|Race Start! |
(Post written, in part somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean during the return from the race).
Somewhere in Europe or in transit today are several
exhausted American runners, team managers and their crew. Tired and pleased
and sore. We did what we set out to do: we are bringing home a Men’s Gold Medal
and a Women’s Silver Medal. Yes!
The adventure of World Championship 2011 started many months
ago for all of us: training, qualifying, selection, getting time off from work
and more training. The travel, for me, has been going on for just over a
week. I’ll write a bit about the
days leading up to leaving, share a timeline for the trip and then The RACE.
Friday, September 2: The Upset
I was out for my last hard effort of an interval workout on
the Boone Greenway about 3:30pm, Without warning my right foot started to burn
and tingle. It got worse. I went to my chiropractor appointment with Doctor
Fidler and almost flew off the table as his shirt touched my toe. It hurt to
wear flip flops. Each time my toe touched something in a certain way I
experienced scalding pain. No exaggeration, by far the most intense hurt I have
experienced. This came on absolutely unexpectedly.
I iced it and soaked in Epson Salts that night. A little
better. Next morning I had x-rays and a gout test. Nothing weird. No good
explanation. Now what?
Then I remembered Dr Ross Jenkins, a podiatrist I’d seen in
2009 after Vermont 100 left me with lingering foot issues. He’d given me his
cell phone and said to call him if I needed him. I didn’t know if the
invitation had expired, yet I was desperate. I called and he agreed to see me
in his Lenoir office, the following day, Labor Day Sunday at 3pm.
Saturday: September 3: Packing, cross-training, taking
Celebrex. Had a date night with George. Worried about foot.
Sunday: September 4: Cut 1:40 min run to 1:20. Foot
hurts-but only after 40 minutes and then it ached and progressively burned.
Good news, though! Dr. Jenkins did more foot x-rays and an
exam. One of the nerves between my Great toe and 2nd
inflamed-accounting for the burning and numbness. He gave me 2 shots of
dexamethazone into the top of my foot and showed me ways of creating orthotics
from shoe inserts. I got directed to ice and keep with the Celebrex. This is an
issue I must deal with after Netherlands, yet hopefully with excessive kindness,
I hoped, the foot would respond
and I could run (and run well) on
Saturday. I partially re-packed and added 3 extra pair of running shoes and my ugly, scuffed clogs to the large
travel bag. I was willing to change shoes, however many times I needed to
during The Run.
|Tools of the trade by trial and error! (Adventure= "that which has an unknown outcome!"|
Monday, September 5: Had a massage appointment and another
appointment with Dr. Fidler. Foot much better. Yet I broke out in a rash and
then in hives from head to toe. Blotchy swollen. I realized I must have been
having a reaction to yesterday’s injection. All doctor’s I could think of
calling were closed. Dr Fidler suggested I get in touch with Dr Jenkins again.
I hated to do that, yet I did pester him, he was kind and called in
prescription of Prednisone I could pick up at Rite Aid on my way down the
mountain to the airport.
Wheew! Took off
from Charlotte at 4:05 pm, changed in Philadelphia, then on to Amsterdam, NL, arriving
8:40am. Netherlands is 6 hours “behind” us in NC. Amy Sproston was on the plane
too, so we assisted navigated the airport and getting coffee together before
going separate ways-she was off to meet teammate Meghan, and I to find my
hotel, drop suitcase and rent a bicycle.
Tuesday, September 6.
Navigated my way to Notting Hill Hotel
where I’d secured a really good deal. A quiet place with wifi, luggage storage
and a tea maker.
|Got a Great deal on this place, booking 12 hours before my arrival|
Not speaking more than 2 words of Dutch I was very grateful
for the kindness of the local folks and their willingness to assist a
language-impaired American. I rented a bike and rode in the rain for over 2
hours, went for a run in Vogelpark ( Dutch version of Central Park) and being
too tired to meet up with Amy and Meghan, instead bought a yummy bowl of salad
with chicken and some wine at the grocery across the canal from my room and was
asleep by 8pm.
Wednesday, September 7: Another run with light strides in
Vogelspark. Foot feeling even better! Picked up another salad at the grocery to
eat for lunch on the train. Took the tram to the train, switched 3x and arrived
in Winschoten, Netherlands. The local organizing committee was shuttling
runners to our accommodation site and I met 3 Canadians along the way.
|A view of the bungalow village|
|Bike parking outside the main building of the complex|
Moved into a small bungalow I would share with Peggy and
Randy Lycans, David Riddle’s in laws. Really nice folks, enthused for David and
very supportive of the whole Team.
Team meeting was at 7pm. Since I hadn’t been the grocery
store yet in Stattskanal, Pam Smith and her husband Mac shared some food with
me. The best wild rice, salad and sliced chicken ever!
