Monday, March 30, 2009

Crammin’ the weekend full: real life and the Virginia Creeper Trail Marathon

Photo above at mile 11ish taken by Beth Minnick.

I look like a real trail dork in my calf compression sleeves...yet they helped keep me warm-yet do they help me w/ performance or recovery? The verdict is still out! And the "sunglasses" are orange lenses that kept me from cryin' due to the wind! My feet aren't very dorky. They are wearing Smartwool PhD socks and Montrail Hardrock '09's!

This past weekend was full and busy-“sucking the marrow” out of life all weekend long is exhausting. From the time I got off work Friday at 3:30pm to last night (Sunday)
I got in:
61 miles of running
7 hours of “required teacher workday” on Saturday
A “date” with George to the 2009 Banff Film Festival (we got tickets months ago).
And less than 10 hours of sleep…

There will be a bit more time for sleep this week, I hope!

Because of all the “snow days” this year, 10 month employees missed getting in one of our contracted “teacher workdays” so it was announced last week that we would make it up on Saturday, March 28th. Our principal was able to be flexible and opened the school building at 4am so we could put in our time early or late that day. My plan to run 30 miles on Saturday, followed by the VA Creeper Trail Marathon on Sunday, to make a good “double” was foiled. So instead, I plucked out 13 trail miles in the rain after work on Friday and did something different for Saturday.

Friday night I measured out a 1 mile loop in downtown West Jefferson. My plan was to get up Saturday while it was dark and run via street lamps without traffic- and run the “flatish” course 20 times to work on my pacing for Worlds. I started around 4:20am and finished around 7:20ish. For the 1st 16 miles I did a good job of pacing-staying between 8:26-8:40 per mile. The last 4 miles I sped up to 8:02-8:04ish-both because the lightening of the sky and because I wanted to finish and get home and get ready for work.

This was a useful exercise in pacing and I plan to do something similar Easter Weekend when I can do 30 miles and not feel rushed. I will seek to find a place without traffic too. Matt Chaffin trains for pacing in parking lots-I may head down to Wilkes County and try that around the old Mall.

I will say that contrary to what I expected I didn’t get bored Saturday morning. I had my ipod, yet listened to it for just 10 loops-partially listening to music, and partially a book on tape. Circling West Jefferson early on a Saturday was very awakening experience:
All of downtown smelled like bacon from 6am on…that scent is credited to Smithy’s Café on the backstreet! I also learned there are 2 roosters living on a hill just outside of downtown…and I learned that people started waiting outside of Smithy’s from 6:45 on!

I saw maybe 10 moving vehicles before 6:30 am and 4 were Police and Sheriff mobiles driving around.

Banff Film Festival was a fabulous as always…the coming and going is a fun reunion everytime- Outward Bound folk, former co-workers from ASU, former students, fellow adventurers, and just good people and great films coming together! And I got a look at the new END road shoes at the little exposition set up inside the theatre lobby!

The VA Creeper Marathon was a fun run. Well done and very low key as always. I ran without using my watch-willing myself to run as I felt. Yet I must admit I did feel the dorsal fins emerge a few times and I really had to work on pouncing the fins down as I was passed and switched places with “Jamie”. I enjoyed running with this young woman-it was great to have companionship for 10 or so miles-until her husband started to companion her on his bike…I am not sure what happened. I learned later she had to drop. She seemed like a strong runner to me.

It was quite windy, yet otherwise the cool temps made it a perfect running day! I ran 3:17:30...a PR for this distance. I was 1st woman and 4th overall. Robert Preston from Athens, TN was 1st overall: 2:48:20. Complete results are now posted on the race website.

After the run, I went the “long way” home through Boone and tied on the END road shoes. Ever since Saucony discontinued Omni 6 I have been seeking a stable shoe I like for pavement.

Upon arriving home and drinking a half bottle of gingerale and homemade toast (funky stomache after the run), I set to work cleaning the house.

