Sunday, December 20, 2009

A weekend of snow and broken computer screen

Above is our deck prior to 6pm Friday evening...the first of 16" or so that fell and kept us rather "snowed in" for the weekend.
This is George, next day, about 3pm, after he spent 3 hours shoveling the decks and driveway. He built a snowboard ramp...yet the snow was too deep and very wet-he kept getting stuck....

So with all plans to romp on the AT gone this weekend, I resorted to slush/snow running on the roads and treadmillng in the gym....
On Sunday, morning, we got the 4 wheel drive Tacoma powered up and drove over to the tiny Appalachian least we got a few hours of turns on the snowboards...and even did a couple runs in the terrain park! (More time at the gym this afternoon!)
Stocking stuffers to wrap. Mama Grey didn't care. Tonight she favored the tissue paper instead of her pillow to the right.

Shortly after cooking dinner and hanging out w/ George I started up the stairs with laptop in hand, carrying a glass of wine, snowboard pants and a pair of dried running shoes...I reached down to pick up a roll of toilet paper to bring upstairs and I slid down the stairs in my stockinged feet and fell across the futon at the bottom. I wasn't hurt. My computer was.
Part of the screen is damaged, so tomorrow I'll see what I can do to ship this baby off to get it fixed. I shall feel lost without my little machine! So if I am out of access is a probable explanation!

I wish you all grand adventures with safe outcomes and a Great Holiday and Christmas Week!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

...All is least for tonight...

All is calm....(for now!)

The spirit and meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah and other important winter holidays are desperately important and life affirming...yet sometimes the drama of shopping, travel, deadlines, families, too much work, (too much play!) challenges one's sanity!

Snow is predicted to start hitting the High Country tomorrow am with forecasts of up to 20"...Way more than we've seen in a decade. (Putting the cool running gathering planned for Sat on hold, put most activities that require one to be "out"...(except local running/hiking: ie: places you can access from your dwelling!) Us here in the area are prepared for days of power outages, no water, blah, blah...Of course, predictions may be a hoax and the excitment/worriment may all be unwarrnted...

As the craziness and possible cabin fever of the next 56 hours encroaches...I wish to remember the above photo taken of Mama Grey earlier this evening! Enjoy the weather-it's drama, limitations and be inspired by MG...stretch,curl up, take a nap! (Oh...I have much to learn from my kitty!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow

Just finishing up a chilly run on Saturday...
Outside the house around noon...

The first real snow of the NC High Country appeared yesterday around 5am!

We wound up with 2-3" depending on what side of the ridge and wind you were on. This weather event squished my plans to go run Mistletoe Half Marathon in Winston Salem on Saturday...and I wound up "uninviting" 2 ultrarunning friends Jenny and Beth who were going to stay here in Jefferson and flock together, garbed in ELF attire to have a good temp run at this event. The roads here are very "iffy" when there is snow-and the forecast was for "difficult travel conditions" and 2-5"...

(Please forgive me Jenny and Beth-I am still kinda bummed!-Yet I think it was the smart decision-and I expect you both found run in your environs despite the change of plans?)

I ran 13.7 on Saturday in Ashe County in the blowing snow on road and dirt farm tracks.

The rest of the precious "1st snow day" went to Montrail stuff, cranberry nut bread baking and filling bird feeders!

Sunday was warmer...I adventured the 35 minute drive down to Wilkes County and wore shorts and ran for 2+ hours on the developing Warrior Creek Trails at Kerr Scott Reservoir. Great Fun!

Life goes by fast. I wish for pacing! If you are reading this -I wish you a day of genuine joy and if you are running Hellgate in a mere 5 up well! You are ready beyond what you know! Nothing lasts forever and you are ready to thrive!!!!! I will be cheering for you from the south!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

These past few days were truly a break! I haven't napped all year!

I have been on “break” since 7pm Tuesday evening. It was an optional workday the day before Thanksgiving and I opted out. I started the 1st morning of break with a good workout in the gym, followed by an “after JFK” 30-minute leg massage. The day was warm and George and I got in a 4.5 walk before leaving town.

We spent 2 very mellow nights at a cabin in Claytor Lake State Park. Only a 1:45 minute drive from here, it’s a quick getaway. No phone, TV or internet. No work or cleaning. There are always so many things to do at home, that I have a hard time turning “off” to relax. Yet, here it was different!

Thanksgiving morning we drove 11 miles to the North end of the New River Trail State Park near Pulaski, VA. George rode 32 and I ran 16. A few weeks ago I thought I run my age on my b'day...yet the efforts of JFK 50 and my current reality took over and I opted for "43 over 3 (days)instead!
George and I moments after finishing our pursuits on the New River Trail Thanksgiving morning.

After we got back to the cabin and had lunch, I fell asleep while reading Douglas Bulter's A Walk Across America (no reflection on his engagement abilities!)

Photo above taken up dusk as we were finishing up our Thanksgiving afternoon hike. State Parks are strange places....

Sun starting it's set in the Virginia woods.

We got in an hour hike in the park before preparing our Thanksgiving meal: rosemary/lemon chicken breast baked in foil, local sweet potatoes, roasted onions and sprouts from our garden, cranberry sauce, and gravy. George surprised me with goods from WV as “early b’day gifts-quite fun-we sipped on some WV dandelion wine for an aperitif, drank red wine with the meal and sipped WV cherry wine to go with the dessert of apple crisp. It was a wonderful day of togetherness. We even got our 2009 holiday letter written and hung out on the couch in front of the fire and read. Joy.

This is an outside view of the cabins...

