Tag Archives: RunWILD

River Gorge Race Recap

runwild rg

Pre-Race pic w/ RunWILD Crew

Rock/Creek’s River Gorge is a 10.2 mile race at Prentice Cooper State Forest. Nashville Running Compay‘s RunWILD: On the Rocks training group had been working towards this race since January, and I was so excited to bring everyone over to Chattanooga for the race, especially the newbies. The weekend started with picking up Phil, Duane, and Brandon on Friday. After a traffic jam, a pit stop for Phil’s new ride, and check-ins to our respective hotels, it was time for one of my favorite parts of the weekend – Lupi’s Pizza! A couple of slices and a few brews later, and it was bedtime.

The next morning was cool and clear – perfect race weather. We got to the start of the race with about a half an hour to spare. After gathering up our group for a “team” picture, I ran a nice warmup, said hellos to Jeff and Jobie (who graciously stood watch for my woodland bathroom stop), and took my place at the start line.

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Emerging from pit stop; practicing for AC100. Photo cred: Jobie Williams

The race starts on a road, uphill before taking a left onto a rocky jeep road. This is always a fast start, both out of necessity and adrenaline. It’s pretty important in this race to get a good position early as the trails narrows quickly. I decided to go out a little harder early on than I usually would in such a race. I knew there were some super talented girls, and my plan was to try and put enough space between them early on. And it worked . . . for about 3 miles. From almost the get-go, I settled in behind Rock/Creek’s Samuel Hammonds at a really good but hard pace. Just before the first aid station, I heard Jeannette come up behind me, moving really well. She passed me, and I was able to keep her in my sights for a mile or so. After a while, however, I couldn’t spot the bright NRC jersey. I told myself to just run for time – shoot for a PR. I could tell by now that CR was way off (originally, this was my goal, but my lack of training over the last few months screwed me on that). By the time we reached the jeep road climb around mile 7, I was ready to hike but also ready for the pain that I knew would follow. This is the point in the race that I look forward to the most. It’s where the race essentially starts. It’s the point in the race that I mentally prepare for the entire previous 7 miles – looking forward to the pain, excited for the suffering to come. I hiked a little more than I wanted to, and after passing the 2nd aid station and hiking most of the switchbacks, it was time to rock ’n’ roll. I tried to turn the burners on as much as possible before the rock garden slowed me down. I had resigned myself to Jeannette’s win and was happy that it would stay in the NRC family. I may have thought briefly that I was going to burn my jersey since I had yet to win a race in it, but I swear that was just a fleeting thought.

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Photo Cred: J. Williams

Soon, the terrain became rockier and the trail darker. Rock garden time, baby! Shortening my stride, I made my way over the increasing-in-size rocks. As I looked up to get my bearings, I saw Jeannette about 10 yards ahead of me. I think I audibly exclaimed “holy shit”. At first, I thought she was having trouble on the rocks, but turns out, she twisted her ankle a mile or two earlier. After checking to make sure she was ok, I continued on. And then thought “crap, now I gotta run this”. Even injured, I knew Jeannette cold be strong enough to take me down. I had never really run through the rock garden, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I picked it up and hopped rock to rock as best as I could. Jobie, Jeff, and Conrad were somewhere along the way, but as I was trying not to die (or at least not bust my teeth out), I don’t think I even acknowledged them. After getting out of the rock garden, I knew it was about ¾ of a mile and that I needed to RUN. My legs felt like they had just run 98 miles though. If Jeannette hadn’t been so close, I probably would’ve just hiked. However, I forced my legs to go as fast as they could. I caught back up to Samuel, and even though I knew how far we had, I croaked out a “how. much. further?” “Half mile”. . . which sounded like 17 miles in my head. We crossed the jeep road, and I thought the next climb was the one to the finish. WRONG. Finally, though, I could see the arch and made my way across the finish line. I finished and wanted to die – I thought “Phil would be proud”. There was definitely no smiling for a couple of minutes. I was freaking spent.

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 “Running” through the Rock Garden     Photo Cred: Jobie

Finishing time — 1:28: 37. First Female. Jeannette finished a couple of minutes later. I love winning. Like love it love it. Like love it more than anything (duh, I’m a Bama fan). But the win seemed a little hollow. This was Jeannette’s to win, and she even seemed on pace to break the CR if it hadn’t been for an ankle turn. The trail is a cruel mistress though – which is why I respect it, fear it, and love it.

Anyway, for the next hour and a half, we cheered on the whole RunWILD crew as they made their way through the finish. As much as I love racing, it’s just as fun to watch everyone else have a great race, or their first race, or their 12th race . . . especially this one. I absolutely LOVE this race. It’s probably my favorite race of all time. The course, the culture, having all of our crew down there, seeing all of our Chattanooga pals, all of it. I don’t think I could have asked for a better day. Big thanks to Rock/Creek for another awesome race, and HUGE congrats to our entire RunWILD crew!

