Sunday, January 25, 2009

Running with Bill, Babes, and a Birthday Boy!

Annette wrote about a birthday run she went on this past weekend, and now it's my turn!

My good friend, training partner, and fellow VHTRC peep Quatro Hubbard turned 49 on Saturday. He came into town for the UVA/Florida State b'ball game and we planned to meet up with Bill, Bess, and Robin for a jaunt up to the AT from Sugar Hollow---one of my fave trails. Q brought along a friend, Stephi, who is going to Boston this April on a 3:40 BQ. She is also a 2007 JFK 50 finisher so I knew she would be cool with the 18 miles I had planned---at least I hoped so!

When I arrived at the Sugar Hollow parking lot, the gang was ready to go. I took the obligatory pre-run photo (above---there's my puppy Jack, Robin, Bill, Bess, Q and Stephi) and we were off. I was PSYCHED to have some new trail running friends along for this run, and we had fun making our way up the trail and across the streams, which were low and easy to navigate in dry shoes (at least most were). The photo below shows the group trying in vain to cross without total show immersion

while Bill finally showed us how it's done ultra-style:

and Q showed us the "tinky-toes" approach:

We hammered up to the AT on the 20-minute climb from the final creek crossing, running all the way up:

and celebrated at the top (that's the Trayfoot Mountain ridgeline in the background):

Bill, Robin, and Bess were planning to run up to the top of the Blackrock Gap overlook and back down to the cars for a 14-miler; Q, Stephi and I opted for the 18 circuit that took us south on the AT to Turk Mountain and then back to our cars. I ran this route many times last summer in prep for Grindstone, and neither Q nor Stephi had ever run this loop---later, Q commented, "Why have you been keeping this run a secret?" as he was having a blast on the sweet, runnable singletrack and fast downhills:

Actually, I blogged about this run last summer--when you add the extra 4 miles of the Rip Rap trail, you have the makings of a perfect mountain training run. It wasn't in the training plan to knock off a 21-miler after last weekend's 25 miler, but we will be back for Rip Rap---Stephi loved it as well and is hoping to break 3:30 at Boston, so Rip Rap will be a perfect prep long run for her, as it has 5,000 total feet of climb for the 21 miles---enough to make Heartbreak Hill feel like an ant hill, I would guess!

I brought Jack along for his longest run to date. He loved every minute of it and was very much a mama's boy, waiting for me at every turn. He is becoming a true ultra dog and Nuun ambassador (thanks for the bottle, Mikey Mason)!

Along the way we had glorious winter views

and came upon some serious beaver work-in-progress

At the end, the sun came out and we celebrated Q's big day with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" in Greenberry's---the barristas were dancing behind the counter and the entire place sang along with us. Good times, good times with new and old friends on an awesome trail!!

Birthday shout outs to Keith Knipling and Mike Bur, who celebrate their big day tomorrow...but I am sure they celebrated appropriately today while at the Eagle Run. Here are all the birthday guys together after Keith's Ring CR last September--l-r, Bur, Keith and Q:


annette bednosky said...

Great pictures and narration! When will you have a b'day run? It is sooo fun to run with friends!

wvapoker said...

Great pic and write up, but I don't know how you can stand Potts for 14 miles. ;)

Sophie Speidel said...


I DO have the most awesome birthday run every year---Hellgate. My b'day is on Dec. 11 and next year we will gather on the 11th and run on the 12th. wooo-hooo! Hope you will be there to run or to crew :-)

WVApoker---yeah, it was tough running with Bill for those first 5 miles, that's why we pulled off and the others kept going with him...jk!!!


running etc said...

Sweet report. So sorry I had to miss the fun ... yet so glad that i will be IN for the fun this coming wknd!!! :)

farmgirl said...

Finn would love to come too.

Rick Gray said...

Sophie, I have been waiting for someone to say something, but no one has, so here goes. You make a splendid beaver. When I saw that picture, I just started laughing. Thank you, Rick

ultrastevep said...

You people just have too much fun down there!