Sunday, June 5, 2011

Staying Conservative at Rothrock Challenge 30k June 4, 2011

Entering the Longberger Trail at mile .75 of Rothrock Trail Challenge 30k, 6/4/2011
 As noted in my last post, my clear goals going into Rothrock 30k were:
  1. Not re-injure my healing knee by falling on it. (Falling hard directly on my left knee may mean out of the running (even though being "in the running" is not yet official... for World 100k-not yet certain-but I am too close to take risks!)
  2. Acquire points for the LaSportiva Mountain Cup
  3. Be recovered and ready to train by 6/7.
Strategies to achieve these included:
  1. Give Dorsal Fin a day off (ie: not race)
  2. Be smart and efficient with fueling, aid and running/hiking transitions
  3. Remind myself that to race would be to be greedy and in the past, greediness has led to bad things (injury)
I’d heard that Rothrock was an exceedingly technical course-Jen, one of the race directors, when I met her after Bear Mountain 50M  last month compared it to Bear Mountain-just shorter. Now after running it, I agree-a junior Bear Mountain 50M and baby Massanutten 100 (without dirt roads).
The course was fabulous and technical and I want to return when I am not running skittish as to fully appreciate the rockiness of the possibilities here! Yet I get ahead of myself… cool is that? note that the event directors do not recognize participants as runners, yet as Registered Crazies!

I left Jefferson, NC at 2:20pm on Thursday. This was a ½ day for students in Ashe County Schools and faculty were permitted to leave after students vacated the building. I drove for 6.5 hours (would have been less if there was not a car fire and a 2-lane closure on I-77 North that I got stuck in),  and wound up in Hancock, MD for the night. After staying at a 39.99 Super 8 which I recommend only to those who like little mice and lots of ants in their rooms, I ran for a little while on the Western Maryland Rail Trail and C&O towpath before continuing the 2.5 hour drive to State College, PA.
Western Maryland Rail Trail...beautiful  with tons of community support...C&O towpath just seconds away!
 Friday afternoon I drove out to Rothrock State Forest and did a little scouting of the markings and terrain. Marked with orange flags and arrows.Check! Rocky.Check! Rooty. Check! Swampy and wet. Check! The makings for a fine 19 mile adventure.

Race morning, fueled on coffee, English muffin and banana I drove the 18 minutes from my motel to race start. I could have camped closer for free-yet I do so enjoy the convenience of having electricity, wi-fi and an easy way to make coffee. Ten years ago I would not have been caught dead wasting 50 bucks on a motel room..and perhaps in another few years I’ll think the same way, yet for now, I enjoyed watching race videos on wi fi, a warm shower, cup of cocoa and mattress before sleeping on Friday evening!

The race started at 8:05 am. Despite my commitment to not race, I placed myself near the front –about 25 people back knowing that after .75 mile or so we’d go to single track and I wanted to be able to run as much as possible w/o being in a pack. And off we went.

I have little specific memory of the whole event. I ran carefully and with lots of caution. Running this way is not as fun as being carefree and racing-actually it was quite stressful for the first 12 miles or so until I got used to the trail and my self-prescribed approach for the day. Then after relaxing, I found the idea of just running and not racing, quite fun and freeing! The eventual 4th place girl and 6th place girl and I exchanged places several times.

I do remember getting Gatorade at AS #2 and making the mistake of not tasting it…I feel badly for those who came after me as I think I was given all the Gatorade sugar and little water. I sipped for carbohydrate,yet wound up tossing most of the fluidly syrup after a mile or so. A great reminder to sample what I am taking before committing to it. Fortunately going w/o fluid for an hour did no harm this day.

This day I ran strong ups-I didn’t have worries of falling and taking a digger on my left knee. I ran and timidly made my way down the rocky parts and across the mucky/rocky flats…though blessedly, experience of the day gave confidence and the descents got more fun and less timid as hour 3 approached!

I am sure the area is beautiful. I could sense it though my other senses, yet my sight was glued to the ground and rocks in front and /or under me.

Thankfully, only a tiny flesh wound as a souvenir!
With a mile or so left to go and girl #4 within sight…BAM! I fell. Dork! I was daydreaming. Dork! It wasn’t a bad fall or even on my left knee, yet it shook me up enough that I gave up my secret hope of catching girl #4. The little digger kept me honest and I finished 5th woman, 3:40:53, 29 minutes behind 2010 and 2011 winner Meira Minard, 37 of State College, PA and 57 seconds behind 4th place Caitlin Strahota, 25, of Wellsboro,PA. Ashley Moyer, 23 of Oley, PA was 2nd in 3:21:58 and Alison Bryant, 32 of Elkin, NC, 3rd, bettering her 3rd place time from last year by over 16 minutes to run in 3:29:37.

