Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend paddle

Our first real paddling trip of the year, crazy.

We drove up Friday morning. Put on the Nantahala at Patton's Run and found a bunch small rocks and waves to play with. Then the sky opened up and thunders and lighting crashed around us and hails pounded our helmets. I felt pity for the rafters that don't have helmets, ouch.

After the storm passed us, we boogied down to the falls and then NOC wave. The wave is now a wide open hole but we were both hypothermic. I did a few rides but couldn't setup on the top of the foam pile without flushing then gave up to change into dry clothes and warm up. Dave and Bret put in there to play some more. We were too hungry so we left to feast on BBQ at Herb's.

While driving to Herb's I got a call from Steve Sullivan at National Parks Service. I immediately got worried, did I get caught without permits, changing and baring myself in the public, or smoke illegal materials? Turned out one of the Grand Canyon cancellation lottery winner couldn't go, and I was the next on the list. The launch date is June 25, 16 days on the river, not much time to prepare. I had an hour to give him an answer. Oh crap. Over dinner we decided we would take the chance and give it a shot to see if we can pull this off.

Finding camping at Whitewater Express was interesting, and we end up using 4WD to get in the field. Dave and Bret were already setting up camp and we shared a jug of yummy Nantahala Brewing Company's IPA that Bret picked up earlier.

Kurt and Paul pulled into camp around 1 or 2am but none of us heard them, due to slumbering caused by IPA.

Saturday morning at Ocoee putin. The rock slide over the winter had changed the put in rapid a bit that caused some anxiety but in reality it was actually easier if you know to how read new water. Right line looked beefier than before though. We played out way down and had some funky moments such as when I missed eddy 5 at Broken Nose and end up in lower 5 instead. Oh well, all good. Slice Dice's playspot was green and pretty much useless, and we concluded the release was much higher than the usual 1600 cfs on an Upper release day.

Witch's hole is now Witch's wave, a bit flushy. Robert decided to visit Lorraine's hole at Cat's Pajama, with the same disaster result and had to be pulled out of the water. Hell Hole was narrower but faster. I had some decent rides a few powerful faceplants. Jade for the first time spent some quality time deep in that hole.

Dinner was once again at Herbs. We talked about planning a boaterdicks festival but couldn't come with a better name. Some ideas got tossed around such as topless safety boaters but nothing concrete resulted.

We decided to paddle the Upper Ocoee on Sunday. Fun lines through Alien, Mikey's and Blue Hole. There was an amazing paddler at Callahan's doing every move imaginable and long long multi-minute rides. I got inspired by him, especially the ease which he initiate ends. After snacking on a bar, I got back in the boat and ferried into the hole, determined not to be intimidated and stay easy and loose. A few spins and I followed his methond to initiate lefty cartwheels and it was amazingly easy. A few more spins and one more lefty, except this time a pulse rocketed through my left arm and I felt a familiar pain in the left shoulder. By then I was in position to do a right hand back deck roll. I could tell by the washing machine effect that I was still deep in the hole, and rolling up in it means I'll have to use both arms, iffy given the pain in the left side. I waited patiently with my right hand and paddle shaft protecting my face, and finally the buffeting effect ended and I rolled up. Immediately I could tell the left shoulder was at least partially out. I limped back into the eddy not wanting to deal with the next drop. Once safely in the eddy, I used my right hand to move my left shoulder a bit to test it, and I felt a distinct pop as it moved back in the place and the pain subsided right away. Well, now I know for sure what happened. It was on its way out but not far out enough to move to the outside of the socket, so a little nudge moved it back in.

Jade was very concerned since she knew something wasn't right by the way I tendered my left arm paddling back into the eddy. I told her what happened and we decided I should take out there and wait for her to finish the river then pick me up.

Waiting turned out to be informational. I never had a chance to study the Humongous side of the river, and discovered a nice curling tongue through the meat of the hole. There also a few interesting surfing waves toward the end of the Olympic section. The sky opened up one more time clearing the spectators. Just in time as the rain ended Jade showed up to pick me up.

We had a wonderful dinner with Knut and Julie in Asheville dinning on a traditional German fare made by Knut. Got home just before midnight, tired and sore, wondering what to do with my shoulder, and stressing about planning for the Grand Canyon trip.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pavement sucks

I couldn't get a decent run this past weekend due to the weather and helping with the Galloway kickoff. Sunday night I had this brilliant idea that an 16-18 mile maintenance run is what I need to do on Monday for the race. More brilliant thought on Monday morning convinced me I should do this at Shelley Lake instead of Umstead so I can run with Jade who is doing her missed 10 miler with Crystal.

