Sunday, March 25, 2012

A training sandwich and the Virginia Creeper Marathon 3/25/2012

Happy, wet training on the VA Creeper Trail!
Last month, after Black Mountain Marathon, I posted I wouldn't run in an event again for training purposes-because, like it or not, my dorsal fin emerges and I push more than I should for a training effort. This results in the need for major backing off for a few days to recover and seriously gets in the way of a girl's training schedule!

Yet last week after a mentally draining 4:20, 31 mile run alone in 42 degree rain, I swore I would do what it takes to stay positive and not dread hours of plodding along alone in uncomfortable weather.

Midweek, looking at this weekend's weather forecast, I knew that unless I rallied, my 5 hour run would be done in 45 degree rain and alone. I certainly don't mind alone-yet when it is raining and chilly, my hands don't function well and I can easily get calorie deficient. Rain also gets in the way of even my usual moderate use of ipod...and well-back and forth on the only flat paved road we have within a 40 minute drive can become a chore... My own company is great...yet for only so long!

Soooo....Today I drove to Abingdon, VA and started running at 6:45am-ran an hour, pinned on a bib, ran the VA Creeper Trail Marathon in 3: 27 and change, and finished my 5 hour run off with a 4 mile jog. Yes, it was rainy and chilly those last 4 slower miles...yet the spirit of the event and familar and new faces on the out 'n backs kept my spirits wayyy up!

No, I was not out there to race-mentally especially, as  I won't go "there" until 4/22 and effort-wise, I ran easy the 1st "uphill" part of the course and let the slight changes in terrain dictate from there.
I got "meet" and wave at sooo many great folks during the out 'n backs...including this fellow who is a 50 state 26.2 finisher!
Totally love this shirt!
I could be totally wrong, yet I wonder if the cyclist is the Dad of the young girl in blue? She was steady all day, yet I think the youngest person out there! You go girl!
The weather was misty and rainy and I think there were several "no shows" to the day...I started out very easy until the 1st turn around in Abingdon. After this turn, the course was ever-so-slight, downhill. Around mile 8, I caught up with Cat (or Kat?) who lives in Nashville and was running not her 1st marathon, but 1st VA Creeper Marathon. We shared about a mile together before I moved ahead. I enjoyed the limited interaction I had with this young woman and got to cheer her mom, Karen on too!

The rest of the run was wet and beautiful during the earliest of Spring days on in a valley of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Early spring in the cow fields
After one of the long tressels was destroyed in a tornado last year, the town of Abingdon built a steepish path connecting the east and west parts of the trail...A good change of pace for the amazing almost flatness of the trail!
First place, especially when staying true to my "bigger picture plan" was a treat!
This event is AWESOME. Not high-profile, costs just $10, is a BQ event and is done with great quality and attention to details: Gatorade mixed perfectly and water each 3 miles, later miles offer, in addition, fruit and cookies...fig bars rock! Thank you to race director Frank and all your amazing volunteers. I hope by now they are finally dry and warm!
For complete results see:

Next up for me: Continued work on New River Trail 50k -registration opened 3/23 AND we are now committed to it being a certified 50km course offering runners marathon time splits!

Mainly I am focused on being a good professional school counselor, trying to be balanced in my personal relationships (thank you George with your patience with my 9:30 pm bedtime and 4:30am alarm! and  continued training for WC 100km, Seregano, Italy on 4/22. No dorsal fin appearances until then!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Registration opens 3/23 for 5th Running of New River Trail 50k!

Start / Finish Area, Fries, VA
Moments after race start in 2010: Yes, it is FLAT!
Registration will open for the 5th running of New River Trail 50k on Friday March 23rd through UltraSignUp. As in years past the race is based on a "green" preference. We use goods and services as much as possible from within a 100 mile radius of the event and support companies with demonstrated responsibility in being "planet conscious".

This year there are 2 incentives for registering early. The 1st 15  to sign up will be entered into a drawing to receive a Mountain Hardwear daypack: 2011 Enterprise.

The day pack has a 17" laptop sleeeve. Specs can be found on the above Enterprise link.

I'll contact the "winner" by email and send this off. Look for more surprise incentives to follow! (Don't worry, if you are in the running for the pack, you'll still be in the running for other cool gear too!)

 The first 80 folks to register will have a chance to choose a pottery tumbler or Nathan Handheld water bottle. After 80 runners are signed up, no more pottery will be offered.

Our fees had to go up this year. After staying the same for 4 years, everything now costs more. Base registration increased from $40.00 to $45.00 and Patagonia shirts also went up- (at cost for shirt, shipping and printing are 26.50 each). Runners are offered a choice of shirt or no shirt.

We now have a Facebook event page.
I also invite folks to use the forum on UltraSignUp to discuss race experiences and questions. Of course, as always, feel free to email or call me.

If anyone reading this has $800-$1000 dollars burning a hole in their pocket and want to help get this course certified as a marathon and 50km....please let me know asap! (It would be tax deductible as a contribution to National Committee for the New River)...
Had to finish up with this photo: George and I were on the top of Calloway Peak of Grandfather Mtn. last weekend

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caumsett Park, NY: 2012 USATF National 50km Road Championships, March 4, 2012

Women in black: Tracy, Jessica, myself and champ Shanna Ailes Istini post race when the sun came out!
Some races are mostly fun with some work; some are work with some fun. For me, yesterday’s race was more about work.

