Category Archives: Trail Training

Goals, Goals, Goals

harvey

Oh, Harvey. You’re such a hottie.

I love goals, and I love to plan. I make to-do lists and schedules for myself at least once of day. I have 2 paper calendars and a google calendar. I keep a legal pad that’s just for my “agenda”. For goal races, I’ll post my goal time on the mirror with a sticky note or on the fridge (usually near the beer drawer which is where it’ll get the most eye traffic). I always make A, B, and C goals for these races and write them down everywhere. As much as I love both of these things, I don’t think I’ve ever planned out my goals for the year (Maybe I have and there’s a previous blog post that’ll call me a liar, but I’m too lazy to go fact check myself). And for accountability/transparency’s sake, I’m sharing this with you, my loyal 22 readers.

General/Vague Goals — Faster/Stronger/Mentally Tougher

Mileage — 3000 for the year

Races:

Mt. Cheaha 50K (Feb 27) : no time goal really (no, I’m serious). Sub-6:00 would be nice but using this has a “get back in shape run”

River Gorge 10.2 (March 26): Course PR

WDW Star Wars 1/2 Marathon (April 17): PR BUT with Disney crowds this may be hard

Bend Marathon (or 1/2) (April 24): This is a questionable race b/c of time, finances, and the fact it’d be one of 4 straight road races. But another pour from my Smith & Lentz growler, and it’s about to be unquestionable

Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon -Nashville (April 30): running this in conjunction with Nashville Running Company and Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s fundraising opportunity

Strolling Jim (May 7): sub-6:00

Race Against the Sun: No expectations; just a “fun” night race in prep for AC 100

Angeles Crest 100 (Aug 6): Don’t die/Finish — and that’s lofty.

The rest of the year is kind of dependent on AC100 recovery and what not. Would love to do Upchuck 50K. Up to suggestions for end of year races!

 

 

 

 

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Best (and Worst) of 2015

I haven’t felt like writing/blogging/stream of consciounessing for a while. I’ve been kind of bummed about how long recovery is taking me. My legs haven’t felt “good” in quite some time, and I’ve been battling just a twinge of post tib tendinitis (Thanks, Leah Sawyer for the help with that!) I have barely averaged 20 miles a week (until last week), and this really affected my mental/emotional state. I think I need at least 40 miles a week to feel good and like a normal person. So, to get me out of my funk, and since it’s the end of the year, I decided to compile a list of my running/racing/RD’ing bests from each  month this year. And with the bests must come the worsts, right?

JANUARY

Best: RunWILD Tour of Trails begins (still time to sign up for NRC‘s 2016 training! #shamelessplug); running Bearwaller Gap for first time

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Worst: Having to DNS Mountain Mist 50K

FEBRUARY

Best: Black Warrior 50K (sub-5 hr); fun runs in the snow

Worst: The Ice Storm postponing Dry Creek

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MARCH

Best: Taking the RunWILD group down to River Gorge (come run it with us this year!)

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Worst: March was pretty good . . . so I guess it’d have to be the soreness from RunWILD’s St. Patty’s Day “Hill Repeats”? 😉

APRIL

Best: Boston – experience (being there with my mom, the race environment, seeing Bree in Boston obvs) and marathon PR; meeting Sage Canaday

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Worst: April was pretty good month . . .

MAY

Best: Strolling Jim suffer fest; Running at Frozen Head for the first time

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Pre-Strolling Jim ass kicking w/ Jobie

Worst: the day after Strolling Jim. I couldn’t leave my house because stairs must descended to do so.

JUNE

Best: Running in the big boy mountains of Idaho and solidifying my love of the West

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Worst: DNF-ing River of No Return 108K where the big boy mountains chewed me up and spit me out. Not even Little Red Riding Hood could get my ass in a good enough space to continue that race.

