Run Yeti Far…2.0

Last weekend I went back to amazing Damascus, VA for another training run on the Yeti 100 course, the Virginia Creeper Trail. This time I brought Adam along so he could experience the wonderfully scenic trail by bike. No sooner had we arrived Friday after, and he was off grinding up towards Whitetop. He came back with a big smile on his face so I feel less bad about him crewing me for 24+ hours in September, since I know he’ll be entertained. I also introduced him to the wonder that is the Creeper Cottages, our home away from home on the trail in Damascus. Seriously, if you want a weekend away with hiking, biking, and small town trail charm, please go stay at the Creeper Cottages.


Virginia Creeper Trail and elevation. We start at the course high point at Whitetop Station, in the bottom right corner.

Once again we started at Whitetop and ran the 33 miles down to Abingdon. This will represent the first 3rd and last 3rd of the course on race day. Of course in the middle of the race we have to run the opposite direction, back up to Whitetop. As you can see, the elevation isn’t that bad but after mile 50, that 17 mile uphill stretch will be interesting. I felt physically stronger this time around than the first training run, but was forced to slow down from my projected race pace due to heat and humidity. This early in the summer I haven’t really acclimated to it yet and honestly, even after 14 years living in the South, this Yankee still does very poorly in the heat. It’s likely race day temps at the end of September will be much better, but after dealing with record highs at Chattanooga Ironman last September I’m not making any assumptions. Luckily I get the whole summer ahead of running the heat, including a 100k on July 1 running around an unshaded track. Fun times.

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This week I started poking around for previous Yeti 100 race reports, hoping to find some well executed race plans I could use as a logistical outline for myself and crew. I was happy to find a great report and she kindly shared with me great advice and her wonderfully detailed planning spreadsheets. She has a similar (maybe a bit faster) pace as me so her splits will be helpful for providing my crew with approximate arrival times and instructions. Obviously, I’ll have to run my own race but it’s nice to have a better handle on how it should go.

With 99 days until race day, here’s my plan so far for the rest of the summer:

  • July 1 – Merrill’s Mile 24 Hour – I plan to run 100k here. It’s a relentless 1 mile exposed track but it’s my only opportunity to get the distance. In addition, the benefit of doing a looped, timed event is that you’re constantly running with people and your supplies are always close by. I’m going to load my car with anything I may need and rest in there when necessary.
  • July 3 – Peachtree Road Rage – 10k race down Peachtree the night before the other race down Peachtree
  • July 4 – AJC Peachtree Road Race – Largest 10k in the world!
  • July 9 – Mad Marathon (Vermont) – I’m running this race as a BibRave Pro and I’m super excited. It looks beautiful and New England is my happy place. Plus, we all get to hang out at my parent’s lake house in NH after. If you’re interested in running the race you can still register using code BR2017 for $10 off the half or full.
  • July 16 – GUTS Hot to Trot 8 hour – a fun looped course at Sweetwater Creek State Park. I’ll run with the goal of hitting 50k. More sucky heat training.
  • August 27 – Yeti Snakebite 50 – It’s a 50k race but there may be a secret 50 mile option. The heat is always an issue but I’ll really need a solid 50 miler before race day so this may be it.
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Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) 2017 Recap!

It’s been a few days but BRAG is over for another year. This is the second year Adam and I have completed “Big” BRAG (the organization has several shorter rides throughout the year), and it continues to be the best family trip we have ever had. Biking and camping may not sound like a “vacation” to many people, but for Team Rudd, the balance of riding in the morning, making camp by lunch, and chilling with friends for the rest of the day (napping, drinking, eating, exploring new towns, and shenanigans) is a welcome adventure.


Adam and I joined Team Paparazzi (a friend pulled us into the mix) last year and continued with those fabulous people again this year. Teams of more than 10 people get a free custom team jersey when they register for BRAG before a certain deadline. Paparazzi is also associated with Team Olde Blind Dog, a group that rides out of Olde Blinde Dog Pub in Milton, and both teams joined forces this year to make the super team of PapaDog. Team PapaDog definitely continued their BRAG-winning streak even though BRAG is not a race and there is nothing to win about it; many winning efforts were made through the week including the Team Rudd win of movie trivia (did you know that Michael J. Fox’s middle name is Andrew? I did!), and my layover day century ride. Of course, PapaDog also had the best low country boil luau of all BRAG time, cementing our win early in the week.