My birthday was Friday and I got up and immediately hit the trail for a very slow 5-mile run in the park. We checked out by 10am and stopped at Hungry Mother State Park, only a few miles off the path home. We decided to meet back at the car in 2 hours. It was chilly with little drifts of snow in the shadows. George hit it hiking and I running. My Garmin clocked me at 10 miles in 1:56. Sounds about right. Going up Molly’s knob was quite steep and slow going (and I was certainly NOT going for speed!)

Saturday rounded out my quest for 43 miles with 12+ on dirt. George and I drove 32 minutes to Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County. More than 1000’ lower, it would be warmer than what we’d have in the mountains. Warm it was! George was on his mountain bike and I in my Hardrock 09’s as we played in our own way on the Over Mountain Victory Trail. After changing and stretching, we had a picnic in the sun and again I promptly fell asleep. I think I have hit my yearly allotment of naps.

As we drove a from N Wilkesboro to Deep Gap, roughly a 14 mile stretch of highway, I counted 117 Christmas trees from the High Country tied to the top of vehicles! I spent a couple hours Saturday late night Wal-Mart Christmas shopping for 6 kids George and I “adopted” for Christmas. (Instead of exchanging gifts with our families, we “adopt” a child per couple –or “single” in case of Mom and Grandma and give in their honor). The Salvation Army ringer was outside Wally world. How did the Christmas Holiday Season get here so fast?

The first couple days of being 43 years old have been great: Quality and fun time with George, awesome running, checking out new places, getting chores done at home and feeling organized by starting Holiday cards early. I am grateful for my health. For George and my family. For kitty. For my friends. For having a job I like much of the time! I am glad to be LIVING this life!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Smashing Great Times at JFK 50 miler

Spirited Tammy Massie takes a photo of us somewhere around mile 20!
Top 4 women(from 4th to CR 1st!) Monica Ochs, me, Meghan Arbogast, Devon Crosby-Helms
(I am not trying to "leave out the other top girls...yet I don't know their names..and not everyone was there...Congrats to all you strong top 10 and all women (and Men) finishers!

It is 1:48am on Sunday. I can’t sleep. (Well, did for a little while), yet now I sit in my silent Econo Lodge room in Hagerstown, MD staring at my flip flops across the room. The wall unit hums with the fan and I am in a restless stupor staring at my Mac screen...

(Annette's note: I stared in stupor for another hour before "napping". What follows was all written before 6am and proofed a few minutes ago)

Yesterday was the 47th running of the JFK 50 mile run. This was my 2nd JFK, with my 1st being 2 years ago when I came in 2nd to Anne Lundblad and ran 7:10:29. This year was a huge unknown as I have posted previously, I have been back to running since October 1st and have been working on base building, rather than structured “training”. I drove the 6 hours to Hagerstown Friday and was both excited and anxious…

My motel is less than a 5 minute walk from the host hotel, making navigating traffic a non-issue for me this busy Friday afternoon. I spent several hours hanging out and talking with folks at the Montrail Table. Both Montrail’s Jesse Malman and Tres Binkley were there. As I interacted with and observed this excited crowd, I learned that Scott Jurek, Hal Koerner, Ian Torrance, Gregory Crowther would be among those men representing the West Coast. Jason Bryant and Dink Taylor were among “the names” from The East. I was already aware of some of the strong women set to be here: Devon Crosby-Helms, Meghan Arbogast, Jill Perry, Francesca Conte, Monica Ochs-yet it was fun to both meet Devon and see the others again. I wasn’t sure I’d see any of them on the trail after race start! See this link for race director’s comments  in local newspaper on both men and women’s fields: 

Meeting and re-meeting other runners from all over the country felt like a happy class reunion. I wish I remember names, I remember the shared experiences…but sometimes names don’t stick, ugh. (Thankfully, I do much better with the names of my students at work).

I really appreciated visiting, even briefly with Jill. She is a very positive person to be around and a stunningly strong runner. We shared enthusiasm and good wishes while anticipating the race. We just talked a bit about each other’s apprehensions-Jill has just come off of a month of her whole family, including herself who had the flu and my need to balance wisdom and courage on the training I have right now. She said, more than once (thank you Jill), “Annette you are so strong, you’ll do great”. I appreciated those words very much, and they ultimately became part of a mantra I’d use during the later part of the run.

After leaving the host hotel and walking back to my room I ate a light dinner of chicken noodle soup, English muffin and glass of wine. After taking an hour to dink around with clothing gear choice - finally deciding on a tank top and to carry no pack, I pinned my bib number, secured chip to my left Montrail (Mountain Masochist this day) and slept until 4:20am.

To me, race day conditions were perfect: 43 degrees and a light wind at 7am. I had a vague plan for the day: warm up well, go out hard and get on the AT without too much “traffic”, run “easy” and at mile 25ish, see how I felt. Splits from last race showed I came off the AT in 2:16 and my towpath mile splits averaged between 8:28 and 8:36. I thought might aim for around 8:30 splits…I would have to see how things unfolded.

The first 2.5 miles are paved and uphill, and I got onto the AT at 20:10. This part of the AT, compared to AT at home, is very runnable. I watched Meghan, Devon and Jill take off ahead of me and I ran some with Ryan O’Dell (one of Jill’s clan from NY) and my friend Monica. I stayed very comfortable on the AT and again this year was very appreciative of the never-ending courtesy and encouragement when passing the 5am runners (or plodders as one guy dubbed the group). I stayed controlled and careful until coming within ¾ a mile of the bottom of Weverton Cliffs. The dirt and rocks and leaves called out to me and I let go with an enthusiasm and abandon I have not released for months and felt like I flew down the trail and switchbacks.

