Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Friday, October 29, 2010

Snow on the Hills

A favorite reel, reconfigured a bit for Scottish Small Pipes, here played on the A chanter.

I first heard the tune played by Jack Coen on a forgotten CD and learned it first on whistle, then flute, and now pipes. One day I hope to play it as smoothly and with as much dignity as Jack does on that recording.

[pipes made by EJ Jones, Asheville, NC http://piperjones.com/]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've been through Hell

Hell, Michigan, that is.

Great place...kind of small.

Ran some nearby trails at the Pinckney Recreation Area. So very Midwest - low gray ceiling, threat of rain, wind swaying the hardwoods. And I like hardwoods...plenty of hickory, walnut and oak on the Crooked Lake Trail. Tall reeds in the fingers of the lakes, boardwalk crossings, beaver channels cut into the marsh. Smelled of moisture and fall...I relished that - left Chapel Hill at 90 degrees and dry as a bone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Santa Fe MTB

Enjoyed this outing w/Slate and Faceplant...they fell over a lot...bums...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some new tunes...Small pipes and D chanter....

Thinking about the pipes and new tunes...and old tunes that are new again. I think I'm getting the hang of these things, but still make cross-fingering blunders and keep reaching to play smoothly with a consistent tempo.

...another 10 years or so and I might be getting there...wherever that is...

A couple of multi-part jigs. The first, Helvic Head adapted for the smallpipe range, followed by something I picked up off a CD long ago...I can't find the CD and can't remember the tune, but I loved playing it on flute and whistle. I've silenced all but the bass drone on this set, and it's pretty hard to hear. I'm learning that playing without drones allows me to more clearly hear what's coming from the chanter - if the notes are right, in tune, etc.

Scottish Small Pipes crafted by EJ Jones.

I'm trying to get a grip on a fairly standard pipe tune, Steam Train to Mallaig. This covers about the first 2/3rds of the piece and I continue to make inevitable errors. Another challenge for me on this tune is using the low hole on the chanter...this is the first time I've actually used it with any intention or regularity.

A great tune and I hope to figure it out by the time I'm 80 years old.

Final set here is a Richard Keane / Teribus tune that I just love...particularly when EJ and his buddies are playing it. It's called Farewell Pixel and it has, for me, some tricky handling in the second, fast part. I'll keep after it. I also enjoy playing it on the A chanter. Hope to hear this in person sometime, when Teribus comes to the area.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Squonk takes age group win in 5K!

...was nursing a chest cold during the family gathering on Topsail Island...still...won my age group at the Surf City 5K on last Saturday. Entirely run on the beach, I squared off against my brother-in-law for the division and secured victory by about half a minute. (Like, we were the only two in the age group). Hence, I've decided to scrap ultras and trails and become a 5K beach running professional. Duncan won by 4 minutes or so...it was fun. A nice event - $10, loosely organized. As I was about to pin on my number I looked up to see the American flag and right beneath it the Confederate Battle Flag. That caused some consternation, so I pinned my number upside down, mumbling that this was in protest of seeing that flag, regardless of its heritage, at a municipally sponsored event. Five minutes before the race start the flag was lowered and stowed; I put my number right side up. For winning I received a very handsome medallion and Waffle House water bottle. Yes, Waffle House was a primary sponsor and they had sausage biscuits for all after the race. One of the largest runners - big feet - received a pair of giant bear-claw looking booties....I was envious and am wondering how I might train to improve my foot size should I return to defend next year...actually, I age up...damn...maybe I'll be the only guy in my age group and then can race myself....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Abby & Ryan

...going to a wedding every year...a good idea.

Brings up all good things - ritual, words, feelings, bedrock commitment...

...and these ancient ceremonies make me wonder and consider my good fortune....

Goofus' pictures from the weddings of our friends...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Big Horn 2010

legs dropped off during the 50 miler and I missed the cutoff at Dry Fork, DNFing after 34 miles. (come to think of it, that's my first DNF...hmmm)

I'm ok with this...we're all in Big Horn, Wyoming, heading down to Estes and Rocky MTN Natl Park later today.