Being on the bike for a week was a great respite from the miles on foot in May, with 3 weeks in a row of intense long races. Riding keeps the body and heart healthy, but also provides a great active recovery from the beating I take with long running miles. Considering my push towards the Yeti 100 in September, my main goal is to get there prepared, healthy, and not burnt out; miles on the bike is a great way to achieve that. I highly recommend BRAG and any of the shorter rides throughout the year for those wishing to have an active vacation with some quality endurance training. I’ve spent very little time on the bike since Ironman last September, and this ride re-ignited my love of the two wheels. I’m planning to get at least one ride a week, preferably two, for the rest of the Yeti training cycle.


I want to make clear, BRAG is event for every type of rider of every age on every type of bike. There are rest stops every 10-15 miles allowing you to go as fast or as slow as you would like. Some people finish each day before lunch; others finish by dinnertime. If you are at all interested in learning more and think you may want to give it a try, message me any time! In addition, there are shorter 3-day rides in the fall and spring you can try to see if big BRAG is for you. In October there’s a 3-day ride from Chattanooga to Atlanta which we plan to do; come join us!

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Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) Day 1!

For the second year in a row Adam and I have joined the Bike Ride Across Georgia, BRAG, an annual weeklong cycling and camping trip with about 100 riders. Last year we started in Atlanta and finished in Savannah. This year we’re heading from Athens to Brunswick/St. Simons Island! 

On Saturday, Adam drove the Subaru to Brunswick and took a BRAG shuttle to the start in Athens. I was in charge of camp and drove the bikes and gear to Athens to check in and get settled. Adam sat in moving vehicles all day and I hoofed a couple hundred pounds of bikes and gear; I’d say we’re even. At each location we camp in schools or community centers, and you can camp inside or outside. As of last year we ride with a group called Team Papparazi so we usually try to stick with them in the indoor camping facilities; usually gyms. Most of these facilities have had AC which is the primary advantage of camping indoors in June. We do carry a tent as backup though. Each rider is allowed up to 2, 50lb bags which are transported to each location on a truck. 

After an evening of dinner and drinks with our group in Athens and chatting with familiar BRAG faces, we set out for Washington this morning at 7am. This was a moderate 60 mile ride with several rest stops along the way. Most of the ride was through farmland with LOTS of corn, some cows, a few goats, dogs, and a couple of snakes. Quiet roads with no vehicular agression. That’s a win in my book. We rode with some members of our group in a quick little pace line at various points during the morning, as well as some quiet miles with just me and Adam. I was happy to also run into an old friend from the Atlanta Outdoor Club who I haven’t seen in some years. 

We arrived around 11 in Washington to shower, set up our indoor abode, and have lunch. At each town they set up shuttle buses to the town center. Most of the stores and restaurants in Washington are closed on Sundays but they opened several locations just for the BRAG riders. Adam and I walked around the square and visited some of the historic sites. On the shuttle ride back to camp, a local historian was giving a historic tour. Washington has more antebellum homes per capita than any other US town, and is full of revolutionary and Civil War history. Unfortunately, the town is not near the main highway so it probably doesn’t get as much traffic as needed to truly capitalize on its’ historic significance. However, if you happen to be traveling south of Athens, I highly recommend the detour to see the amazing homes in historic Washington Wilkes. They have a spring tour of homes, as well as a holiday tour of homes. 

Voted most beautiful library in GA

Adam and I plan to grab dinner at the yummy looking food truck on site and relax for th rest of the evening. Tomorrow we head to Thomson. Let me know if you have any questions about our trip along the way!

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BibRave Review: BUFF UV Arm Sleeves

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF UV Arm Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I use arm warmers a lot during the winter and transitional months. I’ve been curious to try sun sleeves but have been wary due to the excessive heat of the Atlanta summer. The opportunity to try these ultra light, thin, UV protected arm sleeves from one of my favorite brands, BUFF®, was welcome. Add in some fun colors and I was officially sold.

From the BUFF® website the UV arm sleeves:

  • Provides UPF 40+ protection*
  • Moisture wicking fabric is breathable and comfortable
  • Durable, comfortable four-way stretch for light compression
  • Stretch flatlock seam eliminates chafing
  • Antimicrobial fabric treatment helps control odors
  • Lightweight, compressible and packable
  • Slightly smaller elastic upper (compared to angling version) holds sleeve comfortably in place
  • Reflective elements for added low-light visibility

By time I received the arm sleeves it was already topping 90s in Atlanta so I was really worried about testing. I was able to test them a few times during evening speedwork. I soaked the sleeves in the park water fountains and they stayed damp and cool for about 30 minutes at a time. A slight breeze added to the AC effect. When they’re damp from sweat they also have a cooling effect.

