Sunday, November 8, 2009

2009 Mountain Masochist Trail Run = amazing outcomes

Above: Geoff and Gary celebrating (and being celebrated post race-Geoff got a standing ovation! cool is that from a hoard of tired Masochist runners!)

Doug Dawkins, 3x Masochist finisher presents the great question: Do we run to eat? Eat to run? Or is it a mixture of both. Photo taken during pre race dinner.

Yesterday was the 2009 version of The Blue Ridge Mountain Classic 50+ (53ish?) mile run: Mountain Masochist. I was thrilled to be a part of it!

It was a high performing day for many runners, most publicly was Geoff Roes’, (32 from Alaska) CR smashing time of 6:27:55! On the women’s side of things, Tamsin Anstey, 29 of British Columbia ran the reportedly 5th fastest women’s time on the course. Go
here (be sure to scroll down) to view full results.

As for me, I was running to participate, not compete. Having been back running just since October 1, I am in no kind of shape to race such an event. I was nervous just about finishing. I was nervous about maintaining self discipline: going out there, getting sucked into the thrill of running hard, pushing my current untrained limitations too far, and getting hurt. I considered leaving my watch behind, yet couldn’t make that leap. Half hour before start, David Horton and a few others asked if I was strong. I said, “yes, but not as strong as I want to be” and said I was trained for a 50k and wondered if I could run ½ the run on training and ½ the run on passion?

I kept repeating to myself: “I am smart, I am patient, I am strong”. (I was nervous!)Course start was somewhere around 28ish degrees. No wind. Clear sky with twinkley stars and an autumn clarity making me even more grateful to be toeing the line and witnessing this morning.
I waved to Jenny Anderson who was crew for me this day. Jenny and I met last month when she won New River Trail 50k. I was very psyched to have her with me-not only for the convenience of a crew-yet she knew my goals for the day and would support them.

Fabulous Jenny and me...

The first few miles I ran with Dennis Norris and Justine Morrison yet couldn’t (with my daily resolve) keep the pace and then settled into a comfortable rhythm of running on and off for 26 fun miles with Paul Carrasco. Paul and I have known one another for years and though we have different strengths…we still wound up side by side eventually!

Jenny turned out to be a fantastic crew! She anticipated what I needed, was an enthusiastic cheerleader, and was so speedy I thought of NASCAR’s pit crew and remotely though she should be wearing a helmet. I saw Jenny at most places handlers were allowed. Each time she scampered up and down the trails and handed me a fresh water bottle of Nuun, Clif drink or water and had filled each pocket of the Nathan Quickdraw with either gels, blocks or Clif minis. This day I fueled solely on Clif products, water and Nuun. You could tease me for being a sponsors groupie-yet all was working in the nutrition area.

It was mile 22ish before I knew anything about time. A fellow I was next to commented about being almost 4 hours into the run…Fellow runner comments were interesting to me this day. Running an event as I did today efficient and steady holds a far different set of observations and interactions than it does when running with front-runners. There is generally more verbalized pain back here. Many times I heard my trail companions despairing about distances or hills or wet rocks. Something you don’t hear up front.

Still, I gained a re-appreciation of the perspective of the recreational vs. more “serious” runner. Each of us is out there for his or her own reasons...and I do expect most non-front runners experience way more pain than those in top positons. AND, I think the runners that are out there barely scrapping the cut offs prob'ly show more tenacity and courage than the rest of us combined! Sometimes I wonder what it is like to fight for your "right" to stay on the course, fighting the clock and/or demons...and then when all is said and done, to cross the finish line with your guts hanging out only to have the runners finishing hours earlier to receive such high celebration? ...Though to be sure, I think post race events like the dinner together is a way to celebrate everyone's accomplishments and a way to come together as very different people, yet kindred spirits in our own way!

I came through the halfway point around 4:30 into the run. I enjoyed the emotional break from competing. My quest was about personal inventory and self-restraint when necessary. It was great to feel good-and not stressful to slow down when my body asked for it. Not to say I always felt good, after all, 50+ miles is still 50+ miles!

happy and having fun!

Going into the loop I saw Sean Andrish who was here –crewing or working- and we ran for a few minutes chatting. After only a few minutes I had to beg off of conversation as my “untrained ness” was showing itself. I couldn’t reflexively navigate the sticks and leaves; I needed my full concentration on my balance on the trail. A mile into this section I must’ve daydreamed because the next thing I knew, I had “supermanned” over the leaves and gave myself “trail rash” on my right side: leg, hip, breast and elbow. My elbow banged and dripping blood I was horrified for 5 seconds until I realized I was okay-then business as usual.

