Sunday, January 31, 2010

snow, spinning and magazine ads..

This is a tiny part of a 2 page advertisement in the latest issue of Runner's World....

Several days ago, vetran runner of New River Trail 50k, Rebecca Adcock (and creator or yummie goodies) wrote to tell me of this ad in March's Runners World. Super cool! I received my issue 2 days later and gave great kudos for the whole 2 page spread that explains the different shoees: Mtn Masochist. Rockridge, Sabino Trail...I have both the shoes besides Masochist on order and am psyched to see how they work for me in the advertised conditions!

Anyway-though we've had + 7" of snow and slick roads this weekend, my training has been quality, if efficiant. ...I can only run so many road miles slipping and sliding (even w/ Yac Traxs!)...

Saturday was 2. 25 hours slipping and sliding and today was a creative collection to = almost exhaustion for me (felt great!): 5.5 miles outside  snow run, 4.75 treadmill miles at 1.5% inclne w/ intervals, 7.5mph-9.5mph..., 100 minute spinning class, 35 minutes in pool-practicing and huffing and puffing freestyle and 10 min cooldown w/ water running...

Tomorrow school is cancelled with plans to go on Saturday instead...Hmmm...

Mondays are typically rest days, yet I shall endevour to recreate my plan to deal with work and the weather!

Happy snowing/icy/winter!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sultan 50k ...and link to photos...

What a fun time with friends yesterday in the NC gamelands south of Morganton, NC and on the trails of South Mountain State Park! Here is a link to more run photos.

"Front runners" starting the beginning of the run w/ a 1.2 mile get-your-attention uphill on gravel road

I think about 27 runners came out to celebrate life with Mohammed Idlibi

by running 16-32.5 miles in the dirt and mud. This was the 2nd running of this course-complete with crowns and birthday cake…and special party contests for winning bonus and boner points. See the below excerpt from one of Mo’s emails:

Woop woop....Birthday runners…. This year we will time the run and provide a 16 mile split, and a 32 mile finish time. 

There will be bonus/boner minutes added and deducted from your actual time based on the following criteria: 

Bonus/Boner Minutes 

Acquiring the first will result in faster “official” finish times; acquiring the latter will result in slower “official” finish times. Bonus Minutes can be acquired by… 
  • Wearing your Sultan crown the entire distance. 
  • Taking off the crown will result in boner minutes. 
  • Eating a full slice of birthday cake. 
  • Being extra nice to our volunteers.
  • Doing a headstand or cartwheel at least once while on the run. 
 CAKE: There will be one aid station at the main parking lot of South Mountains State park. Red velvet birthday deliciousness will be served. 

Yummy cake at mile 16.4

I had a very fun day-running almost all the way “out” with Wendy Wright and Anne Lundblad-yacking and laughing and making time zoom by.

After eating cake, Wendy decided to spend a little more time at the Cake Station and run back with her husband Keith so Anne and I shared the remainder of the run together. I appreciated the hours of conversation about fun and serious topics-and I can believe how FAST those miles felt. Though we certainly weren’t fast-With all the photo opps, cake eating, cartwheels and rambling around it took almost 6 hours to do the run!

Anne and I after many hours of chattering...

Wendy and her hubbie Keith just as they finished. Nice!

I am very appreciative to Mo for organizing this an to Lily and Oz for being so helpful and fun loving! This venue is hard to find. Map Quest Roper Hollow Road, Morganton. The trail starts at the end of this road and eventually winds up in South Mountains State Park. The Park map shows the upper CCC road which we ran miles on before entering the park.

Sometime this week I expect Mo will report to us the “outcome” of the run. All I know is if people had ½ as much of a fun day I had-the outcome = GREAT fun with goofy friends!

I've made a "movie slideshow" set to music-yet after 3 hours of self tutoring still can't get it to post online...check back in a day or so when I regain my patience! Happy day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New River Trail 50k 10/09/10 opens 1/20/10

Registration for the 3rd running of the New River Trail 50k begins tomorrow at

Race website is the same as last year:

The New River Trail 50k will continue to be a fast, flat, fair course all within the New River Trail State Park. Confirmed sponsors include: VA State Parks(Dept of Conservation and Recreation), Montrail, Nathan Products, Mud Mama Pottery, Patagonia, and Flowers Bakery. The event will be sanctioned by USATF. Additional sponsors will be announced as they confirm.

I like as an alternative to active for this race because:
  • Fees are lower to registrants
  • We can get registration fees electronicly instead of snail mail (keeping more to our green mission)
  • runners can see who else is running right away instead of having to wait weeks for us to be able to update the race website
  • After runners register, you can "check out" your "competition" or "companions" depending on how you approach it!

