Sunday, October 31, 2010

haunted half marathon: fun, camaraderie, and evenly paced miles

Beth and I had a mission this weekend: Our good friend JJ wanted to break 2 hours for the haunted half marathon in Kingsport, TN. We decided that since we were a week out from Masochist that this was a golden opportunity for us to pace JJ to meet his goal, PLUS dress up, act crazy and have a blast!!! No racing, no pressure ( other than to get JJ across the line in less than 2 hours).

My husband Brock, ever supportive:o) decided he wanted to dress up as a rabbi:o) and bring the kids so they could also dress up( harry potter and darth vader) and run the Monster Dash ( their first race!!) and have a good time while I ran, then once I crossed the line we could drive back to Bristol and take the kids trick or treating in the neighborhood ( and everyone would already have on their costumes!)

The day went off without a hitch. Brock, myself, and the kids got to the race about 2pm, and then we met up with Beth and JJ about 10 min later. It was so great to see SO many of my friends at this event. 300 people ran last year, 800 people ran the event this year!!! So for a 2nd year event, this has grown ALOT with the aid of the half marathon relay:o)

Before the gun, beth and I decided to run 8:55 miles, then after the gun, we decided to take a very hesitant JJ out 8:45 pace. While I didn't want JJ to blow up by going out too hard, I didn't want it to be TOO close. ( I hate nail biter finishes) so we just stayed at that pace and skipped and laughed, yelled encouraging WOO's!!! to all our friends, enjoyed fresh legs ( thanks to an easy taper week) it was hard to not take off at times, beth I would start talking and I would look down and we'd be 8 min pace( mostly plotting and planning about MMTR next week) .. so then we'd slow up, get back on track. We went through the half way point at 53 min. I was a little: "uh-oh... JJ DONT LOOK AT THE CLOCK!" haha but I felt that that gave him a good cushion, and he seemed FINE.. :o) and he was!!!!
second loop consisted mainly of beth and I leap frogging with a "mario and luigi" which is funny because for MONTHS that is what beth and I were going to dress up as, but once we saw the costumes, I was like " NO WAY, we'd smother to death!" they looked like very non breathable costumes, but this mario and luigi seemed to be managing it just fine:o) We kept cheering on JJ and acting crazy, and I seriously was SO proud of him for hanging on and being so consistent with his miles. That last mile people were fading and beth and I kept encouraging people to not fade and finish hard. ( which was fun) we were running to the finish.. I got on one side of this guy, beth on the other, we were getting ready to pull away and pass him-- and this dude looked at me, turned and looked at beth and said "oh, hell no..." and he took off in a DEAD SPRINT ahead of us.. HAHAHA.. so hilarious. I told beth he didn't want to get chicked(squared) that would just be too much.
JJ crossed in 1:57!!! SO proud of him!!! Congrats on your PR!!! and good luck at Richmond Marathon!!!! WOO!
I enjoyed running yesterday so much. It was so relaxing to just go have fun. So simple. it was PLAYTIME:o) I wish more runs were like that.. I SHOULD make SURE I have runs like that... I see that now.
The kids and Brock had a great time. The monster dash was non competitive so all the kids got candy as a prize. Brock said they both ran so well and had SO much fun. When I saw them at the finish, they both had FLEET FEET Kingsport cowbells:o) Thanks Phil!!! My buddy Phil Horner has the best fleet feet in the world:o)

I'm really looking forward to MMTR. Beth and I discussed the race ALOT yesterday. The weather forecast, nutrition plans, gear, etc. Really excited about the challenge and journey that lay ahead. Can't wait to have a wonderful weekend with all my "ultra family" :o)

here are some pictures from the race:

Monday, October 18, 2010

mega running weekend and Mt rogers/white top mtn photo blog

This weekend the perfect fall weather set the stage for some of the most beautiful, picturesque running on the AT/FS 24 and VA creeper trail.

Saturday morning, ( unfortunately neither beth nor I brought a camera) beth and I met at 5:30 am to run on the AT under the stars for a couple of hours. Beth scored some more headlamp time ( hellgate 100k prep for her) and we ran across the ridgelines as the sun arose bathing the world in hues of orange and gold. We ran 24 miles that morning on a loop course we feel is very mimicky of MMTR course. That is 11 miles of singletrack on the AT and 11 miles of FS road and 2 miles of pavement.
Beth and I then went our separate ways, I cleaned up and drove to Richlands to spend time with my family, then went out to dinner with Brock at the Tavern in Abingdon.( had some of the best ahi tuna ever) Zonked out by 9pm..

Beth went camping at scales on top of mt rogers. :o)

I met up with Rick, Tammy and JJ the following morning and we drove up to Elk Garden parking lot. Await for a GLOWING beth who was so happy from a good nights sleep on top of the mtn and a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bacon. :o) From there we ran from elk garden to creek junction via the AT, THEN beth and rick continued on the AT for 12 more miles to damascus and JJ and I ran 10 miles via the Va creeper trail back to our cars at Sundog Outfitters.

