Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Celebration 5k Results

Since I don't have any photos of the Spring Celebration 5k, I thought I'd share this one taken from the
top of Hawksbill Mountain yesterday afternoon (More photos follow results)

The 2nd running of the Ashe County Spring Celebration 5k was Saturday, May 22 at Family Central in Jefferson, NC. The day was perfectly spring: 65 degrees and drizzling on and off during the registration and run time.

The male and female overall winners (Glenn Bailey and Lisa Freeman) received a gift certificate for a pair of Montrail shoes and medals. Age group winners received medals. Door prizes were generous and an abundance of snacks provided.

1. Glenn Bailey 21:03 M 16
2. Ed Barron 23:01 M 51

3. Kevin Tedder 23:04 M 37

4. Aaron Cronk 23:04 M 17

5. Sonny Thomas 23:06 M 16

6. Matthew Osborne 23:09 M 14

7. Allen Call 23:28 M 30

8. Hal Monsees 23:35 M 53

9. Logan Freeman 23:50 M 50

10. Jeff Lee 24:05 M 38

11. Lisa Freeman 24:10 F 38

12. Lisa Howell 24:18 F 51

13. Bob Richardson 24:23 M 48

14. Dustin Gunderson 24:43 M 32

15. Erin Keenan 25:04 F 18

16. Lynde Ring 25:04 F 16

17. Shane Greene 25:34 M 43

18. Andrew Tedder 25:58 M 12

19. Chelsea Eller 27:08 F 15

20. Jim Snyder 27:21 M 63

21. Michael Childers 27:55 M 31

22. Lizzie Hanes 28:08 F 17

23. Amber Hare 28:13 F 15

24. Lisa Patel 28:16 F 24

25. MacKinsey Johnson 28:17 F 16

26. Greg Cox 28:20 M 26

27. Roger Blevins 28:23 M 45

28. Kimmie Ring 28:27 F 16

29. Sam Hartsoe 28:37 M 45

30. Joel Weaver 28:52 M 55

31. Mandy Davis 28:59 F 25

32. Mary Beth Knight-Greene 29:03 F 30

33. Leah Hodgson 29:05 F 16

34. Holly Stephens 31:58 F 18

35. Brandon Tedder 32:54 M 7

36. Johnny Sturgill 33:02 M 32

37. Autumn Huffman 33:33 F 17

38. Lori Tedder 34:55 F 36

39. Kelly McNeil 35:13 F 38

40. Joe Fan 38:04 M 43

41. Lori Korevec 38:04 F 27

42. Lindsay Addison 41:36 F 24

43. Tammy Painter 51:47 F 48

44. Darryl Giles (sweep) 51:47 M

Thank you to all the runners and volunteers for coming out and celebrating fitness in Ashe County!

Looking south into Linville Gorge
Facing Northwest up towards Linville Falls
As you can gather one of my workouts this past weekend included Linville Gorge. A magificiant day for a 4 hour run up Table Rock, Hawksbill and around parts of the east gorge. Monday comes way too fast!
Steep trail to and from Hawsbill

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Running of Trail Days Half Marathon in Damascus, VA

 Start of the 1st Trail Days Half Marathon in Damascus, VA...Over 70 starters!
(Don't worry, we only run 1/2ish mile on pavement total!)

I had a wonderful morning with fabulous friends this weekend at the 1st running of Trail Days Half Marathon! What a blast! Because I have been spending so much time on roads, I have monsterously missed my trail friends as I opted for weekend runs of solo time on pavement instead of trail dancing with fine folks. Damascus,VA is about an hours drive from my house on an early Saturday morning. (Much longer during mid day in the summer).

Rick Gray-ultrarunner extraodinaire (and friend) taking a morning to be the guy at the IMT turn around. He and I shared many fine (and not so fine as life goes) time together in training and racing.

Eric Grossman, one of my Montrail teammates contributed quietly both in front and behind the scenes of this fun race.
JJ Jesse was there too in happy human spirit. He is a consistently positive person to be around! (And he makes great pizza and throws great parties!)

Jenny Nichols has been real life and FB friend for almost 2 years now. She is the mom of 2 and getting ready for her 1st 50 mile: Mountain Masochist in November. Jenny volunteered as a race photographer. (Notice her great taste in skort!)

