Sunday, January 23, 2011

frickin awesome run! + a tribute to 3 Non Joggers

10 frickin awesome miles done! Some runs are just better than others!

And let me backtrack...  I listen to running podcasts on my 45-minute-ish commute to/from work and usually on LSD runs (LSD=long slow distance for those of you not up on the running lingo). Mid-week, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe, and near the end Mike mentioned that he just started listening to, and was really enjoying, the 3 Non Joggers podcast by two ultrarunners and a mailman. Well... I've always been fascinated with ultrarunners, and am considering my first for later this year, so I thought I'd give it a listen. Since they only have 15 episodes out... and I'm weird about having to do things in chronological order... I downloaded and have listened to the first 4 episodes and am totally hooked! These guys are HILARIOUS. And we have another thing in common: Dead Guy Ale by Rogue is one of my favorite beers (but hard to find in Atlanta)! (And I was happy to hear that I'm not the only one that takes a beer into the shower after a long run.) I went to Portland for the first time on a business trip in September 2010. It was there that I was introduced to Rogue beers and it has ever since been my favorite. On that trip, I also had the pleasure of meeting and running with Deb on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, so I can totally picture the places that these guys speak of!

Now back to today's run...  I went to Alexander Park and my goal was 8 to 10 miles of LSD with a sub 13 minute pace for each mile.  On purpose, I walked up the steep hills (for no more than 30 seconds each) and ran the rest. This is a dirt trail (about 1 mile) around a disc golf course. My first two miles were 12:02, 12:03, then I slowed a bit not wanting to burn out too early. I felt sluggish on mile 3, but then got into a groove. Three miles in the 12:30s, then totally shocked myself with a 12:04 for the 6th mile. WHOA! I better slow down so I can get through ten. Holding back, mile 7 was 12:18. At 8 miles (12:26) I was tired. I could have quit, since that was my minimum goal, but told myself I was going all the way. I knew that in future races I'll get tired miles before the finish and need to practice pushing beyond. I told myself that I was going to 10 unless mile 9 was at more than a 13 minute pace. 12:26 again. So then 10 it was going to be! I was feeling light headed, tired beyond tired, wishing I had brought more than 22 ounces of fluid energy. But glad I had paced my consumption. I gave that last mile all I had, finishing strong with a 12:16 pace for the 10th mile. I finished strong, leaving nothing in the tank.

Woohoo! This is one of the best/most rewarding LSD runs that I've had in a while. For most of my LSD runs, I've just totally ignored time/pace and focused on heart rate (HR), trying to keep it in zone 2 (according to Garmin pre-sets, not personally-calculated-zones). On this run, I wore a HR monitor, but didn't look at the data, just went by feel with a goal of sub 13 per mile (90 seconds more than marathon goal pace). In hindsight, the data shows 9 miles were in HR Zone 3 (Garmin pre-sets). It was definitely more effort than my easy rambles, but much more rewarding. Learning more each day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

scenic run (thanks to the snow)

It started snowing last Sunday night and due to temps being at or below the freezing point most of the week, the snow/ice still lingers in places. My driveway finally thawed Friday afternoon. This afternoon I took a chance in the balmy 50 degrees and went for a 7.77 mile run. I left home and headed towards Camp Creek Greenway trail. Most of the sidewalks were clear and the snow is slowly melting away. But shaded areas still had ample snow/ice. I decided not to go down this section of the trail...

Monday, January 10, 2011

snow day

Enjoyed a walk with Kyra and the pups through the neighborhood this morning. Amazed that we received 4 to 5 inches of snow overnight! Tasha, our husky, was one happy pup!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

snow angel

19.3 miles for the week puts me 0.17 mi ahead of target for a 1000 mile year! Woohoo!

And what better way to celebrate than with SNOW!  I was totally surprised at how quickly it accumulated! We couldn't resist going out and playing in it, despite it being 10 p.m. Even the dogs had fun getting caught in the middle of the snowball fight. I LOVE my cute little snow angel!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

volunteer + Pigeon Hill trail

I decided to start the year off right, with good karma, by volunteering at a race that I've run a few times. I volunteered for the Atlanta Track Club's Resolution Run 5K/10K. I was assigned as a monitor and told to go to a specific office complex parking lot entrance and not let cars leave while runners were on the course. Thankfully, there were enough volunteers that there were two of us at this location and therefore, had someone to chat with. It was cool and raining, so I'm hoping for extra brownie points for volunteering in the rain. It was amazing watching the lead runners; what incredible form and speed! When I grown up, I want to be just like them...

After my duties ended, I grabbed a bite to eat and then went to Kennesaw Mountain for a trail run. When I had researched it, the directions indicated that I should go to the visitor center, park, and then hit the trails from there. Unfortunately, the visitor center and parking lot was closed for the holiday. Oh no! What do I do? So I hoped that Spurgeon was on twitter and sent out a tweet because I know he runs here often. He responded immediately and told me exactly where to go. Take Old Mountain Road until it dead ends into Burnt Hickory. There are parking spaces on Burnt Hickory. To the left is Pigeon Hill, which has an initial steep climb, and to the right is a great trail without the initial steepness.

I only planned to run 2-3 miles, but I was having so much fun splashing in the mud puddles that I lost track of time/distance. I was actually a little surprised to see a few other runners on the trail. At the top of Pigeon Hill, I made a right turn onto the East Trail. I followed it across the street to Cheatam Hill. This trail is by far more scenic than Sope Creek, which was my favorite local trail... I loved that it was mostly a narrow dirt road with minimal rocks/roots to trip over.

I crossed this bridge and headed along the creek for a little ways until the trail ventured off into the woods. So many decisions on which path to take. I vowed to return to try out some of the other trails on a later date. I took it slow, stopped to take photos, and had a great time! My only regret is not carrying a water bottle with me so I could have gone longer. When I came to a road (I think Dallas Highway), I turned around and tried to back track my route. At one point I couldn't remember which intersection to take, so I switched my Garmin to direct me "back to start". Thank goodness for this feature!

On my return, I stopped to photograph a sign for Eaton House and heard a scamper. I looked over and saw three deer about 20 yards away from the trail. I stood and stared as one stared back at me. He started stomping his right hoof. The stomping increased so after snapping a photo I went on my merry way. A few minutes later I felt like I was being watched. I looked to my left and saw at least a dozen deer, equally spaced about 10 yards apart, about 10 yards off the trail. Wow!

5.53 miles later, I made it back to my car. I was completely soaked and filthy!  Glad I had a towel in the car to wipe off some of the grime.

What a great way to celebrate 1/1/2011!