Sunday, January 16, 2011


This was a weekend of real NC winter trail running: Saturday an organized “race” and Sunday morning an surprise social run with local running buddies. I am sore and whooped right now. A token of too much time away from trails! I am happy to be slogging back to the trails!


All I could think for most of the 15.5ish miles of the inaugural 25k Lakeside Trail run was: JOY!
The route is a lollipop course with the “lollipop stick being the “out ‘n back”, except for the lake crossings it was all snowy/muddy and a bit icy (in parts) wonderful, single track trail run! The “candy” part of the loop was an interesting circle (kinda circle). Most of the trail was covered with 2” of snow.  I live in Jefferson, NC where we have at present 5-9” on the trails-so coming to Greensboro was both a surprise and joy. Greensboro rarely gets snow that sticks more than a day…Soooo: snow yes! Awesome adventure with 115 starters: YES!

As with any run of in 20-30ish degree heat, I wondered today about appropriate attire. Today I knew I would not run fast so don’t need to run “bare”…

 I finally settled on Montrail Mountain Masochist  shoe… I warmed up in the super lightweight 2011 Montrail Rouge Racer…yet I wanted more traction in the snow and mud…so the Mountain Masochist performed to my delight, superbly in the shallow snow and immerging mud!), I noticed the girl who ran with me and finished just behind me, wore the same shoe! (Cool about your shoes, Sara!) I wore shorts and LS shirt, w/ Montrail jersey over top!

The Lakeside Trail 25k was a great and fair re-entry to trail racing (‘though I was committed to run’ and not “race”!..I met my goal of working hard and staying in control. I completely enjoyed trail time with Todd Hartung and Dan Bensimhon as we shared much of 12+ miles together! We are all within 3 years of each other’s age and it was neat to talk and realize how our lives have been so very different from one another’s! After 1 bloody fall, I talked less and listened more!

Sam Kilsdonk, 1st woman in just over 2:00...She's headed to Boston soon!
I finished up in 2:08:57, 14th overall and 3rd woman. Go here for full results!
Finish Line after most of us were done!

Part II

This morning I awoke around 7am and after talking with George, we changed our plans. We were going to go to Wilkes County to run/bike, yet George just learned of the death of a colleague and would instead head to Winston-Salem to pay his respects and celebrate a man’s full and generous life!

I checked email over coffee and learned that Doug Blackford and Dennis Norris, two awesome men and tough trail runners invited me to join their snowy Mountains to Sea Trail adventure. They were meeting at 9am on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After exchanging a couple emails, I joined them in Deep Gap (a 16-minute drive on a vacant-road Sunday morning, ready for our adventure!

We drove on the partially snow covered Blue Ridge Parkway for a couple miles to the trail head we wanted to start at. In a 2-wheel drive 4 cylinder Toyota Echo, I was stressed by the drive up hill and could only dread the drive down in a couple hours time! (The parkway can be steep in places and doesn’t always offer guardrails!)

Mountains to Sea snowy trail
We had a blast! Running 1 hour North on the newly created portion of Mountains to Sea Trail and back on the icy/snowy parkway.

Dennis and Doug running uphill on icy Blue Ridge Parkway
We passed by several icy outcroppings....
Doug (front)and Dennis admiring the view through the trees...
All three of us appreciated the great efforts by the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail for creating such a great path!
Me, proving I was really there!
After finishing our romp in 1:50 we started down in our cars on the snowy Blue Ridge Parkway. I was scared as a couple hours brought slightly elevated temps and more slickness to the surface. I felt like I might have a panic attack (though I haven’t had one before) while driving down the mountain at 5-10mph in 1st gear, riding the breaks. Thank you to Dennis and Doug for putting up with my fears!

This week in the NC High Country looks fairly mild and I hope we’ll get a full week of high school in! I have not been to work (officially) in a long 9 days and am scratching to get back at what I need to do! (Yesterday was a school day, yet happily my principal is supportive of my running and is willing to work with me on the several potential Saturday conflicts I might have with sudden Saturday school this winter!) Thank you Principal Krider!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Running again!

Eric Grossman and I having fun on the AT, 1/1/2011

JJ Jesse, Eric Grossman, Doug Blackford, Martha Cutler, Beth Minnick and Jenny Nichols pre run
This morning I celebrated the start of 2011 by getting together with some friends for a short trail run! What fun! It’s been 2.5 months since I have been able to run freely and the joy and freedom of this morning was very appreciated.

My GPS says we did 8.5 miles on the muddy and  steep figure 8 loop of the Iron Mountain and Appalachian Trail. Several months ago, 8 miles would be a warm-up, yet today I clocked my longest run since 10/19/2010! I am running ever other day now and spinning/elliptical/swimming on the alternate days. I am determined to get this recovery/glute retraining right and not get too greedy and do too much too soon.

In addition to aerobic and physical therapy exercises, I have discovered an interesting ½ hour class in Boone at the Wellness Center called Quick Fit. (I call it “the class that kicks my butt”). This class complements core strengthening and some of the agility work I need to continue doing to continue to heal and avoid a relapse into what I worked myself into this past fall.

The class is a combination of hurdle jumps, ball squats, suicides, ab roller, medicine ball throws, etc, etc done in a 2 lap circuit. When I am in the thick of the class I feel uncoordinated and weak, yet still like working really hard!

I have been offered and have enthusiastically accepted a spot on Montrail's UltraRunning Team for 2011. I missed many of the Montrail Ultra Cup races this past fall due to my focus on 100k training and then being injured, so I will likely not participate in the series this year. I hope to explore several new races including at least one of the North Face Endurance Challenges and a couple shorter  La Sportiva Mountain races. I am working on a tentative racing schedule for the 1st part of this year and will post some ideas soon. I do plan to run Western States 100 in June and hope to be offered a spot  on Team USA to run at World 100k in the Netherlands in September. There is much life to be lived, training and patience to work through in the meantime…

Next weekend I hope to join a bunch of local friends for a 13-mile run on the Tanawha Trail.

I am working on finalizing details for New River Trail 50k, 10/08/2011. Registration will open in mid January at Ultra Signup.