Weekend Excitement!

I’m getting geared up for the upcoming Burns Park Adventure Race Clinic on Saturday. I’m hoping to learn a lot- especially from the “mountain bike skills” portion of the clinic since my tech-riding skills are pretty lame right now.

I plan on camping out Saturday night. Where? I’m not quite sure yet. I was planning on venturing out to the Womble trail, but I’m wondering if my time would be better spent making the much shorter drive out to Lake Sylvia and riding the more familiar forest roads in that area. For one thing, I would have time to get in a run (stop by Pinnacle again maybe?) or ride before driving to west Little Rock for dinner (as opposed to cooking on a campfire). It would probably be better for me as far as conditioning goes since I’m planning on entering the Dirt Sweat and Gears 12 hour in a few weeks. I can also engineer my ride so that I make different loops from the campground, which would allow me to do a “self supported” 5 or 6 hour ride rather than trying to pack all at once for a day’s worth of riding into the wilderness.

What do my readers think? Womble? Ouachita? Sylvia? I’m so conflicted…

Oh yeah- before you answer, just know that I’m going to have all summer to go out that way for other adventures…

OT50K Photo

Here I am at the top of Pinnacle Mountain- it’s hard to tell from the photo, but from where I came from, you had to climb up using your hands and some mild rock-climbing skills. It was highly awesome:


P.S. The Skins tights were a little warm, but I think they had something to do with my legs staying “fresh” during the race.

Lazy Sunday

So I woke up this morning with all intentions of riding once the rain cleared up. However, when I attempted to stand up, I realized that it was not meant to be. I can hardly move today. Not only do my quads not work, all of my other lower body muscles are trashed. It’s to the point that I’m having balance issues.

So, I’ve got the laptop set up in bed, and I’m surfing the internet while watching Joel Osteen on TV. Not that I feel the need for church, but I just like the sound of his voice and the fact that he constantly smiles as if he’s got a secret that’s terribly ironic. All the while, the dogs are passed out. Turbo is snoring, and Indy periodically twitches. Today is officially cancelled.


Ouachita Trail 50k Race Report

Yes, that’s 50 kilometers (over 30 miles) of (mostly) trail running (and walking).

The race started just before dawn this morning from Maumelle Park near Little Rock, AR. The first three miles or so were on the road, so there was just enough light to see the trail once we got there. I had to exercise a lot of self control on that part- there were a few hills, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t make the same mistake that I’d made in my first 50k a few years ago when I ran uphill for several miles while my legs were fresh, but then nearly died towards the end of the race! Within the first 5 miles, we crossed Pinnacle Mountain. This part of the race was my absolute favorite, and it almost didn’t happen because of the rain forecast. However, we lucked out and the rain passed by to the south overnight, and the crossing was able to go on. The awesome thing about the mountain is that the last 400 yards or so is nearly straight up a boulder garden. I used my crazy spiderwoman skillz to scale the rocks and my mountain goat descending skillz to (unknowingly) put a giant gap between me & the 2nd place woman.

When I made it down the trail to the next aid station, someone let me know that I was in first place. WHAT?!?! I seriously was just trying to plod my way along- I had no intentions of trying to be competitive! So, I did just that- plodded along with my usual strategy- walk up hills, jog the flat spots, and run down hills. Doing this, I held on to first until just before the next aid station. The woman who would go on to run caught up to me and left the aid station first, and I didn’t see her again until the turnaround. Honestly, I didn’t care at all.

The next 22 miles or so went on pretty uneventfully- I ate a lot of gel, turned my ankles a few times, drank some pickle juice at an aid station (that one had beer! I can’t say I wasn’t tempted…), almost got lost once or twice, and wished that it would pour down rain so I wouldn’t have to stop when I had to pee. You know- the usual trail racing stuff…

I ended up finishing in 6 hours and 15 minutes- about 10 minutes back from a woman who, from what I heard from aid station staff, was being a real beotch because she’d missed a turn and didn’t like that the course description hadn’t mentioned that the trail was rocky and technical. I was like, SRSLY?!?! Maybe she should stick to road racing. The next gal back came in about 15 minutes after me. She’d caught up to me as I was leaving the turnaround aid station, but she looked pretty tired, and I happened to get a nice little energy burst after I left, so I never saw her again.