JULY 

Best: Pulling the trigger on signing up for a 100; Bowie Park race having record numbers

Worst: Pulling the trigger on signing up for a 100; losing my key on the Bowie course and spending hours “sunbathing” in the parking lot waiting for help

AUGUST

Best: RunWILD: Hot, Wet, & Wild started; knocked out my annual 5K @ Tomato

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Worst: hardcore face-planting at Beaman during our first RunWILD run from which I still have the scarred up knees

SEPTEMBER

Best: Running in Chamonix (and London, Paris, Cinque Terre, and Rome); I’ve wanted to live and just run in the mountains ever since I went westward last year, but running here really made me fall in love. #movemetoColoradoorBendASAP

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Worst: Leaving Chamonix

OCTOBER

Best: Defeated Creek — this was my baby race of the year. Thankful to NRC and others (Phil, Duane) who helped me bring this to fruition in just the way I/We envisioned when setting foot out there for the first time. Having such a big group at StumpJump; Mini Tour de Rouge (when we doing 10, Jeff and Jobie?)

stump jump bathroom

StumpJump bathroom pic

Worst: The nerves prepping for Pinhoti

NOVEMBER

Best: Pinhoti 100 — probably the highlight of the year for me; Riverside Screw, duh.

start line

Worst: Recovery from Pinhoti; post race “blues” –> always hard to deal with for me no matter the race but extra bad for this one #WhyGodMadeBeer

DECEMBER

Best: Wrapping up a decent first year as RD with Peeler park; focusing on running with my own pups; slowly getting mileage up

Worst: Loss of fitness and speed from taking a little too much recovery

So, that’s my pretty boring yet incredibly self-indulgent Best/Worst of Running for 2015.

Stay tuned for my Goals for 2016 which is sure to be riveting.

Chamonix: I Don’t Like It; I love it, love it, love it.

On our second day in Chamonix, mom and I went  up the cable car opposite of Mt Blanc and up to Le Brevent. From there, we got spectacular views of the mountains and the valley below. I mapped out a run that took me from the cable car stop at Planpraz, up to Lacs Noirs/Lac Cornu, and over to L’Index.

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Game Day, y’all!

The run began with a hike up a fire road before hanging a right and onto lots and lots of rocks — a theme that would continue the entire run. A lot of the run was run for 10 yards, hop rocks for 20, run for 5 feet, scramble for 15. It was delightful. The first two miles I climbed roughly 1200 feet and rocked a 18:00 min/mile average. I was the only one running, but there were plenty of hikers most of the way.

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Long way to go to train for the rock garden @ Stump Jump

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Luckily, the trails were marked well enough to where even I couldn’t get lost

I passed lots of people having picnics, especially when I passed by Lacs Noir. I looked down and there in the valley was just a random lake. Of course, I didn’t look for long as I needed all the help I could get at staying upright. I finally made it to L’Index but wanted to keep going. About a tenth of a mile later, it seemed that the trail just ended . . . until I noticed a “handrail” along the side of rock. I realized that I was supposed to use that for the next quarter mile. So, I thought, what the hell? If I die, at least I’ll die in the Alps.

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So I grabbed it and kind of crawled across the rocks until finally making it to a “trail”. It wasn’t as bad as I thought since it was going slightly uphill. But things got a little scarier when I had to make my way down in the same fashion. I was glad no one was around to watch me do it because it was probably the least graceful thing I’ve ever done.

I back tracked all the way back to the Planpraz cable car stop. My time improved a little bit on the way back as I became a little more surefooted. As I got closer, I started hearing bells. My first thought — is there seriously a Mississippi State fan with a cowbell out here?! (I mean, it was game day after all). Then, I realized it was goats!

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I finally made it back to Planpraz where they had a bar/restaurant. I got some more water, fueled up with Huma (thanks, Steven!!!), and started the 3 miles back down to Chamonix. I had no idea I could go that slowly on a downhill, but with rocks and sharp turns, it was basically a shuffle the entire. A shuffle with an incredible view though:

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Total running time: 2:30; 10.5 miles; 2600 ft’. Not a bad day at all.

