Chasing 42

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Archive for the tag “Georgia Death Race”

Daily Chase: Vol. 73

Phew! I feel like I blinked and the entire month of March passed before my eyes! It’s hard to believe that April Fool’s Day is on Saturday, and with it the Umstead 100 🙂 Despite an incredibly hectic work and travel schedule over the past month, I am feeling incredibly good about my training block and I’m ready to have a blast down in Raleigh, NC.

It’s spring break at the University of Delaware this week, and the timing could not have been better. Not only has it given me the extra evening time to get other things done, but I’ve been able to rest and catch up on a number of different projects occupying my time. With the exception of a small “snowstorm” 2 weeks ago (which still resulted in the university being shut down for a day and a half), it’s certainly felt like spring is in the air. If I’m being honest, it’s felt like spring since November 🙂 For the second year in a row, an incredibly mild winter has meant an amazing training season. Last year, the build-up was for the Georgia Death Race, and this year it’s Umstead.

Mary17-3

I had the trails all to myself after the snow fell! 

I may sometimes feel like the daily chase means chasing my tail with everything on my plate, but the truth is I love being busy. Not only does it leave me so much more satisfied at the end of the day, but it also means I value and appreciate every mile that much more. Each chance I get to lace up my shoes is a gift, and I won’t be taking it for granted any time soon! Keep #chasing42, y’all!

Mar17-2

Chasing42 Log: 20170303- 20170328

Run: First off, let me reassure you that the streak is indeed still in play. I am at 493 days with at least 1 miles logged, and going strong. It’s amazing how normal it seems now to make sure that I’m getting in that quick mile even on my rest/recovery days. Over the past few weeks, my hectic schedule has definitely meant some early morning and late night runs, but I’ve been holding strong to my training. Shortly after my last daily post, I headed up to Leesport, PA for the Naked Bavarian 40-miler. I planned on treating it as a solid training run for Umstead, and a chance to work through race-day logistics. The 2-loop course was made more interesting by the sub-freezing temperatures, but I still felt really good the entire way and the 6500 feet of elevation gain was nothing to shake a stick at either. I’ll eventually get up a full race report but I can definitely say it was a great way to start the month and round out this training block. Over the past few weeks, I’ve dialed my volume back and have actually committed to a legitimate taper. The Taper Gremlin has been hitting my hard, though, especially while spending all of last week in sunny Atlanta for work! However, I’m keeping myself focused and I’m ready to give it my all on Saturday!

Miles: approx. 250

Elevation gain: approx. 17,500 feet

Mar17-1

The weather in Atlanta was gorgeous all week. I love run-exploring new cities! 

Thought: I’ve been thinking more and more about gear lately. I know- shocking, right? 🙂 I’ve been gathering everything I’ll need for this weekend, and have been traveling more and more lately so I’ve been thinking more generally about the most efficient running essentials to pack. It’s an ongoing research project for me, and perhaps it is for you as well. I’ll spend more time in a future post sharing my essentials, but I’d love to hear about your essentials on race day. What do you make sure is in your race pack/ gear bag/ drop bag? What is your organizational system? Do you have a bag or other container that you have come to love? I’d love to hear all about it all! What are your essentials when you are #chasing42?

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Race Report: Georgia Death Race- Part II

This race is all about the elevation change. Let there be no mistake that RunBum did his best to avoid anything that even remotely resembled flat land when marking this course. He warned us from the beginning, and the reports I read from previous years confirmed the difficulty. However, in my mind, this was somewhat balanced out by the less technical nature of the trails themselves. The terrain itself was indeed not the most technical I’d ever run, but it was far from easy, and looking up still meant going down so I remained diligent throughout the many hours of running. At the risk of offering up an early spoiler, I will tell you now that I remained upright for the entire race, and was quite proud of that fact, especially with the amount of running I did after the sun was a warm, distant memory.

