Monday, July 26, 2010

crazy 8's/wolf run 7 miler/ and preparing for CTR 10k

The past couple weeks have been really busy since getting back from CO. July 17th I ran one of my favorite road races in Kingsport, TN: Crazy 8's 8k. I love this race for a multitude of reasons! It's held at night ( start time of 9:58pm) It's also the course for the world's fastest 8k. The city and community REALLY support this race. Neighborhoods put out luminaries, people line the streets cheering the 3000 runners on to the finish. It's just a very exciting and very special race.

This was my 4th crazy 8's. I was able to run 2 min faster than last year. i came in at 36 min. so I was very happy. I felt really strong the entire race. The weather was hot and humid and my clothes were SOAKED with sweat by the end of the race. kinda gross! :o) I will really be happy when it's fall, and humidity isn't so high.
That's a picture of me at the finish. :o) Brock is so nice to be there for me and take pictures!

Then the following tuesday on July 21st. I returned to kingsport to run Wolf Run 7 mile trail race at Bays mtn park.
I had never ran wolf run before but wanted to run it because I am wanting to run ALL of the skelton Law trail race series. haha Idealistically, I want a pint glass from each race to complete my set:o) and it would be cool if I was about to win the series for the girls. Since I won laurel's run 11 miler a couple of months ago, I have a good chance.
Wolf Run was fun in the fact SO many of my friends from SFTC came to this race, but it really isn't my favorite of the series. It's about 4 miles of fire road ( gravel road) and about 5k of trail. SO it was FAST. I really had a hard time and struggled during this race because I went out too hard, but really just never recovered. I felt leg tired and fatigued and never could get the leg turnover I needed to be in contention for anything. :o( oh, well. I guess it wouldn't be a challenge if every race was super easy and went the way you wanted it to.
I ended up getting 4th overall for the girls and running 58 min. BUT silver lining in every cloud: despite my lack luster performance, I was able to get an age group award and get a pint glass!

buddy eric grossman also ran wolf run! he blew away the field, and broke the course record. AND he got a pint glass of his own as well!

I can't believe that CTR 10k is only 2 weeks away!!! I am so excited about the race this year. I truly believe it will be the BEST yet! I just picked up the handmade medals my friend jeanne mckinnon makes for the age group awards today, and they are SOO amazing!! Those are the first pictures on my blog! :o) LOVE THEM!

The shirts this year are the best ever as well! I used the company leslie jordan. Those of you who ran haunted half marathon last year, it's the same company as the shirts from that race. NICE!!! very light weight mesh, technical fiber. Very excited about the shirts. I think the runners will be happy! Also I have so COOL door prizes one of my friends who is from philly, pa. sent me a box filled with brooks tech-t's and brooks running hats and nathan bottles to be given away as door prizes!! The race is for such a great cause, and it really gives me such a sense of accomplishment to know that my family and I are memorializing my brother Todd is this way.
2 of the 3 scholarship recipients and their families will be at the race! pretty exciting for them to be apart of the race.

I am continuing to train for Cheat mtn 50 miler august 27th!! That is my gift to myself :o) my birthday is on august 22nd and I feel what better way to celebrate life than run a 50 miler?! :o)

I will try to be more consistent with my blog over the next couple of weeks! cheers yall! :o)

Monday, July 12, 2010

leadville trail marathon and Mt. Massive

My very epic fourth of July weekend. I really was tempted to split this into 2 posts but I have decided to try to condense it into one. Because while several ( many) things happened over this weekend, in my mind it seems as though it's one huge event. So without further ado:

I arrived in Leadville( elevation 10,200ft) on July 2nd nervous and excited. There was electricity in the air ( literally it was getting ready to come a thunderstorm) We checked into the Hotel Delaware, a very eclectic and interesting establishment on harrison ave that was built in 1886 and hosted guests such as billy the kid and doc holiday. Our room was on the third floor ( no elevator) NO worries about walking.. but it was hilarious how walking up two flights of stairs over the next three days would prove laborious in between tasks of running a trail marathon and 13 miles to summit mt massive the following day. I really never got used to the stairs, although I would run up them and pretend I wasn't out of breath. ( just to mess with brock or any of my friends who'd be with me at the moment. )

