Monday, March 28, 2011

Race weekend 03/26/11

A few CATs enjoyed the mountains at race pace this weekend. Congrats to Sophie Speidel (2nd overall female!), Michael Stadnisky, Marc Griffin, and David Snipes for their performances at Terrapin 50k and Chris McCartney and Nick Hamblet for rocking Bel Monte. Nick also received the Standout Award to Virginia from La Sportiva.

Race Results:
Bel Monte 50 mile Bel Monte Results
Terrapin Mountain 50 km Terrapin Mt Results

Article in iRunFar on Bel Monte 25K and Nick Hamblet's Standout Award: Bednosky and Woods win at Bel Monte 25k

Sophie Speidel's blog on Terrapin: Going Big at Terrapin

March madness" Mike Stadnisky's notes about Terrapin:
According the to the forecast, it was supposed to snow on Terrapin Mountain late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. This snow never made it to the trail however, as it was set ablaze by Sophie and Eliza on Saturday morning. Early reports say that the overlook is still smoldering this morning.

Congratulations to Sophie who took second female in the 50K with 05:44:15, Eliza who won first female in the half with 2:01, and Sniper who ran a 06:22:25 and then had us aching with laughter poking fun at the "prize purses" given to the male winners (new CR of 4:02!).

If I missed anyone, I'm sorry!

I'm not good at race reports, sorry in advance. From what I remember, it wasn't as cold as we expected it to be, there was a mountain, we ran for a bit, and Horton yelled a bunch at the finish. Fun was had by all (and the barbecue was awesome).

On a personal note, Terrapin was the finish to my "March Madness" series of races, spurred on by an icy relationship with winter running and exuberant spring fever. I ran three races this past month - Seneca Creek 50K (4:44:42), Instant Classic Trail Marathon (3:49:01), and Terrapin 50K (5:49:18). Time to recover before the devil goes down to Georgia for the Sweetwater 50K.

Nick Hamblet's blog on Bel Monte

And Chris MCartney's rundown on the Bel Monte experience:
-- It was really beautiful out there. I got a bit too cold a few times, but it was great running weather overall.
-- Bel Monte was my first ultra 3 years ago, and for whatever reason, I had forgotten about how rocky some of it is. Conversely, the rocky stuff along Torrey Ridge (which I've previously recalled with some abhorrence) wasn't quite as bad as I remembered. (But it was still terrible.)
-- The long climb/slog up the switchbacks to Camp Marty somewhere around mile 22 had me seriously questioning whether I'll make it through a 100 miler. (Explanatory note: I'm signed up for an August 100, and the elevation gain/loss profile is similar to that of Bel Monte.) Fortunately, I felt better after Camp Marty, so I haven't yet withdrawn from the August 100 -- but I'm still questioning the sanity of it.
-- I didn't wear my Garmin or use a stopwatch. I was going by feel only, with a big goal being to not push too hard. I think running "by feel" and not worrying about pace might be a good approach for me. I only had one bad patch (i.e., the aforementioned climb to Camp Marty), I felt reasonably well the last 8 miles, and I've had only moderate soreness since Saturday. With one exception ...
-- I turned the fire out of my right ankle three separate times. Ugh! This meant I had to walk the technical stuff on Torrey Ridge. (Hmm ... maybe that's why it seemed better than I remembered.) I don't typically twist my ankle very much; but when I have one good twist, it seems much more likely I'll twist it again later in the run. My ankle was pretty swollen yesterday, but better today. I'm optimistic that it won't be a long-term problem.

Running Becca: Holiday Lake 50k++ Race Report (2011 Edition)

Running Becca: Holiday Lake 50k++ Race Report (2011 Edition)

a little later, a HL race report from CATster Rebecca

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rockfish Gap to Turk Branch Gap Out and Back- Sunday Run

