Well I have to say the 1st race of 2011 went down much better than I had imagined. I've been battling nagging little pains here and there since Hellgate and have not gotten the training in I needed to tackle 40 miles with much optimism. I was hoping Mo's Birthday run the last weekend in January would be a confidence builder and solid training run for Mitchell but it was the complete opposite. I felt sluggish, struggling to keep with the group, by the time we reached the turn around I new i was toast. My ankles were killing me and I knew the return trip wouldn't be of much benefit so I called it a day. I hadn't run more than 17 miles since hellgate going into Mitchell and I envisioned reaching the parkway in pain and having to drop down to the marathon. I was ok with that and with my training it was all I could really expect.
This first section of trail is great, gentle runnable, beautiful, much more enjoyable than running up Appalachian Way which we had to do in 2010. I tried to just get in a rhythm but it's hard because everyone bottlenecks into the single track and tend to get backed up when there are obstacles to pass. Downed trees, stairs, tricky footing. Before long we were headed up the toll road and things began to spread out, I did a mix of hiking and running, just enjoying all the rocks ; ) I came across Ashley Funderburk and another Charlotte runner and chatted with them which was nice as I was about over the toll road and ready to head up the state park rd and get a break from the rocks.