I went to packet pick up and then organized all my gear for the race the following day ( picked out my clothes, loaded up my racing vest with all my nutritional needs etc. ) we went to dinner at high mtn pies ( really great, but tiny pizza joint in leadville) it was pouring the rain, and we were supposed to meet up with my coach Matt Hart and another friend of mine, Sean Meissner. They were on their way to leadville after bagging 14ers: Torreys peak and Gray's peak. Matt has been travelling around this summer in his VW van, pacing, racing, coaching, and bagging 14ers, and now he is getting ready to go run the entire colorado trail next week. Sean came to leadville after pacing at WS/ winning Desert RATS 5 day stage race: to run the trail marathon, hang out, and get some 14ers, and just have fun in general:o) We ate dinner.. all excited about the race, and the Western States 100 that had occurred the week prior. So brock got to hear us all geek out on ultra running chatter ( which unfortunately for brock, never really ended until we got back on the plane to VA-- haha-- i think he is starting to get used to it all now:o)

I slept fairly well the night before the race. I really wanted to run well at Leadville Trail. I knew it would be a challenge due to the elevation ( I live at 1,800ft) and I was only in CO 2 days before the race. also, leadville marathon boasts more than 7,000 ft of climbing over the 26.2 miles. and 7,000ft of descent.. so it's really challenging both the climb and running back to town. ( thrashes your quads) I knew I had trained hard, was VERY prepared for the rocks and any sort of technical terrain. So I just tried to stay calm and not be nervous.

I woke up at 5AM mt and ate my breakfast of cereal, soymilk, and a protein bar. I walked over to the gym to see if I could meet up with any of my friends.

I first saw my buddy Frank Lilly from NC. I hung out with Frank a good while before the start. It was nice to chat in person because we interact so much via blogger and facebook. Then I saw my friend Belinda Young, and introduced her to frank. Belinda and I first met at leadville in 2006. I loved the fact we were both there 4 yrs later to run the same race.
Belinda was also going to volunteer at an aid station for HardRock 100, and so we made plans when we both got back east to run a trail race in at bays mtn in Kingsport, Tn on July 2oth. called "wolf run".

Then I saw Meissner walking around the start decked out in some pretty sweet looking american flag shorts:o) He informed me he'd walked up to 3 different chicks thinking it was me. haha. yeah, guess we all kinda look alike with hats, sunglasses, ponytails.. etc. It was 25 minutes before the start and he was getting ready to go warm up. I decided to stretch but not do a running warm up. I kinda felt tired even before the start of the race? maybe i'm just lazy and I knew how much of a 13 mile warm up I'd get? at any rate, socialized some more and then lined up.. hugged all my friends bye and told them to have a great race.
The race began, and I felt I was up there giving it a good effort, my heart rate was high, but I was just trying to keep it about 165-170. swear to you, 2 miles into the race, my fingers started swelling up BIG TIME. NOOOOO. I couldn't believe it. THIS EARLY?! not good. So I decided to take a salt tab there a mere 3o min into the race. and eat a gel. So I did.. and so this continued on pretty much the entire race. It seemed my fingers would go down and then after about 45 min- hour later they'd be swollen again. so I just started eating a salt stick tab every 40 min. I tried to run where I could and on the climbs just really mind my nutrition.

I was almost all the way up to mosquito pass when I saw/met my FB friend Jon Neathawk who lives in Blacksburg, Va. He has been out west all summer having many cool adventures before he starts his second year of med school. He was nice enough to snap this picture of me ascending the pass:o)
It was a little above this point I passed Sean while he was descending. I am guessing he was on mile 14 while I was on 12? he looked cold ( I was cold) the wind was blowing really strong and it was cool on top of the pass. I told Sean to tell Matt that I was having some issues, that I would finish, but 5:30 finish was impossible. I just knew mathematically it couldn't happen. So I just accepted my lot, but was determined to hopefully salvage what was left of my race and run strong the last half.. maybe I could break 6 hours??
and that is kinda what happened I started feeling good immediately upon descending. I didn't hang out at the top long at all because I was so cold. and I just ran as quick as I could down the mtn. I kept thinking of mock holler and how I had ran down that rocky section of trail over and over to prepare me for this exact moment. I thought of Grossman, and how he would tell me to look out 5 ft ahead and just trust my brain to remember where the rocks are. I also thought of beth, and how she would FLY down this section and really just tried to pretend she was in front of me and try to keep up with her. I thought of Rick Gray telling me not to over stride at laurel's run ( I missed my friends and wanted to do well so they'd be proud of me)
I was almost at the bottom of the pass when I saw frank lilley. I was kinda at a low point ( felt pukey and my fingers were swelling again) so it was great to get a hug and see his smiling face. It really was some positive energy I needed. He took a picture of me I'm borrowing it from his blog
I made a quick stop at the 16.8 mile aid station.. happy to just have 9 miles left. I made myself some kona kola nuun.( and continued to do that at the next 3 aidstations) and ate a PBJ sandwich. It felt good that I felt like actually running. because the first 13 miles.. running just seemed so impossible and labored. I still was having some climbs but I had energy to run up them instead of hike.

