Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Last week George and I sent out 50+ Holiday cards with these 2 photos of "our family" and the following annual "update"...Happy Holidays to All!

Hi all!

George and I are both wonder how time can go by so fast. It only seems a couple months ago we wrote last year’s “round up”! As with many of you-there have been adventures (fun and hard), celebrations, travel and experiences unique to 2008. Yet in many ways… some things have stayed much the same.

We are happy living at our same address in our red roofed “chalet” facing Mt. Jefferson in Ashe County, NC. Mama Grey, our kitty, is amazing and continues to put up with us. George is still with the National Committee for the New River, and I a school counselor at Ashe County High School. George is doing great in his job and really likes it…I, on the other hand am restless and tired of “hoop jumping” and want to make a change-yet first need to soul search to find what I’d rather do-and waiting for an positive change in the economy would be smart too.

This year, in order to minimize lawn mowing we added 2 flower/shrub gardens, and to grow food, George built a good-sized raised bed veggie garden. We had tomatoes, peppers, chard, onions, some kale, basil, parsley, lettuce and spinach. Sadly the deer got our broccoli and cauliflower before we did! We are both doing our best to “live locally” and happily support the farmers market and independent growers in our quest to do so. We are sharing the canning section of the basement with an ever-evolving wine and beer making laboratory and have pinot grigio, chat dormant, pinot noir, shiraz, blueberry wine, blackberry wine and goldenrod wine and oatmeal stout and an English nut brown ale at varying stages of readiness. I think the wine needs to age and bit more, yet George raves about it even when young. I guess all of us have our own ideas about what is yummy!

George has had a busy year. To speak for The River, he returned to DC in June to lobby for the protection of the New River (he is so good at it and seems to love that sort of social interaction so much-I really wouldn’t be surprised if one day he is working more blatantly in politics!) George also covered many miles on the New River in all 3 states this year. Highlights include a 3-day solo canoe paddle (and portage) in West Virginia. He has rafted parts of the New River Gorge 3x and I joined him for one of those rafting days.

We vacationed too in WV this year…celebrating our anniversary snowboarding at Snowshoe Mountain and in July, rented a cabin in Watoga State Park in WV for 4 days and did lots of bike riding on the Greenbrier trail and surrounding state and national forest.

End of last year I micro fractured a kneecap and took until February to heal…then a few months later wound up with a stress fracture in the other leg! Ugh! My ultra running experiences were puny in 2008. I ran 3 ultras (two 50ks and one 40 miler), 2 trail marathons, 1 road marathon, 2 half marathons, other runs, and assorted “long” cycling events. My endurance highlight this year was race directing my 1st ultra marathon: The New River Trail 50k on 10/11/08. (All proceeds went to the National Committee for the New River). It filled to limit and we had runners from 14 states. It went very well and was named the “Southeast Green Race of the Year” by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine…yay! The 2009 version will be on 10/10/09. My injuries are much improving; I am again on the roster and with neat running plans with the Montrail Ultra Running Team ’09!

Life just zooms by! If you get a chance, please check out George’s work website at I have a blog: .

Wishing you all health, fun, quality time with those you love, and courage to love and grow in 2009 and beyond!

Peace and Love,
Annette & George

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

USATF Announces USA Trail 10k Championship to be held in Ashe County, NC!

Looking the distance from Laurel Ridge.

Earlier this month USATF announced the 2009 USA 10k trail championships will be August 29 on the trails of Laurel Ridge Camp and Conference Center, in Ashe County, NC!

This is just 24 miles from where I live! (And 34 from Boone and about 100 miles from both the Greensboro and Charlotte airports).

Jason Bryant, member of the LaSportiva Running Team is emerging as a race director for this new course. Jason has been hard at work for number of months…dealing with race logistics and searching for the right combination of facilities and challenge. Though I have never been to the exact trails of Laurel Ridge, I frequently run on the MST along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Doughton Park which features some of the most challenging climbing in the region.

This is great news for trail runners in the Southeast!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Montrail samples 2009 shoes

Left to Right: The New 2009 Hardrock, 2009 Mountain Masochist and my dear 'ole Continential Divides.

This afternoon I received a pair of sample Montrail 2009 Hardrocks and Mountain Masochists to wear. I know the new HR are reportedly much different from the "old" ones... (less "burly")yet since I have been such a loyal Leona and Continential Divide wearer, going to something more stable and beefy was never necessary. So I personally can't make a comparison to the "old" HR.

Last month I got a chance to see the Mountain Masochist at a pre race meeting for the race with the same name and was intrigued by the lightness and meaningful tread on the bottom.

I had a late night from work today and have only been able to try them on at this point-yet offer these 1st impressions:

Masochist: light. snug heel, low to the ground, narrow toe box (I anticipate needing to tape and glide my little toe on my R foot due to where the middle piece of webbing attaches to the top of the shoe). Arch placement of R and L shoes seem different. I usually use superfeet as an insert, yet will "test" with original insole before switching. Wearing in my kitchen cleaning dishes makes me want to run!

