Monthly Archives: November 2013

Patience is a Virture, Keep it if you can. Seldom in a Woman and Never in a Man?

Patience is a Virtue…

I can still hear my best friend’s mom saying this while we danced around the kitchen in anticipation of the first taste of her cooling home made cookies.  Patience. I am still not a very patient person.

How long to recover?

16 days…16 days since Pinhoti and I’m so antsy to get back to training!  I was really proud of myself, I didn’t run or bike for a full week!  That’s pretty major for me.   I was just happy to foam roll, stretch, nap, and catch up on some Netflix.  As I laid myself out on our couch, my husband and dog wondered who this lazy person was.  (This is not to say that I didn’t walk several hours a day…that is technically my day job.)

Easy Strength Training

In the past I feel like I have jumped back to running, forgetting that in order to have good form, and not injure myself, I need to be strong and flexible.  In the mornings I have been doing a little light yoga; some downward dogs, sun salutations, warrior poses, planks, and of course lots of pigeon!  I have also been doing some single leg squats, core and upper body strengthening.  I am hoping that this will keep away any of those nagging tendonitis problems I have run into in the past.

Keeping Myself Busy

There is always my job, but I have been blogging more, and cooking too.

Today I tried a recipe for energy bars from Trail Runner Magazine 

I followed the directions but changed up the ingredients a bit. I didn’t have goji berries, so I used dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and pecans. I also added cinnamon, ginger and cloves into the mix. I spend so much money on store bought bars, with no control over what type of nuts and seeds are in there, so I thought I’d try out my own.  So far, so good.  The real test will be if my husband will eat them 🙂


I have run here and there.  The first day back out was pretty pathetic.  My husband has always been a casual runner, and Sunday’s are usually my easy/off days where we take the dog out and we just chat and spend time together as a family. No workouts in mind, no distances over an hour, usually.  My first run post Pinhoti we ran together and he had to loop back and drop me off after 30 minutes.  That was humbling 🙂  Since then I have worked up to a full hour run on the trail now.  If I feel like walking, I let myself walk hills, or overly technical parts of the trail. I am aware I’m not picking up my feet as I should, and my right ankle and shin are a little sore and swollen.  The one shin starts to burn by the end of the day…I think I probably have a bit of this; tibialis anterior tendonitis.  I had a rock in my shoe that was causing a blister.  My fantastic crew got my shoe off and took care of my blister for me, but I think my shoe was tied a bit too tightly and rubbed that tendon numb.  I am hopeful with stretching, icing, and some calf exercises it will heal in a timely manner.

So back to Patience…

Every article, and blog I have read has suggested that it takes 3-4 weeks for your muscles and tendons to heal, and then 5-6 weeks for your endocrine system to recharge itself.  I think I can be patient, right?  Until then I will continue to stretch, jog slowly, strength train, cook, and relax.


How long does it take you to recover from 100 miles?


Love my Altra Lone Peak 1.5!

This email I sent to Altra says it all!

Dear AltraFootwear,

I am an avid runner, who just in the last 3 years, has fallen in love with trail running, and not just trail running, but ultra trail running.  My transition from running all roads to running mostly all trails began in 2010 when I fell in with a local running group.  It was a rocky, pun intended, beginning. On the roads a 7 min mile pace was pretty easy, what a surprise that the technical trails around here slowed me down, and not only slowed me down, but required more from the small muscled in my ankles and feet.
A local running store put me in some really heavy, inflexible shoes that wrecked my gait, and my Achillies tendons!  After my first trail race, the Uwharrie 40mile mountain run, I was out with Achillies tendonitis for 8 months, but with a second place finish under my belt as my first ever trail race (and ultra trail race) I was hooked and wanted more.  I patiently biked, swam, and physical therapy-ed my way back to the trails, this time with shoes I was much happier in, the NB101’s- low profile, straight lasted, and minimal shoe!  Immediately things felt better, however, the tread on them was lacking, they were slippery on wet technical trails (here on the east coast its all rocks and roots,) and they wore out so fast.  The upper basically just ripped off after a few months. I have been searching since 2010 for trail shoes that my feet love….enter the Lone Peak 1.5.
A friend of mine works at a running store and has similar taste in running shoes, recommended the Lone Peak 1.5 to me.  At this time I was only a month out from racing the Grindstone 100 in VA and was a bit reluctant to switch shoes so close to my first 100 mile race.  Unfortunately, the government shut down closed the forest that Grindstone runs through, so I had to find another race fast!  I was lucky and got into Pinhoti, which gave me another month to really get used to the Lone Peak’s.  With my longest run in them only 20 miles, I knew they were going to be my racing shoe anyway!!

