Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 Belmonte 25k: The Dorsal Fin Makes an Appearance!

From Left to Right: Me,  Laren Rusin, Alison  Bryant, Jason Bryant, Ryan Woods ( top 5 of top 6 of Bel Monte 25km, missing; Chad Motz)
As an ultra –runner, historically  I have not given much thought to short distance trail races, previous to this year categorizing them in the “young and fast" or, “take a break from roadie running”…Yet this year, my perspective is thankfully broadening!

I started in with some “short” (ie: 25k/20 mi) earlier this year as I thought it’d be very interesting and a challenge to pursue this distances as I work on re-gaining my endurance post a 2+ month injury-dictated layoff from running. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across the La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series-10 races all around the USA and a person can compete by participating in 5 races. Cool! A series sounded fun…and since I was hurt during most of the great Montrail Cup Races, I couldn't participate in that series, I thought to add several of these shorter and faster runs to my personal calendar and diversify a little. Changing things up would be an adventure!

Sooo... this is how I wound up at the  Bel Monte 25k Endurance Run  on March 26, 2011!

Bel Monte features a 50 Mile, 50k and 25k, with this the first year of the 25k being part of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. I must admit, ½ hour before toeing the 25k start line, I watched the 50k and 50M start with hundreds of headlamps in pseudo envy: they yelled and cheered and erupted with enthusiasm and thrill and (likely nerves) as they ventured into the cold, early Spring of the mid-Appalachian Mountains! I say pseudo because I was excited to be near the start of my own “new” race, yet am more skilled at pacing 50k and 50M and very aware of the opportunities longer races offer…I am still a 25k racing newbie, yet will admit this year I feel better trained for the distance! Yet my dorsal fin was sick of being dormant, and made a welcome appearance despite the relatively small women's field!

I drove up to the course area on Friday afternoon after “flexing” a couple hours from work. I was able to get a short run in at Sherando Lake from the course start before locating the Super 8 in Waynesboro where I would stay. In the lobby during check-in, I met Joe the race photographer…friendly person and I was happy to remember his name as we saw each other several times the next day!

I arrived at course start by 5:50am, got parked, porta-pottied, socialized and warmed up. It wasn’t long before my watch read “6:50am” and I made final clothing adjustments. With a current temp of 35 degrees, known elevation that would drop it further, no wind and impending rain, I opted for shorts, short sleeve 2011 Montrail uniform t-shirt on top and Mtn Hardwear arm warmers. I wore beanie and gloves and homemade mittens and carried a Nathan Quickdraw Plus…

Carrying fluid in these cool conditions on a 15.5 mile run wasn’t necessary, yet I anticipated hitting a very crowed aid station #1 with the 50k and 50M folks and didn’t want to fight the crowd…great choice as this place was packed with longer distance runners vying for aid as I ran around, content with my partially consumed water bottle of Clif Shot drink!

The Bel Monte runs are not strolls in the mountains, yet generously challenging 90% trail events on rocky (sometimes VERY rocky) trails and through creeks and on bits of dirt roads. The terrain is an adventure and I found myself tickled at being back in the thick of rock navigation!

All in all, I was pleased to make good clothing and nutrition choices and to wind up under my anticipated window of 2:30, with a 1st place finish time of 2:26: 06. Alison Bryant, 35, NC, who has been recovering from injury, (otherwise would have scalped me and set a new CR), was second at 2:2:50, Laren Rusin, 33, MD, was 3rd at 2:52: 03. 

On the guys side Ryan Woods, 32 of Boone, NC CR’d at 1: 56:04, with Jason Bryant, 38, just minutes behind at 1:59:33. Chad Motz, 33, NC rounded out top 3 at 2:12:07 (this may have been a winning time in years past!) Full results here.
Weather: 35 degrees w/ mist 7am EST course start. Variable though elevation changes and ending 44sih as I finished via 9:30am!

Shoes: Montrail men’s size 9 Rouge Racers 
Socks: Dry Max Trail Heavy socks, size Medium (NO Blisters…joy-oh-joy!)
Clothing and Gear: Mtn Hardwear Pacer Advance Shorts 2010, Mtn Hardwear wicking shirt 2011, Mtn Hardwear gloves, homemade over mitts, Mtn Hardwear beanie hat, carried Nathan Quickdraw Plus water bottle, Zeneh Calf Compression Sleeves. 
Fuel: 20oz Clif Shot drink mix, 3 margarita shot blocks, 2 Oreo cookies, 8 peanut M&Ms, 5oz water!

I am happy to have run 13.5 miles today and working towards a smart day at Bull Run 50 Miler on 4/9!


jenn said...

congratulations, annette! I'm so happy for you!!! (HUG) I thought about you guys at belmonte ( kathleen ran the 50k and you running the 25k!) when I was running terrapin mtn on saturday!! hope to get to see you soon!! take care!


thanks for all the goodies from the tacky leprechaun! you fueled my race:o) thanks so much for sharing!! :o) truly appreciate it!

hlryan20 said...

hi annette! you met my teammates and i at the super 8 hotel lobby--saw that you crushed it and came in 1st! congrats!!! also saw a blur of you (because you were going so fast) on the trail as well. anyway, awesome finish and i was actually wondering if you have any recommendations for someone looking to run their 1st 100m? i've survived the bel monte 50m (only by a hair) and looking for a more merciful 100mile course...
congrats again! heather

Rachel Neil said...

I love the picture of your kitty,
I just love cats.

Why said...

Good luck at Bull Run!!
Great recap on the 25K.

Gotta Run,

Rick Gray said...

Ah, the dorsal fin! I knew it could not lie dormant for long. Congratulations on a great race. Certainly sounds like you enjoyed yourself.

Cathy said...

congratulations, annette! happy to see you are on the comback trail. best wishes at the bull run!
you're very inspiring, the way you are coming back from injury setback - all the best to you for strong races in 2011!