Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Power to the Tower 50k and other adventures in OD 100 training

 its been awhile since I've updated my blog! just wanted to catch everyone up to speed for april.
 What I've been into: ran a VERY well organized first year 50k ( the non ultra distances were also held last year) put on by my good friend, phil horner, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Kingsport, Tn. The course, about 32 miles, was about 7,000 ft of climbing and about 85% single track. It was a hot day and very challenging course. I felt great and was really running well, but as the day grew warmer, I felt I needed to dial back my efforts, and once hearing I was an hour ahead of the second place female. I kinda went into training run mode. ( first hot day of the year,  ( 80F broke records for high temps that day, and I was feeling it--) took a wrong turn up the mtn about a mile from the finish and got a bonus mile my garmin was 33 miles at the finish. ended up running 6:33:46. so good for the win, great time on my feet and great heat training for OD 100. win- win.  I highly recommend this event. it's in between terrapin and promise land (phil was careful and mindful not to conflict with LUS and I feel that is commendable) ,  FUN primarily all single track, plentiful aid stations,  and the finish line was AMAZING, food, beer soda, and rocking music. 
Phil and his crew did an amazing job. It would be so awesome to see more familiar faces out there next year. I think it takes guts to undertake RDing an ultra ( and phil did a stellar job) , and i know he would greatly appreciate the support of the local ultrarunners from SWVA and NETN. So please put this on your calendars for next year. :) 

                                               love my mason jar!! :)

                                   Blurry finish line pick!! I wore my Salomon S lab 5 soft grounds for this race and  they were amazing. The S Lab series really works well for me.  I wore my Advanced skin 12 hydration pack and SOO glad I opted to carry a pack. I would of DIED out there with just a handheld.
     for my fuel, I used aidstation fare, GU roctane, GU chomps,  GU brew electrolyte tablets. ( I just eat them) and GU brew recovery drink post race. :)  took a couple S! caps during the race because it was so hot.
 I'd like to thank Salomon and GU  and Mountain Sports, LTD for all their support:) truly am appreciative for all the do for me!  Them believing in me, has given me the courage and enabled me  to chase my dreams this year. Very thankful.

  OKAY ASIDE from the 50k I've been doing alot of THIS:


                                             Been out there with jack and todd doing this THREE OR FOUR     EVENINGS A WEEK:

                                                     aren't they cute in their MSL hats?



                                                 And then I really try to do THIS as much as I can too:

 Really excited for MAY!! I have alot of cool things coming up this month: TAPER for one! 
Pacing Marlin Yoder at MMT:) MAY25 Mtn sports and I are hosting a GU nutrition clinic following the Bill Gatton freedom 5k in downtown bristol, Va. HERE is a link to more info. Hope to see you guys there!! :) 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

barkley voyeurism

  Last weekend, I had what I considered the girls trip of a lifetime. Sophie Speidel and myself drove up to Frozen head State park to help crew, spectate, camp, run and geek out at the Barkley Marathons.

This race is it's own entity. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced before. It was created based upon a now half flooded prison located on the race course. James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr, escaped into the surrounding mtns. He ran for 55 hrs but only made it 9 miles away. The race director thought to himself " I could at least go 100." so thus the barkley marathon was born. "100" 60,000++ elevation on unmarked trails. One must navigate the loops with a map and compass and hit 11 controls ( books you tear out pages-- you much have 11 pages when you return from each loop to start again)  with a 60 hr cut off. And as of 2013, 14 finishers. Entering barkely --it's a well guarded secret. common knowledge it costs 1.60 and a license plate, but the only way to enter is to ask a veteran barkley racer, and 99% of the time they will lead you down a rabbit hole.

This race becomes an obsession for many racers. It's been my observation that Barkley Virgins usually have a tough time.  but they come back.. they almost always come back the years later to improve where to get credit for the fun run ( 3 loops) or to get closer to being a finisher.

