Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Back to Life & Attitude Adjustment

Annette doing something new! Photo taken at Lake Norman Tri 8/25.
It’s been months since posting to this blog…I am still happily (most of the time) living, working and playing on this planet, yet life and training have taken some turns that are taking time to figure out. Fortunately I still have George, Mama Grey and we have our house and jobs.

What I don’t have right now is the ability to run much and am not sure why! I have been dealing with some kind of issue since February and it was easy to put off dealing with it until after World’s in April. In May, when I spent many miles with Diane, is when the “issue” took over. I am not sure what it is-involves whole lower right side. Sometimes is it is difficult to walk, sleep or sit. 2 MRI’s and PT sessions have been inconclusive and I am scheduled for a nerve conduction study on 9/5. I have taken weeks off from land running-yet no relief. So now I am running just a little bit, cycling and swimming and using the good ‘ole elliptical.  Until a few weeks ago I was admittedly feeling lost and sorry for myself…hence the lack of posting.

At the end of July, I got sick of self-pity and decided to concentrate on improving my swimming. After a year and a half of swimming, I am quite strong with the breaststroke, yet as of August 1st, still couldn’t swim 50 meters freestyle. This meant time to take a lesson and practice lots. In summary, I participated in a Total Immersion Swim Clinic in Charlotte, an open water Master’s workshop on Lake Biltmore and a supported practice swim in Lake Norman, NC.

I loved being in Lake Norman-water was warm and I parallel lake swimming to trail running and swimming pool swimming to road running. At some point when I gain some good swim skills I look forward to doing some distances in open water…just as I look forward to one day getting back on the trails! (Biltmore Lake was quite cold-and therefore much more of a challenge).

On August 19th, I participated in my 1st triathlon and on August 25th, did my 2nd
View of the t-shirt
  Ramblin’ Rose, a women’s only event was in Winston-Salem on 8/19 involved a 225 meter swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run. I knew I could eek out the short run and bike, yet set my sights on swimming the 9-pool lengths freestyle w/o reverting to breastroke or something else. We were placed in order of projected swim time (1-10-with 10 being really fast and 1 being beginner). I figured it would take me 7 minutes used their chart to choose 4.

On 8/19, early in the morning it was in the mid-70’s and alternated between pouring rain and drizzling the entire time. After setting up stuff in the transition area-I had an idea of what to expect thanks to the pre-race clinic they held the previous day at packet pickup, I paced around and got more and more intimidated by the swim as I watched others warming up in the pool

Because I don’t want this to be an endless post, I’ll simply say I met great folks while waiting turns to go in the pool and found the whole fast-paced experience to be exhilarating and a real celebration as women and men celebrated the women in their lives as they participated. Children yelling for Moms, moms yelling for children. Ages ranged from 9-79.

I met my goal of sticking with freestyle and with great relief loved the freedom of the bike and run. Though uncomfortable, 2 miles wasn’t long enough to further exacerbate my biomechanical “issue”. Out of just under 400 women, I wound up 240th in the swim, 4th on the bike and 2nd on the run, ranking me 4th overall and 1st masters. Full results here. You’d have thought I’d just won some sort of great race from the way I proudly stood on the podium to accept the cool medal!
Cool medal
It’s been a long time since I have really appreciated an award. In ultrarunning, I certainly don’t run for prizes and don’t really think about awards, I just love the experiences. Yet for whatever reason, I was so very pleased to have a “thing” to help remember this experience. This makes me think of what it must be like for 1st time ultrarunners and helps me understand as an RD why people want finisher awards. It is likely too late to create finisher awards for the upcoming New River Trail 50k on October 13, 2012, yet is something to consider for 2013.

Lake Norman's Transition area
Bike and shoes ready to go!
Yesterday’s triathlon was quite different from Ramblin’ Rose. The Lake Norman Triathlon had 675 registered with 563 finishers, 198 finishers being women. The swim was 750 meters around buoys, 17-mile bike and 5k run. Unlike RR, most folks doing this event were not beginners. My category was Novice Masters and was given a silver swim cap and placed in the 11th out of 12 swim waves.

