Monday, July 9, 2007

A surprise at Rattlesnake 50k

Rattlesnake 50k, Kanawha State Forest, Charleston, WV, July 7, 2007
The first picture is Dennis Hamrick, Sean Andrish and me, the 2nd photo was me 200' from the finish. I am trying to figure out how to remove this duplicate photo at this time!

OK. I’ll come out and say it. The biggest reason for me running this event on July 7, ’07 was to redeem myself to myself from my “low of ’06” when I almost hyperventilated from frustration and distress. This time last year, while feeling out my healing “hamstring injury” I ran this event and had a very tough time. If it weren’t for the companionship and sharing of awesome human and great runner, Rick Grey, I would have likely fell apart. Rattlesnake ’06 was one of the roughest days I have had on the trails…. I did finish last year , yet it was almost overwhelmingly humbling and not a bit satisfying.

Fast forward to ‘-07…Rattlesnake was a great surprise!

I chose to run this event for 3 reasons: 1) I would not be in CO acclimatizing for HR 100, 2) George already had plans for this weekend to paddle The New River in WV, 3) I was feeling better than last year and wanted to stop “dreading” the course-best way to do that was to go out an run it!

The day was warm even at the 6:30am race start. I saw many familiar faces-and met many new ones. To keep this post from being overly lengthily I’ll refrain from listing these great folks! From the Montrail team besides myself was Courtney Campbell and Sean Andrish. Like myself, Sean had run WS100 two weeks before.

With WS only 2 weeks behind me and my total running not exceeding 25 miles total since (I have been doing long road and cyclocross rides on my bikes)…I didn’t have a clue with how I would respond. I have also been working pretty diligently on my posture and doing exercises I received while at the SPEED Clinic at UVA last month and hoped that at least I was starting to adopt more of a correct running form.

Rattlesnake is an up and down course and with my hamstring limitations I have had a hard time running uphill and running fast. This wasn’t true on Saturday! My hamstring/legs felt great! I could feel my glutes working and my abs too. I am starting to get a sense for the 1st time about how to engage my “correct” muscles to run! And it makes things a whole lot easier! I did have some issues with the bottom (balls) of my feet cramping and burning-it would come and go-pretty uncomfortable at times…only thing I can think of is that it is from riding the bike-I jumped right into spending hours clipped in to my pedals after barely touching the bike for 8 months…I plan to pursue what might be causing this-but hope to not get overly alarmed unless it keeps on.

At mile 15.5 I came into aid station #5 and because I was feeling really good I wanted to keep up this pace. 2:21 had passed at this point and I thought I remembered the current course record –earned last year by Anne Lundblad was 4:44…I could not remember the seconds. What did I have to loose? I would run for the CR. There was a fast woman not too far behind me-later I learned her name to be Robin. As long as I was feeling good-why not go for it?

Nick Whited and I ran together for a while-until he succumbed to awful vomiting problems…then I got to run with Greg Goodson for a little bit. All the while I was feeling soo off guard and appreciative of being able to run! I wanted to dance out there, because for the 1st time in 1.5 years, I truly felt great on the trail… I had the perception of flight-the wonderful feeling of freedom that I can feel when my body/mind/spirit and the land all come together! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to the Universe and to God!

I came through the last aid station with 3 miles left to go-I looked at my watch and elapsed time was 3:19… “I am strong…I am running well-I can run hard-I am so grateful to be alive…go Annette, go..” Thoughts such as these past through my head. I ignored the ones that were trying to make me lazy-thoughts that said, “You have nothing to prove” and “don’t bother, you could still have a 1st place finish and you should be happy with that…”
Of course I’d be thrilled with a 1st place finish-yet since I was feeling really good-I wanted to know what was possible on this day. Focus. Run. Focus. I finished in 4:44:26. I couldn’t have moved any faster those final miles. Anne’s time from last year was 4:44:53.
I was thrilled to have felt good and relieved that my ’07 Rattlesnake didn’t mimic ’06.
I don’t know what my next run will bring-that will unfold as time goes on. I will continue with the bike riding as my focus until mid August and will continue to work on my posture, form and do strengthening/stretching exercises.

Dennis Hamrick also gifted me with the Rosemary Platt award. This award is in honor of his ultra running friend who passed way several years ago due to cancer. The award I think is for someone who has gone through hard time and can celebrate persistence. Receiving this was emotional. What I want to take with me from my experience Saturday is to continue to appreciate what I have and to continue to openly give and receive support from other people…And I look forward to feeling really good out there on the trails again!

Sean Andrish came in 4:01 and change-he was 1st in the men’s race and bettered the current courses CR by almost 10 minutes!

Complete results aren’t available at this time but will be posted at


Kid said...


Congrats again on a great job! Thanks for sharing :)

- Greg

Bedrock said...

Congrats on the win. Saw your post on my blog. I will email you about Laurel Valley. Teed, Mason and I are coordinating a shuttle together and can definitely help you out if you need us to.


Josh said...

Congrats on another Rattlesnake victory, and CR! I am glad that you felt so good out there, for the first time in a long time! Thanks for the words of encouragement and caution. I really enjoyed the challenges this course had to offer. Hopefully I will have a chance to met you at a race in the future. Your passion and joy for having the ability to participate in this sport really shines through.

Take Care,


olga said...

Good for you on the run and such a push, and what awesome WS attitude!!! Hope to see you reaping it next year, and stay out of injuries for good!

Tim Looney said...

Wow. Congrats on a great race. Stay healthy and strong!

runjoey said...

Wonderful Annette. It's great that you had a fast, pain-free run but the best thing was I could feel your smile through your words.
I hope George had a good paddle. The New River Gorge is awesome.

Hart said...

congrats! so glad to hear you are running strong and feeling good! keep up the good work on the bike annette - i'm a firm believer in cross training - but then again i'm an adventure racer too so i have to... but it helps!


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