July 20, 2006

A quotable quote (maybe)

My friend and fellow running bud Kent and I think we came up with a new saying while yakking during this morning's jaunt.

A grudge is easy for you to pick up but hard on you to carry.

July 18, 2006

A Day on the Greenbrier River Trail

On Saturday, July 8, my buddy Bob Ring and I traversed the Greenbrier River Trail, a rails-to-trails park that runs from Cass to almost Lewisburg in West Virginia's Pocahontas County. Here are some words about it.


The crunch-crunch-crunch of a couple hundred thousand footfalls. The simple solitude of the Greenbrier River, at times a roar but most often a silent companion. Many, many peaceful views across a land largely untouched by time.

A trail so canopied by trees that Bob Ring and I could have gone shirtless without sunscreen and not picked up a burn. Two pretty cool tunnels and 51 bridges. One lone town, Marlinton, directly on the trail, so what an amazing blessing to have Bob’s work friends Thomas and Jerry driving all over Hell’s Half-Acre with our aid. The realization that without bloodhounds like Thomas and Jerry on our side, this would have been an entirely different, exponentially more difficult trek.

The utter good fortune to have a 46F start, a low-70s day with no wind and no rain and a 54F finish to a July 8 run. The interesting self-reflection that happens when you spend the first 30 minutes and then the final hour of the same run in darkness.

The funny tricks your brain plays on you as you try to do simple math involving the following: A 77-mile-long trail with a stone marker at each mile, but with the markers labeled from Mile 80 to Mile 3. The amazing success we had with a 7-minute run/3-minute walk routine that kept us strong and steady the entire time.

Giving an A-minus to the experiment of going that whole way without any solid food, choosing instead to go with Equate meal replacement drinks, Fusion bottled smoothies, green tea, Red Bull, water and ginger ale. Fighting back just a few hours of mid-afternoon belly problems and having to a half-dozen potty breaks because, well, Friday night’s kielbasa/onions/home fries mix ranks as the dumbest pre-run meal I’ve ever consumed. Being glad that I solved that mess and that it didn’t really detract from the fun. Knowing that stuff is going to happen during a day full of forward movement that starts with a 3:30 a.m. wake-up and ends with a midnight bedtime, so dealing with it brings great satisfaction.

Finding a golf ball in the middle of the trail in the middle of nowhere around Mile 30. Wanna guess what the brand name was? Ultra. Spooky, huh? Yeah, I still have it. Good luck charm, I figure.

Seventy-seven miles. 17:17:16. 17 rabbits. 14 deer. Two new friends. Lots of gravels. Lots of laughs. Maybe being the first ones to ever run the whole enchilada in one shot. Feeling tired but not all that uncomfortable at the end. Having a cold beer while flat on my back with feet propped up at trail’s end, beaming with the joy of effort well spent, a plan well executed, a long day out of which we squeezed every ounce.

A run I will remember forever.

July 7, 2006

Training Camp

With my fam on vacation in Florida and me hanging out at home with Sherman, here was Training Camp 2006 (Subtitle: My Short Foray into Life as a Pro Runner Sans the Paycheck).

Thursday, June 29 - 6:15 with Bob out near The Wild Oak Trail. Big climb up to Reddish Knob (one of those rare almost 360-degree views), then road back. We're guessing 28 miles. Great heat training.

Friday, June 30 - weights, yoga, Pilates a.m. before work; :30 run after, including hammering a lap around the gravel trail at Mountain View Park in Grottoes in 10:10. My guess: NOT the 1.5 miles it's advertised to be. First fast running I've done in forEVER. Great fun. Push-mowed the yard 1:30 in the evening.

Saturday, July 1 - 2:00 of 7 mins. run/3 mins. walk to Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and back. Comfy. Push-ups and abs before bedtime.

Sunday, July 2 - Gentle :45 run. Quads feeling remarkably good considering the Friday/Saturday combo. Lifted heavy in the afternoon.

Monday, July 3 - :30 a.m.; 2:00 of 7/3 p.m. in big heat. Pilates before bed.

Tuesday, July 4 - 5:25 on the 20-mile Browntown Loop with VHTRC peeps. About 20 folks in all. Excellent climbing and descending. Nice stop-over at a wonderful country store near the middle to wait a bit for the group to re-form. Wonderful cool-off in a mountain stream afterward.

Totals - 17:25 of running/hiking. 82 miles, give or take a few. Five supplemental training sessions.

When i started ultrarunning 15 years ago, this would have been a month and a half of long runs. :-)