Duncan placed second overall in the 30K - his longest racing distance ever. He didn't train and is beaten up...that's what you get for pushing raw talent to the limit without giving the raw talent a little more respect...not that I know anything about that...

Mike Murray and Leo (from Durham) both finished the 50K in good stead.

This is a marvelous part of the world. I'm amazed at the race support, and the way horses and humans cooperated to stock aid some very remote aid stations. I'd like to do that....stock up a horse with water and stuff, head into the mountains about 20 miles from nowhere, pitch a tent and hang out there for a couple of days filling water bottles, cooking food, keeping folks moving...

pictures from the day

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Forwards & Backwards

Happy 80th, Dad...

...lots of great memories...looking forward to more...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hanging Rock State Park Excursion

It's that time of year again - Memorial Day Weekend trip to Hanging Rock State Park to endure a mentally and physically challenging course.

I'm hoping to repeat the course we did a couple of years ago .

The course is about 20 miles. A long descent down past the waterfalls and the hidden gorge to the Dan River, turn around and go up the same. Stop at the vehicle, refuel and head up Huckleberry Ridge and down to do the Sauratown loop, which I'd like to run clockwise for the steep descent. Then back up and return to the car, crap out and have a picnic.

The course has 10,000 feet of loss and gain.

This will be peak week for Big Horn, and I aim to go very slowly, walking the hills.


Depart early Sunday morning, hit the trail by 9:00. Take as long as it takes.

Who's in?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Little River Trail Runs 2010 Donation: $5,000

(photo by Sidetrack)

Layna Mosley (right), co-director for the 2010 Little River Trail Run, presents a $5,000 check from the run's proceeds to Mike DiFabio and Michelle Pez, representatives of Little River Regional Park. Since 2006, the TrailHeads Running Club has organized annual trail runs to benefit the park in northeast Orange County, raising more than $22,000 toward the purchase of tools and for the maintenance of the park's mountain biking and hiking trail network.

Nice to have the opportunity to give back.

More at TrailHeads.org

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Art Loeb Trail Adventure

What fun...

Arrived Davidson River Campground in Brevard Thursday evening, 4/22 and set up camp just before dark. Humid and warm.

Hit the trail Friday morning and went up the Art Loeb Trail to Catpen Gap...took a nap there, then came back through the campground on the North Slope trail, stopping for a spell at the swimming hole. Back at my site just as Goofus, Wolf and Mike Phillips were about done setting up their site.

Zephyr and Rob McClure arrived shortly after dark and set up their tents; Schnzl and Qwyk dropped in a short while after them.

Up early to get up to Graveyard Fields and start the ascent to Black Balsam Knob and beyond. The goal was Cold Mountain, but we were halted by serious weather at Shining Rock. Wolf rescued us by waiting in his van where the Art Loeb heads towards Black Balsam...gave Qwyk, Schnzl, Goofus and I a ride back to my car. Then we picked up all the others where the jeep trail ends near the Art Loeb connector.

We were all cold and soaked. Cleaned up at camp and hit Marco's in Brevard for a couple of pints and great pizza and Italian food. Later in the evening, there was some mention of bourbon...

A great weekend. I'm impressed by the team work - the communication that bonded us with a plan that avoided compounding errors. I'm glad we repeatedly regrouped so that we did not have to deal with uncertainty about who was where, why, or how.

I look forward to trying the route to Cold Mountain again...across The Narrows...with friends.

As Goofus put it:


(Zephyr has some great photos as well...on the TrailHeads ning site).

Monday, April 26, 2010


(Inaugural Philosopher's Way Trail Runs Footage, May, 2008)

Over a decade ago a couple of friends and I met at Wilson Park to try something new: a run along Bolin Creek. I knew about the area, having lived in the Bolin Forest subdivision from 1983-1986. My wife and I enjoyed many outings along the creek with our golden retriever. Looking to "get away" from town a bit, we moved out Jones Ferry road to enjoy quieter and wilder spaces around our home.

