Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Starting off 2016

I kicked off serious Umstead 2016 training on Jan 1 after taking a couple of down weeks at the end of December. The new year started with some work on cleaning up the diet and sticking a little closer to the Whole 30 principles, which I think went pretty well. So far, I've been feeling strong in training, and I've been having a lot of fun out on the trails.

The first race of the year (Lakeside Trail Race 15 miler) was  blast. Ginger, Sean, Josh, Jill, Chris, Julia, Lou and I had a blast on the trails.

The race went well for everyone. I was able to take 18 minutes off my time from last year and come in at 2:03, which was good for 2nd in my AG and 10th overall. It's nice to start the year with a top 10 finish. Mostly, I was happy to have a good day on the trails and run hard for the full 15.

I've been averaging about 59 miles a week so far for the year, and I've been able to put in some solid climbing (35K feet, which is more than double last year at this point). I think the climbing is building good strength for the Umstead laps. I've also logged 303 miles so far. Last year, I was at 220 at this point.

The first real long run of the year was the VT Ultra Fat Ass 50K at Pandapas. Brett, Jordy, Dave, and I ran together and got it done in a little over 6 hours.

Ginger and I have mixed in some good hikes to the Cascades with the buddies to take in the frozen scenery.

A huge snowstorm has made things interesting, and it turned the first Catawba RunAround of the year into a real sufferfest. We began the day at the gas station parking lot because the Dragon's Tooth lot was covered in ice. Jody, Brett, Matt, Josh, and I set to work on a long day of slogging through the snow.

The technical parts of the first climb were fairly clear, so we made decent time. But, other parts slowed us down quite a bit.

Climbing Macafee's Knob went really well, and we made up some time on the packed down or thawed sections, and made the summit quickly.

We got through some of the more runnable sections in good time.

After Tinker's we thought we might make it all the way around before dark.

But that was not to be. North Mountain was an epic slog. The waist deep snow drifts and seemingly endless sawtooth climbs along the ridge really took a toll on us as the sun quickly dropped behind the ridge.

We ended up back at the gas station parking lot a little over 11 hours later. Not bad for 35 snowy miles. Here's link to the Strava file:

I thought this was a great way to kick off the week of my 43rd birthday. This run was my 43rd Ultra. I didn't plan it that way, but sometimes things just work out right.

We were all a little scarred by the adventure, but I think it's safe to say we are ready for the next CRA. Here's hoping for less snow in February.

We rolled into February with some decent runs at Pandapas and last weekend we hit up some miles from Mountain Lake to Barney's Wall and the Cascades and back.

The boys and I have had some great adventures already this year.

And we are just getting started. This weekend we all have Holiday Lake 50K on the books. I know Sean will do great with his first 50K. Royce and Brett are ready to smash the course, and I know Ginger is going to exceed her expectations and have a great day. Just look at her smile when she came across the line last year.

And, no February post would be complete without a big shout out to everyone who made my birthday special. Ginger rallied the gang to set up an awesome birthday party. She's really the BEST!! We had a lot of good food, (She got me a birthday pizza from Benny's again, people brought donuts, peanut butter balls, and Smores), and we introduced Christmas Tree Burning to our Blacksburg friends. THIS is a FIRE:

I'm looking forward to a great year with my awesome wife and amazing friends.

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