Monday, February 23, 2009

Varied adventures in my shoes!

Sometimes photos speak enough....even though I am having a hard time trying to post in "order!"
On Saturday I met Matt and David Kirk and Brian B and Mohammed and Uwharrie for a run on the Woods Mtn trail between Marion and Linville, NC. Fabulous 20-22ish mile adventure! Thank you my friends for a most excellent morning of amazing trail running! My Hardrocks came along...

After running, I scrambled and drove back up the mountain to Ashe County for the 2nd annual Polar Plunge where we were raising money to assist those in our community who are having a hard time heating their homes, "freezin' for heat". We were encouraged to wear costumes-so I wore a disgarded prom dress and my Hardrocks (I didn't have time to really change too much after our run...and wanted to be sure I could run from the water to my dry clothes several hundred feet away! It was cold-sorta-air temp was around 40 and water temp in the low 30s. Very mild compared to what it has been like.

When I got home, I left my trusty footwear to dry on the deck and enjoyed a hot shower a couple glasses(generous) of homemade red!

Saturday was a GREAT DAY to be alive in Western North Carolina!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Valentines weekend of Love (George and Running!)

Konrad and I somewhere around the "1/2 point"of the Marathon today....

This has been a “fast and furious” weekend. On Saturday I left the house at 5:15 am to make my way to Northeast Park in Greensboro, NC for the Groundhound Gallop Trail Half marathon. This morning I left at 6:30 am to head back to Greensboro for the St. Valentines Massacre Marathon.
Originally George planned to be in Florida with his dad and my brother Ron…yet “life
got in the way” and work at NCNR got crazy…so he chose to postpone his trip to next month. I had planned to stay in Greensboro, doing errands and taking advantage of being in an urban area…until George learned he’s be home for Valentine’s Day, and asked me on a date for Saturday night! (YAY!)

Sooo…both events were worth the drive…and the “date” with George was awesome too!

The Gallup-involved 2 laps of a varied course. All but 8/10 a mile per lap was on trail and each lap included 2 “low water” crossings of a creek. What a BLAST I HAD-and almost everyone else too! It was curvy, roller-coaster-like single track...and what fun! There was an 8k and 21k. I think about 200 folks participated in the events. Jason (36) and Alison Bryant (30) took 1st in the half…I came in 20th overall and 2nd to Alison with a time of 1:36:??. I had a great time and was pushed by Amy Mercer (we kept switching places-she is a strong runner, we are about the same age, and we’ve run together several times in the past) and a young lass named Leanne from Wilmington, NC. I was thrilled for the push as it made the day more fun! Windy up and down trails, other women on your tail or in front of me on and off was invigorating! (Alison B was WAyyyy up there and not for a moment within my ability of catching!)

THE DATE: (Details spared) We went ½ mile across town to “Sweet Aromas” that had a special Valentines Day menu and George made and unheard of early reservation for 6pm-knowing I had an early day the next day. There was wine and good acoustic music and yummy food (I had coconut crusted whitefish and George some pork’s cool they used local pig and local sweet potatoes in their dishes. We took dessert “to go” and were home and in bed by 8:30-much to the dismay of our night roamer kitty, Mama Grey!

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE LOVED! To set aside time amongst crazy work and training schedules just to “hang out” and be together!

Today at the St Valentine’s Day Massacre Marathon, I set a PR for 26.2. Not impressive. Yet I wasn’t trying to impress…3:23:26 on a rolling course. The course consisted of 16 laps and I chose to run to work on my pacing …in order to get ready for the multi lap course of Caumsett Park 50k 2 weeks from today. I think today’s run is hillier than CP (George and I ran at CP for a few hours when we were in the area at Christmas this past year)…

The first lap this morning was 2.2 miles followed by 15 laps of 1.6. Those laps were run between 11:56 (last lap) and 12:38. I averaged around 12:19 per lap or 7:42 per mile…variations had to do with grabbing Clifshot drink, tying a shoe and running 2 laps with Konrad…just the pleasant conversation was enough to slow a bit for! (And I got to meet his 2 beautiful daughters and Mom afterwards!) I was pleased and think this will help with my planning for CP…where I hope the planets and stars line up to allow me to run a sub 3:50! (Right now my PR at 50k is 3:52 at Frosty 50k 2007 3:52:24.)….I think it could be close, yet still happen if I can stay smart!
Just for the record, I wound up 1st solo marathoner overall…Sounds impressive ‘till you see only 4 runners entered solo for the marathon….Heh! What fun it was and fabulous training regardless. (I wasn’t out to compete against others, only to selfishly work on “me!”

I am very appreciative of the many excellent “cheerleaders” I had today encouraging # 52! Super cool and super inspiring. This experience is a great reminder to the power of support and cheering!
Full results and photo links to both races are at:

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Weekend Without much Running

Annette and Jesse practicing improvised backcountry splinting.

In order to keep my certification as a Wilderness First Responder I have to “recert” every 2-3 years. I spent this weekend on the campus of VA Tech in Blackburg, VA doing just that-taking a course with WMI. Many hours of class time, practical scenarios and much “after hours” studying!

Since I am no longer an active Outward Bound instructor, technically there is not a reason for me to train and maintain my certification that I have had since 1992. Yet as a person who likes to spend lots of time running in the backcountry, I want to maintain my skills, so if the need arose to use this training I would be “updated” enough to respond with appropriateness.

The majority of the other WFA students were staff of VA Tech’s outdoor Venture Program and camp directors for an eastern Girl Scout camp. There was 1 other person there named Jesse from CT re certifying his WFR.

I was pleased to learn that WMI has added hyponeutremia to it’s curriculum since last update!

