Sunday, January 26, 2014
As I sit here with my feet up watching the Grammys reflecting on my past week of training, I'm proud of how I managed to step up and put in a decent week of training both in terms of volume and quality. I've been slightly apprehensive about Umstead 100 because of my lack of training during the month of January including taking the first 8 days of the month off. However, after this week I'm feeling slightly more confident about tackling the daunting distance of 100 miles.
Monday: 18.3 miles, 4500' 4hr
On Monday, we were treated with unseasonably warm weather and I decided to begin the week with a long run on the Appalachian Trail to mark MLK Day. I had been thinking about this run for some time and even considered doing it this fall when Michelle and I hiked up to Tinker Cliffs with some friends but it never quite worked out. McAfee's Knob is one of the most popular hikes in the area and the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail. Last year, I ran up to McAfee's Knob to watch the sunrise and even made a time-lapse of the sunrise. I parked at the 311 trailhead and began running a little after 11AM. My route was along the Appalachian trail the entire way and began with the climb up to McAfee's Knob and then I would continue on to Tinker Cliffs.
The climb up to McAfee's Knobs is a pretty decent hike and goes from just under 2000' to around 3200' over 4 miles. That section took me close to an hour; I stopped and grabbed a few pictures at the top as well as put on a vest. After reaching McAfee's Knob, you descend off the mountain and follow the AT along the ridge for another 5.2 miles to Tinker Cliffs, eventually climbing another 700 ft to reach the cliffs.
You can trace the ridge I ran along in the photo to the left. Tinker Cliffs is the peak at the left edge of the photo.
I reached Tinker Cliffs about an hour after leaving McAfee's Knob and grabbed a picture before turning around and heading back toward McAfee's Knob. Because schools were out and class for Virginia Tech hadn't started, there were lots of folks out along the trail heading up to McAfee's Knob. However, in the two hours I ran between McAfee's Knob and Tinker Cliffs, I only saw one other couple and that was during my return climb back up to McAfee's Knob. Even more surprising was that I had Tinker Cliffs all to myself although it took me nearly seven years living in Blacksburg before I hiked it for the first time this past fall. The photo above is looking back to McAfee's Knob, which is the hump in the middle of the photo.
|McAfee's Knob for the second time of the day.|
I took both Wednesday and Thursday off, not necessarily intentionally but it just kinda worked out that way.
Friday: 9, 1400' 1.5hr
I had an orientation for student teaching on Friday morning for Montgomery County Public Schools, which was scheduled to run from 9:30 until around noon. We were dismissed around 11 and our next meeting was not until 2 so I decided to head out to Pandapas to get in a good run rather than having to squeeze in a run in the evening. I had a total blast. On the drive out to Pandapas, I was thinking about running with unexpected or "unaccounted for" time is the best type of run. It was just one of those runs where I kept saying "I'll just do 6" and then I was feeling good so I said to myself "well maybe I'll just add on some more" and before I knew it I had run for an hour and a half and put myself in a bit of a time crunch to make my 2PM meeting. I walked in the door at 1:33, showered, changed, and was out the door again by 1:46 grabbing a quick sandwich on the way and made it to my 2PM meeting with a few minutes to spare. Perfect.