Nick and Maria Whitehead working together at the finish line

Although recovery from Ice Age 50M the previous weekend had gone well, I had surprisingly taxed my body with a 5 mile mountain hike on Thursday afternoon. I think I was overenthusiastic and wound up with crazy tight muscles from hiking. Next day (Friday) I spent 7 hours walking around Carowinds Amusement Park as a chaperone on our Senior Trip and 6 hours on a bus. Needless to say, after 6 hours of sleep on Friday night, I wasn't sure I would be in the shape or spirit to run with any sort of enthusiasm. 

I showed up at 7:30am, got my packet, reunited with fine people and warmed up. I was tight and kinda worried. Not worried about having a bad day at a half marathon, yet worried about getting hurt. It was on the Beech Grove Trail in 2008 that I mysteriously came down with calf cramping issues that took me out for the rest of the summer. No clear reasons. No diagnosis. Nothing clear except tightness and pain.  Plus my hike up Mt Jefferson 2 days previous gave me the calf twitches. What's up with that????

Yet, I as I sorted through my file of current reality...there was no reason NOT to start. If I felt bad, I'd walk back. No pride here. If I walked back, perhaps I could help out?

The race started at 8:30 and we were off! What a joy to run on dirt! It was humid and fun. I felt wonderful and ran and felt great-I think if I had tried to hike, I might have whimpered), yet this was a real reminder that the biomechanics of hiking and running are vastly different and as far as WS 100 training, I do have my work cut out!
After exiting the VA Creeper Trail the ascent up Beech Grove to the Iron Mountain is on the edge of running or hiking. I opted to run (ie: happily plod through up the trail with running motions). Once reaching the Iron Mountain Trail and drinking some Suceeed! , I continued east for the 1.5 mile out and back. Very runnable-and the descents were joyous. 
The last 1.5 trail miles were through wet, rocky, muddy, speedy Mock Hollar- I felt like screaming in delight as I did the day before on Carowinds Intimidater Roller Coaster!

Once hitting pavement, I think there was about 1/2 mile 'till the finish line in front of Mt Rodgers Outfitters in downtown Damascus. 
Me, me nearing the finish...
Seconds later, delighting at the finish!
Race results here: I finished in 1:34:54, 1st woman, 6th overall, and felt happy  and thrilled and grateful to be running in the woods!
2nd place girl Betsy Anderson and companion Jeremy Steeves (Jeremy was 7th place overall!)

The following is my review as per request on
This is the first running of this event and very well done! Partially sponsored by Montrail, and designed and executed by talented runner Nick Whitehead and assisted by many experienced trail and ultrarunners make it a fine event. The race is a combination of tiny bit of pavement,rail trail, steep, technical up and down single track and glorious ridge running in the Iron Mountains! I think the route may be a few 10ths of a mile short-(due to running this is 1:34:54 and my best road 1/2 marathon being 1:31:30...I'd expected to be out there for at least 10 minutes more...
That being said, there are lots of places where runners can go fast and some great technical downs where experienced trail runners can FLY!
Make sure you wear shoes good on wet rocks. Your feet will get wet, some rocks will be wet and you will have fun! I wore Montrail Sabino Trail running shoes and Smartwool socks =all was well.
The race organizers will likely be changing up the finish area for next year-to look at finishing at a place w/ less pedestrian and vehicle the streets of tiny Damascus VA were mobbed by 10:00am. Perhaps if the run started an hour earlier some congestion could be avoided?
The race logo is beautiful, Mountain Hardwear Technical T's attractive and useful and great prizes: Some cash money, handcarved hiking poles, locally made pottery, gift certificates for Montrail running shoes and sandals, hats, t-shirts and other runner -enviable stuff!
I plan on returning next year and recommending this race / run to all who love running on trails!

After taking a quick dip in chilly White Top Laurel Creek and changing my clothes and more finish line hanging out... I walked over to Tent City and met up with some of the fine folks from Nomad (reps for Montrail and Mountain Hardwear. Hunter (pictured above) came in a speedy 3rd place! 

Nick is planning on making this fine trail run a yearly event! A great addition to the world of Southern Appalachian Trail races! Thank you Nick, Eric, Maria, Tim, Rick and all others of the seen and unseen that helped this event unfurl this weekend! IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goin' For IT at Ice Age 50 Mile

Ice Age Trail...Ice From the Sky, and Ice in the tub...

