Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking Glass Trail

Lisa and I went up to Asheville for a little getaway and had a nice time. Since we both had a couple of days off of work, we figured a short trip would be in order.

So since I was in Asheville, I couldn't resist getting in a short run on the Shut-In Ridge trail. The STR is near the Blue Ridge Parkway and is in a very pretty area. Lloyd and some of my other friends in our running club did a race there earlier this year and I wanted to see what it was like, so I thought I'd get in an hour run. That trail is one tough hombre. I only ran for a little less than 7 miles but my watch recorded 2700 ft of ascending. I can imagine how tough it would be to run the whole 18 miles of the race.

After cleaning up and getting something to eat, Lisa and I went up to the Pisgah National Forest and hiked the Looking Glass Trail. I found this trail based on some good online reviews, so we figured we'd try it out.

The hike was moderately hard, especially since it was soggy out and the footing was slippery. But despite the footing difficulty and strenuous ascending it was enjoyable and beautiful. We saw waterfalls and some gorgeous rock outcroppings. On the way up another hiker told us to be careful at the summit since it was windy and the rocks are slippery. We both knew to be careful since about a 3/4ths of a mile below the summit there is a flat rock outcrop that serves as a helipad.

Lisa and I both had a good time, though she did have one slip on a wet rock and got a little backside stinger. She was wearing some running shoes which didn't provide a whole lot of grip. I'm going to have to hook her up w/ some good trail shoes the next time we go hiking. Well that's about it. We had a nice trip.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A few short takes

1) Even though we had a string of overcast rainy days lately, its been great running weather. Got in 60 miles last week. Though I think I'll back off this week and recover a bit.

2) It seems like a bunch of chiro docs are into endurance sports. I follow Dr. Marc & Tanya's blog and they do those epic ultras. Then my chiro, Dr. Josh, is a 2x ironman finisher and consistently places in the winter cyclocross series. To top it off his sis is a chiro too and she raced Ironman Florida.

3) Speaking of chiro visits, I almost fell asleep on the traction bed during yesterday's visit.

4) I've gotten 50 miles on the Go Lites, so far, A+ for traction, B- for fit. I got a small blister during my long run in Umstead Park.

5) Its gonna be cold today. Tonight's run will definitely be in pants.

6) Since we've got a shut down at work, I should take a short trip and explore some trails in the western part of NC. It would be nice for me and Lisa to get away.

7) I look at my bike everyday and miss riding. The only thing is that I'm too pooped to ride after the long runs, and during the week it gets dark very early.

8) Okay since I live so close to the American Tobacco Trail, I should break out the lights and do a night ride. Its only 6 miles, but at least I can do some spinning.

9) Me and my dog, King have one similarity, I feed him a bit more during the winter so he'll put on a little weight for insulation. I've also been feeding myself more lately, even w/ all the long slow runs, I've managed to add some lbs.

10) People should bring healthy treats to the office, maybe some fruit along w/ the cookies and cake.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gear Review This Time

During my run w/ the Umstead Park gang this morning I ran in some new trail shoes I just picked up, Versa Force by Go lite. I think Go Lite is better known for their hydration systems, backpacks, and things like that, however they have a line of trail shoes and since I'm a sucker for a bargain I picked up a pair. I got these for only $39, the retail was $130 so after thinking about it a few days I jumped on them. Go Lite has a number of trail running models, but the I believe their Versa Force is considered a lightweight trail race type shoe.

So the weird thing about these shoes is the outsole. From the pictures you can see its a pretty funky setup w/ the "spikes". I was worried about the stability while running, especially on technical single track, since the tread pattern is so unorthodox. It seemed like the ride would be less stable due to the lack of surface area that actually contacts the ground.
So on the run I wanted to get in 3 hours in order to stay on track for the Holiday Lake build. I know it isn't too smart to run for 3 hours in new shoes, but I was anxious to see how they felt and went for it anyway.

Overall I was pleased w/ the shoes. The traction was unbelievable, especially when going up steep pitches on the trail. Also there's a good toe bumper that came into use during the run, we ran mostly single track that has a lot of roots and small rocks that tend to trip me up. So it was good to have that front-end protection.

Remember the funky tread pattern, well that was also the biggest downside w/ these shoes, I seemed to stumble more then usual. Sometimes I tend to drag my feet when running for a long times and the tread catches roots super easy. Other than that, they felt pretty good.

I know Lloyd's gonna get a grin after reading this. Since I'm known to try all these different gear gizmos. Good luck in CO, we're gonna miss you here in the Bull City. Well that's all for now. We just had to take a 10% pay cut at work, so maybe my new gear adventures might have to be curtailed a bit.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Know, Another Book Review

Okay, I'm still on the ultra geek tip. My inner ultra geekness just went up a notch since I finished Dean Karnazes book, "Ultramarathon Man, Confessions of an All Night Runner". My bud at work Bev (future ultra marathoner) hooked a brother up and bought me a copy of Dean's book. Thanks BB! Then to top it off, "Ultramarathon Man" is on my main man Lloyd's reading list. Lloyd completed the Great Eastern Endurance Run 100K, so he's got much cred when it comes to recommending anything related to ultras. So even before I opened up the first page I knew it was gonna be all good w/ this one.

I dug this book from the first page to the last page. I enjoyed the "50 Marathons" book too, but this book is even better. A lot better. Dean tells us how he got into this ultra thing and gives us insight of what its like to complete some grande epic ultra races.

To me the most dramatic race was his experience during the Western States 100. That was unreal. The other races were insane too, but for some reason I dug the WS 100 report the best. I guess it was the first race he chronicled in the book and it just grabbed me.

So if you want something good to read, get this one, you won't be disappointed.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

What Am I Getting Myself Into?

Well I finally put my race application in the mail for my first ultramarathon, the Holiday Lake 50K ++. I'm not sure what the ++ is all about. I think I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to do an ultra, but now that my application is in the mail, its time to start seriously start stacking up the training miles.

An ultramarathon is any distance that exceeds a marathon, 26.2 miles. The Holiday Lake race is 50 kilometers ~31 miles. This will be my first ultra. I'm a kinda wondering how this is going to work out, but that's the fun about it right? Seeing just how far you can go.

My bud Lloyd told me during the group run last Tues that it won't be bad at all, but man I don't know. That's a lot of miles on my feet running (probably a lot of walking too). Then also one of the bloggers I follow, Dr. Marc & Tanya do these things. I think I got geeked up hearing about the ultra experience and wanted to do one myself.

Now the question is should I run from home to the Thurs night group run or drive up there? Might as well get ready. I'll run from home.