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This is my “I can’t believe I’m here, I never want to go home” face

Chamonix, Chamonix Ain’t No Place I’d Rather Be (part un)

Clearly when the Dead wrote that there’s nowhere else they’d rather be than in Tennessee, they had never been to Chamonix. When Mom began planning this trip, I asked her to go to Chamonix which is the home of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc . . . so obviously I was DYING to go run there. As soon as we got off the train, I was in love with this place.

The first day, Mom and I rode the cable car up to Aguille du Midi to take in the breathtaking views of Mont Blanc. From there, I began my first run in the Alps. The terrain was a little more technical than I expected, but it was still pretty runnable. I kept turning around though to take in the jaw-dropping views. IMG_1352

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Most people were hiking except for two other girls, but all were super friendly and encouraging. I even had an elderly dude yell “you’re already late for the beer!” The entire time I was hiking or jumping from rock to rock, I kept thinking “this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done” . . . and it was. Some things are great to experience with others; however, running in the Alps and doing it solo was perfection. And it was just what my body and spirit needed. It was absolutely surreal, and I have never had a better time in my life than when I was bounding along pretending to be Emelie or Kilian. I ran the path from Aguille du Midi to Mer de Glace which is home to an actual real life glacier (Which is NOT the same thing as an iceberg. Deep down I knew this, but my 18 year long obsession with Titanic kept trying to convince me otherwise).

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After reaching Mer de Glace and exploring the glacier with Mom, I ran from Mer de Glace back down to Chamonix.

At Mer de Glace

At Mer de Glace

The first part of this trail was basically all rock and all downhill. It was the first trail in the forest though, and it was spectacular.

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Eventually, I popped out on a giant rock and into the great wide open. I also happened upon a little bar set out in the middle of BFE with people just drinking, hanging, and cheering on runners/hikers.

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I picked up the double track trail and ran the next 3 miles or so down into Chamonix. My first run in the Alps was all that I wanted it to be — Just an all together glorious, unforgettable, I never wanted to stop run.

Hey down there, Chamonix

Hey down there, Chamonix

J’aime courir a Paris

Paris was the second stop on the Bama Does Europe Tour. Our first full day there was a “rest” day for me, but Mom and I walked a ton that day, including 300 steps up and 300 steps down the basilica in Montmatre and down the Eiffel Tower. The next day we were headed to Chamonix so I got up before sunrise for a run. Apparently, Paris doesn’t wake up before 7am because it felt like I had the city to myself.

Our hotel was about a half mile from the Seine so I headed there and ran along the river. It was amazingly lit all the way until I turned off towards the Louvre. I barely saw a soul for that first mile which, after walking through the hustle and bustle the day before, was beautiful. I ran in front of the Louvre, through the arch, and around the Tuileries and Carousel Gardens because they were still closed from the night before.

The Seine

The Seine

The Louvre at dawn

The Louvre at dawn

At the Louvre

At the Louvre

I then picked up the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, ran past all of the stores, and ran all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. It was just beginning to get light, and the Arc was spectacular. I’m glad I liked the view too because with the light of day, traffic was picking up, and it took me quite a while to make my way around the roundabout.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

IMG_1280Finally, I made it all the way around and was back on Champs-Elysees. By the time I got back to the Tuileries, they were open. Apparently, this is where people come to run because I saw many others with the same idea as mine. The gardens with their statues and flowers was breathtaking. Plus, the terrain was kind of “trailly”.

Tuileries: Gardens of the Louvre

Tuileries: Gardens of the Louvre

I passed back by the Louvre and ran back along the river. My pace was faster than anticipated so I had a little extra time. I crossed over the river and ran to Notre Dame. Again, I was the only one there which was great as it meant no one was trying to sell me selfie sticks or Eiffel Tower keychains.

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Notre Dame sans Quasimodo

As I ran back to the hotel to get ready for adventures in Chamonix, the sun was rising over the river which perfectly capped off a beautiful run and my own private tour of Paris.

