Adventures in Pisgah

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Fish Hatchery 50 Miler

Week 18 of my Pinhoti 100 training plan called for a 50 mile training run. Without many race options in the area I opted to do it as a training run but trying to mimic race conditions the best I could. Just like my 50k training run I started and finished at the Fish Hatchery allowing for multiple loops passing my truck to allow for resupply. Unlike my 50k run, I decided to use Yuri and Jess as pacers for the run. A hundred miles is no short distance to run and pacers could help me make it to the finish line and Yuri and Jess have volunteered to take that role so this run provided provided the perfect opportunity to practice for race day. 

My route for the day had me playing games on 487B. First I ran up the gravel to Pink Beds where I met Terri and Akira who joined me on a loop of the trail before I headed back down the road to the Fish Hatchery where I picked up Jess for a loop of 475B to Caney Bottoms. From there it was back to the Fish Hatchery where I exchanged Jess for Yuri who was taking the night shift. Once again it was right back up 475B to Cove Creek to Daniel Ridge. The moon was almost full and we were able to run without lights when we made it back out onto the road where we had to do a mile out and back to get the full 50 miles in.

Overall, the run went great. My biggest take-a-ways were that I did not need the poles I picked up at mile 34 and should have pushed harder the second half of the run. Physically I had some achilles pain and two blisters but otherwise there wasn't much of note. Yuri's highlight was seeing his 83rd bear of the year. Yes, he counts them.

Friday, September 25, 2020

something new is waiting

Week 18 and things are starting to wearing thin. Running has become a chore - something that just has to get done - and I find myself going to the same places I have always gone, running the same routes over and over again. I still don't feel like driving far and there is nothing lose by I haven't already explored before. I find myself parking at different spots and adding more and more out and backs on gravel forest roads just to get whatever mileage I'm supposed to get that day. On Tuesday, I parked at a new spot on the same road I always go to and started running to my usual turn around spot. For whatever reason, I made a turn onto another road. I'd been on that road before and know it goes nowhere but took it to add some additional miles to the usual boring run. So, out and back we went but on the way back I saw something and made a detour onto a faint bit of forgotten single track. Overgrown and long neglected but still better than the same old roads and trails so we kept going and surprisingly the trail did too. I expected it to dead end or dump me back on the road after a short while but it just kept going on and on. Then, at one point, there was a turn. Right or left - I picked right and still expected it to end soon but it just kept going on and on and on. I kept trying to figure out where it was headed and plotted the course on the map in my mind and knew where I was going to end up but when a gravel road appeared in front of me I recognized it and had been completely wrong about where I was and was quite happily surprised.

So, on Wednesday, the dog and I headed right back out there, this time to meet Yuri and explore the left turn where I had gone right the night before. The left was just as surprising as the right, although not nearly as long and where it led was just as surprising as the trail I had taken the night before and left me with even more questions. That night as I we were getting ready to drive home I saw something else that was interesting and knew I would be right back out there on Thursday.

All day at work I was thinking about what I had seen and what it might be. It looked like just another faint bit of long lost trail but based on the previous two nights I wasn't ruling anything out so the dog and I took it. The other two nights had me pleasantly surprised but Thursday's outing blew my mind. This old single track should have led nowhere fast but it just kept going and going. I had decided to wear my vest and threw my headlamp in it at the last moment and was glad I did because when the trail finally ended I was nowhere near where I should have been and was a long way from the truck. It was totally dark and raining and Akira and I slogged out the last few miles on familiar trails and roads and finished tired but quite satisfied with the unexpected turns our usually boring mid-week runs had taken with their adventures in Pisgah.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Fish Hatchery 50k

Week 14 of my Pinhoti 100 training plan was a 50k. I know what you are thinking - Art Loeb is a perfect 50k - but the Art Loeb trail is not like the Pinhoti so I opted for a different route instead. Starting from the Fish Hatchery my route was:

Cat Gap > Butter Gap > Art Loeb > North Slope Connector > North Slope > Exercise Trail > 276 > 477 > Bennet Gap > Coontree Gap > 276 > 475 > 475B > 229 > Cove Creek > Caney Bottom > 475 > Davidson River > 475

My feet got soaked on Butter and the Art Loeb was slower that it should be. I started to have some toe nail pain by the time I hit the halfway point and was glad to be going back by the truck where I spent twelve minutes resupplying and changing socks and shoes. After that the run was pretty easy with me  running much faster on the second half than I did the first. This training plan thing might be working.
Pro-tip: there is a courtesy phone at the Fish Hatchery. I used it to call my wife to tell her I made it out and would be late for dinner.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Laurel Mtn. > Big Creek

Week 11 and I am losing track of the weeks. This summer is like being stuck inside of some weird vortex. Time is spinning but I am just standing still. Or maybe running along. It is hard to even know anymore.

