Sunday, November 25, 2007


When I'm not racing ultras, I'm living a busy but satisfying life, one that I am most grateful for: I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, a counselor, a coach, a friend, and a runner. Sadly, this past year two of my students died suddenly, both while they were doing something they loved and were deeply passionate about....Doug was helping build a house in Nicaragua for a family, and Eleanor was competing with her horse at the highest level of three-day eventing, which had been her dream goal for years. I have watched their parents, siblings, and friends deal with their immense sadness and grief and have been inspired by their strength and courage. Despite my hectic days, I am grateful for this busy life, one that must be lived with purpose and meaning, and I am thankful for Doug and Eleanor's legacy, reminding me to live it with passion and an open heart.

With those thoughts in mind, today I ran the trails of the Shenandoah National Park with my buddies from the VHTRC. This is the club's annual post-Thanksgiving run, and I was fortunate to have been able to spend the day on the awesome trails of the SNP with these fine folks. I ran most of the 20 miles with my buddy Kerry Owens, and we had a great time laughing, talking, sharing race stories and upcoming race plans. Kerry is a tough ultrarunner who never whines, who throws awesome parties for the VHTRC, and who thrives on the tough, rocky trails of the Massanuttens. Thanks, Kerry, for the great day on the trail, and thanks to Q and Tom Corris who helped provide aid and maps for all to enjoy. I am so thankful for the VHTRC and the friendships forged on the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains...races are great, but the hours spent with friends while training are the ones to savor.

Here are some pics taken out on the trail...including one a bear cub we saw at the end of the run.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

State Champs!!

Chapin's football team, St. Anne's-Belfield, won their eighth VISFA Division 2 State football championship in eleven years down in Horton country (Lynchburg) against Virginia Episcopal School, 42-22. Chape is the starting safety. Rusty and I are very proud parents! Go STAB!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Slow and Steady gets the PR!

Up until yesterday's Mountain Masochist 50, I had never run a race when "everything came together." I had a goal of setting a PR (sub-9:40) and hoped to break 9:30, but more importantly, I wanted to run a smart race, bringing together all the lessons I have learned in the past 5 years of racing ultras.

I knew I was trained well (see my previous post), I knew the course, and the weather was absolutely perfect for a race in the mountains, with a low of 32 at the start and a high of 55 at the finish. My strategy this year was simple: start more conservatively than last year, and try to have a stronger second half by eating and drinking consistently and keeping my pace steady throughout. By the halfway mark, I was on 9:30 pace and feeling good. I had been sipping Clif Shots every 15 minutes, and switching out Sustained Energy, water, and Nuun with water with every bottle change. Most encouraging was the fact that I was able to run a lot of the uphill sections with minimal effort---something I chalk up to training with long tempo runs at 7:15 pace on hilly roads, big mileage weeks of 70+ mpw, and the 9,000 feet of climb at the Odyssey 40 in September---perfect training.

Another awesome piece of support came from my brand new Ipod Shuffle, which Rusty gave me last week, and which I switched on before entering the notorious loop section. The ultra gods were smiling down on me as almost every song that came up ended up being a favorite tune for running, so I was adequately pumped up by the last 3 miles of the race, knowing I had enough time to break 9:30. But the rocky, leafy sections of the last downhill stretch slowed me down a bit, and since I was totally thrilled with the day thus far, I decided to chill and enjoy myself as I crossed the finish line in 9:34! It was particularly cool to see my hubby, oldest son and daughter at the finish---the cap to a perfect day in the mountains.

I was humbled to be in the same event as some of my ultra heroes---Nikki Kimball, Annette Bednosky, Bethany Patterson, and Krissy Moehl were all contending for the top spots (here is a cool photo of the top 5 women celebrating, taken by Sue Norwood) and it was a thrill to talk to them at the pre-race. This was also David's last Masochist after 25 years as RD, and it was very cool to be part of the celebration. And very fitting---Holiday Lake 50k was my first ultra, and Masochist was my first 50 mile---so setting my Masochist PR on such a perfect day was the essence of "bringing it all together." Here are my photos! Also, here is a photo of Andrew Thompson and J.B. Basham, taken by Sue Norwood, as they finish their DOUBLE Masochist...they started running at 6:30 pm on Friday night from the finish line in Montebello, arrived 12 hours later at the start at the James River Visitors Center, and then turned around to run their second 54 miles. They finished the 108 miles at about 11:15 race time. Incredible.