Thursday, September 8:
|Previewing the course and getting kinda wet!|
Grocery shopping, getting organized.
Most team members went into Winschoten to run the course in the rain. Stretch.
Hang out with legs up. Resisted
urges to go for long walks to explore.
Friday, September 9:
25 minute run (in the rain) in the
morning. Met with support, filled 19 bottles with Gatorade and water, readied
other fuel supplies and other items that might be needed.
|Filling and labeling bottles|
Team photo shoot. Transport
back to Winschoten at 5pm for Athlete Parade.
|Mac and Nathan chillin' before the Parade|
|Our Turn! |
|One of the many teams walking up to the parade route|
|Chicken, potatoes, veggies and a bit of wine for pre-race meal|
Arrived back at bungalow by 8:15
pm. Quick, yet good dinner. Bed by 10:45pm.
Saturday, September 10: The RACE!
Winschoten turned into a running festival! At 9:50am
National Teams were called into the start corrals-and with oodles of enthusiasm
and great relief, we started to run. 10 loops of 10km. The guys took off and
Amy, Meghan and Devon started running together.
|Devon, Meghan and Amy (hidden by Meghan)|
They were a tad too fast for
me-yet they stayed in sight for the 1st
one and a half laps. Then Pam was there and we ran almost 2
laps together before her stomach started to give her some worries and she
needed to slow down.
|Pam and I finishing up lap 2|
I enjoyed our run time-babbling about weddings and family
and random things.
|Teams had 2 support stations on the course, each 5km|
I think it was during the 5km point on lap 4 I realized we
must have passed one of the other girls while she was in a porta potties as I
was told I was in the 3rd
team position. Run on. Lap after lap.Run
on pavement, lots of bricks. I took in my nutrition according to plan and what
would be 18 S-caps on this very warm, humid day. Think about Cheryl, George,
Mom, Dad, kitty, Ron, Michele…think about nothing.
Run through sprinklers, cool
Pretend everything was down hill. I kept on feeling good until
about 2km into lap #8 before the “poops” started. 2 porta pottie stops and one
side of the path stop all in the next 1.5km. I was scared my race was over.
After those stops I felt somewhat better, yet knew I needed
to switch to no calories and just water for awhile. I took 1 Imodium with 20km
left to go. Better this left. Just taking water and S-caps. Passing girls!
With 10km left to go, I was tired, and excited and a bit
limp as I still wasn’t taking in calories except for sips of cola. I could get
through this and get it done! Devon had to drop-I knew Meghan was ahead…yet had
not a clue who else was still out on the course, or where they were. I had no
idea of my position compared to others. I bobbed along, my whole body wanted to
be done, brain too! With 5km left to go, Timo, one of our team managers was at
the aid station and cheered me, “ 7th in the World, keep it up,
Annette, keep it up!”.
I almost cried. Really? Top 10 at my 1st 100km
World Championships? O-M-G! I felt wobbly, yet no way was I going to be passed
at this point. Made a quick stop with 1.5km to go to pour some cola down and
kept it up. My last few laps were slower, yet the finish line approached I
heard Meghan Arbogast being announced as she crossed, 2 minutes later, Denmark
cheering for Gloria who was just behind me. She and I had swapped positions 6-7
times during the last laps. I would not be passed again and sprinted for the
line, clocking 7:49:59 a PR by :10:24…and in what I learned was 6th
place. So-very exciting!
|A few meters from the finish line, Gloria behind me|
The top 3 men and women and a random 4 of the top 10 were
chosen for drug testing. I spent the next 2 hours shivering under a blanket
laying on a locker room floor with other women doing the same as we drank and
drank while waiting for our tired bodies to be willing to pee, under watchful
eye of the doping authority. Lion Caldwell, our team doctor accompanied me. He
was very patient and a good sport about the whole thing…I was feeling dopey and
was glad for his guidance. Finally I gave a sample and signed off. I hoped the
prednisone I was taking earlier in the week wouldn’t be a bad thing. It is a
steroid-just not a performance enhancing one and we reported that and the
Celebrex on the official documents.
|USA Women at awards ceremony illuminated by a projection of the American Flag|
The day ended off with a meal at a pizza place and a fine
awards ceremony celebrating Michael Wardian as 2nd
, with Team USA men winning Gold! USA women won silver
and Meghan Arbogast set a new 50+ world record! Full results here.
It will take days, perhaps weeks for me to process this
experience. In the meantime I share a deep thank you to my USA teammates, Lin
and Timo and Lion, team USA supporters who helped so very much. Also of course
to George and kitty and the folks I work with. I am also appreciative that
has been very supportive of the road running that has taken over since
June. I do look forward to getting back to the trails in a few weeks, yet for
the next 2-3 weeks, I plan on taking a break from training and just getting out
and doing something everyday…-run, walk, swim, cardio class, just because it is