To summarize this event: Made it through the swim, reverting to breaststroke after only a few minutes. Bike was fine until I crashed! In triathlon there is a no draft rule, meaning bikes must be at least 3 bike lengths apart. I was happy for this rule as the guy I was behind, -later I learned his name to be Lee- lost control of his bike and began to yardsale on the road right in front of me. 3 choices! Veer into traffic, crash into him or crash into the ditch. I chose the ditch and wound up heaped up in a blackberry patch. My right calf went into crazy spasms as it was wrenched the wrong way from the clip less pedals. I think I screamed after I hit the ground. Lee was okay, despite some road rash, I yelled at him to keep on going as I untangled myself from my heap.

After the calf had its hissy fit, I assessed the bike and picked up some pieces. Neither wheel would turn at first and the derailleur was bent. After some bending and pleading out loud with the handlebars, the wheels did spin, brakes worked and I had at least the use of a few gears. I certainly wasn’t 100% and neither was the bike, yet relieved to be able to continue.

The run was fine-felt wobbly making the transition to run…yet after ½ mile, despite my calf and other issues I had a satisfying 20:43 finish.

New swim cap and medal
My results from this event: 43rd out of 198 women and 262nd overall. Of the women my ranking was 149th in the swim, 66th bike and 3rd run! Full results here. I happily accepted a 1st place medal and some pink socks for the Novice category. I have much to learn about saving time in transitions and certainly can only improve with swimming.

I am quite sore today, from yesterday's crash and only hope the bruises are superficial!

As summer winds down, I hope to soon have some answers about the leg/hip issue and too keep working in the pool and getting back on the bike as soon as it can be fixed. New River Trail 50km is coming up in about 6 weeks and that will consume much energy as the time draws nearer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend: Moving with Diane on the MST!

Somewhere around mile 45 of a 65ish mile day! Let's eat!
As I have so recently posted, I have taken every opportunity “guide run” with Diane Van Deren as she makes her way from the western boundary of NC to the dunes of Kitty Hawk on the almost 1000 mile long Mountains to SeaTrail. (A true trail in the west and parts of the Greensboro area), yet most other sections are still in development and follow established Department of Transportation bike routes on mostly rural roads.

Diane started on May 10th and is on a quest to better the current 24 day trail record-perhaps by almost 48 hours? Time will tell as she at this writing (Wednesday at 8pm EST ) has around 80 miles in front of her and a storm to deal with.

Because of Diane’s brain surgery years ago, she had relief from awful seizures, yet the removal of part of brain left her directionally and sometimes detailed challenged. To assist with these challenges, she has had a companion runner(s) for most of the whole cross-state trek. I am happy to say that I have traveled with Diane for most of the last 3 weekends. See previous posts for details of the first two.

I joined Diane this past weekend on Saturday afternoon. After driving to Raleigh, awesome Amy picked me up  and drove me to somewhere north and east of Raleigh where I met up with Diane in a church parking lot. We ran /walked/trotted and scampered about 37 miles together (Diane did 50 that day) and crashed in a church parking lot (me in a tent) Diane in back of the traveling aid station (awesome box truck) and crew in car and hammock. We had full support and kindness from the local pastor. After 2.7 hours of sleep, we rose at 2:35 am to prepare for a 3 am start.

Diane is dealing with the heat and humidity of eastern NC, so an alpine start, seemed the most sensible…especially with still tender feet from her earlier blisters, several foot cooling/icing breaks would be needed as we traversed the hot pavement of the roads. I think we did around 65 miles on Sunday…What was sooo crazy-we hardly saw anyone outside-only lots of dogs barking and running around –a few after us-very scary. 

Next time I run in the eastern part of this state, I will carry pepper spray! The cats we saw were smarter: lounged over porch railing or plopped in tree branches. As far as wildlife? Lots of dead snakes on the road and some pretty crazy driving Sunday night from likely holiday partiers! In fact, this traffic and the encouragement of local law enforcement made up quite 3.7 miles short on Sunday (to stay alive) and add those miles to the generous ones mapped out on Monday! Good call!

All of us slept for almost 2.5 hours in a Hampton Inn. We got to shower and charge our electronics and drink coffee and eat oatmeal before being back out on the road from where we stepped off it less than 5 hours before. Diane and I were solo during the wee, dark hours. We stalked the roads, checking map and constantly being checked on every 4 miles by the awesome mobile aid station. In the earliest hours we wandered and weaved on the road-falling asleep to be sure. We moved forward, wobbling. 

