Wednesday, February 17, 2010

black mtn trail marathon-- feb 27th

Hi everyone! I am gearing up to go run Black Mountain Trail Marathon near Asheville, NC on february 27th. The conditions for this race are not going to be for the faint of heart. North Carolina has received FAR above average snowfall this winter. The snow and ice are exceptionally deep in several places along the course. I have been trying to just mentally prepare myself for this so come race day, I will be relaxed, happy and just ready to have fun overcoming the obstecles and challenges before me!!

Went through some of my gear today, trying to figure out the best things to take for my trip and the race itself. My good friend beth minnick( she is running the mt mitchell challenge-- it's run the same day as the marathon and is 40 miles in length and she gets to summit mt. mitchell LUCKY!!! I tried to get in that race but it was full, so opted for the full marathon-- and now, I'm THANKFUL I have only 26.2 mi to cover in that kind of conditions!) and I had a conversation today about the use of snowshoes on the course, yaktracks and screw shoes..
1. snowshoes: WOW!! how cool would that be?? however, there is just certain sections where those would REALLY be needed. I have NEVER snowshoed ( even though I would love to try it--just not on RACE DAY! could you imagine?? the first time in snow shoes, and you want to race?! I would SO fall on my face and not pull that one off!)
2. yaktraks: I have a pair-- but not really my cup of tea. I dont see where they REALLY make a difference?? I will bring my pair just in case BUT
3. screws in the bottom of your trail shoes: DING DING DING!! we have a winner!! I think this is the option I am going to go with. the snow is deep enough where it won't affect my running. and when I come to the deep stuff... I'll just post hole and walk through it until I can run again.

just to give you guys an idea about the marathon here is a video that was shot a couple weeks ago at mt. mitchell

AND here is a link to the race website! check it out!! VERY COOL!

Okay! I am super excited about this!! is something deeply wrong with me??


Anonymous said...

I would not go with screw shoes - those are great for ice; your route will not be icy; only at top is it icy. I'd wear good ol' road shoes, since you will have about 8 miles of pavement; those screws will be SLICK! Take your yaktracks to put in a bladder pack or rig something to have 'em. I've never needed them there; Rick, Tammy, and I were there one time when it was snowing good up there; didn't need anything. Good luck.


jenn said...

thanks nick.. i'll probably wear the cascadias..(it's light weight enough to not weight me down the 4 miles in and out of the town) I worry about the other 18 miles.. JJ told me while it's like this fire/service road it's really rocky! I guess if there is as much snow as they say, then the rocks won't be an issue. I'm worrying more about snow depth.. I think there is alot of snow there like a foot or more.. and not just on the summit, but the summit snow is thigh high.. I say they will reroute and make the 40 milers run on the road to the summit. ( is what is rumored)
thanks for wishing me luck and the advice! I think it's going to be a long day, I'll need positive thoughts!!


Anonymous said...

Jenny, you will do fine. That race is top notch and by far my favorite race besides Annette's race. Running on the roads through Montreat is special - going through the arches is great. You will hit a massive hill though once you get into the campus of Montreat College - be careful on this one. You will then climb forever but the views and hunting cabins based along the way will keep your mind off the climbing. Also, there is a cabin (house) where a guy lives on the left as you climb; there is a great spring coming out of the mountain as you climb to the right, great place to refill your bottle if need be. The snow will be deep probably so the screw shoes or yaktracks will probably be useless. You will do much better than you think; just run hard and lay it out there; the downhill on the way back is much steeper than going up because it takes a slightly different route.

jenn said...

I can't wait to get more secure with it all. thanks so much for the encouragement!! (and the course lay out)
that is one complaint I have about the race website is the map is SOOO small there is no way for me to really look at it!! and I can't drag and drop it into my pictures of anything to try to print it off.. very frustrating!
I am going to try to just work hard and do my best!! :o)

Anonymous said...

My advice is to run the road hard but controlled; once you get into Montreat and the hill, i'd run it (don't walk) and control your breathing and relax. Once you get into the trails they will be climbing but gradually. Just enjoy them and run as much as you can. It will have steep sections, but nothing no more than a little over a quarter mile of steep; while you are gradually climbing, you will not notice it very much. If I were you though, i'd make sure to get a smaller run in this weekend going up and then coming back down. The route from Damascus to Abingdon Gap Shelter on the AT is VERY similiar. Once you come back from the turnaround at Black Mountain, you will retrace most of your steps but will make a right at an aid station vs. going left and you will drop a whole lot. Once you get back on pavement, save something because you have a good 1/2 mile of PURE STEEP hill; it kills your legs, but just let it roll.

Triple F said...

I can't wait for your race report once you've done it!

Rick Gray said...

Ok Jenny, Tammy and I are hopefully heading up there tomorrow to check things out, so I will let you know what we find. As far as to how you need to prepare yourself for this thing is anyones guess. My advise is to be mentally prepared for anything. Dry pavement, ice, not too deep snow and deep snow. From the looks of the weather, we are going to have some warming that will cause some icing issues down low. Towards the marathon turn-a-round,the snow is going to be deeper (knee depth) and crunchy. Be prepared for sore and cutup ankles. Stay focused on moving forward and just pray that there have been tons of people up there checking out the course so that the trail is packed down. I do not have any snow shoes, so that is out and I like you are not experienced using them. I will take my YakTrax, but I doubt that I will use them. I have carried them in years past, but have never put them on. I will have my screw shoes with me and I will make a decision Friday night as to what I will I will do. I ran Holiday Lake in screw shoes and they helped in some situations. I never really found any problems with them at all, but I have not used them on a rocky trail. (like the Toll Road would be if there was no snow). Other than the noise on pavement, I did not experience any problem with the screws, but then I did not run several miles on the road with them, nor did I run down a steep steep paved downhill like we will at the race. I have a couple of items to test out (concerning screw shoes) myself that will help me make my decision in a week. Since you are now an ultra girl, this will be just like a walk in the park on a beutiful winter snowy day! We are going to have a ball. Rick

jenn said...

thanks everyone ( nick( I think under the IMTR acct) for the encouraging words and course info and Frank I can't wait to give a race report too! i will try to sneak my camera for a few shots during the race. but I really will be trying to race more so than frozen sasquatch!

Rick: PLEASE you and tammy call or email me after you see the course! on my run this morning.. I was just really mentally trying to prepare myself for it all!! I'm just going to bring anything I think i'll need ( minus the snowshoes:oP although next winter we should all buy some and go out on Roan mtn and mt rogers with them!! FUN)
and just go from there.. Tammy was SUCH a help at FS50k trying to figure out what gear to use pre-race-- so I'm sure she and beth can steer me in the right direction clothes wise..

we'll see about doctoring shoes.. ( what do you think about shoes rick?? road shoes? cascadias or montrail streaks?? ( streaks are my heaviest shoe)

Rick Gray said...

I personally think the Streaks are the right shoe. I certainly would not go road shoes. I have never run in the Cascadias, but so many people love them. I am just not sure there is enough protection from the rocks. The Toll Road is very rocky under normal conditions. Now how much of the rocks are going to be covered with snow, I do not know. With the warming trend, there is going to be ice and hard frozen snow due to warming and cooling down at night. That is going to be hard on the feet. As Beth talked about the pain in her ankles from Holiday Lake, this weekend could be worse. You need a good protective shoe under you. A few ounces might make your run a bit more comfortable. I will have everything with me at Black Mountain to fix any shoes with screws should the need arise. Tammy or I will call you or email you what we find about the trail conditions today.

Trail Runner said...

Best of luck to you! Cannot wait to hear about the race. Thanks for sharing.