For the past year I have been saying that I don’t want to run Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run again anytime in the near future. Sure, it’s a fabulous event in a beautiful place and my prior two finishes there have been super satisfying and fun, yet it is expensive, VERY expensive…so I have held off from trying to get a spot.

This past fall, the window to submit entries to the lottery came and went. I figured to run a different 100 miler during the summer of 2010-perhaps in a place I could use my car instead of a plane to get to and in a place I’d never been? I wanted a competitive field and an event in June or July. In December 2009 or so, I spotted Burning River 100 in Ohio. Only 7.5 hours from where I live, this year it is to be the National 100 Mile Trail Championships and I hoped would draw a competitive field. I did not immediately register, yet planned to keep an eye on available spots.

Sometime during the winter months-whether be from pining for dry and hot canyons for the contrast to our uncharacteristic very snowy and cold winter in the Southern Appalachians or from the contagious enthusiasm from by Montrail Teammate Jill Perry, I got a little hyped about trying for a spot at WS 100. In January, since I’d planned to run Bandera 100k anyway, it would only be an extra bonus if I could finish top 2 and gain entry to WS 100. Bandera 100k is part of the Montrail Ultra Cup…and top runners of certain races can grab a spot a WS 100 if they choose. At Bandera, I had a good day of running, yet 4th place doesn’t deliver the prize, so…back in January, I mentally wrote off WS 100.

Weeks passed. The principal at my High School asked me to work summer school in June. I agreed, as I liked the structure and extra income the added 3 weeks of work would bring. More weeks passed and the amazing women’s field at WS 100 continued to grow. I was doing well in the Montrail Ultra Cup and knew that without a WS 100 run, I wouldn’t have a prayer of placing…

A few weeks ago, I got real with myself (Finally! At least for a moment!) I really want to run WS this year! In order to do that I would have to pull out a top 2 finish at Ice Age 50 Miler this weekend. Since Ice Age was already on my schedule and travel plans made, I wouldn’t be adding additional expenses or requests for time off from work to go after this genuine aspiration.

Note to self: (i.e. reality check):
  • Just because I might earn entry, doesn’t mean several things:
  • Might night get time off from work?
  • Might not be in “mountain shape” enough to go after a top 10 spot
  • Cost including travel and registration may be prohibitive.

The listed dilemmas above are now real! I did earn a top 2 top and WS 100 participation is mine for the asking- (and paying). Reflection, information gathering and breathing will help me with the “correct” decision within the week…

Yet for now, I happily reflect on the 2010 Ice Age 50 Mile Trail Race in rainy/windy/snowy/hailing/sunny Wisconsin on Saturday!

Driving to Whitewater, WI

I flew from Greensboro to Milwaukee and stayed at a Days Inn I found for 37.00 on Hotwire. Perfect! Even thought the car rental places closed at 8pm the motel had a shuttle to pick me up at the airport at 9pm and a convenience store across the street where I purchased a “Lean Cuisine” dinner and had a late supper in my room.

Next morning I took the shuttle back to the airport to pick up my Hotwire-‘um, I mean Hertz rental: Toyota Yaris (at a great Hotwire rate: $40.49 including all taxes/fees from 8am Friday to 8am Sunday). I made the 1-hour drive to the Ice Age Trail and ran a short 25-minute out and back in the rain. Since I wasn’t sure which model of Montrails would be best for this course, I took both to WI…for this tiny run I wore my Mountain Masochists and they really felt the dirt/grass/mud of the trail. Then I drove 10 minutes to race start area and changed to Sabino Trail. I ran into Meghan Arbogast and we did a tiny 3 mileish run together. The Masochists felt better than the Sabinos on this relatively non-technical course…had it been rocky and more technical, the Sabino’s would have been my choice. Anyway…I enjoyed a little time w/ Meghan before heading to my room for the night in Whitewater Wisconsin.

Next morning when I woke at 3:50am it was windy and drizzling. Regardless of the weather I was here and was psyched! I drank in room coffee as I dressed and body glided and taped my feet. Breakfast was eaten on the short drive to the start while blaring John Denver’s “It Amazes Me” in the car’s CD player.

Yes, yes… OH YES! Back to running and racing on the glorious trails! Primary goal (of Course –unspoken –to finish) yet really to come in 1st or 2nd for a spot at WS 100… Course start was 6am. It was windy in the mid 30’s.

