k, which was really a perfect distance for me in prep for Mt Mitchell. i was hoping to be able to do the cyclocross race, figuring it was shorter and maybe doable… but realized i just wouldn’t be able to swing my leg over my saddle time and time again. oh well. instead i played spectator to that race (pics to come) and went to the post-fatass party at Krandyland.  (we watched the dvd they  made during their Rim to Rim to Rim run of the Grand Canyon in October – I’m so doing that next year!)
sunday i was being greedy and since i thought i was feeling better, i did a trail run with the vixens (possum creek gorge). i took it way easy though, running about half the distance i normally would have in the time allotted. i stuck with some trail newbies and we had a great time. that afternoon i did a swim clinic with the Krystal Chiks – hoping to pick up some tips from local coach Dale Tillman. my favorite thing she said…. saying we needed to be in the water 3x/week. i’m thinking wow, if i make it in once a month i’m doing good! yeah, not my fav thing… the water at Baylor was too cold.
so now here i am, 1 week later and extremely restless. no running, no cycling. no weight lifting (due to 2 aggravated shoulder injuries from yoga and mtn bike crashes). i am able to do 2 things: swim (yes, i actually went to the Y last night for 30 painfully boring minutes), and Vantaggio’s Boot Camp. WOW. more on this later. we meet at 6am and i can’t be late or we’ll be punished with Motivational Exercises. luckily i haven’t been late yet, but the lack of sleep is starting to wear on me.  off to set the multitude of alarms….


Post-OME recovery has gone well and transitioned into a tapering for the StumpJump, happening this weekend. I’m ready enough to do it; not sure if I’m ready enough to meet the goal I have in mind. I just hope the rain stays away as I can’t imagine the rock garden if it were slick! (‘course, if I survived the ladders & rocks of Grandfather Mtn, I can deal with this fine!)

For tonight’s group trail run, we split up and ran portions of the Mullen’s Cove loop and flagged it for the race. I also cleaned up the trail a bit to hopefully avoid all the tripping I did when I was out here last Sunday – it was not a pretty run!

Chris just posted some more pics from OME:
Definitely on the calendar for next year!

is it called recovering or tapering?

last week wore me out. to top off 4 days of hard running, i met some atlanta friends at raccoon on sunday for nearly 4 hours of mountain biking (albeit leisurely done). then with monday being a holiday, i just had to get outside and enjoy some great weather, so we do the blue hole run at montlake. it’s one of my favorites and not that bad – just 10 miles… but sadly, my legs wanted no part of it. tis ok though; it was a great day and better to be out there than sitting at home (where i could have been catching up on work!)

i’ve been taking it a bit easy this week – which gives me no excuse for not posting a review of my first omnium experience (sorry mallie – it’s coming!) meanwhile, rebecca hurt her knee in an ultimate tourny last weekend, so my morning workout partner is temporarily on the DL. so i’ve been hitting snooze a bit more :)

this weekend is a race i’ve wanted to focus on, but haven’t quite done so: the Tsali Challenge. Last year I was 8th in the women’s solo division (and 9th the year before). so i really want to kick some butt… with monica pregnant, and shelley not coming this year, that should be 2 spots open ahead of me…. right?! carol and i are hoping to defend our female team championship as well if we can nail down a last minute replacement for our runner ann who is injured. regardless, a weekend in north carolina will be fab!


this past weekend i joined fellow vixens lisa & star (both headed to the Leadville 100) and colleen & her husband franklin for a big ride that i’ve been wanting to do for awhile: the cohutta death march.

it pretty much lived up to everything i’ve heard: painful. brutal. epic. the death march is a ride that circumnavigates the cohutta wilderness management area in north georgia. the ride is on forest service roads, with tons of elevation. since it was a loop, the gain/loss equals out, but it certainly did feel like we went uphill a heck of a lot more! about 2hrs into the ride we ran across jeramie, who was out doing a diff loop. (i just talked with him and he said he saw a nice big bear hanging out on the road where we had just come from. we didn’t get to see any wildlife though.)

the pace was solid and the leadville gals put a hurtin on me. they’ve been training so much; their fitness level right now is quite impressive! i’m definitely not there, but managed to hang on, although i was looking at spandex-clad butts most of the day. we really lucked out with the weather. the morning started off around a cool 62 and didn’t get much above 80. the clouds increased as the day went on, but the rain stayed away from us. about halfway through, we used franklin’s filter to refill our camelbaks from a creek (at least this one could be classified as running water, unlike the puddle i used at the UOG earlier this summer). we kept well fueled and hydrated, but my legs still burned constantly. my pack was also hitting my lower side back funny, which was quite annoying. with 2 hrs left, we came across some houses with people outside that kindly let us use a well to refill our paks once again. i really wonder what they think when they see us ride up… i’m sure we looked/smelled grande…

not much more time to go and things have been pretty uneventful. no crashes, no bears, no bad weather, no freaky motorcycle guys… then on a nice descent (and i have to say, i’m getting much better at them, with the new bike & hydraulic brakes…), where i had a decent amount of speed, i hit a wasp of sorts. and of course it stings the crap out of me – the inside of my lower lip to be exact. yeah, NOT fun. i’ve only been stung by yellow jackets a few times, and this was much bigger and too black to be one of those. not knowing if i was allergic to this thing, i hightailed it down. when i met up with everyong at the bottom, i had tears running down my face, was trying desperately not to hyperventilate, and my lip was throbbing so much i couldn’t talk (like when you leave the dentist with half your face numb). i took a benadryl to help with the swelling… it did the trick. but it also sucked every last bit of energy i had. there was about 45min of riding left and it was sooo hard. my eyelids were heavy, legs not wanting to move like before. it was like the sleepmonsters coming after 20hrs of adventure racing. not fun!!

we made it back to our cars finally and hit a cracker barrel for dinner, consuming massive amounts of food. (i had all but passed out in the back of the car before, then had to fight off a food coma!)

i’m still pretty sore and tonight’s tuesday night ride was not an easy one. but, it was a great workout, and as i said, very humbling.

a few stats:
80 miles
approx 8000′ of elevation gain
8hrs 16min ride time
(total time about 1 hour more)