Monthly Archives: July 2016

How’s Your Heart?

Sometimes, you cannot grieve until you know the depth of what you lost.

I cannot tell you the details but I can tell you that there was much joy, sometimes tears, much life lived between us. We celebrated the togetherness of us. Now, it’s different. I remember sometimes and just cry.

Leaving our church as an entity was not hard. Leaving the body of Christ at that address was very hard. Saying goodbye over and over and over. Saying goodbye with misunderstandings still lingering. Saying goodbye when people were looking at us to stay. Leaving the people who listened to my heart. Leaving the people who held my sorrows and struggles close. . .

A broken relationships. Boundaries. Incomplete understanding. Wishing, wanting things to be different. Grieving where things would have been now before they went wrong then. Grieving the loss of something you always wanted and know that you can never have.

Hmm. . . I should probably dive into these deeper, really. I should probably grieve these more thoughtfully. Weird as it may sound (and you might disagree), I just don’t have the time. So, the grief comes out in heartaches here and there. . . in sweet memories, in difficult memories. . . tears because things will not go back to where they were.

But, I’m not without hope because I believe that one day things WILL be better and perfect and complete.

In that same heart, I find joy and comfort.

  • 18 years of marriage to Byron.
  • 3 beautiful children
  • Special, precious women in my life who would sacrifice. . . to love me, help me, hold me, encourage me.
  • Living my running dreams
  • Training for 100 miles in OR in September
  • My health
  • laughter

Hill Work: P2P

Be the coach who loves hills.-Randy Accetta, RRCA & Run Tuscon

Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak. Today, I choose to embrace the hills. -Hal Higdon

Be a hill seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills but what is so good about flat? Think about it,  flat tires, flat hair, flat returns–and the ultimate–flatlining. LIFE happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you are stronger than you ever imagined.

Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get.
-Joe Catalano, running coach

Hills never get easier, you get stronger.
-Greg LaMond, 3-time Tour de France winner

When you first get a hill in sight, look at the top of it only once. Then imagine yourself at the bottom of the other side. – Florence Griffith Joyner, three-time Olympic gold medalist in track

If my husband did not have a strong opinion against tattoos and if these quotes were not so long, I may have one or two tattooed on my skin. I have always loved to train on the hills. I have become quietly confident on the hills. I am not a hill sprinter. I power hike hills as needed and I run them at a comfortable pace.

Training to run 100 miles is a lot of running. Training to run 100 miles with approximately 19K feet of vert,  (for me) means a great deal of hill running, hill hiking, treadmill hiking. . . repeating. . . repeatedly.

Here is a glimpse of my hill training from last week. Lately, I have been starting at a trail head that allows a lot of hill running/repeating variety! Here are 3 workouts I penned and will use again.

These workouts are specific to my TN locals. I am not focusing on speed when I climb. So, I have not listed pace. You could power walk these. You could run 2 climbs and walk the rest. You could run the first and the last and walk the climbs in-between. It is about variety, getting in the climbs via walking or running, depending on the day and how I feel.

Chickering One: (most technical of the three)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head.
  • Run on the road from my car (straight at the 4-way intersection) to the hill at the red trail, .40 miles (the road divides the red trail. One hill climb to the right. One hill climb to the left.)
  • Repeat the hill to the left .35 times up/.35 times down, 7 x .70 = 4.9 miles
  • (next to the hill on the left is a jeep road) Run the jeep road to the port a potty and back, .50 miles
  • Repeat the jeep road, except run past the port a potty to the first pic nic shelter on the right and back, .85 miles/1 mile 
  • Start back to my car on the road. Instead of going straight, to the lot, I turn right at the 4-way intersection.  This will send me in the direction of a golf course/clubhouse. This is all road and all hill. 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back. 3.0 miles
  • Treadmill: 15% for 2 miles
  • Stats: 10 miles on trail/road 2300′ + 2 miles on the treadmill @ 15% incline 1500′
  • 12 miles, 3800′

