Thursday, December 31, 2009


Well, the last post of 2009! The year has been busy with a race nearly every month, beginning with the New Year's Day 10K and ending with the Bear Creek 10 miler in early December. In between, I did a 5K (Forest Hill 5k); the Monument Avenue 10K, the Capitol 10 miler, Kinetic 1/2 IM, IM USA, VentureQuest, and Turkey Trot 10K. Of all the races, the Capitol 10 miler was probably the hardest, because I went into it thinking I did not have to train...I was wrong and paid for it with sore legs for a week. IMUSA was great, even though my bike time was terrible, I still finished in under 16 hours. All in all, it was a hard year with all the riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains in some pretty interesting weather, rain (sometimes torrential downpour, hail, winds, bears (well, only once bear cub). I also really enjoyed the LP torturefest in May, some hard riding in cold windy and rainy conditions, with a long run thrown in to boot. The eating and drinking that followed the training with fun people made torturefest a great trip.

I am thankful for the ability to do all the races, and training, with only minor mishaps, like the endo I did on Buttermilk where I thought I'd broken my wrist. Fun times. Otherwise, I was pretty much mishap free! That's a good thing!

I am hoping that 2010 will be a good one as well, and maybe I can complete IM Canada with a better time than Placid. Happy New Year to everyone and may 2010 be the best year yet!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas. Here I sit, on my couch watching cheesy Christmas movies and writing this on my new laptop that MyKaren got me! So, we enjoyed the snow, which fell last weekend and we actually had a white christmas, if the leftover snow counts. Anyhoo, it was nice to have snow so early that MyKaren, Lynn, Molly and I decided to go for a nice snowy trail run last Sunday. After the rainy run the weekend before, running on snowy trails sounded like it would be fun.

I had no idea what to expect, I was thinking it would be a bit harder than normal, but had no idea just how hard it could be. The trail had been walked and run on, so there was a narrow sort of beaten down path to follow. First it was not bad, as we ran on the Buttermilk west and onto to the Boulevard bridge. It was sloppy, but crunchy. We got to the bridge, and it was closed to cars, which I have never seen. The only auto on the bridge was a crazy duo in a pickup that was racing up and back to "plow" the bridge. We ran on the bridge itself, since the sidewalk was unpassible, and as we got to the south end, the plow truck came roaring back and started to fishtail. I thought we were going to watch it go over the edge, but of course it didn't.

The north trail was waaay sloppier than Buttermilk which made it harder to navigate. We slipped and slid our way on the trail, Lynn stepped thigh deep into a drift but no one fell. It wore me out big time since no step was firm and sloppy. We ran one loop and it took 30 minutes more than normal and I was dead tired. Afterwards, tired and cold, we went for hot chocolate at Crossroads and then home to collapse. This trail running is hard!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weekend Training When Rainina

Now that enough time has passed since the training whilst raining debacle of Sunday, I am now prepared to report on that event. Kidding, it wasn't traumatic, well, not really. ProKaren, MyKaren and I all went shopping on Saturday in NoVa with our winning gift certificates from the VentureQuest race in the fall. We managed to spend our prizes and got some socks, gloves, and other cold weather stuff. The only hitch of the day was the lunch at a Spanish/Mexican place, where PK and I got the same spinach-mushroom quesadella. I thought it tasted a bit off, but not off enough to scare me. As it turned out, we both felt kind of gastro rumbly that night, so I was a little scared of our scheduled run on Sunday.

Sunday dawned...rainy. We bucked up and took off for Pocahontas anyway, planning on running around 3 hours. As we started the run, it was cold, and drizzly. After a bit, the drizzle turned to sprinkles, and thence to rain, followed by the final downpour. PK and I both were not feeling great in the gastro department, but we persevered and kept running. We pretty much stuck to the Old Mill bike trail and then Fendley Station which are not easy but at least are not single-track.

As we slogged on, and of course pretty far from the start, I began to notice that I may need to go to the bathroom. Then, the need became quite significant. I didn't want to have a double-glove moment in the woods, but I was becoming concerned. At this point we were by the campground on the single-track, but of course the bathrooms were all locked....With no options I had to do as a bear does in the the cold pouring, pouring rain. Not my favorite moment, but thankfully there was no one around at all to witness it.

Always bring tp. You never know.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bear Creek 10 mile race report

Oh, the beauty of the woods, the trees, the slight dusting of snow, the gurgle of the creeks and streams....the sound of stomping feet, the mud, crossing the gushing creeks, and the swamp. Bear Creek once again outdid itself as an off-road adventure. It snowed pretty much all day Saturday as we drove to the state park and our cozy cabin. Not that it stuck much on the roads, but it did look very pretty and dusted the ground very nicely. Our group this year was 6 racers, 5 dogs, 4 non-racers (one being Wolverine) in 2 cabins. Staying at the cabins and eating/drinking with friends is the real fun of Bear Creek 10 miler...well, the run is fun as well!

We had a fabulous dinner on Saturday, some beers, some puzzling and then an early bedtime. It was cold on Sunday, pretty darn cold, but sunny. We all bundled up and drove to the race start with just enough time to pee one last time. Then with little fanfare, we were off.

The trail was almost immediately slippery and muddy, that should have clued us in as to the conditions when the real trails begin. For the first several stream crossings, I foolishly tried to find ways across to keep my feet dry, making one good crossing decision, but then one bad one which cost me several minutes. I pretty much ran by myself, for the first part, then the gaggle of gals caught up to me as I knew they would. I don't care how many times I run this race, the way out (first 5 miles) always seems to take forever! We finally got the last 2 mile section before the turn-around and were passed by the front runners, who at this point were 4 miles ahead of us...not sure how they run that fast. Tyler was smiling and in 3rd, and told us to enjoy the swamp. We quickly found out what he meant, as the next mile was slogging through some pretty serious mud. I finally gave up on trying to keep my feet dry, when I stepped mid-calf deep into the mud crossing a small creek. At the turn, I took a gu, and set off just a minute or so ahead of Sharon and Lynn, with Jill right behind me. Karen was about 2-2 1/2 miles ahead at this point on the way to a PR of 1:51.

I tried to pick up the pace a bit on the way back and managed to pass a couple of people as I went. Slogging through the mud and splashing through the creeks made the return trip a negative split, but my overall time was 7 minutes slower than last year, which was slower than the year before, etc. I finished and was glad for it, the girls were minutes behind and everyone looked happy. Somehow this race convinced Lynn and Jill to sign up for the 35 K in Janaury. Somehow I was convinced that I, too, could do the race. So I am now signed up to run 21.7ish miles in the dead of winter....what the heck am I thinking?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trail running, etc.

So, I've been running my longer runs off-road on the weekends as well as doing some mountain biking which has reminded me how much I love off-road stuff. I love the smell of the fallen leaves, the quiet of the woods, even in the city, the songs of the birds, the rustle of the squirrels, chipmonks, etc. I love the solitude of trail running. I was running on Saturday morning, along Buttermilk and Belle Island, and I was completely alone, and it was great! I did not see a single person for the majority of that loop. The weather was a little crisp and the river was a little high, so it was roaring along in the background, but I didn't hear a human voice or even cars or planes. As I huffed and puffed up and down hills, all I could hear were my footsteps and breathing. I think that is a pretty darn cool thing about Richmond, I was running in the City, but in the woods and by myself!

I'll be running the Bear Creek 10 miler this coming weekend, which has continued to kick my butt for several years, and I am not getting any faster, but I love the race because it is in the woods. Last year it snowed the night before, so the run was through the quiet snow and that was great! I hope to continue to trail run and mountain bike through early next year, and I encourage everyone to get some trail time!