In case you forgot ;)

In case you forgot 😉

I should be careful not to get ahead of myself, of course. We understood very clearly that the course was marked with numerous pink flags with black polka dots so as long as we kept them in sight, we’d be in good shape. The course was indeed marked incredibly well, and Sean had a host of volunteers helping him mark the course in the days leading up to the race. I would meet many of them at the various fantastically stocked and staffed aid stations throughout the race. The first 8 miles to the first aid station hammered home the significance of the climbing pretty quickly, with almost 3,500 feet of elevation gain, including a 3.8 mile stretch with 2,300 feet up to the top of Coosa Bald. I was feeling good throughout this stretch, and running conservatively, and power-hiking the climbs as best I could. The trail was still relatively crowded at this early stage in the race, which I didn’t ultimately mind all that much because it kept my pace in check. I’ve regretted going out to fast at far too many races, and I was determined not to make that mistake again this time!

Beautiful views through the tree line...early and often!

Beautiful views through the tree line…early and often!

The views throughout this initial stint of climbing were quite spectacular, even with the partially overcast skies, and the cool temps kept everything comfortable. Luckily, the rain that was once scheduled from 8AM to 2PM ultimately held off, aside from a mere 30 minute period after mile 8. I slipped into the first aid station pretty easily, took in some nutrition, but didn’t bother filling up my bladder since I had plenty of water/Tailwind left, and the next aid station was only 7 miles away. The next 7 mile stretch to the Fish Gap aid station might not have had “quite” as much climbing, but it more than made up for it with the mountain goat, cambered ridges we were running along. At one point, the woman behind commented on how shocked she was as she watched my ankles bend the way they did. I felt very lucky to pass through this section (which was otherwise quite runnable), without a twisted ankle!

I arrived at the Fish Gap (mile 15.5) aid station in a little over 3 hours and my legs were still feeling fresh, and I was loving the trail experience. I had clearly kept my pace in check, and had been hydrating with Tailwind consistently, as well as supplementing with other items at the aid stations. The result was a rush of pure joy that I’d hoped I’d feel throughout the race, considering the amount of build-up it had entailed. I topped off my hydration bladder with the help of a fantastic volunteer, and set out on my way. The next aid station at Skeenah Gap was as the midway point of a new 1.5 mile out-and-back on the course. The sole purpose of this addition was adding more elevation gain, because the course obviously needed it 🙂 The 1.5 mile run to Skeenah was a wonderful downhill romp. I tucked in behind two other runners finding beautiful lines down the trail, and I felt like I was flying! As I passed by folks heading back up in the other direction, I knew what awaited me but I focused on the joy of the downhill and had a blast. I got to the bottom full of energy, topped off my bladder again, and helped myself to a small shot of Fireball (I told you I was feeling good!), along with a few Girl Scout Cookies and some salted boiled potatoes. Who knew that the combo of Fireball/Coke/Samoas/Salted Potatoes could taste so good in your mouth at the same time! I’m always amazed at what tastes good during a race, and this was a new and delicious combo!

Fireball gives you wings!

Fireball gives you wings!

I took off out of Skeenah and headed back up the almost 1,000 foot climb at a far slower pace than I had descended. Although it was a bit of a slog, the terrain was quite hike-able, and I had plenty of endorphins to fuel my ascent. After reaching the top, I turned right and continued on my way. The overcast skies began to give way to some patches of sun, and it began to get a bit warm so I shed my long sleeve shirt and stuck with the short sleeve Northface flight series t-shirt. In another 5 miles of smooth sailing, I reached the Point Bravo aid station, which contained my first drop bag. I was able to restock myself with Tailwind, fuel up again with some PB & Js and potatoes, and head out again. I had 28 miles under my belt and I was feeling good.

By the time I reached Point Bravo, the routine of the aid stations had become commonplace for me and I looked forward to it. I announced my entry loudly so they could check me in, and always felt a ping of excitement when I bellowed my departure. Leaving each aid station became the start of another mini-adventure, and I was enjoying these small moments enough not to think about Mordor at the end of the trail! I took off from Point Bravo having logged a bit over 6 hours, and was still feeling quite good as the afternoon sun warmed things a bit.

Someone needs to make this into a shirt!

Someone needs to make this into a shirt!

