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Trail Running the Cataloochee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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  • Wednesday, July 09 2014 @ 02:41 pm EDT
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I recently had a chance to do some trail running in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After checking the maps near our rental cabin, the nearest trail I could find was the Cataloochee Divide Trail. I was able to get to the trailhead after about a 20 minute drive.

One word of warning... there isn't much parking at the trailhead at Cove Creek Gap on Cove Creek Road. I have read other hiking reports on the web that suggest parking at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Gap or at The Swag Country Inn (SWAG), but I recommend reading those reports for all of the caveats.

Parking and restroom facilities are available in the Cataloochee Valley itself and there are many connecting and loop trails that lead back up to the ridge trails.



I ran from the trailhead at Cove Creek Gap to the McKee Branch Trail and back again, which according to the trail signs was 4.6 miles each way.

Although tree growth obstructs much of the view of the surrounding mountains, there are a few places that offer spectacular views:



The trail was very runnable and much of it looked like this:

Melon Run 2014

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  • Friday, July 04 2014 @ 05:47 pm EDT
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The Melon Run on the 4th of July is a Gainesville tradition.

My finish time for this 3 miler (not a 5k!) was 17:46 and I was able to win my age group and bring home a nice watermelon as an award.



The Superman shirt is from the Under Armour Alter Ego collection. I raced in my blue Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150 shoes.



Race results are posted here:

http://georesults.racemine.com/Start-...un/results

Gainesville Free Track Meet Series - Summer 2014

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  • Saturday, June 28 2014 @ 11:34 am EDT
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Update 7/2/2014: The finformation below has been up dated with the latest info provided and includes minor schedule changes for the July 3 meet

The Gainesville, Florida track community is offering a series of Free Summer Track Meets at Fred Cone Park. I have attended the first two meets. It has been a lot of fun with plenty of different ages and performance levels. It is great seeing the kids out there. The electronic timing is appreciated. Thank you Gaine sville and everyone involved who have put in the hard work to make this event happen.

Come on out and have fun under the lights!

When: Thursday nights on June 5th, June 19th, July 3rd, and July 17th

Location: Fred Cone Park - East Unive rsity Ave, Gainesville, FL 32641 (Google Map)

The MS Word document provided by Coach Larry Holsey for the July 3 m eet is available here: https://db.tt/lAoKjhRF

I have reproduced the content and schedule below for convenience (as in, I'm not official, I am just sharing the info rmation I have been given)...

About:

  • No registration required, just show up at the starting line and run.
  • Electronic Timing by Half Mile Timing.
  • Participation Ribbons given to kids at the end of meet
  • Concession Available

The meet follows a rolling schedule (one event immediately after the other) with the following event start time estimates:

Running Events
6:40pm200 meter hurdles All Ages
6:45pm50 metersAll Ages
7:00pm 800 meters All Ages
7:10pm 40 Yard Dash All Ages
7:30pm 300 meters All Ages
7:45pm Community Walk 10-minute community walk
8:00pm 4x100m Fun Relays Parents / Coaches / Kids / All Ages
8:20pm 1500 meters 8 and up
8:30pm 100 meters All Ages Competition - Bring it on
8:50pm 200 meters All Ages
9:00pm 3000 meters All Ages
Field Events
6:30pm Long Jump 8 and Up (Two Jumps)
6:30pm Shot Put All Ages (Bring your own implement)

For More Information and Sponsorship Help:

Larry Holsey, 352-281-2630
The Gainesville Striders Track Club
http://gainesvillestriders.org

or

V12 Athletic
Daniel Medley

GATE River Run 15k 2014 - Race Report

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  • Sunday, March 30 2014 @ 01:48 pm EDT
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My first GATE River Run 15k! Such a huge race event!

Here I am with some of the Florida Track Club members after the race:


photo by Alexi Pappas via Elizabeth Suda


I am happy with my race, ran a nice PR of 59:50 for 15k (avg. 6:26 per mile), placed 226 out of 15,492 overall, 20th in my age group (out of 1014!), and earned a top-10 percent hat.


Image by RunFlix

RunFlix was there with cameras and here is my personal video:



I came home with a nice pile of swag, including a great looking pint glass and really nice t-shirt:

Five Points of Life Marathon 2014 - Race Report

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  • Sunday, March 02 2014 @ 09:06 pm EST
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I finished my second marathon! I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 3:39:49.


Photo by BB Action Photography

This was my first Five Points of Life Marathon. My previous marathon was Jacksonville Bank Marathon which was a completely different bodily experience. Read *that* story if you want to hear about the full body cramp.

This race was not nearly as dramatic. I knew that I was not in marathon racing shape but I still wanted to get another race at this distance under my belt. After running a 50k in October, I ended up taking a lot off time off and dealing with a foot issue that kept me from training very much. I can say that it is hard to run a marathon when averaging less than 20 miles per week during training.

It was cold at the race start. I went out fairly easy, trying to warm up a bit. I was trying to be very cautious about the pace and my breathing (remembering my past marathon experience). After the first mile I found the 3:30 pace group and decided to stick with them. This would have had me finishing just a little slower than my previous marathon, but hopefully without the muscle cramps! We should have been hitting around 8 minutes per mile. We kept coming through mile after mile ahead of pace. First it was 20 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 20 seconds again. I gave up on our pacer when we came through over 30 seconds ahead of pace.

I think I paid a price for the early pacing issues since my legs started revolting by the half marathon mark. The temperature was warming up by this point and I shed the last of my cold weather gear. Prior to the race I had figured out where I would drop my jacket, hat, and gloves. This is just one of the perks of running a hometown race. And it would have worked out great if I hadn't dropped my hat in the middle of the road on 16th Ave. (I feared the worst for my poor lost hat but did eventually get it back later in the week from a local runner. Gainesville has a great running community!)

I never had any real cramping but when I tried pushing the pace at all my legs started to feel like they were headed that way. So I just kept the legs moving along at a steady pace. Breathing was never an issue since I could never get myself moving fast enough to impact it.

On the long stretch of Williston Road I started getting discouraged because I kept missing the mile markers. From mile 16 - 20 I just didn't know how much race was left and the course was now in the full Florida sunshine. Note to self, the mile markers are on these huge flags sticking up in the air that are hard to miss! Thankfully, along came a woman named Nina from Wyoming who asked if we could run together. She was trying to get her BQ (Boston Qualifying time). She said it would be easier if we worked together which of course is true. This payed off for both of us. Now that I had a running partner and a mission, I was able to keep the legs going and keep on the needed pace for Nina's BQ. She earned her BQ by 10 seconds!

My own race was not spectacular in any way, but I feel really good that I was able to help someone get their BQ. Nina was also the Female Masters winner. Here is a picture of us after the finish:

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