74' with 90% humidity, at least it's not sunny.

I did the first 8 on my own, changed a soaked shirt, ate a bar and did the next 10 with Jade and Crystal. Fatigue wasn't so much of an issue. However my hips started to complain slightly at mile 15 and never settled down to the end of the run. Looking back, I had one 8 mile run and one 10 mile run on pavement this year, plus the usual 4 mile loop around the house. I pretty much spent the entire past 6 month running on dirt. Even after my 26 mile trail run I didn't need ice bath, but after the 18 on pavement, I quietly endured 20 minutes of freezing my ass off in the bathtub.

Maybe I should stay away from road races in general, especially marathons.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hee-Haw and KSO

The weekend's rain brought up the Haw. I had a quick paddle on Monday with Jade at about 2ft, maybe 4,000 CFS or so. The bottom wave of Gabriel's is great for flat spin and roundhouses.

More water came down Monday night from Burlington, so by Tuesday morning it was just over 10,000 CFS. Perfect level for both waves. But an electrical socket shorted in the morning which caused Jade a brief panic, so I spent the entire morning going to the store three times before finally getting the right part and replaced the damn socket.

By the time I was ready to go, the level had dropped to 8,500 CFS. Russ was the only one I found free so he and I put on around 3pm. What I didn't realize for a long time was that Russ was spooked and quite scared by this level and was getting tossed around a lot. I on the other hand focused on surfing and trying to encourage him to take on a few small waves and holes. the top wave at Gabriel's was in great shape. I managed to do some beautiful high blunts on both side of the pocket and attaining back up wasn't a big deal as before, must be all those cardio workout from running. The bottom wave was just starting to collapse into a hole so it was so so. Should have tried some loops there but I was focusing all my energy on the top wave doing blunts. Sometimes it would take me four or five carves across the pocket before able to setup the position, so will need to pay more attention on where I carve back and how much edge and angle I need to get back to the top. I think that's one of the biggest differences between the pros and amateurs like myself. Most people admire their abilities to do the big moves, but it is their abilities to maneuver around the wave or hole to setup the big move that's the key.

The Wednesday's paddle was in the Green Boat playing with attainments. Doug told me the far river left side way beyond Gabriel's Bend was attainable. I found the spot, but the Green Boat just lacked enough hull speed to get up, compare to Doug's Speeder.

I also ran 5 miles on the ATT in my new Vibram Fiverfingers KSO. Knees felt a bit weird, had a nice blister on the inside of my right foot, and a day later my heels were a little sore. Hmm.....not sure about this minimal shoe stuff.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My first ever 5K!

My wife has ran a couple untimed 5K's but wants an official 5K time so she signed up for the St. Mary Magdalene Monarchs in Motion 5K in Apex. I figured since I'll be there with her anyway, I may as well sign up to see what my 5K time is, since I have never ran one either.

How hilly can Apex be? How hard can a 5K be?

Saturday morning was hot and sunny and humid. We got to the race at around 7 to pick up the race packet and do a bit of warm up. The race course is figure eight through a subdivision. We warmed up by running the smaller loop and it was immediately clear that it's not gonna be easy. Around the first corner of the race, the course goes straight up a big hill and down another big hill. hilly can Apex be?

We were already sweating buckets after one mile of warm up. I ran into Stephanie from the Galloway group who was volunteering for the race and chatted with her a bit. There was a yoga instructor leading a group doing warm ups which I didn't need, since I was already sweating buckets from that 1 mile slow jog.

The race organizer wanted everyone running 8min pace or faster line up first, so I nudged to the back of the front pack. Maybe 30 or so people. Rest of the runners lined up behind us and I hoped I don't get trampled over. I hoped to run at least 8min pace but secretly hoping for 7:30 or so. I know my secret competitor Rachel is race result stalking me on this one.