One of the many switchbacks during the descent from the ridge...

Thank you to all runners who shared the trail and helped me get by!

Running down that hill was very energizing. I had the experience of flight, if only for 7 minutes! I went through the timing matt at the towpath somewhere around 2:21. Buoyed by the hill, running was joyous and I felt great. Then I caught up with Jill and we briefly chatted. She’d taken a dirty and bloody fall up on the trail and was moving slowly. We wished each other well and I kept on, certain I’d see her very soon. Yet seeing Jill reminded me to be smart and I slowed my pace down a bit and got into The Flow. And I daydreamed and bam! Fell on the towpath! Ack! A little blood and another bruise. I would not do that again! I did pause from my silent forward motion when I saw Tammy Massey out there several miles later and we exchanged enthusiasms.

The miles passed mostly quite quickly back and forthing with several guys-I didn’t talk much, despite the flat path-I needed to pay attention to what I was doing. Aid stations came and went. After eating my Clif blocks and small supply of gels I carried, I fueled with aid station Gatorade, Hammer gels and Ecaps. Stations were every 1.8-4.3 miles apart during the non-AT part of the course and they kept on clicking by.

I got to see Tres and Jesse somewhere around mile 27 when they jumped out of their rental car and ran along side me for a little while. At this point I was truly feeling splendid. Next time I saw them, was around 8 miles later and I was still moving well and trying very hard to “stay in touch” with my truth. I knew at this point, I was navigating the knife-edge of my training and I did my best to keep up with calories and electrolytes. I was working hard at staying steady. I think at this point maintaining the pace was more mental than physical.

As much as I like the towpath, it was a relief to get on pavement for the final 8.4 miles. The course was rolling and my muscles appreciated the switch…and downhill’s were fun! Somewhere with 3 miles left to go-I looked back for the 1st time this day-now I would race and fight for my finishing position. Yet the need wasn’t there. So I thought I’d see how close to 7 hours I could get…and there were 2 guys in fronts of me I wanted to try and catch. (A habit I seem to have during the last few miles of 50 milers). With 1.3 miles left to go I passed both and ran for the finish. 

After crossing Main Street of Williamsport with less than ½ mile left to go I was pushing as hard and felt emotional and thought I might cry or hyperventilate. Yet I did neither just ran hard and joyously in, grateful for the cheers and applause from folks gathered at the finish area. Jesse welcomed me in and walked with me to the medical area and hang out for a while as I drank the water he brought me while the medical guys cleaned up my knee scrapes.

At this point I learned of Devon breaking 6:30 with a new CR of 6:29:21 and Meghan breaking 7 hours in 6:56:05! My time was 7:02:52 for 3rd place (and later I learned was the 10th fastest female time in the 47 years-holy buckets!) Jill’s fall kept her from running the whole way and she finished a courageous 8:25:40.

I still don’t know where my run came from. I really felt like something was unleashed for me at the top of Weverton Cliffs! I am very grateful for a strong body that allows me to more easily take in the essences of life. I began my recovery 25 minutes after finishing with 24 ounces of water, slice of cheese pizza and a 30-minute leg massage at the middle school where the finish is staged.

Recovery continued a couple hours later after a shower when I met up with Monica (Monica got 4th in 7:28:09), Meghan, Devon and Howard Nippert for some beer and food at a Hagerstown pub. The blacken chicken sandwich and salty chips really hit the spot for me. (Beer was good too). What fun it was to rehash parts of the race, and hear Devon recap her throwing her water bottle and sprinting for the finish line! It was good for my soul to be around these neat folks-and good for my body NOT to be in a car this night!

Not to leave out the tough men, the top 4 were: Gregory Crowther (5:50:13), Michael Arnstien (5:50:58), Matt Woods (5:54:10) and Hal Koerner (6:05:02).

Full preliminary results are on the JFK 50 website. To see a slideshow, go here.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

“Mommy, why are those people running?” (overhead while on the Shut-In Trail this past Saturday during Adam Hill’s adventure run: Bent Creek Gobbler)

The gang: Too many folks to recognize, yet among this crowd are the most skilled trail runners and amazing human beings on this planet!

The title of this post was inspired during Saturday’s Bent Creek Gobbler, a 15-31 mile adventure run in Pisgah National Forest. Somewhere around 31 people showed up to celebrate November on the leaf covered trails and dirt roads and to experience camaraderie without competition.

Somewhere around mile 8 of my run-I was sharing companionship with Drew Shelfer and Doug Blackford. The 3 of us passed a young family who stepped off the trail to let us by. As we passed, the little girl, all dressed in pink asked, “Mommy, why are those people running?”

Doug waved at mom and daughter and with a smiling voice responded, “good question.”

This prompted a discussion. Drew’s initial reaction was “so I can eat more”, (With a new baby in the family, Drew has discovered smoking as a new "at home" adventure. (Let me clarify: meat smoking-not weed or ciggis). Doug’s was because he can and because he sleeps better, my initial thought this day was “because I can and nothing else works as good”. Our conversation was lighthearted, yet still a bit philosophical… As I made a pit stop and the guys went along ahead, I continued to think of the girl in pink and her question. I also run because it is freeing and fun and I can fly while running. I have articulated this aloud before and know it is still true today….

So, I wonder, what brought 30+ runners together to run on the trails of Bent Creek? Some drove 15 minutes, others for 3 hours! We come from different places, have our reasons, yet still become kindred spirits in the joy of flying on our feet in the woods…Something to ponder miles 19-25 of a 28 mile solo training run!

