Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oaks & Jokes 30 miler - Jun 21

Join us on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Oak Grove Lake Park  in Chesapeake, VA at 5:15am for a bunch of laps around a beautiful lake!     
409 BYRON ST.
This will be a super, low-key, laid back event, but there's no reason not to race!!! 
FINISHERS GET A STRETCHY BRACELET!! (You know those things that the kids are wearing these days!?!)


The course is FAAAAST,  FLAT, and on fine packed dirt. 
I hope that PRs are ABUNDANT!
It is a 1.5ish mile loop. (a tad over that)
ULTRARUNNERS--> 20 laps
MARATHONERS-> 18
21 milerERS------> 14
HALFERS --->     9


Finishers will write their names (F, L) and times (H:M:S) down at the end on the provided poster for historical (or hysterical) results. A stopwatch will be there ticking and tocking.
Run counter clockwise loops! (Optional small hill parallel to trail at 0.75 mile marker...I'm running it 20 times!! )
LIMIT: 50 Runners
CUTOFF: 7 hours
(or else email results)
PORTAJOHN: Yes.
WATER: Nope. Bring a half or full gallon for yourself. (Also, pack your nutrition.)

NOTE: I highly recommend a SHARPIE to keep tallies on your hand of your laps...this has proven to free up epic numbers of brain cells to focus on splits, nutrition, and nature!
It really is a beautiful park. I'm not one for zillions of laps, but I can manage it at ths park! there are POTTIES and tables and a shelter. Bring all your snacks and liquids!

DISTANCE SPLITS per lap: 1.53, 3.06, 4.59, 6.12, 7.65, 9.18, 10.71, 12.24, 13.77, 15.3, 16.83, 18.36, 19.89, 21.42, 22.95, 24.48, 26.01, 27.54, 29.07, 30.6)
But for easier math, round down to: 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9, 10.5, 12, 13.5, 15, 16.5, 18, 19.5, 21, 22.5, 24, 25.5, 27, 28.5, 30. :)


REGISTER on ULTRASIGNUP.com 
Contact: WHATULTRA@yahoo.com. 
ALL participants in this fun race agree to the waiver, requiring them not to hold the city or race director legally responsible for any injury or problem whatsoever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

VA is for DINOS 27: Results


1 CLAIRE Poulin 4:32:59
2 Joseph Knowles 5:02:05
3 Loren Powers 5:13:02
3 Marshall Griffin 5:13:02
5 LOGAN Boon 5:14:36
6 Chris Jay 5:18:45
6 Aaron Runzo 5:18:45
8 Paul Guizard 5:25:55
9 Harper VanSteenhouse 5:27:43
10 Larry McFarland 5:28:50
11 BECKY Walters 5:43:58
12 David Preston 5:57:33
13 Jamon Holzhouser 6:15:14
Janice and Andrew Lacerna 6:09:50, 21mi

RACE REPORT BELOW! ----->

Monday, April 7, 2014

VA is for DINOSAURS *Best Birthday Run Ever*

Nothing could contain my excitement for my 27 birthday miles with friends and strangers joining me. One of the huge factors in my ecstatic disposition was the unbelievable weather forecast! After a winter of regular blizzards in our state, it was such a lovely thought to have the promise of sunshine. Also, after my indescribably soaked luck of having a statistical average of 70% chance of rain for my events, I was more than relieved that we would not be plagued by any April showers for this one.

So our low-key, high-mileage group set out with a prayer for goals met and spirits soaring. One runner from CA made the point that he made it a bi-coastal event. Cowabunga! The temps were mid 60s and the darkness just as warmly welcoming. We entered the woods, maps in hand. And then came the wrong turns. The lead pack made a few mishaps while the rest of us stuck together at a comfy pace.

We could see a welcoming glow from waking houses on the other side of the broad, salty river's shore. We created a glow of our own, our headlamps marking out a seaside trail in the morning hours. As the twilight progressed into a sunrise, we clicked off our fake lights and entered the true light of delicious orange sun rays. We no longer looked straight down for obstacles to beware of, but we now looked up at the swaying moss on spring tree branches. We climbed 50-foot dunes, lined by mysteriously tranquil and twisted trees rooted in packed sand. We smelled the fresh scent of the faithful ocean waters, felt the breeze embrace the skin of our muscular legs, saw the beauty of another trustworthy sunrise, tasted the salt in the air, and heard the quietness of nature's trees while they allowed us to run past them on our swift journey. Sandy summits became an unpacked mess of fluff to ski and dance with on the way downhill.

