Monday, April 30, 2018

Good Start to the Week

Started off the day with a cool, misty morning run out in the Cathance. The pastel sky was reflecting in the Heath, the river was roaring, the orange ball of the sun shimmered and shone through the still bare trees, and I saw a new-to-me phenomenon! Along the stretch of river where I've typically seen ice pancakes in the winter, this morning I found a huge float of foam puff balls, akin to marshmallows. Very interesting and fun :) (6.0 miles)

A busy day of work was followed up with evening XC practice (0.9 miles) and a game of cribbage for Sam's first win! Winner winner chicken dinner πŸ˜ƒ

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend Fun

Saturday was a donuts with friends 🍩, sushi lunch date with my girl 🍣, bike riding practice 🚴, no running kind of day. A perfect rest day!

This morning, I met up with Emma over at Bradbury for an early morning run. It was foggy, muggy and overcast as we headed out at 6:30. I told her I'd show her the new BBU west loop that Val had showed in the last 10 miles of Friday's long run, as I honestly do think it is a fun loop and Emma told me she had not yet been on the newer Royal River trail. The trails were still pretty soggy, and while I had to stop a few times along the Royal River section of trail to route-find, overall, the loop was easy enough to follow that I was able to do it without too many stops to ponder which way we were supposed to go πŸ˜‰ I was feeling a little tired at the end of a big(ger) week, but it was great fun to run with Emma and catch up! We hadn't run together in quite some time, and while I love my time alone out on the trails but it is always a treat to run miles with a good friend πŸ’— (10.4 miles)

We finished up our Sunday having dinner with Nate, Shannon and kiddos, so lots of time with friends over my extended weekend, which is always a happy thing πŸ˜ƒ

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Friday at the Brad

Headed over to Bradbury early yesterday morning for my long run. I was meeting up with Val at 9:30 and wanted to get in a good chunk of miles beforehand, so set out around 6:45 from the lot. I ran up to the summit to take in the view and then continued to loop around on the west side. The trails were incredibly wet from all the rain on Wednesday and Thursday, and the little streams on the mountain side were in full effect, with lots of large puddles and standing water elsewhere.

Early morning light at the summit

Although I felt great during my hill workout on Thursday afternoon, I feel like I haven't slept well all week long and I woke up feeling extremely tired. This feeling persisted though the early miles of the run, so much so that I was reaching for a caffeinated gel at mile 3. Then by the time I had looped back up to the summit again at mile 5, I was texting Ryan telling him I thought I was going to bag on the day. Ugh. My legs didn't feel bad, it was just a pervasive tiredness and I was not in the right frame of mind.

Ryan knew that I was meeting Val at 9:30 and told me that I should just keep chugging away and let the mileage goals for the time I was out there before meeting up with her go and just get in what I could. I knew in the back of my mind that he was right but I just needed to hear it said out loud in order to embrace it and go with what the day was giving me. I did one more short loop around and up to the summit again and hit the parking lot with my watch reading 7 miles.

I decided to run the BBU east side loop and found a number of big trees down on the singletrack across the street from the snowmobile trail as well as one puddle so big, it was practically a pond, that required some serious bushwacking to avoid. Just like on the west side, things were very saturated. Back to the lot in around 12 miles, but still with 15 minutes or so remaining until Val arrived, so I stopped and changed my shirt - it was super muggy so I was soaked already, refilled my bladder and dropped off some trash, before heading back up the Northern Loop to do another mile. Val pulled in just as I got back to the lot, so perfect timing.

I am so thankful to Val for joining me in the final 10 miles of my run! So nice to have company and to catch up. And she showed me the new BBU west side loop, which was fun. We kept the pace nice and conversational, and I really enjoyed the tour. I think the revisions made for a great loop!

Roaring river on the Connector

Playing Vanna White at the thermometer along the powerline ;) It had gotten warm out!

Royal River trail stretch

Cool deer skeleton find just off the trail near Lawrence

Despite starting out with my head not on quite straight and feeling pretty tired, I managed to remain fairly even energy-wise and although our final few miles were kind of slow, I am happy Ryan convinced me to keep running when I was having doubts early on. By the time Val and I finished up, I had gotten 23.4 miles, pretty close to the 24 I had been shooting for, so I was pretty happy! It was good time on my feet and solid training for the inevitable lows that occur in long racing. And of course, it was great to have some miles to catch up with Val!

(I've been looking around for some new gel options. The VFuel Cool Citrus works really well for me, and the new Coffee Untapped is straight up delish, but the Honey Stinger tends to sour in my mind as it gets too warm temperature-wise and I can only stomach so many Gu Lemon Sublime gels. Those are pretty much the only flavors that consistently work for me and while I have no problem with moving on to Coke and grapes and whatever else sounds good, last week I purchased a sample pack of the Spring Energy gels, which I had been intrigued by and hoped might be good fueling options. I took along the Long Haul and Hill Aid on this run, but sadly, both were textural nightmares for me. Darn. They held such promise. Had the McRaecovery after the run and found that even worse. I hold out hope for the Canaberry and Power Rush though, and will try those out next weekend. We will see.)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Back to Reality

Back to work and school this week, with the added bonus of swim and XC starting up as well. Needless to say, it's been a very busy week as we return to reality after vacation!