But runs in town, in the Forest, became a weekly tradition with a group of us. I learned it was very quiet and wonderfully wild right in the heart of town! We would run the OWASA easement to the gate by the high school, go up the power line hill and then connect back to the creek trail and head back up the hill to Wilson Park. Then, of course, we'd hop down to the Open Eye Cafe for coffee and conversation before taking off to work. One day we decided to do something that's odd for most habitual runners - we altered our course, ducking a tree limb next to a rusted out Corvair and following skinny little pathways into an area of the Forest we had yet to explore. We continued to do this week after week - taking the little trails, which we learned to refer to as "single-track" - and the Forest opened up to us. The trail along the creek was always a reliable way-finding location, but the single-track led us to places in the heart of the Forest with varied terrain and countless opportunities to observe nature.

Our running habits changed. Each run became more about discovery than distance, and as time went by we tapped into the broader community of active citizens who watch, protect and envision a healthy future for the Bolin Creek corridor and what is now known as Carolina North Forest. The little group of "trail runners" - as we began calling ourselves - loosely organized into an informal club self-dubbed The TrailHeads, and, as we grew to understand the connected nature of and in the Forest, we expanded our courses to the Chapel Hill side of the Horace Williams tract and learned new spaces and trails there. On one run, probably seven or eight years ago an idea was hatched to host a race in the Forest if ever the opportunity presented itself. The Pumpkin Run was already an established venue, but our hope was to bring runners into the heart of the Forest, to course along the single-track instead of the wide gravel roads. This is a different experience for runners - it's less about individual and steady cadence than it is about moving together in a line of fellow runners to the rhythm of the terrain.

It was not until roughly three years ago that an opportunity did in fact present itself to bring other runners to the Forest. After discussions with Greg Kopsch, CNF manager, we were encouraged to formally submit a proposal to UNC for a set of trail races on the Chapel Hill side of the Forest. To honor Horace Williams, who referred to this tract of land as his "temple of trees," we named the races the Philosopher's Way Trail Runs. “Philosopher’s Way” evokes a couple of meanings – one of a pathway or trail and the other a methodology. The race then would signify a trail through the forest but also serve as a metaphor for a manner to incorporate thoughts on the trail into everyday life. The race's slogan is, simply: Enter, Learn, Return.

As race organizers, the TrailHeads had only one substantial hoop to jump through - we needed to incorporate as a 501 (c)(3) organization in order to, of all things, secure insurance for the event. Why would a disorganized bunch of trail runners want to do such a thing? Well, that led the group - no longer three, but consisting of an active core of members numbering nearly fifty - to consider a mission statement that would serve as the purpose for the organization. We found that this statement serves the club as well as the underlying rationale for the races in the Forest:

The purposes of this organization are to: promote the joy of trail running; support the efforts of members to maintain an active and healthy life style; listen, learn and internalize the lessons taught by our natural environment and wilder spaces; and organize and encourage efforts to enhance, extend, and maintain Nature's reach into the lives of each member of our greater community.

And that pretty much sums it up. I don't know that any of us thought ten years ago that the trail from Wilson Park to the Bolin Creek pathway would lead us off into a network of wooded trails that would rewire our network of activity and provide an outreach for our energy that is less about running miles than it is about participating in a community that treasures the forested island in the heart of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. I feel incredibly fortunate to have discovered this pathway, Bolin Creek, the Forest, and the many friends encountered along the way.

oh...the 3rd Annual Philosopher's Way 15K and 7K Trail Runs start at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 8th. More info at www.trailheads.org

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Garden Trail, 2010

Paula's out of town at the beach with friends. I enjoyed the cold front that moved in yesterday around 3pm as I planted a few things in the garden - several varieties of peppers and tomatoes, some basil, parsley, oregano and cilantro. I was wondering if the plants might be a little insecure - transplanting from Southern States to our garden - so I figured I'd just sleep out with them, and listen to hear any suffering or requests for assurance.

