Sunday, December 11, 2011

my first 100k: hellgate 2011

I'm sitting here on sunday afternoon with fat, blistered feet, sore achilles in both legs, wondering what would be the best way to describe this amazing journey I was fortunate enough to go on. It's really almost a surreal experience to be able to sit here and say "I'm a hellgate finisher.". Hellgate 100k in my mind was always the ZENITH of any of the ultras on the east coast. It's where VERY TOUGH ultrarunners test their metal against the elements, rocky leaf covered trails and 14,000ft of vertical climbing over 66.6 miles. oh, and the race starts at midnight. a little different!! I've read so many race reports from this epic race, and I'll be honest to say the race was vilified in my mind. I WAS scared of hellgate. When I was running Terrapin mtn 50k this spring I was with Marlin Yoder and Sophie and she said, " WOOP! HELLGATE COURSE!!" it literally sent a chill down my spine. and we were on the same section Friday night, I told sophie that had some one told me in march, that I'd be THERE running hellgate with her in December, I would of NEVER believed them. I am very happy that sophie convinced me to run Hellgate ( just like LUS and MMTR) She believed in my ability to finish HG, before i even believed myself that I could do it.

I came the evening before the race and stayed off exit 150 at the holiday inn. I slept in and laid around until check out, then came to Camp Bethel and snagged a bunk and proceeded to visit with all my friends and lay around all evening until it was time for packet pick up and dinner.

I have talk about dinner. It's always really special to see all your friends at packet pick up, but one thing I thought that was awesome about dinner was that rather than buffet, you are served family style. As soon as I walked into that dining room and sat down, At that moment the light bulb came on, and I immediately understood WHY horton likes to keep this race small. So Dr. Horton: I GET IT NOW. :)

There are "years": "ice year" "leaf year" "warm year".. no idea what this year will be called. I was fortunate with the weather. It had rained heavily for a couple of days the beginning of the week, so even though the course was a little wet and mucky in many places:) I'm sure it helped with the leaves. The forecast was for low in the 20's friday night and high 41 saturday. I think it was way colder than 20 on top of headforemost mtn. BRRR! but immediately descending I felt it was really comfy. it may have been in the 30's all night. I was never really cold. ( other than headforemost) but I'm getting ahead of myself.

JJ JESSEE was kind enough to come crew for me since brock had to work this weekend. He came after the race meeting and I gave him all my gear and bag o gels and snake oil. He gave sophie, donna and I a ride to the start. It felt a little cold at the start, and I was calm. I thought I would be terrified-- but I wasn't. We lined up sung "o, canada" and the "star spangled banner" and before I knew it was 12:01 and we were off! one thing i did differently this race: no garmin. my first race EVER without it. I just wore my timex ironman and never even set the chrono just looked at the time of day. I can't say it really made that big of difference. I was probably happy to not see how slow my pace was on some sections. :)

sophie and I before the start in our LUS jackets ( that barely got worn)

I guess for my race synopsis I can break it down in a few sentences for each section:

start to AS1: ran with Mike and Sophie-- did we cross the river before the first AS?? I can't remember.. I do remember a river though. I think that was how it went. What really sticks out in my mind is it being really tight and congested on the single track.. people right in front, people right behind you and it was a little nerve racking.

AS1 to Petits Gap:

started up the road and with mike and sophie and buddy, we RAN. It was awesome. finally got my elbow room.

Petits Gap to Camping Gap:

single track with glowsticks on trees:) thanks grattan and donna! I thought of you guys everytime I passed a glowstick. it was a little rocky and downhill ( not my strength) but I was really happy when rocks from the terrapin course started looking familiar. sadly lost sophie and mike once we got off the single track and were climbing on the road. ( just like terrapin!) Sophie is just a rock star on those big climbs. but I was totally okay because 1. I was starting to feel a little worked. so the run/hike thing was cool by me. I just turned on my ipod and got up to camping gap. the moon light was amazing on the road, and I was super happy to KNOW where I was and it be familiar.


okay so I left camping gap and started out toward the white oak trail/WOR loop and was again, feeling really happy that I was familiar with my surroundings and that i was getting ready to go on the promise land course, I leaped frog a bit with alyssa godesky ( who I think got 4th ) .

