Training run on the Blue Ridge Marathon course

IMG_20140222_111618_331Our plan was to run (roughly) the first 15 miles of the marathon course. We did two similar runs before the race last year.

Even though it was just a training run, I had been pretty nervous about it for a few days. It’s a tough run, and although I’d been running up O Hill here in Charlottesville as part of my training, I hadn’t done any climbing comparable to what we were about to tackle.

This shows two trips up O Hill:

O HillOur training run today:

roanoke mountain runI wish my Garmin showed all runs on the same scale, it would be easier to see the difference.

IMG_20140222_084750_546

Miles 1-5:

When we started, I was wearing two layers on top, a hat, gloves and shorts. I took my hat off 3 minutes into the run. Just after mile one, I took off my long sleeve shirt and gloves. As I was stuffing them into my hydration pack, I realized that I’d forgotten my body glide. I was also having trouble with the bite valve on my hydration pack. I had to close it after every sip, or it would leak all over me. It’s really hard to get the stupid thing closed while I’m running, so this was a minor annoyance I had to deal with for the rest of the run.

I was kind of tired when we started climbing, and didn’t feel much like talking. I still wasn’t sure how the run was going to go. I tried not to think about the long climb ahead.

As we neared the Blue Ridge Parkway, I started to feel better. The sky was bright blue and we could actually feel the warmth from the sun.

The overlook turnout just before the Blue Ridge Parkway was snow-covered and we wondered if the road up Roanoke Mountain would be clear enough to run on.

Miles 6-9:

The road was surprisingly clear of snow. It almost seemed as though it had been plowed.

Pretty much as soon as we started climbing up Roanoke Mountain, I knew I was going to be able to finish the run. I was feeling better than I had early on in the run.

We stopped at the Mill Mountain overlook and took a picture of the Mill Mountain Star, where we would be in another four or five miles.

IMG_20140222_100513_412IMG_20140222_100540_647At this point, we were still pretty far from the top of Roanoke mountain, and it was hard to get going again after we’d stopped.

When we reached the top, we stopped again for more pictures and some fuel. I’ve been using unsweetened and unsulfered dried fruit (apricots and mango for this run) instead of Gu lately.

IMG_20140222_101451_121IMG_20140222_101657_632Then it was time for some very-welcomed (by me, anyway) down hill running.

IMG_20140222_102219_581The road down is on the shady side of the mountain, so there were a few snow-covered sections.

IMG_20140222_102342_628Miles 10-16:

I continued to feel good until we started the climb back up Mill Mountain. My legs were getting tired and my upper arm was starting to chafe. I made Kurt stop so I could put my long sleeve shirt back on. I was quite warm and didn’t want to, but I had no body glide and didn’t want to end up with a bloody arm.

It was tough going for a while, but I just put my head down and kept shuffling forward. There was a lot of traffic on the road up to the Mill Mountain star and all the cars started to annoy me.

Finally, we made it to the star.

IMG_20140222_111618_331IMG_20140222_111708_181I was happy at this point because all of the tough climbing was behind us.

As we headed down the mountain I realized that it was actually nice that so many people were outside enjoying the beautiful weekend day on the mountain. I forgave them for driving by me in their cars to get there.

Kurt and I were both pretty exhausted (and hungry!) when we got back to the car, but my Garmin said we’d run 15.35 miles. We ran around the park to make it an even 16 miles.

We cleaned up and headed to the best Chipotle on the planet.

IMG_20140222_122905_213We’ve only been to the Chipotle in Roanoke after running up Roanoke Mountain, so our food always tastes insanely good. It was so good today that I wondered if it actually is better than any other Chipotle. One day we’ll have to go when we haven’t just finished a long, hard run and solve that mystery.

Thirty days at ACAC

IMG_20140122_103644_979Overall, I was happy with my thirty days as a member of ACAC.

I was impressed with the variety and number of classes, although I only took advantage of the yoga classes.

I anticipated that I’d mostly just be using the showers (after running outside) and taking yoga classes, but the unusually cold weather found me taking advantage of the treadmills on more than a few occasions.

I went back to the Kripalu yoga class one more time, but the substitute instructor was there again, so I still don’t know any more about this style of yoga.

I was also hoping to make it to an Ashtanga yoga class, but it never happened.

It was interesting to me that my thirty days came and went and I never got a call or email from ACAC. I was sort of under the impression that they offered discounts like this hoping to acquire new members. I’m probably not interested in joining, but I have no idea how much it would cost, or what it would involve.

To their credit, they did fix the one problem I had during my time there quickly and without any hassle. When I signed up, I was told that I could have the thirty days start on whichever date I wanted it to. I signed up on December 31st, but chose to have my membership start on January 5th. Toward the end of January, I asked what date my membership would end and was told February 28th. Wait! That’s not 30 days. They had started my membership the day I signed up. I had to wait for somebody from membership to show up, but as soon as they did, they extended my membership, no questions asked.

Pros:

  • variety and number of yoga (and other) classes
  • Alex’s yoga classes in particular
  • assisted pull-up machine (I love that thing!)
  • convenience (I can walk to work from the downtown location)
  • towels and hair dryers provided

Cons:

  • not sure of price/pretty sure it’s too much
  • thirty minute limit on the treadmills
  • extremely crowded locker room
  • not open early enough on weekends

Verdict:

If ACAC were the same price as my other gym, I would switch just for Alex’s yoga classes. But, the price is not the same, so I will most likely return to my old gym this weekend. The city of Charlottesville has decent facilities for very reasonable rates (especially if you live within the city limits, which I don’t).