It was a beautiful evening - starry and clear, gentle breezes that caught the wind chimes, Clarence trying to nudge me off the sleeping pad so he could have a softer surface.

We woke just before dawn to birdsong (and the neighbor's roosters). There are so many voices in the trees.

The wild roses on the fence line are blooming, probably about a month early this year.

I enjoyed this. Excellent sleeping conditions, cool, and early enough in the season to not have to worry about insects. The plants were very quiet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Favorite Loop

I like loop courses. I enjoy starting at a place, heading in one direction and returning to the start from a different direction.

Yesterday, for the third time, I started down a favorite loop just off the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. Weather was beautiful - temps perfect, clear skies.

The first time I attempted this run was in late May of 2008 and everything was blooming along the trail.

[click photos to enlarge]

The loop is about 15 miles up Skyline Drive from 64, about 20 miles from Charlottesville. I park at the Wildcat Ridge area, cross the AT, head down Wildcat Ridge, catch the Rip Rap Trail and then take the AT back to the parking lot. It's about a 9 mile loop, with some nice climbs and fairly technical stretches, strewn with rocks and roots.

(Photos taken in late May 2008)

Views are fantastic, particularly from the Cathedral Rock and Chimneys area. You can see the valley heading over to Harrisonburg and also take in views of the Massanutten area.

On my first attempt, I was trapped by a wicked thunderstorm...

...and had to spend about an hour huddled in the overhang of a cliff that hikers had surrounded with stonewalls.

I often marvel at how each trail run can be different due to seasonal shifts. Prior outings in this area were after the leaves were on the trees and the trail was shady and lush. This time, however, I was ahead of the canopy and the trail was doused in sunlight. The feeling was entirely different, and I stopped at one of several stream crossings to watch the light play on the water. (Perfect swimming hole for a summer outing)

I encountered several sets of backpackers. We chatted a bit. One group had seen a bear earlier that morning, so, the bears are awake (something for us to keep in mind when we head up to the Art Loeb in a couple of weeks.) My cell phone went off somewhere along the trail. Duncan had texted me with news that he had taken first place at the Inaugural Mountains to the Sea Trail run in Durham. He said the trail was nice and pretty fast. Sounds like he had fun. As I was putting my phone away I looked down and noticed a little friend on the trail, so, while she held her pose, I took her picture.

This is a lovely outing. Anytime you're in the area it's worth a trip over to do this very manageable loop. Just start down the path from the parking lot, cross the AT and follow the blue blazes. Keep your head up when you come to the 2nd stream crossing, the trail juts left around a switchback. If you go straight you'll wind up in that shelter mentioned above.

Take your camera and capture some of the views from the higher points (something I didn't do this time, but will do the next).

Here's the GARMIN route.

Here's a link to maps of the Skyline Drive.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Art Loeb Recon, Parts I & II

Duncan and I were dropped off in the middle of nowhere...we had hoped to take this road to pick up the Art Loeb near Farlow Gap and run 15 miles down to Davidson River Campground in Brevard. Plans changed. We couldn't drive over this bridge to get to the trailhead so we just took our stuff and a good map.

Reading a map is like learning a foreign language. Some "words" sound the same but have very different meanings. So, we took off and found an old forest service road, heading in what we hoped was the right direction. That "road" ended after about 2 miles, and we were sort of stupid to ever go down it - it was all grown up with stickers and we got shredded. We backtracked and looked at the map again, heading off in what I was hoping the right direction. We would know in about a mile, based on a stream crossing. We did cross a stream. Then, there would be another stream crossing in about another mile. There was. It seemed we were on the right trail, and we continued climbing.