Jason and Alison..both tough cookies who run  with LaSportiva, rockin for 3rd place and living in NC!
On the men’s side, State College’s Jacob Loverich was 1st: 2:37:34, Matthew Byrne 2nd: 2:40:05 and Jason Bryant rounded up top 3 with 2:45:27. The first masters was Allen Evans, 47 of Beaver Dams, NY in 2:58:08.

There were 299 finishers all together! Full results here.

3rd place Jason Bryant from NC...Refueling pondside??? Oh you make us laugh fast guy!

Byron Powell, Alison Bryant, Jason Bryant and Me after 3 of the 4 of us jumped in the pond!

Massage practitioner John and I after a great post race therapy! The school he works for: Integrative Bodywork Therapeutic Massage gave complimentary massages for runners. If you live in the area, please contact these folks: or 814-234-4700. Icing on the cake and fuel for the 9 hour car ride! Thank you John!
The finish line area was a celebration of fun, food and camaraderie. Great weather made for a very fun post-race party! Running, rocks, great peeps, massage, food, beer, no bugs, what could be better?
Post-race massage and playing bartender as we waited for the froth to subdue...
This was a fun and excellently executed event! I only earned 11 points towards the series standings...yet life is life and body is body and I am happy for what I experienced!

I have never felt "old" during ultras...yet must admit, these shorter races running against (or like today, between) much younger women have reminded me that a 20 mile run and 50 miler are in seriously different categories! So be it. I am not getting younger, yet am eagerly learning and participating as I unfold the story of this lifetime!

Shoes, Clothing and Fuel (from the ground up)
Shoes: Montrail Mountain Masochists, men size 9
Socks: DryMax Trail
Shorts: Mtn Hardwear Pacer Advance Short (style from 2010)
Bra: Patagonia sports top
Tank: Mountain Hardwear wicked lite tank (uniform 2010)
Nathan Quickdraw Plus waterbottle
Carried and ate 1 bottle Clif Shot drink, 6 margarita shot blocks
From aid stations: 1/4 bottle gatoraide syrup, 1.5 bottle h20, 2 PB&J squares..
Post race: 1 12oz beer, 2 slices  cheese pizza!

Next up (if the universe is willing!) Chattanooga Stage Races 6/17-619!


Thomas Bussiere said...

Congrats on a smart race.
"Give Dorsal Fin a day off" - Love this.

Latest News Updates said...

Nice Post
Pass ur comments on that also.

j.edge said...

any chance you'll be running the grandfather mountain marathon? it would be a blast to see you there.

Rick Gray said...

You did well staying patient in this one. Great run under whiles staying patient!

Lakewood said...

Had fun running with you for most of the day Annette. You kept me going at a good pace all day. I lost sight of you during the last 2 miles though and finished a couple minutes back. Those rocks were fun eh? Still can't believe you drove 9 hours.


annette bednosky said...

To J.edge: Grandfather is an excellent event(as you likely know!)...I ran it once several years ago when participating in the Highland Games Queen of the Mountain Event (The Bear, GRizzly and Marathon!) If you have not yet run it-save something for miles 21-end...little elevation gain, VERY runnable and fun! I would like to run it again, yet this year I'll be hosting my Mom visiting from NY and laying low to get set for World Master's Marathon in Sacramento, Ca a week later...If Mom is willing, perhaps we'll visit the Highand Games and cheer you in!!!!

John-Glad you had a strong finish! I really liked reading your blog post too! 9 hours of driving is okay because I get 40mpg in my Toyota Echo...and I distract myself with borrowed from the library books on CD!
Ahhh...What we do for our passions! 2 years ago George (my hubbie) and I flew to Bergamo Italy so I could run in 1 km+loops for 24 hours as part of Team USA. Silly? Perhaps. Crazy? Perhaps. Worth every second and penny....YES!

I know you can relate in your own ways from your dedicated hiking experiences! Best wishes next weekend: Be smart and bold and seek the beauty in the land and yourself!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

(Mary) Shannon Johnstone said...

YEAHH Annette!! I learn so much from you and I so admire the way you run and think! Congratulations!!!