The weekend ended with a “catch up” phone call from our cousin Elinor who is coming with her Dad to the American River 50 in Sacramento to crew for Monica and I this coming weekend! They live in the Bay area and I so look forward to their cheering and assistance!

And for now-sleep will be good!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dougthon Park Adventure Run (with video!)

Sunday 3.22 3 "old" friends and one new running companion gathered with me for a 16.5 mile jaunt in Doughton Park. Brian, Matt, Doug and I have run together for years-and Dan who lives in Deep Gap is just now immerging into training for his first ultra. Welcome to an awesome "lifestyle" Dan! (Dan is registered for the Great Eastern 100k in September). Some people may say it is a toughie for a person's 1st ultra-(it is-heck, it's a toughie for a person's 50th ultra), yet those of us running together yesterday fully understand the desire to jump right in...Doug, Brian and I all ran Massanutten as our 1st hundred...

Anyway, yesterday I'd hoped to have a couple of "takers" for a 33ish route I'd planned to run that involved lots of trail and lots of dirt and paved road. For me balancing out technical with smoother running is still the smart approach. Yet all who gathered were up for the loop we did. Matt and I considered doubling up on it-yet halfway through I knew 2 loops of this route was more than I wanted to put my fussy calf through.

We had an amazing day! 7.3 miles on the Bluff Mountain Trail, 4.4ish on some of the sweetest downhill in NC (Cedar Ridge Trail) a little road walk to link the trails and straight up Flat Top Ridge for 5.5ish miles back to the parking lot.

Thank you my friends for a beautiful and fun day in the High Country!

Ashe County Spring Solstice 5k Run 3/21/2009: Results

photo: taken by Ed Hurst on Anita's camera

Yesterday was the 1st annual Ashe County Spring Solstice 5k. A few days after qualifying for the National 24-hour team I shared my news with friends and express concern for travel expenses. Almost immediately I found myself on a planning committee with Rita Prevette from Ashe County Parks and Recreation, Martin Little from Little's Health and Fitness and community member and fellow passionate runner Shawn Horton.

These folks wanted to work together put on a fund raiser that would assist with my travel expenses to Italy for World's in May. Together we decided a 5k run would be a good way to kick off spring and celebrate fitness in our little mountain community. A portion of the proceeds from the run and silent auction would go to my travel and a portion to Ashe County Parks and Recreation for their proposed retractable climbing wall.

With only 7 weeks lead time, 63 people registered for the 5k run and 1 mile fitness walk. Although cold-temperature did not leave the 20's during the race, the day was sunny and pleasant. Energy and spirits high and the community enthusiasm and support for the event fabulous! Local people and businesses were very generous donating to the silent auction as was Montrail.

I ran with folks-yet not in the traditional sense-running ahead-cheering and moving on when I got too cold to stay in one place anymore.

I am not sure how much money was raised (clearing the expense of the t-shirts and awards I think it is over $1,000. Yay! Shawn will total everything up by Wednesday.

Organizers (including me) were pleased with the event and look forward to offering it again next spring! I deeply thank all the runners, walkers, supporters, generous donors and for all those who are curious, supportive and cheering me on for May!

Full results are listed below:
(I can't quite seem to figure out how to post a chart without it getting wharbled...yet I think if you look close you can figure it out!)

bib---- time--- place----Award----------------- sex---- Name-------------------age