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Post-Race Pic w/ RunWILD crew

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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

beaman new

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

ice storm

MARCH

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

river gorge

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

sage

Worst: April was pretty good month . . .

MAY

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

strolling jim 2

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

tomato

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.

Good Week of Running

Well, it’s one week from the Boston Marathon. Apparently, that means I should be doing certain things like packing, tapering, thinking about the race. I definitely haven’t started packing, I began tapering slightly this past weekend, and I think about it every now and then when I actually remember I’m racing. Obviously, I’m #Blessed to be able to go, but Boston is definitely not the “A race” of my life or even my year. That being said, I don’t want to completely embarrass myself or the NRC race team. So maybe I’ll try to do everything right this week.

Last week was a pretty solid week of training and running. Mondays have turned into lifting days with Big Swole and climbing with Bree and Marie. Who knew activities outside of running could be so fun? Tuesdays, as always are Trail Tuesdays, but I also added in a mile repeat workout down at the Airpark beforehand. I love our RunWILD Tuesday Night Trails, but ever since we started them, these runs have always felt labored. They’re always fun but difficult even when we weren’t pushing the pace. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a night run, and fatigue from the day has just set in or what. Anyway, this Tuesday night felt awesome. I felt like I could have run for hours. Maybe I’m getting stronger. OR maybe it was the stimulating trail conversation and anatomy lesson. One example of this . . . according to “Dr.” Phil Zimmerman, the reason you have so much mucus/phlegm during a run is that your joints need lubrication while running but when there’s excess lubrication, it drips out of your nose. He should definitely work on publishing this theory. This trail run was also epic because two of our RunWILDers got engaged on the red trail. AH! Congrats, Meg & Sam! We celebrated over big ass beers at Cancun.

Wednesday, Yong and I hit the 11.2 at PW. I hadn’t run this since the Fall and had forgotten how much it hurt. I was thankful to run with him– he kept me honest on pace and distance. I had planned to run East Nasty that night to get a few more miles in, but our furniture was slated to be delivered between 6pm-10pm. While I hated to miss the run, I am pleased to say I’m no longer using lawn furniture in the living room.

Thursdays are RunWEST days. I had a great run with Adrienne and Tara. We did our normal loop through the park. My legs were a little tired from the previous day’s trek through Monkeyville, but I love this morning run. Later that day, I hiked the Bells Bend 6 miler course and marked it for Sunday’s race. The evening RunWEST group did some exploring through Belle Meade neighborhoods and found a really great route that we’ll start incorporating. Friday, I had planned to do around 5-6 miles, but Jobie messaged me that he and Jeff were headed out for a long run that night. I couldn’t pass up Red, White, Blu x 2 at night. So, at around 8pm, we took off. My legs felt fine for most of the run, but for some reason on our second loop, my feet started huuuurting. The good company and wildlife spotting (basically rabbits and a cool owl) kept me going. It was after midnight when we finished, but I was so happy to have done it.

I decided to take Saturday off from running. NRC had a booth at the Bells Bend Outdoor Festival & Expo from 9am-3pm, and by the time I was done working that, I was tired from the night before and still needed to do stuff for the race.

Bells Bend Outdoor Festival & Expo

Bells Bend Outdoor Festival & Expo

My feet and ankle were still hurting as well so I think it worked out that I really didn’t have time to run. Sunday was the RunWILD Bells Bend 6 miler. It turned out to be a beautiful day of racing. 100 racers finished, and it went off without too many hitches. After the race, Lee and I ran a loop at Beaman (I guess it was his charity run for the week). I felt great for most of the run but got my ass handed to me on the last half mile back to the nature center. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful, hot run.

I think the week was a good week for going into Boston while also trying to keep up miles and workouts for June. It was definitely an enjoyable week of running which should be the ultimate goal.

Sorry for the lack of inspiration and gifs.

Week Recap:

Monday: 4 miles; Swole Session

Tuesday: 1.5 miles w/ the pups; 3 mi WU, 4 x 1 mile w/ 400 m recovery; Red trail

Wednesday: 11.2 with Yong

Thursday: RunWEST am; run w/ pups; RunWEST pm

Friday: RWB x 2 (4:08)

Saturday: rest day

Sunday: 6 miles

RunWILD Wrap Up, Pt 3

February Recap: Chickasaw Trace — Twisted fun; Bells Bend — fast and flat; Percy: Rad ice adventure; Shelby — glorious mud pit.