On Saturday, some runners covered 30 miles, others of us went for a bit less. I choose to go an easy 20-at least a “easy” as one can running on this part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. I had a wonderful time-running, taking pictures, catching up with folks I haven’t been around since this time last year. I did have to slow down quite a bit after 13 miles as my legs are still feeling the residue from a combination of last weekend’s Mountain Masochist and Wednesday’s intervals. I am well reminded to “back off” in volume until JFK 50 next weekend.

I rode down from the High Country with a new running friend, Gail Leedy. Gail at mile 15ish of her 20ish mile adventure

Gail is a recent transplant to Boone from Wyoming. Gail and I met last month at Dark Mountain Challenge trail runs. I was drawn to her by her Miwok 100k shirt. We saw each other a few weeks later at Ridge to Bridge Marathon and again chatted. Gail was excellent company for the 2.5 hour drive. It was neat to hear a little about her world and experiences out west. I expect she and I will share in other adventures as the months unfold!

Martha Culter and Rick Grey, above. Martha was thrilled she wasn't "last"!

Above is Beth Minnick in her post-run /soak-in-creek duds: vibram toe shoes, Wells-Fargo blanket, Grindstone 100 hoodie, seriously cool shades, sporting a fig bar and black 'n tan.What else is more classicly awesome? (I am photographed with her to verify she is real and not a trail illusion!)

Saturday’s run was a fun treat! The whole weekend, really. It has been unseasonable warm-10-15 above average mid November temps for the NC high country. Today I ran 10 miles-not for training-just because it was beautiful and warm and because I could! I divided the miles into 2 runs, dealing with hanging and taking down laundry in the interim. (Yes! Warm enough to dry clothes on the line!)

This is our clothesline this afternoon...What a weekend! Trail clothes drying on the line mid-November...This weekend's weather was amazing!

Mama Grey loved the weekend sun too! She is resting up for a "night on the town", cat style! I ask, Why do you run????????

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2009 Mountain Masochist Trail Run = amazing outcomes

Above: Geoff and Gary celebrating (and being celebrated post race-Geoff got a standing ovation! cool is that from a hoard of tired Masochist runners!)

Doug Dawkins, 3x Masochist finisher presents the great question: Do we run to eat? Eat to run? Or is it a mixture of both. Photo taken during pre race dinner.

Yesterday was the 2009 version of The Blue Ridge Mountain Classic 50+ (53ish?) mile run: Mountain Masochist. I was thrilled to be a part of it!

It was a high performing day for many runners, most publicly was Geoff Roes’, (32 from Alaska) CR smashing time of 6:27:55! On the women’s side of things, Tamsin Anstey, 29 of British Columbia ran the reportedly 5th fastest women’s time on the course. Go
here (be sure to scroll down) to view full results.

As for me, I was running to participate, not compete. Having been back running just since October 1, I am in no kind of shape to race such an event. I was nervous just about finishing. I was nervous about maintaining self discipline: going out there, getting sucked into the thrill of running hard, pushing my current untrained limitations too far, and getting hurt. I considered leaving my watch behind, yet couldn’t make that leap. Half hour before start, David Horton and a few others asked if I was strong. I said, “yes, but not as strong as I want to be” and said I was trained for a 50k and wondered if I could run ½ the run on training and ½ the run on passion?

I kept repeating to myself: “I am smart, I am patient, I am strong”. (I was nervous!)Course start was somewhere around 28ish degrees. No wind. Clear sky with twinkley stars and an autumn clarity making me even more grateful to be toeing the line and witnessing this morning.
I waved to Jenny Anderson who was crew for me this day. Jenny and I met last month when she won New River Trail 50k. I was very psyched to have her with me-not only for the convenience of a crew-yet she knew my goals for the day and would support them.

Fabulous Jenny and me...

The first few miles I ran with Dennis Norris and Justine Morrison yet couldn’t (with my daily resolve) keep the pace and then settled into a comfortable rhythm of running on and off for 26 fun miles with Paul Carrasco. Paul and I have known one another for years and though we have different strengths…we still wound up side by side eventually!

Jenny turned out to be a fantastic crew! She anticipated what I needed, was an enthusiastic cheerleader, and was so speedy I thought of NASCAR’s pit crew and remotely though she should be wearing a helmet. I saw Jenny at most places handlers were allowed. Each time she scampered up and down the trails and handed me a fresh water bottle of Nuun, Clif drink or water and had filled each pocket of the Nathan Quickdraw with either gels, blocks or Clif minis. This day I fueled solely on Clif products, water and Nuun. You could tease me for being a sponsors groupie-yet all was working in the nutrition area.

It was mile 22ish before I knew anything about time. A fellow I was next to commented about being almost 4 hours into the run…Fellow runner comments were interesting to me this day. Running an event as I did today efficient and steady holds a far different set of observations and interactions than it does when running with front-runners. There is generally more verbalized pain back here. Many times I heard my trail companions despairing about distances or hills or wet rocks. Something you don’t hear up front.

Still, I gained a re-appreciation of the perspective of the recreational vs. more “serious” runner. Each of us is out there for his or her own reasons...and I do expect most non-front runners experience way more pain than those in top positons. AND, I think the runners that are out there barely scrapping the cut offs prob'ly show more tenacity and courage than the rest of us combined! Sometimes I wonder what it is like to fight for your "right" to stay on the course, fighting the clock and/or demons...and then when all is said and done, to cross the finish line with your guts hanging out only to have the runners finishing hours earlier to receive such high celebration? ...Though to be sure, I think post race events like the dinner together is a way to celebrate everyone's accomplishments and a way to come together as very different people, yet kindred spirits in our own way!