Please pass this information to your running friends-or curious friends who might want to help out-as alway these races can not be done without the generosity of our volunteers!

I am honored to be planning  for another fun day running along and  in support of The New River!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Above is from a set of daily meditations my Mom put in my Christmas stocking last month...

For years I have been intending to properly learn how to swim. Sure, I took swimming lessons in the Peconic Bay as a kid, yet quit just before we got to the point of having to demonstrate our ability with the crawl. I never learned how to time my breath and have no memory of proper kicking, etc, etc.

Several years ago I purchased a swimsuit and tried to teach myself the strokes to ready for the High Country Triathlon: 5k run, 25k bike, 1k swim. I did the triathlon, yet wound up side stroking most of the water section in lily pad filled Wildcat Lake I finished feeling scared, exhausted and embarrassed. Until a few days ago, I had not been swimming since.

This past year, I decided I WOULD learn how to swim. I think if I did more cross training, especially during recovery period after tough events, I’ll be less susceptible to getting hurt. Last week, I dug though a box under my bed and found my suit and goggles. I purchased the cap and bought a 10-day pass to a pool in Boone, NC. It is a 40-minute drive, so realistically I’ll go only 2x a week. Meanwhile I set up one on one lessons with young ASU Education Major, Jordan who is a lifeguard in Boone and has taught all ages swim basics.

My first lesson was Friday. We worked on kicking, breathing (out through the nose, in through the mouth) and turns. I’ll go to the pool this afternoon to practice and wear more clothes. I was so cold in the water at the pool; I was told my skin turned blue.

I am excited and a little nervous about embarking on this ambitious journey of swimming. I wish for patience with myself when I awkwardly practicing in the lap lanes, trying really hard not to get in anyone’s way!

If anyone has suggestions for what to wear to stay warmer-I am open to it! (Most my polypro/capilene will be too loose-yet today I’ll pin it and hope for the best!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bandera 100k 2010= Excellence, Rocks, Fun and a shy dorsal fin

A view from the trail (photo from event website)

Bandera 100k is now one of my all-time favorite trail events. The design, support, creativity, organization, terrain, and weather made it something I’ll remember and recommend. It is a tough, yet fair course in an unexpectedly beautiful area of the Texas Hill Country, just northwest of San Antonio. Throw in fun-loving volunteers (music and Texas beer among the offerings) and superior race management and that makes for a great stage for a 100k personal challenge/race.

In contrast to recent past posts, this post will not be brief or to the point, I can tell with the continued processing in my head that I WILL ramble!

I signed up for Bandera for several reasons:

• I wanted to train for technical and see how I’d do after much of last year focused on 24-Hour and non technical events.

• Since being hurt from 7/19-10/1 I was skittish about technical trails and want to “get over it”

• I’ve run only 2 other 100k’s (Hellgate 3x and GEER 1x) and am intrigued by this distance.

• Bandera 50k and 100k are part of this years Montrail Ultra Cup of which I am participating

• I hoped to run well enough to earn 1st or 2nd place to give me the option to run WS 100 this year.

• I worked in Bandera at the Mayan Dude Ranch during the summer of 1988 and spent several afternoons with my friend “young Judy” walking the dirt roads of the Hill Country Natural Area.

The Travel: Since I planned well in advance, I got a RT non-stop US Airways flight from Charlotte to San Antonio with flyer miles and reserved a cabin in Bandera for a very reasonable rate at the River Front Motel; the car rental came from for less than 39.00 total for 48 hours! The greatest single expense was having to stay in a motel in Charlotte the night before my flight out Friday am. The NC High Country was forecasted to get (and did get snow on Friday)…if I’d left at 4:30am as planned-I doubt I’d have gotten down the mountain to catch my plane.

The Riverfront Motel...

Fast Girl Jill: I am thrilled that Jill Perry is now part of the Montrail Ultra Running Team and even more psyched that I can now call her a friend. Jill and I met last year at Caumssett Park 50k and have been in touch since. We decided to share expenses by rooming together in Bandera. Yes Jill did win (or I should say she was one of the winners)-yet more on that later…

We both arrived in Bandera sporting VW bug rentals-not planned-just happened!

Showing off our matching cars and shirts!

Jill and I shared a prerace evening of “safe” food we had with us (neither of us practice carbo-loading on purpose anyway!) -me: avocado/bread and watered down canned chicken-veggie soup and Jill: rice bowl with a packet of Tuna microwaved in our cabin and a couple tiny bottles of Margarita (Jill) and red wine (Annette) . We laughed and were silly, spoke seriously and looked forward to the freedom that a day of running 100k would bring.

