Week 4: Mini 🐉

Week 4! The last week of the first official build. Here’s a snapshot of the stats:

This week I was on the course itself twice. I finally forced myself had to opportunity to get back out on the DRT (Duncan Ridge Trail) for a long day of training aka a Mini Dragon. I also helped a friend with some trail work. I learned a lot this week about what I need to be better prepared for race day. Here’s how the week went down and my main takeaways for improvement:

MONDAY 4.6 miles – 1800 ft gain

I joined my buddy Sean Blanton for a day of planning Georgia Death Race. Sean is one of my oldest friends in the sport. We’ve been close since 2009, and have experienced many ups & downs together. I helped him get GDR up and running back in its first year by creating the marketing strategy & also co directing the event. Circle back to present day, and I am once again heavily involved in the marketing & production of this race. It’s a special event, and I always enjoy getting together with Blanton for a brainstorming session. This day in particular, he wanted to clear some blowdowns on the trail, and I came along for the ride. We traversed the portion of the CJ100 / GDR course from Mulky to Fish Gap and tackled a few blowdowns. This section of the course is particularly humbling and I have lots of negative association from races past😆 but doing some trail maintenance helped clear the mind. I appreciated Sean taking the time to teach me some new skills.

After this, I hightailed it back home to make it to T&F practice and got in an additional mile or 2 with the distance kids.

TUESDAY: Dan and I logged some easy trail miles together. I was still without a true Rest day from the previous week and legs were feeling it! We did 5 trail miles at like a 10 min pace. 😴

WEDNESDAY: 6 mi avg 6:43 Never neglect the speed! I was feeling hydrated & back to normal by the afternoon so made sure to tackle my weekly workout. The run was not too long, but I was happy with my splits.

Afterwards I got in another mile with the T&F kids.I love them.

THURSDAY: 2 with 1800 ft gain then 6 on trail / 8:20pace today I worked at my treaddesk and cranked the incline up. I logged a good amount of up. In the afternoon, my friend Adam invited me to run. I was happy to have some company. The miles clicked by quickly, and the conversation was fun.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY I took off completely, though Saturday was hectic with our first meet. I was up & out from dawn to dusk in the sun. (Circling back from last week, the kids did well, had fun, & we even had a couple outright Ws in the 32 open & high jump.)

SUNDAY it was time to put in the work and slay a baby dragon🐉 I knew when my alarm went off and I still felt dead after a full night of zombie sleep that it was going to be a long day. I forced myself out of bed and made the 2.5 hour drive north to Mulky Gap. The plan was to tackle 40 miles out and back style on the DRT. I needed to take it slow, and to work on mental fortitude. My friend Matt planned to jump in around the halfway point.

I loaded up a full pack and started out towards Skeenah Gap for the first stretch. It warmed up quickly. I noticed early on that I felt okay on the climbs, but the descents were hitting hard. I did not have any spring in my step that I’m used to, and didn’t feel capable of bombing anything in anyway. I attributed this to just being dead tired from a very full week, which could be true, but an analysis later with Dan shed more light.

I stayed completely quiet and tried to be very present in the moment and the miles, staying aware of what I was feeling – the good and the bad – and just accepting it.

Each climb on the DRT lasts about 15-20 minutes and bites off roughly 700-1000 ft before sharply descending & repeating it again. There isn’t much flow to it. There are very few switchbacks.

A storm had rolled through since Sean and I did work a few days prior, and blowdowns were littering the first several miles, leaving me lookin like I got attacked by a large house cat. I just rolled with it.

I have found over the last couple years of frequent long efforts that it’s imperative to embrace the discomfort aspect of long days of training instead of trying to make things as comfortable as possible. This has thickened my skin quite a bit. In training I will let blisters slide. I will let wounds bleed, ankles roll, and will let hot spots develop etc. I try to do this so when crap inevitably happens on race day, it’s a devil I know.

I finally met up with Matt somewhere around 16 miles and we proceeded in the opposite direction towards coosa bald. Once we got to Coosa, we decided to continue onward to summit Blood to catch a good sunset instead of dropping down to Wolf Pen. We made it just in time!

The return was dark, long, and quiet. Honestly just what I needed to better prepare my mind for round 5 of CJ. I ended the day with 40 miles & 10.8k of gain.


1) The downhills were hard because I’ve been neglecting eccentric training. usually by this point in the season, I’ve already had a multitude of long days in the mountains under my belt. Due to the chaotic schedule of our lives, that hasn’t been my regular. So usually I’d be getting a few hours of downhill training a few times a month. Dan pointed out to me after this realization that I also failed to supplement with eccentric strength training. I’ve got to load my outer quads with targeted eccentric work over the coming weeks, and also make it a point to get up to the trails for a few downhill efforts. I can’t just focus on ups. The race is half down!

2) I need to have at least one more slow, dragging, mentally tough day. This is another skill I’d finely tuned by monthly ultra efforts that I must not neglect. Going fast and having miles click by is one thing – but it’s another to keep your head in the game when miles are taking 25 minutes & you still have 75 of them. Being familiar and mentally comfortable with the very long time frame is helpful.

3) I’ve been using altras for ages, but it may be time to make a move to another brand. My feet keep getting destroyed in efforts that are either fast paced OR heavy vert. I’ve got like 10 different pairs of altras right now- which have always worked well for me bc of my wide toe splay – but maybe I need to open up my mind to something else again. I also noticed my grip was week on wet leaves in a new pair of shoes earlier in the week. 🤔 idk… I really don’t want to do anything just because “I always have done it this way” so I’m going to reevaluate.

4) My stomach is still rock solid. I can take in pretty much anything and at least function off it. This has come from years of forcing down food right before things like speedwork or eating in the middle of a long mountain run. I need to continue doing that in the coming weeks. Specifically eating a heavy meal immediately before speedwork.

5) I’ve got to get into a sauna fast! Spring came early and the heat & humidity is already increasing, so May will likely be brutal. The sweat rate hits so different when the humidity is high. I need to nail down how much of each electrolyte is ideal so it’s not a guessing game in May.

That’s about it for this week! Let me know if you have any thoughts or recommendations for me!

4 Replies to “Week 4: Mini 🐉”

    1. Dan suggested dropping from a table or stairs & bouncing into another jump repeatedly. Im thinking I’ll probably just do this daily. If I add any weight maybe every other day.

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