Sunday, August 28, 2011

Charlottesville weekend/Cheat mtn moonshine madness 50 mile trail race - 2011

Taking in the view of the blue ridge near monticello/montalto

Running down a cool trail near the end of mine and sophie's run

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!

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!

Jack got to meet David Horton:o) /Jack and Todd were the BEST cheerleaders at the CMMM start EVER

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 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!

Rick and I coming into AS 3.

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???


Sophie Speidel said...

It was so fun to host you in CVille, and I am glad you guys had a fun weekend. And, congrats on your strong CMM! so cool that you were able to bring the whole family i.e. Your vortex of it!! See you soon!

Kim said...

GREAT race report. It was MUCH warmer than 2010, us AS workers were commenting on that, it just never got cold, even in the wee hours of the morning. Many folks had rough stomachs by the time they returned to us at AS #7; everyone was still hot and sweaty, but really, about the most positive and polite ultra running group I've worked with.

Marlin Yoder said...

Really enjoyed reading your report! Congratulations on a well run race. Your description made me wish I was in shape to be there. Hopefully next year! Have a great recovery!

Marlin Yoder said...

Really enjoyed reading your report. Congratulations on a well run race!! Your description made me wish I could have been there. Maybe next year!

James @ morethanpaceandstride said...

Jen, I enjoy reading your race reports! Great finish! I enjoy learning about the nutrition needs and what works for you / what you did to make it work.

I'm curious what head light you use though???

I think the most important part of this report - for me, is how the race itself was "the easy part" as you said. All the events leading up to it - that was the hard part. How encouraging. I'll try to focus on my bigger events that way now too. That, I've trained for this, and now it is time to enjoy the run.

Thank you for the continued encouragement. I'll be sure to say hello again the next event we are both at.

jenn said...

marlin you were missed. hope to get to race with you soon, my friend!

sophie: thanks! see you soon!

Kim:glad everyone behaved!:o) it was a great race! and your soup/nutella sandwiches made it 100 times better!:o)

James: I run with a petzl myo XP on my head and I had a petzl tikka plus around my waist I used for the single track. but took it off at AS 6 once I got back on the road. the myo XP is SO BRIGHT.. it's an awesome headlamp. my favorite! Im pretty much obsessed with my nutrition plans for races-- and i am ALWAYS wanting to know what other people ate/used for their races as well. I totally don't mind sharing my experiences with that! the maddening thing I've found is that there is no magic formula or silver bullet with race nutrition because what works with one race, may not with another.. but for def. DEF. I've always found that when I consume less than 100 calories an hour.. I'm going to have a tough time by the end of the race. and this race I ended up eating easily 2000 so it was more like 200 an hour! and same with S!caps. if it's humid/hot and I'm sweating alot and not eating an S!cap an hour, it's muscle cramp extravaganza for me! so figuring out those two simple things really helped. also, I drank 140 oz in my nathan packs and that isn't counting all the soda and heed I drank at the AS. I really i think the longer the races, you really need to be eating and drinking well to have enough energy to keep moving forward at a nice clip! :o) hope to see you at a race soon!

James @ morethanpaceandstride said...

I ran into this quote again and I felt it was fitting to follow my comments on how I felt after reading your race report

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham

I know there is a tangible difference between the MYO and Tikka XP, but I think I'm getting the XP. I've got a couple 24s I'm planning to run, one is Sept, and one in Dec. Chances are I may regret not getting the MYO, that is why I've not made the purchase yet.

Rob French said...

Your attitude going into Cheat Mtn was as important as your fitness level. Sounds like one of you best races ever.

"Long May You Run"...
-Neil Young

Jeremy Ramsey said...

Great race! I got couple reason MMTR is more difficult....extra miles and around 3500' more elevation gain. On a positive note there is almost the same amount of loss in the 2 races ;) You'll do just fine at MMTR. Thanks again for all the love you show The Aid Station.

eminnick said...

So happy you had a good race and got so spend some quality time with the fam. sounds like so much fun with the WV crew. you ran a strong,smart race and I'm so proud of you!take it easy this week and we'll party on saturday :)

Rick Gray said...

You just tore up Cheat. Wish I could have stayed with you, but you were long out of sight. Congratulations on one heck of a race. Adam did himself proud this past weekend. I could not have asked for a more wonderful race. The volunteers just seem to take care of my every need.

Rick Gray said...

You just tore up Cheat. Wish I could have stayed with you, but you were long out of sight. Congratulations on one heck of a race. Adam did himself proud this past weekend. I could not have asked for a more wonderful race. The volunteers just seem to take care of my every need.

fivestringman said...

Loved your post......glad the weekend was a blast and that you did so well in the race. See you in Damascus!

Daniele said...

Congrats on a super run! Loved reading your race report. The race through your perspective actually made the experience seem even more fun! It must have been great to have your family there. They are such a wonderful crew! And thanks for your superkind words about me. I am so honored. : ) Hope to try it again next year!