I came through the halfway point around 4:30 into the run. I enjoyed the emotional break from competing. My quest was about personal inventory and self-restraint when necessary. It was great to feel good-and not stressful to slow down when my body asked for it. Not to say I always felt good, after all, 50+ miles is still 50+ miles!

happy and having fun!

Going into the loop I saw Sean Andrish who was here –crewing or working- and we ran for a few minutes chatting. After only a few minutes I had to beg off of conversation as my “untrained ness” was showing itself. I couldn’t reflexively navigate the sticks and leaves; I needed my full concentration on my balance on the trail. A mile into this section I must’ve daydreamed because the next thing I knew, I had “supermanned” over the leaves and gave myself “trail rash” on my right side: leg, hip, breast and elbow. My elbow banged and dripping blood I was horrified for 5 seconds until I realized I was okay-then business as usual.

Even with the little wound, I love this part of the course! It is good single track trail-though this time of year, quite covered with oak leaves, providing even more adventure for the downhill runner on the slicks!
Out of the loop, Jenny again hooked me up with nourishment, encouragement, my ipod and told me third place female Heather Fisher was about 7 minutes ahead. At this point my dorsal fin prodded my flesh…yet didn’t poke through. I listened to music for the next 4.5 miles and turned it off after reaching the single track just after AS 13 the second tolast aid station. Lots of leaves-music would be too distracting-and I really didn’t need yet the “attitude adjustment” my music gives me. At one point not too far into this section, I looked at my watch and saw it was 7:45 into the event. I wondered if the first woman had yet finished? I also calculated and thought I could make it the finish in sub nine hours?
I crossed the finish line, feeling sore, yet pleased at 8:56:46! I was 4th woman, 29th overall! Minutes after finishing, George Worley, volunteer race physician cleaned up my arm for me and gave me 2 stitches.

Laying down, even if it was to receive stitches felt good!

My friend Amy Albu was going for her tenth finish today and I worried about her when she had not made it in sub 10 hours. Yet after week with the flu and a tough day out there, a still tougher Amy came through 10:28:53! Many congratulations Amy! Dorothy Hunter, me and now 10 time finisher Amy Albu. (This time last year Amy was about to give birth to her 1 year old daughter Jaymes!)

For me, this was a day to remember: You can (or I can) run at least part of a 50+mile run on passion (restrained passion to be sure!), accomplishing a very different sort of challenge, celebrating my friends, appreciating the assistance and support of Jenny…and mostly gratitude to the Great Mystery for the gift to be able to show up here: a healthy body, resources including a supportive husband and $ enough to pay for gas and motel and entry fee, and being able to take a ½ of day off of work to make the trip less stressful. I am a very fortunate person!I also thank Clark, Horton, Montrail and all the volunteers for helping this awesome event continue to get better!If my body is stable this time next year, I seek to take an hour off this year’s time! Here is a link to the photos Jenny and I took this weekend:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Weekend with Mom

This is my awesome mom: Mary Lou Bednosky. She lives on Long Island and came down to spend a long weekend with George, Mama Grey and I. We did lots of walking, gardening and talking....
Mom is better at paying attention to the little things-so we took our cameras out when we walked. Above is milkweed along the Mountains to Sea Trail.
Tulip populars raging along the MST...
We carved a pumpkin together, made pumpkin bread, toasted pumpkin seeds and entertained several treak or treaters Saturday night.
George turned 43 the first night Mom came. She surprized him greatly by gifting him with "goodies" from a Long Island Italian deli:cheese and a variety of cured meats. (You can NOT get this stuff where we live in the NC mountains!

The weekend was fantastic. Lots of quality time with together. We try and have a visit like this at least 2x a year (holidays together don't count because we all crazy busy trying to visit too many people in too short a period of time.) I love my mom very much and am very grateful for her enduring presence in my life. I am grateful too for her health and groundedness and adventurous spirit. (I didn't post the photo that shows us huddled over a picnic table trying to get out of the wind as we eat lunch in the 43 degree misty afternoon)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day after Ridge to Bridge Marathon

This photo is looking north off Blue Ridge Parkway. You can see Stone Mtn and Pilot if you look carefully...

Another grand day! Yesterdays post babbled about the unique Ridge to Bridge Marathon...(which really was super cool..)
Today, I am sharing a few photos taken while out on a run/slog/hike with George. He was doing the running and hiking and I the slogging.

The real difference between being "in shape" or not quite is in the recovery. The first 7.8 miles today felt fine...yet after that I really felt yesterday's efforts and did all I could do not to whine out loud before we made it back to the car in what would total for me 13.5 miles. I think it will take several more months of weeks, solid training to have a quality double.

This picture was taken looking south from Alligator back...We're seeing the mountains of Ashe County in the distance.

Today wasn't bad-just a reality check in a beautiful place-with an understanding, if not somewhat dissapointed George by my side. Sooo tomorrow will be "off" and Tuesday an elliptical day and get back to the good stuff on Wednesday!

Definition of Adventure: "That which has an unknown outcome!"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ridge to Bridge Marathon 10/24= Superhero Dennis

Dennis and I about 1:30pm today-running a fun 26.2, soaking in the river and eating pizza (me) drinking ultra beer (Den)! He was maddingly speedy at 2:58:45 (unofficial) and 4th overall on the new USATF certified R to B Marathon this am. I squabbled in at some 11ish minutes later..Top finisher awards were leaf pottery! WOW!
THE DENNIS himself demonstrating post race ritual of an ultrarunner and furiously accomplished dirt road marathon runner! Yip, yip, yippeee!!!