The new training plan is going well. It suits my style much better and I find myself able to actually follow it. Monday is still a rest day and I do moderate runs with Akira Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with a short run on Friday. Akira likes to drink and swim so we just go to North Mills River or Turkey Pen, nothing too fancy. Back to back runs on Saturday and Sunday. For week 10 that was a 14 mile and then a 12 mile. Last weekend it was 24 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. I cheated on the five miler and went hiking with the dog and wife instead - sometimes it is good to cheat.

I still don't feel like driving far so for Saturday's long run I just went out to North Mills River and did the classic Laurel Mtn to Big Creek route. I've mountain biked the route many times but this was my first time running it and it was a lot of fun. After the initial climb up Yellow Gap Rd., Laurel Mtn. is quite gradual and it felt like I was floating up the trail. I skipped the summit to Mount Pisgah due to all the people and headed straight for the solitude I knew Big Creek would provide. Once I got down to the reservoir I was light on mileage so I took Yellow Gap trail in hopes of extending it but when I got back out to the road I was only at 21.5 miles so I headed back up the road for another mile in a raging storm so I could get the full 24 miles in. 

 It was an excellent run. Please enjoy some pictures.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Week 7

I've really never had a training plan before. I guess I had one for the Cloudsplitter but I barely followed. My style is much more to just run and bike for fun and listen to my body and go from there. That lack of planning and discipline has worked for me so far, with some exceptions, of course, but running a hundred miles is a whole other beast than anything I have done before so I got a training plan and put it in a binder to make it all official:

Last week was week 11 and as I looked at the plan and the progress I had, or maybe had not, made with it, I realized it was not for me and scrapped the whole thing and decided on a completely different plan and suddenly went from week 11 to week 7. The new plan suits my style better and I might stand a chance of sticking to it. The old plan had me running ten plus miles after work several days a week and moderate long runs on the weekends. I tend to go long and hard on the weekend and then do shorter runs most other days of the week and the new plan reflects that and allows for more flexibility and improvisation.

Week 7 went like this:

Monday - dusted off the mountain bike for a 15 mile ride
Tuesday - four mile run with the dog
Wednesday - six mile run with the dog
Thursday - three mile dog run
Friday - three mile dog run
Saturday - 18 miles solo
Sunday - 10 dog miles

A total of 44 miles which is right in line with my new and improved plan. Sunday's run hurt, but I guess that is the point.

Yesterday was a rest day and today will be six miles and I am back on track.

I haven't posted much because there isn't much to post about. I haven't really felt like driving far and going on adventures. Back when most of the forest was shut down I spent a lot of time wearing holes on the Black Mtn. trail and now that the forest is crawling with people again I've been wearing holes on other favorite trails. Pink Beds and Fletcher Creek are getting lots of use as I try and climb less to prepare for rolling Pinhoti course. Saturday's run was an out and back to Slate Rock on the closed Yellow Gap Rd. - a lot of gravel but it was nice to have the rock all to myself in the middle of summer.

Everything is strange right now and I just don't feel like doing much. It is weird preparing for a race knowing there is a real chance it will not happen. But at least I know that is a possibility now which is much easier than all the people that had spring races and got the word they were cancelled or postponed just weeks before they were scheduled.

Anyway, here I am on Week 8, a third of the way there.

I haven't felt like taking many pictures but here are a few. Maybe I'll schedule an adventure soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

clearing my head

Pisgah is alive again with the lush green of spring and explosions of white and pink. The mountain laurel is in bloom while the world has gone mad. Most of May found me wearing a hole in the Black Mtn. trail every chance I found but as the forest opens back up I find myself branching out once again. Last weekend I played games around Cove Creek all weekend. First an easy and fast run and then a little old fashioned waterfall rappelling and then a hike with the dog and wife on Sunday. As the news rains down you'll find me at the waterfall, clearing my head.