What to wear? As most runners can relate to, I went back and forth (as did Jill) about appropriate attire for a 12 degree start that would warm up to 40+degrees. There were options for drop bags-which I did take, yet drop bags=time and time = energy and blah, blah… As it was, I wore ½ tights and was grateful to be able to switch out clothes at one of my drop bags later in the race. Though I must admit, for much of the run I looked like a yard sale with various layers tied around my head, waist or stuffed in my bra!

The plan: I didn’t have much of one! I wanted to run technical rocky trails the best I could and hope that would = a top position. The previous CR was 11:18ish and I had it in mind that compared to other experiences I could run between 10:15 and 11 hours given the terrain and temperature and mud levels. Though prepared with great Petzel light sources, I did not want to have to use a headlamp. I also knew that cold AM temps would disable me to some point because I’d look the use of my hands (even w/ snowboard mitts) until it warmed up…and nutrition lost until it warmed up would have to be adjusted for later.

The race: We started a little after sunrise at 7:30am. Two other races (25k an 50k started several 100 yards away at the same time) I think there must have been 600+ runners/crews plus volunteers as things got underway. It was around 13 degrees according to my rental bug’s dashboard.

The 100k runner pack thinned out quickly. I ran with and then behind Jill and a couple of other women before loosing sight of those three. Jill ran across the rocks like a long haired blond elf and she laughed that “I love this!” I verbally agreed! I wished her well and settled into a bit of a slower pace and I prepared for the day to unfold. It wasn’t long before I learned my clothing was too much…After only 1.5 miles-ish I pulled over and spent a well used 4 minutes taking off clothing an adjusting things. It was comfortable moving uphill in the sun and hand numbing cold in the draws (drainages).
Soon, I was content to explore the Texas Hill Country…only a few part of the trails warranted power hiking-otherwise much was extremely runnable and super crazy fun down hills-lighting over rocks and roots. Mostly all single track. Dirt. Sand. Cacti. Roots. Horse-trodden grooved trails of frozen mud. Later in the afternoon as scarce few areas did have stick-to-shoe-mud…yet that was in the minority! Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of the beautiful hills and scrub brush/trees around me, yet much of the focus for these trails/routes was on foot placement.

A taste of the trails (photo from event website)

From my time out there, I’d have never guessed there were so many runners on the trails! It was an experience of passing companionship and solitude for me. The my obvious signs of human life I saw was the gust of dust from vehicles driving to and fro aid stations on the main park road. And most of this was at a distance and provided a vista conducive, with appropriate travel music to a Hollywood movie! I think RD Joe and crew did a splendid service to the ultra running community by so creatively weaving a diverse and challenging 50k (100k=x2) in such a small area!

The 100k was 2 loops. My first loop was exploratory…not meant to race-but to run steady. I thought I’d finish the loop in 5ish…and I think my split was 5:05ish, spend 6ish minutes at Aid Station (and back out at 5:11ish) I looked at my watch, but didn’t really register time.

With the next loop started-I felt good and was well hydrated and had the calories on board from attentive grazing at earlier aid stations and was ready to attempt to “pick off” some girls. At this point I was in 5th place. So I ran and because of the ability to see far saw “Girl 3” and "Girl 4”  (I later learned these women were Pam Smith and Christine Tokarz) several times in the distance. I kept running comfortably and passed Christine 5 miles into the loop. I felt flat. Not bad. Not great. At some points running during miles 30-50 felt like a job. And then a privilege. And then flight! I fell 2x on flat ground. I think I was soo focused on the rocky stuff, I inappropriately let my brain check out on the little smooth stuff there was -and BAM! Was down again. I have 13 bruises in my hands, elbows and legs from Saturday’s adventure.

The 2nd time into the Chapas aid station, Meredith Terranova who had earlier in the day won the 50k, informed me that 4 of us were within 8 minutes of each other. VERY COOL! Thank you Meredith.  I made myself eat more PB and J squares and cola and continue on, striving for positive attitude. At this point, around mile 42ish I was not ready to race-I expected my race would start at Crossroads 47.9 miles into the race. And indeed it should have!

Yet, when my time came to “race” at the deceided distance, my dorsal fin disappointed me. From this first time ever, the dorsal fin took a nap! I was happy to run how I felt- hard at times, comfortable at others-and I was pleased that despite my bruises I was unharmed. Even though I knew the others were within possible catching distance, the hunger for the hunt did not appear. When arriving at my drop bag for the final time, I put on warmer clothes and grabbed my lights. Less then 10 miles left. Bobbing along, shadows’ stretching in the late afternoon dirt, the run was solitary and beautiful. I felt good-just not like I was after prey…

Then the DORSAL fin appeared!

