Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ashe County Spring Celebration 5k May 22 2010

The little rural county of Ashe in NC is having the 2nd running of a Spring 5k: Spring Celebration 5k on May 22 at 9am based out of Ashe County Parks and Recreation at Family Central. The registration form can be download here. A 1 mile fitness walk is also an option!

Last year the event was Spring Solstice 5k, and being in March, it was cold!....So we moved it to later spring with hopes of milder weather! Funds raised will go to a new scholarship fund to support youth and adult fitness in Ashe County...details on the fund available race day. Proceeds will also go to Ashe County Parks and recreation. For more info, please comment to me, email me at annettebednosky@gmail.com or download this form.  I am one of the race organizers and pleased to be do so! Please come celebrate fitness in Ashe County!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pacing Jill at Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run

 Jill and I at a 40 second stretch session...

Pausing to stretch is unwanted, yet sometimes necessary!

I had the privledge of pacing Jill Perry for the final 25 miles of her record setting 100 mile run at Umstead Endurance Runs last night. What fun and what a tough girl Jill is! I have known this, yet to run beside such a life filled person: determined, talented, dedicated and fun-loving,  and assist in any way I could was a great experience! Jill broke her own CR last year and ran 15:58 (and won!) While out there I also got to watch speedy Zach Gingerich make mush out of the previous CR and get 13:23! Congratulations to both and to everyone! Umstead is not a mountain course, yet no one could ever fairly call it flat-it's got it's hills!

I witnessed many highs and lows this day...Jill hit a low after the race and that turned into another learning adventure...yet I'll let her tell the story as she is sure to post sometime this week on her blog!

 Jill running happy and strong at mile 78ish!

I have slept only 90 minutes since waking Saturday morning and will leave this post short as Life must continue even with the inclusion of unexpected learning adventures!  If time allows, I have so much to share, about pacing and connecting, witnessing the realities drama of "behind the scenes", wondering about avalalbility of post race IVs and the enormous responsibility in offering (RDing) and participaiting  (running!) a hundred mile trail run!

I celebrate Jill! And everyone! I hope each runner and crew rests well and recovers quickly. Full results will be at the race website within the next few days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caumsett Park 50k 2010=road running fun!

Above: Race Director Anne (center in Hoody) with 4 of the "top 10 women"...I wish Nat'l Champ Yolanda was in the photo! (Jill's # 6 is visible and and I am quite covered in grey and green!)

I am a fortunate human. With planning I can take a couple days off of work to frolic to far away places (ok...I am exagerrating a bit-to drive to NY for a visit with Mom and a race!) Yet I am serious-I am fortunate-a supportive husband (and kitty), Mom who is loving and healthy, dependable car and body which is strong and making me learn from that part of myself if I want to or not!

 I left driving late morning Thursday (after another cancelled day of school due to snow) and drove north towards NY. The trip to Mom's on LI's North Fork is 12 hours, NOT counting NYC traffic or any sort of stops...So when I make this drive for a long weekend-I am willing to go "all one shot" one way and the other way stop part way through at a motel. I "moteled it" in New Jersey Thursday night and arrived on LI Friday mid morning-planning all travel around the "rush hour" times. After arriving on "The Island" I drove up to Caumsett Park ran my scheduled 35 minutes on the race course. The course had been changed slightly since last year and I was pleased to get both a visual and experience on what I would be doing on Sunday at the National 50K Road Championships: 10 laps of the 5k. Cool!

The house where grew up and where Mom lives is 1:30 from there...so the journey continued. Time with Mom Friday and Saturday was wonderful! We shared meals, walks, conversation, scrabble games and a walk on the ocean. I don't think I ever before remember the body jolting thunder of the magnificiant waves rolling in. Both Mom and I forgot our cameras and were bummed. Yet we celebrated the windy, but warm day by finding a warm place out of the wind to eat our picnic lunch. It was gloriously sunny and warm (45ish!) Ahhhhh!!

