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!!
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)