Monday, I got up a little later than I had hoped, but still had time to get out for a run on the cart paths. A beautiful, crisp morning with a gorgeous glowing light on the horizon for the majority of the run and no headlamp needed! (6.0 miles)

Monday was Sam's first XC practice. There are a lot of kids (35+!) running this season, and it was nice to have a warm, sunny night for practice! I ran a short loop with the half milers, and had my hands full trying to keep the girls in the back of the pack on task ;) Ha! (0.8 miles)

Tuesday was an off day and then I was back out the door on Wednesday morning for a run out into the Cathance. The sky was quite overcast at 5:15 am, so I wore my small headlamp for the first few miles for some extra light. The trails have dried up a lot even since we were out there on Sunday but the river is still roaring. Felt good and happy to have gotten in some good morning miles. (7.0 miles)

The rain started later in the day on Wednesday and didn't let up until around lunchtime. I had laid out clothes in case I felt ultra motivated to get up and run hills in the rain, but let's face facts and acknowledge that the chance of that happening was pretty slim ;) So, instead, I waited for the rain to stop and instead headed across the street for hills late in the afternoon after work and before XC practice.

I'm getting a little nervous about Laurel (only 6 weeks away!!!!), as although I feel like I've put in a lot of good miles this winter and feel pretty strong overall, I know I haven't been hitting the hills as much as I should for a 70 mile race with something like 12,000 feet of elevation gain. There's still some time to get the work in though, thankfully, hence, the Mt. A. hill workout on tap for today. Afternoon runs have never been my strong suit, and with it being Thursday after a busy week back to work after vacation, I was feeling a bit tired, but I did my best to keep pushing steady on the ups and run the downs hard. Got in 5x each on Suicide and Chicken hills and pretty happy to have the overall average pace of the run be at 8:29. Suicide is a short steep little bugger; there most certainly was a lot of heavy breathing going on each time I got to the top! (6.2 miles)

A quick change and a snack at home and then off to pick up Sam for XC. Ran at the back of the pack with the younger half milers, which was just what I needed for a "cool down" to finish up the day ;) (0.7 miles) A beautiful afternoon to be out running!

Looking forward to tomorrow's long run at the Brad! I am sure with all this rain that it is also going to be a muddy one!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Beautiful Day

Beautiful Sunday to be outside enjoying what actually feels like spring!

Met up with Emily this morning at Bradbury, where we ran the Scuffle. Between the angle of the sun shining down through the trees and the fact that the trails were so leaf covered, at times it almost appeared that we were just running willy-nilly through the woods and not on any sort of trail ;) but I swear, I kept us on course! Ha! Thankfully, my legs felt so much better than yesterday and we just chatted the miles away. A fun morning run! (6.1 miles)

This afternoon, we managed to pull Sam off the couch ;) and get out for a nice walk out in the Cathance. It was bright and sunny and warm, and just lovely to be out! We watched a beaver swim downstream for a while, saw lots of frog egg sacks in the vernal pools and enjoyed the roaring river and sunlit woods. Sam kept a brisk pace up front as our leader and we managed to walk a nice, big outer loop through the preserve. (2.8 miles walked)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Looking For Spring

Went looking for spring on this morning's run... Not quite sure it's here yet but there are signs it's trying πŸ˜‰

Still some packed snow and ice to be found along the trails but the river was roaring, I had a Pileated Woodpecker fly over out in the sunlit woods, saw a few Mallards in the Heath, and even spotted my first flowers of the spring along the back dirt road in the sunshine - Colt's Foot - so we are getting there!

Overall, felt tired, but happy to have gotten out for some miles. (12.0 miles)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Last Day of Vacation

Yesterday morning, I took a walk around the house, enjoying Mom's garden and marveling at how a few days of warm weather had really made everything pop. Such a beautiful NC spring morning πŸŒΈπŸ’—

After breakfast, Ryan and I went out for a run, but despite it being a nice, rather windy and warm, morning, both of us were feeling rather tired so we took the short way back to the house. (4.0 miles) Did see a Great Blue Heron roosting up in a pine tree, which is always a fun sight, as well as a number of the requisite berm turtles, lots of noisy grackles and a few redwinged blackbirds.

Sam and Mom went for a short swim before lunch and then later in the afternoon, we all hit the golf course! I even played a few holes 😁 I will admit there is something satisfying when you hit the ball solidly, but otherwise, it is a very silly game and I simply do not have the patience required πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

We finished up the evening, and a wonderful vacation week+, with dinner up at the club. We are so lucky to be able to come south to spent time at "the resort" (as Ryan calls it), play golf, swim, go to the beach, eat lots of ice cream, and most importantly, spent time together! Thanks, Mom and Dad, it was a great trip! We love you! πŸ’—