Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gals Gone Muddy

Today, instead of our normally scheduled Gals' Gallop on the Lawrence River Trail we gathered at Clinton Lake to mark and de-jungle 3.5mi of the Hawk 50 course.  The trail was soupy but at least it wasn't pouring tonight.  We just had some sprinkles.  It was a good thing we had enough girls to split up into two groups and attack different forks of the trail, because even so, we finished just before dark.  We had a lopper, trash picker upper, pink flagger and pink ribboner in each group.  I was so impressed with the turn out, even though the weather wasn't great and we didn't actually get to run.  These girls are awesome to spend their time helping out with the race.

Pictured left to right: Kristin Tirabassi, Karen Collier, Sarah Henning, Christy (didn't catch last name), Colinda Thompson, Christine Metz, Nicole (also forgot to get last name), Tammy Lupton, and run leader/Trail Hawks VP Coleen Voeks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Course Grooming

Well it was a LITTLE wet today.  It started raining before I began my march across campground 3 with my loppers in hand.  I imagined if a camper were to peer out a window, he might think I was headed out to the woods to mince up some bodies.

The first half mile of the trail seemed pretty clear.  I just trimmed a few lowish hanging branches back.  I was wondering what Gary was talking about when he said Cactus Ridge trail was rough.  It didn't take long to find the reason.  Before I knew it, the trail was closing in on me from all sides.  I lopped overhead branches but shorter plants were also pushing in on the sides.  The lopper was extremely inefficient at taking care of the low lying vegetation with tiny stalks in large numbers.  I really needed some hedge shears in addition to the loppers.

Well I cleared a few rough areas before I called it an evening.  The rain wouldn't let up.  I was completely soaked, getting cold and not going anywhere too quickly.  I hiked back to the truck, thinking again about what nonexistent onlookers would think of the drowned rat walking around with a pair of loppers.  I threw the loppers in the back, took off my shoes, jeans, jacket and shirt without a second thought to decency and hopped in the truck.

I live to lop another day.

P.S.  I should clarify that when I say "rough" I don't mean impassible, I just mean a little overgrown.  If by some chance, the weather and time prohibit me from perfecting 100% the foliage, know that you will still be able to manage just fine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Count Down

It's been a few weeks since my last post.  There are a few reasons for my blabsence.  (I just made that up this second: blog + absence = blabsence.)  The first is that I've been tapering, so haven't been running a whole lot lately soooo there hasn't been much to say.  The second is, I've been sort of mentally jumbled lately.  I've been preoccupied with my upcoming race (this Saturday), and it seems like I can't form a cohesive thought  much less put one into words. 

So here's the synopsis of the past few weeks.  I did a 28-mi night run on Fri, April 30th, which felt pretty good.  I was surprised at how good I felt actually, and ran the last 4mi at about an 8 or 9 minute per mile pace.  I had taken some 5-hr energy to keep myself awake and I think that might have spurred on the crazy energy level at the end.  The stuff was definitely effective but in the future I won't take it unless I really need to.  It just felt too unnatural, like I'd been given a dose of epinephrine.  I had intended to run 10 on Saturday but was too sleepy from the late night Friday run, so I shifted to Sunday.  It went well, and I felt good about the weekend.  So I had a good long run weekend. 

The next week wasn't so good.  I got busy, then I was out of town over the weekend, leaving me with a 5mi week.  I also managed to catch a stomach bug over that weekend so the next week started off slow too.  That one week just totally threw me off and left me nervous about the race, but I guess things aren't always perfect.  As a matter of fact, they seldom are. 

I'm not sure why I'm letting myself get so worked up about this race.  It IS the longest race I've attempted, but I have completed 2 trail marathons, 3 50k's and a 40 miler.  I'm also probably in the best shape I've ever been in.  I'm also running on my home turf.  Maybe my hang up is that I have so much going in my favor that failing would suck that much more.  In case you didn't know, a DNF is an ultra runner's worst nightmare.  (I have one under my belt so far).  Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'll be just fine once I get on the trail.  I just wish Saturday would hurry up and get here!