Then the trail did something unexpected. Instead of one switchback that I had hoped would lead us to an intersection with the Art Loeb Trail, there was another switchback. I was, well, concerned, knowing that if we were not on course we'd have to run down the way we came, missing the trail entirely. Duncan suggested that perhaps the switchbacks were so close together that they were interpreted as a single switchback on the map. I checked the topography and it looked like we were in the right spot, with three knobs on our right and an apparent gap heading up toward the left. We trundled on.

Then the wind picked up and I could tell we were heading into a gap, just like on the map. A half mile later, our trail intersected the Art Loeb at Farlow Gap. Success, we found the trail...now what?

Decision time. Collectively, we were low on food and water. So, we decided to run up to the balds near the Parkway and call for a pick up, instead of running 15 miles down to Davidson River Campground. I was also worried about trail conditions. It looked like a bomb had shattered the treetops in the gap and the trail was in rough shape. Going all the way down would take a good long time.

The climb from Farlow Gap to the Blue Ridge Parkway is about a mile, but it's harder climbing than Uwharrie and about on par with the last section of Shut-In. We hit the Parkway at about 9.5 miles, and then continued to climb to the balds.

Again, the trail conditions were a bit sketchy, making tough going, tougher.

Finally near a ridge at around 6,000 ft elevation we entered a balsam forest with snow remnants and nice views.

We were able to connect with Paula via text and our plan was to run down to the falls near Graveyard fields and be extracted. So we did a little road running on the Parkway and went down to Lower Falls where I soaked my feet and washed off all the blood on my legs from the bramble scratches. The sun had warmed the rocks, so we finished most of our food and napped on boulders in the middle of the stream.

Awhile later we returned to the parking area and I observed something that I'd missed earlier: there was a blockade to the Parkway heading up to Asheville - the direction Paula would need to travel to pick us up. ooops. The Parkway was open from the other direction, but that would mean nearly a two hour drive for her and the rest of the family that was visiting in the mountains. So, we connected on cell and decided to meet at 276 and the Parkway near Mt. Pisgah. I was a little worried about our water status, but Paula said some rangers were driving up with some water for us.

We started running in the direction of Pisgah and after about a mile the rangers drove up, and very politely gave us 4 water bottles which we used to replenish our supply. They couldn't give us a ride however, because we were not in an emergency. Ok, fine. We continued running - Duncan moving easily ahead and stopping at the overlooks to wait for me to catch up.

Even though this was road running, I enjoyed it. How often do you get the opportunity to run the Blue Ridge Parkway entirely closed to traffic? But, what a mess! We were later told that the parkway from 276 to Graveyard Fields would be closed until June.

Looking across the ridges all the treetops were splintered from the winter storms. Eventually, (after about 4.5 miles) we were met by Paula, my brother-in-law, Dirk and his friend Derek who were walking in from 276 with more water and sandwiches. Duncan ran ahead and I enjoyed the remaining walk back to 276. Great memories... stunning views.


1. Forest Service roads can be impassable
2. Maps have to be interpreted
3. Food and Water should be measured on a model of double contingencies
4. Communication via cell is hit and miss
5. Positive outlook is essential

and it's great to know others are trying to think what you might do in the unexpected situation you find yourself in...

Great day "out there" - probably did more mileage than planned, and certainly spent more time on the feet than expected. That's good!

Here are the routes:

Start to Graveyard Fields (add 2 miles to total, note elevation gain from Farlow Gap)

There's much to consider here related to the upcoming Art Loeb attempt in April. I doubt we can tackle it in a day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


"Misuse will force trail closure." I've stated that I have issues with running impacting anything in the Forest negatively. Also, I do not believe I observe Nature less running the trails in the Forest; I confess that every trail is a Nature Trail and I am on the record for weaving my observations there into my very web of life. Finally, do I disrupt the "vibe" of walkers on any trail by running? I try very hard not to.