Race starts and we blast up hill in the parking lot. Yeah, hills in the parking lot already. I follow this cute girl in short shorts and blue tank top around the parking lot down the hill through some shops then turned into the first loop of the figure eight. We immediately huffed and puffed up the first hill where I get passed by some runners. Around the corner is a long down hill section where I pick up some speed and pass those that have passed me, including the blue shirt girl and also a blue shirted guy. We pass the mile 1 marker near end of the loop and I was doing about 7:20 or so. Way fast, and my heart wanted to escape from my chest.

Climbing back up to the shops and we turn down this seriously long steep hill toward the loop 2. Jeez, this hill will be fun on the way back. Once again I pass the blue shirt girl and guy and also pass the water station. Climbing toward the loop two I get seriously fatigued and wanted to walk but forced myself to not to stop. Fortunately the start of loop 2 which is bigger is a short section of down hill where I caught my breath a bit and let the heart rate drop below 100%. The backside of this loop is a looong section of up hill. I shuffled passed a couple walkers that seriously tempted me to walk. Mile 2 marker passes by and I was doing just under 8 for the second mile, with my heart ready to shut down.

We turn around to the end of loop two, and heading down toward the last really long steep hill. I gathered the last bit of my resolve and strength and powered my way to the top of the hill, with absolutely nothing left on the top. From here the course takes a right for about a hundred yard with the slightly rise in elevation and I couldn't muster anything so I slowed down to a really slow shuffle and another runner passes me here. Then we turn left and up a seriously steep but short hill into the parking lot. Finally on top of the parking lot, I looked back and saw two runners behind me and gaining. I felt like puking but knowing salvation is just yards away, I dug in and sprinted to the finish with a 24:43 time.

5K sucks!

I promised Jade that I'll take some pictures of her at finish, so I trotted back to the car and grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and my phone. Back at the finish line I waited for her and saw a runner had collapsed at finish. Ouch. There was four or five people helping him so I continued waiting for Jade.

Jade had wanted to do a sub 30 min race but after seeing the hills during the warm up she had all but given up on that goal. So it was a surprise for me to see a glimpse of her on the other side of the parking lot and I saw the race clock showing 29 min and something. I yelled and shouted "Go Jade" as loud as I could. She came around the corner and looked at the race clock which was showing 29:47! Digging down she lowered her head and picked up her cadence and sprinted across to a 29:53 finish!

Monday, May 10, 2010

29 mile trail run

4 week to Chattooga River 50K, this 29 mile trail run is my last long run, follow by a long taper.

I knew it was gonna take me a long time so I started at 6am this time. Got to watch the rising sunlight reflecting off the clouds and making them bright red, it was a gorgeous way to start a run. I started at the Turkey Creek bridge parking area. Followed Turkey Creek for about 3 miles to Graylyn, then turned right on Graylyn and hopped onto Sycamore trail and to the gravel road and turned back at the Sycamore Creek bridge just before the big lake. I ate my first wedge of PBJ here. Retracing my steps, I came back and jumped on the long loop of Sycamore Loop trail, then got briefly confused and continued across Graylyn on the same trail before remembering I was suppose to get on Company Mill at this point. Laughing at myself over it.

Long climbs at Company Mill were all done with power walk. Once I got to the top crossing Reedy Creek rd., I ate my second PBJ. From here it's a long downhill run to Crabtree creek, which I did continuously skipping all the walk breaks that my Garmin was set to do. Once I crossed Crabtree Creek, I climbed the steep mile to Harrison Ave. parking lot where I ate my third PBJ. At this point I think I was around mile 12. I raced downhill toward Reedy Creek lake on Loblolly trail and started hiking a lot of hills once I crossed it. Here I bumped into Sally and Rhonda whom I've met while volunteering at Umstead 100 over a month ago. We chatted for a few minutes, and Sally reminded me that since I helped so much during that race, I have a good shot of getting in the race next year. Well, at least I get the priority for registration, but I'm still lacking the capability to run the race!

I stormed to the car feeling good after just shy of 16 miles. Really. I was at about 12:50 pace at this point. Stopped at car for 5 minutes to reload, and I discovered I had only drank about half of my Nathan 2L pack. Thinking there is no way I'll drink the full 2L for the next 13 miles and not wanting to lug unnecessary weight, I only refilled the pack a bit, to maybe 2/3 full. This turned out to be a mistake. I ate most of a banana and another wedge of PBJ while drank some full strength Gatorade.

My second lap is the first lap in reverse, minus the spur on Sycamore trail. Here I ran into Sally and Rhonda again and I told Rhonda about Chattooga 50K which she was interested in. The race is full but maybe she can still squeeze in through cancellations.

