Thursday, May 22, 2008

Upcoming New River Trail 50k featured in May 22, 2008 Winston-Salem Journal

These photos by Bruce Chapman and accompanying story by Monte Mitchell called: Fuuuuuun Run: Extreme runner promotes benefit race appears on the cover of the local section of today's Winston-Salem Journal.

The newspaper article discusses the New River Trail 50k. This is my first venture into race directing and gives a neat overview of ultrarunning with some neat perspectives from registered runners. As of today we have 51 runners! There are 4 scholarship spots open for anyone who needs assistance with the entry fee. Just email me at if interested!

And yes, we are still looking for volunteers-experienced or not!

I have copied the story below in case the above link doesn't stay "live" for more than today!

FUUUUUUUN RUN: Extreme runner promotes benefit Race
By Monte Mitchell


Published: May 22, 2008

JEFFERSON -- Annette Bednosky is an ultramarathon runner who thinks running the road to the top of Mount Jefferson is a nice change-of-pace workout to lighten things up a bit.

"My forte as a competitive runner is the steeper and slicker, the better I do," said Bednosky, who has run in races as long as 100 miles, often scrambling up and down mountain trails.

Bednosky was the 2005 women's champion at the granddaddy of ultramarathon trail runs, the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in California, where she ran along trails once used by Gold Rush miners, climbing 18,000 vertical feet and then descending more than 22,000 feet.

So when the time came for her to step out of the competitive-running ranks long enough to put on a race director's cap and organize an ultramarathon, runners might have expected a brutal, calf-punishing route up and down steep ridges near her home in Jefferson.

Instead, Bednosky is planning the first New River Trail 50K along a route that's about as flat and easy as a 50-kilometer (or 31.1-mile) run could be in the mountains. It'll start in the Grayson County, Va., town of Fries on Oct. 11, and stay within the New River Trail State Park on a dirt path that follows the river and Chestnut Creek.

Part of the reason for picking this route is to raise money for the National Committee for the New River, but it's also to encourage people to run in their first ultramarathon. Ultramarathons are various distances longer than the marathon's 26 miles, 385 yards.

Such runs as the Western States are daunting even for elite-level athletes such as Bednosky, and it certainly won't be easy to finish the New River Trail 50K. But while the flat course will make this a good training run for elite ultramarathon runners preparing for other races, it's still achievable for runners who take pride in being middle-of-the-pack or back-of-the-pack plodders.

Donna Bays, a 43-year-old paralegal from Kingsport, Tenn., is preparing for the New River Trail 50K.

Bays ran in her first ultramarathon May 3, the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run, named after a 1939 champion Tennessee walking horse.

"I so much loved the atmosphere of the ultra events," she said. "There's three times as many support people as runners. The focus is on, ‘How do we get these folks to the finish line?'"

Bays has lost more than 100 pounds in the past four years. She had run hardly a step in her life before she turned 40, she said, and started out doing just 30 seconds at a time on a treadmill. She has run in three marathons, but likes the slower pace and more relaxed atmosphere of the ultras.

"I'm very slow, but I like to see how far I can run," she said.

Patience and stick-to-it-ness are keys. The cutoff time is seven hours, meaning that runners could average a pace of 13-and-a-half-minutes a mile.

For people who think they could never do it or who think that their biggest running achievements are behind them, the average age of runners already signed up is about 50.

Keith Wood, 58, of Clemmon, has run about 30 marathons and eight ultras. He says that the training is about the same for a 31-miler as a marathon and that people who are already running now still have time to prepare.

He said he enjoys the ultras because they are generally run on trails and there is a lot of camaraderie among people as runners rise to the challenge of finishing.

"It's a good way of relaxing," he said. "Get out in the woods. You don't have to fight traffic."

Both runners said they're looking forward to the New River Trail 50K, and they expect Bednosky's experience, reputation and attitude will contribute to establish the run as a first-class event.

Bednosky will be too busy directing the race to run in it, but she is training for other races. She ran along a dirt road outside Jefferson last week, still sporting scabbed knees from a fall during a 50K in New York. Her training run followed the dirt road along the South Fork of the New River.

The river here is much smaller than where the race will be run in Virginia, as it widens outs and deepens after the confluence of the north and south forks. But the dirt road that follows the South Fork here offers a nice preview.

Forty-eight people have signed up so far.

Bednosky, who works as a counselor at Ashe County High School, said she hopes that other runners will follow her proven pre-running routine: "Rush home from school, change my clothes, grab my water bottle and get out before I get tempted to get into something else."

■ Monte Mitchell can be reached at 336-667-5691 or at

■ To read more about Annette Bednosky's running, read her blog at For entry information and other details about the New River Trail 50K, visit the Web site for the National Committee for the New River, at On the left side of the page, click on "Calendar of Events," go to October listings and follow the link to the race page.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Soreness, Bloody Knees and Stubborn Running of the LI Greenbelt 50k: May 10, 2008.

The top photo is amazing athlete Amy Palmiero Winters who also ran on Saturday!

Before discussing The Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k race I must say “Thank you Mom” for crewing me and Happy Mother’s Day! (This is the 2nd year in a row while visiting Mom on our native Long Island that I have run this very excellent event).

I do look forward to the day again when I can reflect on a run with celebration rather than disappointment and frustration over “mysterious” mechanical difficulties of my body. I know many people say I should be grateful for what I can do, rather than with my limitations- (temporary, permanent, or perceived)…yet I am an adventurer, greedy not to miss out on experiences of pushing boundaries what I and others in the past have perceived to be coming to the “edge”. In my life as I have known it, I have been most alive frolicking in the wilderness: be that a wilderness of trail running, multi-pitch lead climbing, wandering for NYC in my theatre days, or simply contemplating the wonderful possibilities of the future.