The next 19 miles and two aid stations ticked off rather nicely and I had reached a point of comfort with the trail and my pace on it. Based on my time and pace, as well as the strength left in my legs, it was clear to me that I had finally nailed my early pacing, which was a huge boost. The climbs continued up and down the ridge line and I embraced them. I fell into a routine that involved effectively pushing off on my quads while climbing, and simultaneously massaging them to keep them as loose as possible. I’m not sure if this had any actual physiological impact or it was just a placebo effect, but I embraced it nonetheless. The beauty of the landscape around me helped to hide the difficulty of the course, as I knew it would, and I had no problem rolling with it. Somewhere along this section, I fell into the same pace as another guy and we got to talking as it became clear that our paces and attitudes matched up well. I would end up running the remainder of the race with him, and it once again demonstrated why I love trail running and ultras so much. It’s the people.

We were making good time and doing some solid power hiking on the steeper inclines as we made our way to the Winding Stair aid station. This was a crew access point and the first opportunity for pacers to join the fray. The beautiful epicurean wasn’t able to join me on this adventure, so I was on my own for this journey, hence my attention to my two drop bags. However, my new running friend had a group of friends waiting for him and another runner at Winding Stair when we rolled in around 8:30PM. I’d been running for over 12 hours at this point, and it was finally dark and time to bust out the headlamp. I slipped my long sleeve shirt back on, along with a beanie and a pair of gloves, and topped off my bladder with the help of some very energetic aid station volunteers. I did my best to say thank you as often as possible when I passed through each station, but really no thanks is quite enough for the investment they all made of their own time. Our sport thrives on each of us helping each other and giving back to the community, and it’s yet another reason why I’m so passionate about it.

The climbing never quit!

The climbing never quit!

The two of us left Winding Stair with a new pacer ahead of us, and the moonlight to light our way. The next stretch was mainly along old fire roads, which made the terrain more manageable but still challenging since our torches were lighting the way. The rolling hills continued and we seemingly climbed higher and higher with each drastic turn on the road. Things were starting to get sore at this point, and I was considering a few ibuprofen to avoid the aches in my quads, but I held out and ultimately avoided taking anything at all. We were at mile 47-ish when we left Winding Stair, and we new the next aid station, Jake Bull, was about 7 miles away. The next few miles were full of short bursts of running followed by more power hiking, but we were moving right along. The fire road had plenty of random offshoots that looked like they could have been trailheads, but weren’t. Thus, we were keeping our eyes peeled for the pink polka dot flags! We hopped on a section of single track for a bit, and then back out on the fire road again as we continued along.

After about two hours, we reached a fork in the road and realized we didn’t see any course markings. We ventured down one side, stumbled upon an interesting campsite full of guys drinking and laughing, their enormous Jeeps parked everywhere, and this was our first significant indicator that something was wrong. After surveying the area a bit more, we came to the conclusion that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and missed the trail markings. This realization made for a rather significant sinking feeling in my stomach. We were on pace to finish in around 19 hrs 30 min, which would have brought us in well under the 21 hour cutoff needed to qualify for Western States. I tried not to worry too much, knowing we had a sizable cushion, and we doubled back in search of our missed turn. We had been descending for the better part of the last hour, which in retrospect should have probably been a sign of error itself. However, this meant we had to do some decent climbing as we retraced our steps and tacked on some additional miles.

A rather strange sight on the trail, wouldn't you say?

A rather strange sight on the trail, wouldn’t you say?

The search felt like it took forever. With each false trailhead illuminated by my headlamp, I felt my 21 hour goal slipping away. After what seemed like forever, we finally found the turn we missed. In total, we had gone almost 6 miles off course, and lost around 1 hr 45 minutes. There was nothing any of us could do at this point, so we simply hopped back on the trail and began climbing the ridge line again towards Jake Bull. Just before reaching the Jake Bull aid station (mile 54), we heart a distinctive snorting noise that sounded like a wild boar coming from the woods. A short pause to collect our thoughts was followed by a much more brisk pace into the next aid station. I’m pretty sure the noises were nothing more than a speaker hidden in the woods, meant to scare us, but that reality didn’t occur to any of us until much later!

