Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo Review leading up to and post WC 100km, Italy 2012

In my last post earlier this week, I threatened that my next post would be a detailed description of the WC 100km in Seregno, Italy.  With further consideration, I will leave it to our World Champion and Team Leaders to write play-by-plays, and I will instead elect to continue to appreciate my participation in the event and celebrate the strength of Team USA Men and Women without further commentary of my own experience. If you have not read the blurb I posted last week, please go here.

Instead, I will share a smattering of photos gleaned from pre- race, parade, awards ceremony and travel day after the race.

La Mountainia-a Catholic retreat center 1000'  above Lake Como. This is where Team USA and a handful of other teams stayed. Yummy, but starchy and virtually vegetable-free food was served:

 Though amazingly beautiful when it wasn't snowing or raining, it took at least 2 hours to get from our accommodations to race activities in Seregno. Bunk beds and dorm living is what no one expected, yet the proprietors were patient  and kind and did their best to roll with difficult situations.

Pictured above is Amy Sproston, Sean Meissner and myself all of Team Montrail, loving the sun!

These race posters were seen all over the city!

On Saturday evening, there was an athlete's parade in Seregno. Unfortunately due to transportation snafu's many delegations, including USA didn't have a full showing of runners during the parade, or in our case, until much later.

Team Italy and Team USA while awaiting parade

John, front Left, survived his snafu ed 6 hour bus ride to join us at the end of the parade. Wow! We were relieved to see him!
...I have no photos to share from the race, though some cool ones can be viewed at this website:

The following photos are of the awards ceremony and post race activities.

Amy (World Champion!) and Meghan, 2 of our awesome tough girls. (Lin Gentling, team manager in back with Pam, another of our awesome fasties!).
Meghan, celebrating another World record run!
Team USA (center) celebrating GOLD!

Team USA men, celebrating silver and 4 top 10 finishes!

Federica, Giuseppe worked like dogs around the clock assisting Team USA and other teams. They were volunteers and were so patient and fun and kind, you'd think they made the "BIG BUCKS!" Grazie!

The medal ceremony was a fun and celebratory event! USA showed is colors strongly! When the ceremony was over, we endured a 3 hour transport back to our accommodations...

Next morning, dressed for warmer climates, Pam and Mac were looking forward to getting off the mountain!

Snow was pouring down as we departed our lodging...We kept our fingers crossed roads would stay clear so we could get to the train station!
I must say that despite the challenges with transportation, food and lodging, the race itself was superbly organized! No complaints at all there...and, truth be told, I expect my high-strung personality made the challenges harder to bear than my teammates who were able to access the more flexible parts of themselves. Still, after feeling "out of control" with our personal space, food, and schedule, I know we were all eager to leave "The Mountain".

While teammates departed for extended travel or a handful to go straight home, George and I headed to Milan. While in theory we could have made it home Tuesday, it would have meant crawling in at 12am the night before showing up for work, and we both knew that would not be conducive to being productive. Instead we elected to stay at the Milan airport for 2 nights, take it easy and explore Milan for a day and arrive in the States at a more reasonable hour of 3:30pm in Charlotte.
George and I on the train from our hotel at MXP heading into Milan on Tuesday morning.
The weather for Tuesday was forecasted to be we wore out long rain coats and expected to be freezing and soaked the whole day. Boy, were we joyously surprised!

Taken from a roof of the Duomo
Upon arriving in the City, Tuesday am, we bought tickets and walked 250 steps up to the roof of the Duomo. (Admittedly, I walked slowly)...What a sight! This huge cathedral seemed like a medieval space station!

My Georgio overlooking the city....
Italian flag seen through the opening...
A quick look inside...

We walked for hours on Tuesday enthusiastically exploring and seeing things from all new perspectives. This city, like much of Italy, I expect is a contract of ancient and modern...

Here we are on the sidewalk enjoying aperitifs
We flew Luftansa from Milan to Munich and then onto Charlotte. Flight was as pleasant as 14 hours+ air travel can be! We got warm hand towels before our meals and free champagne on the flight. I drank only enough mellow me....At this point I'd started to get a cold and was taking some funky German cold medicine to control the I did sleep and stay mellow during the duration of much of that 2nd long 10 hour flight...(though I think I still walked 1/2 mile up and down the aisles!)

After a night of sleep I returned to work and tried to get on  a good schedule but the evil cold symptoms got in the way and I am still dealing with trying to decompress my sinus pressure and drainage...

Yesterday, despite the sinus pressure and snot,  (and maybe because the effort released the pressure, I ran a local 5km...and guess what ? No porta-pottie stops! It was  a PR : 19:59! Yay!
Running buddies and I post 5km...

Several members of our local running club we are showing off our bright shoes and shoe laces (I wore Montrail's Rogue Flys for this flat, fast course.
I have lots of really cool photos from Italy, yet can't seem to figure out how to configure them to best upload to a blog....So we are stuck with these for now!

I look forward to fully getting my legs back from the gimpy 100km last weekend ...
Next up?
May 11th (pm)-13th(pm), I am psyched to be accompanying Diane Van Duran of North Face from Pisgah Inn to roughly Woodlawn as she makes her way through the Western Mountains during her 1000+ mile Mountains to the Sea Trail Quest... If things keep to schedule, we'll traverse roughly 90 miles of some technical and sweet single track during these days.

