Friday, April 1, 2011

Terrapin 50K 2011

Location: Sedalia Virginia
RD: Clark Zealand
Elevation: 7560 / 7560 ft
Shoes: Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel XC
Socks: Injinji
Patagonia shorts and top, Nathan Pack, smart wool gloves
Consumed: 6 Vanilla Gu, some honey stinger fruit smoothie chews, 3 nuun, maybe 4 scaps, a choc chip cookie, 3 grapes, one sip of coke and a 5 hr energy.

Prelude: Rick & Tammy Gray, Will Jorgenson and myself spent a sleepless but laughter filled night at the Super8 in Bedford. I will definitely be camping @ Promise Land this year :) We met up with Jenny Nichols in the parking lot @ 5:30 a.m. and drove to the Sedalia Center. I realized after 1 bathroom trip before the ride over and 2 once we arrived at the start that I might be in trouble. I forced down some Pepto and a tums, made my way to the start, Clark hit the GONG>>>>>> and we were off on another adventure. I love the gong at the start!

The Hellgate part of the course photo-Blanks Blankinship

Start-AS1(4.1miles)  We hit the pavement and the excitement everyone has been bottling up since their last race burst down the country road. I said hellos and good mornings as we made our way to the trail and I spotted Robin Grossman in the pack. I hadn't seen her before the start so I was happy I was able to give her a good luck hug and run with her a bit. Jamie Darling came along trying to run and take a layer off and run at the same time so I offered a hand and held her pack while she ditched the long sleeves. It wasn't long before we hit the rocks and began to climb. I watched both of them disappear up the trail. I felt slow in this first section but then again it always takes me a while to get going, when I look now at the splits, compared to last year I realized that in all reality it actually was slower, 3 min. slower!
 AS1-AS3 (5.3miles) I reached camping gap and tried not to even blink. I had worn my pack to try and avoid wasting time at aid stations (yes i am very guilty of this) so I turned down the gravel road knowing I could make up some time on the downhill. I scared Marc Griffin and almost made him fall as I yelled out his name. I was surprised to see him and knew he must being having an off day if I had caught up to him. He had also observed he was much slower on the first climb this year? and was having some cramping and leftover congestion from a nasty cold he had been fighting. I knew something was up :) so we cruised down the gravel road. I enjoyed chatting with several people on the way down, then I hit the pavement and started feeling crappy. My shoulders and arms were killing me?? stomach muscles super tight and uncomfortable?? i tried relaxing just letting things flow....what in the world?? Will came by and then Grattan so i had some distraction and we hit AS#3!! a chance to walk, if only for a couple minutes, ahhhhhh :) so after some post race analyzing, the answer to feeling a little crappy in this section was easily explained by the numbers 5.3 miles @ 6:47 pace = some distress, haha. The body is smart, it knows when your trying to do something stupid and it's not afraid to speak up.
 AS3-AS5 (7 miles)  I took a minute leaving AS3 to recover from that "road race" section but quickly convinced myself that if I wanted to improve from my time in 2010 I would have to work harder in this section and not get lazy. It's gravel road that is at such an incline that it is still completely runnable but steep enough to tire you out and make you want to walk. I played the "run to that pink ribbon" game in this section to keep motivated and listened to a bit of music. Run-walk, run-walk, repeat until my favorite section of Terrapin, this stretch and is part of the Hellgate course I believe. Nice technical single track, the downhill is heavenly. I relished every minute as I knew we would soon be back on the gravel road back up to camping gap. I'll just focus on the positive things I remember about coming back up the gravel road...
1.I love that every year there is someone out on this section picking up trash, giving back. We all need to follow his example and take care of these places that are so important to us.
2. I met Mark Iscool in this section and enjoyed chatting with him. It was his first time running Terrapin and he was stoked about it. I dig his overall attitude about trail races.
3.ok there weren't a ton.