I was really loving the grassy road and thinking about my first promise land50k this year, how I was extremely sick with bronchitis that race and Rebekah stayed with me for a GOOD bit like an hour and cheered me up and pieced me back together to get me eating again. I knew she was out on the course and had a bad cold and I said I prayer that she was feeling better and having a good time. I spend ALOT of time reflecting on the past year of the races in the LUS.. and just how awesome it was to end my season this way it had all come full circle. started running with a really great guy who got 3rd in the IMTR 50 this year ( his knee was bothering him) I hope he finished but had a feeling he may have dropped at headforemost. So that was cool to get to talk about Mt Rogers and Damascus for a bit. I love where I train and all my friends there and feel so extremely fortunate to call those trails "home". Separated on the climb from the IMTR 50 guy up the mtn. and as I climbed I started to get cold

HEADFOREMOST to AS 5/jennings creek/ breakfast AS:

I got COLD quick up there.. I don't know what happened on that climb but when I got to JJ's trooper at 5:10AM I was light headed and slurring my speech.. JJ ( being the super crew he was) switched nathan packs, got me in my pink jacket and gave me ensure and off I went. once I started descending I immediately felt MUCH BETTER. and WARMER:) I listened to pink floyd and thought alot about my brother, Todd. I wore a locket with his picture in it to Hellgate. I knew it would help me in my rough patches because for some reason, alot of times during my rough patches I think of him, and how he wouldn't want me to quit -- he'd want me to overcome adversity and figure things out and keep moving.

Jennings creek AS to LITTLE COVE MTN:

I got to breakfast AS at 6:41. still dark, I couldn't wait to get rid of my headlamp but decided to keep it until I got to the next AS. Saw JJ. Then I got a cup and filled it with silver dollar pancakes, eggs, bacon and quiche. YES!! QUICHE!!!:) and I ran out of there and started the climb and I ate my yummy, yummy breakfast. MMMM. it was awesome. Then I found fellow IMTR Guy Love, he was having problems eating and drinking. I was sad he was having a bad day. I told him it definitely wasn't my greatest race either but to hang in there and keep moving. I continued on and met Nelson ( waves- HI NELSON) who said he read my blog before and we hiked up the mtn to little cove mtn.

me at the little cove AS mile 34


What a big surprise to get on top of that mtn and see BOB and DREW ( go CATS!!) and JJ!! I was happy the sun was shining, and I was getting ready to drink a handheld of aminos on this section. JJ told me this section maybe a little tough I think it was 8 miles. happy to ditch my rudy project clear lenses and my headlamp and my gloves.. decided later down the trail I should of kept the gloves:) this section was FUN for alot of it, it was FS road then this cool section that reminded me SOO much of the dark side on the promise land course ( but I knew it wasn't the dark side just similar) THEN.. came the fun part.. the devils trail and just alot of climbs. I really had some rough patches. I went from the depths of despair to being SO happy to being alive. I thought the devils trail was unreasonably cruel to me, and then I decided it wasn't the rocks fault I can't run well on them.. I was just mentally not sharp on this section. so I came into bearwallow mile 42 at 10:40AM seeing bob, drew, jj, tammy ( I LOVE YOU GUYS!)

looking like this:

but after a hydration pack change, getting some gloves, sunglasses, lots of encouragement from tammy, bob and JJ and a CHEESEBURGER; I left looking like this:

42 miles down only 24 more to go

much better. I love friends! this picture is small but I'm smiling and RAVISHING a cheeseburger.


7 miles . from what I remember there was alot of climbing and leaves and ridges. I was alone alot and just tried to run where I could and listen to music. I know i'm slowing down but knew I had PLENTY of time to even run 15:30 or 16 hrs. so That was okay. and so mentally, I just tried to stay positive-- how awesome the weather was ( 40 and sunny) and i was eating.. ( the fact I can get a cheeseburger and quiche during a long run really makes me think I'll be okay during 100's for the nutrition stuff) and what a great experience this was for me just BEING at hellgate and knowing I was going to FINISH hellgate. So I just tried to stay in the game that way even though i was REALLY starting to hurt BAD.

I get to boblett's gap and both my achilles are really really hurting. ( I think it was just all the climbing and running on the rocks)

shuffling into boblett's gap AS.

and Tammy called brock for me! that was SO awesome to get to tell him and the kids that I loved them.


