Monday, March 31, 2008
March 30, 2008: VA Creeper Trail Marathon: Running, raining and off to dress rehearsal…
As I write this to post I am sitting in the green room of our local community theatre awaiting my scenes on the stage. I am dressed in black strappy heels, hair in a bun wearing a 1930’s maid uniform for my bit part in The Children’s Hour. Several hours ago I was flopping through the mud and water during the 10th annual VA Creeper Marathon in Abingdon, VA. This is a certified marathon course with all except 2 miles of the 26.2 taking place on the flat, packed dirt surface of the old rail trail.
This was my 3rd time running the race-I am drawn to it because: 1) it is less than a hour and a half from where we live in Jefferson, NC, 2) It is a “low key” event with a $10.00 entry fee, no t-shirts and minimal awards, runners come to this event to run, not to be coddled (though the aid stations are well-spaced and offer the most basic of liquids and a couple contain yummy fig bars!), and 3) The event is on Sundays and is during a time of year that makes doing “doubles” part of my schedule. Currently I am preparing for Zane Gray 50M in AZ in 4 weeks and WS 100 at the end of June. Yesterday I ran a rainy 17 miles and did a leg weight workout. Hence today when I ran, I did not have fresh legs and running on heavy, easy to tire legs is good way for me to prepare for the longer efforts.
When it is rainy and windy and the temperatures are in the low 40’s…deciding what to wear can be a dilemma. After sampling the weather I went with shorts, tank top covered with my LS Montrail uniform top, capped off by a baseball hat and covered with a knit cap. On my hands I had 2 layers of gloves: smartwool and pearl izumi over mitts to keep out the wind. I have learned that with my raynouds syndrome, if I allow my hands even an opportunity to loose circulation, they will. Because we have access to our drop bag 4 times on the run, I did not carry any calories.
I don’t know how many people started. (There were 107 finishers)There were perhaps a dozen or more early starters and a small representation of women out there today. I expect the weather kept some folks home for the morning. My personal goal for the race was to better my 3:30ish time from last year. A personal necessity was to finish and get home asap in order to shower and get to rehearsal on time. (This was sort of sad as I Love hanging out at the end and talking and sharing stories…plus it would have been an excellent venue to inform people about The New River Trail 50k).
I enjoyed the early miles-little rolling hills until getting on the trail at mile 2. I felt absolutely great until somewhere around mile 10…I started to feel colder and had a sense the weather was contributing to me needing more calories than I had thought I needed. So after being passed by several guys, I stopped and grabbed 2 fig bars from the cow pasture aid station. These combined with an additional 3 Clif blocks from my drop bag, claimed with immense assistance (because my hands were too cold and unfunctional) from the wonderful volunteer Donna Bays-she is in the photo above…(and soon to run her 1st ultra next month: The Strolling Jim! Yayyyee Donna!)…anyway, these calories gave me a 2nd wind and I “got it back together” to run well again…and pass a few of those “guys” mentioned above! Such a good reminder to not be lazy and just carry what I might need-especially in conditions of wet and chill that I always find my body more unpredictable! I finished 1st woman (6th over all) in 3:24:42. The next women were: Kimberly Wilson: 3:45:09, Mary Lund: 3:53:21. (I think it is very cool that all 3 of us are over 40 years old! )No offense to younger women-yet I continue to do lots of reflecting about running well as “masters” woman… The first 3 men were: Robert Preston: 2:49:22, Paul Carrasco: 3:13:07, Lewis Blake: 3:15:56. Complete results on the VA Creeper Marathon website.
Thank you to Frank Kibler,( race director )and all the volunteers for helping me and the rest of us during all those wet and chilly hours out there (and many additional hours of preparation!) …And I must say those white chocolate macadamia nut cookies at the finish really hit the spot! Yum. Yum!
Just a note: If anyone reading this is interested in a similar terrain ultra…please check out my 1st event as RD coming up in October: The New River Trail 50k…and for better or worse-it is even flatter than the VA Creeper Trail!!!
This was a GREAT event and I look forward to participating again…yet for now my focus (once getting through The Children’s Hour) will be on slow, sandy, rocky steep stuff!