I thought, “How lame am I after only a couple days of mileage and lack of sleep? And Diane has been living a similar lifestyle for how long?” Yet concentrating on perceived lameness does nothing to invoke success, so the funky singing started (both of us at fault) and we made our way through the welcomed first light of day to Chuck and Sarah and breakfast  and COFFEE at around 14 miles in.
A dark reflective start leading to a great day for Diane! (Me on the right am wearing my new cool MH skort...wish you could see it!)    
Well…talked about hitting a funk and waiting an hour to see what happens! Wow! This morning was the reminder of precious patience! I don’t know if it was the syrup from Diane’s pancakes or the 3 packets of sugar in my coffee or just awesome connection to attitude, yet we went nuts in a great way after breakfast!

 We mostly power hiked with some real running thrown in to be sure. We used my Garmin for pace guidance (accurate on flattish non-tree covered terrain) and she rocked! It is such a difficult balance to figure out what pace will lead to success and not breakdown. At this point pushing too hard could have awful consequences, we just had to trust her perceived effort. We got into a great groove and made some good miles. 

I had to leave Diane at mile 28 that day-I felt sad to be rightfully “left out” of her remaining miles, yet so proud and pleased to call her a “trail kindred spirit”.  Leaving Diane in great company of her crew and other fantastic peeps as pacers, I jumped into Amy’s car as she drove me back to Raleigh so I could reunite with my Echo and creep the 3.5+ hours back home to be ready for work the next day. Truth be told, I was exhausted both emotionally and physically and had to stop for 2 naps on my way home.

My own running goals have been on hold due to the privilege of these past weekends and to  some weird bio mechanical issues I’ve been dealing with. I have seen a local PT 2x in the last month, yet as wonderful a human the PT is, she is not a good fit for me.  I have an appointment with awesome Greg at Mountain Physical Therapy in "far away" Asheville on 6/13. I know he’ll give me good direction. I am grateful my issues didn’t get in the way of being a companion (except for having to switch packs) to Diane and her mission.

I will say there has been some fun bantering as a North Face Runner drinks out of Montrail water bottles and a Montrail runner sleeps in a North Face Tent. I love it! Despite the lack of photo documentation-this mission is about supporting the greater good and what Diane is doing is more than certainly that! Go! Diane, Go! Thank you to The North Face and Great Provisions for Supporting Diane’s expedition and also to Montrail/ Mountain Hardwear for encouraging my participation on her grand adventure!

To learn more about Diane’s race to the finish and her adventures check out these sites:
Don't wait too long to follow her: She'll be done in the next day or a little more! Go Diane! North Carolina is Cheering for you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sharing Miles With Diane During her MST Endurance Run across North Carolina

Grinnin' in the rain: early on day 4: on route to Mitchell...
Diane Van Deren is running 1000 miles in 21 days. As a “local”, I have been privileged with being one of her “guide runners” and companions during several segments of her Western North Carolina traverse of the Mountains to the Sea Trail.

Because I have this responsibility Monday – Friday called a JOB, I have only been able to assist these last two weekends. Diane has run/trekked over 400 miles since May 10, 2012. Happy me has shared a little over 100 miles with her over the course of 4 very different days.

Because work and gardening and my enthusiasm for Diane’s quest is all at a peak, there is little time for blog writing (yet believe me, if there was, I’d have plenty to share as usual)! 

Diane and I at Sleepy Gap on her day 3 of the ADVENTURE
Our first day together, 5/12 we traveled from the Pisgah Inn to the Folk Art Center (31ish miles).  A sunny day to start with, fog and drizzle moved in late afternoon, making the smells of generous amounts of lighter fluid and banjo music seeping up to the trail from a low lying cabin that much for poetic!

On 5/13, Diane and crew had hoped for 48 miles, going up and over Mt Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. The day was slow going for she and I:  socked in fog, drizzle and pouring rain at 45 degrees, wind (yes, even with fog), sparsely marked trail and a multitude of slippery wet rocks and predictions of an overnight temperature of 36 degrees caused Diane’s support staff to make the decision to call her off the trail 9 miles from the summit of Mt. Mitchell, giving us 25 or 26 miles for that day. A great decision I thought as I knew Diane had slept for less than 11 hours in the past 3 nights with 170ish miles of rugged traveling to boot.