We rolled into Jake Bull, accompanied by several runners that we hadn’t seen in many hours, and tried our best to stay positive. At that point, the reality of our situation had sunk in, and I knew it was more about simply staying focused on finishing, and recognizing what an incredible race experience this had already been. We fueled up, warmed up a bit by the fire, and took off for one of our final climbs. The next and last aid station, Nimblewill, was 9 miles away and pretty much all uphill. It was dark and the temperatures were dropping into the low 40s by this point, so it was a chilly march up to the top of the mountain. The road and trail undulated like a continuously moving serpent, and we were never out of the wind for more than a few minutes before we turned back into it. On a clear, sunny day, this section would probably have been quite beautiful, with the mountain always to our left, and enormous drop-offs to our right. However, in the dark, I was much more focused on staying on the trail and not getting to close to the edge! Surprisingly, despite it now being after midnight, I was wide away, and the effects of very little sleep hadn’t gotten to me like they typically do. I’m guessing this had something to do with proper nutrition intake, and the steady stream of caffeinated Tailwind all day, and it certainly made me even more of a believer.

We finally made it to the (almost) top and the Nimblewill aid station and fueled up for our final descent back to Amicalola Falls State Park. As we were leaving, we asked the volunteers how far it was to the finish, or at least to the base of the falls that we would then climb. We received some pretty mixed estimates, ranging from 4 to 7 miles, which wasn’t quite the precision any of us were looking for after having run almost 70 miles. However, we set off on the final leg and wove our way back down the mountain . Upon reaching the bottom, we had the pleasure of running past the finish line (within 100 yards) and heading for the base of the falls and a final climb. Earlier in the day, I had run into another runner who shared that we would encounter 179 stairs up the falls before heading back down on an accessibility path to the finish. I had kept that number in my head for the rest of the day, and psyched myself up for the final ascent. By the time we reached the base of the falls,climbing felt much better than going down did, so it was simply a matter of doing it. The stairs were no walk in the park, but we reached the top of the 179 stairs as promised, and turned left down the path. That’s when we say them. The course markings turned right and up the remaining 400 stairs to the very top of the falls! I’m sure I uttered a few choice words, but I had come this far and I was ready to do it regardless.

This 600 stair climb to the top of the falls would be challenging on fresh legs, let alone after running approximately 79 miles.  We stopped a few times to catch our breath, and eventually made it to the top. It was a short-lived feeling of accomplishment, however, as the reality of our descent sunk in. The grade along the road up to the top of the falls and the lodge was around 25%, which meant a 25% grade descent was now standing between us and the finish. It was probably one of the more painful descents I’ve ever encountered, for a short time on the road, and then winding through a more technical trail to the bottom. However, the excitement of finishing trumped everything else. We could hear folks at the finish cheering, and see the lights and fire up ahead as we reached the base. As if meant to add one more challenge, we then needed to cross a large stream before crossing the finish line immediately on the other side. Lifting my legs and doing any sort of jumping was out of the question at this point, so I simply jumped directly into the water, which rose above my ankles, and walked across before climbing out the other side and greeting Sean at the finish with a huge smile and a high-five! I pulled out my old railroad spike from my pack, tossed it into the appropriately positioned coffin at the finish, and claimed my engraved finishers spike.

As much hard work as any buckle I've earned :)

As much hard work as any buckle I’ve earned 🙂

I was equal parts elated and exhausted as I unclipped my pack and released the metaphorical weight from my shoulders, along with the material weight. I finished in 21 hrs 40 min, having run 81 miles (instead of the projected 72) and had long since come to terms with missing my qualifying time goal, but not disappointed in the least. The extra adventures, extra miles, and extra memories are all part of the ultra experience, and just made the experience that much more memorable. I had been planning for and training for this race for longer than most, and couldn’t have been happier to be holding that engraved railroad spike. It was the perfect symbol of the hard work that made this finish possible. This race had come to represent #chasing42 in some very significant ways, and it will stick with me for a long time to come.

