Saturday, September 8, 2007
VHTRC Womens Trail Half Marathon, 9-8-07
The VHTRC Women's Trail Half Marathon was my very first VHTRC event in 2002, and each year I look forward to coming back for a variety of reasons: for an anaerobic suffer fest "training run" for my longer ultras; for a great workout on the hilly BRR 50 course; for the camaraderie that only a race for women can provide; and to be able nurture dear friendships forged from this and other VHTRC events. The photo above shows me with wonderful volunteers Tom Corris, Gary Knipling, and Keith Knipling, who were just a few of the many folks who helped RD Margie Schlundt put on such a great race.
The 2007 edition of the race was hot, humid, and dry, thanks to weeks without rain. The trail was in good shape and despite the hot temperatures, some very fast times were run by some very fast women. In fact, I was marveling at how fast the ladies in the 40-45 age group were (this is my age group, of course). I had just read this interesting article in the New York Times about women runners getting faster as they get older, and the WHM not only confirms the author's observations about speed, but also about embracing competition: when women are given opportunities to be competitive in a supportive environment like the WHM, they can shed their inhibitions about being passionate and can find physical, emotional, and spiritual energy they never knew previously.
I was very pleased with my race this year. I was just a minute off my PR for this course from 2006 despite much hotter temps than last year and some annoying GI distress. I also appreciated the great competition from fellow VHTRCer Challen Edwards, who pushed me all morning and ended up with a huge WHM PR, over 7 minutes! It was also great to see VHTRC women Bunny Runyan and Luanne Turrentine, who are awesome race crew members at many ultras, finish strong. Yay ladies!
This is the essence of the WHM, after all: bringing women of all running abilities together who are willing to take risks, try something new, and challenge themselves and one another. I hope that the many women on the trail today who were first-time trail racers will allow their WHM experience to be a stepping stone to future adventures on (and off)the trail, and that those returning to the race were able to nurture their competitive drive, with passion and spirit!