Friday, April 20, 2012

Table Rock/Sassafras run & Black Mountain Monster 12hr

I have finally signed up for this race:
The 12hour individual. Not ready to try for more (yet). My training is still going well. Last weekend I went out to Table Rock State Park. Starting at the parking lot, goal was to get to Sassafras and return. Never been up there before - and about 8+ years since I'd been to Table Rock at all. Hiked most of the uphills - and there was alot! Trails in TRSP were just ok. I took a quick detour to see Mill Creek Falls and once I made it onto the Foothills Trails (outside TRSP), the trails became very nice, mostly runnable. Surprisingly easy to follow - but I went thru a campsite not paying attention and ended up going a mile or so down (and it was downhill...) a logging road. I knew it didn't seem right, and checked my FHT section outline and it said "logging road", so I kept on going down, not seeing blazes, before heading back. What's some extra mileage when you have nowhere to be...

Back on trail kept moving decently, but really had my mileage/time muddled. Certain landmarks at associated mileages I just could not find and after just over 3 hours - really had no clue how close I was to Sassafras (Highest point in SC at over 3500 feet). Finally saw the road thru the trees and I was there. Spent some time at the overlook for some photos, went up the road a bit closer to the actual "top" before heading back after 3:30.
Brought my 20oz handheld and only my 2 liter bladder in my Camelbak. Down about half of it and because it was much lighter - moved around a bit more. Didn't like running with it like that - so did something I expect many non-runners will laugh about - but put two good sized rocks in my pack to weigh it down. Worked great for a few miles, until it dug into my back a bit, then took them out. Really enjoyed this section and my legs felt really good. There was a point or two that my legs felt it and didn't like going up so much, but I worked thru it and kept moving.
Once I got back to Table Rock (without backtracking the two "detours") - the running got slower with the steep, technical descents. Finished up in 5:49. Legs still felt good...wonder how long I could have gone??
Just spent the week away for work in El Paso and Juarez - so only 3 short runs on the dreaded treadmill. Blah. Calling that a recovery week that I didn't seem to need, but likely good for me in the long term.
So today - I signed up for that 12 hour race and after what has been 8 weeks (tomorrow) of averaging right under 40 mi/wk - a 50 mile goal in 12 hours seems reasonable. 6 weeks away - just need to keep it up!

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