Today I had the privilege of running David and Ronda's new course for their Ridge to Bridge, 70%ish dirt road USATF certified marathon course. What a glorious fall day in the Appalachian foothills!

I am psyched for and proud of my kindred spirit running friend who trained for this event and vowed to go sub 3:00 for this marathon. Dennis is a strong, versatile runner who is a couple years older than me...44 or 45? Anyway he wanted a sub 3:00 marathon.

AND he got it! I don't even know my real time, but Dennis ran 2:58:45! Agghhh! Mr Superhero!
I am so thrilled for him!

I hope he enjoys his accomplishment..his crew was great to be around- I scammed a ride this am and this afternoon and got to bask in their company too!

....My clock time was somewhere around 3:09:38...I was thrilled. Lots of downhill-which has always been good for me. I did not race, but ran smartly and then sat in the River for 12 minutes afterwards. I got 2nd girl overall and 1st Masters. Pretty cool!
Tomorrow I plan to run/hike 17-27 miles depending on what George wants to do...hope to make it to Doughton Park ...yet that is many hours away! I am "in training for JFK" and "cramming" for Masochist!

Great job DN and especially kudos to David and Ronda for hosting a tremendously gorgeous and professional event! Full results here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frolicking in/around the Iron Mountains=BREADZILLA plus!

On Saturday, 10/17, 8 of us set off on a chilly trek south of Damascas, VA on the Appalachian Trail ... 6 of the group ran , 2 hiked, this brief photo display focuses on the
"runners"...though you can be sure with the dropping temps and pelting frozen precipitaiton , "running" in some spots, is a sorely over ambitious term! (Yet yay for us-chilly, windy and wet!)

This photo shows 4 of the 6 of us "toasting" each other. We didn't know before we started, yet we are all wearing Montrails: L to R (me w/purple sock: W's 10.5 Mtn Masochist, Rick in the Streak, Beth in Womens' 10 Streak and Dennis in Masochist. We met for a mountain running adventure, several hours before celebrating the official unveiling of the creation by fellow adventure runner JJ Jesse . Little did we know our adventure would take us though 34 degrees and the 1st frozen precip of the season.
Annette and Dennis trying to be balanced as we show off our shoes (and calf muscles)...
Dinking around like this was fun for me as I am returning to running after a 2 month lay off....
Dennis and I will run the Ridge to Bridge Marathon next week... a 75% dirt road, 60% down hill marathon. He'll likely scream it in sub 3:00, I am doing the run as a training run, looking forward to running through my old stomping grounds as an NC Outward Bound instructor. Go, Dennis, Go!

This is a trail break: From L top: Doug, Dennis, Annette and 2nd row, Rick, Beth and Jenny. We really didn't plan on being groupies-yet I couldn't resist this photo when I realized ALL of us were Nathan Products dependent this day! Yippeee!
The real whole purpose for the documented above 24 ish mile G0vernment's Road loop was the coming together of trail running friends to celebrate and burn calories as we made our way to the formal unveiling of JJ Jesse (and Bonnie's ) super, amazing, cooker of yummy pizzas in the "Breadzilla." JJ was too busy prepping for the festivity to join us today...yet he has in the past and after he recovers from pizza essence overload, I hope he will very soon...JESSE-YOU ROCK AND CREATED YUMMY FOOD, A GREAT COMMUNITY AND AN AWESOME PIZZA MONSTER COOKER!
Above. Sniff. Shiver. 34 degrees. Eat pizza, relish amazing human contact and give thanks for weekends!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Running out of work

No... This is not what it sounds like! I do have a job and I work and live beneath a beautiful mountain. What follows is a tiny slide show of my wet run yesterday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Full results New River Trail 50k

Below are the full "unofficial results" for the New River Trail 50k...I will be posting this to our website within the next 48 hours...please advise of spellings or age snafus!
Many thanks and heaps of gratitude to our amazing volunteers and full of life runners!

Official Finishers are 7 hours or less.