I was hurting bad. So I took 2 tylenol ( yep, I know). Jamie Darling was working this AS and asked me what she could get me to help.. She was so sweet. I asked her for a gun so I could shoot myself:) ( I was joking-- kinda- it hurt just to walk) JJ offered to jump in with me and run the forever section with me. before the race, had NOT even anticipated or thought of having anyone run with me, BUT JJ had on his montrail masochists-- at first I thought hmm maybe just the last 6 miles it would be great to have a friend to run with, but when he offered at bobletts-- I immediately took him up on it. so off we went.

we were LOVING that road down the mtn. so much that I missed the turn onto the single track. We spent about 20 mins ( me trying not to freak out because I had never gotten lost during a race before) finally found out after running back and forth 3 times looking for me 2 other guys were lost too. so apparently Im not the only one who missed this turn:) BUT I decided it was what it was.. and poor JJ I think he either thought I would be mad at him ( hey, i missed the turn not him! not his job to navigate me) or I was going to cry or something. because of the lost time and the couple of people who got ahead of me. nah, I just thought.. this is just life. things dont go perfectly.. you fix what you can, do your best and ROLL WITH IT. So I just decided to have fun running the forever section with JJ. He so selflessly worked all day friday, drove up to camp bethel, stayed up all night, all day and NOW was running with me! It was so much fun just trying to figure out where the forever section would end, laughing and making jokes and saying "HELLGATE!" because WOW. I was almost finished. and I'm SO happy I got to have this adventure with JJ. so thankful for his help, but running with him was the best.


it was ON. I knew i had 3 miles up and 3 miles down and I was ready to be done. JJ and I hiked up the first 3 miles to the parkway in 41 minutes. I was SO proud of myself. tylenol was kickin in:) feet felt way better. I crossed the parkway and thought of Gary Knipling who told me to really enjoy that moment knowing there was just 3 miles downhill to the finish on that nice dirt road. and so we made our way down happy to know I was going to run 16 hrs and something and the sun was still bright and shining ( I didn't want to finish in the dark) SO that made me happy!! and finishing this race... no, I didn't cry.. sometimes I do that at finish lines, I was just SO HAPPY to be there. HAPPY I finished Hellgate 100k. HAPPY it was 16:19. Happy I learned so much about working through rough patches and the highs and lows of ultra distance running. Happy to learn that I'm tough enough to get in there and dig deep when i have to. Happy I had the support of my family and so many friends. Happy I got to spend friday and saturday in the mountains with SO many old friends and I made many new friends! Happy horton let me in his race!:) I'll def be back next year.. if Horton, lets me in:)

Bob said it best: " I once was lost, but now am found."

Horton Hug makes all the pain from running 66.6 miles in the mtns all better

Monday, November 28, 2011

fun pre HG long run, vicki's death march picto blog

Well, recovery from MMTR has gone pretty well. I was a little surprised a couple days after the race, how "normal" I felt, and proceeded to ease back into training with cautious optimism. I've been doing some intervals and a couple longer runs, and this past weekend did my last long run before hellgate at SNP with the VHTRC. :Vicki's death march! I had SO much fun running in the mtns big climbs, rocky trails ( that reminded me of Middle Earth on LoTR) and great companionship with a zaney cross section of people who make up Va happy trails... Love running with these guys! never a dull moment. It was a beautiful day, ( a little warm!) met so many new friends and enjoyed spending time with old ones!
here are some pictures from Vicki's death March:

Sophie, kara, Laurie and I at the falls
a Happy David Snipes
just starting out on the fire road, already a warm morning
group shot at the falls

Quatro's "presidential" profile shot
Gary Knipling and I
sophie is either yawning or letting out a primal scream here.
Q- the coolest texan I know.
ham who is very tall.
view of old rag from hawksbill
on the summit of hawksbill tallest peak in SNP

myself, sophie and kara with the massenuttens in the background
a trash can at the stables that a bear had mauled.

