Category Archives: Uncategorized

2017 East Coast Magical Mystery Tour Day 1

This year we won’t be heading to a national park out west ūüė¶ — ¬†instead have quite the itinerary planned on the east coast with stops in DC, Pittsburg, girls to NYC and boys to DE, etc.

Day 1 had us drive to DC to the National Cathederal and then see U2 with our friends the Martins in seats next to us, and other friends from PBO and Chapel Hill in attendance but not directly with us.

Photos of the day below.

A golden opportunity to mention quantity missed?

The National Cathedral had damage in an earthquake a couple years back that they will be working of for quite some time.

Stained glass depicting NASA’s trip to the moon:

After the Cathedral we got a taste of DC traffic — about an hour to go just 13 miles to get to the hotel! ¬† We had a quick turn around to get a quick bite to eat and to the stadium for the show. ¬†We got an Uber Black but on the way to dinner changed plans and had him drop us off at Chinese, and then walked to the stadium.

After ticket resolution, we finally made it in and got see the Lumineers play a couple songs!

U2 was pretty amazing, as always.

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AT: HTC Summer backpacking trip day 3

I slept much better on the 2nd night, as per usual. ¬†I was a bit worried about the cold, but it ended up not being as cold as the 1st night. ¬† Sometime just before 6 a.m., though, I was woken by sounds that are very hard to explain. ¬†In hindsight, it’s easy to call them “aggressive munching sounds.” ¬†This was right next to me on the right side of my tent. ¬†And then something was making noise on the upper side of the left tent. ¬†I quickly looked up, and saw the shadow of a head of some kind of animal poking its snout all over my tent! ¬†Based on the way the light was behind it, and not being fully awake, it was not a shape that made sense to me, but my 1st guess was baby bear. ¬†I sleep with my hiking poles in the tent, so I “gently” tapped the top corner of the tent a couple times to get it to move.

Once that was done, I could hear munching all around the tents. ¬†I poked my head out and could see lots of animals — adult and baby horses! ¬†I couldn’t get my phone camera to work for a bit, and all I got was this crazy video:

Well once the animals cleared out, there was no getting back to sleep.  But being awake did allow me to watch an incredible sunrise:

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After we had breakfast and packed, we walked down to a nice site for morning prayer.  This was the site on way down:

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IMG_0966.jpgThe altar:

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During prayer:

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During prayer there were horses all around us, and some kept going after various packs — trying to get inside, etc. ¬† During the NT reading, there was literally a stampede right through the middle of our group, and Shea had to jump out of the way, while I had to jump behind a tree. ¬†I have a little video of the aftermath where they were running back through:

Eventually the horses let us be and we were able to complete a wonderful morning prayer service, including communion.

As the last day we just had a 5 mile hike, mostly downhill;

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All in all another great trip. ¬†I hope to take some of the 2sparrows clan out on this same loop in July. ¬†But every time I am on the AT, I can’t help but thinking about thru-hiking. ¬†I’ve done close to 500 miles on it now, but spread out over many years. ¬† I really would like a crack at doing it in one go someday!