However, I would say that wearing these in 90 degree temps is not ideal. The white pair may work better for hotter temps but I was all about being flashy. Having worn them during the Maine Coast Half Marathon in 60 degree temps, I’d say the arm sleeves are ideal for the 45-65 degree range. While I’m sure they provide great UV protection during hotter weather, I’m just not a fan of wearing more layers when the heat and humidity creep up.


  • Thin and lightweight
  • Fun colors but not as many options as other BUFF® products
  • Comfortable elastic band holds in place
  • Easily roll down and store in a pocket if they get too hot


  • Still too warm to wear in summer sun
  • Sizing seems to run small even though I measured myself according to size chart (due to the small size around my bicep I think this led to them chafing under my armpit – working on some solutions)

Check out what other BibRave Pros have to say:

Casey | Brad Z. | Amy W. | Tedrick | Jeannine | Lindsey |

Join BibRave and BUFF® for a Twitter #BibChat on Tuesday, June 6 @ 9PM EST for your chance to win a pair, and don’t forget to catch up with BUFF® on social media:


Do you use arm sleeves in the warmer months? Let me know what you think.


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BibRave Product Review: Feel the OO with Oofos Oomg!

Disclaimer: I received the OOFOS OOmg to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

The BibRave Pros got the chance to be early adopters of the new recovery shoe offered by Oofos. Oofos is a brand of recovery sandals that inspire #HappyFeet even after the gnarliest of runs. The “Oofoam” technology absorbs 37% more shock with every step than other recovery foam footwear, reducing stress on the knees, hips, and back. Unlike regular flipflops that have zero flexibility and arch support, Oofoam is made to cradle your arches and allow full foot articulation. In short, they’re cushy pillows of happiness. Check out this video to learn more about the technology!

I already had a pair of their original sandals, so receiving the shoe before a 3 week running push including a 50k, half marathon, marathon, and 50 miler (in that order), was quite timely. Several of these races were in colder locations where having a full shoe was more weather appropriate. 🙂


  • Amazing post-run recovery. I’ve been wearing them all week between races too with great effect. The stress on my hips seems to disappear within a day after the race for super fast recovery times.
  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Easy to clean. I threw mine in the dishwasher and air dried and I’m pretty sure they’d do find on the delicate cycle in the wash as well
  • Same awesome Oofos technology but more appropriate for daily wear, especially in cold or wet weather.


  • White soles. There are 3 color choices and only the black color has white soles. WHY?! I think a black or grey sole would look much better. The white sole on these makes them look a bit like hospital shoes.
  • Price. $120. That’s about what I pay for my running shoes and it’s twice the price of their sandals. However, unlike sneakers which are replaced every few months, these guys are meant to last (I’m waiting to hear back from Oofos exactly how long they’re supposed to last).

Visit OOFOS:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

Find out what other BibRave Pros think of the Oofos Oomg!

Tedrick | Lindsey | Jeannine |Allison | Mel | Nora | Angie | Vanessa | Emily | Janelle | Bradley |

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Bumps in the road at Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon and Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

The opportunity to run Maine Coast Marathon as a BibRave Pro was great because it allowed me to visit my parents, see my mom on Mother’s Day (something that hasn’t happened for years), and enjoy a few days noshing on some fabulous seafood in New England. It was pretty much a no-brainer. Also, since it’s still early season, the flights to Boston were affordable. Also, Maine Coast offers a 39.3 “challenge” where you can run the half on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday. Considering my 100 mile training plan includes many back-to-back long training runs, this seemed like a great way to 1) accomplish a solid 100 mile training weekend, 2) check off another month in my marathon-a-month challenge, and 3) check off another state towards the 50 state marathon club. Awesome sauce all around.

I went into this race weekend with really high expectations because the race pictures, videos, and pre-race information just sounded great. While I accomplished all my goals for the weekend, I was left less than impressed unfortunately. You can read my BibRave race reviews of the half and full, but I’ll highlight some of the pros and cons here.