47 19:51 1 1st overall Male ----- M Dennis Norris 44
44 22:03 2 1st M, 20-39 --------- M John Evans 39
63 22:12 3 2nd M, 20-39 --------- M Leon Genaro 32
55 22:24 4 2nd M, 40+ ----------- M Logan Freeman 49
52 22:38 5 1st overall female --- F Carrie Richardson 36
57 23:07 6 1st M, 19 and under - M Drew Katz 17
51 23:20 7 3rd M, 20-39 --------- M Jeremy Casey 25
43 23:49 8 3rd M, 40+ ----------- M Faron Atwood 40
54 24:58 9 ------------------------M Doug Blackford 61
37 25:14 10 ----------------------- M Dustin Gunderson 30
42 25:20 11 2nd M, 19 and under M Andy Wright 17
40 25:21 12 3rd M, 19 and under M Keegan Smith 17
18 25:36 13 ------------------------M Matt Laney 35
56 25:41 14 2nd F, 20-39 ---------- F Lisa Freeman 37
60 25:49 15 ------------------------M Jerry Davis 30
62 26:25 16 ------------------------M Jon Gambill 31
49 26:39 17 * young runner! ----- M Andrew Tedder 11
53 27:01 18 ------------------------M Bob Richardson 47
58 28:30 19 ------------------------M Steve Katz 49
22 28:47 20 ------------------------M Jessie Miles 34
21 28:48 21 ------------------------M Jamie Miles 38
11 29:09 22 ------------------------M Darryl Giles 43
13 29:26 23 3rd F, 20-39 ---------- F Dana Henson 37
45 29:27 24 ------------------------M Scott Henson 36
50 29:47 25 * young runner! M Brandon Tedder 6
48 29:47 26 ------------------------M Kevin Tedder 36
34 30:07 27 ------------------------F Christina Warnstedt 25
61 30:25 28 ------------------------F Mandy Davis 24
1 30:55 29 ------------------------F Andrea Baker 28
25 31:50 30 1st F, 40+ -------------F Allmuth Perzel 68
6 31:54 31 ------------------------M Roy Elmore 73
16 33:19 32 ------------------------F Sara Lambert 28
19 33:30 33 ------------------------F Allison Langdon 32
26 33:47 34 1st F, 19 and under -- F Mariah Richardson 15
10 34:07 35 2nd F, 40+ ------------ F Alecia Giles 42
3 34:18 36 3rd F, 40+ ------------ F Jennifer Carter-Freeman 49
35 35:14 37 ------------------------F Kelly Waters 28
14 35:21 38 ------------------------F Rachel Keller 33
2 35:51 39 ------------------------F Angela Brooks 34
24 35:57 40 ------------------------F Teresa Penegar 35
4 36:48 41 ------------------------F Kim Dalessandro 49
7 37:31 42 ------------------------F Paige Fairchild 35
41 37:39 43 2nd F, 19 and under - F Laura Rash 18
46 37:44 44 3rd F, 19 and under - F Joelle Justiz 18
32 37:44 45 ------------------------F Tracy Vannoy 34
39 37:45 46 ------------------------M Gary Wiles 47
28 38:01 47 ------------------------F Anita Hurst 44
12 38:10 48 ------------------------F Beverly Hart 52
33 38:30 49 ------------------------F Susan Wagoner 37
29 40:12 50 ------------------------F Julie Townsend 50
15 40:24 51 ------------------------F Amanda Knighten 37
9 40:38 52 ------------------------M John Franca 44
8 40:38 53 ------------------------F Fran Franca 36
59 42:27 54 ------------------------F Acacia Brooks 13
30 43:27 55 ------------------------M Brandon Vannoy 34
5 43:57 56 ------------------------F Barbara Dunn 50
38 16:43 -------- -fitness walk---M Johnny Neaves 48
36 18:11 -------- -fitness walk---F Billie Jo Woodie 34

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running in the Rain with Friends

What a great training weekend in wet weather!
The photos above:
1) Me "launching",
2)Me trying to take a picture of Beth's launch but cutting off her head,
3)Tammy, Beth and Annette decked out w/ green for an early St Patrick's day celebratory run
4)Rick and Jim on the Beartree Gap Trail
5)Our Montrails put to good use!

Yesterday's run has no photos (wayyy to wet and figures to cold to work anyway!). Dennis Norris and I planned a 22+ mile run and we met just before 9am on the Railroad Grade Road. 22.2 miles in rainy 36 degree weather in 3:01. There is no way I would have been motivated to do an extended tempo run without Dennis. Thank you my friend for a very fun morning and a GREAT training run!