The journey home involved a bathroom wet wipe bath, shipping my finishers spike home, and catching a flight back to Philly but it was all a blur. I crashed pretty hard when I got home, which was only fitting, but I was back at it with classes Monday morning. Oh, and in case you are wondering- I most definitely tackled a mile run on Monday to keep my streak in play. It wasn’t comfortable, but sometimes #chasing42 isn’t about comfort. Sometimes it’s about pushing the limits of what you think you are capable of, and discovering that you are capable of so much more. Now on to the next challenge!

 

 

Race Report: Georgia Death Race- Part I

It’s a pretty regular occurrence at ultras for the RD to hype up the race extensively to the point of overselling the beauty, runable trails, or difficulty of the course. I’ve found these claims to be oversold more than not. This was not the case with the Georgia Death Race. I registered for this race the day it opened in September (it sold out in 10 hours), and I’ve been receiving messages from Sean “Runbum” Blanton, the RD, ever since. In that time, he’s done everything in his power to scare us, warn us, and prepare us for the difficulty of the course. Until I registered for this race, I didn’t know there were so many ways to tell someone they were “going to die” at a race, but that’s simply the tip of the iceberg where Sean’s contagious personality is involved. I’d been looking forward to this race for months, and only registered in the first place because I was finally living in a location where I could train on some decent trails and tackle some respectable elevation gain. This race represented my transition to living on the east coast, and a transition in my running in many ways. It has come to represent that life change and so much more as I reflect back on the experience!

There are a number of ways I could share the experience with you, but I’ll try my best to break it up into digestible bites and do my best to elaborate on what was probably the hardest race I’ve ever tackled!

Preparation and Travel

I’ve been steering all of my training towards this race for the better part of 6 months. I’ve incorporated more vertical climb, more miles, and more challenges into my routine than ever before. I wanted to be as ready as I could be for this race. I’ve tackled plenty of races along the way, including my 100+ miles at Across the Years, but I really always viewed those races as preparation for the GDR. In the process, I’ve come to know the trails in the area much better, but I still look forward to the exploring I have left to do.

As the race approached, I started to focus more on the logistics. Originally, I had planned to drive down to Georgia with the epicurean, but it soon became clear that not only was the drive cost prohibitive, but the thought of spending 12 hours in a car after the race didn’t sit very well with me! I was able to find a cheap direct flight, and I booked a rental car and nearby hotel room for the night before the race. From there, I turned my attention to making sure I had a plan in place for the required gear and other essentials I might need. This was the first race I had run with a required gear list, which meant more weight than I had previously carried on my back during a race, but it became evident pretty quickly why the items were necessary.

It's amazing how everything managed to fit!

It’s amazing how everything managed to fit!

As you know, I obsess at times over gear, and love optimizing my choices and finding the best tool for the job whenever possible. Ultimately, I think I did a pretty good job of whittling things down and still meeting the requirements for the race. Below is my gear list, if you are curious.

  • Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin Hydro 12 running pack: the 12L capacity seemed to be just right, and I was able to position everything evenly throughout the pack so that my load was evenly distributed. It even had the required whistle attached.
  • space blanket (came with the pack- convenient)
  • Saucony Exo Waterproof Jacket– I’m a big fan of this fully seam-sealed jacket. It’s a bit heavier than some, but still folds down quite small, and is truly waterproof. Luckily I didn’t have to bust it out, as it keeps the sweat in as well as it keeps the rain out!
  • Underarmor Coldgear Thermal Shirt- rolled up in a ziplock bag
  • Spare battery pack, Garmin charging cable, and spare headlamp batteries- I kept these items in a waterproof pouch and it fit nicely in the main compartment. Only the batteries were required, and I didn’t end up needing the backup battery/charging cable- lesson learned.
  • Petzl Nao Headlamp– It lasted me around 7 hours, which was decent, but I had hoped to get through the night with it.
  • Nathan Zephyr Handheld– this worked nicely as my backup torch. The band on torch made for easy carrying and the output lit up the trail nicely in the final hours of the race.
  • iPhone 6 w/ Lifeproof case- I kept it on airplane mode, but wanted it for taking pictures.
  • Honeystinger chews- I packed approximately 6 servings to supplement my other nutritional choices.
  • Hydrapak 2L Bladder w/ Tailwind- The bladder worked perfectly, and w/ the Tailwind portioned out, lasted approximately 25 miles, which was perfect for the spacing of my dropbags, which contained more Tailwind.
  • Old Railroad Spike- The final “award” for finishing was an engraved railroad spike, but in order to finish officially, we had to carry an unengraved spike with us for the entire race! I wrapped it in bubble wrap and it fit nicely in the main pouch.
  • Northface Better-Than-Naked Long Haul Shorts
  • Northface shortsleeve tech-shirt
  • Saucony longsleeve baselayer
  • Buff
  • UnderArmor running gloves
  • Northface waterproof mittens
  • Nike Beanie
  • CEP calf sleeves
  • Dirty Girl Gaiters
  • Darn Tough socks: I typically prefer Drymax socks, but these have been particularly effective at managing moisture and preventing rubbing/chaffing, and they worked like a charm!
  • Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2

