Sunday, December 6, 2009

Damascus snow day

Well, the trip to Jefferson to visit my friend Annette and the Mistletoe Half never transpired this weekend. I was packed and all ready to go, but then about 1:30pm on friday,  I got a message from annette that the weather forecast was getting worse for western NC and she was concerned about us traveling. ( they were supposed to get about 6 inches of snow) I agreed that  it was probably best that we take a rain check and I stay around the house this weekend.
  I was kinda bummed because I had REALLY wanted to race this weekend, but with my friend beth running Hellsgate 100k the following weekend ( dec 12th) it was probably for the best we didn't go race.
HOWEVER, when one door closes another one opens!! beth and I had decided when I called to tell her about the change of plans that we'd get together the following day for some trail running in Damascus, VA on the AT and iron mtn trails.  I woke up that next morning to it pouring the snow and covering EVERYTHING! YAY!!

 I got my gear together and met up with Beth and Lone Wolf at Mojoe's.. JJ Jessee was on his way.. he ran 10 miles from his house to Damascus via the Va creeper trail. I had passed him when I was driving into d-town. :o) JJ arrived at the coffee shop, refueled and warmed up a little.
So away we all four went for 8 miles of pure fun in a winter wonderland!! It was just such an enjoyable run! The snow was a very wet and heavy snow and it stuck to all the trees and branches! So pretty! There was about 3 inches up on the top of the mtns.. VERY NICE!!
after the run, we all went to the Whistle Pig Bistro(formerly Fatties) and were treated to some AMAZING food. We had buffalo wings, fried pickles, freedom fried, hamburgers, homemade chips etc..
It really had to be one of my FAVORITE times trail running in Damascus thus far...

here are some pictures!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Catching Up... Richmond Marathon and Mountain Masters 16 mi trail race

Sorry it's taken me so extremely long to write this race report for Richmond. So much time has elapsed in fact, I have already ran a 16 mile trail race in harlan, Ky since then. So I guess I am somewhat recovered. :o)
 Richmond didn't exactly go as planned. Which is another major reason I didn't blog about it the day I got home. I decided I would give it a couple of days for me to be able to reflect -- I was really down on myself and disappointed. I felt I needed the time to be able to analyze my mistakes with some detachment.
 I was really hoping to run a 340 at Richmond and I really felt like my training indicated that I was in 340 shape.  I had ran a 144 half marathon 2 weeks prior and really felt I kinda dogged it during the race and could of raced harder. Even the day of the Marathon I started out with a 340 pacing group, it was my plan to just "sit-in" with them at 8:20 pace be patient and bide my time  just be relaxed and comfortable and then cross the line at 340-- easy, right?? WRONG! It did feel easy the first 13.1 I crossed in exactly 1:49 and it felt slow, sluggish-- like a slog-- but I was doing what I set out.. the pace that felt so slow to me, at mile 17 got difficult to hold onto-- and even though I wasn't really HURTING.... I just kept slowing and slowing.. so I crossed  mile 20 at 2:55.. I knew my race was out the window. My goal went from qualifying for boston to... not letting the 4 hour pacers catch me.  I never walked I kept plugging along trying to go faster but couldn't-- feet hurt.. joints ached, muscles SO tight..  although at this point I was extremely downhearted, I felt like a big failure.  a loser. It took me an hour to finish that final 10k and I crossed the line at 3:55 with my head down:o(
However, once I got across the line it was SO extremely crowded I couldn't find my family. I was actually relieved.. I didn't want to hear from them that I had ran well, when I knew I didn't. So I walked to the hotel alone for 7 blocks. In that time frame I had my little pity party for poor little Jenny, and by the time I got to the hotel.  I decided that it was what it was. I had a bad race. They happen. I just needed to put it behind me, and try again. So once brock came to the room, I was actually able to celebrate the fact I had finished under 4 hours  it was an 18 min PR for me.  and Sunday morning after Richmond I woke up and registered for Myrtle Beach Marathon in feb. So yes, I am going to try again. :o)