I did get to run-yet not in big chunks. And in a way, my legs feel even more tired after running in little pieces over 3 days (Fri-10 & 12) (Sat- 5 & 8.5) (Sun-1:17 and :40) than after 2 long runs…yet it prob’y has something to do with all the class sitting around time we did too! The Huckleberry Trail was only 2 blocks away from our weekend class and saved my sanity!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New 5k in Ashe County= Spring Solstice 5k run and 1 mile Fitness Walk

This 5k design was created by an Ashe County High School graphic design student. Thank you Joseph! Great Job!

For years Ashe County has been long over due to host running events. In 2007, Jeremy Casey launched the 1st annual Harvest 5k Run. It repeated and grew in '08 and is again planned for 10/09. But what about the rest of the year in our beautiful mountains? make a long story shorter....

After I understood that I am "unofficially" part of Team USA for Bergamo, Italy in May I expressed a concern in passing to some running friends about "how to fund this at such short notice..?" Well-these friends jumped and within 2 weeks we had set up a plan to host a 5k run and fitness walk with 4 purposes:
1) To promote fitness in the High County, especially Ashe County
2) Introduce runners and walkers to the new 1/4 mile fitness paved fitness path near "Family Central"
3) contribute to my travel expenses to Bergamo, Italy as a member of Team USA
4) contribute funds to the Ashe County Parks and Recreation's new climbing wall

And yes, my participation on Team USA is still "unofficial" As I understand it, this week there was to be a meeting in Italy to iron out kinks and official stuff will come soon.

So here we are! A new 5k in Ashe County! The course is a rural road-rolling and ending on the new fitness trail. Marvelous views of Mt Jefferson the whole way!
Flyer and application can be downloaded at: (just go to the bottom of the page).

We hope this will become an annual event with proceeds going to different places each year!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Annette's "2 cents" about Montrails new Hardrock '09's and new Mountain Masochist

Shoes with the orange are the Mountain Masochists and yellow are the Hardrock '09s.

For the past 6 weeks I have been rollicking in my Montrail samples: Hardrock ’09 and Mountain Masochist. Each pair has at least 150 miles on them with a “long run” of at least 32 miles. Both pair have run on pavement, in/on snow, ice, dirt, lots of mud and a bit on the treadmill. I also tried out the Wildwood Trail that emerged in fall ’08. (My first instinct was they were too wide and I thought to send them back…yet changed my mind due to “opportunity”). My Wildwood TR are quite inexperienced compared to HR and MM.

HardRock ‘09

As stated in a previous post, I can not compare the “new’ HRs to the “old” as I have never used the “old” finding my needs met with the Leona Divide and then Continental Divides.

With the CD not to be continued (why-I don’t know?) These are sure to be my trail shoe of choice…from 5k to 100M+. They have a great platform without feeling like I was lifted off the ground. Excellent traction in the wet and on rocks. Generous volume in the toe box without being huge. Less rigid than the CD and more so than the MM. I need stability so I use green Superfeet in them. Shoes are really good in wet leaves and on rocks. Shoes stay tied when double knotted. I even did a fairly intense 2 hour pavement workout in them back in December (cause my road shoes were across town) and felt fine. (At least related to my shoes!)

Mountain Masochists

I was wary to try the MM as they are constructed on the same last as the Streak...and the Streaks haven’t worked out for me. Fit isn’t right and my body didn’t feel good in the ones I wore in ’08. Yet I have discovered MMs are different. To me, they feel lower to the ground. I like the way I feel the trail under my feet! My first instinct is that I’d get blisters due to the less generous toe box-yet the flexibility of the outside construction has proved me wrong. There is some posting in the MM and they are quite flexible in the forefoot... to add some rigidity, I use Superfeet, yet the lower volume blue, due to the decreased volume of the MM as compared to other shoes. I like these shoes for mud (moderate mud). They were challenged on some new south facing ridge trails during warm afternoons after much “freeze thaw” action-yet I think short of some kinda crampon, serious mud slippage is unavoidable! I will wear these often, yet likely not for runs/races over 5-6 hours. My feet are accustomed to a bit more support.

Wildwood Trail

Most rigid shoe of the bunch-at least in my opinion! When I first received them in early December from Montrail and tried them on, I immediately made arrangements to send them back, thinking they were just too big. (I wear M’s 9 in HR, MM, CD and 8.5 in Streak…and Men’s 9 in every road shoe I’ve tried during the last 4 years). So I order a 9 in these. Upon later inspection, I felt the heel and arch fit pretty well. Then I read a December 22nd post Eric Grossman put on the Montrail blog and he referenced the shoe being quite voluminous. So I figured I would give them a go-‘cause I liked the idea of having a shoe built both for roads and trails. So today, finally, I put them on and went for a romp around the cold wet neighborhood. They did feel a big-tons of room on top of my foot and in the toe box. Yet I am still curious how they’d do with a little thicker sock? They may not turn out to be my personal racing shoe of choice-yet I want to wear it on more terrains and find out what they are really like. It could be I need to go down a size? Ah-the challenges of mail order! My opinion on these is in “discovery mode”.

As I understand, Mountain Masochists and Hardrock '09 will be ready for retail either late this month or in March.

And to think I did my first “long” (16.8 mile) trail race: The Shut In Trail Ridge Run, Asheville, NC in 1994 in Reebock Aerobic shoes off the JC Penny super clearance rack. (I think I paid 8.99 for them). Yet I was 14 years younger and completely broke. Sometimes I wonder if I have “learned” to need really awesome trail shoes-or if I have been sweeping myself into what has become “popular culture” of our sport? See this link to Matt Kirk’s blog that made me think!