Taking in the view of the blue ridge near monticello/montalto
wow! the month of august has just flown by! following the race ( as in CTR 10k), I had a nice little taper for cheat mtn, and Brock and I decided to celebrate our birthdays by going to Charlottesville, VA to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds play. We decided to spend a couple days in charlottesville so we could go to monticello, check out UVA campus/city of charlottesville and just spend some quality time together.
My good buddy Sophie, as always, was the SUPREME Hostess!! She gave so many wonderful suggestions regarding what to do, where to eat, where to park etc while in charlottesville ( SO grateful to her because all her suggestions where RIGHT ON!) THEN that saturday, the morning of the concert we met at Greenberry's parking lot at 6am for a fun 2hr run on some trails near Carters mtn/monticello/montalto. So great to get to socialize with my friend, and just take in a wonderful sunrise view of the valley/blueridge! post run, breakfast at greenberry's before sophie had inservice at the school. Then brock and I went up on the parkway, hung around rockfish gap and hiked a little on the AT, THEN went to lunch at Blue mountain Brewery! YUM!
The concert was awesome! easily the best Dave show I've seen, and the most stage banter. it was VERY cool to hear all his stories between the songs. Charlottesville was GOOD to us! We so enjoyed our stay and I always love running in that area!!
That sunday on the way home, I got to pick up MY birthday present to myself: a little australian shepherd puppy 8 weeks old named Maverick!
Rick and I coming into AS 3.
isn't he awesome?!
So that was a great way to take up my focus OFF of cheat mtn the week of TRUE taper by getting to know this little guy and teaching him how to fetch and be housetrained! He is SO SWEET and just such a good dog. So smart! I could go on and on about little maverick. I'm so excited about having him for a running partner as he gets older!
So this year for Cheat mtn, I opted for a different experience. YES, I could of done things that were WAY logistically easier but I just really felt the need to have this ALL INCLUSIVE experience. I wanted to run well. YES, I did.. but I also wanted Brock to come, and the kids ( they could go camping at the start finish! even if that meant brock couldn't crew for me) and maverick couldn't be boarded because he still lacks one more puppy shot he gets in a couple weeks PLUS there is Fred, my yorkie, it would probably make him feel bad if we boarded him and took the new cuddly puppy, right?? SO just EVERYONE got to come to ELKINS! I met Brock in Beckley, WV on thursday evening ( he has been working out of town so much and the kids missed him the previous weekend where we were in charlottesville. so they were GLAD to see their dad!) We rode up to Days Inn in Elkins ( the only pet friendly hotel there in elkins and it really wasn't that bad! we had a great experience!) and I pretty much just chilled out and hung out with brock , kids and dogs all Friday day..
I had packed all my race gear/drop bags/ recovery bags beginning of the week and had everything well organized and exactly how I wanted it. So that was a load off my mind to not have to fool with ANY of my gear ( in a small hotel room with 2 kids and 2 dogs going wild) I took a little nap- amazingly! and then about 4 we went to the Race Headquarter in Beverly, WV at the 4h camp. Set up the tent, got my race # and got ready to run! The kids had a BLAST running around the camp and playing on the playground! They were so excited to be there!
and both my awesome doggies loved going to Cheat mtn too! We kept them on a leash, and they weren't on the course or at any AS.. I think those are REALLY simple rules for people to follow! It was great to be able to include them and have them there with us this weekend! I def won't bring my dogs to all my races etc.. i think there is a time and place for everything and some ultras it's just more logistically REASONABLE about whether or not you can have a pet there. There are some races, it's just not a good idea. but in this situation, It just made our little family weekend ( with mommy running a 50 miler in the middle) just more fun for the kids and for us to include the dogs! thanks adam! :o)
The 4-h camp is just such a wonderful staging area for this event. It's pretty there. I really enjoy the scenery, the grounds are very well maintained and nice. I love it.
It was SO great to get to see all my friends! RD Adam and Kadra, his wife were back from his AT thru-run? it was WAY, WAY faster than a hike! but wasn't a speed record attempt it was more this was a once in a life opportunity to do the AT ( northbound) -- so they both took off time from their professions/careers for a couple months and just went for it and succeeded! It was so wonderful to see them again, and just so extremely proud of their accomplishment/AT adventure they shared. GOOD HUMANS!
My good friends Rick Grey and Kathleen Cusick made it to Beverly. Then Todd Bumgardener ( who is just an awesome ultra runner!) I was lamenting about how several of our friends I ran with last year didn't make it. but as rick pointed out, it's a different year. You really can't replicate races.. even though the course is the same, EACH year is something different and special. Rick, you are right. I really will try to be more appreciative of that aspect about races when I repeat them.