Today opened to the same sort of drizzle and fog, but warmer by about 15 degrees. I met Rick and Tammy and Beth and Jim and did a variation of their early St Patrick's Day celebration run. I chose to create my own modification because I didn't want the strain of too much technical wet stuff-and wanted more flat stuff for what I am currently working towards. So I met the gang after running 5 miles on the VA Creeper Trail. We ran and kidded around for 11ish single track miles before splitting up. I totaled around 27 on dirt in just under a very mellow and fun five and a half hours!
What an awesomely fun day in soggy Southwestern VA! Thank you Beth, Tammy, Jim and Rick!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The "official" announcement came out today!!! I am wordlessly psyched! (Yet this "lack of words" won't last long!) I WILL babble! The blurb below was posted this morning on the American UltraRunning website.


The 7th Annual World Championship 24-Hour Run of the International Association of Ultrarunners will be held in Bergamo, ITALY on May 2-3 of this year. U.S. National Teams have performed well at the event, usually finishing among the top 5 national teams and making the team medals podium twice. The highest individual American finishes in the world title event's half-decade history were achieved by Stephanie Ehret (3rd in 2005) and Phil McCarthy (4th in 2007).

This year's National Team includes the following members:

Annette Bednosky, Jefferson, North Carolina
Jamie Donaldson, Littleton, Colorado
Connie Gardner, Medina, Ohio
Debra Horn, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Carilyn Johnson, El Paso, Texas
Jen Van Allen, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

William Allen, Prince Frederick, Maryland
Matt Chaffin, Manlius, New York
Scott Eppelman, Coppell, Texas
Phil McCarthy, New York, New York
Roy Pirrung, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Bob Sweeney, Louisville, Colorado

Dr. Andy Lovy, D.O., Kirksville, MO

In the 2008 World 24-Hour event held in Seoul, KOREA, Donaldson led the U.S. women with a 5th place finish and McCarthy led the men with a 17th place finish. The team is sponsored by CW-X CONDITIONING WEAR and ARUBA SPORT EYEWEAR. The team is coordinated and managed by the American Ultrarunning Association.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cool Beans!!!: 3:47:59-Caumsett Park 50k Llyods Neck, NY 3/1/09!

Caumsett Park 50k out of Lloyds Harbor, NY was a fast and almost out of body experience for me. A continued "long reach" from beloved rock and roots and and sand of mountain trails...I arrived-driving from NC, on LI at 1am on Wednesday the week before. My mom was scheduled, and did have surgery that day and my brother Ron was here from FL to help support her anyway we could.
Although I was registered, I wasn't sure if I would actually run until the day after my Mom got out of the hospital. If my Mom needed me for sanity or recovery purposes, I would not run...if "all was well" at the time, I would run , with my brother Ron, "crewing" for me....
Wed-Friday we all (me, Ron and wonderful Michele -Ron's wife) spent hours at the hospital with Mom...I ran some-yet was very focused on family-not running. Plus my calf was swawking since last week's Tuesdays track workout w/Carrie and I have stayed fairly mellow-perhaps following the most classic "taper" I have ever experienced: 10 days before an event having a "long" run of 10 miles and several short speedy runs and several mellow walks...

By mid-day the day before Caumsett, Michele, Ron, Mom and I felt comfortable about Ron and I spending time together at the race. Mom came home on Friday -a home nurse would visit her to change dressings 1x per day and monitor vitals...
Ron and I drove out of Peconic, NY at 5:15am 3/1. Snowy and windy. The Long Island Expressway was slow and running only 1 lane. By the time we turned off to Sunken Meadow-there was barely any snow...and Llyod's Neck, where Caumsett is located received only a dusting of white stuff prior to the 8:30sih am start.(During the first few hours runners were dosed with intermitted flurries and bit-o-sleet-and some pretty impressive winds off the LI Sound!).