I wasn’t sure I’d see her again, as my “trail guide” commitment expired that Sunday night. Yet I did make it clear to Diane and her team, if they would have me, I’d assist with trail companioning, laundry, and logistics, whatever…

I was surprised (kind of) by my sudden enthusiasm for being a part of this expedition. Yes, I love that Diane is supporting our longest, most awesome trail in North Carolina and that she and The North Face and GreatOutdoor Provision Company are drawing lots of attention and likely $$ support for the trail. I love it that Diane is a 52-year-old tough, funny, genuine athlete who is high profile and will draw people to her. I expected to respect her athleticism (which I do), yet I didn’t expect to like her so much! It’s just that I didn’t think of her as a person, rather only as an ultra runner until our emails and phone conversations a week prior to the start of her expedition.

As I quickly discovered, Diane is a person of influence and she made me laugh, think, consider and this of this story I'd first heard years ago rewritten in the North Carolina Outward Bound School Readings Book. I couldn't remember the exact wording, yet after a little internet digging found this story whose message partially explains my experience of being with DVD:

Elizabeth Mauske told a story about an unusual and sweet friendship between her mother and an old native Indian woman from Central America. The Indian woman would visit their home often. With each visit, she would give her mother some partridge eggs and berries as a gift. The lovely colorful clothing and coin necklaces the woman wore fascinated Elizabeth. She noticed her copper bracelets as they softly jingled on her arm.

The Indian woman only spoke Araucanian and her mother only spoke Spanish. Their conversation was minimal, but they would sit at the table, drinking tea and eating cake together with a smile and a laugh. They seemed to enjoy one another's company.

Elizabeth noticed each time the Indian woman would rise to leave that she would say the exact same words. With great curiosity, Elizabeth and her sisters memorized the phrase and quickly found someone who could translate Araucanian for them. When she found out what the Indian woman had said, she was greatly touched and said it was "the nicest compliment ever uttered." The Indian woman would rise from the table with a smile and say: "I shall come again, for I like myself when I'm near you." 

Article Source:

I like myself when I am near her. Wow! Thank you Diane for your vigor, enthusiasm for life and genuine humanness!

I was thrilled when Amy Hamm, one of Diane’s superheroish support crew emailed me and invited me to join Friday after work (the 15 mile portion closest to my home) and Sunday’s miles (a guide runner lost to a last minute work trip to Europe, I happily agreed to jump back in).

On Friday evening, I joined Diane, Jill and Glenn, as they were 26 miles into their day. We went 15 together, finishing at 10:45pm. Those 3 were so giddy and tired and goofy, (very earned after an over 40 mile day on this trail) I was relieved Amy or Joel would drive them back to their hotel. I simply jumped into my Echo and was home eating soup in 30 minutes! This evening was a great reminder of how close to work and home the MST is! I really like to drive up there after work (10-15 minutes depending on which part), run 1 hour-ish along the trail, then jump on the Blue Ridge Parkway and be back to my car in 45 minutes more.

A BRIEF COMMENT ON SATURDAY'S EXPERIENCE  before hitting the MST again on Sunday:

Saturday was spent running to and back, running event/cheering/taking photos at a local 5k fitness celebration, gardening, cleaning house, working on “school stuff” for a few hours. The following few photos document this day:

Our local celebration of fitness!
Eventual allover winner, Dan McAuley warming up pre-5km
Enjoying post-race yummies...
Me and women's champion...( her name is on the tip of my tongue, yet I can't remember-yikes...oldness setting in for me?
I was off to bed by 11pm to rise again to be on the road at 4am in order to meet Diane’s Team at 5:30am just outside the gates of Stone Mountain State Park.

This was a planned 40-mile day, her first day of MST “route”, rather than trail. After some conversation and reflection, Diane decided to cut it back to 30 miles. We called it a DNH day (a “do no harm day”: her feet were beat up, not getting worse, yet need time off feet and to begin to heal from the rigors of the mountains. With “feet”, covering 50 miles a day on non-technical stuff, especially with the assistance of a great support staff would be reasonable. Yet, to get “there” healing will be necessary. With pleasure I companioned Diane, Todd and Abram 30 miles along rural roads in Yadkin and Surry County, NC. I can rightly say we had fun together tromping along telling stories, singing, counting church signs (there must have been 100 on this day’s route)!
D and A toasting the chill of some awesomeness from an on-route Dairy Queen. Yum!
After 45 degrees and rain for many days in the mountains, no wonder DQ was awesome!