Me before pre-race! rocking the aidstation.com patagonia shirt I won at highlands sky! Chelsie Viar wore hers too! there IS a picture floating around of us together with the shirts!
pre-race meeting: so many familiar and friendly faces! I have to give a shout out to two cool people: 1. BOB!!! this made the 3rd race I've ran with him, and is just the nicest runner from NC and Cheat this year was his first 50!! GO BOB!!! Bob is planning on running Umstead next year, and it's just been SO cool to watch him progress as an ultrarunner and see him at races! Congrats, Bob! You ROCK!
2. Dani Seiss-- Dani is so sweet and just an amazing soul! She ran MMTR and JFK back to back last year.. I had the privilege of running up straight mtn with her at MMTR! She wrote the best race report I feel EVER about Terrapin mtn 50k. Very intelligent and just a wonderful person to be around. :o) I was happy to be able to converse with her before the race.
SO the race started! I shouted to my husband and kids that "mommy loves YOOOU!" and we were off. There was definitely a feeling of familiarity on the road. I was HAPPY to be there. I had mentioned to my husband after, RDing todd's 10k earlier this month, all the family responsibilities, car repairs etc.. just the stuff in life you have to deal with-- running the 50 miles at cheat mtn is the EASY and FUN part!!! it was just making it to the race was the challenge!
SO that is how I viewed it: THIS WAS MY NIGHT to have a blast running in the mountains just ENJOY myself!! If I had a mantra the entire night it was "good effort" I just little by little on each section tried to expend the right amount of effort and energy.. I tried to stay steady and consistent each section. keep my heart rate and breathing steady and just stay in control aways. I ate a gel and took a salt tab every hour on the hour. I ate a nutella sandwich AS 2, chicken soup and a quesadilla AS 3, drank an ensure AS5, and some yummy butternutsquash soup and sweet tea at AS7! so I ate alot this race in addition to the 10 gels, 10 S!caps, 3 nuun tablets and 3 Vespas, and 2 5 hour energies consumed during the course of this race!
I stayed up with Rick and Kathleen ( leap frogging back and forth) the first 23 miles. Then decided to slip on up the road into the darkness and just run the rest of the race solo. I'm a very social runner, but I did enjoy the solitude and quite time the woods had to offer. I really have had some ups and downs this spring summer with my training and ups and downs with life in general. I felt GOOD and STRONG for the first race in a while ( promise land and highlands sky were both pretty rough experiences.. and really enjoyed just going at my own pace and working through my rough patches under the cloak of night and the canopy of spruce trees. and thankfully I experienced more UPS than downs!! I really did feel pretty strong most of the night. I LOVED the single track sections of this race! mud and all. they just are SO rolling and the climbs aren't that tough.. it may just be tunnel vision from the head lamp, but they seem so runnable? rolling ridgeline is my perception of the inclines of the single track. so I would run both up hill and downhill for the single track mostly. YES, it was boggy and muddy in some sections.. but I didn't fall this year ( yay!) and either skirted off to the side to try to miss the mud or just would run through it. I have to admit, I loved running this course for the second time because I knew where I was and pretty accurately remembered everything and it was just great affirmation when I would pass a section I was hating life in 2010, only to be LOVING the section and SO THANKFUL to be alive in 2011!! I was a little sad to leave them and be on the FS section back down the mountain, for me this was the toughest part of the race, mentally. because you SO want to be finished, but have to complete this section to reach the finish. and this section is SO VERY MMTR :oP which was weighing heavily on me by the finish of this race that in nov, I have MMTR which seems way harder ( in some weird way!) because it really shouldn't be!
I do have to mention it was WAY more humid and warmer than 2010. I sweated so much and never really felt confident that I had my electrolytes in balance. I think that is why my time was a little slower than last year, as was many of my friends.
I'm not even really sure of my time because I forgot to turn off my watch. I think I ran 10:20? anyways I got 2nd overall female and was EXTREMELY happy to be finished and to return to my tent and give kisses and sweaty, muddy hugs to Brock, my sweet boys and the doggies too. Looks like I was able to do and have it all in this situation!! a good race and have my little traveling vortex of chaos RIGHT there with me!! Thanks to brock for watching the kids ( and dogs) while I ran in the mtns all night long! love you!
THANKS SO MUCH to Adam, all the volunteers for such an amazing race experience. WVMTR is such a wonderful group. They work very hard to make sure everyone has the best time out there. Adam's race is so organized and WELL marked.. both reflective markers on trees and markings on the roads. You will NOT get lost at this race. The AS... well, you guys saw my list of food I ate.. it's not your run of the mill AS fair.. they have that too... but the volunteers go out of their way to just have AMAZING YUMMY food!! ( plus these guys are up ALL night making sure everyone is well fed, hydrated and safe!) kuddos to the volunteers!
they always say 3rd time is the charm???