A Successful Week of Training! 1/20/2014-1/26/2014

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.

McAfee's Knob...the first time of the day.


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.


The descent off McAfee's Knob along the Appalachian Trail.

Right before reaching Tinker Cliff's you weave through some massive and awesome rock formations.

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.

Panoramic view from Tinker Cliffs.

McAfee's Knob for the second time of the day.
The run back wasn't too bad with the exception of dropping one of my Gu packets along the run and I didn't realize it until I reached McAfee's Knob for the second time of the day.  Fortunately, the run back to the parking lot from the knob is mainly downhill.

Post run parking lot photo and Garmin details.

Elevation profile for the day.  The run wound up being 4,499 ft of elevation gain.


I was pretty spent when I got home but Michelle was planning on heading out for a run and I jumped on the opportunity to ride along side her on my bike.  I brought along the GoPro and snagged a bunch of really fun photos!

Tuesday: 6.2, 600' 1hr
Monday's gorgeous weather made Tuesday's several inches of snow seem surreal.  I headed out Tuesday evening to join some of the guys from the Virginia Tech Ultra team at Pandapas for a night run.  I've been waiting all year to go for a trail run in the snow and it didn't disappoint.  Running under headlamp was fun and catching up with the guys and meeting some new folks made the miles fly by!  No photos from the run but the details are below.  Funny story, I forgot my Garmin but wanted to track the mileage and decided to bring my phone along for the run.  My phone was too big for the pocket on my pants so I decided to throw it in my E-case (that I won from a Facebook contests last year) and put it in my pants...well...down my pants.  So...err...I ran a little over 6 miles with my phone in my butt.  Hey, you've gotta do what you have to do!


Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
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.


Saturday:  11, 820' 1.5hr
To say that I struggled with motivation Saturday would be a huge understatement.  I simply couldn't get it together to get out the door.  Michelle made me a delicious breakfast including blackberry syrup and waffles from scratch.  Most of the early morning was spent cleaning our apartment and lounging around.  However, at 4PM I finally got out the door and managed to get in 11 miles running around Blacksburg.  It actually marked my first run on pavement of the year and it felt good to get out and run around Blacksburg again but MAN! It. Was. Cold.  


Sunday: 21, 850' 3.25hr
Today, I got out and managed to get in my first "long run" of the year getting in 21 miles in a little over 3 hours.  I headed down the road on 81 to Draper, VA to run along the New River Trail, a 57 mile rails-to-trails "bike path" that runs from Fries to Foster Falls.  I'd like to run the entire thing at some point but today I was out to see a little over 10 miles of it.  I didn't move particularly fast but I was more concerned about duration and getting in quality time.  Along my run there were plenty of cool sights:





At the end of my run, I completed day 2 of the Plank-a-day Challenge.  I've been meaning to do some type of core work and I think this is a good start.  I would like to do more strength training but perhaps I'll look into that after Umstead 100.  


Totals for the week:

Distance: 65 miles
Elevation: ~8200'
Duration: 12hr

I'm very pleased with how the week went and I'm excited to increase my mileage this week.  My goal is to break into the 70's for the first time by running 40 miles during the week and running the Holiday Lake course this Saturday for a training run.

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