I’m not gonna lie to you- I’m in some pain right now like you wouldn’t believe (unless, of course, you run Ultras, too), but I had an outstanding race! I’ve never felt so good for so long during a run of that length! I’m usually dragging pretty hard by about mile 25, though today I kept a good plod going the entire way.I was surprised because I knew I hadn’t really trained that much…

I went back and looked- Since before X-mas, when I was doing some short runs for x-training, my first run to prepare for this race was exactly 1 month ago today. Whoa.

So the epic Summer of 2009 begins.


…do you dress to run 32 miles in the rain when the temps are in the low 60s? Not cold enough for the warm stuff, but too warm to go in the usual shorts/t-shirt. Hmmm…

Countdown to Ouachita

Two more days & I’ll be leaving for Arkansas for the Ouachita Trail 50k. I’m looking forward to getting back on the trail for a long run. Yesterday I had a great “tune up” run at the Lakeland Trails. Short of driving 45 minutes out to Shelby Forest, they’re the best trails for some hill practice. After a quick warmup on the mostly flat blue & red trails, I did a few repeats on the much more technical yellow trail. I felt really good, but held back a bit & practiced my powerwalk on the uphills (in the world of ultramarathon-ing, it’s universally accepted that you walk up long, steep parts). I did, however, let loose on the downhill sections, and even managed to practice grabbing/slinging around a well placed tree in the corner of a fast switchback.

How is it that I can be so incredibly comfortable running down a steep, rooty trail a breakneck speed, but then chicken out when I try to do the same thing on a bike?!

I digress… I’ve got my hill legs back. The race is still going to wreck me, but it’ll be good endurance practice for my next adventure.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… I’m seriously considering an entry into the solo division of a 12 hour MTB race on May 9th. I briefly tried to find someone to join me for a duo, but she’s already planning on racing solo, so I gave up & decided I should just go at it alone. Between now & then, I’ll have a 50k run, then the weekend of the 25th, I’ll be going to an adventure racing clinic in Little Rock, so I’ll probably stick around on Sunday & head out for an all day epic of some sort on the Ouachita and/or Womble trail(s). After that, I’ll likely just stick to conditioning on the road bike and practicing some tech-ey stuff on the MTB until the 9th.

Anyone who is reading this interested in going to Arkansas on the 25th?

Verminator Fail

Last month, I posted that Indy sucessfully caught a mole: Verminatior

Today, he spent about an hour digging around in the mud (it’s been raining a lot lately). He didn’t catch anything. Except for mud…





If I were on a rollercoaster right now…

…I’d be sitting in the first car with the lap-bar locked down, slowly creeping up the first gigantic hill on an insane set of tracks.

I just got word from the bike shop that my Jet 9 frame is on its way, and all of the components are probably getting ordered as I type this. It looks as if things will begin arriving on Thursday this week!!

Just like when I bought my first road bike, I’ll be heading out to Arkansas this weekend to run a 50k (though this time, it’s the Ouachita Trail 50k & last time it was the Midnight 50k). And, just like last time, I’ll come home so incredibly sore and beaten up that I’ll hardly be able to throw a leg over the bike to take it for a lap around the block!

It’s OK, though.

Weekend after this one, I’ll be going back to Little Rock for an adventure racing clinic. Hopefully I’ll make some connections over there and will get advice (and maybe some company!) for where to go in the area for some good trail riding. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. There are some TBRA XC races coming up, and there’s an adventure race at Village Creek State Park in June as well as a few other trail (running) races to round things out!

So right now I feel like I’m moving through molasses, but hopefully once my bike gets here and school wraps up @ the end of the month, it’ll be the start of an incredibly epic summer. Stay tuned…