Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Run at Salem Lake Trails 30k, 9/25/2010

Salem Lake, looking calm

Note: photos (with exception of the above) in this post are courtesy of  Shannon Johnstone
The alarm went off at 4:07am yesterday morning. Kitty laying on one of my feet and George a mere 2” away, sleeping soundly. I lay there considering my day: A 3:40 training run. When reviewing my training schedule last week, I decided to incorporate an 18.6 (30k) race as part of my training run this day and registered for Salem Lake Trail 30k in Winston-Salem, NC. I figured the race would take me between 2:10-2:30, I planned to drive down, run for an hour, run the event and run the rest of my due afterwards…only I wasn’t planning on not being fully recovered from last weekend hilly road marathon!

Anyway, the day was fabulous despite my heavy legs!

I had a headlamp with me ran in the dark for a couple miles, until the sun showed through the early morning fog and tree cover, I wound up with around 7 miles relaxed (great warm up) from 6:35-7:35am.

400+ runners ready to start 30k
When I arrived back at race central, the place was unrecognizable! 
Well over a thousand folks were milling around, waiting in porta-pottie lines and a general buzz of pre race excitement/stress was easily detectable. With 24 minutes to race start, I impatiently waded through bib pickup line and porta pottie line and had time to get back to my car to shed my tank top and pin my number on my sports bra. (I could already tell this would be a warm one!)

 With 6 minutes to spare, I retied my shoes. chugged some Nuun, ate a mini Clif Bar, stuck some TP in my shorts pocket and a gel in another. This was exciting for me, as except for at JFK, I have not been at a race start with as many runners! I placed myself in midpack…yet 25 seconds after “go!” was running through weeds and mud to navigate around many shuffling runners. Several minutes after the start, I found myself at what felt like an appropriate place in the mob, and bobbed along chatting easily with other runners.

Salem Lake and its trail system is part of the Parks and Recreation Dept of Winston-Salem. There is a wide-mostly flat dirt trail that skirts the lake and turns to paved greenway the links the lake with downtown Winston-Salem. I have raced here several times previously at the Salem Lake Frosty 50k, a January run, which is a “double out and back” of much of the same route.

Though I am not usually too stressed minutes before a race, this start was very low-key for me. I had no aspirations of a top finish-though I knew from history, a top 3 masters finish would be likely unless very bad things happened out there. I had projected on my entry that I could run in 2:15-yet that was before not fully recovering from last weekends run! (When will I learn that I have a healthy, normal body and not of superhero ingredients!?)

Speedy Molly Nuun

Working it!
Anyway, the run was fun and exactly as advertised! Nothing bad happened! Nothing extraordinary either. I appreciate the companionship of Shannon Johnstone who I hung out with last month after Continential Divide 10k, and Shannon Roof and Andy Shepard who put up with me as I tagged along as we ran the same natural pace for ¾ of the run! I was inspired by Olympic hopeful Molly Nuun as I saw and cheered for her on an out ‘n back section. That girl is fast! I came in 2 places behind her last month at CD and wish her well on her goals!

scene from the trail at mile 12ish
I also saw fellow Ashe County resident Jared Yelton, running strong and fast as he passed me on the backside of my out near where I saw Molly. Jarred is a strong runner, who I expect will do well at next month’s Marine Corps Marathon. Then, for some non-logical reason one of my little voices suggested I catch him!

I have many “little voices” (not really voices, ideas, really It is just how I sometimes described unregulated thought flow) which I affectionately call, “my tribe”. I was entertained by the challenge of this voice and thought I’d keep it in mind and would consider going in for a “catch” when I was less than 3 miles out.