I made friends with the people around me.. enjoyed the single track around ball mtn for a second time. I was still taking salt tabs like crazy( every 30-40 min) but I think the nuun was settling my stomach and making me feel better. ( at least it seemed that way to me) Seriously, I got to the point I was just SO insanely happy to be there running in the mountains. ( and thinking of my big brother Todd and how happy he'd be for me that I was having so much fun in leadville, a town he loved so much) That I think that just translated into me rallying and running faster. I really enjoyed those last 9 miles of the race and had FUN. I ended up crossing the line in 6:05. 141st overall and 23rd female.
Brock took a picture of Sean when he finished as well. Sean ran 5:01 ( a marathon personal worst for him, mine was 7:08 at leadville in 2006) Sean usually is about a 2:37 marathoner. yep, he's fast:o) I just think Leadville trail marathon "is what it is" and it's just a extremely hard, challenging race.
Okay, so immediately after I crossed Matt decided he was off to go climb Mt Elbert. We made plans to all go to The Grill Bar at leadville ( great mexican food) later for dinner. Also, it had been tossed around a couple of times.. we knew we were going to go hiking/running the day after the race but was unsure of where or a route. I think after Matt returned after Elbert we decided to go get Mt. Massive so matt could stand on his 4th 14er in 48 hours.
Brock was going to hang out in leadville, rest and relax, watch the parade and go to the mining museum etc. the 4 hours it would take us to climb and then descend Mt. Massive.
So about 9am the next morning. Matt, Sean and I set off to go on our epic run. I was super happy and excited at the prospect of getting my first 14er. I really didn't know what to expect because I knew how much climbing I did the day before, and I knew today was going to be challenging as well. We parked the car on the side of the road because the trail head parking lots and even overflow parking for Elbert and massive were both full. and we started off on the CT the round trip journey of 13. 8 miles.
As soon as we began to climb, I noticed that my HR was UP.. and also, I was quite.. we all were.. because we were all breathing and not talking. still the views were in credible and I was just elated to be there:o)
Up, Up, UP we climbed. I have to mention that running with Matt and Sean was a positive experience. They would say "hello" and wish everyone we passed a happy 4th of july. I was actually surprised how fast the whole ascent was going by. The guide book said to give yourself 10 hrs for this... the way things were going we'd make it in about 4 or 5 hours. We finally made it to the saddle and was still about 800 ft away from the summit. I took this cool picture of matt and sean:o)
We scrambled over boulders and finally reached the true summit. YAY! I seriously was SO surprised when I saw the view BEHIND mt. massive:
It was literally a sea of mountains that stretched the horizon. alpine lakes. etc. This was truly a dream realized for me. This whole entire year has been. I had ALWAYS wanted to climb mountains and be outside, I love to run, backpack, hike and camp. This year I've been able to do all those things and so much more. I really am in awe sometimes when I see the progress I've made and all the cool adventures I've had the past year. I hate to be greedy but I want so much more:o) I was humbled and so thankful. For all the wonderful friends I've made the past year, for the unwaivering support and love of my family. Brock is so amazingly supportive of any of my endeavors and I'm so grateful to him for letting me chase my dreams.

here is a link to matt's twitvid of us on the summit of mt. massive. ( cool all the different mediums you can use to capture moments)
I swear, I can see why matt has been peak bagging like crazy lately. climbing that one just has made me lust for more:o) I WILL do more 14ers in my future. :o)
We began to descend, and I started feeling less tired. We were running down and having a blast when Oops!!! I rolled my ankle. pretty badly at the time... and it immediately began to swell. GREAT. I decided after a couple of minutes of walking on it, to just eat some motrin and continue to run down. and that was good for about 2 miles.. and then I just started bonking pretty hard. I was out of food, and Sean was kinda enough to give me a gu, and even though I was slowing down. Good ol Matt and Sean stayed right there with me and never dropped me. AW.. I won't forget that one. It made me realize it's kinda not cool to drop your friends when they are struggling.
We finally made it back to the trailhead, I wanted to ice my ankle in the river.. so we all got in and iced our legs. Sean felt like he was going to puke, matt was meditating to withstand the cold water he was submerged up above his waist in.. and so I got a cool picture of matt meditating and Sean trying not to hurl. :o) LOVE IT!:o) seriously, these guys are so much fun and so entertaining to run with:O) our running time from start to finish was 4 hrs 18 min.. so that was much faster than the 10 hrs the guidebook stated to give yourself. so I was happy we got in there that fast with my rolled ankle 5 miles left and me bonking hard the last 5k

SO THAT.. in a nutshell is a super condensed version of my 4th of july weekend. Epic. FUN. AWESOME. I'm still reeling from being so freakin happy from getting to summit Mt. Massive. The marathon was fun and exciting. I didn't run as fast as I would of hoped, but I pulled through and rallied and salvaged my race. i think I learned some important lessons there and got more experience running at elevation. but seriously the Mt. Massive part of the trip was easily my favorite:o)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

varmint half marathon

hey guys. I know. I know I am SO far behind with my blog. The past couple weeks have been so much fun! so much to tell and share! I've been very busy travelling, running, racing, AND getting things ready for my brother's 10k ( CTR10k on the creeper trail in abingdon, va) on august 14th.