I brought an older pair of shoes just in case, but never even gave them a second thought during the race.

They were everything I have been searching for in a shoe! Great grip, wide forefoot that accommodate my wider (since minimal running) foot, straight lasted, which allowed for proper proprioception, soft enough foot bed, but firm enough that I didn’t feel all the little sharp pebbles on the trail. They even felt great on the few miles of pavement!  I was just amazed, and in love.  All summer long 30 miles into training runs the bottoms of my feet would just ache, and there I was crossing the finish line in 22:59 and my feet were just about the only thing that didn’t hurt!  No black and blue toe nails, no blisters, in fact I belong to a running club, and I took a picture of my feet right after the race to prove how great my feet looked.  (several people just ran Virgil’s Crest, Leadville, and a handful of other races and all of their feet looked terrible post race.)

I will certainly be continuing to run in my Lone Peak’s for my next race, Mountain Mitchell Challenge 40, in North Carolina, and will be looking to try more of your shoes soon!.

Thank you so much for your time, and creating your shoes!
Be well,

Rachel Bell Kelley

Topic: Trail Runner Blog Symposium. Do Trail Races Result in Unnecessary Damage to the Environment?

Current Topic: Do trail races result in unnecessary damage to the environment?


I think that trail races result in less unnecessary damage to the environment than they once did.  Not only are runners more aware of their physical presence in the woods, but RD’s and runners think about their pre race preparations affects as well.  For instance, many of my friends and I choose races we can drive to, and then carpool to races.

Not only are people aware of their carbon foot print before the race, but the are aware of it during and after races as well. Many races are becoming cupless to cut down on paper waste and trash clean up after. I was signed up for Grindstone 100 this year (before the government shut down) and as part of the pre race instructions the RD, Clark Zeland, sent this;

“Cupless! Each year we typically go through approx. 2500 paper cups for the race so we are joining the growing list (see list below) of cupless races across the country in an attempt to produce less waste. Your UltrAspire 6oz cup will be included as part of this year’s race swag which you will get at race check-in on Friday afternoon. Please make sure to carry this on your person during the race for use at aid stations. 2013 Cupless Races:

a.       Chuckanut 50k b.      Antelope Island races c.Coyote Backbone d.  Lake Sonoma 50 e.Miwok 100k  f.  Pocatello 50m  g.San Diego 100m h.Bear Brook Marathon Ultra.     I.   El Vaquero Loco 50k j.   Wasatch 100m”

It has become more typical for most RD’s post trail ettiquitte on their “rules and regulations” page. Packing out all gu’s and other wrappers, and also using the bathroom away from water sources, or digging holes for solid waste are part of these rules.

One of the most notable races, Hardrock, even went as far as taking Leadville off of their qualifying list citing lack of environmental responsibility;

      “A note about the 2013 Leadville 100: The Leadville 100 includes many of the features that   are important for a HR qualifier: high altitude, long climbs, potential for mountain weather, and more. However, the 2013 Leadville 100 ignored other traits of importance to the HR: environmental responsibility, support of the hosting community, and having a positive impact on the health of our sport. Because of timing, the 2013 LT100 will still be accepted as a qualifier for the 2014 HR. LT100 finishes will not be accepted as qualifiers for the 2015 HRH and beyond.”


My garmin information, up to mile 71 when the battery died.

My garmin information, up to mile 71 when the battery died.

The data readout for the first 71 miles of the Pinhoti 100. 

I finally found my battery’s limit, 16 hours 32 minutes.


My first 100! Pinhoti Report

My first 100! Pinhoti in Talladega National Forest

I need to start with a great big thanks to my crew and pacers! Ringo,Lynx, and ET! It was really so fantastic to have them there and have their help and support…and thanks to all my friends, family, and treahead crew for sending your vibes, texts, emails and facebook posts!