I had got rid of my long sleeve shirt and changed to a white short sleeve shirt, which felt great on me. Refreshed from food, drink, clean shirt, and chatting with the girls, I happily ran down Loblolly then up hill to Harrison Ave. Once I popped out of woods here, I spotted a guy wearing a bright, almost blindly so, yellow shirt across the parking lot. I instantly knew it was the Umstead Trail Marathon shirt from this year which I have one, even though I missed the race due to the flu. I commented to him about the flashiness of the shirt and race and we both shared a good laugh.

I ate another PBJ on the way down to Crabtree Creek. Once across the creek, during the long climb up toward Reedy Creek, I was starting to feel the fatigue and tripped on a root or rock. I was so glad of the tough toe cage in my Adidas trail shoes, otherwise I would have lost a few toes on my right foot.

I circled around Sycamore Loop trail and came up on Graylyn. A bit of dilemma here. Either my additions were wrong or the GPS is not recording distance on trails correctly. I was suppose to be at mile 26 at this point, but GPS said I was at 24.6. Getting quite tired at this point, I didn't want to go up and down the hills on the other side of Graylyn anymore, so I ran along Graylyn to the gate, then turned around and came back. Somewhere around here I heard a gurgling sound when I sucked on the mouth piece of my Nathan pack. Oh no, running out of water. Damn, should have filled it full. I could have run down to Sycamore parking area to refill, but that means one extra hill which I didn't feel like doing. So I resigned to run slowly to not overwork myself and ration the last two sips in the pack with another 3.5 miles to go and hottest part of the day coming up.

After a bit I noticed I had stopped sweating. Either I was doing a good job of taking it easy, or I was a bit into heat exhaustion from dehydration. Which one, I didn't know. A mile went by and I noticed my right bicep start to cramp. Weird. I normally ran with a very relaxed arm posture. Maybe it is dehydration. Crap.

Finally at the car, GPS read 28.4 miles and I wasn't gonna do one extra step toward that 29 mark. I justified that GPS usually read short on twisty single track trails so I must be somewhere just over 29 miles.

Later in the afternoon I was out watering the garden, my neighbor Joel said I walked like I need to take a dump, LOL.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Cartwheel session

It's been almost a month since I paddled my playboat, even in the flat water. Yesterday while biking at Beaverdam I wish I had my boat, so today I talked Jade into going to the lake with me to play a bit.

A month off is rough on oblique muscles. First twenty minutes was spent throwing my weight around and over slamming the stern and boat falling over my face, and even the bow which is usually easy for me seemed hard to drive down. Finally told myself to focus on rotate the body hard and keep the abs tight from shifting the weight back. Eventually had a few good 12 to 14 ends.

On the good note, my righty cartwheel seems to be improving. It's hard to not improve from the ugliness of my righties. Tried a few loops too and those were also very slow, having a hard time catching up to the boat for the last move to throw my weight back to push down the bow.

I did convince Jade to try her righty cartwheels. It's like learning it all over again, circa 2003.

Beautiful sunset as we were leaving. Water temperature was perfect. I'm going to start swimming here next week instead of going to the pool.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday duathlon

Dave emailed me to go riding after work at Beaverdam. Since I'm taking a day off, I figured I throw in something fun before riding. I could go paddling but I usually don't feel like doing anything else after paddling, so I tossed my running gear in the car instead.

I've never ran the section of Falls Lake trail by Creedmoor Rd. before, so I figured to give it a try since it's on the way to Beaverdam. It was brutally hot, or at least the hottest day so far this year, around 90' or so. I ran with my camelbak since I'll be wearing it for biking anyway and I was too lazy to pack another bottle. After ten minutes my energy left me and I slowed to a crawl. I turned around shortly after the first bridge over a creek with a round trip of about 3.5 miles. Ran through lots spider webs so this section must not get a lot traffic.

Went to the boat ramp at Beaverdam to cool off, splashed some water on my head and stretched a bit, then met Dave at Beaverdam. First thing he said is let's not have an epic day, which means no Southloop. We usually get in some kind of trouble in Southloop LOL. We end up riding Outer Loop then West Loop. About 4.5 miels that took us about an hour, we stopped a lot and were taking it fairly slow. I had a few burst to speed here and there but in general kept myself in check. Dave has been doing a lot cardio ride workouts at Umstead but this is his first time on single track in over a year.