This would be my 2nd year to run Caumsett Park 50k. Last year I ran with a goal of sub 3:50 as this was the qualifying time for a spot at the World Trophy 50k held in Gilbraltar in 2009. Last year I ran 3:47:59 and did get invited to the race-yet declined due to my lingering "itis" after Vermont 100. When planning this year, I did not plan this race until a few weeks ago. When I learned my "1st runner up" status would stay that way for World's 24...I knew if I had a hope of running for USA in 2010, I'd have to try for it at Caumsett and Mad City 100k on April 10th. As posted last week, Jill Perry (current US National Champion 24-Hour and amazing runner-human /woman /person ran together in AL at Cheaha...) We met again at Caumsett Park on Sunday AM. Jill is a tough, smart,strong woman and a Montrail Teamate of mine. I want all the best for her and have planned my training schedule around pacing her for the last 24ish miles at Umstead 100 on 3/27. We are friend and competitors. I love it! Anne Lundblad and I used to enter a fair number of the same races and I welcomed her presence-knowing that likely I would wind up following her...(only in "once in awhiles" did that not happen...)yet, if Anne were there, I would give my best. And I feel that way about Jill too! Thank you JILL! (Even when she outran me by 11+ minutes at Bandera 100k in January-I appreciate her helping me be a better runner and , I hope, human and friend! Anyway...

...Caumsett Park weather was breezy ok,-windy-yet the wind was obvious only on parts of the rolling course.
Highlights of the race:
-A sunny day with a range of running temps from 32-48 degrees
-Supportive volunteers and aid station workers
-Howard Nippert was there and encouraged/informed me-thank you Howard for you support! (I must admit I didn't recognize him right off and asked his name (He'd grown a partial beard, had a hat on that covered his wonderful shiny head and was decked out in warm baggy warmups that hid his chisled physice. ) Yet after a brief moment of wide-eyed surprise on my side, I think the mistake was understandable!

(from left to right...Yolanda, me and Jill, lap #1....)

Without getting into technicalities of the race...My plan was 3:45 and I allotted 22:30 min each 5k lap. I started out WAYYYY too fast, with Yolanda Flamino-eventual 2010 Nat'l Champ and Jill and I crossing the timing matt for lap # 1 at almost the same time: 20:44-20:48. At this point I did a "reality check",  centered myself and got back to plan-1 lap run with enthusiasm and abandon was okay...yet if I would reach my sub 3:50 goal or sub 3:45 hopes-Annette must slow down! So Jill and Yolanda took off and I cheered them on! I was not here to race women, yet to "race the clock" for a chance to participate in World Trophy 50k.That was all the reminder I needed (also-duh-I'd not been training for anything more intense than what I planned-and the LAST thing I wanted to do was get hurt. UGH...Round and round we ran!

Lap #9 was interesting...It seemed like a festival of ultrarunning diversity...I noticed: ...Michael Wardian had already won-Phil McCarthy-teamate of mine in Italy '09 and current USA National 24-Hour Champion would run into the spots for top 10 men...Jill is current Nation'l Champ for 24 hour too...and Byron Lane former Nat'l 24 Hour Champ was there running very well Scott Dunlap who authors an amazing blog and who is a terrific runner ran by me...then I ran by Scott Juruck-who was not there to race this day, yet there for his own purposes...And the RD Tim, from Mad City 100k was there running the 25k and was very encouraging and supportive to me. The participants, and crews and spectators made me feel special as "#18". Thank you all, that encouragement was greatly helpful during my dud laps #7 and #8. I was just hanging on to conistentcy-yet not yet "smelling the barn"

With one lap left-I ran it as my 3rd fastest and worked hard-yet still felt steady. I watched the fast boys lap me and studied their body positions, experimenting with mimicking their relaxed arms and body positon.Those dudes were amazing and sooo speedy. Soooo...I was thrilled with a 2nd place finish of 3:43:48! Yay! Yolanda ran a speedy 3:34:26 and Jill Perry took 3rd in 3:47:49. Complete results here! Thank you to Jill and Howard and Carl  and Tim and the bunch of otherfolks who offered high and enthusiastic encouragement. I don't mean to leave out the amazing men-there results are HERE too!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mt Cheaha 50k 2010: Race to the Top of Alabama

Jill Perry and I after finishing

Race date: February 27, 2010, 7:30am Central Time
Place: Talladega National Forest and Mt. Cheaha State Park, south of Oxford, AL
Surface: dirt, rocks, pine straw, pinecones, steep rocks, several wet creek crossings, little dirt road, little pavement
Trail: Mostly single track
Elevation gain: reportedly 7000'
Quality of course and race= TOP NOTCH!!!!
Years in Montrail Ultra Cup= 1 (and many more, I hope!)