  • I got to meet awesome BibRave Pros Brenda and Kim! Ok, this has nothing to do with the race, but I still think it’s important. Brenda is an incredibly experienced runner, with many ultras including a couple of Hundos under her belt so it was cool to chat with her considering my grand running plans for this year. I’m excited we’ll get to see each other again in July at Mad Marathon.  Kim was super sweet and I think will provide a nice back-of-the-pack review of the half marathon. I’m looking forward to hearing her perspective.
  • Pre-race info: TONS of information provided. I actually felt a little inundated because I was getting duplicate emails due to being registered for both races.
  • Courses: I think both the half and full courses are beginner friendly. The half is pretty flat with some rolling hills. The full is definitely hillier but still considered a fast course I think. Running along the ocean was nice but there was still more miles in neighborhoods and busy state highways than I’d like.
  • Aid stations: every 2 miles including water and sports drink in both races. The full course had various food at half of the stations including hot soup, sport beans, cookies, and peanut butter pretzels.
  • Parking: since it’s such a small race, parking was very easy
  • Post-race beer: I’ve never had Shipyard Brewing but it was refreshing and they offered several choices. Not bad.


  • Expo: very small with poorly trained volunteers. They wouldn’t even give you a plastic bag for your bibs, swag, safety pins, etc. You had to be “VIP” to get a bag.
  • Swag: this is an “al-a-carte” race where you can opt in for race shirt and other amenities. However, at $140 (early bird pricing) for the challenge, this is not a cheap race. I’ve done many other races for less money that included everything that Maine Coast nickel and dimes you for, e.g. bag check, shuttle bus, race shirt. I like the idea of al-a-carte races since I have enough race shirts and swag to fill a department store. However, the race registration should reflect the exclusion of these amenities. That’s the whole point of offering al-a-carte.
  • Course: I pointed out above the aspects of the course I did like. The weather during the half was much better and offered the full course views, but it was still disappointing IMO. The worst aspect of the course was the amount of running we did on the side of busy roads (none of the roads were closed to traffic). They also had us running on the shoulder on the right hand side. This is dangerous. If you have to run in the road you should always do so facing traffic. On most parts of the course they didn’t even have it coned off, and I saw several instances of race marshals allowing cars to cut in between runners. At one point I was running more in the middle of the road because the shoulder was barely more than a ditch and it was very off-camber. A race marshal yelled at me to get off the road. Why should people pay to run on a course that forces them to run with traffic in a ditch?
  • Post-race food: this was lacking. The volunteer let me take 1 mini bagel with some peanut butter and a quarter slice of a banana, and some pretzels. This is fine for covering you in the first half hour after a marathon, but for a post-race “party” they should offer something a little more substantial. Again, this race isn’t cheap so you’d think you’d get a bit more bang for the buck. Admittedly, the shitty weather on marathon day made me pretty grumpy post race anyway.
  • Attitude: I think I’d be a little kinder to this race if I hadn’t encountered so many ill-trained, rude people. Every question was met with dumbfounded stares and a few people actually laughing in my face (for asking about race shirts). It was obvious that if you weren’t “VIP” people didn’t care about you (even though paying for VIP was just paying for amenities the race should have offered with regular registration anyway). Like my mother always says, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. I had a bad taste in my mouth from the moment I stepped into the expo. You’d expect a little more positive personality from a small town race and it was difficult for me to separate that from my overall race experience.

I’d be curious if anyone else out there has experience with a race being diminished due to poor customer service? Maybe it’s just the New Yorker in me, but poor customer service is death. 😛

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Fun sized tunes for a Fun Size Athlete

 Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I received my first pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium to test last year as a BibRave Pro ad they’ve been moving between my car, backpack, travel bag, gym bag ever since.  You can read my original review here. I also tested the pink version for AfterShokz’ #AwareWithPink Campaign in support of cancer research. These wireless headphones are light, comfortable, and offer great safety with their bone conducting, open ear technology.  I’ve share all my pairs with friends and family, and the Aftershokz love has spread. Many friends use them for working out, my husband uses them while working in a lab, and I use them for some workouts, bluetooth phone calls, and travel.

When the mini version of the Trekz Titanium became available I was excited to get my hands on a pair.  While the original pair are comfortable, they’re a bit long around the back of my head. The Trekz Titanium Mini are 2″ shorter than the original  with all the same awesome technology benefits.

From the Aftershokz website:

“Powered by bone conduction technology, Trekz Titanium sit on your cheekbones and deliver sound via mini vibrations to your inner ear, bypassing your eardrums completely.”

This means you can wear Aftershokz while still hearing your surroundings. I’ve worn my runs while still chatting with friends and hearing passing cars. Don’t get caught unaware! AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini retail for $129.95 and come in black, pink, green, and blue variation.  Get yours now through this link and you’ll receive a complimentary water bottle.