Finally, we reached the boat ramp and water station at the trail's end. The bathrooms were locked, forcing runners to connect with nature in an even more primitive manner. We about-faced and congratulated one another in passing. (Note: Out-and-backs are a highly effective way to make friends!) With thoughts of how everyone was doing, I noted their distances. A woman now had earned first place and stayed steady and strong. The lost pack had become found, and were making up ground, yet, I still wondered if they could catch Claire. She surely had done her homework on studying the map, too, which helped a ton. We were going to hit each trail in the park anyway, but there are always a few iffy turns in races. Claire led on, with Logan closely behind. I was behind them by about a mile, and we three girls ran like the wind. The fast men were no match for us...because they were making up for lost time. Well, time was not really lost...but they were. :)

We retraced our steps alongside the mouth of the creek, seeing its entire beauty unveiled from the darkness we experienced earlier. It was perfect. Around mile ten, the air felt cool, fresh, and new. The day was not heating up like this week's 80 degree days of anxiously awaiting summer, and it wasn't plummeting like this week's 30 degree moments of Spring deception. It was simply adjusting for us as we started feeling hot and sticky. The next item on the list was "High Dune," a 70-ish foot phenomenon of the Virginia coast. Climbing it, I considered the park's name: First Landing State Park. First Landing. Good old John Smith in his clunky shoes meets Pocahantas in her highly effective leather running shoes. With my braided hair and running legs, I felt like this was my home of generations. Olde Virginia. I was its native. I sprinted down the hill, embracing the effect of gravity on my speed for the moment. It was time for the next trail.

On the loop trail, I noted some swampy sections. I thanked the Lord that there were no scary alligators that were going to be jealous of my birthday and eat me as a piece of cake of their own. I was glad that it was not hot enough for the rattlesnakes to be sunning themselves on the rocks. I instead heard the happy croaking of harmless frogs hiding behind perfectly-sculpted stumps in the textbook-picture swamps. I almost wanted to grab a few handfuls of dark chocolate mud and make war paint for my face and body. But I also wanted to come in under six hours. So, I trotted on.

I took a reverse route on the loop, as I often do when I am directing so I can see everyone's salty, smiling faces. It seemed as if they were having fun and going the right way! That is always an RD's dream and wish [birthday wish come true]! I dished out sincere "good jobs" and approached the next water station. By now, some dudes had passed me since I was tired and in need of the halfway-there shot of caffeine. Took it. It worked! I felt like a dinosaur dancing through mud puddles and my very own terrain, greeting other happy dinos out on the trails, and waving to friendly pteradactlys as they flew by. Now sure was a good time in history to be alive.

I entered the wide trail of happily-awake people on their walks and rides. "Morning." was the greeting by dozens of adventurers. It was just too perfect a day to be inside sleeping. I headed down the six-mile trail, knowing I would have to do it all again on the return trip. I was getting tired, and rightly so. Running farther than my weekly mileage made me wonder why I didn't train more. Then I remembered that I had a busy life and liked to sleep, so I told myself to deal with it. I was approaching the turnaround and had seen the other runners moving toward their destinies of greatness. But I was low on salt and felt like a total cramped-up, water-sloshing loser. I guess I would have to get over the mind games and run.

I turned around, seeing a wife and young sons run with their daddy for a bit. They were now un-lost and said they had run the extra miles assuming I had lied about my true age. Hey- that's a good excuse for being lost on a birthday run! My heavy legs flopped and trotted over loose sand. Walked. Ran. "Good jobbed" everyone else. I reminded myself to be thankful for everything I saw. I had food, a family, and friends waiting for me. I had a healthy body to cover 27 [aka 28] trail miles at any pace, let alone at a decent clip.  So, what's the getting bummed out going to do for me? Nothing helpful. I was happy to be alive, running my age, with other people who cared enough to join me. I had received a million birthday wishes, and the runners all seemed to care more about my day than about their own race. It was a sweet blessing.

After listening to some hilarious messages from my thoughtful husband, I finally caught up to some friends who had cut the run short, not wanting to get hurt. They said I looked younger than 27, and thus, were running fewer miles on an executive decision. Smart runners! They knew just what to say! I chatted and walked with them for a mile, not wanting to choose running alone with exhaustion as opposed to walking and talking with cheerful friends. Finally, I decided to run off with 3 miles left and a 6 hour goal. I hobbled away.

The trail was still beautiful and cool and breezy and perfect. I had taken a few great pictures for the day and had every reason to love this run. I had seen beautiful bridges, calm waters, ancient trees, warm sand, cool breezes, kind people, happy squirrels, graceful birds, piney paths, and winding trails all morning. I struggled to the road, but struggled happily. I waddled to the finish to find the fast people waiting for me. I crossed the imaginary but much coveted finish line and heard the most-sung song in the world. "...Happy birthday dear Becky, Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!" Well, how is that for the best run ever? I blushed invisibly, my face already red from running for five hours and forty-three minutes. And thanked the group. And promptly ate Birthday Cake Oreos until I could count them no longer. I had a perfect day, an early start to make daytime miles seem less time-consuming, the friendliest surroundings in the universe, and my fastest ultra time. There's nothing but love in this birthday! Thanks everyone! And I hope you have an awesome birthday, too!

