Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rivanna Trail Winter Solstice fun aka FUN TIMES with the Charlottesville/Harrisonburg crew

This weekend I was invited to travel to the quaint and fair city of Charlottesville, Va. Run the Rivanna Trail, which is a trail system that skirts around the perimeter of Charlottesville. It's a mixture of mostly singletrack, greenbelt/bike path, and some pavement through some cool neighborhoods within the city.
Sophie Speidel had the wonderful idea of having this "Winter Solstice" group run the saturday before Christmas, have everyone meet 7:30am at Greenberry's at barrack's road. Then post run, everyone has the opportunity finish up their christmas shopping at the Barrack's road shopping center. This was the 5th year of this cool and fun event.

Brock, Todd and myself drove up Friday night and stayed at a hotel near barrack's rd. We got there early enough to have some yummy Thai food and check out Blue ridge mtn sports before retiring to the room.
Toddy and I at Tara Thai

I was shocked once I arrived at the coffee shop saturday morning how many people were there! I had told brock I was going to run with 5 or 6 people! Little did I know the vastness of the charlottesville running scene! and apparently, I had just met a very small faction of c-ville runners!

I was super happy to meet so many new, nice people!!:o) and absolutely elated to get to run with my friends/ultra peeps: marlin yoder, bill gentry, bill potts, quatro hubbard, and of course the stellar hostess and fleetly Sophie!

The vibe was chill, the trails snowy and icy but SO much fun. I really felt this was an excellent training run for frozen sasquatch 50k just given the conditions of the trail ( it reminded me alot of FS 50k 2010-- but I couldn't get over how much faster and more confident I ran on the snow and ice and didn't have that crazy fear of running downhill or falling)

I wore my mtn masochist GTX shoes and smartwool socks, and even though we had numerous creek crossings and ran in the snow, my feet were toasty and dry the entire run.

Zero hot spots, and no toenail issues yay.. it had really taken me awhile to find that right combination of socks and shoes that keep my feet and toenails happy.

Also I tried some new gel out on this run: cliff shot turbo I have never really been a big cliff shot fan. I primarily use Hammer products ( hammer gel, sustained energy and perpetuem) but recently one of my good friends gave me a bunch of cliff blocks, and I had been using those on my long runs with some success, so when I saw the cliff turbo at blue ridge mtn sports friday evening, I thought... I'll try that. So i'm happy to say, that I liked the cliff shot turbo, i used the espresso flavor and had zero tummy issues and really felt it will work for me during races. So-- cool. experiment a success. I just drank plain water in my hydration pack and in addition to the turbo and one pack of cliff blocks, I ate a pack of cheese nabs :o) by the end of the run, my calves were cramping-- I feel I probably should of taken one salt tab( S! cap) somewhere along the run.. I think during winter time, it's easy to forget about salt intake. but by the time, I noticed I was cramping up, we were literally running through red lights in c-ville 2 blocks from barrack's road.. so I guess it was good timing for the run to be completed. :o)

Q and I all smiles on the greenbelt section ( it was a great place to make up some time and stretch our legs on the snow and ice!:o)

Q and I hammering down! :o)

one of the cool things about an "urban adventure run" is being able to jump off the trail and score some cinnamon rolls from hardees! ( also had full 3g cell service the entire run haha so THAT was def a change! )

coming into hardee's parking lot with my two heros... bill gentry and marlin yoder. I want to be like them one day ( hopefully soon!)

the motely crew that ran the entire rivanna trail ( minus soph who was taking the picture)

for WAY more super cool pictures from the run, check out Quatro Hubbard's flickr. He really captured the vast array of terrains both natural and manmade we encountered yesterday!

Post run we all went back to Greenberry's coffee shop and hung out. Brock and Toddy came to meet all my friends!

Sophie gifted all the runners with some yummy pistachio chocolate bark she had made. MMM!
Then after a quick wardrobe change out of my wet clothes, we went on to grab lunch at chipolte's and finish up the remainder of christmas shopping we had. Such a great day:o)

Thanks so much to Sophie for the invite and all the c-ville and harrisonburg runners who made it such a fun event and fantastic day! :o)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

winter training and trying new things!

well, I'm back training. I have been for two full weeks. I've eased back in so to speak with a 45 mile week and a 50 mi week, consecutively. I decided that apparently what I did in the late summer and fall was NOT working for me. I didn't have enough patience to try it again plus, really I was doing the same things over and over for a year and I think it really just resulted in overtraining and stagnation. SO I'm trying some new things for a little while.

I joined the bristol YMCA and I've been swimming 3 mornings a week, and then following up with an easy run in the afternoons. It's a really great facility. I really feel this will help my base this winter without all the overuse and high impact of running 2 a days. I had biked alot last year, I may at some point incorporate some biking, but right now I'm pretty happy with swimming laps.

Also I have 2 days of speed work. One day being short sprints and the second being mega hard tempoish type workout ( that makes me want to hurl by the end of it) I hadn't ran hard like this in over a year, but even after only 2 weeks can see my turnover and speed improving. YAY!

Then the weekend is reserved for my long runs. I hadn't gone very long yet. I ran 14 miles in the snow yesterday on the AT. It's been nice to cut back my mileage and I know there will be a gradual build up. I am shooting for 18 miles this coming weekend. I know I'll be running 20 and some change when i go to c-ville to go run with sophie and her crew on Dec 18th. :o) so I feel I'll be progressing okay mileage wise. I think my body has been truly thankful for it's little break. :o)

The best thing I feel about my 2 week break, and then these 2 easy weeks to get me back into the swing of things is that ITS FUN AGAIN. I have such a renewed enthusiasm toward my running. By the end of oct. it was awful lot like drudgery. I am all for working hard to accomplish goals, but I think you have to have that FUN element; and that running makes you HAPPY for you to run well:o)

here are some pictures from my run on the AT saturday:
days like this are truly special and magical. :o) ended my run with a warm cup of soup at the whistle pig cafe in Damascus, VA.:o)