SO here I am less than 2 weeks out from HG. Longest race for me to date-- first 100k and it's a doozey of a 100k. I'm looking forward to Epic fun, sharing the trail with so many great ultrarunners. and really, just celebrating what a great year and journey it's been. I've learned so much this year. and I know I still have so much more to learn.
I love night running, I enjoy running in the cold/love winter sports.. so I'm not really scared or worried about those aspects of the race. I know it's going to HURT, and be LONG and take awhile... I've come to terms with all those things when I registered for the race and not fearful about those things. I've accepted this to be " it is what it is." and I'm just ready to run in the mtns with all my friends, and see how the journey unfolds and HAVE FUN, and eat tons of AS food. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Wow. What a weekend. What a journey. It's amazing to be sitting here typing this out. Last year, post MMTR ( where I blazed the course in 11:07 and had the toughest day) I was licking my wounds: I suffered from a severely bruised ego and deflated self esteem. I pretty much wrote a SUPER long, whiney race report offering up ALL the excuses of why I ran such a crappy race. Maybe I just needed that justification for myself, but let me tell you, that 2010 MMTR stayed with me like stepping in a big pile of doggy poo-- you know how the stink stays on your shoes ALL DAY?? That was EXACTLY what it was like. I had zero desire to run Masochist ever again.

THEN Sophie ( dear sophie!) and martha wright talked me into signing up for LUS after holiday lake this year. I decided to do it, but man, I shuddered to even think of going back there and face my demons. I decided to shelve even THINKING about it. That's right I'll pull a Scarlett O'hara.. I think about it tomorrow, for Tomorrow is another day.
Little by little as my fitness and training improved over the summer: I lost 15 lbs by not doing anything in particular really different, other than running and working out tons. I felt lighter, fitter, leaner, meaner, tougher... and then I REALLY started thinking about Masochist, and how I was going to face it again.

and even more importantly, I wanted Redemption.

So the week leading up to Masochist I had a really great sense of calmness about it. I KNEW I had done the work. I did have a little snafu with my ankle on my LAST hard workout of hill repeats on the AT ( it's a bear of a workout! I ran every 2 weeks -- that and running in hurricane section of Mt Rogers was my salvation for this race-- it got me UBER PREPARED) 2 weeks before MMTR, I was just ROCKING my hill repeats and SO excited because I was running so strong, and on the downhill of my next to last one I rolled my ankle HARD. So hard I couldn't run on it anymore and had to walk out of the woods, I then spent the next 3 days with my foot in a bucket of ice every hour I was awake---I would ice it for 10 min. over and over and over. but I wasn't really upset or freaking out ( other than the first day I hurt myself, I was PISSED it happened to me and the timing of it all-- but I quickly accepted the situation and moved to actively try to fix the problem) felt if it was meant to be, then it was going to happen. So what did I do???

I threw a party. And that really was a great distraction. I didn't worry that I wasn't running, I worried about picking up my house and making a menu and going grocery shopping. I had SO much fun cooking for my friends! I think I'll have another before Umstead 100.
So the wens before MMTR I did a test run on single track with the IMTR's and the ankle seemed to hold up well. But my mojo for downhill singletrack was gone. I was very careful and focused about foot placement.

okay, so I get to Lynchburg, meet up with Brock ( who is working up there) and we go check in, I happily laid out aLL my gear for the next day, went over the crew plan with brock ( what he's supposed to hand me at which AS) and then went to packet pick up where it was SO great to see ALL my friends and get my CAT shirt to run in the next day!! okay, I committed a faux pas here. I peaced out and didn't go to the racers meeting. I wanted to sleep. I so left at 7pm and took two benedryl, set my alarm for 3:45am and it was LIGHTS OUT. I was asleep by 8pm and I had the BEST nights sleep EVER. I didn't wake up until the alarm went off. Got up, dressed, ate poptarts.. left Derek and Christian rode to the start with us.. more fun socializing at the start.. it was cold 32F and I really just felt relaxed.. not scared or fearful like last year.

So for the start of the race, I ran SLOW. I ran alot with BOB, but then he went on, and I just kept it about 9min pace.. and it felt like the entire field was in front of me. I came through the first AS, and I was #143. so I was WAY back there. no worries. I watched the sun come up and it was SOO beautiful. Sophie and Marlin caught up to me, so I decided to hang with them and we just had a good time, laughing and talking.. and I did that pretty much with EVERYONE I ran with.. just had a good time and enjoyed my day Loving the fact I was going to spend ALL day in the mtns and

mile 13.. and I can FLY!! don't I look like the hulk?