I will not rehash mile per mile…please see the course description here Rather, I will share parts of a chatty email I sent last night to my coach Howard Nippert:

The first 40 miles of Ice Age was great fun...then not so much... a much needed reality check! I am desperately out of trail running shape for little hills. My glutes and hamstrings are very weak for the type of climbing presented during the last 5th of Ice Age. Until mile 42ish Meghan and I were with each other all day-back and forth-loosing each other primarily at “pit stops” only to gather again at the same pace both of us relaxed and steady- I got to know her much better and have great respect for her as a woman as well as a runner.

I felt strong otherwise-downhill’s, flats, technical roots, rocks, etc...yet the little steeps took it out of me and I had to slow big time on the climbs and that put me in a funk-yet I got over it and after the little steep hills, was back at it-yet by then as much as I chased, I didn't have a prayer of catching back up to Meghan as she went ahead with 9 miles left to go. I did get a little behind on electrolytes and calories due to lack of ability to use my hands when they got really cold (even with 2 pair gloves on)...yet Raynard's is an ongoing challenge! That being said, WS 100 is now an option.

 I will decide this week based on ability to get time off from work and expense/cost etc. I only want to do WS if I think I am strong enough to make top 10.

 To be strong enough I will need to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings and do longer runs that will demand steep hiking breaks in order to practice that transition from run to hike and back. Downhill technical running thankfully continues to be a strength and joy. Yet with the exception of a few miles in the High Country and descent into canyons, there is little technical running at WS! I have other thoughts too about my shortcomings and will share them later this week should I commit to WS!

I think I am onto something with repeats of ice baths. (in the past never doing more than one a few hours after the event)...yet I have did 3 between 5pm yesterday and 5am today.., each for 12 min with lots of ice in the tub...and today feel physically tired from effort and travel, yet not leg so much sore or leg weary. NO, it isn't fun exactly-yet the pain of the ice bath is kinda like some of the strides you have prescribed for me sorta torturous, yet in a good way!

…I am in a different place with running now than I ever have been-having very different strengths and shortcomings as in years past, therefore am finding it difficult to judge my own capabilities!

Meghan was 1st in 7:17:07, me 2nd 7:27:08, and Wisconsin’s own Christine Crawford 3rd in 7:41:06. In the men’s race, Todd Braje was 1st with 6:20:38, Phil Kochik 2nd 6:25:55 and Mark Lundblad 6:33:13. The dudes were VERY fast and graceful out there! I liked watching and greeting other runners…that being said, I was not too social during miles 42-47ish-grunting and head nodding-keeping eyes on the trail and surviving…Full results here. Here is a link to a Milwaukee Newspaper article.

This was a VERY fun event! Extremely well executed from my perspective. The Wisconsin hospitality was GREAT and volunteers helpful and took their jobs seriously. There are several road crossings on the course-traffic is not stopped-runners must stop. At one point one of the volunteers held on to Meghan and I as the cars passed-it was funny-and I appreciated the directness of this and other volunteers. Many thanks to all the helpful people standing around in the chilly day to help out hundreds of determined runners.

After the run I got to hang out for a little while with former Montrail Teammates Beth Simpson and Larry Hall. Both are now on the Wasatch Speedgoat Team and will be rock running at Massanutten 100 this coming weekend. Best wishes to them! Jennifer Aradi was there too. Jennifer and I met in Bandera-and we've been seeing each other all over the running place this year. She is an enthusiastic runner and this day volunteer who made my life easier (as she did when she was helping out at Mad City last month). Thanks Jenniferf!

Beth Simpson, Jennifer Aradi, Christine Crawford and I at the post run festivities

I left the race venue festivities sooner than I wanted to as I had a very early Sunday AM flight out of Milwaukee and needed some ice bath and down time to recover before the journey back home. Again I called upon Hotwire for an affordable deal. I struck it rich! I wound up at Holiday Inn Express Airport and felt like royalty! The hotels customer service and amenities for the tired runner were perfect! And the price right---under 60.00 w/tax…and rooms big enough (actually I was assigned a suite).

Photos from the very nice suite...(notice running shoes drying on the heater)

Now, back at home, it is time to adjust back to the "non-racing/traveling life" for a little while. Within a few days I'll be answering the question about what to do about WS 100. It's nice to have the dilemma!