Mountain Masters was a very different story.  I woke up at 430 AM and drove to Harlan, Ky. Once there I met up with beth, JJ, lone wolf, gypsy, Eric Grossman and his wife Robin, Gil Furr, and Jim Bowers. It was like one big family reunion to have so many good friends running the same race. We all cut up and laughed and told stories until it was time to load up on the bus to take us to Shepherd's Trail.  This was my 3rd time running this race. I had ran 2:55 in 2005 and 2:42 in 2006. I was really looking to break 2:30 and just run hard so I could shake off the funk from my stinky richmond marathon performance.
It was about 30F at the start, brisk, clear and cold.  I started off behind the fast boys and had the lead until mile three this lady named cynthia ( who unbeknownst to me at the time is the mtn masters course record holder for females) and I kept passing each other back and forth.. I could tell just my running with her that she was a seasoned ultra runner/trail runner( and she is-- many 100's under her belt). She finally dropped me like a bad habit on mile 5.  I pretty much ran alone and just really worked hard..  I looked at the garmin but never tried to control my pace like I did at richmond. I just ran how I felt.  and I hammered.  I ran hard on the uphill and I ran even harder on the downhill.  I  felt like I was purging myself of all the yucky feelings I had about richmond. I felt so alive running those ridges and looking out at the panoramic splendor of Eastern Ky.  I stayed in 2nd until about mile 14 and another lady came up on me and challenged me for 2nd. I really wasn't wanting to relenquish it to her. So we raced back and forth and finally she just surged big time I and I went with her. We were running SO fast stride for stride..  it felt like an ALL out sprint. finally, I knew I couldn't hold this pace for 2 more miles so I slowed and let her have 2nd and I finished 3rd overall female and 1st in my age group with a time of 2:29. I was extremely happy to break 2:30 and just have a GOOD RUN. after I finished, the lady that got 2nd came and hugged me and told me that when we were sprinting and racing each other we were going 4:50 pace. NICE....

Road trip this weekend!!!!
Beth and I have been invited to go stay with Annette Bednosky on Friday( YAY!! LOVE annette!) and then go run Mistletoe Half marathon in Winston Salem, NC.  I will try to take pictures ( I have been failing at that lately) and post a race report when I return!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Haunted Half marathon

When I first showed up at the startline in downtown Kingsport it was 55F, and the skies had opened up and it was absolutely pouring the rain!  I was a little disappointed because I had really been looking forward to this race!  I just kept praying to myself that the rain would taper off, but i decided I wasn't going to let it ruin my fun!  I told brock: "I'm just going to pretend I'm going swimming!"  I just felt bad for my friend Hank Brown who was the RD because the rain was  messing up some of his plans for the race and I knew the poor volunteers would be MISERABLE standing in the rain and cold for 2 hours handing out aid.  However, with in the next hour,  right before the start, believe it or not the rain moved out!!! The cool weather actually made it PERFECT running weather.
 My husband, Brock got some great shots of some runner's in their costumes!

 and my good friend and fierce ultra runner, Beth ran! Here is a picture of her and Dan:o)

 I confess that once the race began.. I went out way too fast. I was really hyped up and feeling good. My pace didn't SEEM that fast, even though I was looking down at my watch and I was seeing "6:30" I went through the first mile at 6:30, and then the second mile at 14:00. I was desperately attempting to put the breaks on but for most of the first half of the race ( until mile 10) I stayed pretty much at 7:30 pace. by mile 10 I was getting a little tired.. so for the last 5k I was in between 8-8:20 pace the entire time.
Here are some shots Brock took of the half way point:

 beth coming through at half way point:

 beth and i both got passed by the guy on a unicycle:

 I felt pretty good during this race. I really didn't "race" per ce, I just kinda ran my own race and tried to maintain my pace, stay focused and not fall apart.  I think it was a good practice/dry run for Richmond.  I made mistakes during this race, that I hopefully I won't replicate for the BIG ONE:oP
 I ended up crossing the line at 1:44.41 I felt it was a good solid effort.. not spectacular.. but a good run for me and my ability.
 here are some shots of the finish:

 and of JJ Jessee's finish. He was dressed as William Wallace:o) and won 3rd in the costume contest!