It was a BIG training week for me this past week. I'm so grateful for all the time I got to spend in the mtns this weekend and all the trail time I got to share with Beth, Rick and JJ!! LOVE YOU GUYS!!! :o) I'm enjoying recovery today and life in general as I set my sights on MMTR. I can't wait to run my second 50!! :o) Rick: I am taking your advice about the next couple weeks:o) This weekend Beth and I are traveling to lynchburg, va to run the second half of the Masochist course with all our friends:o) YAY!!!

with out further ado: here are some photos from yesterday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

PSA: "Running through the Iron mountains" blog has moved

Sean Dunlap, myself, and Beth Minnick

hey guys! I just wanted to do a quick informative post. Most of my blog readers also follow my best buddy beth's blog that she has been maintaining and did such an excellent job on the past three years. "Running Through the Iron Mountains"
I'm sure many of you guys have noticed that about 3 weeks ago, it was removed. ( gasp!) YEP.. we were all traumatized to say the least. All of beth's writings and race reports from the past 3 years were gone. :o(

long story short and leaving out any negativity or finger pointing. "running through the iron mtns" started out as a "group blog" 3 years ago, ( WAY before I even set foot on any single track and was pregnant with Todd) One person started it with their blog handle and then, handed out the password to all other members of the group. However, after a couple months, it boiled down that Beth was pretty much the only person ( with the exception of JJ Jessee who made several posts) to post on the IMTR blog in the past 2 years . The person who created the blog with their blogger account ( who hasn't ran with the IMTR group since I've joined them 2 years ago) , deleted the blog. Seriously, we just woke up one morning and it was gone. Zero speculation on the how or why.. but that is the end result: IMTR blog deleted. Beth tried working with blogger and with person who deleted the blog, but after 3 weeks of being unable to retrieve her writings; she is moving forward with a new blog of her own. Starting anew.

Please follow her, those of you who were readers of "running through the iron mountains" know what a wonderful job she does!

I just felt I needed to make a post concerning this for several reasons:
1. I was being asked about what happened to the IMTR blog very frequently. I knew people were missing it, and even on my google stats... I kept seeing "beth minnick" and IMTR blog over and over.. so it killed me to know that people were searching for "running through the iron mountains" and not being able to find it.
I thought I'd let you guys know what has been going on there. IMTR's are still here and still running strong. :o) and WE LOVE EVERYBODY :o)

2. for those of you who've never looked at "running through the iron mtns", who follow my blog please check out her blog as well:o) it's going to be AWESOME:o)

thanks so much!!!

cheers yall! :o)

Monday, October 11, 2010

New River Trail 50k

New River Trail 50k

My journey began Friday evening. I decided that it would be best for me to drive on up to Wytheville, VA, and get a hotel room off i-77 in order to save me some morning driving time and enable me to sleep in a little longer. :o) I was a little bummed starting out because Brock was supposed to come to the race with me and volunteer, but he had gotten called out to work because some fiber optic cable was down in Charleston, WV. Bummer!!

So after dropping Jack and Fred( my doggie) off at Brock’s parents house. ( my mom kept Toddy for me) I found myself driving up 81 alone. I listened to bluegrass and just tried to psyche myself up for the journey that lay ahead. How beautiful the weather would be and how much fun I was going to have seeing ALL my friends at New River Trail 50k!

I knew Annette ( the RD) had been working SO hard on this race, it has such a wonderful reputation for being flawlessly organized.

I pulled into Sheets ( the gas station that is otherwise known as “Recovery Food Central” for the IMTR’s—no ultra is complete without a stop at Sheets on the way home for some grub!) I bought some snacks and a bag of ice for my cooler. Still a little down because I was there alone, and wishing I had made Beth come up the road with me. ( but I knew she had already promised to ride up with Rick Gray the next morning)

I got to my hotel ( a Fairfield Inn) and busied myself with listening to “the gourds” ( lower 48) and laying out all my clothes for the next morning, putting all my nutritional /fueling needs in my Nathan vest and my drop bag. THIS CHEERED ME UP IMMENSELY. Call me a dork, a geek, etc.. but I LOVE my little routine/ pre-race rituals. I even went as far to say out loud “ I LOVE BEING ME!!!” to an empty hotel room. :o)

Took a very hot shower, put on my PJ’s, called Brock and told him: “goodnight.” And then I went to sleep at 10pm.

Woke up at 5AM. Pretty well rested. I got dressed, ate some oatmeal and a bagel, then loaded the car and headed down the road towards Fries, VA. Got a text from Beth, so I called her as I was getting off exit 80, and she and rick were at the flying J at exit 80 getting fuel for the family van. :o) YAY! So, I pulled into the gas station.. gave hugs to both of them and followed the to the race.