I FELT it.. the magic of MMTR-- I was too self absorbed and into my pity party to feel it last year.. WHY MMTR is such a special, special race-- it's practically tangible! I decided right then to harness all this awesome positive energy that was OOZING from every direction: the runners, the volunteers, the mtns, the sun, the blue sky, the trees and pretty leaves.. and just SMILE ALL DAY LONG and be-bop on down the road to montebello! and I was LOVING my slime green CAT's shirt! GO CATS!!!
I pretty much sat in until mile 29 and then decided to push a little harder because I really was feeling awesome and wasn't taxed at all. I had a great climb up buck mtn. got to run with rick, kathleen and marlin some more.. then I was SO excited to get to the loop!! That was a very special part of my race! I LOVE the loop. I thought of my friend JJ Jessee , and really just tried to smile and run the loop hard for him, because JJ is awesome. I thought of ALOT of the people in my life while I was running, I thought of my friends, the IMTR's, my family, my kids, my brother Todd, My sweet dog maverick who I knew would LOVE to be running with me. and I know I sound a little flakey talking about all the positive energy-- but in the loop I just felt LOVED and I felt SECURE in myself and my ability. and it just made me run faster and push harder, and it felt great-- I had a permagrin the entire way.

Out of the loop: brock pulls me over to hand me an Ensure and tell me I'm 11th woman and 10th is just a little bit ahead of me. I had my mouth FULL of brownie and I look at him and say: " top 10 gets a goose down jacket." with brownie crumbs flying in all directions while I'm talking ( spouses who crew: THIS IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE-- you see the good, the bad and the ugly.) and I guzzle the ensure and sprint away.

brock telling me what's up-- out of the loop

I get to salt log gap and Jamie Darling's crew is all upset because they missed her. I realize now that is WHO I'm after.. They had a gel and I 5 hr energy for her. I had looked at the clip board, and knew she is just 3 min ahead.. so I told her crew that I'll take her stuff to her, because I know I'm going to be seeing her here shortly.:o) So alas! about a mile or two later.. I see pink up ahead... more than happy to deliver her things to her, and slide on down the trail 10th woman.. THEN I see another lady.. and pass her-- we end up passing each other back and forth a couple of times.. racing in and out of the last AS. and then she finally catches me and drops me on the downhill. curses! oh , well I tried to be 9th. I just couldn't run on those rocky jeep roads that fast as she.. she rocked the downhill. I later discover this was meredith terranova.. Who is very cool and glad that I met her-- we both pushed each other hard and that was fun and intense to race with her:) and she kicked my butt the last 2 miles-- I admit it.

okay, so am on the road, my last 1/2 mile or so to the finish, and I'm just running as hard as I can. I'm SO HAPPY not to be finished, because I actually felt like I had alot left in the tank.. but SO HAPPY to have had a good day and SO much fun in the mtns. I can't believe it's legal to have that much fun and feel THAT GREAT!! . SO HUMBLED.. by how many people helped me to get to that finish line: brock : is an amazing crew at races, and no way could I train and race if he didn't support me, and cheer me on, my parents and brock's parents who watch my boys for races and training weekends, Eric Grossman, Sophie Speidel, the people who I train with aka MY FRIENDS! the IMTR's ( LOVE YALL!!!) , this fall I ran alot with: VHTRC and the CAT's -- thank you to these two groups for being so inclusive and making me feel so at home on the trails with you. So I have this HUGE support network..

So me crossing the line 9:45:33 and 10th woman at MMTR, while much of the race was solo, the journey getting there involved ALOT of people. THANK YOU to everyone. I really am SO blessed and lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. So happy to be apart of this wonderful community. and congrats to ALL my friends who ran MMTR! ERiC Grossman won over all! Sophie was 6th and won LUS, Kevin Townshend ran his 10th MMTR, Rob French ran LOW, LOW 9 hrs and won masters. Martha Wright won Masters for the Women. Congrats to Bob and David ( CAT's) who ran their first MMTR!


TOP 10 women for MMTR 2011
SWEET SWAG!! patagonia goose down coat for the top 10
the 2 women responsible for me even running MMTR! Sophie,martha, and myself in our patagonia LUS hoodinie jackets. Sophie is LUS women's champion, Martha is the LUS master's Champion, and I squeaked in with 3rd in the LUS series.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

pre- MMTR oct training!

I'm going to admittedly be a slacker here and just have pretty much a photo blog for this post.