Surprisingly, these items all fit in the pack or on my person. As I’ll mention later, the added weight of mandatory gear didn’t seem to impact my running, but I certainly felt it when the race was over.

Not a bad view for packet pick-up, eh?

Not a bad view for packet pick-up, eh?

Packet Pick-Up

After relaxing in the hotel, getting my gear organized, and eating some lunch, I headed out for the 30 minute drive to the Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge to pick up my bib and other accoutrements.  As I drove through the gate and made the turn up the hill to the lodge, I felt the 25% incline very quickly and realized I’d be going up and down this incline at the end of the race, since this was the site of the finish. Ouch! I arrived in time to have my mandatory gear checked, pick up my bib, along with my sweatshirt and trucker hat, and find a seat for the pre-race meeting. Sean gave us a great overview of the course, along with some additional information that would be helpful the next morning, and again reiterated our impending doom. He then introduced a former Army Ranger for a motivational talk of sorts, and emphasized the importance of digging deep and overcoming our fears and apprehension. After the meeting, I walked outside to the back deck, and took in the amazing views of the enormous rolling wooded hills that formed the backdrop for this beautiful site. I had yet to see the falls in question, but their audible signature was unmistakable, and I looked forward to visiting them on Sunday morning. I simply hoped I had enough energy to remember the experience! After a few pictures, I made my way back to the hotel to settle in for an anxious night of sleep. I did my best to relax and get to bed early, but I still didn’t fall asleep until after 10PM.

Pick your poison!

Pick your poison!

Race Morning

The 3:45AM alarm was unfortunately quite easy to turn off because I was already awake, having popped out of bed at 3:30AM after a fitful few hours of sleep. No matter how prepared I am for a race, I always get the same excited feeling that I got as a child on Christmas Eve. Sleep is simply not a priority. I ate a Clif Bar and drank some water as I slid on the clothes I had laid out the night before, moving around the room in silence. I wanted to exert as little effort as possible prior to the race, and my planning allowed for just that as I zipped up my suitcase and walked out to the car to repeat yesterday’s drive in the dark. I arrived at Amicalola Falls around 5:00AM, and quietly interspersed myself with the others waiting to board the bus to the start. We quietly boarded the yellow and black school buses and I was quickly reminded that these vehicles were designed for much younger patrons traveling much shorter distances. I did my best to get comfortable at the harsh 90 degree angle compelled by the seat, but never really found my groove. The 90 minute drive to Vogel State Park became one of self-preservation as I attempted to make sure I didn’t cramp up along the way.

It was such a serene start, quite effectively disguising the intensity that was about to ensue!

It was such a serene start, quite effectively disguising the intensity that was about to ensue!

We arrived at the starting area around 7:00AM and I made a beeline for the restroom in anticipation of the long line that was sure to form. I did my best to stave off my usual colon difficulties and checked in for the race. I had the pleasure of claiming an old railroad spike, which I was nicely asked to carry along for the upcoming 68-ish mile ride. The spike felt more like an awkward hitchhiker initially, but I wrapped him in a nice bubble wrap sheath, slid him in my pack, and knew that we had plenty of time to bond.

