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A Run to Remember

Had high hopes for a good long run. Things aligned and I cranked out a 22.4 miler with 15,000 elevation change about 40 minutes faster than I had run that same route on two prior occasions.

I took Friday off, no running. Left the Spivey Gap trail head at 7:00 Saturday morning. The weather was perfect. 21 degrees, clear, and no wind. I had, for once, just the right amount of layers so that I wasn't freezing and I didn't burn up. I clambered up the steep start, power hiking for the first ten minutes or so to get warmed up. About 45 minutes in I was feeling really good. Everything felt smooth and easy so I decided to try to make this a personal best day. This stretch, from Spivey Gap to the Nolichucky river is about 11.2 miles with 7500 feet of elevation change. I'd had things go sideways on this run before; hitting the wall on the back. My energy, stamina, and stomach all stayed good and I didn't falter and was able to keep the power hiking to a minimum.

No Business Shelter 1:10
Temple Hill Gap 1:30
Nolichucky 2:20
Temple Hill Gap 3:30
No Business Shelter 3:50
Back to trail head: 4:51

One of my running motto's is "Train in a manner today that makes it possible to train tomorrow." This has served me well; kept my injuries to a minimum and helped me avoid burnout. Sometimes, though, its good to test oneself, to lay down a marker, to stretch and reach. I finished the day feeling fulfilled. Feeling like I could have run 30. Feeling like if I hadn't gone all out, I could have run 50.


Submitted by Rush   2/8/2016   1454938556

Deep Snow on the A.T.

Last Friday and Saturday we got 12+ inches of snow here in WNC. Mt Mitchell got a record 66 inches! (The previous record was 50 inches from March, 1993, the weekend we got married). Ventured out on the A.T. today figuring that the snow would still be pretty deep, and it was. Decided to just make it a 4 mile out and back.


Submitted by Rush   1/30/2016   1454193105

Videos from Winter Runs

A couple of short videos from early January, 2016. The first is a short clip from the Mountain to Sea trail, west of Buck Creek Gap. The second is a 360' pano shot from atop Big Bald, the A.T. along the NC/TN border.



Submitted by Rush   1/13/2016   1452714946

Goodbye 2015

2015 totals: 1896mi 230 runs; 746/trail 1154/other. 492K' elevation change. 1 marathon, 3 50K's.

Milestones: 8617 miles logged since 2006
First 70+ mile weeks (2)
First 200+ miles months (3)
First bear encounters while running trail (2 encounters, 3 bears)

Insights: Saying goodbye to Brooks was tough, but definitely the right choice. Moving to Altra, with their wide toe box, has helped my feet tremendously. The nagging bunion pain in my left big toe, caused by that joint torquing over due to the pinched toe box of my old shoes, is completely gone. I lost probably 2 weeks of running to that ailment alone. Zero drop? Not a problem at all.

I still crave and absolutely love the long trail run. Being alone in the woods for 4-5 hours just hits a sweet spot in my otherwise very busy life.


Submitted by Rush   12/31/2015   1451585705

8 Miles on the A.T.

Cold, icy day running north out of Sams Gap. Just 8 miles on the day, following the Hansons' Advanced Marathon Plan for a March marathon. Great solitude in the woods today.


Submitted by Rush   11/22/2015   1448229341

16 Miles on the Appalachian Trail

Ran a new section of the AT on Sunday, starting at Chestoa, where the AT crosses the Nolichucky, out to the HWY 197 intersection, and back. Weather was perfect. This section has a lot of runnable grade with just a few steep climbs.


Submitted by Rush   11/16/2015   1447708470


Taking this week off as I had some worrying signals from my right IT band after the Pinnacle Tower 50K. I took three days off after the race and just could not sit still, but I truly should have known better and rested longer. July, August, and September were all 200+ mile months (214, 232, 216). Prior, I had run one 199 mile month and one 195 mile month, those being nearly eight months apart. My resolution this summer was run longer but lower my pace in the heat and humidity, and that certainly worked out well.

Using this time just to sleep later than I usually do, focus on my core routine, and think about new training runs and winter and spring racing. I'm excited about running a new section of the AT from the Nolichucky Bridge at Erwin (where I usually turn around when running out from Spivey Gap) out to HWY 197. About 14.5 miles round trip with right at 5000' of climbing.


Submitted by Rush   10/29/2015   1446141460

2015 Pinnacle Tower 50K

Jumped into a 'local' race this past Saturday, the Pinnacle Tower 50K in Unicoi, TN. No entry fee, only 36 runners, minimal support/aid and miles of runnable single track and fire road. Had a blast!

The race started at the Unicoi visitors center, just off I-26 exit 32. We ran back under the interstate onto the Pinnacle Mountain Trail which climbs gradually up to the fire Tower. From there we switched back and forth between fire road and single track. I went out a little quick on the initial climb so I backed off for a while to settle down. The day was PERFECT! Cool, light breeze, plenty of shade canopy left in the woods. One super steep section, nicknamed "The Widow Maker" required hands on knees climbing, reminiscent of sections of Woody Ridge and Bowlens Creek trails. Reaching the top, you run the ridge line, heading south, up and down a series of saddles. Lovely stuff.

Ran with several different people who had completed 100's this year. One guy, Kirby, was running a 100 the following weekend. Much respect, dude. The finish, 40 minutes of downhill, may sound appealing but was pretty challenging. Quads were definitely feeling it the next day. The course totaled about 5000' up and and 5000' down. Spent the day running comfortably, not trying to kill it, and just enjoying a great day in the woods. Finished in 6:11 17/36 overall.


Submitted by Rush   10/22/2015   1445538907

Morning on the AT

Just a couple of pics from a recent run along the AT. The shots are taken from on top of, and coming down from, Big Bald, heading north.


Submitted by Rush   10/7/2015   1444248965

A.T. - Spivey Gap to Nolichucky and Back

I try to balance my long runs between running fresh and running tired. For instance, last week I did an easy, flat 6 miles on Thursday, took Friday off, then did 25 miles of trail on Saturday. This week, I did 15 on Thursday, 9 on Friday, and 22 today. I do this to come into some of the long run a little drained, to make it physically, mentally, and emotionally more challenging. I managed today's run about as well as I could manage a 15,000' elevation change day. Steady, controlled effort out and a determined effort back.

6:30 am, 61 degrees, fog and light drizzle as I headed up the trail in the dark. 1:18 to the No Business Shelter, 1:50 to Temple Hill Gap, 2:45 to the river. Ran through one period of 15 minutes of steady rain. At the river, the hostel open and I bought a canned drink, refilled my Camelbak at the sink, and headed right back up the trail. 15 switchbacks lead up to some really steep climbing before a series of short, steep, saddles. As I neared the top of the climb, before the descent back down to Temple Hill, I passed several backpackers I had seen preparing breakfast as I ran past No Business shelter earlier. 1:05 back to the Gap off the river and I started thinking I might could even split the day. 4:22 elapsed back to the shelter where I paused to sign the book. Made it back to the trail head in 5:30 elapsed to perfectly even split the run at 2:45 each way. Not bad for 7,700' up and 7,600' down. Not bad for an old man with a clubbed foot.

The "real" Black Mountains Marathon is next weekend, running from Bowlens Creek, down the length of the Black Mountain Crest trail, curling around to the Big Butt Trail to end at Cane River Gap (where 197 heads down to Barnardsville). Waiting to hear back from our son about his Fall Break plans before I can commit to the 50 miler at the White Water Center in October.


Submitted by Rush   9/12/2015   1442093031

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