Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tacky leprechaun 9mi/24 miler on the AT/IMT

I awoke saturday morning to it pouring the rain, about 40F and windy. yikes! I was afraid that due to the nasty weather, many of my friends wouldn't come to the IMTR's st. patrick's themed run dubbed " the tacky leprechaun" ( everyone is supposed to be in tacky running attire).
Bound and determined I was running 24 miles today regardless of the weather ( because I REALLY needed the time on my feet for training for terrapin mtn 50k in 2 weeks) I proceeded to make my final gear selections and load up my car! I just hoped that my other friends were doing the same-- I knew worse case scenario that beth, jj and rick would be there no matter what! :o) and we'd have fun.
I had picked out a cheetah print running skirt and gaiters for my tacky attire had it been warm enough I have a cheetah print sports bra, it would of looked SOO hilarious all together.. in hindsight, I should of done something like worn the sports bra over my patagonia vest.( I love all the 9 trails stuff patagonia has out)
I wore my montrail mtn masochist with smart wool socks and zensah sleeves.
womens nathan pack ( but I love my ultimate direction wink because there is more pockets and the neoprene hose cover is GREAT in cold weather) but I switch back and forth between the two. I will probably use nathan pack for Terrapin mtn 50k, so I thought it would be a good idea to bond with it on this run and get used to the feel.
for food I had a variation of gu, hammer gel, gu chomps, honey stinger chews, and to tell you the truth I ate more of JJ's food ( he made his own cliff bars and had chocolate covered espresso beans! thanks JJ for letting me grub off of your food supply! very tasty!!) I took S! caps and had some motrin with me for just in case.

I got to the caboose, and people were assembling! yay! and there seemed to be a weather window.. the rain ceased and the wind lessened but it was kinda chilly on and off all day.. I really never could regulate temperature. I was always wearing gloves.. not wearing gloves etc.
michael, jared, charity came to run the 9 mile option. Rachel had come to run 9 miles but we talked her into coming to the "dark side" and running the 24. So Rachel, Rick, JJ, beth and myself ran the 24 miles. I guess I should explain that beth and myself don't normally pose the way we are in the group picture.. we were kinda imitating a girl we knew of that always poses in pictures that way.. we decided to give it a whirl-- to see how it would work for us.... I say we'll stick with the more tomboy-- informal poses from now on.
I had the joy ( ?) of running buzzards den and wrights hollow. ( wrights hollow kicked my butt btw.) that is the section were we are walking in a creek UPHILL. Where the snow has melted the past couple days that water was SO cold. and SO many blow downs.. I really should of counted them, but I feel there were easily more than 20 for the whole run.

once we got back to iron mtn trail ( 8 miles from the cars) we stopped and took a group photo, I ate some espresso beans and took an S! cap. I was a little down because all that climbing had me tired and feeling like a whipped puppy... I hurt-- WAAHH! I was frustrated-- I think even angst ridden even though I hadn't expressed this to the group. I have been frustrated pretty much since frozen saaquatch 50k. I had felt like I had been SO pokey and slow for so long. I KNEW I could run much faster on this stuff.. I didn't need pavement or a flat surface. It was baffling to me -- how to transition road running to trail?? I had worried and wondered about this for months---- I just have to let go and RUN.
so when we took off to start the 8 miles back I just yelled out "WOOOO!! let's go home!" and then I just thought: " screw it, I'm just going to run hard and see how far I can get before I tap out." So I just took off-- and I couldn't believe after 60 secs.. how GREAT I felt. I felt like MYSELF again!! I felt like I had dropped about 50 lbs of dead weight off my shoulders. Why had I held myself back : fearing that I needed to conserve SO much energy when I trail ran?WHY?! I think it's a lack of confidence-- paralyzing fears that I'll DNF or won't have enough in the tank to finish. My feet felt great, my energy felt great. It was just good to just feel free again instead of feeling so constrained. Any inclines I encountered.. I ran them.. I reasoned.. I NEED a good training run..

