Adventures in Breathing – Part I

This spring has been a challenging one to say the least. After a less than stellar day at the Biltmore Marathon, I have struggled to get any kind of running regimen back. The numerous tendon aches and pains have continued, no matter how long I rest, or how little I run, or on what surface. Consequently, I shifted back to more riding, and began preparing for my third PMBAR, the 10+ hour adventure race in Pisgah National Forest that I have finished (barely) the past two years. I had a new teammate lined up for this year, my friend Christopher had asked me if I would ride with him. Just to make things interesting, I also decided to enter PRAR, a new event this year… just like PMBAR except on foot.. the Pisgah Running Adventure Race. An estimated 20-30 miles of running the mean Pisgah trails instead of riding them. The catch?

The two events are back-to-back, on consecutive days.

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Three. Five. Nine. (Give Or Take 56)

Last fall I ran the Citizen-Times Marathon in downtown Asheville. Despite a lack of training beyond 8-11 miles at a time, I had what could only be described as the “best day ever”, and crossed the finish line in under four hours… a goal I’ve had in the back of mind since before I ever ran my first marathon. Last weekend I ran the Biltmore Marathon, also here in Asheville. Unlike the previous race, I had what can only be described as “very far from the best day ever”. It wasn’t the worst day ever… not even close. Crossing the finish line, no matter how long it takes, can never be described as a worst day.

So how long did it take? Well… nearly an hour longer than C-T: 4:55:47.

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New Runnin’ Shoes

Monday I rode over to Jus Running for the Monday evening group outing, as I’ve been doing pretty much every week since the beginning of October. It was quite a bit cooler than it has been, temp about 50 when we started out and six miles later it was down around 40. Also the first time after DST so we ran with lights and/or reflective clothing. Did our usual 6 miles and by the time we were done, my feet were killing me. I’ve been long past due to replace my now 4 years old Asics Kayano 15s. They’ve got nearly 450 miles on them. 300 is usually recommended and if possible I’ll push as far up to 400 as I can. 450 is way to far.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I do run more than 100 miles a year. The Kayano 15s are my road shoes and the majority of my running is done on trails. Also.. I bought two pairs at about teh same time back in 2009 and didn’t start wearing the second pair until a couple year ago.

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To Blog Or Not To Blog?

Only one post in the past two months, but I’m still not ready to give up on the idea of keeping a “daily” activity journal. It’s interesting this used to be the first thing I did when I got home from a ride. Now I barely think about it more than once a month, and usually only after a big event. Then I play catchup with these summary posts, only to get tired of trying to remember what the hell I did, and writing about it weeks after it happened. Or I run out of time before needing to move on to other things like… sleeping. Or my job. You know, those annoying, trivial things that really screw up a good blog.

That and Facebook.

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Three. Five. Nine.

On more than one occasion, when discussing running events and goal times, I have said to someone, “I would like to try and break 4 hours in a marathon”. This was a somewhat silly thing to say, since not only had I never run a marathon before, I had no plans to sign up for one either. But then I did my first one last March and finished it in 4:28. Considering I ran that one with a camera and spent 10-15 minutes of the 28 standing around, I still thought 4 hours that was a pretty reasonable goal. Even if I did limp the last four miles to the finish line. I figured I’d need two things: 1) find a marathon with a flatter course than the ones in Asheville, and 2) somehow manage to get thru more rigorous training without any injuries. With the tendency towards Achilles Tendinitis (right foot) and Plantar Fasciitis (left/both feet), I was never really sure how far I could push said training and if 4 hours was possible.

Apparently, it’s possible. I don’t need a flatter course, and I can do it by training perfectly for a half marathon and then faking the other half.

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Save The Trails Challenge

My buddy Jon had been hounding me for months. “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” The answer each time was “No”. I didn’t do it last year, when most of my mountain biker friends were. And I really wasn’t that interested in doing it this year. Jon is the ride organizer for what is a worthy cause.. funds raised go towards supporting the trail system at DuPont State Recreational Forest, which I have mentioned numerous times over the years and which does indeed have an excellent trail system. But I still wasn’t that interested. Why?

DuPont makes me tired.

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Marathon Mileage Bump

Started looking at the calendar and noticed that the Asheville (Citizen-Times) Marathon is coming up in just a few weeks. Although I’m not training up to the same distances for this marathon as I did for the one at Biltmore last March, I figured it’s time to start pushing up the mileage a bit.

I figure I’ll be really well prepared for a half marathon, and then I’ll just have to wing the rest of it.

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Blue Ridge Breakaway 2013

A little over a year ago, I got a message from a “Facebook friend”.  You know, the kind of Facebook friend you haven’t actually seen or talked to in 25 years, but are still connected to thru the modern day wonders of social networking websites. Now, there may be a lot of downsides and criticisms of social networking, and for all I know it will eventually be the downfall of the human race.

I kinda doubt it, and in this case it turned out to be a really cool thing.

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I had planned on riding up to Craggy Gardens one last time before the Parkway was completely closed at Tanbark Ridge Tunnel, not just to motor vehicles but to bikes and hikers as well. Unfortunately, I missed my chance by just a few hours. As an alternate plan, I headed up through Biltmore Forest and did then rode the Hendersonville Rd. to Folk Art Center section and then headed up as far as the tunnel to check out just how “closed” the closure was.

It was pretty freakin’ closed.

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A Gust of Early August

August blew in quite a bit differently than July blew out… although there was still rain in the forecast more days than not, and we did get showers, they were a lot shorter in duration and lessened in intensity. It was continuously gray and overcast, but for the first time in longer than I can remember we managed to score a pretty damned nice first weekend of August. It wouldn’t last, but for a few days things were more like a normal summer in the North Carolina mountains.

Except for the temperatures.

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