Sunday, August 15, 2010

Diverse trails: Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial 10k and Blueberry Quest!

Mama Grey in her hood ornament perch, starting the weekend...
Now that I am in full-swing in my "real job" as a high school counselor (the 2010/2011 school year began on 8/5/10), I am striving to again return to my habit of posting weekly; brief or lengthy as the mind/heart/energy level directs!

It has been both difficult and a relief to return to work. Difficult because I have relished the freedom of the past 5 weeks and because there are many changes going on where I work. Changes in budget, personnel, and leadership are stressful. However stressful though, I am thrilled to still have a job and work in a place where the ideal is to help young people learn and grow and become more of who they really are! AND, although I am working more hours during the weeks, my weekends are still time for George, training, projects, adventures and mini quests. Yay!!

The month of August, as far as running goes is to be a month of strength maintaince, cross-training and fun! Though the focus is still on running with the plan to amp things up in a few weeks to prepare for Gibraltar (that will be another whole post). This weekend was the first of the "10k trio" I am participating in: CTR 10k on the VA Creeper Trail directed by Jenny Nichols on 8/14, Spring Maid Splash on 8/21 and Continental Divide on 8/28.
Jenny at race start in race director mode!

 Jenny Nichols is an ultra runner, mom, very cool human, and sometimes training buddy of mine. Her brother Christopher died several years ago and Jenny created this event to generate scholarships in his memory. 2010 was the 3rd year running of this event. The course was out 'n back on the VA Creeper Trail out of Abingdon, VA.

I am certainly no 10k runner, yet wanted to support Jenny's event and knew of my ultra friends would be running or volunteering. and I knew that without stress, or expectation, that this would be a fun morning!

I arrived at race start in time to do a 7ish mile "warm up" run and pick up my race number.  There were close to 80 runners. I placed myself in the middle of the pack, yet  it wasn't long before I was needing to pass folks in order to get into my comfort pace. The 1st 3miles is a very gentle, barely noticeable downgrade, which means the 2nd half is a gentle incline.

I did not intend to race. To run comfortable for 1/2 and to push a bit more during the later couple miles seemed a good training plan. For 3 miles, I thought there were several girls ahead of me and I was FINE where I was. Not racing, just training. Then at the turnaround, I passed a young woman  and soon realized I was in 1st. Damn! The dorsal fin came out without command. Now that I was in this position, Dorsal Fin took over and I switched from rollicking on the trail to focusing on keeping steady and breathing. I didn't work harder, yet got more serious!

Anyway, with  1/10 of a mile yet to go David Cheromiel (David is a speedster who reportedly can run 10k in sub 28 minutes) joined me and coached me to focus, run hard look ahead and swing my arms. Even though it felt like torture, I heeded his command and finished strong and suffering. Thank you David!  This photo says it all:
Doug Blackford, me and David at finish line.                                            
As it turned out I ran 42:16 and wound up 5th over all and first woman! Full results linked from
Super cool locally crafted pottery awards!

Jenny and volunteers did a super job with this event! I used to be afraid of running fast stuff like this, because I am out of my league, (or so I think), yet I think mixing up distances is really run! And the key to feeling better than worse was the 7 mile warm up!
Late summer in the VA Highlands from the AT
Today my quest was to see if the wild blueberries of the VA highlands were ripe yet. A 10 mile loop on the Appalachian Trail and Scales Trail showed me this:
Yay! Wild blueberries "mountain huckleberries" are ready!

 I didn't take the time today to pick, yet now I know the status and can plan accordingly. These berries make obscenely good jelly and wine and are to die for fresh!

After arriving home, and wishing George wasn't still away on the New River Expedition, I cleaned house, canned some apple butter I started yesterday and started a batch of zucchini wine. The wine sounds weird, yet with the abundance of zucchinis we've had from a mere 2 plants, I am game with doing something productive! The only gross wine we've made so far was goldenrod wine.

This week I am back to Coach Howard's schedule. It's a relief to be back to a plan, instead of taper/recovery as I have been in for the past 2 months! I asked Howard to help me include some cross training and I look forward to including it in a more formal way!


Rick Gray said...

Jenny certainly did a great job with her race. For me it was so nice to work the race and not have the little bit of competitive stress of running. You looked great running, but you had an excellent pacer making you run hard all of the way to the finish. He ran everyone Saturday and that says alot about his character as a runner and not just as a competitor. Great to see you Saturday and I hope you enjoy the next couple of weeks of your short fast races. That certainly keeps the muscles confused, which is your desire. A great big congratulations on getting selected to go to Gibralter. What an honor and one you certainly deserve. See you soon.

jenn said...

Congratulations Annette!! Thanks so much for coming to my brother's race. It meant SO much to me to have my ultra/trail family share the day with me!
You finished SO strong! it was AWESOME to watch you sprint in to the finish!!
Super excited about your trip for Worlds!
Glad that you made it to the highlands yesterday to run and pick blueberries! Eric and I looked for you and were hoping to cross paths, but I guess we started too early for that to occur!
I will sample some of your wine one day! I'm so intrigued by the fact you and George make your own wine! I think that is so cool!!!!!

take care! and enjoy Springmaid this weekend!!! ((HUG))


Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind but I am definitely going to use that "dorsal fin" analogy from now on.

Barefoot Neil Z said...

I dig that you did a 7 mile warmup for a 6 mile run!

Kay said...

Just a delurk to say I love reading about your running adventures, and congrats on your recent races. Very nice. I'm also signed up for the Continental Divide 10k and am looking forward to running at least, uhm, 15 minutes behind you!