Diane's 1st MST side walk...easier on blistered feet than muddy boulders!
Abram, me, Di, Kate and Todd on Sunday morning
I left Team Diane last night around 6pm to make my way back up to the mountains to get ready for my workweek.

I have tweaked my schedule a bit and will offer my assistance for the whole of next weekend if needed when Team Diane will be in the Raleigh/east of Raleigh area.

My dorsal fin is surprisingly very content to be hibernating as I pursue this quest of support for Diane’s run. It’s a great mental break for me and I hope a helpful to Diane and her Team. Go Diane! North Carolina is cheering for you!

Next up for me? Possibly some more "trail guiding" sometime during this coming Memorial Day Weekend? Otherwise I plan to register for Black Mountain Monster 24. I had really hoped to travel to MN for FANS 24 the same weekend, yet the pocketbook reality set in and I am "state bound" for the next bit.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Anticipating Diane

MST train terrain in Western North Carolina
Yesterday, morning, predawn, Diane Van Deren, 52 years old and North Face Athlete from Colorado started her 1000 mile journey on North Carolina's very own Mountains to the Sea Trail. She is attempting a record on the course.

Please visit
 to read parts of Diane's story and what prompted her to take on this quest.

Live updates will be posted here.

I am "anticipating Diane" as I will be joining her sometime today after work...not sure when or where-all depends on her progress. She and I will be running together likely up and over Mount Mitchell, east along Woods Mountain and through Linville Gorge: some 80-90 miles in 2 days. She is moving faster than anticipated, so I won't know my segments until later today.Yesterday my running buddy Dennis Norris did somewhere around 100 miles with her, and today, Doug Blackford is staged to be her trail companion.

Because Diane had a part of her brain removed several years ago to intervene against horrible seizures, her direction-finding and short term memory is affected. That is why Diane will be running with "guide runners" like myself for the mountain portion and other portions of her adventure.

I am really looking forward to meeting this kindred-spirit and joining her adventure for a couple of days!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo Review leading up to and post WC 100km, Italy 2012

In my last post earlier this week, I threatened that my next post would be a detailed description of the WC 100km in Seregno, Italy.  With further consideration, I will leave it to our World Champion and Team Leaders to write play-by-plays, and I will instead elect to continue to appreciate my participation in the event and celebrate the strength of Team USA Men and Women without further commentary of my own experience. If you have not read the blurb I posted last week, please go here.

Instead, I will share a smattering of photos gleaned from pre- race, parade, awards ceremony and travel day after the race.

La Mountainia-a Catholic retreat center 1000'  above Lake Como. This is where Team USA and a handful of other teams stayed. Yummy, but starchy and virtually vegetable-free food was served:

 Though amazingly beautiful when it wasn't snowing or raining, it took at least 2 hours to get from our accommodations to race activities in Seregno. Bunk beds and dorm living is what no one expected, yet the proprietors were patient  and kind and did their best to roll with difficult situations.

Pictured above is Amy Sproston, Sean Meissner and myself all of Team Montrail, loving the sun!

These race posters were seen all over the city!

On Saturday evening, there was an athlete's parade in Seregno. Unfortunately due to transportation snafu's many delegations, including USA didn't have a full showing of runners during the parade, or in our case, until much later.

Team Italy and Team USA while awaiting parade

John, front Left, survived his snafu ed 6 hour bus ride to join us at the end of the parade. Wow! We were relieved to see him!
...I have no photos to share from the race, though some cool ones can be viewed at this website:

The following photos are of the awards ceremony and post race activities.

Amy (World Champion!) and Meghan, 2 of our awesome tough girls. (Lin Gentling, team manager in back with Pam, another of our awesome fasties!).
Meghan, celebrating another World record run!
Team USA (center) celebrating GOLD!

Team USA men, celebrating silver and 4 top 10 finishes!

Federica, Giuseppe worked like dogs around the clock assisting Team USA and other teams. They were volunteers and were so patient and fun and kind, you'd think they made the "BIG BUCKS!" Grazie!

The medal ceremony was a fun and celebratory event! USA showed is colors strongly! When the ceremony was over, we endured a 3 hour transport back to our accommodations...

Next morning, dressed for warmer climates, Pam and Mac were looking forward to getting off the mountain!