Need more convincing? See what other BibRave Pros have to say:

Amy | Jenna | Mai | Frank |

Connect with Aftershokz on Twitter and Instagram!

Join BibRave and Aftershokz for #BibChat on Twitter on May 23rd at 9PM EST for a chance to win your own pair of Trekz Titanium Mini headphones! 

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Yeti 100 Training Week 3 Recap: A tale of ice and ponies

Yup, I missed this post last week but there wasn’t much to update anyway. Due to 1) last week of school insanity (working 15 + hr days) and forced taper entering 3 weeks of long races, I stuck to the 2 kickboxing plus personal training sessions and maybe ran a total of 3 miles for the week. Great for normies; uneventful for me. This whole week was leading up to the first epic weekend of 3 runny weekends; Grayson Highlands 50k (more on that later). Since I had to register for the race months ago, I miscalculated when the semester would be officially over. Unfortunately I had 3 full blown analyses and publication quality research studies to write within the last week and a half. My toughest and final class project, graph theory, is due on Monday, May 8. Oy vey. Work hard to play hard I guess. Somehow I managed to get all the research and papers written by Friday, 11 am in time to leave for Virginia. So, with all that in mind, here was my training week:

  • Monday: 1 hour kickboxing at X3 Sports, followed by 45 minutes personal training.
  • Wednesday: 1 hour kickboxing at X3 Sports, followed by 45 minutes personal training.
  • Saturday: Grayson Highlands 50k in Virginia!
    • This race was amazing even under less than ideal weather conditions. I say that lightly. Race morning was barely 30 degrees, whiteout conditions, sleet, and 35mph winds…in May…in the South. WTF?! Running across the high point of the course we had almost no visibility and could barely run due to the wind in some spots. Trail conditions were a mess, with tons of water so my feet were wet and freezing from the start. It was not shaping up to be a good day. Sometime after lunch the clouds blew off a bit and the sun made an appearance for a few hours, making it a completely different day. Right about the time we had been pretty soul sucked, we found the long horn steer, and the wild ponies! The wild park animals are not to be trifled with but one of the ponies had different plans. The pony encounter gave us some energy for the next few miles but sometime after mile 21 my IT band started acting up and I got some runners knee in my left knee. I managed alright but it was pretty frustrating and I was definitely feeling exhausted by this point (probably some due to lack of sleep this week and some due to elevation). By the time mile 25 rolled around the cold, wind, and sleet were back with force and I slogged the last 4 miles back pretty wet and cold. I was an hour slower than I hoped but a finish is a finish, especially in crazy weather!
  • Sunday: I was supposed to run the half marathon today as well but opted out due to my weird knee situation. I’m pretty sure it’s fine and just needs some stretching and rest but didn’t want to aggravate further considering I’m traveling next week for a half and full marathon in Maine. I may be dumb, but I’m not that dumb. 🙂

So there you have it. Not too shabby. Interspersed with all that was 15+hr work days including CDC reports and 3 research projects, completing house chores, errands, packing for a weekend trip, and somehow seeing my husband every once in a while. #NoExcuses

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Yeti 100 Training Week 1 Recap

Obviously, my marathon-a-month training goal for the year is only a fraction of what needs to be done for 100-mile training.  I’m using a modified 24-week training plan from the book Relentless Forward Progress by Bryon Powell. I say “modified” because the plan utilizes 5 run days a week. I know from experience that my body does better on less run days (3-4) with cross training in between. My plan so far is to hit the long runs and as many back-to-back runs as possible, while deferring to strength/cross training in place of a few workouts a week. Week 1 of the plan is complete and here is a recap:

  • Monday: 1 hour kickboxing at X3 Sports, followed by 45 minutes personal training with the champ himself, Joe, and one of my badass training buddies, Stephanie.
  • Tuesday: #10kTuesday! Did this in the heat of the evening so it was tough, but got it done.
  • Wednesday: 1 hour kickboxing followed by 45ish minutes personal training in the morning. Speedwork in the evening – 6×600 with 400 rest. Total = 5 miles.
  • Thursday: Was feeling lead-legged by this point so chose a rest day instead.
  • Friday: Had planned an indoor ride or swim but plans sidelined by family funeral. Probably needed the additional rest anyway.
  • Saturday: BRAG Spring Tune-Up ride – 57 miles in Rutledge, GA. Adam and I training again for the “Big” BRAG in June – a week riding from Athens to Brunswick/St. Simons, GA!
  • Sunday: 11.6 miles with another badass bitch, Tina (check out her awesome blog!). 7 mile out-and-back on the Atlanta Beltline, followed by 2 repeats of the Monroe to 10th Street segment of Piedmont Road, aka the “Hill of Suck”. Plan is to add on more repeats in the future to help train for the uphill section of the Yeti 100.