It was with relief I came to Alabama from the High Country of NC on Thursday before the race. After weeks of treadmill and road shoulder running-due to inaccessibility of trails and dirt roads due to accumulated snow/ice I got to bask in the sun and “warm” environs of eastern Alabama. Though I had not planned to leave until after work on Thursday, the weather again closed schools and I made it off the mountain, after stopping for a swim and stretch out in Boone, NC by noon.

The drive was uneventful, even Atlanta, which I hit right at 4:30, was not too bad from the perspective of this native New Yorker… Traffic was slow, yet still moved on the northern bypass. I reached Oxford, AL sometime during early evening, while there was still plenty of daylight. The exit I was on had many hotels and I wanted to find a good rate (I thought $50.00 a night for 2 nights that included taxes would be a good deal). At The Jameson Inn I asked the front desk clerk for what I wished and he readily obliged me. I was set with Internet, breakfast/coffee/fridge/micro so I could prepare my meals in room.

I spent most of Friday resting and exploring parts of Talladega National Forest. A 30 minute out and back run on the race course gave a taste of what to expect and driving to bib pick up Friday afternoon, gave some more hints to the ridges and drainages in these small, yet steep, wintry mountains. This day I spoke with Montrail teammate Jill Perry a few times. She was dealing with lots of snow in upstate NY and might be challenged to get to AL. Yet, alas after delays and being “bumped” I spoke with her around 8pm just as she was leaving Atlanta for Birmingham. Whoop! I’d get to see Jill again and meet her husband Vincent if only for a little while before race start.

I don't know how accurate this profile is...I found it on the web...

The next morning, an enthusiastic, yet travel-weary Jill and I hung out for a bit and I met her husband Vincent and his traveling companion Paul. Since this is point-to-point course, we left our vehicles at the state park and were bused 35 minutes south to Porter’s Gap, the course start.

The race started in the trailhead parking lot promptly at 7:30am with the blaring music of Sweet Home Alabama-a rollicking way to start a run to the state’s highest point. Runners were on an “honor system” to seed themselves appropriately since we started straight out on narrow single track. From my place about 15th from the front, it seemed folks made good decisions. There was a front pack of fast boys and a few singles. Dink Taylor-usually a fast boy was still in recovery mode after a recent 100. (He did not tell me this –I over heard much of his conversation with Jill during the first few miles) Dink and Jill ran together and I came and went following them, catching them on the downs and falling back on the ups.

A beautiful course!

I was thrilled with the opportunity to see views and run along ridges. The day was perfect-mostly sunny, light wind, about 28 degrees at 7:30am, with warm upper 40’s later on. The course and environs reminded me Lots of Uwharrie 40 miler in NC. Rocks, roots, wet feet, relentless ups and downs. This course had much contouring as well with at times some interesting, bordering on exciting footing for those that weren’t paying close attention. We also got to duck under/vault and sneak around several downed trees. All in the spirit of a trail run, I misjudged one vault and wound up with an impressive abrasion on my left knee for not going high enough. Another trail souvenir. 

I discovered later I wasn't the only one not to jump high enough!

It was a joy to run this day! I appreciated the warm weather, snow/ice free trails and rolling with the terrain. At one point, around 12 miles in, one of my running companions who I’ve been acquainted with for years wanted to know if I was injured-as usually I was far ahead of him. I did not realize this. I told him I wasn’t hurt-just a little out of practice pacing myself on a 50k trail run and I was aiming for steady. Yet, truth be told, I was feeling stronger as the miles passed.