Ron was great as he was prepared to crew me on these approx 2.35 mile laps. He now lives in FL and borrowed my deceased Dad's old fishing and Sherriff's office clothing in order to be ready to "hang out" for my 13+ laps on the gently rolling and paved course. It was soo chilly-my hands-as expected, didn't work and he handed me water and NUUN and Cliff Shot drink and Blocks as the laps increased. I can 't express in words my genuine appreciation for Ron's support and willingness to help the end, his assistance in chilly condintions very likely allowed me to reached my goal of running a sub 3:50.

I ran the first several laps with Connie Gardner (OH), and "Kevin"-a new aquaintance from the UK who was using this as a training run for an ultra this spring back home. Connie, as always is just amazing an I relished every second I spent next to her. She is sooo genuine in spirit- and I think we might be teamates on the World 24 coming up in a couple of months...she'd be a stellar teamate-AND we jabbered about other fun and challengeing trail endeveours we might attempt together before we are 50! (I am game -'though I love to be alone- I am learning the joy of reaching out and sharing responsibilties and successes with others!)

Eventually Jill came along and I babbled with her until I realized I was running too fast. My goal was 7:22 miles and Jill and I were running 7:09ish. She is 38, has 5 children and seems amazing. She is fast and tough and really pretty, and reminds me of Michelle Barton! I was running to finish in less than 3:50 and I was not in a place to race people...the stress of Mom's illness was enough. I could control my pace in the chilly and sometimes very windy conditions-yet not the performance of other runners. So I raced not other women, but my clock. And I felt totally, 100% Ok about not racing for a win or top postion.

Several months ago, I chose 3:50 as a goal because to this point my PR for 50k was 3:52:sih at Frosty Fifty 50k in '05. I felt certain, training for a controlled 50k on pavement would be doable with appropriate preparation. I did not anticipate the winds or little dips and inclines of the course (which I would up lovin'!-Ok the wind was uncomfortable at times, yet the inclines were comfortable and familuar-!)/
Anyway, to stop my aimless babbling. I am not ashamed to say I worked really hard my last 2 laps, employing postive self talks and goofy songs in my head (my fingers couldn't deal with the idiosyncrasis of my ipod), and my Mom's IV tubes and brother's encouragement to keep "it up"... It was only later, much-2 weeks ago that I learned 3:50 was a qualifying time for the USATF Woman's National Team! Whatever-cool as it may be to meet an organizational qualifying standards, I was pretty much focused on my own reasons for this pace!

Kami Semik squashed Anne Lundblads record(Yay Anne!, Yay Kami!) by well over 5 minutes! and Michael Wardian again won-yet a tiny bit slower than his CR from last year. Click here for all results!
Running a 7:21 pace for exactlly 3:47:59 was a new thing for me. I was sore. And thrilled! I hit my mark on a race I didn't deem my style! I was 15th person and 4th woman overall. I was thrilled. And still am! Yet afterwards-I was sick and threw up and when I got back to Mom's house tried to sleep for 1/2 hour. I was exhausted. Fast road 50ks are fully different creatures than anything I experienced before!
As I write now 36ish hours after finishing, Mom is still well and I am too! I will run pretty mellow for a few days, yet home to be back on dirt, at home by then end of this week running on dirt and continuring to prepare for Bergamo and AR 50 in the coming months!

The Greater Long Island Running Club did a fabulus job with this event! Thank you to all! And to Ron and Mom and Connie and Jill and Kevin and young spirited 3rd girl Amanda-WOW! And to Kami for her talent and encouragement as she laped me as I had 1. 5 laps to go. We both were running very well in the cloaks of our current realities and I I celebrate her strength
For now it is Snowy and icy on Eastern LI and I must sort out how to best get back to NC in the next 2 days. Mom is doing well-get because of the 1' of snow--her nurse couldn't come today. So I will be in NY untill a nurse can come (lilkey tomorrow) and a 2 days later I hope to be home w/ George and Mama Gray, back at work and again running on the dirt of the Southern Appalachians!