Week 1 was tough to get my body used to training mode again, but I managed even with hectic school schedule. I started a Good Measure Meals plan this week and it was helpful for fueling and maintaining healthy eating habits during a difficult to schedule week. I’ve committed to a month on the plan and look forward to potential results by the end of 4 weeks.

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Run Yeti Far

The genesis of my marathon-a-month challenge for 2017 is actually the training for my first 100 mile race, The Yeti 100, in September. A consistent training recommendation I hear from veteran 100 mile runners is “time on your feet”. I’m not a particularly high mileage per week runner and don’t plan to change that much. I’ve found in the past that 3-4 days of running/week with back-to-back weekend long runs when needed, and lots of cross training, has prepared me best for distance events while preventing injury or burnout. The marathon-a-month challenge seems like a good way to keep miles on my feet without going too much beyond marathon training distance on my own. So far for 2017 I’ve done:

  • January: Cloudland Canyon 50 (turned 35 due to weather)
  • February: Thrill in the Hills trail marathon
  • March: 5:15 pacer for the Publix Georgia Marathon

I can’t find any April races that fit my hectic work/school schedule but I did cover the distance in a much more important way; I attended the Yeti 100 training run. The training run covered the entire 33-mile Virginia Creeper Trail segment we will run 3 times on race day. The race director led a group of about 40 runners from the start line at White Top, VA to the turnaround at mile 33 in Abingdon, VA. It was a great way to get a lay of the trail, the surrounding area and crew access points (the trail is completely accessible at all points), tips and tricks from the director and previous participants, and start adjusting my training plans. Full disclosure: I’ve been working non-stop in school with little sleep and spent the first half of this week at a conference in Florida. I’m constantly tired, my nutrition is whack, and my training has been non-existent since Publix Marathon on March 19. I ran into some friends taking pics at mile 26 and decided to hang with them rather than drag myself the last 7ish miles to Abingdon.  I was feeling depleted and nauseous, and had already decided to come for the 2nd training in June so I wasn’t too concerned or even sad about this. It was an amazing day, and amazing run with great people. Zero complaints or worries.  I completed 27 miles (with the walk back to the car) so I accomplished my April marathon goal. Check.

Take home points:

  • Wear road shoes next training visit and on race day. The trail is an old rail line that has been converted to gravel path. It was completely non-technical but it’s also nearly as hard as road so my hips, knees, and back were feeling much like they do in a road marathon. My trail shoes with a rock plate were not helping. Cushy road shoes it is; most other participants agree this is the way to go.
  • Wear short gaiters. Many trail runners wear these to keep mud and rocks out of their shoes. I usually only wear them in muddy conditions, but the small gravel on this trail was easily kicked up and depositing around my ankles.
  • Strength training – it turns out my friend and I already plan to add strength training after our kickboxing sessions twice a week at X3 Sports, starting on Monday. This is well timed. Since the trail starts down hill for 18 miles, then levels to flat and only slightly uphill to the turnaround, it’s a deceptively difficult course. I used intervals in order to force myself to go easy on the long downhill. Race wisdom shows that blasting down the first segment ends in defeat when you blow your legs up early. The pounding on a hard surface and the relatively unchanging grade makes for a brutal time on your quads, hips, calves, etc. I’m convinced that some good lower leg strength work is needed so that my legs feel better for longer on race day. We’re 6 months out from race day so I’m really glad I know this now. Plan in place.
  • My new Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini headphones fit much better than my original full size pair, and are very comfortable for extended periods of time, even while wearing a visor and sunglasses. The entire Hamilton soundtrack got me 15 miles. I have a feeling this will be my playlist of the last 15 miles on race day. Side note: these headphones use bone conduction technology. They sit on the outside of your ears so you can jam out while running but still hear your running partners and surroundings. Check them out!

Orange Mud VP2 took me a solid 27 miles

I’ve decided to attend the next training run on June 17, so this gives me time to implement the above changes and see how it affects the next run. I came. I saw. I created a plan. Relentless Forward Progress.

*Thanks to Race Director Jason Green for the awesome cover photo!

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