Even with the little wound, I love this part of the course! It is good single track trail-though this time of year, quite covered with oak leaves, providing even more adventure for the downhill runner on the slicks!
Out of the loop, Jenny again hooked me up with nourishment, encouragement, my ipod and told me third place female Heather Fisher was about 7 minutes ahead. At this point my dorsal fin prodded my flesh…yet didn’t poke through. I listened to music for the next 4.5 miles and turned it off after reaching the single track just after AS 13 the second tolast aid station. Lots of leaves-music would be too distracting-and I really didn’t need yet the “attitude adjustment” my music gives me. At one point not too far into this section, I looked at my watch and saw it was 7:45 into the event. I wondered if the first woman had yet finished? I also calculated and thought I could make it the finish in sub nine hours?
I crossed the finish line, feeling sore, yet pleased at 8:56:46! I was 4th woman, 29th overall! Minutes after finishing, George Worley, volunteer race physician cleaned up my arm for me and gave me 2 stitches.

Laying down, even if it was to receive stitches felt good!

My friend Amy Albu was going for her tenth finish today and I worried about her when she had not made it in sub 10 hours. Yet after week with the flu and a tough day out there, a still tougher Amy came through 10:28:53! Many congratulations Amy! Dorothy Hunter, me and now 10 time finisher Amy Albu. (This time last year Amy was about to give birth to her 1 year old daughter Jaymes!)

For me, this was a day to remember: You can (or I can) run at least part of a 50+mile run on passion (restrained passion to be sure!), accomplishing a very different sort of challenge, celebrating my friends, appreciating the assistance and support of Jenny…and mostly gratitude to the Great Mystery for the gift to be able to show up here: a healthy body, resources including a supportive husband and $ enough to pay for gas and motel and entry fee, and being able to take a ½ of day off of work to make the trip less stressful. I am a very fortunate person!I also thank Clark, Horton, Montrail and all the volunteers for helping this awesome event continue to get better!If my body is stable this time next year, I seek to take an hour off this year’s time! Here is a link to the photos Jenny and I took this weekend:


Sophie Speidel said...

Aaaah, very nice, my friend. Loved reading your reflections and observations of running with the mid-packers! I am so happy you had a great day. See you soon, I hope.

Runner Tammy said...

Congratulations Annette!

Your sub-9 hour 50+++ miler is amazing to me.

It sounds like you had a great time out on the course (and what a beautiful day Sat was!). You are so tough falling, getting scraped up enough to need stitches but continuing on like a champ, way to go!

One day you should consider "running" with the back of the packers.

We talk about food on the course, food on other courses and what we will eat to make up our 5-10,000 calorie running deficit. I think we accept pain as a given so might focus on it less:-)

Although perhaps my perspective is skewed because I run with (and in) a flowery and sparkeley outfit.

See you at JFK50,

annette bednosky said...

I think I am too wimpy to run "back of the pack"...yet I have thought about it...on Saturday, 2 very fast guys Jonathan Basham and Andy Thompson reportedly played all day near the cut offs and finished near 11:30! I was told they were seen out there all day having a blast!

I like hearing your perspective about pain...and what you think/talk about during runs! I don't tend to think or talk very's a very different sort of sensory experience (I suppose that is why I find "racing" freeing!)Yet, for me, thinking and talking during training is essential!

See you at JFK!

Anne Riddle Lundblad said...

Hey Annette,
Good job! It is so great to see you out there again...maybe not quite as speedy as you'd like, but more importantly, healthy and having fun! Any chance you'll be recovered enough to come down and jog a bit of Adam's Bent Creek Gobbler this weekend? I'd love to get together for a run sometime soon.

Rick Gray said...

Annette, You should be so pumped after your run Saturday. You are on your way back to running your desired speed. Continue to be patient and understanding with your body. I had a ball all weekend and look forward to Masochist 2010. I will ditto Anne's thoughts. Come and play a bit with us this weekend at the Gobbler. Rick

runamanda said...

Way to go Annette!!!! Keep up the hard work.

JJ Jessee said...

It's so good to see you back in the fray with the additional benefits of dorsal fin control. :) Being one of the "guts hanging out runners", let me presume to speak for the rest of us, in that it is always an honor to toe the line with you and your racing buddies on these challenges - oriented as they are to the most concrete of time and space and to adventures in the passion of spirit. They seem to mark all who submit to the rigors of ultra running. So thanks for all the inspiration and passion that you spread in the ultra community and beyond.