HR: Reminds me of the Gortex Hurricane Ridge. Firm. Generous but not too big toe box. Snug heel. Really cool looking. Lacing system a little complicated for cold/wet hands needing to re tie shoes. They need to be testing on the rocks of the Appalachian Trail asap!

I plan on some good rocky, muddy runs of distance this weekend in the Southern Applachians while so many of my ultrarunning friends are surviving Horton's Hellgate 100k or the Sunmart races in TX!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mistletoe Half Marathon

Me, Carrie and Meredith outside race central

Yesterday morning 12/6 at 5:25am, I met my training friend Carrie (she ran Boston earlier this year and is now training for a marathon in FL in March) and her friend Meredith who will run the same marathon as Carrie in March- met at a local grocery store parking lot to carpool the 90 miles down the mountain to Winston-Salem, NC to the 25th running of the Mistletoe ½ Marathon. It was 17 degrees at my house at 5:15am and arriving in Winston, somewhere around 28 or 29 with very little wind.

What fun! I usually always travel and run alone! And I did run alone this morning, traveling with these 2 was very fun! I thought is was neat we live in Ashe County, NC and span 3 decades: Meredith in her 20’s, Carrie, in her 30’s and me at 42! We chatted and listened to music on the way down. We rode in Carrie’s new black Ford Focus and I felt a bit like a participate one a TV show I watched in high school: riding in Kit-the car from Nightrider while being exposed to all sorts of new electronics and ways of communicating with the car!

This year’s Mistletoe had 853 registered runners and 768 finishers. Some people dressed like elves and deer or just wore tails. The course was rolling hills and looped around some of the old parts of Wake Forest University.

Though I am not a regular in the Winston-Salem running scene, I saw many familiar faces at this event which is always a cause for shared smiles and waves. I ran this event in 2004 and finished in a little over 1:31. I hoped to beat that time this year. I didn’t. My hamstrings never really loosened up and I have learned not to push in situations like that. Perhaps if it was a longer event, they would have…Anyway, running was great fun-there were a couple of “out n backs” and I could see my “car mates” and share a wave! I pretty much started out as 10th woman and maintained that spot until the end. I finished 45th overall with a time of 1:32:24. Carrie and Meredith were both pleased with their times of 1:45:01 and 2:10:23 respectively. Complete results here.

I was happy to share a morning of travel and running with 2 neat women-and we got back to Ashe County by 12:30pm!

I took a nap with kitty before resuming Saturday afternoon activities!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Birthday running thoughts

This picture is a “self portrait” taken on Thanksgiving-which was my 42nd birthday. I had just returned from a leisurely 12 mile solo trail run in Fairystone State Park in VA. (I even ran into a tree and got a little blood flowing!)

Thsi past year was a challenge. I was often frustrated as I couldn’t run much. I did my first stint as a race director. In my work, I have been challenged to stay positive amidst the politics of public education…I am appreciative of George and my family and the rest of my health. I think my body is healing and I am looking forward to my 2009 calendar.

Last night I sat at my computer staring at my wish list of races and places and felt daunted.

The feeling daunted came from all the choices about ultra and trail runs. A big part of me is soo very greedy: I want to go everywhere, run all the time and not miss out on anything. Yet that is not going to happen. Job, family, finances, body limitations and other responsibilities must balance my running life. Finding greater balance between ultrarunning and rest of life is a big priority for this next year in my life.

My goals for 2009, in additional to staying healthy is to do different sorts of races. And, because I have run very little technical terrain for the past 8 months, to concentrate on more mellow trail terrain for my ’09 races (no Massanutten rocks or Uwharrie roots) and building those muscles back over time. I also will volunteer more at events and find ways to train with friends and companions more often.

I want to run at least 1 Montrail Ultra Cup 08/09 race this year, 1 hundred miler, do my 1st 24 hour event and train for a fast 50k properly. These in addition to several other fine events…

This is what is currently on my “wish list” for ’09:

New Year’s Eve Freedom 6 Hour Run, 12/31/08-1/1/09, Morganton, NC
Frosty 50 km, 1/10, Winston-Salem, NC
Caumsett Park 50 km, 3/1, Long Island
American River 50 M, 4/4, Saramento, CA
24-Hour Adventure Trail Run, 5/2-3, Triangle, VA
Vermont 100, 7/18-19, West Winsor, VT
Tussey Moutainback 50M or Hinson Lake 24 (late Sept or early October).
New River Trail 50k 10/10 (race directing)
Mountain Masochist 50M, 11/7,Lynchburg, VA
JFK 50M, 11/21, Maryland

I am not sure about MMTR and JFK…I will have a few months to consider. As I get ready to post this it is sideways snowing out…yet looking at this race schedule, it makes it easier to head outside instead for a run instead of resorting to the gym!