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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Sam Knob

With the road and trail closures in place in Pisgah you have to get creative with your routes so Akira and I ran some trails on Saturday that I usually pass on either because of crowds, the length of the drive or for better options. It was a freezing start to the day but by midafternoon the sun was shining bright and warm making for perfect conditions. The route was all above 5000' with the big views and unique ecosystem that comes at that elevation. It was a little wierd seeing no people or cars where there would have normally been hundreds but both the dog and I enjoyed the solitude.

Friday, May 8, 2020

South Mills River

It is the first Saturday in May and I find myself at Wolf Ford with a decision to make: do we continue on up to Black Mtn and on across Turkey Pen Gap or do we take South Mills River all the way back? It is unseasonably hot out and I am worried about Akira and the lack of water up on the ridge but at the same time South Mill's River with its 11 crossings and five miles of downed trees, tangles of dog hobble, mud and muck is not an easy trail regardless of how flat it is. I've faced similar decisions many times on this same day over the last 15 years during PMBAR but today there is no bike race and much of the forest is shut down forcing everyone on to a few trails. For that reason I am not interested in going back up Squirrel to Horse Cove where scores of mountain bikers will be heading for the newly built Cantrell Creek flow trail - an out of place experience I want no part of. 

We, or I should say I, decide on South Mills River and make our way to the first crossing. It is deep and moving fast but we negotiate it without trouble. On the other side I notice that the trail has seen some triming since I was on it last a year ago. As we continue on the trail begins to show its sordid and sinister side. The dog hobble appears, the mud takes over and the fords get deeper, swifter and harder. Akira starts showing unamusement at all of it but we trudge on. Somewhere in between crossing eight and nine I notice she is dragging a little bit and I detect a faint limp. We stop for a rest and I check her paws and legs for signs of an injury but there are none. She is limping but because of the mud I can't tell which leg is the complaint. We trudge on, even slower now. The river crossings are now waist deep on me so I carry Akira across. One misstep could be a disaster so I move delibreratly and slowly. When we reach Cantrell Creek she is clearly limping so we rest again. I assure her it will be easier from here but we still have five miles to go. We run slowly on and make it back to the trailhead without incident, just a faint limp, but when we get back to the house she is no longer limping and instead is hopping on three legs. That troubles me. Did I break my new dog? We had been running daily and doing atleast half marathons on the weekend so I don't understand it.

On Sunday she is still hopping around on three legs so we force her to rest. I worry. Monday morning and she is still limping. I worry more all day at work. But when I get home she is ready to go and doesn't understand why we can't go run. By Tuesday she is fine. On Wednesday we run up Black.

All I can figure is she got tangled in some dog hobble and got a bruise or strain. Another case of tragedy narrowly adverted!