From the outset, March would prove just as eventful. Icepocalypse II occurred during the first week of March which set a spectacular backdrop for our run at Edwin Warner. I have no idea how many times I’ve run out there, other than it’s a bunch, and the snow made it look like a completely different park. We also had the Salomon rep out there which was perfect– the snow really put the demo shoes to the test. This run was also great because I think a good deal of the crew training for River Gorge hit their longest run yet. Beautiful day for progress!

Photo Cred: L. Moorman

Photo Cred: L. Moorman

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Next stop — Montgomery Bell. I’d never been to Montgomery Bell before which, after this run, I’m mad that I’ve been missing out. The 9ish mile loop had tons to offer — fast, runnable sections, some climbs, back-to-back-to-back creek crossings, and a completely and epically flooded section of the trail. This section was about a quarter mile from the end, and as we’re approaching, all we see is water, water everywhere– at least twenty yards of deep water. Phil kept saying “I hope we go through that,” and sure enough, we did. It came up to Scott’s and my waist and a little lower for Phil and Steven. It. Was. Awesome. You can check it out in Steven’s video here: 

Again, the crew pushed it and hit some of their longest runs ever!

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: Khette Cox

Photo Cred: Khette Cox

Photo Cred: Michelle Mazzara

Photo Cred: Michelle Mazzara

On Tuesday, we eschewed our normal Tuesday night trails for another hill workout at Shelby and a St. Patty’s party at NRC. Steven showcased his newest videos on our training  as well as a film on Kilian Jornet. It was quite possibly the most epic St. Patrick’s Day I’ve had since college. (And what happens at RunWILD, stays at RunWILD)

Our last run would take us to Long Hunter — the perfect place to get some good, easy miles in before race week. We ran at a good pace, and the 8 miles were over before I knew it. Everyone also got to see just how terrified I am of vultures so that was fun. scaredAfter all of the cold, the run at Long Hunter was warm, sunny, and beautiful. It was the perfect place to wrap up our training.

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J. Eb

Photo Cred: J Eb

Photo Cred: J Eb

Photo Cred: Michelle Mazzara

Photo Cred: Michelle Mazzara

The RunWILD Tour of Trails training was all I’d hoped it be and more. Phil, Steven, and Alicia did a bang up job, and our crew was so much fun. I can’t wait to see how everyone does at River Gorge! I’ll leave this parting advice for those racing:

-Be nice to and thank the aid station volunteers.

-Remember Phil’s trail etiquette speech.

-Be brave and strong.

-Embrace the pain, and don’t be afraid to suffer.

-Have so much flipping fun, and RunWILD!!!

10 Reasons to Do It in the Dark

Everyone knows how amazing trail running is. Surprisingly, not everyone’s eyes have been opened to the fun that is trail running in the dark. After running with Nashville Running Company‘s Tuesday night trail group last night, I couldn’t help but think of all the reasons to do it in the dark. I decided to narrow it down to just 10 though . . .

1. With just a head lamp, it’s hard to tell when you’re approaching a hill until you’re actually on it. You end up running climbs that you’d normally hike just from looking at it.

2. It’s even easier to go to the bathroom in the woods without anyone seeing you, assuming you turn your head lamp off.

3. Trail running in the dark forces you to slow down and really enjoy the beauty around you.

4. The “same ol’ trails” are not the same ol’ trails in the dark. The trails look and feel completely different than they do in the daylight. It’s a great way to mix it up without abandoning your favorite or nearby trails.

5. Running in the dark forces you to pay even more attention to what you’re doing, to the trail, and how your body works in conjunction with the trails.

6. Zombie animal eyes– the eyes of woodland creatures glow from the headlamps. It’s both eerie and beautiful.

7. You get to pretend like you’re in the middle of a 100 miler and don’t know why everyone always looks spent at mile 75 because you’re feeling f-ing awesome.

8. Something about running through the woods in the dark makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong or illegal . . . so you know it’s fun.

9. You get to wear a head lamp, a niche usually reserved only for miners and surgeons.

10. Running through the woods in the dark makes you  the ultimate bad ass.

What Are You Running From?

just run

Anyone who runs long distances has had some sort of cringe worthy confrontation with a non-running relative, friend, co-worker, etc. My favorites are the timeless classics “You’re going to ruin your knees” or “I don’t even like driving that far.” I’m not sure what it is about running that solicits so much unsolicited “advice” or commentary. My most recent interaction (from basically a stranger) included this nugget — “What are you running from?” Poor grammar aside, this actually got me thinking. Are we as runners actually running from something or are we, in fact, running towards something? Running can definitely be a great escape from the monotony of the real world or stresses from work/home, but I don’t think running away from things is the only reason we run. If we were all simply looking for an escape, there are a lot easier ways to find one. I’m not saying that we don’t all have our individual demons that a good run in the woods can’t help, (Lord knows I have my share) but I think, for the most part, we’re running for something, towards something, searching for something.