After this? FANS 24-Hour in Minnesota, if I can manage a day off of work!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Excited for USA...Despite Personal Dissapointment...Quick Report WC 100km 2012

This less-than flattering photo reveals the angst I was experiencing with still 25km left to go. Some days one must resort to "PLAN ZZ"!
Finally, back to being “online” after days living on a rainy, snowy mountain in Northern Italy w/o phone or internet service, I will share a brief report with more to follow.

First of all congratulations to 2012 WC 100km Championship, USA’s Amy Sproston! I am so very pleased for her and proud to be her teammate! Yay! She ran a great race! I’ll provide a link in a moment to see (read) the details!

Equal congrats to teammates Meghan Arbogast (bettered her own world record for 50+ age group yesterday) and Pam Smith whose combined times scored the USA women a GOLD medal! Yay!!!!
Team USA with Amy (white, top left)
 The men’s team also performed fantasticly and earned a silver medal. Yay USA men!

My new friends were stylin' from the outside!
As for me, my plan “A” to run 7:50-7:54:58 went bust. My intestines started giving me grief around 25km and I believe I spent at least ½ hour inside various Italian portapotties and more time ducking in the bushes and being afraid to drink/eat too much, not wanting to invoke “the port-a-port urge”.

Despite taking 2  immodium halfway through the run, I knew that as I continued to work as hard as I could, today would not be the day, I would contribute to a US Team medal. I felt very relieved Carolyn Smith and the eventual top girls were doing great.

The plan went to plan “B”, wishing for 8:40 –the qualifying time for the 100km team for 2013.

Not to be. The stress of this helped invoke some external rotator/hamstring issues and between the GI issues and bio-mechanical stresses I hobbled along. I can’t remember wanting so much to ever withdraw from a race: ie: QUIT!  Afterall, at this point I had nothing to contribute to Team USA.

Yet I am a pig-head and since I was not endanger of hurting myself or anyone else and even with a list of 100 reasons to stop, there was no good reason to do so before I was done. Everyone gets uncomfortable during these events.

After some attitude adjustment I knew  there was NO WAY I was going to quit a World Championship because I felt bad and demoralized. So I went to plan “ZZ”: Just finish with integrity!  I walked, ran/ jogged when I could, visited port-a-potties and finished taking 2 hours longer than planed. True, moments I felt awful-bent over bloated belly cramps, and other times I felt the genuine support of the Italian people as they cheered me  the “back runner” me during my last lap. (I think I came in 11th from last)

At first as I continued on in my Team USA uniform and thought about placing in back of the pack, I was afraid of disgracing my country with such a bad finish-I though a DNF and claiming illness a cleaner image.  Yet as I continued on, I knew for me, I was out of the RACE, yet not out of the RUN. I experienced all sorts of emotions and confusion and discomfort and pain and ultimately was thrilled to have finished despite having to resort to Plan “ZZ”.

Again I reiterate my pride for my teammates, all of them and gratitude for the support and encouragement I received from USA runners, volunteers and staff as I struggled with my demons yesterday. These folks worked longer hours then they would have if I’d run well and I so appreciate their support to see me through.

A more well-rounded race/Italy “story” , with great photos, to follow after next weekend.
Georgio (George) my husband and Team USA volunteer and I post awards ceremony. and have complete results.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seriously, not ...real, yes!

All ages participated in this mornings fine adventure!
After weeks of intense mental and some long miles training (including 27.5 miles on pavement yesterday) readying for WC 100km on 4/22, this morning I got the awesomest break and stress reliever
I am proud to say I participated in the 1st ever: Jimmy Smith Park 5km in Boone, NC on April Fools Day! Many folks thought this was just a joke with humorous banter via Facebook for the last 4 weeks. Runners showed up doubting it's existence= yet we thrived!

Jimmy Smith Park and honoree is real...he's done GREAT things!
The event started out as a kinda joke, yet artistic director/race director Sean Dunlap, seized the interest and created a real fund raiser for a Math Scholarship Fund!
Awesome model/volunteer sporting the 2012 brand shirt!
Ray's Weather donated funds to supply 31 synthetic shirts for the 1st 31 folks to register for this free adventure. No entry fee, yet donations very welcome!

Jimmy Smith Park is a itty bitty park with a few rocks, plaque, benches and not enough room for a trash can. The paved loop sidewalk equals .1 mile, so Sean calculated 31 laps would equal 3.1 miles! Makes sense!

Each runner received a little baggy of poker chips! Coolnes
The race was complete with chip timing! Each runner received 6 poker chips. After 5 laps we would throw our chips into the bin and then when we had no more chips, we knew all we had was one "victory lap" to prance through!

Photo taken yesterday in serious mode, post 27.5, trying to figure out best shorts to wear for WC 100km on 4/22!
Yesterday during my 27.5 mile run, I practiced wearing a version of Team USA Uniform and took the run seriously.

Today I decided to go "180" and have total fun: I wore a 2 piece swimsuit, winter hat with ear flaps and with a magic marker asked RD Sean to write JSP 50k;) across my middle!
Wayne (and myself), the eventual speedy champion, flashing down the route!

Post run, with my magic marker showing!
I have no idea of my time or of how many laps I actually ran, yet had a blast! This fed my soul for fun in a beautiful way!

Today: Attire: 2 piece WaterPro Swimsuit, DryMax socks, Montrail Rogue Flys, Moeben armwarmers, Patagonia glove liners, hat found for $5 at TJMaxx , Sharpie magic marker!

(I did change clothes and go out for a very easy 5 miles post this fine adventure-yet this is the kinda thing that helps fuel my soul!) Thank you Sean and kindred spirit friends!