Chickering Two: (moderately technical)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head
  • Run the road from my car (straight at the 4-way intersection) to the hill on the red trail, .40 miles
  • Repeat the hill climb to the right of the road, .40 times up/.40 times down, 6 x .80 = 4.8 miles
  • Run across the road toward the jeep road and and pick up the red trail. Stay on the trail for 1.4 miles to the candy cane connector, turn left on the connector to the nature center for 1.0 miles. I run this as fast as I can.  No stopping. 2.4 miles
  • After a water stop at the Nature Center, I run back exactly the way I came via candy cane connector to right on red. This is a cool down pace. I do not walk, but I def slow down. 2.4 miles
  • Run across the road and repeat the hill I started on,  once. .80 miles
  • Run back to car, straight through the 4-way intersection. .40 miles
  • Stats: 11.2 miles trail 2195′

11.2 miles, 2195′

Chickering Three: (easiest, most road, least climbing)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head
  • Run from my car, left at the 4-way intersection, toward the golf course/club house. I run 1.66 miles from my car and 1.5 miles back to the stop sign. 3.16 miles
  • Left at the 4-way intersection run on the road to the red trail. Take the hill to the right .40 up/.40 down x 3 x .80 = 2.4 miles
  • Run up the same hill and continue on the trail until I reach the road (the road you cross for the last steep climb up and then down toward the Deep Wells trail head.) 1 mile
  • I turn around at the road and repeat the short, rocky hill 4 times. .80 miles
  • Head back to the trail head, where I started. 1 mile
  • Run on the road, back toward my car. At the 4-way intersection, turn right and repeat the 3 miles out and back on the road, toward the golf course/club house that I ran at the beginning on the road. 3 miles
  • Run back to my car, .16 miles

12.0 miles, 1535′



Hard day at The (Fiery) Gizzard

Okay. So, I love the Fiery Gizzard. I mean. The name alone is cool. I have been to the Fiery Gizzard two times before this weekend. I am familiar with the trail. It is a point to point 13-ish miles one way and 13-ish back. You can start at the Foster Falls trailhead or you can start at the trailhead near Tracy City Elementary. It is an easy drive, approximately  99 miles from Franklin. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get there. We decided to start at the Foster Falls trailhead.

Shoes laced up. Bathroom. Packs on. Water. Food. We were off. The weather was not too bad for a 7:15 am start. The trail is mostly shaded for the first 7 miles. At about mile 6, you head down into the new gorge section, 1/2 mile to 3/4 mile in length. You descend 400′ down into the gorge next to a waterfall and then, ascend 400′ back up to the ridge line. The waterfall had a trickle of water on Saturday. The trail goes very close to it. In the fall, it should be absolutely amazing. Check out the Hardwin Adventure’s Fiery Gizzard Run. (It is Saturday, November 26th. You can run either a full or a half marathon.) There are stone steps, a new wooden bridge and wooden stairs with railing leading you out of the gorge. SO COOL!! We sat down there a bit to eat and drink. It was cool and it felt good.

Back up on the Ridgeline, at mile 7, the trail comes to the intersection of Raven’s Point overlook/Dog Hole Trail/Fiery Gizzard Trail.  Raven’s Point Overlook is a 1/2 mile out and 1/2 mile back, definitely worth the extra mile, check it out when you are there. GREAT place to take pictures.

The Dog Hole Trail continues on the ridgeline for approximately 3.5 miles then takes you down to the gorge to finish 1.5 miles to the bathroom and the turnaround point. You get a taste of the rocks and roots and run past a popular swimming hole. This is the busier end of the trail in the summer because of the easy access to the swimming hole.

If you choose the Fiery Gizzard Trail over the Dog Hole trail, which I did, without hesitation, you are in for a treat! (Being that gentleman that he is, Kevin gave me the choice.) It is pretty much a rock garden for 2.9 miles then a mix of rocks/roots/dirt for 1.5. The gorge never disappoints (me). I will choose it at least one direction every time. It is tough. You run next to the Big Fiery Gizzard Creek most of the time. There were sections of this creek that were running and sections that were dry. (Kevin and I dipped our hats and splashed our arms and faces a few times to cool off. We contemplated sitting in it to cool off our core, but we never did.)

In the Fiery Gizzard Run, put on by Hardwin Adventures, you will cross several creeks, you can keep your feet dry. All of those crossings were dried up when we ran. 