For this week’s edition of the CAT Sunday run, Joey and I met at Rockfish Gap at 8a.m. We were looking at blue bird skies, and hopefully a morning of great running…or, at least great running weather. Joey was coming off 18 miles on Saturday on the Rip Rap trail, while I had done a more modest 12 at Walnut Creek. Either way, we were thinking we would be feeling a bit heavy legged, especially on the immediate climb from Rockfish Gap to McCormick Gap.
Given our tired legs, we both agreed that today would be a nice relaxed pace. With that in mind, Joey started us off towards McCormick Gap. While I enjoy running this section of trail, I never really care for running it right off the bat. I would certainly prefer having a nice warm-up before the double whammy of climbing and technical trail, but be it as it may, this route doesn’t give one that luxury. Aside from a catching our feet here and there, this section was nice and smooth. It was great to be moving along the trails as Waynesboro, to the west, started waking up.
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I always take great pleasure in runs such as this one where you start in a high traffic area (literally starting from Hwy 64 with Waynesboro within ear shot) and hearing the sounds of cars slowly give way to birds chirping, trickling water and wind blowing through the trees. I feel this transition period of entering a more tranquil environment helps me slip into a more relaxed mindset and excites me for the day’s run.
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By the time we arrived at McCormick Gap, we were warmed up and decided to keep moving towards Beagle Gap. It practically seemed like the next thing I knew, we were at Turk Branch Gap. Once at Turk, we refueled and took a look at our watches- 2:06. Joey sarcastically remarked, “Negative Split?” which was laughable because we both were really starting to feel the effects of the weeks’ mileage. The more immediate goal was to make it back to the cars before the wheels came completely off! And with that, we started the slog back to Rockfish Gap.
The return trip was difficult, but again, it just sort of went by, and like that we were again back on the section between McCormick and Rockfish Gap. We were both ready for the run to be over and were met with great relief when the intersection with Skyline Drive appeared. We plodded down the parkway and back to the cars. I stopped my watch and was quite surprised to see 4:07. We apparently got our negative split, which we laughed about. I certainly didn’t feel like I was running too strong, so I’m going to chalk this effort up to some lingering effects from the super moon the night before.
It was a great day to be running up in the mountains!

Congratulations to Neal for his BQ

Congratulations to fellow CAT(R) Neal Church for getting his Boston Marathon qualifying time in 3:28 at the Shamrock Marathon!

Neal is a tough dog CAT who deserved it well and worked hard for it.

Way to go Neal!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday Group Run 03/20/11: Rockfish Gap to Turk Branch Gap

For anyone looking to get out into the mountains this weekend, I'll be running on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. from Rockfish Gap. My plan is to run from Rockfish to Turk Branch Gap and back. Round trip, this should be around 24 miles, I believe.

Please don't feel like you can't come out if you aren't going to run 24 miles. Instead, look at it that I'm willing to run up to 24 miles with anyone! If you'd like to run less, you can turn around earlier. This section of the Appalachian Trail offers a great variety of trail and some great views. Not to mention, it looks like it's going to be a great day to be up in the mountains on Sunday.

If you are planning on running, please comment on this post or email me directly, so I know how many runners to expect.


Sugar Hollow Loop Group Run 03/13

Rebecca, Drew, David and I met up at Greenberry's at 7.30 to carpool to Sugar Hollow. Since my injury wouldn't be happy running, I decided to join them by mountain bike. It was a gorgeous day and you definitely could smell and see that the spring is just around the corner. After getting ready for the trail we took off on the North Fork Moorman’s Trail up to Blackrock Summit after the Skyline drive. The rain a few days before made some parts of the trail look like a creek. So we had to run on the shoulder a bit. The Moormans river had a refreshing temperature and cooled us off up to the knees each time we crossed it. Mountain Biking was not as fun as running but was a good mountain time.

Some pictures:

David adds: After Christian turned around, Rebecca, Drew, and I continued up the trail to Blackrock Summit. The weather was spectacular, making for great views of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten, and surrounding scenery.

From Blackrock Summit, Rebecca headed back down the North Fork trail to minimize potential IT problems that day. Drew and I continued south on the AT, with Drew being so gracious to stay with me at my -- hopefully improving -- speed. We passed lots of dayhikers and weekend backpackers on our way and it was overall a perfect running day, with temps hovering in the low to mid 60s. As we neared Turk Branch Trail -- our return trail -- we came across a giant doe (deer from Amazonia?) that jumped in front of us on the trail. No bear, although there are signs up this year warning that the area near Turk Gap is very bear-friendly.

We finished by returning on the South Fork Trail to Sugar Hollow -- with a few more refreshing Moormans crossings -- at about 1:15 pm for 20.4 miles in about 5 hours. Overall, a great day of mountain running. Here is my Garmin report:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Training Group Run Sunday, 03/13

This Sunday we are thinking of heading back to the mountains for a Sugar Hollow Loop run. The plan is to run north on the North Fork Moorman’s Trail up to Skyline Drive, then north to Blackrock Summit, before turning around and heading south on the AT to Turk Branch Trail down to the South Fork Moorman’s trail back to the start. The roundtrip would be about 20 miles (The route is approximately 2 miles longer than the one mapped above because we are adding a climb to Blackrock summit.).

We will meet at the main parking area just west of the reservoir at 8:00 am (Remember the time change to Daylight Savings!) to start the run. I believe Drew, Rebecca, and I are in. Who else would like to join?