Ankle update

Saw the Doctor this morning for my 20 day follow-up. ¬† Lot’s to digest so let me just bullet point it:
  • I was worried yesterday about the base of the 5th metatarsal, so that’s where he started.¬† It was sore and in general the middle of the foot felt tight and inflamed.¬† And the base of the metatarsal was sore to pressure.¬† PT’s resonance test on it was fine, so it was unlikely to be a stress fracture, but I wanted the doc to check it out.¬† He immediately ruled out stress fracture there, and just called it tarsometatarsal joint inflammation.
  • Main cause of that is not wearing the boot long enough, but worse (in his mind), I was wearing my Luna sandals.¬† And that’s mostly what I’ve worn the past week or more, other than when on the bike trainer and I’ve put on my bike shoes (not clipless, just platform shoes).¬† That includes all the walking around Carowinds on Friday, Saturday soccer game and errands, etc.¬† I did have the brace on for the most part until Sunday afternoon when I stopped wearing it. ¬† And I walked barefoot around the house and on the treadmill when not in Luna’s.¬† He just pointed out that with barefoot or sandals, the load on the tarsals is much higher, and right now, the foot needs less stress, not more.¬† So he wants me in a shoe for a while. ¬† I’ve got on my bike shoe right now which is pretty stiff and shouldn’t allow much movement.
  • There is still lots of soreness all over – peroneal tendon, peroneal muscle, ATFL, calcaneousfibular ligament, anterior tibialis, etc.¬† Some of those are likely due to lack of shoe per above above but some of course due to the original injury.
  • He said if it’s really sore, wear the boot. ¬†(It’s not really sore, in my mind.) ¬†He said the brace is really just for aversion and wouldn’t help much with where I am right now.
  • He mostly wants to see inflammation go down and recommends topical and oral NSAIDs, elevation, massage, maybe a bit of ice.
  • He wrote a prescription for Rayos, a delayed release prednisone, that he said I could take at night, to combat the body’s inflammation.¬† I’m a bit torn, as I really don’t like taking things like steroids or NSAIDs unless I really have to. ¬†I would take this at night, and the delayed release means it limits the body’s inflammation response which is greatest while sleeping. ¬†I’ll have a think on this and read up on it before making a decision.
  • (I have been doing the topical NSAID 2x per day, but have limited oral NSAIDs unless it’s really bothersome.¬† I have been taking minerva and using collagen in a shake to try to help with inflammation and speed up natural recovery.)
  • He didn’t say anything about when I could run, just listen to your body, and when there’s no pain, then I can do whatever.¬† As there’s some pain / discomfort now, I’m certain he was implying don’t run yet, and don’t walk too much yet!¬† At least not without a more supportive shoe.
  • He did say cycling was fine as long as it doesn’t cause additional pain/discomfort.¬† I rode 85 miles last week and only feel that’s been a good thing, albeit starting to get boring. ¬†(I’ve only ridden on the trainer, not outside!)
I’m still not too concerned with no running since I have no races until late August.¬† But even then, I am in this for the long game and want to be running when I’m 70+.¬† So making sure this heals properly now is key.¬† I’m most concerned with the possibility of having chronic ankle sprains going forward.¬† In all my many years of trail and off-trail running, while my ankles have rolled many times, they have never sprained!¬† So ensuring strength and mobility in all the tendons, ligaments, and muscles, is most key to me right now.
Here are some photos over time:
Day 2:
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Day 3:
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Day 13IMG_0783

2017 ATT Marathon

I added the ATT Marathon to my race calendar pretty late – about a month before the race itself. ¬†I added it as a “training race” (or a ‘C’ race) to prepare for the MST 50k three weeks out. ¬†I’ve been mostly doing single track hilly/mountainous ultras for a while and feel like I’ve lost some speed at a more road like run, and figured I’d be doing a long training run that weekend anyway, so why not?

I met¬†Sarah and David at Lowes in PBO at 5:30, and Sarah’s husband drove us over. ¬† The race states to arrive by 5:30 even if you have a parking pass to guarantee a spot, but we arrived closer to 6. ¬†There were still no issues parking. ¬† It was a bit chilly (42F?) but I opted to leave the vest behind and just run with arm warmers, gloves, and a 200 weight icebreaker tee. ¬†I also had a buff over my ears. ¬†While it was a bit chilly walking to the start and checking in my post race bag, once in the starting corral it wasn’t bad — lots of heat with all the bodies!

My plan was to run out with Mark Manz who was to lead the 3:40 pace group for a mile or two or three, and then speed up and shoot for roughly an 8:00/mile pace avg. ¬† But I didn’t see Mark there so I thought I’d jump in with the 3:35 group. ¬†David was up ahead in the 3:30 group. ¬†About 2 miles in, the 3:35 group was only 10s behind the 3:30 group, so I felt like the pacing was off. ¬†I had come up on David and ran with him for a few. ¬†Once we turned on to the ATT, it’s a slight downhill, and I knew it was time to pick it up. ¬†I passed the 3:35 group and quickly decided to pass the 3:30 group too — I didn’t like being behind a group.