Though I have dealt with injury –both serious and minor in my ultra running years I am very frustrated now as I have no clue as to what caused my right calf to start to stiffen, get sore and move up into my hamstring. It started during a 30ish mile training run 4/5/08 in the Iron Mountains that ended turning around and slogging the last 12 miles back to my car…I rested thinking it a strain. My PT said it was “barely a strain”… Then went to my chiropractor and started seeing another thinking the accompanying tingles and hamstring tightness might be nerve related. Lots of stretching. Break from running. Lots of growling from me. Some training as my fussy leg will allow. I backed out of Zane Grey 50M last month 2 days before, knowing I wouldn’t be able to participate…Grrr…I cried. Sadness. I wish I had answers…

So I have an appt tomorrow with a PT in Winston-Salem…with a fellow who is one of the PT’s for Wake Forest’s athletes… I can more easily deal with limitations if I know how to work towards changing them…Sigh…time will tell!!

I can’t image being prepared for WS 100 this year. I did some good prep during February and March, yet have been snafu’d since. I am really wanting to go out there and round out my participation in the Montrail Ultra Cup. Yet I have no desire to go out wayyyy under trained and limp my way through the miles. If I don’t earn the right though time on the trails-I don’t belong out there clogging them up! June 1st will be my cut off day of what I will do about that event!

Get to the point you say! (I agree!) What does all this blundering talk have to do with LI Greenbelt 50k 2008?
Because the race was this past weekend out of Plainview, NY and for smarter or less smart, I ran the event while on Long Island spending Mother’s Day time with my Mom.

Mom knew I was hesitant about entering. She knows me well enough that it would be really hard for my to quit even if I started hurting very badly. I chose to enter because my calf/hamstring is soo inconsistent that sometimes sitting/standing is more uncomfortable than I was not convinced I would do any additional damage-especially if I ran and did not race.
So I christened my new green Montrail jersey and ran the course. I was fun to be out with folks I’d met the year before. It was even more awesome to watch Amy Palmiero-Winters (pictured above) reportedly set a world record as a trail running amputee that day! This woman is very strong and graceful; she inspired me not so much as her obvious overcoming hardships, yet by her grace and transparent athletic talent! Her efforts and achievements make me more steadfast to not want to give up in the face of my own current frustrating body mechanics!!! (good or bad…I don’t know?)

The course was as I remembered from last year-very runnable with steeper attention getting sections in the northern 4 miles. Some sand, several road crossings, generous volunteers. It was a very well marked trail-yet runners still had to pay attention. I got turned around at one point only because I was daydreaming and added on a couple on inconsequential minutes…

Several times during the 1st of the “double out and backs” on the all dirt/sand LI Greenbelt Trail (or one of the LI Greenbelt Trails….there are actually several long trails on The Island with this designation, with this one being the shortest and the most western and the steepest!) I considered “dropping”… my calf was sore and I didn’t want to spend all afternoon on the trail. After all, the plan was for Mom to crew me in the am and we would spend the afternoon with George’s family across the Island in early Mother’s Day celebration with Mom Santucci, Grandma, Mom Bednosky, our sister in law Nikki, and George and George’s Pop…

Yet history proves I am not an experienced or graceful DNF’r and my leg did feel better after the first 15 miles. In fact-I started to feel the familiar amazing freedom of trail running and joined THE FLOW bobbing along “semi conscious” to the dirt and roots and acknowledging the passing runners as we navigated our different directions…until somewhere around mile 25: splat!

Next thing I knew I had rolled off the trail and was on the verge of hyperventilating. I had taken a silly fall and scraped both knees, bruised both knees and sported dusty bloody streaks on both legs within minutes. In climbing language, I achieved 2 “flappers”. I was surprised and shaken up and after several minutes of walking and calming down while picking the bits of gravel out of my palm realized I was okay. I did not hurt myself-a few light bruises and maybe forfeited a half ounce of blood…and I got distracted from focusing on my calf. I ran again and was overjoyed! The remaining miles became a focus of looking forward to spending more time with Mom, changing my goal from beating last years time to “beating” 5 hours…So I ran and appreciated being on the trail and sharing encouragement with other runners. No doubt I was pitiful for a little while. I saw others were too-and the “out and back” staging of this course made it so easy to share empathy with and encourage other runners.

I ran hard the last non-technical mile and crossed the line at 4:59:40! About 12 minutes slower than last year…yet I was still pleased as I ran an honest race and felt better at the end than the beginning. I will sort out what is going on with my body…and I strive for patience and the willingness to accept these ebbs and flows with by bodying abilities…

I don’t know about WS 100 2008. For the remaining 2008 I seek for a resolution to my calf issue and to pull my weight and then some as a member of the Montrail UltraRunning Team…running more races, race directing The New River Trail 50k and being a sincere and “real” ambassador for our amazing sport!

I did “win” on Saturday (results here)…the numbers were low (bummer because this is such a GREAT trail run!) I look forward to a strong woman coming out next year and running the 50k in 4:30ish…I know it can be done! It is such a runnable course! My real success I think will be with the action I take from the information about my body I received on Saturday. Thank you to ALL the folks that made the LI Greenbelt Trail 50k come in to reality. The subs and yummy beer and smoothies at the end were totally NY! Thank you to Nick P and everyone else!!!