Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Foothills Trail Winterfest 2011 - Preview

My fascination with, attraction to, and love for the Foothills Trail is in full bloom as I prepare for the upcoming winter attempt - a run that may or may not happen. This one all hinges on weather. The last weather forecast has a low pressure sytem moving in bringing high winds and sub-20 temps.

As long as the predicted temps are above 20 degrees, I'll make the attempt.

Very cool weather graph provided by Clark Lind, SMSgt 14WS/CCM

At the time this image was taken (5 days ago or so) there was still plenty of snow coverage at Table Rock and Sassafrass Mountain. That probably worries me the most as I envision an icy climb up Pinnacle and Sassafrass Mountain.

FHT looks especially bad-ass from space

So far, training runs in the snow on nearby trails and on other parts of the FHT show that footing will be tough and especially slow if there is snow. This attempt may just end up being an especially long training run that sets up a more successful Spring attempt.

Or it may end in disaster.

Or be my best run yet.

No matter what's bound to be a wild ride.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

RACE REPORT: Harbison 50K Trail Race

The first Ultra of the New Year has come and gone....and I'm still dragging my ass to write the race report. Apparently, I'm in a bit of a blogging slump. I'm really sorry about the delay in quality race reporting material, I'm just going through a lot right now and sometimes I'm going to drink six miniature bottles of rum and then draw horses. That's just the way the world works.

Three days later...
UPDATE: So I decided to draw a graph to better represent the psycholgical predicament I'm in. This is it:

No, that's not exactly right. I completely fail to illustrate my point, but burritos are pretty awesome. But then you get a fighter jet and the burrito isn't so awesome anymore because burritos can't fly in the air and kill things from a great distance. So using a burrito in my graph wasn't really the best choice after all.

Here, this is better:

One day later...
UPDATE: It is now morning and I feel like maybe I accomplished the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish because now I feel even more pressure to write this post to make up for this monstrosity. Anyway, I won't delete this rambling testament to my psychological shortcomings, but I think in the future I should probably either drink more, go to bed or eat something really awesome keep all of this in my head. Please still respect me after this, okay?

One day later...
OK, I was just messing with you. Here's the race report you came here to read:

The Harbison 50K on January 8 was a great gathering of friends come together to run on a new, challenging course. My friend Dan Hartley was the RD for this one and for as long as I live, I doubt I'll see a better marked course. Not even I could get lost.*

Just a week back to running after a 13-day layoff, my thinking going into the race was just to put in the miles and enjoy the trail. That plan made total sense until we started running and I began to think that maybe I would run it hard. Yeah, I could run it hard, that would be okay.

We got to the race early Saturday morning and before we knew it we were at the starting line and off we went. It was a nearly perfect day for running and right away I started to toy with the idea of running this thing hard. That lasted for exactly 13 miles. My mind was willing but my body was not and as I chugged along the trails I began to question who had poured cement into my legs. Man my feet and legs were so heavy, unbelievable really. I decided I would acccept this and just enjoy the run.

This race lasted long beyond its entertainment value, kind of like this post. I've put more effort in to rehabilitating injury and tendonitis lately than into my running and it showed. I just wanted it to be over.

This course is deceivingly challenging and the 50k is made up by running 2 loops of about 16 miles each. Towards the end of the first loop, my left calf cramped really hard, and it was pretty much hobble-jog-hobble back to the starting point. By the time I made it to the end of the first loop my calf was &*$#ed. I was forced to sit and deal with it at this point. I lost about 8 minutes or so as I worked out the cramp. Then it was off again.

The second loop was just a grind. There's not really much more to say, other than we did enjoy the company of Lynne and Steve somewhere around the marathon distance. Talking to them was a nice distraction and made the time go by so much faster. We ended up coming in a little over 8 hrs, and feeling very satisfied to have the first Ultra of the year under our belts. Dan did a fantastic job at organizing this race, and it's a must-do next year. Unless, of course he implements his ill-timed ideas about making the course much harder (what is wrong with you, anyway, Dan?).

Now, back to training....

Full results can be found here:

* My camera did not fare as well. I set it down next to the trail somewhere near mile 11 on the first loop, thinking I would pick up on loop #2. Of course, by then I was chatting away with Lynne and Steve and Charles and ran right past it. Amazingly enough, though, we came back the next day and as if by magic...I found it.