Sunday, October 30, 2011

The 'Peoples Shut In Fun?? Run'

Well the day started waking up just after 5am and boy was it a nice chilly morning. We finally received our first overnight frost down in the valley and knew it was going to be quite a cold morning out. Nonetheless we headed out to beat the sun to the top of Pisgah in order to drop our cars for a run. We reached the top ready for this supposed 'fun' run that was going to take us over 18 miles and well over 5000' in elevation gain back to where we staged our car at the top of Mt Pisgah. We stood outside our car enjoying a very hot cup of coffee shivering intensely as the morning sun began to inch slowly over the mountains in the east. Was it going to be long and potentially painful, yes, but it was going to be gorgeous without a doubt.

We loaded in a couple of cars and headed back down the mountain to give up every foot of elevation would would re-earn on foot. As the layers of clothes were shed and we quickly started running to stay warm each stride brought us further from civilization and closer to the gorgeous expanse beyond. We shared this beautiful morning and run with Hayley and Damien Wells, Isaiah M and El Guapo (canine friend, maybe Kirra's new boyfriend), Brian Beduhn, and a great cameo by Mad A. who graced us with a very convenient shuttle. We slowly ascended the mountain traversing the Shut In Trail along the Mountains to Sea trail. With strategically placed aid we enjoyed some Gatorade and cookies along the way. 

A few hours later we stood in the parking lot in the shadow of the peak itself. Damien decided to rush to the top before the temptation of cupcakes and beer, which were standing by in the car, convinced him otherwise. I soon followed and moments later enjoyed a gorgeous view atop Mt Pisgah taking in the 360 views of the beautiful fall day. We grouped at the cars and finished the day reveling as we lay in the afternoon sun sharing cupcakes and few sips of very deserved and refreshing beer fending off the dogs which apparently were as hungry as we were. A big thank you to Hayley and Damien Wells who put this great run together, Adam for a friendly shuttle to the start and everyone else for the great company.

See you all on the next one. Until then...enjoy life and live in the sunshine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall running in the Roan Highlands

It was a crisp fall morning in the Roan Highlands where North Carolina and Tennessee collide presenting some of the most gorgeous views I have seen. Wifers, the dog and I jumped in to the car and headed north drinking plenty of coffee as we watched the temperature decline as the landscape did nothing but rise. The goal was to run on the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap to Hump Mountain. What we thought would be a nice rolling 16 miles turned into a cold, sloppy, 19 miles with some rather brutal climbs but even more intense views.

With one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina we started down the A.T. All three of us felt great  and who wouldn't with the views we were soaking in. Not many people were on the trail as it was still cold and mostly frozen. There were a few hunters out though which made us feel great that they came to this very spot to hunt black bear! Nothing like starting a good long run knowing the bear population is doing well on the trail. Nonetheless the run began and off we went. It was hard to not stop and take more pictures but knowing each step provided a more gorgeous view than the last, if that was even possible, we pushed on.

The run went great, no bears, though at about mile 8 Kirra had no shortage of energy as we spooked three deer. She ran faster than ever before chasing them. She loves nothing more in the world, except a bag a marshmallows which she ate the day prior without our knowing of course, than running with deer. With ease she caught the deer and pranced across the 5000' bald as she ran as if she was a deer herself. A few minutes later she returned ready to continue the run and climb the final accent to Hump Mountain. The top offered yet again a gorgeous expansive 360 view. There is no better way to enjoy a few fig newtons than sitting on the top of a mountain feeling like you are on top of the world. 

After a few moments to enjoy the view and catch our breath it was back to the trail. The run back, though sore and ready for some lunch, continued to amaze us with awesome views. The biggest surprise came as the deer returned for a victory lap with Kirra. This time she ran with them for a good 3-4 minutes as I had to go chase after her to coral her back in. As I write this now she is comatose on the couch dreaming about running still, or maybe having a nightmare since we had to lift her up on the couch after her first 19 mile run. 

A few climbs later and a couple of falls we returned to the car which was hard to find in the over filled lot at Carvers Gap. Almost a hundred people had gathered to hike the balds. And sure enough the hunters came to the right spot as they drove off with a black bear tied to the top of their truck. Nothing is more gratifying though than the solemn peaceful view enjoyed by alone just us some 9 miles down the trail.  Another day in the sunshine with the most amazing woman ever and a dog that never stops! Till next time.......

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall is here!!

Headed out west Saturday October 8th for a highly anticipated new route we wanted to conquer.  We got to drive almost 25 miles on the Blue Ridge for some of the most amazing views I have ever seen.  The trees in Asheville haven’t started to fully change, but in higher elevation the colors are more than vibrant.  We encountered quite a bit of ridge drivers but continued on to pass over Mt. Pisgah and come to our starting spot near the Art Loeb trail.

We were trying to run with our cameras this trip so we could get some great shots from along the trail.  This run was going to be a bit slower for me and turns out for Tim as well, since we just did a 50k not even a week ago and the trail was very rough.  

Parts of the trail you were running on you couldn’t see your feet because of the trail and the grass growing over it.  The first bald we hit was Chestnut Bald and then continued on to Black Balsam Knob, stopping just below Tennent Mountain.

Over the 13 mile run we only gained roughly 2,300 feet in elevation.  The technical nature of the trail sure made up for the lack of elevation gain. 

After we finished up we thought taking a dip in the creek was a smart idea.  I think it was the coldest water either one of us has ever dunked ourselves in.  Needless to say warm cocoa and food was next on our to do list.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dupont 50k

On Sunday we bundled up and headed south to Dupont State Forest for a little "jog" in the woods.  This marks Tim's first ever 50k race and my second.  About 75 people were as crazy as we were this morning.  

The race consisted of two 15 mile loops on single track, fire roads and gravel paths.  The terrain was quite rocky and quite hard on the knees and hips.  Tim started out of the gate in first and never slowed down.  He got in a groove and just kept on going.  He ended up with a winning time of 4:18!!  Pretty impressive if I say so myself.  I felt great on the first lap but on the second lap hit a wall when I was low on fuel.  A patch of rolling hills really got me out of running rhythm.   I pushed through and gutted out to finish in 5:07, three minutes quicker than my previous race.

He always matches so well!

Freezing and waiting to start

Almost done!

Post race picture
After crossing the finish and being greeted by the best husband ever I was done and we were ready to go home.  A few snacks were grabbed as we headed on our way. 

 A nap at home was followed by a trip to Mamacitas for a very delicious burrito!!

Next race....Shut In Trail Run Nov 5th