After the race, we all hung out at the Bus Pit until the awards ceremony and listened to a band. Then post awards ceremony we head over the Kingsport Central Grocery for some good food, and more live music ( which was awesome) We got to hang out with Jim and Suzy Bowers, and Amber ( a friend of beth's who is AWESOME and very entertaining to converse with) I had never hung out in downtown kingsport before and I was very pleasantly  surprised by it. I definitely plan on returning!:o)

Good Luck to all my friends running MMTR next week!!! You guys are going to RAWK it!!:o)
I'm running richmond marathon on the Nov 14th!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"tiramisu doesn't need a party dress"

hi everyone!  I will get to the title of this post in a minute. :o) It's a quote from JJ Jessee when I was lamenting on my lackluster presentation of a tiramisu I made for breadzilla fest this past weekend. I just placed it in a much too m large tupperware container. ( hopefully it didn't effect the taste:o)

This past weekend I was lucky enough to meet with the IMTR's and go on a 23.6 mile trail run on the AT/govt road in Damascus.  It was 34F and we experienced some freezing precipitation up on the ridge lines, but it didn't dampen the experience-- it just made it even more of an epic adventure than it was already! I was able to witness some of the prettiest fall foliage and  best panoramic views Damascus has to offer.  I couldn't get over that even though it wasn't a clear day, just how far and how much I could see. Very Nice:o)

 I also got the treat of meeting for the first time and running with Annette Bednosky! SUPERSTAR!!!:o) ( she would probably cringe at that title but she is such a rawk star!! strong, strong runner and insanely fast on downhill sections!!!)  I have to admit, I was a little nervous about meeting her because I was aware of all of her accomplishments and that she is such an extremely talented and high caliber ultra runner. Annette is SO sweet and has such an awesome personality!! Meeting her wasn't intimidating at all, quite the opposite! I just found her very friendly, warm :o)  I throughly enjoyed running with her and gleaning from her experience.  I am extremely thankful post run she made me sit in the stream to "ice" my legs. This was something I DID NOT want to do. I was SO cold already and then to sit waist deep in a cold stream was something I wasn't up for.. However, I went along and sat as long as I could stand it ( which wasn't long-- a couple minutes tops). Sunday morning, it was like a miracle! I wasn't sore in the least in my legs.. quads, calves, hamstrings.. all good.. my toenails are a different story but I think it's been several  long runs in the making.  So I am a firm believer in ice baths now. :o)

After the run, I headed back to the lake house and took a shower. Then I went over to beth's to hang out for a couple of minutes with all the group. Beth's boyfriend, Dan had an uncle who had that day came off the AT for a break and visit with his family. He was through hiking from Maine to GA and Dan picked him up at Marion and brought him to their house. It was great to hear his stories and adventures! I wish him the best of luck as he continues on to Springer Mtn, GA!!
 I walked up to JJ's house where Breadzilla fest was in full swing. My friend and old neighbor JJ Jessee had made his own brick oven in the shape of a dragon and cooked for friends, family and neighbors on saturday 36 pizzas! it was a foodie's DELIGHT!!  YUM! I only got to stay for about 15 min at Breadzilla but I stayed long enough to snag some gourmet pizza!!! :o)  and bring my tiramisu to share! :o)  Here are some pictures from before the group run:

 Then we were waiting for annette and was giving her a couple of minutes so we took a group picture:

Then about 8 miles into the run we stopped to fuel up and annette took a picture of the group wearing all  nathan gear.  I borrowed this picture from her blog.

 and lastly here are some pictures taken by my good friend and FIERCE trail/ultra runner Beth Minnick of BreadZilla fest several minutes after I left. I just really wanted you guys to be able to SEE for your own eyes JJ's magnificent creation! :o)