If there are environmental concerns related to foot traffic, then that means feet...walking or running feet. If wildlife needs to be preserved and restricted access is the best way to ensure that, then I believe it should be restricted access of any kind.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Buskin' the 'boro...

...fun a couple of days ago busking Carrboro on St. Pats.

Live from the Open Eye Cafe in Carrboro, NC, this rousing rendition of the Parting Glass sets super new Celtic swamp group, The Harassers, into stellar orbit. Band members include Tweety and Margie on vocals, Half Dome on mandolin and vocals, Goofus, vocals and guitar, and Squonk on scottish small pipes and whistle. The song is set against a backdrop of random TrailHead photos taken across many miles...

You can download a copy of the video for your podthing here.

oh...and here's Nova's video (hi Kyle!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


...at January's Little River Trail Runs.

I'm posting this here to remind myself that a lot of folks have cameras...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Base Building Weekend

This was a peak week in the three week build-up intervals heading into Big Horn. I began the weekend with a casual goal to get as close to 30 miles in two days as I thought healthy. More important was to run longer than last weekend's long run of 15.5 miles.

Several times during each outing there were moments where I felt I was just humming along - efficient, good energy, HR and breathing right where I wanted them to be. I'm calling that zone running because I feel like I'm in the "zone." Perhaps I can hard wire the feeling and run there confidently knowing that it's optimal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Saturday's run logged in at a bit over 17 miles. I felt fine throughout the run.

Sunday's run found me a bit unprepared. I ran late in the day and had eaten very little prior to the outing. Also, I did not carry Nuun and water for hydration. No negative split on this run; I wilted at about 5 miles, crept to the car for some water, hoping to find a Cliff Shot or Gu in my car. Nothing there. So with a bit of water I went back out on the course for another 5 miles. This was a reminder to me that a little loss of nutrition and hydration can lead to a learning moment on the trails.

Sunday's Run

This week is a step down to 12 or 13 and 8. I admit I'm sort of making this up as I go along. The point is to be ready for Art Loeb and take a day to complete that trail.

Generally healthy. Feet a bit sore and ankles tight. Need to spend some time this week on stretching and core.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

...fighting deforestation

News Today:

"Managing and protecting forests must involve the people who live off them", Gabon Environment Minister Martin Mabala said. "Forests are a planetary asset and no longer the concern of individual countries," Mabala said.

Right...I'm ok with that, but there's a risk here - that a Forest, like the one in Carolina North, can appear so small from a planetary perspective. It's the aggregate of many forested spaces, often between urban areas, that makes up vast green space and carbon offset.

From Metrics

As for the protection and management of the forests involving the people who live off them, I agree, but it's not just the people. Aren't we also stewards for the wildlife that truly lives off the forest? Our lives there are enriched by the way we can enter wildness without entirely abandoning the other corners of our lives. That is a unique privilege.

So, for me, this distills down to:

The local forest is important to me. So much so, in fact, that I first try think about its importance as a space unto itself, with its natural inhabitants, welcoming of guests, who are responsible for understanding its global significance while viewing it through a local lens.

yep...that's a riff on Think Globally / Act Locally. How cliche'. Like all the predictable archetypes in Avatar, and the obvious story-line...how cliche'. Are we so fatigued with cliches that we're no longer moved by their bedrock, essential truths?


..both are home for spring break

Natalie swam this evening, came home, had dinner and left. Off with friends who I know. Her time here is between things...playing with Clarence, hanging out in the kitchen, creating mixes on her iPod to share with folks as she heads over to the Eye to study. Upon arrival from school Friday, she urged to bake cookies, and did. I've heard of a plan hatched to join friends in a tent at Shakori Hills for a spring time festival. Music is at the center of her life. ...and why wouldn't it be?

Duncan came home from the trails of Tsali, camping with friends and connecting with a Gator girl who was on the USA team with him. They did the MTB thing. He endoed and crashed a shoulder and is now resting comfortably in the same room where once I sat in the dormer of before it was a room, remembering the very day I ran the ridge of the roof over it...thinking...this'll be a kid's room one day...and, mostly, it's empty....save for a westward view over the string of trees that separate our lot from the field next door and the view of the garden beneath it...but not now...it's got a big kid in it...