A few last words of encouragement...and reminders of our eager dance with death!

A few last words of encouragement…and reminders of our eager dance with death!

I had met up the night before with a friend from Iowa, and we found each other in the bathroom line prior to the start, and chatted some about our upcoming challenge. We would end up running together for the first several hours before technical difficulties held him back, and then later navigational difficulties held me back. That, however, is a story for an upcoming post. We made our way to the starting area, and Sean bellowed out some last-minute sage advice. We uttered a group countdown, and then slowly followed his truck out of the park to the trailhead. The race to death was just beginning, and we all tackled the trails like naive teenagers unaware of our impending mortality. I would age a great deal as I continued my quest #chasing42!

 

Daily Chase: Vol. 39

Phew! It’s been quite a week. Rest assured that the streak is intact and all miles are present and accounted for as it currently stands. It was a whirlwind weekend traveling down to Georgia for the Georgia Death Race, and I’ve been playing catch-up since I got back. Thus, the delay in my reporting! You can expect a full race report very soon, but for now, let me just say that the weight of the spike was with me!

Chasing42 Log: 20160318-20160324

Run: There’s a lot of running to report, but I’ll keep it brief. I was traveling on Friday, so my mile was tackled near the hotel in Dahlonega, GA after I checked in and got myself situated. Apparently there was an amazing gold mine nearby, but I wasn’t terribly concerned with sightseeing 🙂 Over the weekend, the Georgia Death Race consumed my entire existence, and the running stretched across both Saturday and Sunday, as I knew it would. The race certainly lived up to the hype! I crashed hard Sunday night (and Monday night for that matter), and my quads were trashed, but I managed a mile around the block on Monday. It might have been one of the more painful miles in recent memory. I’ve been taking my recovery relatively seriously, so I stuck to my mile on Tuesday, and tossed in two miles yesterday. My legs were finally beginning to feel somewhat normal last night, and my morning run today left me feeling great and at around 80%, which I’m quite happy with only a few day post-GDR. My legs could tolerate rolling beginning on Tuesday, so I’ve been hitting the R8 pretty hard since then, and it seems to be helping!

Thought: I’ve given more thought to the entire race cycle while training for the GDR than I have in quite some time, and it’s been rather refreshing. I gave myself a legitimate taper after a full cycle of race-specific training, and now I’m focusing on intentional active recovery. I’m noticing the difference, and feeling good about returning to a greater sense of intentionality in that regard. For the past few years, I’ve done a lot of racing and simply kept running throughout the process. It’s absolutely worked well, but I feel like making the effort to truly taper, and truly recover takes an extra level of commitment in some way, and that brings a smile to my face. I’ve always enjoyed running because of the never-ending barrage of goals it hurls at me, and it always feels good to meet those goals. That’s what #chasing42 is all about!

Daily Chase: Vol. 38

It is most definitely the 11th hour, and I have things as planned and organized as I possibly can before leaving for Georgia. Living on the east coast means direct flights are now much more possible, so my flight from Philly to Atlanta will be rather quick and ultimately much more convenient than attempting to drive the 12 hours south. I’ll have some time tomorrow to get things squared away once I check into the hotel, and then hopefully get a bit of rest before a 3:45AM wake-up call on Saturday morning!

Chasing42 Log: 20160315-20160317

Run: I’ve kept my runs nice and short this week and truly respected the taper, despite some beautiful weather that has had me itching to spend much more time outside! I kept my mileage low all three days, and left myself time to take care of all of the other ins and outs that come with leaving for the weekend.

Did I mention there will be some climbing involved?

Did I mention there will be some climbing involved?

Thought: I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the weather. This weekend should be no different. the forecast is calling for intermittent rain during almost all of the race. I have no problem with a light drizzle or misting, but I’m certainly hoping that it doesn’t get any heavier than that. Ultimately, I’m hoping I still get a chance to take in some of the amazing views that were part of the reason I signed up for this race in the first place! Either way, it’s going to be an experience like no other, and I can’t wait to get things started. This weekend will be a true #chasing42 challenge 🙂

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