Snow was pouring down as we departed our lodging...We kept our fingers crossed roads would stay clear so we could get to the train station!
I must say that despite the challenges with transportation, food and lodging, the race itself was superbly organized! No complaints at all there...and, truth be told, I expect my high-strung personality made the challenges harder to bear than my teammates who were able to access the more flexible parts of themselves. Still, after feeling "out of control" with our personal space, food, and schedule, I know we were all eager to leave "The Mountain".

While teammates departed for extended travel or a handful to go straight home, George and I headed to Milan. While in theory we could have made it home Tuesday, it would have meant crawling in at 12am the night before showing up for work, and we both knew that would not be conducive to being productive. Instead we elected to stay at the Milan airport for 2 nights, take it easy and explore Milan for a day and arrive in the States at a more reasonable hour of 3:30pm in Charlotte.
George and I on the train from our hotel at MXP heading into Milan on Tuesday morning.
The weather for Tuesday was forecasted to be we wore out long rain coats and expected to be freezing and soaked the whole day. Boy, were we joyously surprised!

Taken from a roof of the Duomo
Upon arriving in the City, Tuesday am, we bought tickets and walked 250 steps up to the roof of the Duomo. (Admittedly, I walked slowly)...What a sight! This huge cathedral seemed like a medieval space station!

My Georgio overlooking the city....
Italian flag seen through the opening...
A quick look inside...

We walked for hours on Tuesday enthusiastically exploring and seeing things from all new perspectives. This city, like much of Italy, I expect is a contract of ancient and modern...

Here we are on the sidewalk enjoying aperitifs
We flew Luftansa from Milan to Munich and then onto Charlotte. Flight was as pleasant as 14 hours+ air travel can be! We got warm hand towels before our meals and free champagne on the flight. I drank only enough mellow me....At this point I'd started to get a cold and was taking some funky German cold medicine to control the I did sleep and stay mellow during the duration of much of that 2nd long 10 hour flight...(though I think I still walked 1/2 mile up and down the aisles!)

After a night of sleep I returned to work and tried to get on  a good schedule but the evil cold symptoms got in the way and I am still dealing with trying to decompress my sinus pressure and drainage...

Yesterday, despite the sinus pressure and snot,  (and maybe because the effort released the pressure, I ran a local 5km...and guess what ? No porta-pottie stops! It was  a PR : 19:59! Yay!
Running buddies and I post 5km...

Several members of our local running club we are showing off our bright shoes and shoe laces (I wore Montrail's Rogue Flys for this flat, fast course.
I have lots of really cool photos from Italy, yet can't seem to figure out how to configure them to best upload to a blog....So we are stuck with these for now!

I look forward to fully getting my legs back from the gimpy 100km last weekend ...
Next up?
May 11th (pm)-13th(pm), I am psyched to be accompanying Diane Van Duran of North Face from Pisgah Inn to roughly Woodlawn as she makes her way through the Western Mountains during her 1000+ mile Mountains to the Sea Trail Quest... If things keep to schedule, we'll traverse roughly 90 miles of some technical and sweet single track during these days.

After this? FANS 24-Hour in Minnesota, if I can manage a day off of work!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Excited for USA...Despite Personal Dissapointment...Quick Report WC 100km 2012

This less-than flattering photo reveals the angst I was experiencing with still 25km left to go. Some days one must resort to "PLAN ZZ"!
Finally, back to being “online” after days living on a rainy, snowy mountain in Northern Italy w/o phone or internet service, I will share a brief report with more to follow.

First of all congratulations to 2012 WC 100km Championship, USA’s Amy Sproston! I am so very pleased for her and proud to be her teammate! Yay! She ran a great race! I’ll provide a link in a moment to see (read) the details!

Equal congrats to teammates Meghan Arbogast (bettered her own world record for 50+ age group yesterday) and Pam Smith whose combined times scored the USA women a GOLD medal! Yay!!!!
Team USA with Amy (white, top left)
 The men’s team also performed fantasticly and earned a silver medal. Yay USA men!

My new friends were stylin' from the outside!
As for me, my plan “A” to run 7:50-7:54:58 went bust. My intestines started giving me grief around 25km and I believe I spent at least ½ hour inside various Italian portapotties and more time ducking in the bushes and being afraid to drink/eat too much, not wanting to invoke “the port-a-port urge”.