I locked Jade out of the house since she lost her garage door remote last week and the new one is not here yet. My neighbor Joel let her in. By the time I got home from riding she had gone to her gym for her weekly PT and Joel was working installing new shocks in his wife's car. I end up helping him for about an hour. Feeling pretty dehydrated after that.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Same run, four month later, HR difference

Back in January, I ran Sal's Branch and Pott's Branch trails at Umstead. It's just over 4 miles with lots ups and downs. Back then I did it in 45 minutes, with average HR of 158.

Yesterday I went and did the same run again. Weather was hot, maybe around 80 and very humid. I did it in 42 minutes, so shaved 3 minutes over 4 miles, or about 45 seconds off the mile pace. Average HR was 159. So a tiny bit higher, but at much faster pace and hot and humid weather.

Once in awhile this kind of run comes along that shows what kind of improvement I've been making that makes me feel even better about all those times spent on trails.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Umstead 1/2 Marathon, sort of

Crystal signed up for the Inside Out Sports 1/2 Marathon in two weeks. The race is mostly run in Umstead on Reedy Creek trail and she's never ran there before, so we decided to do a run down, and Sherri agreed to join us.

Sherri is coming back from a calf injury, so I was concerned that we don't run too fast for her, especially knowing how fast Crystal is. I carried my two bottle Nathan belt and filled only one with 21 oz of Gatorade, and the second bottle only had Gatorade powder. I planned to fill that bottle at mile 6 water spigot near Trenton gate.

We started out with a fast warm up, then was immediately into low 9 min intervals. Cruising along the rolling section of Reedy Creek trail between airport and Cemetary Hill, Crystal asked if it gets any hillier. Sherri and I both chuckled and yeah, this is the flat part of the run.

Soon we fell off S-turn hill and start the long long climb of Reedy Creek Lake hill. Crystal got her first taste of things to come and wondered just where is it gonna end. Still going mighty fast imo at this point, but since Sherri wasn't complaining, I figured I better tough up and suffer in silence. We ran into James Kesterson near the intersection of Turkey Creek and Reedy Creek and I introduced Sherri to him and mentioned we'll all be running the New River 50K together in the fall. James had an early start and was heading out toward the Art Museum so we waved goodbye and turned onto Turkey Creek trail.

Here is where I screwed up. In middle of a conversation, I totally missed the water spigot. Then I keep on thinking it's further ahead until I saw Loblolly trail head, then I knew for sure we missed it. Didn't want add any more miles to this run, I started ration my Gatorade even though I was sweating profusely at this point keeping up with the girls.

A nice 1.5 mile descent of south Turkey Creek took us to the 2.4 miles of rolling climbs of North Turkey Creek. Crystal finally got the full treatment of Umstead in this section but she's a trooper and even challenged me to a sprint race at the last steep hill of Turkey Creek. Neither of us lasted more than 20 seconds before ready to puke.

Still rationing my Gatorade, I focused on good body posture to help breath, and leaning into the trails and letting my feet fall below me rather than in front of me. It does help the matter and I could definitely feel the lighter effort load. The descent of Powerline Hill on Graylyn was a gift but followed by the climb to Reedy Creek followed by the Not-Cemetary-Yet hill drained us, only to dump us right at base of Cemetary Hill. I know salvation was just beyond the top of hill in form of cold taste water at airport water spigot. I gathered my last bit of reserve and raced up the hill just ahead of Crystal and Sherri.

Refilling my bottles saved me. By now Sherri also ran out of water but Crystal still had plenty, a sign that we were working much harder than she was. From here it was a cruise down hill to the car and I had enough to put in a 7 min pace 1/2 mile sprint to the finish.

Overall we did the run at 10:13 pace, which I thought was way fast, especially given the high humidity and temperature of the run and the fact that we missed the water stop at mile 6. It was a good warm up run for Crystal, so we accomplished the run's purpose. Hopefully she'll have nicer weather for her race.

ps. went home and dug into some data. says the route has 400ft of elevation change. However looking at various peaks and valleys of the route on Google Earth revealed it had far more. Finally with help of a elevation chart from the Umstead 100 website, I figured out the route had 1100ft of of gain and 1100ft of loss over 13.5 miles.