Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Great Time! Great Views!

We were headed up to the mountains this weekend. Around Wednesday, I decided to run a marathon on the Greenway in Boone they've been having every couple of weeks. The more I thought about it, the less appealling the 90 degree forecast, asphalt, 7 out & backs, and running by the sewage treatment plant 14 times seemed. I'd been having problems with dehydration and cramping all week. Instead, I decided to go into the woods by myself and start early in the morning. As is my habit, at 10 PM on Friday, I was still figuring out where I wanted to run.

I chose to park at Devil's Garden Overlook at milepost 236 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and run down the Mountains to Sea Trail into Stone Mountain State Park and then run up the mountain and elsewhere in the park if I had time. It was 64 degrees and breezy when I got out of the car. 88 when I finished. I ran over 5 hours and had a great time. I took a hydration pack and a two bottle belt and filled up the pack at the park. Drank 160 ounces and was still dehydrated. That's what happens when you sweat upwards of 3L/hour. Yuck.

Went from 3500' up to 3700', down to 1500' and back up to 2500' on Stone Mountain and then, back down and then back up from 1500' to 3700'. That was a steep climb! Walked quite a bit those last few miles. For the first time ever, I considered just parking it on a rock and resting for a little bit. It was slow going, but I made forward progress. Going down on the way into the park hurt my feet. I didn't realize at the time, my feet busted out of my sock in two places. I've worn those socks probably 30 times and never had any problems. Where one of the holes was, I developed a blood blister, but I barely noticed it when I ran. I felt good though, and the next day, my legs feel better than they have all week.

Went tubing with Wren & Jennifer afterwards. Good day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OK, I Cried a Little. Great Run!

I am not ashamed to say I cried a few happy tears during today's run.

We're at Virginia Tech running camp this week. Brought 14 kids. Today's run was a difficult 6.5 mile run all uphill to Mountain Lake. Pretty steep. Some of my kids were worried about doing the whole 6.5 and considered taking the 2 or 4 mile option, but all but 2 rising 9th graders did the longest option.

I thought I ran well. Never stopped to walk. I ran the first 4 with 2 of my girls with 2 guys within yelling distance. Then Jessica & Mallary took off while I maintained my pace. The guys left too. Chelsea was up with the other guys- who knows how far ahead.

A mile from the top, Jess, Malz & Patrick were within sight and I got a little emotional... I felt great and was just so happy to be running. More than that, I was so happy 3 of my girls were beating me! ...and on a good day for me! Made me feel like I'm doing something right in coaching and made me think about how much these kids mean to me. I think our first guy was about :56- he wasn't sure. Our first girl was 1:03. 1:13 for me. The run was comfortably hard. Perfect really. Not hard enough to HAVE to walk but hard enough to WANT to after 2 minutes!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Doughton Park- Longish Run

I pride myself in knowing an awful lot about North Carolina's geography. I'm very interested in where people are from (and what high school they went to). I look at maps a lot. I go places... but I'm sad and a little embarrased to say I'd never heard of Doughton Park before today. I googled around looking for places in the mountains I'd never been to to run today and stumbled across Doughton Park. 30 miles of trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Stone Mountain State Park- sort of in between Jefferson and Sparta. I'm still not clear about who runs the place. I think it's part of the Blue Ridge Parkway system.

I wanted to run 2-3 hours, but got a little bit of a late start and had Wren and Jennifer with me. I told them I'd be back in 2 hours. Started at Basin Cove Overlook at Milepost 244.7 on the Parkway, where there's a great view, including Stone Mountain. Wonderful 72 degrees when I started. Ran on some nice singletrack as well as an enjoyable fire road. I thought I'd read that it was all rolling. What I ran was not rolling. It was pretty darn hilly. Started at 3300' elevation, went up and down a bit, got down to 1400' and then went back up to 3300'.

I got a little lost and realized I'd be late. Then about 2:15 into it, I went from tired but fine to Bonk City. Felt like someone turned the power switch off and it happened instantaneously. Been years since that's happened. I figured I was only running 2 hours- didn't need to bring anything besides water. Wrong. Didn't know exactly where I was, but thought I was close to where we parked. Heard cars and just trotted across a pasture and onto the Parkway. Luckily, picked the right direction and ran a mile along the Parkway to the car. Finished in 2:50. Jennifer wasn't too freaked out I was almost an hour late. Wren had been discussing whether they would have to spend 1 or 2 nights in the parking lot waiting for me. She knew they had water, granola bars and they saw blackberries on the trail. Ha!

Didn't go perfectly, had to walk a lot post-bonk as I was going uphill, but I'm just happy to be out there running a fairly long run in the woods.

Friday, July 2, 2010

No Excuses Now

Poor training all spring. 66 miles at Black Mountain Monster in early June. Lazy week after that. Emergency gall bladder removal the next week. Now, three weeks from surgery, I'm back in it. Didn't know if I was going to be able to run at all last Monday, but managed 5 miles with some pain. 7 miles the next day with less pain. I managed to run a "tempo" run with the team this Monday. I use quotation marks because it was a lot harder than tempo pace for my present ability. But I felt good and was happy to get through it. Told the girls I was running with Tuesday, "Don't let me use the gall bladder as an excuse from now on. I'm OK." It does hurt a little still, but not bad when I run. Went to the mountains today after our run. Enjoying a 72 degree high and 52 degree low today after 3 weeks in the 90s in Charlotte. Going for a 2-3 hour run somewhere fun tomorrow. Back on the right track and happy about it.