Despite taking 2  immodium halfway through the run, I knew that as I continued to work as hard as I could, today would not be the day, I would contribute to a US Team medal. I felt very relieved Carolyn Smith and the eventual top girls were doing great.

The plan went to plan “B”, wishing for 8:40 –the qualifying time for the 100km team for 2013.

Not to be. The stress of this helped invoke some external rotator/hamstring issues and between the GI issues and bio-mechanical stresses I hobbled along. I can’t remember wanting so much to ever withdraw from a race: ie: QUIT!  Afterall, at this point I had nothing to contribute to Team USA.

Yet I am a pig-head and since I was not endanger of hurting myself or anyone else and even with a list of 100 reasons to stop, there was no good reason to do so before I was done. Everyone gets uncomfortable during these events.

After some attitude adjustment I knew  there was NO WAY I was going to quit a World Championship because I felt bad and demoralized. So I went to plan “ZZ”: Just finish with integrity!  I walked, ran/ jogged when I could, visited port-a-potties and finished taking 2 hours longer than planed. True, moments I felt awful-bent over bloated belly cramps, and other times I felt the genuine support of the Italian people as they cheered me  the “back runner” me during my last lap. (I think I came in 11th from last)

At first as I continued on in my Team USA uniform and thought about placing in back of the pack, I was afraid of disgracing my country with such a bad finish-I though a DNF and claiming illness a cleaner image.  Yet as I continued on, I knew for me, I was out of the RACE, yet not out of the RUN. I experienced all sorts of emotions and confusion and discomfort and pain and ultimately was thrilled to have finished despite having to resort to Plan “ZZ”.

Again I reiterate my pride for my teammates, all of them and gratitude for the support and encouragement I received from USA runners, volunteers and staff as I struggled with my demons yesterday. These folks worked longer hours then they would have if I’d run well and I so appreciate their support to see me through.

A more well-rounded race/Italy “story” , with great photos, to follow after next weekend.
Georgio (George) my husband and Team USA volunteer and I post awards ceremony. and have complete results.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seriously, not ...real, yes!

All ages participated in this mornings fine adventure!
After weeks of intense mental and some long miles training (including 27.5 miles on pavement yesterday) readying for WC 100km on 4/22, this morning I got the awesomest break and stress reliever
I am proud to say I participated in the 1st ever: Jimmy Smith Park 5km in Boone, NC on April Fools Day! Many folks thought this was just a joke with humorous banter via Facebook for the last 4 weeks. Runners showed up doubting it's existence= yet we thrived!

Jimmy Smith Park and honoree is real...he's done GREAT things!
The event started out as a kinda joke, yet artistic director/race director Sean Dunlap, seized the interest and created a real fund raiser for a Math Scholarship Fund!
Awesome model/volunteer sporting the 2012 brand shirt!
Ray's Weather donated funds to supply 31 synthetic shirts for the 1st 31 folks to register for this free adventure. No entry fee, yet donations very welcome!

Jimmy Smith Park is a itty bitty park with a few rocks, plaque, benches and not enough room for a trash can. The paved loop sidewalk equals .1 mile, so Sean calculated 31 laps would equal 3.1 miles! Makes sense!

Each runner received a little baggy of poker chips! Coolnes
The race was complete with chip timing! Each runner received 6 poker chips. After 5 laps we would throw our chips into the bin and then when we had no more chips, we knew all we had was one "victory lap" to prance through!

Photo taken yesterday in serious mode, post 27.5, trying to figure out best shorts to wear for WC 100km on 4/22!
Yesterday during my 27.5 mile run, I practiced wearing a version of Team USA Uniform and took the run seriously.

Today I decided to go "180" and have total fun: I wore a 2 piece swimsuit, winter hat with ear flaps and with a magic marker asked RD Sean to write JSP 50k;) across my middle!
Wayne (and myself), the eventual speedy champion, flashing down the route!

Post run, with my magic marker showing!
I have no idea of my time or of how many laps I actually ran, yet had a blast! This fed my soul for fun in a beautiful way!

Today: Attire: 2 piece WaterPro Swimsuit, DryMax socks, Montrail Rogue Flys, Moeben armwarmers, Patagonia glove liners, hat found for $5 at TJMaxx , Sharpie magic marker!

(I did change clothes and go out for a very easy 5 miles post this fine adventure-yet this is the kinda thing that helps fuel my soul!) Thank you Sean and kindred spirit friends!