place time name sex age
1 3:25:13 Timothy Driscoll M 40
2 3:35:38 Matt Kirk M 28
3 3:38:39 Nick Whited M 31
4 3:46:40 Shannon Price M 31
5 4:01:30 Jenny Anderson F 35
6 4:12:32 David Kirby M 22
7 4:13:32 Matt Stollenwerk M 41
8 4:13:53 Rachel Harrison F 27
9 4:15:14 David Wasson M 41
10 4:15:36 Terri Gizienski F 42
11 4:19:24 Rick Gray M 48
12 4:23:28 Chad Randolf 43
13 4:26:13 Melinda Yelton F 43
14 4:26:14 Betsy Chew F 38
15 4:29:50 Travis Coe M 30
16 4:30:31 Wanda Burnette F 57
17 4:31:39 Angela Delbrugge F 27
18 4:31:58 Mark Long M 50
19 4:32:01 Fred Dummar M 40
20 4:33:54 Desiree Lerch F 34
21 4:34:30 Jonathon Adcock M 27
22 4:36:19 Mike Pastore M 54
23 4:37:09 Tom Patch M 50
24 4:38:35 Joel Sweigart 40
25 4:38:35 Derek Reese M 39
26 4:39:24 Jen VanAllen F 35
27 4:39:30 Greg Stick M 53
28 4:41:27 Jeremy Baldwin M 36
29 4:42:12 Ian Prince M 44
30 4:46:17 Ashley Funderbunk F 32
31 4:47:07 Lark Dunham F 41
32 4:47:31 Landon Frerich M 26
33 4:47:40 Don Mertz M 49
34 4:47:51 Amy Albu F 33
35 4:47:51 Erin Gordley F 38
36 4:48:59 David Kirk M 58
37 4:56:19 Eva Gonzales F 48
38 4:58:42 Bob Clouston M 47
39 5:03:44 John Waite M 30
40 5:05:02 Joseph Licata M 27
41 5:06:24 Bradley Nester M 40
42 5:06:41 Rosemary Baxley F 46
43 5:06:41 Jamie Moore M 40
44 5:07:08 Dale Riddle M 51
45 5:07:11 Ed Hanks M 50
46 5:07:28 Rebecca Adcock F 29
47 5:07:50 Paul Valarides M 42
48 5:08:25 Sally Stollenwerk F 42
49 5:17:30 David Ritchie M 54
50 5:17:48 Janine Myatt F 42
51 5:20:47 Jimmy Ballard M 46
52 5:20:48 Tony Rouse M 45
53 5:23:12 Sandy Davis F 33
54 5:23:16 Aaron Proden M 37
55 5:25:09 Richard Tyner M 55
56 5:25:37 Mike Day M 48
57 5:27:40 Eric Fogelman M 49
58 5:28:56 Eric Bath M 35
59 5:29:51 Darrel Wells M 51
60 5:30:57 David King M 63
61 5:32:01 Joe Guest M 41
62 5:33:09 Jason Holmberg M 39
63 5:34:25 David Bragg M 29
64 5:34:25 John Neathawk M 25
65 5:34:30 Marie Tedesco F 60
66 5:35:00 Frank Maguire M 62
67 5:37:43 Lisa Tranel F 29
68 5:37:52 Judy Campbell F 60
69 5:38:56 Leon Harmon M 59
70 5:41:10 Lance Foss M 39
71 5:41:13 Jerry Anderson M 50
72 5:42:14 Steven Lutz M 35
73 5:43:03 Wendy Ann Weidner F 50
74 5:45:55 Elizabeth Fairbanks F 39
75 5:47:15 Richard Hulse M 46
76 5:54:51 Radu Stoica M 35
77 5:55:02 James Kesterson M 61
78 5:55:24 Michael Furman M 42
79 5:55:28 Anita Finkle F 43
80 6:04:01 Nate Roll M 40
81 6:04:35 Michael Morley M 30
82 6:06:12 Tammy Massie F 37
83 6:08:43 George Songer M 59
84 6:09:20 Janice Hicks F 67
85 6:19:10 Chris Redman M 41
86 6:26:42 John Hurley M 54
87 6:32:14 John Hoffman M 47
88 6:34:48 Joyce Ong F 59
89 6:36 Dale Caveny M 49
90 6:37:52 James Hunter M 36
91 6:38:11 Trace Stewart F 45
92 6:38:53 Parker Brown F 42
93 6:38:53 Kate Wisz F 40
94 6:46:10 Richard Hoben M 37
95 6:46:45 Anne MacCallum F 45
96 6:47:33 Susan Dummar F 44
97 6:47:33 Scott Herman-Giddens M 66
98 6:47:43 Brian Moretz M 44
99 6:48:34 Michael Bubel M 53
100 6:55:22 Jeannie Hutton F 47
101 6:59:04 Dale Less M 50

102 7:01:33 Vickie Fogelman F 51
103 7:02:09 Donna Maguire F 58
104 7:07:58 Cheryl Phillips F 51
105 7:08:00 Jim Moss M 56

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

New River Trail 50k Top Finishers 10/10/09

What a great day along the banks of the New River and Chestnut Creek in Southwestern VA! What follows are the unofficial top 10 women and top 10 men in today’s race. Details, links to photo sharing sites, and complete “unofficial results” will be posted here tomorrow, and more formally on our website within the next 48-72 hours. New Men’s and Women’s Course Records!


Jenny Anderson 35 4:01:30!

Rachel Harrison 27 4:13:53

Terri Gizienski 42 4:15:36

Melinda Yelton 43 4:26:13

Betsy Chew 38 4:26:14

Wanda Burnette 57 4:30:31

Angela Delbrugge 27 4:31:39

Desiree Lerch 34 4:33:54

Jen VanAllen 35 4:39:24

Ashley Funderbunk 32 4:46:17


Timothy Driscoll 40 3:25:13!

Matt Kirk 28 3:35:38

Nick Whited 31 3:38:39

Shannon Price 31 3:46:40

David Kirby 22 4:12:32

Matt Stollenwerk 41 4:13:32

David Wasson 41 4:15:14

Rick Gray 48 4:19:24

Chad Randolph 43 4:23:28

Travis Coe 30 4:29:58

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I am soooo proud of my friends!

What a weekend of Ultra Running and Trail Running!
Grindstone 100 was this past weekend and I am so pleased to see Rick Gray, Sophie Speidel, Kevin Townsend and many others among the finishers. Must be a tough course: 38-hour time limit of which many folks took advantage! Karl Meltzer led the men’s race 18:46:26, and Donna Utakis 23:34:59 for the women. Rick has often struggled with issues related to sleep deprivation during long races, yet he finished solidly in 36:04:26! I really look forward to hearing stories! Here for results!