The past couple weeks have been AWESOME! We've been blessed with a WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL fall. I still literally smile everytime I walk outside and see all the pretty leaves. I love the cool temps and lower humidity! ITS AWESOME. a trail runners paradise!

The first weekend in october, I drove up to Charlottesville to run the Wild Oak Trail with sophie and the VHTRC!
Sophie was nice enough to invite me up for a weekend of back to back runs. I stayed at her lovely home and met her beautiful family. I always say that sophie is the hostess with the mostest, and it's so true. I had such a wonderful time staying at her house ( I felt so at home and at ease with her family)

here are some pictures from the Q's flickr from the run.

Twot was NO JOKE. It was a challenging technical course with some big climbs and big descents. I was glad I decided to wear masochists for that run! MARLIN YODER! thanks for running with me ALL DAY LONG. THANKS For not rolling me off the mtn, even though I begged you to at one point.

Sophie and I then went on to Blue mtn Brewery for some Oktoberfest fun!
and the next morning we ran on the AT with Jack, Sophie's super Aussie! It was a GREAT training weekend.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I embarked on a training run with another tribe of trail runners whom I just LOVE the CAT's. ( Charlottesville Area Trail Runners) I say all the time that IMTR's love CAT's! I feel so much comraderie with these guys. Same way I feel at home, at sophie's house. I feel AT HOME running in the blue ridge mtns with the CAT's.

So I drove to lynchburg for the night and then met fellow IMTR, Guy Love sunday morning to go drive towards montebello and run the priest and 3 ridges! I have ALWAYS wanted to run this run ( well, for about 2 years now) and I was SO excited I was actually getting to run this, AND The weather was perfect! it was cooler about 40 at the start ( and windy and cold up on the 3 ridges) but about 70 by the time I descended the priest. I ran with Bob and Neil all day long and just had the BEST time talking to them about everything under the sun. The climbing the priest I got to run with David and Quatro, caught up with Guy ( because he waited for me) and so we had a great group on the overlooks at the priest.
post run, we had a lovely tailgate.. which is one thing I REALLY have grown to look forward to at the end of any run that Quatro Hubbard is attending. :) seriously, post run tailgate in the trail head parking lot is WHERE IT's AT people.

here are some pictures from that day:
tailgate party in the AT parking lot!

That was my last BIG long run then, I've ran a couple 17 milers in the hurricane gap section and I took some pictures of those runs.
And I ran bear tree gap loop 10 miler, the leaves were unreal, but didn't take my camera that day but fellow IMTR dennett dwyer did. If he ever posts pictures, I'll link them up. yes, dennett I'm writing your name in this blog post so all your e-stalkers can google you some more!! They'll be so sad I don't have any pictures... oh wait, let me see.. nope, no more pictures...

HERE is a link to my Picasa so you can see all my other oct running pictures.

okay, so somewhere in there.. all this blissful fall running, I'm supposed to be ready for MMTR. I know what I need to do, having run this course last year. I feel I am ready fitness wise. I'm MUCH fitter than last year. I have much more time on my feet than last year. and my recovery times are less than what they were last year. SO I hope that translates into a more successful run, a faster one-- and an more enjoyable masochist than the one I experienced last year! :o) I want to have FUN. I want to ENJOY the moment and just grab life with both hands and give it a bear hug. I want a JOYFUL 50 miles! That's what I want. Even if I don't obtain those things on Nov. 5th and things aren't idealistically like I envision them to be, the journey of getting to MMTR has been FANTASTIC this year. I have gotten in some super challenging and beautiful runs and got to share the trail with some of my favorite people. I love my ultrarunning ,trail running family-- and road running family. I am so blessed to have so many great friends in running. I love yall!!!

Can't wait to see all my friends at MMTR, it's going to be like a big family reunion! SO many friends running! good luck to you all! and hellgate 100k! i'm in! so I'm excited about that! my plan is to start slow, to suffer with dignity:op and FINISH!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New River Trail Challenge and MMTR training