So then I was in no man’s land… I watched the 3:25 group up ahead, but didn’t really close the gap much at all. ¬†Looking at my watch, I figured they were more in the 3:22-3:23 range and was content to just run my race. ¬†There’s not a lot to write about for the middle portion of the race. ¬†It’s like a T, so you go north and turn around, then south and turn around, and then back to the “trunk” of the T and back to the start/finish. ¬†The two turn arounds let me see the various pace groups and other runners a couple times.

I held steady until the south turn around and was really feeling good. ¬†But I recalled from the 2014 race that I imploded from mile 23-25 or so, with the every so slight 1-2% grade really wearing me down. ¬†This time I thought if I could just get over that climb averaging under 8:00 for each of those miles, I’d be pretty happy. ¬†I ended up doing 7:40 or so and it didn’t feel hard at all.

At that point I really picked it up a notch, and finally felt like I was working. ¬†But with just a couple miles to go, now was the time, C race or not. ¬†I knew I’d be under 3:20, and thought briefly I could even go for a PR (3:17). ¬†But alas I had waited too long to have a shot at that! ¬† I finished very strong in 3:18:44 on my watch and had a BQ by 6+ minutes. ¬†I was very pleased with that!

Here’s the pace chart… ¬†So much for 3:40 (8:25) to start! ¬†But it never felt hard.

And the splits for the markers on the course… ¬†Love the negative split and passing 40 runners in the last 10k!

Strava race analysis:

And final results:

Post race photos:

(David ran a 3:31 and was 2nd in the 60-64 age group!)

I’ll update here if I get any other photos from the race photographer…

 

 

Barcelona Day 2 

We slept in a bit and then I got out for a quick run along the beach. We then purchased a day pass for the hop on hop off bus.  Our first stop was for the Cementiri Est de Poblenou, and then lunch. 
TBC – these are in reverse order but I’ll fix later. 

After lunch we walked along the board walk back to the bus, then jumped on it to the Sagrada Familia – I’ll do that in it’s own blog post!  From there we went to Park Guell, walked up and up and saw some amazing views.  Then we had a bit of an aventure getting to Tibidabo.  The phone said it was a 28 minute walk, which would have been faster than going back to our bus stop to get to the next stop, so we started walking.  We realized it looked to be much further so we jumped in a taxi which took us a long long ways.  There really wasn’t much to do a Tibidabo so we took a bus — a super crowded bus down the mountain.  From there it was a “subway tram” ride down to a normal sub way station, and from there a few trains toget to our bus.  The bus ride in was quite long and we were the only two on the bus, sitting up top in the front from to try to stay warm.  We grabbed some food at a Mediterranean place on La Rumbla, then some dessert, and finally got back to the hotel. 


Beech Mountain Xterra 5k

On the day I started my 46 revolution around the sun, I was talked in to running the Beech Mountain Xterra 5k. ¬†There was also a 15k, which is much more my kind of thing, but timing wise I just couldn’t make it work — we had to get off the mountain and get R1 off to camp. ¬†Plus Lucho suggested a hard 5k would be better for me with where I am in my training right now.

I got quite the birthday present — the young gun that must have gotten 90-120s ahead of me missed a turn, and so while I thought I was running for 2nd place, I came in to the finish and was told I won the race overall! ¬†Hardest 5k I’ve ever run (not that I run many, it’s been over two years since the last); slowest 5k (28:11) I’ve run at least in the last 25 years if not ever… ¬†But I’ll take the win! ¬†(It’s the 1st time I’ve ever won a race outright!)

 

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The data shows I was in the 5:15 range on the downhill….