 That is all for now! My recovery from the long run is going well. I  lifted and ran 6 miles on monday on marathon pace and it felt very easy and non labored.  I did plyometrics today and plan on lifting and running tomorrow.  Race for the Cure 5k is this weekend( I will be very pink):o) and Haunted Half is on Halloween! WOO!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

laurel's run ascent 11 mi trail race

It was pouring the rain when I woke up this morning. I got up, let out my little yorkie fred and put on coffee and water to boil for my oatmeal while I got dressed in my new floral print moeben skirt/sleeves and north face racing singlet. I mulled over in my mind what the race course could possibly be like.. would I even have a good time at this race? wouldn't I end up wet, cold and miserable?? WHY exactly was I going to run this race??
I tried to shut out all my negative thoughts by thinking of my two good buddies Jim Bowers and Gil Furr I would get to see at the race.. they would be slogging through the rain and mud right there with me. If anything that was my one motivating factor is that I KNEW Jim and Gil would be there rain or shine!
So I ate my oatmeal, finished my coffee, kissed brock good bye and loaded up the FJ and headed on down the road to Church Hill, Tn. I met up with Gill at the red light where you turn off of 11w to Laurel's Run Park.. This park boarders bays mtn. It is very pretty it's right beside the holston river, there are several shelters and a nice looking playground.
Upon arriving, I registered.. the shirts where long sleeve and VERY nicely done. AND I got a free polar insulated water bottle.. NICE! and a coupon for a free sweet tea from Pal's ( thanks mark!)
I figured that the beginning of the course would be muddy, but once I got on kiner hallow trail that the trail would probably drain fairly well and not be too slick. I decided to use for the first time my compression socks.. thought I might as well try them out, figured they would at least keep my legs from getting muddy! I wore my brooks cascadia 4s and inov8 gaiters.
We lined up and the race began! I took off with the lead group of guys and obtained the lead for the females and just kept the lead for the race. I wore my nathan hydration pak so I had the luxury of getting plenty to drink and eat the whole race:o) I grubbed on Gu chomps the whole time. The race course pretty much climbs from 1, 100 ft to 2,400 feet elevation at the fire tower so my legs were ON FIRE:oP I just tried to not walk and push myself onward and upward! I have to mention that the trees were SO pretty!! even though it was cloudy and rainy-- it was SO beautiful and I really was humbled to just get to BE THERE running on that trail. *THAT* was why I got up this morning.. to go run in the mountains!!!
I was VERY happy to get to the fire tower. stored my sleeves and my garmin that wasn't really working for me properly this morning in my nathan pak and took 2 motrin and a salt stick tab and headed back to laurel's run excited that the hard part was over and I knew the next 5 miles were going to be FUN FUN FUN!! I was really pretty hyper at this point and high fived EVERY runner I saw coming towards me and yelled "woo!" alot and told eveyone how awesome they were running. Then I just enjoyed the ride on some of the sweetest sections of single track in the kingsport area!!!before I knew it was back running past the falls and skating around in the mud trying not to lose a shoe!
I ended up finishing first overall female ( no clue what place I came in overall maybe 10th??) in 1:52.
at the beginning of the post is the picture of my trophy:o) I had such a great time at this race! mark skelton did a fantastic job! I really can easily say I enjoyed this race even more than bays mtn 15 miler!! it was practically ALL single track with some very technical sections ( except for the small section to the fire tower) thankfully I never saw any yellow jackets!!
the compression sleeves for my legs worked VERY well!! I am in LOVE!! with them! and I think they look pretty darn cool with my moeben skirts!:o) I definitely picked the right shoe for today. The cascadia's are light but SUPPORTIVE great for more technical runs and they do great in the mud!!! :o) I really hope they don't change a THING about those shoes when the 5's come out in a month-- they are PERFECT as they are!!!