The Caumsett State Park course is a relatively flat/mildly rolling course of 5km, done 10x. This event is really 2 races in one: Caumsett Park 50km and USATF 50 km Championship Race, with the USATF event requiring those competing in the National Championships to be US citizens and members of USATF and follow slightly stricter rules. For this reason, finishers placing in the CP race and Championship race are recognized differently.

Entering race site on Sunday morning, as is often the case, no matter what state I run an ultra in, was a glimpse of many familiar faces (for whom I knew names: Roy Pirrung, Byron Lane, Michael Wardian, Todd Braje, and more)-and many more who were familiar-faced kindred spirits!

The run started at 8:30 am mild wind, 42ish degrees, cloudy. I enjoyed the first few loops running some with Tracy Meder, 32 from Ohio, and then I became a lone runner. For 4 loops I felt pretty good and was enjoying myself…yet after only 20km, I grew uncomfortable: hammies and glutes were not happy and I realized I’d tied my new road shoes too tight, making the bottom of my feet sore. Not much to be done, except slow a bit and suck it up! Loosening and re-tying the shoes wasn’t an option as my hands would barely function to handle an already opened Clif blocks package (Raynoids as always)!

By the end of lap 3 I was in fourth place among women and from what I could tell third of the USATF race. That is the way it would stay…though for several loops there was another woman running very consistently just 1-2 minutes back.

Before the run, I’d met a former 50M USA record holder from Washington State. His first name is Bill and he was coaching a handful of runners from the NW. He stationed himself halfway through the loop and offered me some much-appreciated encouragement each time. Thank you Bill!

I kept track of loops by associating each with something I could remember:
Lap 1 (c’mon that’s easy), Lap 2= twin (honoring Cher), Lap 3= me and 2 siblings, Lap 4= "4 score and 7 years", and so it went!

It was fun to cheer for Michael Wardian and some of the other fast guys as they lapped me 2x. In turn it was great to be cheered on by other runners as I lapped past them. During the last few loops I had some lapses in confidence as I slowed and felt sore (likely from all the downhill at Black Mountain Marathon a week ago)? I wanted an attitude adjustment, so took advantage of the new USATF rule, as informed by Roy that morning, of being allowed to wear ear buds and listen to music so long as the music player wasn’t a communication device. My little ipod shuffle served me well.

Not having a clue as to my fitness for this sort of race, I figured splits for a 3:45 last night. Those splits got tossed after loop 4 and I held on to hope to go for sub 3:50. I tossed my Garmin aside after that loop, and still had my watch, though had not turned on the chronometer-so I didn’t know if my time of day was in synch with race time or not.

With 1 loop left to go, I gulped Gatorade from my little disposable bottle and ran as hard as by stubborn hammies and glutes would allow. (23:13 would be the fastest of the last 5 loops for me). I think I made pitiful grunting noises more than once trudging through this last loop. The last  mile I was breathing hard and when the finish line came into sight all I could see was 3:48:and change…crossing the line I headed away from people gasping and crying with effort and relief. It took me a little while to collect myself enough to join others.

As mentioned earlier, this race was work. I am pleased with third place in the Nat’l Champ race and happy to have had the tenacity to get sub 3:50…yet I am humbled and glad to have this as a measure of myself as I continue training for WC 100 on 4/22.

Things I must put into place from this point forward:
Awsome race director S Polansky, Tracey, Shanna, Roy Pirrung and me
  • Long training runs okay-long races, even if run with perceived "non-racing" approach= not okay
  • Schedule regular bodywork sessions. I have been saving money not having this done; yet clearly I need this intervention.
  • After hammies and glutes calm down, start back with AIS several times a week.
  • Ask a friend to film me running and share with Howard. I have been wondering if my biomechanics are changing?
  • Get back in the habit of regularly taking vitamins and supplements, which should help my overall health, and running recovery.
Wrapping up the USATF race: I was # 16, finished 16 overall, third female, first Master’s, fastest split: 21:47 (1), slowest 23:50 (9).

I must emphasize that in the overall race, I placed fourth, Jessica Kennedy 28, from NJ finished second female, yet since she is not USATF did not place in that race. She was second overall in the non-Championship race at 3:39:38. She seems like a tough young woman-an avid ultra runner who will be coming to Umstead State Park for the 100 mile in April. Perhaps if I am there pacing, I’ll get to cheer her on!
The steady woman who I referred to earlier was Kathryn Martin, 60 from LI who set 4 new American age group records. Congratulations Kathryn!

Full results for all races here.

Toostie, photo taken last night
As I type up these notes, I am at my Mom’s dining room table with her cat Tootsie behind my head on her perch. Moms at church, the cat Tootsie is watching birds at the feeders. Mom lives on Eastern Long Island and as much as I came up for the race, I came up to spend time with Mom. Flying in Friday morning to Islip has given us quality time together. We’ve shared meals and talks and walks and Saturday evening Mass together, a few chores and just quality time. I have really missed her at hate to think of leaving to fly home this afternoon…but since people don’t earn paychecks visiting people they love, I must be back to work tomorrow.

Clothing and race nutrition:
Saucony Mirage Road shoes, Sugoi compression socks, Spider Tech tape protecting R calf, Mountain Hardwear Pacer Advance Shorts (2011 version), MH Way Too Cool Tank, MH arm warmers, MH Momentum gloves, MH running beanie, 2010 version, Tribal Silencer glasses (due to wind). Fluid and calories-approximately 16 ounces Gatorade, 8 ounces water, Clif Gel, 5 Clifshot Blocks.

Next up: Follow plan Howard gives me for training and stick to self-reminders outlined above!