...Paula's sleeping

...Clarence is sleeping...

Natalie's due home shortly

figure I'll walk around the house...I've done that a few times...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recovery Trail Run

Warm evening for running trails. I thought I'd see more folks "out there" but didn't mind the solitude. The trails are in great shape. Even the airport side of NeverLand is dry. That's likely to change in the next 48 hours.

Garmin Readout

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Base Building

Lovely weekend in the Forest for a couple of back to back longish runs. Some quiet time "out there" allowed me to reflect on whether my head's in the right place for building base for Art Loeb in April and Big Horn in June. Thoughts ranged to other subjects including work, family and the community of runners and cyclists "out there." One of the salamander egg sacs now has yellow spots in it...that's kind of far out. The weather this weekend was great. The garden is drying out and we should start seeing peas pushing through in a couple of days. The daffodils on the Banshee trail are opening up.

A bit of tendonitis still beneath the right heel. I ran in the Wildcats yesterday and the Masochists today. Not sure which I prefer, but I think it may be the latter of the two.

Here are the Garmin Metrics for this weekend.

Saturday Trails

Sunday Trail

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Endurance Magazine article written January 2009, a couple of weeks before deciding to cancel the race calendar until November 2009.

Trail Time's mostly about how centering a run in the local forest can be...on so many levels...

[Link to PDF of article]

A Season For Running

[An outline of thoughts for a discussion of goals about running "seasons" with the No Boundaries running group at Fleet Feet Carrboro, Wednesday evening, 2/3/10.]

A conversational topic that will touch on goal setting for a running season within the variable seasons of life.

1. The Running Season: gradual progression and conditioning to a determined goal.
a. Training for a calendar year with a peak race in mind
b. A good plan with markers along the way
c. Support – training, knowledge, experience

2. Tracking Progress for the season: GARMIN metrics
a. Pace / Distance / Heart Rate / Maps
b. Google Earth – the Forest - a special location
c. Google Earth – the bigger picture - personal metrics in perspective

3. Feb 2009 – Boundaries / Open Doorways
a. Uwharrie 2009 – Boundary / Limitation
b. Opening of other doorways
c. Resolutions: Let GO!
i. Withdrawal from all events until 11/2009
ii. Family events
iii. Garden
iv. Volunteer Uwharrie 2010

4. Feb 2010 – The Running Season in Review
a. Successful High School Graduation (daughter)
b. Successful Garden – best running trophy ever

c. Successful Launches: Son to house for senior year in college, daughter off to college
d. Transition to Empty Nesting: New Trails & 7 Bears encountered on the Shut-In Trail
e. Uwharrie 2010 – Aid station volunteer – different activity - Friends and son's finish

5. Observations: Last year’s running season wasn’t what I expected. But running through a season of life, with running as a structure for healthy activity opened new opportunities when I encountered limitations. I had time to think about this stuff and process it on the trails. Friends helped me along the way.

Phrase to listen for: Am I running because I want to or because I have to?

Question: Am I living for my running season or running for the season’s of my life?

(...don't surround yourself with yourself....move on back two squares....)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Trails

Here's the Garmin readout on today's run:

Saturday TrailHead Club Run

A real nice outing, with a lot of new folks.

Eric - drives a '65 Triumph. Michael Baucom joined us at Wilson. Kelly, Juice, Jessica, Katie, Holly, Zephyr, Manica, Carrie all running strong. "Starry" from Iceland. Goofus, without Squirky...who had surgery for blockage due to too much bone. We met up with Gilly and Willow on the trails and saw Ghost and Alan Glazner "out there" along with Galoot and his wife...I forget her name, that's terrible.

Talked with Mike Murray about Big Horn. He'll be driving up from Denver.