Thanks to my new friend Frank for letting me use 2 of his pictures he took during the race of the trail and of laurel run falls! He has an excellent race report at :

and I borrowed a picture from SFTC website of my buddy Gil and I ( I'm in the mtn hardware hat) at the pre-race meeting.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

ROC 5k

This morning I ran a 5k race in my hometown. Maybe I am wrong, but I am fairly for sure this is the first road race in Richlands, VA in over a decade. ( at least one that I have ran) The course for the 5k was basically in a figure 8, and really different from any of the training runs I have ran in Richlands. It was great to get to run in my town see so many familiar faces. It was 44F and foggy at the start. I felt like the cooler fall weather was really going to be conductive to some faster times. Brock, my son Jack and my Dad all came to the race to cheer me on!!:o)
One of my brother Brian's good friends from Roanoke, Lenny came and ran in the race AND won OVERALL with a time of 19:48!! I was so happy for Lenny! He is an awesome person!
It was also great to see the richlands/garden trail runners representing at the ROC. Michael Helton set a PR for 5k and he just ran North face Endurance Challenge 50k in DC a couple of weeks ago. He and Jared Baliey both won their age groups! great job guys!!!:o)
Alas! no PR for me today. I ended up finishing in 22:07 and placed 3rd overall female.
here are some pictures from the race. I am so tired typing this!!:o) been a long day!
next week I am planning on running the laurel run ascent 11 mi trail race and then the Race for the Cure 5k on Oct 25th.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

bays mtn 15 mi trail race.

wow. Today was a tough day racing!! I woke up at 5:30 AM very well rested. I had went to sleep at 8 PM the night before! had my pre-race oatmeal and blueberries with 2 cups of coffee, and headed on down the road to kingsport.
I arrived at bays mtn park about 7:15AM ( kinda on the early side) but that helps me with all my little pre-race preparations and mojo. I am VERY routine in getting my gear ready. I had decided to wear my nathan racing vest, and carry an anthropod hand held instead of my nathan pack. I was VERY torn about that decision because I really enjoy the security of a hydration pack:o) but I knew that this race was going to be fast and that I needed to not have all that weight to lug around. I was also very torn about which shoes to wear for this course but I decided upon my inov-8 talons and inov-8 gaiters instead of my brooks cascadia 4s ( which I LOVE LOVE LOVE I can't say enough GOOD things about the cascadia line) but for my first time running in the talons on technical terrain and for the distance I covered, I can say.. happily, my feet aren't sore... plantar fascia is HAPPY.. and I had NO trouble with rocks, roots or stumbling around in the talons.. haha RESPONSIVE SHOES.. it has tweaked my interest enough to want to try to roclites and mudrocs in that line..
I also wore my garmin for the first time since I was on vacation at the beach. ( am I boring yall yet?) I had gotten a SUUNTO Observer for my birthday, so I had just been wear that every time I went out to run and haven't really worried myself with my pace for awhile.. but the garmin was very useful today because I was always extremely curious about where I was on the course.
sprayed myself down with ben's deet, and slathered on toms blister shield and I was good to go! About the time I had finished all my race prep.. Rick and Tammy Grey pulled in! It was so great to get to visit with them and discuss the race, other upcoming races, shoes, gear.. Rick was doing a great job making me UN- nervous by jokingly pointing out that I was nervous.. I swear having such support and positive people around you like that before a race is spoiling me to death.. I have been so used to years of being by myself at a race, not knowing really anyone else, making small talk with strangers.. so the security of running races with my trail buddies has been such an added bonus for me. Then beth and JJ came YAY! THEN I saw my good friend Gill furr ( who I hadn't raced with in 2 yrs!) I was SOO happy to see him and Jim Bowers both. family reunion there in the parking lot. the gang was all assembled. the clock was nearing start time so we ambled on to the wolf habitat to start the race.
mark skelton the RD gave some quick directions and we were off! I felt great the first section going to the fire tower. It has alot of climbing on that section, but I knew if I could make it past the fire tower I had a LONG section of rolling hills/decline. The 2 leading females I stayed with until a steep uphill section then, I decided to let them go on because they were running up the steep inclines, I was only 2 miles into the race and decided that even though I felt good, I needed to conserve some. Then i ran ALOT of the race back and forth with Anna Kennedy. Anna is such an awesome person! I really enjoyed running with her today. She is one tough gal! I will get into her story towards the finish. but it was kinda taking a toll on me mentally to have let molly and allison go on ahead and then to be going back and forth with Anna. She is a strong runner and fast and I knew if I had to actually RACE anna.. I'd lose because her leg turn over is so much better than mine. so I was kinda at a low point trying to figure out HOW I was going to get through this race and do well.
After all the service road section I FINALLY got to turn onto some single track on Indian pipes trail and I LOVE that section it's SOO much fun to run.. I felt awesome on this part of the trail. it really didn't matter if I was in the middle of a race or what, it felt more like playing back in the woods when I was a little girl. Very fun section of trail. My mood was somewhat lifted and when I turned onto pretty ridge trail, I was feeling pretty good about how I was running, and decided to just enjoy myself and not worry so much about the race(I had already felt like I had blown it any ways)
THEN.. I ran upon allison and molly.. so I passed them KNOWING that i was going to have to haul it or they would catch me on the lake road coming up.. I knew I at least had to TRY!! THEN I passed anna who I noticed had fallen.. but was in good spirits laughing and talking.. running strong..
so by the end of pretty ridge trail, I was in the lead!! You would of thought this would of motivated me to get my hind end in gear. I tried, but on the lake road here come allison and molly..they blew by me, then going up the hill at mile 10 another girl passed me( she seemed very cool and I gave her a BIG high 5 at the finish for kicking so much butt!) so all the air was let out of my balloon. I was mad at myself for not trying harder.. I just was very non-competitive.. or very tired.. maybe both...I was struggling a little.. drinking water. eating.. (I had taken motrin and a S! cap at mile 8.) I think I was just really starting to get tired.. and Anna caught me but we were running together just trying to pace off each other .. but at mile 12 on lake side trail she let me pass.. I felt like ANY moment though she'd come running down the trail and pass me since we were so close to the end..