"Let us RUN the race that is set before us."

-Becky

VA is for DINOS 27 miler was indeed born out of a love of dinosaurs, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and birthday cake Oreos. It also helps that the state of VA is shaped like a stegosaurus. This event will not be annual, but may happen in different lengths and states. Also note: you can start your own ultra! Anyone can! :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

VA is for Dinos 27

I'm so excited for our FUN RUN this Saturday! The shirts are sweet!!!

It will be early and lots of running....but totally a blast with BIRTHDAY CAKE OREOS at the finish!!!! And a polar plunge in the Chesapeake Bay! Brr!

See you guys out there!!!

P.S. - Can't wait for the next ones, either....
VA 24 Hour
Singletrack Maniac 50k
& maybe another creation of mine in JUNE... :)  
muahaha

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

VA is for Dinos 27

This cheap race is approaching!!! 4 weeks!!! You get a sweet shirt and a chance to run fast and far in Spring weather to start your race season right!!!

This would be perfect prep for Promised Land 50k, Blue Ridge Marathon, or the local VA 24 Hours for Cancer!!!

Scroll below for details. :)

April 5.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SLUSH FACTORY Holiday Lake 50k 2014

The classic, crisp February trail for Holiday Lake 50k in the beautiful eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains was blanketed with whitish-gray remains of a foot of two day old snow. Everyone knew that they were in for some crazy times of hard work, slippery slopes, poor footing, frozen toes, and dozens of slushy memories. Runners scurried to the start with rain layers to keep the liquid out and hydration packs to keep the liquid in. We had a mutual understanding of the trial awaiting us, and therefore possessed mindsets that were a little less competitive than normal.

The first half-mile uphill on the road was predictable, people's eyes borrowing the brilliant beams of light from one another's headlamps and starting off quickly with excitement. Then we entered the slush factory, our shoes staying surprisingly unsoaked at first in the still-freezing 32-degree temps. Rain slid off our backs. We climbed short climbs and skied down rolling descents. I embraced every downhill, turning up chunks of snow without cautiously spending precious seconds worrying about slipping.

Our middle-pack group wound through turns like a caterpillar commuting up a snow-textured tree branch. We embraced the presence of runners surrounding us, knowing that their company meant that we were headed the right way and that time would pass steadily in this early first hour. The first of seven aid stations came and went as the elevation leveled out. The slosh continued to repel our feet from their central location, as we joked that our feet would slip a cumulative total of 3 additional miles over the course of the day. One step forward, a tenth of a step sideways. Repeat. At any rate, we were halfway to the halfway point of halfway.

We steadily and earnestly attempted to follow in the footsteps of the forerunners, but the elements were ordering our feet to march single file, like treading the road's famous white line at Badwater. Here and now, however, everything was white except for the line we were trying to balance on.  It was a beautiful mess. I could imaginatively look down at our path and create a mental chocolate chip ice cream sundae at any point during the first half of the race.

At the foreboding creek crossing, a group gathered. Things were not looking good. As we crossed the knee-deep frigid water, we saw a huddle of men carrying a lady who had fallen and broken her leg. They were willing to forget their previous goals in the pursuit of a greater one: carrying this runner for miles to help and safety. They had wrapped her leg with a splint of thick tree limbs tied down with the knotted shirts of runners who had passed by and shed a layer from their own healthy limbs. We prayed and ran, easily overlooking our own problems for the next four miles.

I opted to count aid stations instead of miles, simplifying my equation from the number 32 to a perfect 7. Mile 12 then became 16 and brought us to the halfway point and much pomp, excitement, and cowbells. I tried to remember to eat and drink as I happily greeted my family, telling them with a smile how awful my situation was. My husband held his phone, comically remarking that he would turn the videographed chronicles of Holiday Lake into a documentary of pain and suffering on the road to triumph. With all of the support, my spirits lifted higher than my feet had all day, and I trotted off with my caffeinated self. Soon, I would be greeted by another spectator shouting laughable encouragement. There were three of us ladies in single file, and the man energetically cheered on our mud-splattered feet by shouting, "Ladies! Beautiful! Graceful! Elegant Runners! Keep on going!" This struck me as hilarious. So I walked. And laughed.

Everything had gone wrong, but I was purely excited to be there, running, being encouraged and cheered for, pushing toward another challenging goal. My time was 45 minutes too slow already at the halfway mark, I missed the check-in, I had a head cold and scratchy throat which I kept naming "allergies," and I was in the wrong shoes since my toddler had hidden the right shoe of my token pair of running sneaks right before we left. So, I had Mr. Left, but where's Mr. Right when you need him? All I had were backups.