hey! it's been awhile since I've last posted. I had a fairly easy and quick recovery from Cheat mtn 50. I was THRILLED because last year I REALLY struggled, and it hampered my fall training, thus resulting in a lack luster experience at MMTR 2010.
SO back in the swing of things the past couple weeks, I've gotten some great training runs in with the IMTR's and solo. I'll just highlight a couple of my longer runs on single track for a minute:
1. Beth, Joey Licata and I ran Orange Dot 17 miler on Sept 10th. Beth ran REALLY strong. Really happy for her where she is with her training. I feel she is going to tear up Ridge to Bridge marathon. Orange Dot is a very challenging route ( at least I think so) but I have to say, we all tackled it and ran much faster and stronger than in previous runs on the same route. I think it just means we are getting better and not bonking when we run! :o) It was just a very nice day, good weather and it was bittersweet because Joey is moving away pretty soon. :( bummer. It's been so awesome to get to know him the past 2 years. Some of my favorite trail running memories are from running with him, and he was just so great to be spontaneous-- I could call or text him at 10 pm on a friday and say "let's run 20 miles tomorrow at 7am!" and he would answer back immediately with "AWESOME!" So few people are like that. fun, adventurous, reliable. etc. Joey is good peoples, and I wish him the best at his new project-- hope to meet up further down the trail!

2.Then Sept 17th-- I was feeling a little flat and tired wussed out on racing Bays Mtn 15-- and beth got 2nd and Pr'ed big that day! go beth! I ran 16 miles on the AT with Tim Lamie, Guy Love, and Kevin Townsend and his border collie named "holly". It was cool, rainy and foggy and we started there behind aliese and jim's house on the AT and ran towards abingdon gap shelter ( out 8 miles) and then descended back down the mtn 8 miles. It really is SO much climbing to run it this way, but I really need that for masochist. and the last 8 miles went by SO fast.. it's amazing how much faster and easier it is on the way down:o)

3.Then on Sept 20th I ran 17 miles from Summit cut ( where the AT crosses 58 before lost mtn shelter) I ran this one solo and got a shuttle from sundogs. Again it was kinda a rainy, cool and foggy day. I really didn't mind at all because I feel we've had such a hot summer. I welcome the cooler temps! I started off this run on a weird note because really ALL summer I've lamented to anyone who would listen, about the fact I hadn't seen any bears. The past two summers ( 2009 and 2010) I would see them almost every run! Well, I was feeling GREAT running down the mtn past lost mtn shelter and I rounded a bend just HAULIN it and there was a cub running about 5 ft in front of me freaking out scared and he scrambled up in a tree. I was pretty shocked because he was such a little bear and i knew his mama was somewhere close. I had my iphone in my front pocket so I took it out and snapped a picture.. it's SO blurry but I was in a super hurry and wasn't about to try to stand there and focus and take a better one. I was surrounded by rhododendrens and the bear cub was in a tree on the right side of the trail.. in front of me. So in order to proceed on, I was going to have to go under the cub.. I couldn't back track because the shuttle was gone and my car was 17 miles away in Damascus at Sundogs.

THEN I kept hearing this weird noise... to the LEFT of me on the other side of the trail.. and it was MAMA.. she was making this jaw popping and snorty/wuffy sound at me, and when she would do that the cub would climb higher. I never SAW the mother, I wasn't about to get down and look in the rhododendrons for her, but I FELT her there and HEARD her and she was close to me. SOO, I just did what we did at SNP riprap 2010.. I just raised my arms to make myself look tall and calmly just started walking and talking in a calm voice.. and went on down the trail about 100 ft past the cub I turned and no one was still moving.. so I started jogging away.. i was afraid to run fast because I just wanted to be "casual" and not give anybody ( IE MAMABEAR-- no relation to IMA) any reason to think I was afraid or any reason so chase me. lol here is the picture I took:
in hindsight, I should of went WAY around the situation and just bushwhacked, but I seriously was just not thinking out of the box there.. it was like I had blinders on. I was just thinking go up the trail or go down.. I really hope common sense prevails if I ever have a next go around with mama and cubs.
The rest of the AT run was uneventful, but I did have a good run and ran strong, I was back to the car in 3:05. I didn't think it was that bad of an effort. and I made some new friends who work at sundog ( namely Joe, the super nice driver who took me up the mtn) and I got to have a trailside chat with Steve Webb, who is one of my favorite residents of D-town. He was really the first friend I made in damascus in 2005.