The gorge was long and repetitive!  It took longer than usual for us. We both came pretty close to running out of water when we reached the bathroom at mile 13, our turn around. It was then, that I realized I was completely out of food. Oh, I brought PLENTY to eat for 26-31, but I only stuffed in enough for 13!!! Really, not sure what I was thinking. Thank goodness, Kevin had some extra gel. I carried and drank 55 ounces of water, one way. When I got to the bathroom, I drank 20 more ounces and filled all of my bottles. We ate and rested a bit. I think the rest helped to cool us down and lower our heart rate.

I took the gel from Kevin, and we started back. (I believe 4 hours had passed for the first 13.) It was around 11:00 am and the temp was rising. We stayed on the dog hole trail (ridge line) for our trip back. It was mostly shaded but hot and hotter. We made good time back to Raven’s Point intersection. Kevin was running well. I would get stuck in long walking blocks, not necessarily because I could not move well, but just because. I was walking fast. Kevin was running fast. It was a long death walk/run back to the trail head and our car.

I had plenty of water for this section. I had one gel. Really, I did not feel like eating more. I actually think I had too much water,  and I was hot. We did find one last water spot on our way back where we dipped our hats. I also dipped my tank and put it around my neck. I HAD to find a mantra and stick to it!! My mantra, “Smile on your face. You get to be out here.” I smiled. I smiled. I smiled. The heat did not go away. I did not cool down fast. But, it sure did change my disposition and it caused me to think of more. . .

. . . this could have been mile 26 of 100. How was I going to dig myself out of this place I found myself in? I was hot. I needed food. My heart rate was up. My first start would have been walking, maybe, even stopping for a bit. The second thing I think that I would have done was to eat and drink. The third thing that I think I needed to do in this heat was to cool myself down with ice in my hat and ice in my sport’s bra. I tried to wrap my ice cold tank around my neck and I felt like I was choking. I do not want to do that in my 100. Glad that I tried before the race.

The important lesson to learn in this instance is that I cannot will my way out of this. I cannot muscle my way out of this. I cannot force my way out of this. As slowly as I got myself into this situation, I have to be patient and slowly work myself out of this. The key, I believe is not to panic. 

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is easy to follow. It is marked with white/silver rectangular plates that are on the trees. You need to take your time following the trail markers, around mile 2.5, from the Foster Falls trailhead, you climb down and up on some big rocks. You also need to take your time following the trail markers in the second gorge. It is easy in these places to head the wrong way.

The day ended at mile 26, in about 7h 15 minutes of running. We climbed a total of 4000′. I decided that I would stop at 26 and not go to 31. The time on my feet, the weather and my fueling issues were enough of a challenge today. No regrets. Did not feel like I needed to make up any miles. The training is not the race. The training is getting me to the race with a sound mind, a strong body and the ability to go for two days without stopping!




Pine to Palm training (June)

Imagine that day, where you can finally say, “I did it!” When you can say, “I never gave up, I never quit!” Imagine that day when you win that gold medal, or cross the finish line. Where these moments of pain turn into memories for that goal you wanted to obtain. It might take long to reach that moment, but as soon as you get there you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.

June: 281 miles. 46,298′ of climbing

  • week 1: 63 miles. 7600′
  • week 2: 67 miles. 10,138′
  • week 3: 58 miles. 11,603′
  • week 4: 70 miles. 13,274′
  • week 5: 22.9 miles. 3,683

I spent most of my miles on the trail this month, again. I run 5/6 days on the trail. The trail  work and the treadmill hiking helped me to increase my climbing elevation this month.

New this month:

I took this month off from my trainer and worked twice a week on my core. I have a comprehensive core workout that takes 45 minutes to an hour using body weight as resistance.  I supplement with the bosu ball, exercise bands, medicine ball, pull up bar and yoga ball. It is an excellent workout!

I have also added a treadmill interval workout. I set the TM to 15% and I alternate between running and walking for 2-2.5 miles. This usually takes me between 27-35 minutes.

Looking ahead:

So, I feel like I have the foundation in place, after two months. Now, to keep my eyes on the prize and build upon my foundation. I will do a few days trips to run some more challenging trails. EYES on the PRIZE. It seems tedious. It seems never ending. It seems like too much to balance at times. Same eyes/same prize through the tedious, through the never ending, through the too much.

Loving now:

A good looking trucker hat.

Lululemon Swiftly tank. So soft. Fits well. They make every color you can imagine. My fav color is pink.

Running with my friends.

Chocolate milk for recovery.


Territory Run Co. love their thoughts on “running wild”.