The list of finishers is a compilation of what I consider athletic excellence a tier above mere ultrarunning.  Here are some finishers that I have the honor of knowing: David Horton: won hard rock 100 several times, transamercia twice, former AT speed record, PCT speed record-- THE godfather of east coast ultrarunning. Andrew Thompson:  former AT speed record holder 47 days, "do or die" style record setting, and his barkley race reports are THE BEST imo- and he has an extensive knowledge of wildflowers! When I mislabel flower pictures on FB, he is the first to help me out:P -- Jon Basham--  9th barkley finisher, former Colorado trail speed record holder, Long trail record holder, many many ultrarunning accomplishments und and helluva nice guy. (  he and his wife hilary has THE BEST aidstation at Grindstone 100-- best breakfast burrito and muffins i've had in my life!) Travis Wildeboer: adventure racer, AT through hiker, long trail record holder and now 14th Barkley finisher.

Sophie and I were full of excitement as we drove to the park, hoping for an early start so maybe we could see 2 loops. We get to the park and go to the gift shop for some goodies and trail maps.  Excitedly get to the camp ground and find the group of VHTRC runners who were running.  Gary Knipling, sophie and I almost immediately decide to go for an 11 mile trail run in the rain, so we can see some of the course terrain, quitters roads, and trails of the park.

 Quick stop to pose infront of the iconic yellow gate that is the start line/finish line


We had so much fun exploring! and learning!!! that was a very fun run in the rain and fog. We get back to camp and clean up, and begin to socialize during the chicken dinner! I was lucky enough to get a piece of Laz's famous chicken. THANK YOU!! It was so cool to meet so many characters that have been associated with this event over the past 15 years.  I just tried to really meet as many people as I could and wrap  my noggin around the culture of this race, and the people that are all apart of it.

 here are some pictures of camp:

That night sophie and I went to bed at 9:47 ( early) because we were anticipating the conch to blow ( after it blows, the racers have exactly one hour before start time) any time that night.. well, the night came and went and we both were up at 4 and 5AM wondering when is the race going to start?! you could cut the anticipation of the camp with a knife it was so palpable. Finally, at 8:04 the conch sounds
                          Keith and Mike ready to roll!

                              here are some start line pics:

 after the start, we cleaned up camp, and got our running clothes together so we could run to RatJaw to see the runners ( namely, the VHTRC runners keith, mike and eva) come through. Barkley has very strict rules that the race is self supported, you cant take anything from the runners, you can't give the runners anything, you can't TOUCH a runner while they are on the course,  or they may get DQed. 
 I get to the top of the mtn, and froze for couple hours with GUY and RUDY!!!

                                                 Guy and Rudy -- they aren't really  best buds-- they are just trying to keep warm!!  haha just kidding, it was cold and windy up there! and Guy didn't bring enough turkey sandwiches for everyone.. thought we were going to have a food riot up there!

 the view from the top of the climb up Rat Jaw.. this is SOOO much steeper than it looks

 Rudy is freezing so bad his teeth are chattering! 

Keith  and mike Reach Rat Jaw

 myself, Sophie and alyssa at the top of rat jaw. alyssa's husband Travis is the 14th barkley finisher. 

Then after our runners when through, we went back down the mtn ran back to camp, and stayed until Eva came through, she had a snafu with missing pages and had to go back out.  Then unfortunately, sophie and I had to cut our barkley experience short because of family obligations and it being easter the next day. I would of LOVED to have stayed there the entire race and seen nick and travis finish. However, in my heart, I know I did the right thing by being there with my kiddos Easter morning. 

post barkley impressions: WOW. anyone who finishes is not only super smart and mentally strong and can stay full on engaged for 3 days running in the woods, they are SUPER STRONG athlete. This is NOT like mindlessly following streamers in the woods. barkley is the next level of something practically unobtainable. I can easily see how people can get so fixated and obsessed with this race. 

 I will definitely be back next year in some capacity, whether crewing or......... maybe try to run a loop or two?? maybe??  probably crew and try to learn more about it. :) 
ALL IN ALL it was THE BEST girls weekend I think I could ever have. Thank you sophie for being you-- I'm so happy I can share super fun memories like this with you, and we can be dorks about ultrarunning when it's just us, and its ALL GOOD:)  ((HUG)) xoxo..