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London Running

“I [ran] by the river”

London was the first stop in the Bama Does Europe Tour. As we walked around the first day through the throngs of people, I thought that running here was going to really suck. As per ush, I was wrong.

The first day I crossed over from our hotel to the South Bank and ran along the River Thames. My first point of interest: MI6 Building. What better motivation than trying to find James Bond or at least a Daniel Craig lookalike? No luck, but it was still a beautiful run down to MI6  as you could see Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and Big Ben along the river.

Daniel Craig, where are you?

Daniel Craig, where are you?

I continued next to the river until I got to Battersea, and then I crossed over the bridge in front of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull’s old house. I ran along the streets of Chelsea — they did NOT seem used to runners — and made my way through the swanky area of Belgravia. Somehow or another, I found Hyde Park. From there, I saw the London Eye up in the sky and knew that was the way back to the hotel. I ran through Hyde Park and found a “trail”!

London's single track

London’s single track

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

I ran through Hyde Park until finding myself in front of Buckingham Palace, said what up to the Queen, looked for Harry the hottest Ginger ever, and made my way through the Royal Horseguards, past Big Ben (which is probably my favorite sight in London), and finished in front of the London Eye. 14 gorgeous miles.

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

The next day I took Milner’s and Wade’s advice and just went straight for Hyde Park. It was fun people watching, and there were a ton of other runners out. I ended up following another “trail” until I was in front of Royal Albert Hall and next to what John Lennon thought was a psychedelic rocket. I turned around and ran back towards the ever-watching Eye. 6.5 sweet ass miles.

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Haven’t mastered the art of the selfie without looking like the hag from Snow White

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We left for Paris early on Tuesday morning so in solidarity with my Tuesday morning interval peeps back in Nashville, I did intervals on the treadmill before we left.

To sum it up: London was beautiful, I liked it much better than I expected, and I had a blast exploring it by foot!

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Back Where I Come From

As someone with a personality of the “grass is greener”, the next adventure is always better, my favorite race is always the next race, it can be hard to reflect on the past (unless, of course, I’m using it as training or motivational tool). I hadn’t been back home in over a year when I returned last week to drop Gyps off with her Pop before leaving on our trip. Since it had been so long,  I decided to take the time to reflect a little bit on my past . . . and what better way to do that than on a run.

Big-eyed fish

Big-eyed fish

I started my run as I had done for over ten years – I ran out of my parents’ driveway, out of their sleepy neighborhood, and onto the busy “highway”. Before I had even warmed up, I passed the spot that was exactly 1.5 miles from home. I knew this without looking at my watch; this was my regular turnaround spot for years because who needed to run more than 3 miles at a time?

Standard view on my run for years

Standard view on my run for years

I did the loop where, when I felt froggy one day, I ran 5 miles for the first time ever . . . after which I thought I was going to die and was sure no one else had ever run that far. I ran past my old high school where I lived it up from 2000-2004. While there, I thought I had found my permanent identity, a hodgepodge of hippie/jock/nerd . . . and I guess that still stands in some form or fashion (mostly in the form of running. And the hippie part of me has calmed down a bit). I saw the softball fields that I thought would be my future and my ticket out of town.

Dear ol' high school . . . where the magic happened from '00-'04

Dear ol’ high school . . . where the magic happened from ’00-’04

All of these places and experiences shaped and molded the present day me — for better or for worse. For instance, my right arm will always be massively bigger than my left thanks to 10 years of pitching/softball. I recognize the importance of acting like everyone is watching because, well, they were. I appreciate the “big city” of Nashville. On runs, I learned how to hurdle road kill, how to dodge trucks who think it’s funny to drive directly at you while you’re running, and how to answer cars that pull over asking “do you need a ride?”.

"Downtown"

“Downtown” Alex City

Even though I won’t stop obsessing over what I’ll race next year or the next or where I’ll live in the future (looking at you, CO), it was a cathartic and cleansing visit to the past.

Shrine to me . . . or my parents' house

Future shrine to me . . . or my parents’ house