First outing on the La Sportiva Wildcats. Still a bit of heel pain but there's more cushioning so it's not quite so bad.

The salamander egg sacs are growing and still safely in tact on the Wormhole.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Road Ride

Good turn out for this road ride on a 60 degree+ bonus day, 2/21/10.

Some issues with the Garmin...seems my heart rate can go up to 253 or so and I can maintain 173 for over an hour. I think the thing was tracking the beats from my jersey thumping on the monitor in the wind

Beautiful day to be out there. Add about 10 miles to the overall distance due to a Garmin fumble....

Sunday Road Ride: Garmin

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Local Trail Run


Nice outing on the local trails. Encountered no other runners and only one other person. It's amazing that a 1000 acres can seem so vast.

Some troubles on this outing with the right heel and the old tendonitis flare up I've had over the past 5 years. I'm thinking I may need more cushioning under the heel and may need to step up from the Crosslites to something a bit more supportive.

Will ask Helix about that.

Beautiful day...warmed up to above 50 degrees. Spring's just around the corner.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Local Trails

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for Local Trails

Art Loeb Trail - Training Run Details

I'm more interested in traversing the Art Loeb Trail this spring than I am in running the Promise Land 50K. Doing this on the 24th of April conflicts with Owl's Roost, I believe. That's not a problem for me.

A couple of reasons to do this instead of Promise Land (and Owl's Roost):

- Point to Point
- All single-track
- Proximity to Asheville & Brevard
- Distance: 30.1 miles (that can be increased to 33 miles by summiting Cold Mountain)
- Views: Black Balsam Bald is one of several 6,000 foot mountains the trail passes through
- Elevation Gain: 8,000+ feet.

So, I'm opening this page as an info site for organizing the adventure for those interested, who currently include:

  • Goofus
  • Aarp
  • Mike-the-Dave Broome
  • KernDog
  • Helix
  • Cutler Andrews
  • Schnzl
  • Zephyr
  • Nova
  • Remus
  • Willow
  • Mike Phillips
Squonk's optimal itinerary.

Thursday, 4/22/10: Post work drive to Davidson River Campground in Brevard. Set up tent. We will want to get a sense of our numbers and possibly grab several sites. Allow 4.5 hours to get to the campground.

Friday, 4/23/10: Logistics. This could include water, food and vehicle stashes along the trail, in advance of our run. Arrival of Friday campers.

Saturday, 4/24/10: Explore the Art Loeb Trail. There are basically 4 sections of this trail and options for doing a section and then returning to camp or assisting other runners. We'll have to figure that out. I will walk every hill and run this slowly as my longest training run for Big Horn. I expect this to take 12 hours, which means an early start, no later than 07:00. Possibly need to drop vehicles at the far side early Saturday morning. After the run, there are numerous dinner options in Brevard.

Sunday, 4/25/10: Break camp, return to real life.

The trail begins right at Davidson River Campground so the start's pretty simple.

The 4 section, beginning from Davidson River, break down as follows:

Section 1: 12.3 miles
Section 2: 7 miles
Section 3: 6.8 miles
Section 4: 6.8 miles

Highly recommend for this outing:
  1. Map of Pisgah and the Art Loeb Trail.
  2. Buddy system along the trail. Certainly there will be different paces but I believe a buddy should be with us along the way. There are bee's nest and it's quite likely the bears will be awake at this point in the season and who knows how surly they'll be
  3. Food and fluids - this will be, in essence, self-supporting.
  4. Contingency clothing for rapid weather changes (like at the Balds)
  5. Compass - there are some tricky sections in the Shining Rock Wilderness and I'd feel a lot better if each group had a compass (and knew how to use it), along with their map.
  6. Cell phones - we should not count on these, but I have had luck texting to family from the balds.
  7. Head lamps. I don't want to be "up there" in the dark, but...just in case.
Let's continue to add to this page and boil down the details.