Running (and by running, I personally mean trail running. I’m sure the road can make others feel the same) isn’t just an outlet. It’s not just a way to unwind from the day or to start my day off right. I run to find the best version of myself possible–the version of me who is strong enough mentally and physically to endure what others can’t. I run to see just what my body is capable of doing. I run with a community that is beyond amazing, a community that has made me feel like I finally found my place in life, a community that I honestly can’t imagine my life without. Running and the running community show me who I want to be.

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I’ve never known exactly what or who I wanted to be (sadly, this is true even 4 years post-law school), but that has been changing since I became so deeply involved with running. I want to be a runner/I am a runner. Running is what I want to do, running is how I want to be defined. When people ask “what do you do”, I want to respond “I run”.  Clearly, I’m not saying I am or ever will be Frosty or Jenn Shelton or Sally McRae, but that’s what I’m running towards (if nothing else, at least in my mind). In the meantime, I’ll also be running towards bettering myself both as a person and a runner, towards unbelievable adventures that can only occur in the mountains and woods, towards the communion with nature, towards a community that welcomes any and everyone with open arms, towards the pain that helps me grow, towards the exaltation that keeps me coming back for more, towards the love and passion that intensifies every day for this sport, and definitely towards the “what now” or the “what else can I do?”

running quote

A Dichotomous Week

This past week ran the gamut of running– from completely slacking to most miles since November.  With Black Warrior 50k closing in, I really wanted to bang out some quality miles during the week, as well as get in two longer runs on the weekend. My body had different plans though. Generally, I’m not the best sleeper, but sometimes by body really takes it to the extreme. Last week, I could not sleep at all. Nada.

Go+back+to+sleep+i+can+t+be+the+only+one_d0a09c_4975863

What I tried to tell my body

Because I couldn’t sleep, I felt like the Walking Dead most of the week. My running on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday really suffered. And by suffered I mean, I ran a total of 5.5 miles for those 3 days combined. Tuesday and Thursday, however, were pretty decent. I actually did a workout on Tuesday, got some good leg turnover, and got some good miles in. My workout coupled with the RunWILD Tuesday night trail run had me feeling like this:

taylor swift

I had planned to run with Lindsay on Wednesday am, but after Tuesday, my ankle was a little angry so I decided to be smart. Lindsay, who’s coming back from an injury and who I’m excited to see dominate some races this year, was, thankfully, super supportive and understanding. Wednesday was East Nasty Pint Night, and Leah, Nash, and I signed up some peeps for the Dry Creek Trail Marathon & Half (http://www.nashvillerunning.com/events/2015/2/22/dry-creek-marathon-and-half). I got a few easy miles in before, and my ankle felt MUCH better.

RunWEST group on Thursday always helps my mileage (Check out our facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/RunWEST/340492819490881). Friday, however, was a totally different story. Still no quality sleep. I felt completely out of body, and I just could not go run.

im-tired

Luckily, Gretchen’s birthday celebration was that evening which took my mind off just how tired I was and gave me some kick ass cross training. We played broom ball, and broom ball rocks. Seriously, this was the most fun that I’ve had in quite some time. 60 minutes, hockey style on real ice. Loved every second of this. Boo Boo and I were on the same team which made it even more fun– especially when we got into a good defensive rhythm. Our team, the Ice Holes, beat Phil and the Dateline Predators. I want to play this every single weekend.

How I felt playing

How I felt playing

How I actually looked

How I actually looked

Saturday’s run was a lot more difficult than it should’ve been because of how sore and tired my legs were from the previous night’s workout. However, that did not ruin the awesomeness that is Chickasaw Trace. I’d never been out there, but they are some seriously beautiful and fun trails! I was definitely impressed. They have a 15k down there on March 21– we met the race director while we were down there, and this should be a great race.

On Sunday, I ran the most that I’ve run since being placed on IR back in November. Not a ton of miles, but I’ll definitely take it. The best part was that my legs felt decent, and I definitely could have run more. Hap-, hap-, happiness!

bush

bush2

Big thanks to RunWILD on Saturday (especially the usual suspects, Phil, Scott, Ryne, & Sinith) and to Scott and Ryne for running RWB with me on Sunday! And thanks to sweet pups Merlot and Gidget (and their Mom and Dad) for helping me get some bonus miles this weekend!

Week Recap:

Monday: 1 mile; Strength Training — Core/Legs

Tuesday: Strength miles workout; RunWILD Tuesday Night Trails (11.6 total)

Wednesday: 4.5 easy miles

Thursday: RunWEST am; Workout; RunWEST pm (12.2 total)

Friday: MotherF-ing Broom Ball

Saturday: 9 miles

Sunday: 16.2 miles total