I kept on running and was passed and passed several folks as time counted away. With 3.5 left, I knew 2:15 was unlikely, so I thought to get as close to it as possible and see if I could pass some folks. About this time, I was passed by a young woman in pink-her name I learned later was Sheena Kevorkia and all I could do was cheer her on!  I ran, fueled by love of what I was doing, desire to meet a goal (even if adjusted) and because except for sore glutes and wanting to eat…I felt really good!  With about a 1 ½  left to go, I saw Jared in the distance and passed him with what I hope was encouragement!  The joy of being an ultrarunner at heart is that “a mile left to go” seems like a relief! So, I passed 2 girls-the last being Danielle Rowland who had slowed down because her shorts were falling down…if that wasn’t the case, I’d surely have been minutes behind her!
Finishing up w/ Danielle 1 second back

After crossing the finish line and celebrating with Danielle and drinking a Gatorade, I reset my watch and headed out for 21 minutes of easy running to total up my required 3:40 this day.
Fun time!  Thanks to everyone who pitched in and made this event happen!
Shannon, Danielle, Julie Mussleman and I hanging out
 My time was 2:19:41, 8th woman, 42nd overall. Full results here.
I wore Mountain Masochists, Smartwool socks, Mtn Hardware shorts and Moving Comfort Sports Bra and lot of body glide on feet, under shorts and under bra. I am also happy to say that a moderate meal of frozen homemade lasagna and romaine lettuce salad was much for kind than last week’s pre race meal!

12 days until the 3rd Running of New River Trail 50k! Yippee!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Being Human at Red for the Red Marathon, 9/18/2010

I learned a big lesson starting around 9am this past Saturday while in the midst of the mountainous Run for the Red Marathon in Watauga County, NC. Vanilla yogurt mixed with a generous amount of ground flaxseed is not a good post hard-effort dinner! As I reflect I can only think about looking in the mirror and saying “duh!” to the reflection.

Those of you who know me, know I am pretty picky about pre- race meals and usually stick with a lite meal of sandwhich, soup, and some wine the night before. However, this past Friday, I goofed. I should have been thinking and paid more attention to doing what I was doing!

After work on Friday, I went on a favorite dirt road run, down by the New River. Driving back home, I met a car in the middle of the road. I was able to pull off to the right and slide to a stop in the gravel, yet the other driver was going a bit too fast for the grade and corner and put her brakes on and the car smartly slide right into mine.
Looking up the road...

Ugh. Her car-none-the-worse-for-wear…Mine-not driveable
 We called the police. The trooper came and did the wheel/measuring thing and determined she was indeed going too fast. I waited for the tow truck. Got transported to the garage and finally driven home and I promptly got on the phone with our two insurance companies. Now it was after 8pm. My planned for 9pm bedtime to ready for a 4:40am wakeup would not happen this time.

I was alone, with George canoe adventuring in Algonquin Park in Canada with my brother Ron and his wife, Michele. At least George had ridden up to Canada in Ron’s truck so I had George’s truck to use until Monday morning. I opened a bottle of homemade blueberry wine, poured a generous glass and proceeded to do daily chores and get ready for the next day. By 10:30pm, I was ready to sleep, yet knew 2 glasses of wine and a Clifbar was not an ideal dinner, so I went to bed with one of my favorite snacks: a container of vanilla yogurt –and for added calories, I thought I’d add some cereal-yet we were out-so ground flaxseed came to mind and I added a couple tablespoons…

Fast forward 10 hours…

To make a icky story not too gross-In the future:
I will not ignore cramping when I run and only wish it would go away
I will always carry TP
I will wear dark colored shorts for days of extreme effort!

Except for the many pit stops (behind weeds and in the open) with limited success using tulip poplar leaves for personal hygiene, I had a great run!  …Yet I was certainly uncomfortable enough that this is not going to happen again in the near future. I let my guard down and got lazy and didn’t think!

This was the inaugural year for Red for the Red Marathon and Half Marathon to benefit the Watauga County Red Cross. This organization is also responsible for creating and hosting the tough Blood, Sweat and Gears Century Bike Ride which is a destination event for cyclists that want a stellar challenge (I have ridden this event a few times in the earlier years-and it is a toughie!) Now BS&G fills to it’s limit very early each year with riders from all over the US!

The idea behind RFTR Marathon was to mirror the reputation and toughness in a road mountain marathon. It’s the BS&G, the first year saw 100 riders, RFTR Marathon had around 35 starters.

I think this marathon is going to grow quickly! Saturday’s route was the most challenging paved route I have run.  To top things off, this time of year in the NC High Country is glorious! The goldenrod was glowing and tippy tops of mountains beginning to change color, mist and fog lifted as the sun burned it off and seemed to celebrate our efforts!