On sept 24th, I ran something a little different!! a couple of weeks ago follow IMTR Dennett Dwyer asked myself and Paul Gadola to be on his relay team for the NEW RIVER TRAIL CHALLENGE. The relay is held on the New River Trail and it consists of a 40 mile bike ( Paul recently biked the Contential Divide Trail and avg over 100 miles per day so he was in great shape from his adventure) 12 mile Kayak ( Dennett is a really accomplished Kayaker so that is his forte) and 13 mile trail run on the new river trail ( which was my leg). I had ran New River 50k last year, and knew it was going to be flat and intense for both the bike and running legs. ( and I didn't really envy Paul for what he had to accomplish! Really didn't envy Dennett either because the longest kayak section I've ever done in a race has been 3miles and that was tough for me! so I was happy to just merely be running:o) I was really excited about trying something different, with some new friends-- and super happy to be on the team "DAMASCUS MOONSHINERS" and yes, I really did feel some pressure to step up and run hard to prove myself worthy to be called a "damascus moonshiner" because, while I don't live in damascus, I do spend an awful lot of time there, and have many many good friends who live there and wanted to make them proud! :o)
The name of the game for TRI relays is "hurry up and wait." I was running last leg so I had like 4 hours before I had to run once the race began. That part was enjoyable. I spread out my yoga mat and laid by the river for an hour and just chilled out and looked at the trees above me swaying in the wind and that was nice-- Jenny doesn't get too many downtime moments like that!
Long story short on the Tri relay: Paul got us in a solid position, he rode 40 intense and fast miles and then had to peace out and go to work. He did such an awesome job!!! Then Dennett on his kayak leg passed people and got us closer to the front, and then I passed 2 more teams and we ended up 1st in the mixed divison and technically 3rd overall. ( but of course, we were awarded the 1st place trophies for mixed) STILL it was a very cool and fun event. Definitely plan to run this again next year. Where I had ran New River 50k in 2010, I knew what to expect has far as the half.. and to be honest, yes i had to run way faster than for ultras but it was SO freaking awesome to be finish with a race after about an hour and forty min!!
Also having my first official wolf hills double ipa from a growler nonetheless, made new river challenge a great day.
Cool shirt that Paul gave me the morning of the race! and my trophy:o)
Team leader Mr. Dwyer and I with the trophies ( while poor paul was prepping for oktoberfest with a toothache)

going to C-ville to stay with Sophie and run "hot twot" ( the wild oak trail) this saturday with the VHTRC and then check out the Crozet music fest and then Run on the AT afton to the humpbacks on sunday before heading home.
more training in the form of another big back to back weekend in a couple weeks and then haunted half craziness and MMTR.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 CTR 10k

this is what the race is ALL about!!! Helping students reach their academic goals!

volunteers jj, rick, and beth during the pre-race thunderstorm
IMTR Tim Lamie
We all loved Jim Bower's outfit
Robin Grossman and I before the race
We loved Jim's outfit so much, I asked for a 2nd photo
Former 9th district congressman Rick Boucher made a cameo appearance on the Va creeper trail
CTR 10k start
beth getting drenched after doing a good deed: putting up my mom's sunroof
VERY happy to have John Mongle and Jock the superdog volunteer at this year's race!!


RACE PHOTOS HERE and HERE ( thanks so much to John Mongle and Andy Bunn for being my race photographers this year!

My family and I were just SO overjoyed at the turn out this year. It was SO amazing at the start of the race to look out and see just a SEA of friendly faces and friends!! THANK YOU to ALL who participated, who volunteered, who sponsored or was connected to the race in anyway! Thank you to all my trail running, ultra running and road running friends who came out and supported the race either by volunteering, running or getting their friends to come run! I am just SO continually humbled by the kindness of the running community. I love you guys!

I really worked SO hard on the race, so it was amazingly WONDERFUL that everything went smoothly, and I really truly hoped everyone ( runners, walkers, volunteers, spectators) ALL had a great time. I really think having the race during the evening worked VERY well and we plan to do that again next year.

one special volunteer, Rob French and his wife drove all the way from high point, NC to volunteer for Todd's 10k. The next morning I hosted a "morning after" fun run on the AT at Mt Rogers to just blow off some steam and have fun! Rob came and ran with Ginger Stewart ( another great friend, volunteer, runner and cyclocross goddess) This was Ginger's first trail run on technical and she did GREAT!! and here are some of the pictures of from the morning run on Mt rogers:

rob, myself and ginger at the start of the run! it was 59F much welcome break from the heat!
AT at mt rogers
ginger Rocking the single track!!