Up and down and around, little leaping, slipping on pine straw, splashing through creeks. Gathering liquid and nourishment from the helpful aid station volunteers, following little flags as we adventured along. A couple miles after Aid Station 3 I saw Jill and eventually caught up. We chatted for a few seconds. She reported she was okay, just in a lull and tired from the previous day’s travel. We wished one another well and continued our own paces. At aid station 4, one of the volunteers, Ken, told me he is a friend with my former boss, Bradley McNeil who was principal of Ashe County High School and lives in my town. I like and respect Bradley very much and was buoyed by this connection.

From roughly mile 22 to “the road section” I was in trail running heaven concentrating, yet it wasn’t all consuming, then the road presented itself. Don’t get me wrong. I like roads and grass and tracks and treadmills anything I can run on. I used to only like trails-yet after being hurt several times and finding the value of training on mixed surfaces-I do have an appreciation for all. The road was long and straight and uphill. I told myself this was going to be a good break for my muscles and a way to run steady for a few miles. I tried to pick out a good song from my mental play list to play in my head to keep up the energy on the road. After 2 tries I wound up with an acceptable one: I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack (I have a “dance” version in my running list). This helped maintain happy, hopeful energy slogging up the road. Then I caught sight of a runner in white ahead of me and didn’t need the music anymore. I found a rabbit!

Entering the final aid station, I saw the white shirted runner dart into the woods. Again helpful volunteers supplied me with Heed and ecaps and I grabbed a peanut butter square and darted off. The “darting” didn’t last long for either of his. Shortly we found the section of the course commonly referred to as Blue Hell. This is a steep section of the trail marked with blue markings. It is steep, necessitating using hands to help oneself up in places. The runner in the white shirt-I asked his name, yet do not recall it, he and I marched in line, up up, up! Reportedly some 850’+ feet of climbing in ½ mile. I was grateful the day was dry, as scrambling over these rocks in a rainstorm would have taken 2x as long.  The route took us underneath a rappel site and finally into the developed area of the state park and onto the summit. The course ended with about a mile of single track on the “Mountain Express Trail”, dumping us out around a corner from the finish line in front of Bald Rock Lodge. I finished in a CR time of 5:09:41 with “white shirted runner” prob’ly less than a minute behind me.  I had enough energy left to click my heels once-yet otherwise I felt pretty worked-yet happy to feel good and find a 1st place finish!

Jill came in 5:29:00. She appeared sprightly as always, yet the stresses from the long day previous and sleepless night obviously took its toll. Sally Brooking, 53 and experienced Cheaha runner came in at 5:47:46. The top men appeared well before all the females with course shattering…Dane (super crazy fast guy) Mitchell 4:00:25!!! DeWayne Satterfield 4:36:22 and Alex Darth, 4:39:22! Yikes! Go guys go!!! Full results to be posted at http://www.pinhoti100.com/mountcheaha50k/ soon.

Mt. Cheaha 50k is now on my list of favorites…On Saturday I fondly referred to it as “East Coast’s Way Too Cool”… They are not really alike, yet are the same distance, same running season and now both part of MUC. Both:
  • have very runnable terrain w/ plenty of ups and downs.
  • have a version of “Blue Hell”, where tenacity and patience often overtake fitness.
  • have a fair number of aid stations (WTC =5, Mt C=6)
Finishing times are Way faster w/ WTC…yet terrain more rolling and wet and precocious w/ Mt Cheaha.

I am an “east coaster” and by realities of $$$ and time constraints tend to do most my racing within a ½ day drives from where I live, yet to be fair, I have sample a number of mid-country and west coast runs. Yet, I can say, this run is superbly executed and designed. There are small parts you curse and larger parts where one celebrates their privilege of being alive. Come to Alabama to discover more of who you are!
Thank you to all volunteers, race director Todd Henderson and staff from the USFS and Alabama State Parks, you have a high quality event tucked away in those Alabama mountains!

Sunset on Mt Cheaha 50k 2010 eve