I spent most of the weekend following the live web cast of North Coast 24 Hour. Jill Perry kicked butt with 136.01 miles, Anna Piskorska with 131.30 and my teammate from Italy, Deb Horn with 128.80. Many other excellent performances and stories I am certain! The men’s top 3: Phil McCarthy 151.32 (yay former teammate too!), John Geesler 138.71, and Dan Rose 138.71. Well done. Go here for full results.Click on appropriate link.

Much closer to home, I celebrated life and running. I had an appointment with a foot ankle specialist on Thurs (Oct 1). He spent 40 minutes with me, reviewing x-rays, MRI, history and my ultra running habit. His conclusion is that I do not have tendinitis or cellulitis (though I may have 10 weeks ago...) but what the inflammation is from now is an entrapped nerve in my lower shin.

Somehow, (due to irritation, chance, or injury) the fascia around the nerve in the lower leg has gotten thicker. The nerve runs through the muscle/fascia and when the muscle is active and filled with more blood, the nerve gets squeezed, hence the discomfort and pain. The most direct treatment is a procedure, which cuts into the fascia creating “breathing space” and hence releases pressure on the nerve. Kind of like compartment syndrome...but not quite.

This diagnosis makes sense to me. I don’t like the idea of being cut-yet it is a good option. Hopefully next week I’ll have scheduled an appt with a nerve doctor who can do a nerve conduction test and then we can go from there. In the meantime, I’ve stopped taking Celebrex in favor of a homeopathic nerve booster and a topical prescription cream. I am also doing iontophorisis on the area that seems entrapped. Best case is the fascia will calm on it’s own-worse, I get to have my skin snipped…

In the meantime, I’ve gotten the “OK” to train moderately and run, provided I am self aware and disciplined enough to back off when it hurts and apply ice and compression…
Sooo…I ran at the Dark Mountain Challenge yesterday (pitifully, yet joyously!) 17 advertised miles... (yet more like 15.5 from my time).

Jason and Allison Bryant both won!

Above is fast girl Allison Bryant who finished just under 2 hours and me (slogging in a slow-yet happy 2:15ish!)
And I got to meet a Gail,a professor at Appalachian State University and ultrarunner who recently relocated to the area from Wyoming. I hope we get to share the trails again in the future!

Today I got to run a slow round trip at Moses Cone from Bass lake to the fire tower today another slow 10.5 miles up and down. Discomfort? Yes! Did compression on the point specified help? Yes!

For now, I will await an appointment for the nerve conduction study and avidly continue to prepare for the New River Trail 50k, and proudly celebrate the tenacity,endurance and accomplishments of my friends and kindred spirits!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Varied moods: MRI results and NRT 50k preparations and fun!

Tunnels, like this one on the New River Trail are scary and dark and cold, yet light is at the end...

I had a follow up appt with my doctor on Thursday morning to get the results of the 2 MRIs taken on Monday. First let me say, if am ever a doctor (Not!) I vow not to make my patients wait 1.5 hours past their appointment times to see them if I am not dealing with a crisis! And I vow to be ready for my patient instead of spending 20 minutes to load MRI’s and look for radiologist reports. And I vow not to mislead my patient by exaggerating my skills as a professional.

OK. So there, now I have vented about my frustrating day on Thursday. My appointment was not very informative. There is ample swelling around and on top of my ankle. That is all doctor could tell me. Apparently nothing showed on the tibial MRI. Doctor suggested more rest. I said fine but I wanted to know what else I could do-after all, what was the real problem? I’d been “resting” for 2 months, and after the 1st 3 weeks of loss of swelling and increased range of motion-there have been no improvements-what could we do that was more aggressive? We had a discussion-emotional for me and I think I tried doctor’s patience with some of my questions I had prepared.

Anyway, I am going to Morganton, NC 10/1 to see a Foot/Ankle specialist who comes highly recommended by a marathon runner friend of mine…If I have to stop running at least I want to know WHY!

During the last several weeks I’ve spent many hours on the New River Trail-re measuring and looking to get more exact than last year about distance. I am darn sure that this year the measurement is accurate within 1/20th of a mile.
New River Trail State Park advertises 5.5 miles from Fries Junction to Fries. My measuring says 5.33 miles

We have 114 folks registered right now. Yippeee! An age mix from 20’s to 70’s…

Today I’ll be spending more time working on aid station stuff. Last year we had way too much food and drink-thankfully I have notes about what was not used and will make adjustments to this years plan based on what was used last year.

Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of running (maybe not smart due to my foot issue, yet fun) on the New River Trail with 3 other women from Jefferson and West Jefferson, NC. Carrie, Julie and Meredith are all training for the Outer Banks Marathon on 11/8/09. I joined them with the intention of running with them to Fries Junction, setting a piece of flagging tape for the Park Service for NRT 50k course measurement and returning directly to my car. Instead, we ran together-I did my “errand” on the short out ‘n back and caught up with the others as they turned around just south of the Gambetta road crossing. Carrie who has run several marathons and with whom I sometimes train with, picked up the pace some as we ran back just the 2 of us. What a great time!
Me, Carrie,Julie and Meredith at 7:30am in the rain getting ready to run on the
New River Trail out of Fries, VA

My foot felt okay-I know it is not right-still swollen even after icing it for 45 minutes-yet those 18 miles were fabulous! The rest of my body is hurting somewhat ‘cause I am very much out of running shape.
End of run...Congrat's to Julie for her longest run ever!

My Mountain Masochists drying out after their first run over 5 miles. (I got them a few weeks women's color for 2010...I wear men's 9 usually-yet these women's 10.5 feel terrific too!)

Thank you to Carrie, Julie and Meredith for your fine company-and congratulations to Julie for running her longest distance ever!