Running Lately – A New Focus

I’m linking up this evening with Holly @HoHo Runs and Tricia @MissSippiPiddlin’ for their Weekly Wrap link up. Be sure to click over to both of their blogs to check them out and see who else is linking up!


This week I’m going to share a few of the runs I have done over the past three weekends. My running lately has not been stellar. I haven’t run nearly as much as I’d like to. That’s partly due to time constraints and also partly due to a high hamstring tendinopathy thing I’ve been dealing with. The latter seems to have mostly resolved, at least.

When I have gotten out for some trail running, I’ve been making it count. I’ve also moved away from focusing on mileage as much. My primary focus has been on elevation gain and time on my feet. Over the past three weekends I have run a total of 42 miles with over 14,500 feet in elevation change.

Sunday, May 22
I headed over to the Cascade falls in the Jefferson National Forest with my little sister, Rachael, and my husband, Barry. Rachael hiked to and from the falls while Barry and I did our own running workouts. I chose to run two repeats to the falls for a total of 8 miles and 1,500 feet in elevation gain/3,000 feet total change.

5-22-16 elevation


I first hiked the Cascades when I was in high school and I never imagined that eleven years later I would be running “hill” repeats there! It’s crazy the way your mind shifts when you step into the world of long distance and trail running.


Friday, May 27
Just five days later I was back at the Cascades again to run more repeats. Three this time for a total of 12 miles and 2,300 feet in elevation gain/4,600 feet total change. My legs were feeling tired from Sunday’s run, but I still had a good time with this run.



I saw a large black snake on one of my trips up to the falls. I also saw a lot of hikers out enjoying the day. It was fun when I would see groups several times and they would either cheer me on or ask how many times I was going to run up and down. It gives you a boost when people are in disbelief at what you are doing (even if they also probably think you’re crazy).


Saturday, May 28
There’s no rest for the weary, so the very next day I headed up to Pandapas Pond, also in the Jefferson National Forest, for another day of climbing. No repeats this time. Instead, I just did one of my favorite 6-ish mile loops, which covers 1,100 feet in elevation gain and 2,100 feet in total elevation change.


This run was a good chance for me to continue to practice moving on tired legs. One of the trails I climbed is called Snake Root. It stayed true to form and had lots of roots and also another big black snake (this seemed to be the weekend for snakes).



Sunday, June 5
Today was another day with a lot of climbing for me. I was up bright and early (well, dark and early since it was 3:00 AM and the sun wasn’t up yet) for my third year running Conquer the Cove 25K trail race in Roanoke. This is a tough race! This year was super humid and I ran my slowest time. However, I was running this race as a training run and I finished feeling tired but still relatively fresh. I covered 15.8 miles and a total of 2,400 feet in gain/4,800 feet total elevation change.



There were definitely times when I questioned signing up for this race again. Some parts of the course are just so tough. In the end it was another great Mountain Junkies event. I even crossed paths with a young black bear around mile 10! The mountains are alive and I’ve certainly had my share of wildlife encounters lately. Full details on the race (and the bear encounter) next week!

My attempt at the new, trendy race medal photo ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s what’s been going on with me lately!

What have you been up to lately?

18 thoughts on “Running Lately – A New Focus”

  1. Oh my gosh, those hills are impressive! I’ve seen trail runners out when I’ve been hiking but I’ve never seen someone doing repeats on a trail! I would think you were crazy but I’d understand the crazy!

  2. All of your runs are so impressive! The hills–goodness! The scenery is gorgeous! The 25K sounds like a very challenging race! Way to go in getting it done with the humidity and the tough course!

  3. Those hills look so daunting, but honestly the fear of snakes would be the biggest problem for me. Do you have to carry bear spray when you are running up and down these hills/mountains? My sister who lives in Wyoming takes bear spray whenever she is hiking and has had some very close encounters of the bear kind.

    1. No bear spray for me. I think I would carry it if I lived out west, since they have Grizzly Bears. But we only have Black Bears here, so I don’t feel the need to carry it. I do have pepper spray for potentially unfriendly dogs and people, though.

  4. I love hearing about your routes and seeing the photos. Yeah, I can see the hikers cheering for you when you were doing the hill repeats. I’ve gone on those types of hikes a lot, and I know before I started running I’d think someone running the trail was nuts. I really want to change my focus to trail running and races. I’ve never done a trail race (an actual trail race, not rails to trails) before, and I really want to start. I like the idea of focusing on time on your feet instead of miles.

  5. Wow, that elevation change is incredible. There’s not much elevation change here, so if I want to do hill running, I might as well use the treadmill. There are small hills and inclines on the roads, but not much.

  6. Hill repeats out on beautiful trails sounds so much better than doing them on Sven. I bet he appreciates the break too! Seriously, that’s some impressive elevation changes you’re doing. I’d be cheering for you too! Funny how our perspectives change when we get into different things. Thanks for your support of the WW Meagan!

  7. LOL about people wondering how many times you are going to run up and down. I have a hill where I do repeats and always feel a bit stupid. But then a biker will come along and do hill repeats too, and I don’t feel so stupid ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope your hamstring thing is OK.

  8. What a beautiful fall. I so loved visiting the falls in the Smokey mountains. This one looks huge too. Are you like me on your trail hill repeats, like going up much better than coming down? I hate coming down, I’m afraid I’ll fall.

    1. It’s 77 feet high – I guess that qualifies as huge?? ๐Ÿ™‚ Funny you should mention going up vs. down, because I do like going up better. Going down is always scary on trails!

  9. I love the beautiful pictures from the trails! That elevation is quite impressive! I like hiking to the falls in Gatlinburg, but I prefer not to encounter snakes along the way. We saw a snake on our hike to Rainbow Falls and I took off so fast in the other direction.

  10. So while you were running across black snakes on the trails, I had a black snake slither across my deck right after I’d finished planking there. Yikes!

    I’m jealous of your runs back and forth at Cascades!

    1. So funny we saw them around the same time. I’m glad yours showed up after you finished planking. I’ll bet he was lurking very nearby during your plank, though!

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