So where to begin, in the beginning maybe?  So May 1980, I was born,…no wait, that’s too early…


Ok this summer 2013 a trailhead and I decided it would be fun to try to see how many miles we could do in a week…we started with a plan to build up, and take appropriate weeks off so we could max out and not get injured. A few weeks into this plan, I realized that with all this mileage..why not sign up for an actual race? Makes sense, right? So will a little help and a lot of butterflies Lynx signed me up for Grindstone…(yes, that’s right…couldn’t actually hit the “enter” key myself)

Fast forward past my 150 mile week in the July heat, and on to October.  You all know what happened to Grindstone In October…or what didn’t happen I guess.

Anyway, in a panic I emailed around looking for another race, and Todd, the RD of Pinhoti  graciously let me sneak into his race at the last minute. 

So there I was, at the starting line this Saturday thinking about my 6 week taper and wondering if my legs would even remember how to run, never mind how to run fast.   As Et snapped some prerace photos, Lynx tried to guide me to the front of the starting line. Burn wished me good luck and told me this had better be the last time he saw me until the finish..and went to the back of the croud.  I could see Ringo and his excitement for me off to the side as he gave me a thumbs up….

And we were off!

The start is very reminiscent of Uwharrie Mountain Run.  Start down low in a forest parking lot, pop onto a road for barely even time to register it, and then (in this case) quickly into very narrow single track.  In the bunch of the narrow single track I got pushed pretty far back and stuck behind lots and lots of guys. This frustration of walking all the puny hills and my overflow of annoyance from Grindstone probably wasn’t great for the smart pacing at the beginning. The trail was dark and narrow, there was quite a drop off to the right and it was steep on the left.  The only way around anyone was to wait for the water crossing. To my shock people were stopping and waiting their turn to hop on each rock over the water.  (this is a trail race right?) I knew there were 15+ water crossings throughout the race so I plunged right in and around several people. I heard someone yell at me for cutting, and then someone also exclaim what a great idea it was to go through the water…(again, this was a trail race,right?) unfortunately I let It all boil over and went too fast, by sunrise I had put in my headphones and tried to cool off.


After finally getting around several herds of people I was able to run my pace, 8min-:9:30 min pace…oops! But at the time it felt very comfortable. I try to run on feel, I know when my heartrate is getting too high and when to walk, and it wasn’t getting high enough for me to walk. I got through aid station 1 not wanting to stop because I was afraid I would get caught back up in the slower groups again, but had to get some water because I was trying to make sure to drink one bottle between each aid station (they were all roughly 4-6 miles apart) The first 15 miles I cruised quite happily, Mostly all by myself, which I like during races.  Otherwise I like to chat, (yes I know, shocker there) and I stop actually racing.  I realized I really liked that I could see my crews smiling faces every 5 or so miles, it helped the miles tick along and was helpful to break up the race into smaller parts mentally. By the third aidstation Lynx started to inform me something about #2 was more than an minute back…wait, #2? As in who was #1…oh crap! I had just assumed I was so far back that I was stuck in a huge gap between the middle of the pack and the front of the pack, I did not realize I was the front of the (women’s) pack.  That knowledge always messes with my head at the beginning of a race and I panicked a bit. I thought about the pace I had been running (now about 50k into the race) and how much farther I had to go, and how could I hope to hold people off, I thought about some of the rude comments that had been made at me earlier and hit my mental low…only 50k into the race.  Of course this is also the section where I wouldn’t see my crew for 15 miles (there were still aid stations in between, but no crew)  I slowed down, A LOT, and slipped back to 4th women.


I also have a sinus infection, and this was where the pressure in my head became unbearable. Its worse on my right side, and felt like it was going to pop my right eye out.  Luckily the crew had my neti pot and I used it as soon as I saw them…oh sweet relief! (but not until mile 45 or so)  Mile 35-41 is the highest climb in Alabama but was much less technical and had more switchbacks than Grindstone had so it felt mentally easier and I had crested the top much quicker than I had anticipated.   At the top I was rewarded with a really beautiful fall colored view, my crew plus the other crews, and a little bit of pavement,  Lynx joined me and we started down the other side of Bald Rock.