Me, Eric Fogleman, and Marc Griffin leaving the WHOR Loop - by Blanks Blankinship
  AS5-AS6 (the WHOR loop 5.7miles)  Lots of things were good about the WHOR loop despite the name. JJJ was working camping gap and boy was I glad to see him there. He broke into a jog with me as I headed into the loop, reporting that Rick and Jenny were maybe 5 min. ahead.  After he turned back to continue his aid station duties I ran into Eric Fogleman, always nice to see a familiar face even if I did call him Todd for several miles, sorry Eric :) rest assured I will remember next time! I climbed up the loop alone and was feeling it, I got out some chewies and tried to get some down. It was fun watching the speedy guys who had already come out of the loop as we were headed in.
 I could see Guy Love up ahead, he is an abingdonian too! but as I would catch a glimpse of him, he would be gone around the next turn. Luckily Marc caught me and kept me entertained with stories of his years of competitive skating. super neat! I had no idea there was inline skating of that caliber. We came out of the loop and cheered on the other runners who were going into the loop. Eric caught us coming down the gravel road and I really enjoyed swapping stories with those two as we made our way back to camping gap for the 3rd and final time.

IMTR peeps mixed with VHTRC peeps
Finish Line photo by Eric Grossman
AS6-AS7 - I had to stop at camping gap and refill my pack. JJJ was super helpful here and I pulled out my 5hr energy in preparation for the climb up terrapin. Golly Gee and a bunch of 4 letter words later I made it to the top and out to the rock & the punch. I'm sure Marc and Eric were sick of hearing me huff and puff and sigh and moan. The view from the punch this year was great even though it was so overcast. No time to dilly dally though, what goes up must come directly back down, DOWN, yes!!thank you, thank you. Gravity is my best friend. We scooted down the trail and dipped thru Fat Mans Misery and just as I grabbed for the punch, Jenny pops over a rock??? "I forgot the punch" she said. I grabbed for her bib and punched it and followed her back over the rock. Just as we popped over the rock I realized Guy was also running back to the punch! bummer. I see people do it every year though.
 Jenny quickly informed me we were 3rd and 4th female?? really??awesome!  it hadn't crossed my mind that there would be a chance to possibly place. I'll have to say after I gave it some thought, as Annette would say, my dorsal fin emerged. I'm not super competitive but I decided I would work hard to maintain. I had hoped by this point I would have caught up to Rick and could hang on his coat tail as I have in the past. He is so awesome at the end of a race to keep you focused and hammer out those last miles. He has been running so strong lately that I haven't had that luxury. So I turned on some tunes and just focused on getting to the next aid station. Eric told me a hilarious story about he and his wife paddling when we got to the uber steep part of the rock garden that took my mind off those stupid rocks. As we descended into the last aid station I saw Rick! no way I could catch him but it was great to just see him for a minute.
I tried to make it quick at the aid station and head right back out. I love the last section of trail, how it winds around the side of the mountain at a gentle grade with wide open views of the countryside to your left, it's beautiful. I died on this section last year and felt like a zombie, but this year I felt stronger, more focused. I was digging deep, trying not to take walk breaks and one of my favorite john butler songs, ragged mile, came on my ipod. Perfect! thanks to Jenny for turning me on to this album! I ran along just happy as a clam.. Marc caught up to me and quietly passed by, we had yoyo'd back and forth so many times throughout the day, I tried to keep him in sight but he steadily moved on. **I don't typically wear a watch and if I do I tend to forget I have it on. I can never remember to start the timer at the beginning of a race. I have to say I was happy I had remembered to put it on this time. I happened to look down and realize we had been out around 5:30. hmm it would be nice to break 6hrs. I'm not sure how far we have left exactly but....**
   I caught up to Jack Broaddus and was happy to chat with him, we just recently met at Catawba. We finally "charged" thru the last creek crossing and hit the road. I tried channeling Rick, imagining him in front of me looking back giving me that come on, you can do this! We passed the mile to go sign and I glanced at my watch, we can do this, we can break 6! after turning the corner on the final stretch I remembered back to 2009 when John Bocek and I walked that last little rise before the finish. I've learned a lot since then and still have plenty left to figure out.
 I was thrilled to finish under 6hrs and 3rd female. It's still a far cry from some of the top times put down at Terrapin by fast chicks like Justine Morrison, Jenny Anderson, Donna Elder, and Sara Angel (2011 winner) but there is always room for improvement!  2009- 6:28 2010- 6:01 2011-5:53
Sara Angel (1st), me, Sophie Speidel (2nd)
The IMTR Gang
Nice Green Bag to match my green jacket


  1. What a race. You just continue to get stronger. Third time around and you pick up the 3rd female spot. That is sweet and you so deserve it. Can't wait till Promise Land as you are going to have to pull me through once again.

  2. You look like a real champion in that finish line photo. I don't know where we will race eachother next, but I will sure be looking over my shoulder (unless of course you just dust me from the start).... Congrats on a tremendous Terrapin.