Out of nowhere this realization came that if I ran like hell and crawled up the 2 steep hills with purpose I wouldn’t have to use my Headlamp. The race for “stretching the light” was on! And what fun I had racing the light! Dusk in the Texas Hill Country was beautiful and exciting and for the first time all day I felt very alive. Songs played in my head. I loved running and felt the gift of freedom and flight during the last part of this running day. I was completely alone for the last 4.9 miles to the Finish Line and crossed in without using my headlamp. My time was 10:44:37 in 4th place.

Pam Smith who’d I’d glimpsed so much during the last 30 miles finished in 10:36:25 and Jill Perry and Aliza Lapierre shared 1st place in 10:33:18. I was thrilled for Jill and the others and felt pleased to be with a group of strong women! On this cold, but mud free running day, all 4 of us went under the CR of 11:18:49. Christine Tokarz rounded out the top 5 with 11:20:40, she later shared with me she’d never run over 40 miles! On the men’s side, Nick Clark took the win with 9:16:57, Chikara Omine in 2nd 9:19:43-both these guys bettered the previous CR. Following were Dan Vega 9:26:50, Steven Moore 9:58:49 and Richard Cook 10:06:54.
Complete results HERE

Later, after getting showers back in town, a group headed by fun Montrail teammate Sean Meissner (Sean placed 7th in the 50k and stayed around to assist runners for many hours afterwards)gathered together for Texas food and drinks. I wish I though to take a photo of the Nacho Platter which had to be about 5 pounds of food!

Part of the Montrail gang: Jill, Annette and Sean at packet pickup Friday

Us, with a new friend, again 28 hours later toasting the rocks!

Reflection: After some sleep and pondering, I now have a bit more insight into why I was skittish about racing. I haven’t raced since May at the 24-Hour in Italy! After falling and dnfing at Highlands Sky in June, then getting hurt at Vermont and running just to finish-then taking 9+ weeks off to heal my tendon/nerve issues…then spending all fall getting back to running. Though I ran a good time at JFK 50 in November, my position was not earned from “the chase”.

To have seriously had a shot at placing higher at Bandera I would have had to take some risks which I was timid to do. I think Bandera has boosted my confidence that I am again strong and though my foot/nerve issues from the summer still get my attention, they are steadily improving and I am fit to race. I am revived by the invigorating experience I had “chasing the light” and trust that will naturally adjust back to being invigorated by chasing people!

I am rejuvenated after this brief trip to Texas, and looking forward to taking more sensible risks out there on the trails. Joe Prusaitis and clan did and excellent job. Joe and his crew of volunteers were splendid.  These guys and gals were tough: serving up runners for hours and endless hours in the very unusual cold. A great big Thanks to everyone involved in hosting/organizing/arranging this event-the Texas Hospitality and challenge were Fabulous!

(Photo above: My dorsal fin was in hiding just like much of my face when I started the race in the dry cold! When the race started I looked like a bug because I also had on orange sunglasses...Yippeee!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Snowy, cold New Years everyone!

Runner or Alien? Getting ready to road run this morning at 14 degrees with 20mph winds...

I’ve just capped a 90+ mile week for the first time since last spring. What joy to have the time and health to put in miles!
Since my last post George and I have been to NY and back for Christmas and while I was away, my laptop was also traveling to CA to have the screen replaced. Yet now everyone is back at home and communications resume!

My life has been full and head full of thoughts too, yet I shall keep this post uncharacteristically brief!

George and I have been working on updating the New River Trail 50k website. It’s slowly getting there! Registration will be online this year opening on January 20, yet not with, but with a different company called It will cost less for runners and offers some great features ultrarunners will especially appreciate.

I am also working on updating my blog. As always it is a work in progress, and as much as I loved my old “jumping in the Gorge” header photo, I moved it to the bottom of the blog to make room for the photo above taken in Doughton Park in March of 2009 during one of our fun adventure runs. It was simply time for a change!

I will be running with Montrail again next year and look forward to the shoes and races and working with the company as it continues to stabilize after a few years of difficult adjustment. The Montrail blog has moved and is now located Here.

At the end of next week, I’ll be traveling to the Bandera 100k in Texas. The terrain is supposed to be quite tough and technical-I think it will be fun! While in college I worked on a Dude Ranch in Bandera TX and used to take long walks in the Hill Country State Natural Area where the race is being held.

I wish you all a healthy, adventurous 2010...

Go outside in the cold, the rain, the ice, run hard and eat good food! Spend time with loved ones! Feed the birds and play with the cat! (Sometimes even stay under the covers!) Have fabulous experiences and then some!