This of course was a public park and there were lots of people out enjoying the day. As a matter of fact I had to give my quads a break by using my arms to lower myself down on the rocks (this section was a bit like the top of grandfather mountain, lots of big boulders.) We happened upon a 3some. Two adults and their very adult mother,(maybe in her late 70s) who fell, right on her hip onto the rocks! Yikes! We all stooped down as visions of ambulances danced in our head. She insisted she was ok, and on we continued.


I finally got to my netipot and picked up Ringo.  Somewhere along the way with Ringo the sun set and the night came, and I got out of my funk.  Theres not much to say for the next 15 miles. This is where I will explain the single compression sock, i stared to get a small blister and decided it was time to attend to it. Unfortunately wet compression socks are impossible to get off, and even worse trying to get back on.  Lynx’s with his quick thinking grabbed a regular sock of mine and put it on. I had already wasted 5-10 min messing with getting it off, so we just left it that way. Back onto the singletrack there was a lot of up, a lot of dark, and at some point I could no longer eat solid foods so I could only drink,,,so needless to say there was also a lot of peeing. Lots of good storytelling from Ringo, he kept me moving, kept my spirits up and kept track of my calories forcing coke, dates, and ginger ale down my throat to keep me from bonking.  What more could you ask for from a pacer. Oh…and he also kept my ego pumped up (thanks Ringo! this is my Ringo plug…he pushed me just enough, but not too much because he was aware I was close to bonking while he counted just a handful of calories I could get down)


Lets fast forward to mile 85.  To my wonderful surprise the last 15 miles were mostly on jeep roads and a little single track, a field, and around a track to the finish. My pace went from a single track slog, to a11:30 min mile. And with Lynx’s encouragement we started reeling in people left and right. (we went ultrarunner hunting!) We were moving so fast we actually missed Ringo and ET at the last aid station we ran into a guy coming the wrong way, somehow he got turned around and was bonking and confused, we made sure he followed us to aid station 95 where his crew was.  (lynx will add in red because at this point i was coasting in on fumes and too much caffeine..  I don’t remember too much)  From here we went on to some single track that was low on the technical side but high on the Alabama-Deep South-Banjo scale. Came out of the woods to a lake and ran on a built path through the middle. Dropped the 100 miler who had been behind us, shortly caught up to another. On to the road and ET and Ringo were in the car with words of encouragement. As we ran “the longest road in the world,” I pointed out the lights ahead, sure signs of another runner. Passed him a couple minutes later.-Lynx

Lynx got a good chuckle too because I did ask if we were on the right course (it was very obvious to anyone that we were)Finally after some obnoxious road and lots of lynx poking I could see the lights of the high school track just around the corner. I was so excited! I turned off my headlamp hoping to run it in without blinding everyone.  Of course when we got onto the field, we couldn’t see the reflectors without our headlamps illuminating the way.  I looked down at my watch to see 22:58 crap!!…I decided I needed to go under 23 hours so I sprinted (or at least it felt like I sprinted) across the finish line.  As I crossed there was a woman, who looked quite familiar smiling at me, holding a sign…things did not register until after and she came over…it was Sidetrack’s MOM! She stayed up to come watch the finish and have us over for tea.  I missed the tea, I passed out on her guest bed,(there is a funny pic of me passed out with a grin on my face) and then puked in her guest bathroom….I was happy, and excited, sick to my stomach, tired as hell…but so alive and so proud of myself!

All in all the race was really well organized, all the marking kinks have been worked out.  No getting lost, not once. There is something like 80mi of single track, a few street crossings 10-15 mi of wide trail, a handful of annoying pavement to the finish, and a 1/2 of a lap around a rubberized track.  The leaves weren’t quite peak, but they were well on their way, there were plenty of nice views, rolling hills, and not too technical trail.  I would say it is a great race, I really had fun, perfect weather, beautiful sunset, and even a shooting start or two.

I havent mentioned my dear friend ET much to this point because I only saw her a few minutes every 5-10 miles, but I know how important the driver/crew is and I am so thankful that she came! Not only did she get to each aid station, but she organized and set up and rolled with the changes as they came…she took very good care of me and she took a lot of excellent pictures!

Thanks for sticking with me through my 100 mile ramblings! wispy

I wore my new FAVORITE shoes Altra Lone Peak
My Lululemon shorts that have been discontinued
My hot pink cep socks that I ALWAYS wear for races (which I must say are awesome! no lower leg/foot swelling at all!!)