We started at 7am. I expected to run between 3:15 and 3:30 due to the ups and downs. I ran 3:29:34, and was pleased, though I wished I was smarter the night before and prob’ly would have run sub 3:25 and enjoyed the last 10 miles much more! Live and (hopefully) learn! According to the results, I was 3rd overall and 1st woman.

Glen Bailey and I after our different runs on Saturday
The morning was a special treat for me too, as I got to celebrated one of our high school’s own cross-country runners who ran the ½ marathon. Glen came in 3rd overall  and seemed really pleased. I hope so-I was very, very happy for him! Complete results for both the Marathon and Half Marathon here.

New River Trail 50k-coming up on October 9th! There are 146 runners registered as of this morning! Yay!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Maritza Greene and the 2010 Dark Mountain Challenge!

Maritza announcing awards at 2009 Dark Mountain Challenge

The High Country of North Carolina and it’s surrounding foothills is known for it’s beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes. The area is also become established as an endurance athlete’s destination dream. (OK, I am biased as I have lived in the “High Country”and relished it’s opportunities for almost 18 years!) 

Though I mostly blog about running and ultra running, I couldn’t let a chance go by to briefly speak with Maritza Greene who is a tough cookie athlete, qualifier for World Championship duathlon and currently race director for The Dark Mountain Challenge, 10/16-17/ 2010. The Dark Mountain Challenge has several options over the course of one or two days: Anything from a paddling off-road triathlon, duathlon or trail running races. (Sorry Ultra Runners lengths top out at 17 miles! ...yet you could always remove your bib  and go to a 2nd repeat!... Or, it could be a fun day with family who would enjoy the water or bike trails as you are out frolicking on a run! 

I certainly plan to be out there on the 17 miler! (And will likely "warm-up" for an hour or so beforehand to get my scheduled time on feet") Come join me! I ran the course last year and and had a great time with excellent folks!
Gail Leedy and I. We met at Maritza's race last year. Gail is fun and tough!

I have known Maritza, the RD of this event for years. Maritza is 49 years old, a talented athlete, cool chick and great role model for all ages. She works mostly as a physical therapist and recently was invited to the USA duathlon team! She kindly agreed to a quick interview so I could learn and share at least a tiny bit of what makes this amazing woman tick!

Maritza and I at SpringMaid Splash a couple weeks ago!
 AB: Maritza, you are a fixture in the Boone, NC community as an endurance athlete. How long have you been an athlete and what makes you tick in this way?

MG: I have been an avid cyclist and runner for over 20 years.  I love the outdoors and believe one should, in one form or another, enjoy what God has richly blessed us with.  As a therapist, I also understand the important role exercise and our diet plays in maintaining the healthiest life possible.  I want to know I have done the best I can for my self and not task the health care system.

AB: Do you have a favorite sport of choice?

MG: My favorite sport is cycling because I get to spend several hours visiting with cycling friends.
Running is my spiritual in the woods time-R & R time. 

AB: Very cool! What keeps you motivated?

MG: Being part of competitions just keeps me goal oriented.  I believe everyone should set goals through out their life time.  Little goals or big goals-keeps me motivated to move forward. When I meet a goal it empowers me to be bold and step up the next goal and challenge-I guess this is why I compete. 
AB: I love hearing about your athletic part of life...AND I understand recently you and your hubbie have become business owners! Please tell us about that!

MG: Opening up Scoops Cafe is a dream and a goal I have had for several years.  We wanted to have a place where we could do mission fund raisers and give folks an opportunity to give, to help kids in need.  We also wanted to offer folks a cheerful place to hang out while enjoying yummy food that makes them smile. 
Scoops Cafe (Yummy!) Energetic daughter, Maritza and hubbie, Eddie

 AB: As a PT, what are some of your best injury-prevention words of wisdom?

MG: My best injury prevention advice is too listen to your body, if you are physically fatigue you are setting yourself up for injury.

AB: Thank you soo much Maritza! If I don't see you before, We'll meet again at Dark Mountain!