I can't wait to blog about colorado and back to back hurricanes. but first things first:


This was the 5th time I've ran the varmint. I first ran this race as a college freshman in 1997, and it was my first half marathon, and oh my!! what an eye opening experience. The Varmint is held in June ( so it's usually always hot and humid) and the course is VERY VERY hilly.. and has some monster climbs through out the course. It's definitely not what I would consider your run of the mill half marathon experience by far. it's a CHALLENGE. I can honestly say I've been humbled pretty much everytime I've ran this race. it's a hard one. My good friend Charity McDaniel is the founder and RD of this race( this past year was it's 17th year) and she works very hard and does a tremendous job.

here is a brief history of "varmint" of burkes garden and how the race got it's name, and the meaning behind those coveted sheep trophies.

Burkes Garden is in the same county where I grew up and my parents still reside: Tazewell Co. Va. So, I always enjoy returning to this race year after year to see all my friends and family from my native county. The views for this race are so spectacular. I really have such a big place in my heart for this race. it's HOME for me:o) LITERALLY! I spent the night at my parent's house in richlands, 20 min away, the night prior, and woke up at 5am to fog and about 70F it was very humid already outside and I knew the temps were supposed to reach 85 by 10am. yikes. I quickly ate breakfast, and
drove on over to the school/community center and got up with beth and JJ, two of my fellow IMTR's and best buddies. They had camped the night before at the school house ( which is totally okay and even encouraged)
. I tried to wake up, not be nervous...Beth and I tried to formulate a bit of a game plan so we could both score some 1st in age group sheep ( not that we didn't want overall sheep) we just knew we at least had to try to win our respective age groups.

There is a 5k that is ran with the half, and my sister in law, Tammy Richardson and her sister Remona Cordle each ran their first 5k ever! so proud of both of them. Tammy has gone on to run another 5k over the past couple weeks, and plans to run CTR 10k this year as her first 10k.
I have to add that the Varmint has grown so substantially over the past couple of years. It used to be less than a hundred participants.. now, just the half marathon alone had 300 people. For the few races that Tazewell county boasts, that number is staggering.

The race began and I quickly settled into my pace. I had promised myself that I wouldn't get caught up in the 5k traffic, nor would I go out too hard or fast the first mile and put myself into debt the entire race. I had decided that would try to run about 7:30 pace where I could. I knew all the climbing would mess up my pace and momentum, but I felt if I just could just keep my heart rate at a certain level during the climbs, recover on the downhill, and then just run 7:30 pace where I could, the rest would take care of itself. I knew my avg would more than likely be more like marathon 820 pace with the hills and climbing, but it was still a good plan.

So I did that. I started out with a hand held of HEED, my ipod, and yeah, that black north face singlet. and I finished with none of them.
about mile 5 I got SUPER hot and just took off my shirt threw it to the side of the road and ran in my sports bra ( which is what I should of done from the start). I was SO hot and exposed no shade really at all on the road so every aid station I would dump water on my head, and try to drink water and gatorade. I got tired of my handheld and I left it at an aidstation. My ipod quit at mile 8 and I just wasn't thinking so instead of putting it in the gel pocket of my skirt. I left it as well. STOOPID.. I know.. I was NOT thinking straight AT ALL. but MAN, it felt so great to not have anything weighing me down or burdening me. and with no music, I was more focused than ever on solely finishing as opposed to bidding my time to the finish. I took a salt tab and a gel, and noticed I was still doing a good job on keeping on my pace, and I started passing people. it wasn't so much that I was speeding up.. I was just going the same speed, but I ended up passing a couple more girls, and finishing 4th overall female, and winning my age group.

It came a HUGE thunderstorm so the sheep and the awards ceremony was held in the gym of the community center. Here is a picture of the male overall winner-- LOOK how massive his sheep trophy is!

Beth won her age group as well! we had a matching pair of little first place AG ewe's AWWW. :o)
and I love my sheepie so much!!:o) I was extremely happy upon receiving it Thanks so much to Beth for capturing this moment for all eternity:
and when I got back to my parents farm, my Mom had to twist my arm to take a picture of me with my sheep and my medal:o)