I need to feel like I'm running hard and taxing myself. I need my heart to pound and to breathe hard. and I loved every second of it. I felt so acutely aware of being SO ALIVE.. Seriously, that has to be one of the BEST feelings in the world an individual can experience for themselves.. to be so connected with their mere existence and to be running the mtns-- it's so primal, I don't think I can even accurately convey it in words. That feeling just never left me the whole entire time. I paused long enough to take a picture at my favorite overlook( lol and for proof that I didn't cut the run short by taking an alternate route down mock holler-- that I was honest and ran the WHOLE thing-- not that my friends would think that:o) I ALWAYS take a picture here at this spot. It's one of my favorites. I love it in the summer when the mtns are green) and then was running down the trail again. I ran the whole way until I got to the car. Then I was on complete runners high! I was SOOOO elated at being able to run for so far on single track and not walk any. I was bouncing off the walls even once I got home! so it was a break through and confidence builder I needed for terrapin 50k.. I really needed to get a good training run under my belt. JJ had the run at 24 miles and 6400 ft of vert.. so that's a pretty good little run ( at least for me-- that is alot of climbing)

I can't say enough good things about smart wool socks/ mtn masochists combo.. I probably went through 15 stream/creek crossings and then walked about 1/4 mile in a creek.. my feet were sopping WET several times. and everything drained and dried well.. post run.. no blisters.. and toenails were great.. AND my feet never hurt.. which is a problem I always had on long runs when I wore cascadias. Rocks would kill my feet.. so even the next day my feet would be achey. so not the case with the montrails. ( so I guess THAT is why everyone pretty much wears those-- nice to figure that out after almost a year-- I was so resistant because I felt they were heavy and would slow me down so much-- on technical and rocky trail you NEED that protection)

I had so much fun yesterday! that was a hard run!!! I enjoyed running with my friends! new and old! and felt like I accomplished some much needed training as well. :o) I know that I can't hammer out a 50k. but I really think I am edging closer to finding that balance of intensity and conservation. I think I can go much harder, longer than what I have been allowing myself to-- I just need to push boundaries to find "the red line" -- it's going to just take more miles on the trail and training and ultra race experience for me to tune this in I feel.

I made a movie.. but after 2 hours of trying to get it to upload and process on blogger and FAILING.. I just decided to post pictures. I will try again when I have more time and see if I can get it working. :o)


Rick Gray said...

What a Saturday at our annual St. Patty's Day run (now "Tacky Leprechaun". I had so much fun. I hate our other friends were unable to join us due to one thing or another, but our small group had a ball. Beth did a great job in setting this run up. We were all so tacky in our outfits and of course before we hit the trails and were running through town, we got the usual stairs and comments. Funny how us trail runners get enjoyment out of people wondering just how crazy we are. I was glad the snow had melted from our previous weekend's run, but that left us with alot of very cold water runoff. As you have found Smartwool socks and Montrails will take care of your feet. The only thing you failed to do (which you will at Terrapin) is to cover your feet with a coating of Bag Balm. I first used Bag Balm (thanks to Mike Day's post)at Mount Mitchell last month. I have not used it in hot and dry conditions, but it works great in cold and wet conditions. Not a blister or a rub in sight. My feet normally get a bit cold when I am in cold water often or for very long, but the Bag Balm certainly helped in that area, as it creates a little insulating layer between the wet cold and your feet. As you found, it also helps on your hands too. By the way, I know you think you had a bit of trouble regulating your temperature, but it sounds like you managed it well. The best way to manage your heat in those conditions is with your gloves. Certainly alot easier than dealing with a shirt or jacket.

As far as your confidence level, you area ready girl. You left Beth and I in the dust Saturday. One minute you were in front of us and the next you were around a bend in the trail and we never saw you again until the cars. Nice job and we are going to have a ball at Terrapin.

I was so glad to meet some new people and we hope they will join us again. I hope we did not scare them off with our craziness to find fun and adventure. I was so proud of Rachel of hanging on for the full run. Nothing like leaving the house for your first real trail run, meeting up with folks you don't really know to run 9 or 10 miles and 7 hours later having run around 24 miles. Rachel, I hope you had as great of a day as we did.

Before I forget, I liked yours and Beth's pose. It was a perfect copy!

The Sean said...

Looks like it was a bit soggy:)

jenn said...

@ rick: thanks I can't wait until terrapin mtn 50k!! :o) It's still hard for me to parlay my road running to trail running.. but I'm getting there. I'm just appreciative I have yall to help me and guide me along the way:o)

@ sean from boone:o) it WAS... wet and muddy.. BUT no snow!!! YAY!!!