SO I just tried to focus on finishing and was at the dam and running back through the animal habitats before I knew it. I finished in 2:31:29. I was 4th overall female and ended up winning my age group.
Anna finished a couple minutes behind me as soon as she finished did I realize that she had dislocated her shoulder when she fell and she got someone to help her pop it back into place! I had ran with her all that time and she never complained! kuddos to her for finishing hard and never giving up!! what a tough runner!!
some observations about today: I still have alot to learn about trail racing.. I think I have the hydrating and eating part down fairly well. I think I just need to get tougher.. I should of ran harder rather than giving up my race positions so easily. Need more trail training runs. so I can get stronger!! meaner!! :o)I just had so much extreme highs and lows during the course of this race, and my focus wasn't what it should of been. So i can chalk that one up to experience!

Monday, September 14, 2009

bays mtn practice run

This past saturday I ran over the Bays mtn trail race course with the IMTR's. It's 15 miles with both service roads and single track. I feel it's a great mixture of both. It's going to be a difficult race because I feel it's going to be MUCH faster than IMTR 16 miler. I'm already getting my game face on, and trying to formulate my race plan. I looked at last year's times, and I feel I can finish it in about 2:30 or so. However, in order to achieve that I am going to have to work very hard the entire race!:o)

This course is very pretty and teaming with wildlife. We saw many deer, heard owls and the bays mtn wolves howling from across the lake.
The where several highlights of the run saturday for me: 1. climbing the fire tower with beth, rick and jj. I had never been up there before and the views were AMAZING!!

There were some VERY nice sections of very runable single track that I REALLY enjoyed especially pretty ridge trail, going around the lake ( lakeside trail) and the wet lands.

upon finishing the run, we headed back to the parking lot and out of a cooler, JJ produced a fresh baked loaf of bread he made the day prior in his brick oven ( aptly named "breadzilla") and some red zinger tea ( again that he had made himself from hibiscus) BOTH were so wonderful! and really hit the spot. I have to go on and say that running with the IMTR's is such a positive experience for me. Everyone is so nice and encouraging, patient. They are such an inclusive group of people. Not to mention, they are all GREAT athletes!! I really am so appreciative to them for taking me under their wing, and I really love my new friends:o) ( and 2X love my old friends ( beth:o) it's really been awesome to be able to run with her again!!

well, I'll let you guys know how saturday goes!!! WOO! can't wait. I can't believe I am already nervous about this race! My brain starts HUMMING everytime I even think about it! It's only monday!! yikes!!