Friday, September 18, 2009

It's that time again!

view of Shenandoah Mountain from Chimney Hollow Trail, mile 18 and 82 of the Grindstone 100

Last Sunday, three weeks out of the race, Rusty, Quatro and I went out to the course and biked and ran a little. Actually, Rusty biked and Q and I ran. I brought the trail shears so I could clear the trail a bit at the top of Chimney Hollow, and we were pleasantly surprised with how good the trail looked as compared to the training run a month ago. Clearly mountain bikers and others had been up there and cleaned up quite a bit.

Today, Horton called me to ask about trail conditions since he was going up there with Clark, and they are cleaning up the North Mountain section and Chimney Hollow. Tonight they will run from Elliotts Knob to Dry Branch and then tomorrow to TWOT parking lot. He asked if I wanted to join them, and while it sounded fun, I declined. It's time for me to rest up and get ready for this baby!!

Taper time.

Last year I wrote a post about the taper after attending an informative session on marathon tapering at Ragged Mountain Running Shop. While I won't rehash that post here, I always like to write about the taper. It's a time for examination and reflection, as well as getting down to brass tacks and to start packing, planning, sorting. The homework is done and it's time to get ready for the exam!

This past week I sent my pacer and crew all the Gstone information they could ever need. Michele is my pacer. She has won races from the half-marathon to 100 miles and is one of the most experienced ultra chicks I know. I told her that I will need her to keep me focused, fed, hydrated, and out of the chair. Michele and I made a great team at Highland Sky last June when we finished third together, and I am really looking forward to her company out there...I know we will have a grand adventure together! The photo below was taken at the end of Highland Sky...sums it all up for me.

Marlin is my crew. He is also a fast 100 miler runner and knows what it takes to run this race---he ran it last year in a hair over 25 hours. Nice. Like Michele, Marlin will be committing his entire weekend to helping me, and I know he will do a great job moving me in and out of the AS quickly. Last year I took a lot of time -- up to 15 minutes in some spots-- at the AS, and a big goal for me this year is to minimize AS time. I know he will do a great job!! In this pic we are at the finish line of MMT 2009. He was so strong in those last miles---I hope I can be as calm and in control as he was at the end of that race.

This weekend, two weeks out, I will run on some of my favorite local courses with lots of downhills to trash the quads one more time. At the end of Grindstone last year, I could not run downhill and I vowed to do a better job training the quads this year. This summer I've really worked on my downhill form (thanks to some great tips from AJW) and gotten in some steep downhill training, including the weekly hill repeats. This morning Hallie, Leisa, Heidi and I ran up and over Fox Mountain which is a gradual 7 mile climb up, and then we came back over for 14 total miles. Tomorrow it is back to Carters Mountain and Secluded Farm. I ran this course two weeks out from the race last year and it is a perfect distance---about 12 miles with lots of steep climbs and descents.

I am getting very excited about the race. I can't wait to spend an entire night and day on those awesome trails! Here are a few pics of the course to set the stage...

Chimney Hollow Trail (mile 82 and 18)

Crawford Mountain Trail, miles 16/84

trail from Little Bald (miles 45/55 to Reddish Knob (mile 50)


Rick Gray said...

Sophie, You got this one in the bag. You have a plan and are sticking to it. Funny how experience guides our way. With less than two weeks to go, I am also beginning my planning. Certainly don't want to rush this, as I know I will forget something important. You have great support in Michele and Marlin. They are going to get you from the start to the finish. See you in October. Rick

Dan said...

I know it's an important time but I always get antsy when tapering. Good Luck on your race.

Run Home Pam said...

Best of luck, Sophie! I'll absolutely be thinking about you out there. I wish you a smooth, mellow taper and a transcendent run.....

Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks everyone!

Rick, I fully expect to run a lot with you out there and that you will keep me awake and entertained as we climb Little Bald (you will love Little Bald :0( heheheh).

Dan, I know what you mean. I drive my family crazy when I taper. I will be doing a lot of easy swimming in the next two weeks-swimming always mellows me out.

Pam, so sorry you won't be with us this year, but I know you will be there in spirit. Thanks for all your good thoughts and vibes! I hope you can one day get out to this incredible adventure.

annette bednosky said...

I wish you and all other adventures a grand experience this coming weekend! I am truely psyched for you all! I wish you health, energy and the continued happy , life-filled Sophie spirit you share with us all!

Rooster said...

You will rock it. Have a blast and run hard. Your ready!

Sophie Speidel said...

Annette and Ronda,

I will carry your good wishes with me all night and day---and try to channel your own "tough as nails" ultra attitudes with me. When the going gets tough, it will be easy to answer the question,

"What would Annette and Ronda do?"

Well, they wouldn't sleep or whine...they would kick some major butt!
Thanks ladies!