So, why did I make the best of it? Why did I admit, "It could be worse," when fellow runners complained about the drudgery? A lot of marvelous reasons, I suppose. Maybe it was the fact that it really could be worse: lightning in summer heat, hours of pouring cold rain, an insurmountable 8000 feet of climbing on steep ascents, jagged rocks taunting us from beneath the formless miry snow, or a solidly refrozen graveyard of real ice promising more injuries to its victim than today's spineless slush could have vowed. Maybe it was the joy of knowing that I had a garden of beautiful family members and friends praying and cheering me on from their own soil miles away. Maybe it was my handsome number one fan supporting me every slipping step of the way. And then maybe, just maybe, it was the recent inspiring memory of meeting two friendly wounded warriors with missing right legs just the week before my race. How dare I take for granted my abilities that I could gracefully display in an event that I chose to participate in? There truly were no reasons for thoughtless complaints.

The half time party had ended, sending me right back into the woods with cold feet again. I continued past the runners heading to their halfway glory with haste, wary of the possibility of slipping off the trail ledge into the half frozen lake. The second half had brought the debut of that day's display of sunshine, and rays of joy with it. But slush plus sun plus joy equals mud. So the trail had given way to a continuous creek of liquid dirt between its riverbanks of stagnant slush. Sixteen miles of splashing, coming up! The liquid last half could have been indicative of the status of the second stream crossing. I could have sworn it was 5 inches deeper that time. But I did not afford myself anxiety about the continued numbness preventing me from the destiny of my goal.

There had been dozens of learning moments in this ultra. But, when life gives you ice, make mental ice cream. (NOTE: One other benefit of snow is knowing who used which tree in the woods. Everyone gets a unique chance to shine that way.) The hard work was not overwhelming for the runners who had actually trained for the event. A few times, I even wanted to sing, "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." But I feared that my inability to sing would get me disqualified on charges of disturbing the peace.

One of the highlights of my life was the twenty minutes during this race that were spent on a gravel road that had recently been driven on for our profound enjoyment. During these moments, I felt guilty unless I ran hard on the delightfully firm, slushless surface. My feet even stopped worrying me; they warmed slightly, and I no longer feared that I would lose them to frostbite. But you quickly forget the good moments when pain and hunger strike.  I reached the slush puddles again and then felt frozen, then full and then hungry...full...hungry...hungryyy...then shaky at times and swore at one point that one neighboring smooth log perfectly resembled a resting dinosaur. My logic escaped me. I wondered if I would finish. But I had joked earlier that we participants were equivalent to fearless Winter Olympians on this day of great outdoor testing and post-solstice undertakings. So, I had to stay true to my prophesy by eating, running, and showing fortitude.

It was interesting how much my feet hurt and my leg muscles did not. This was foreshadowing for my lack of leg soreness in the days following the flexed footfest. I felt like a potentially strong warrior with my feet attached by dental floss. They flopped and dangled from my body, as I was forced to take tiny steps to achieve any stroke of efficiency and surety on the uncertain trail. The unfamiliar shoes and abundance of moisture led to some obese blisters on my swollen feet. I quieted my concern when others exclaimed concern of their own for the feet that they stopped feeling hours ago.

All in all, the event was remarkable. We had great support. Edifying beeps from friends' and spectators' cars boosted my spirits and echoed along with the caffeine in my veins. We had an easier second half, with the splattering mud at least providing a firm foundation beneath its opaque surface. And we had an understandable cutoff. It had all gotten gradually better, slushy problems melting away, as I had made some friends around me from various backgrounds and states.  We had cat-lovers, first-timers, girly-girls, city slickers, moms, dads, couples, old folks, young'uns, mismatchers, underdressers, and everything in between. We were all trudging through the same mud puddles. That made it great. That made it doable. I cannot imagine running this distance in these conditions if the fellow middle-packers were not as downright friendly as they were. It's always something about us humans suffering together while taking in the majesty of our vast natural surroundings that changes us. For the better. We see our weakness, but then become stronger as we run hard and run far.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Training and Holiday Lake 50k

An extra cold winter, ey?
How dost thou feel about this?
Cold?

I'm kinda down with it. The bone chillin winds can be in inviting on medium distance runs especially. I often opt to shorten them or just dress crazy warm...like a mom. But something about the cold invigorates me. My bare legs can run and get iced at the same time, right?

Like this week when 3 people asked me if I was cold. If it ain't 20, I ain't wearing pants! (Just shorts)
Running pants. Yuck. The WORST!! No freedom.
If they aren't American flag red, they aren't cold, friends!!

Well, I dunno. What do you think?

I'm just psyched about the next shindig...
I'll be hyper.
I'll run.
I'll embrace it.
-B



PS- scroll below for info on VA is for Dinos 27 miler on Apr 5.