It was about 45F and foggy at the start line. Beth started her volunteering responsibilities,

I got my packet, visited with some of my friends. Ran into my friend Bob whom I met at Capon Valley earlier this year and took a picture of him:

Rick and I sat in the family van to keep warm until start time, and then at 7:50am I got out of the van when I saw my friend, Frank Lilly ( whom I last saw at Leadville Trail marathon) gave him a hug and met all his crew he came to the race with.

We lined up, all giggling and laughing..

and were off!! It wasn’t an insanely fast start, but it was fast enough! I was sub 8 ( 7:40ish) the first 5k.. finally settled into a nice 8 min-8:20 pace and was feeling good. I ran with this really nice guy from high point, NC and leap frogged with the sultan for a couple of miles. Bob came up and passed me, and I just decided to follow him and his red terrapin half marathon shirt because he was pacing fairly steady. I ate some perpetuem an hour in and took a salt tab. There was a small out and back at mile 5 and then you pass everyone at the half waypoint. Which was exciting for me because I got to cheer on all my friends. I was happy to see Rick running SO strong with the front of the pack. Jenny Anderson and Amy Albu were both running strong. So everyone yelling words of encouragement and giving high 5’s definitely at a GOOD, WARM positive vibe to this race. I had slowed down to about 8:45 pace by the half waypoint and that was actually my joke at the aid station to Beth that I was running 9 min pace and “LOVING IT!!”

beth took a pic of me at the turn around:

I took some more perpetuem( thanks Beth for mixing it up for me and having it there waiting!) and drank a coke, then headed back down the trail.

I have to say that the course is beautiful! The new river is so pretty, the leaves were in peak, and the trestles were so much fun to run across, and there is this COOL tunnel you get to run through. I was excited about the trip back.

I saw my buddy Frank, and he was running solidly and looked great!!! He took this picture of me: ( I borrowed from his race report)

That really made me happy to see he was having a good race.

I was gradually getting hotter, and slower.. but I felt if I could jut hang on, I could break 5 hours.. so that essentially is what I did. Hung on. I struggled mentally with feelings of why I wasn’t performing better and having this red-letter day, then at mile 28 I looked down at the trail and saw a small piece of paper flapping between blades of grass in the "median" of the double track. The new river trail is really clean.. I didn’t see ANY liter the whole run ( good job everyone for not throwing down your gel packets—seriously! I’m proud of yall..) I was going so slow I thought “what the heck” I’d throw it in the trash when I get to the finish. I picked up the paper and this is what it was:

A paper heart!

It really made me feel SO much better just reading it. I felt better the 5k back to the finish line because it permeated somewhat that while, I didn’t really have the best day performance wise. I did my best for THAT DAY… on my own terms, and I should be content with that. This was great training for MMTR. I know I made gains having this for a long run.

Finishing felt great ( to be able to stop after 31 miles of non stop running) 4:54… PR by 37 min and 42 pace overall. Getting congratulatory hugs made me feel so much better. I showed everyone my valentine I found:o) I found out I won both a montrail visor and a bottle of wine!!! SWEET

beth took some pictures of me finishing:

I was able to hang out at the finish line for a couple of hours and watch my friends finish:

Hung out with rick under the MHW tent he ran a 4:14!!! A mere 7 days after finishing grindstone 100!!! I love this picture of him, he’s SOO happy:o)

I had to go pick up Todd from my Mom’s house in Richlands so I didn’t get to stay to see Frank’s finish. But Beth took a picture! So proud of you Frank! Awesome job

Definitely recommend this race. It would be an EXCELLENT, first time 50k or for someone who is looking to PR. The race is super organized, the course beautiful. Annette really gifts her runners. This is a picture of all the swag I left with from her race:

and they gave away montrail lip balm!! how cool is that?!

The community center had homemade bread and a vast selection of soups. There was a blue grass band playing, the new river is a great place to soak your legs post run.. There are great places for camping near the race site in New River State Park. This race has IT ALL.

Friday, October 8, 2010

running New River 50k tomorrow AM

hey guys! just wanted to do a quick post and say I'm loading up the car and driving to wytheville, VA this evening. Hopefully make it in time for packet pick up at the start line in Fries, VA for New River 50k.
If not, I'll just get my shirt and bib# in the AM. I just more or less wanted to drive to the startline so I'll be more familiar with the area because it's about 20 min away from where I'll be staying. Wouldn't it be terrible to get lost on the way to a race? haha

anyways, I hope everyone has a great weekend! safe travels to all my running friends who are racing tomorrow!

I'll try to take plenty of pictures tomorrow, and try to have my race report up by sunday evening:o)

cheers yall:o)