Sunday, August 26, 2012

Conquering the Continental Divide

Going into the USATF 10k trail championships in Laurel Springs, NC my body was feeling pretty good. I have been running between 40-50 miles a week (gradually building up after weeks of injury) with 2-3 bike rides and intense yoga practice. I had been receiving a technique called Bowenwork for the past several months. It is a holistic, soft-tissue technique that relaxes and returns the body to homeostasis. Melita Mollohan, a certified Bowenwork practitioner, has her own practice in Morgantown called Zen from Within ( Melita applies light pressure over tendons, muscles and nerve bundles that allows the brain to connect with your body promoting restoration and healing. Since Bowenwork I am not as beat up after hard workouts and am able to recovery more quickly.  Even when my muscles are fatigued, my stride has full range of motion.  Melita is very passionate in all that she does and it really comes across in her efforts to heal. If you are ever in the Morgantown area, I recommend that you check her out or find a local Bowenwork practitioner near you!

Tad and I left for Laurel Springs early on Friday morning and got to the course around 3:00pm. A hard rain just let up leaving rocks and roots nice and slippery. Every running course, be it cross country, trail or mountain is tough if you put in your maximum effort, but this course is TOUGH. It shows no mercy as it either snakes violently downhill, climbs uphill or transitions to cross country racing. Admittedly, I was especially nervous going into this race because the memory of running it last year still stung in my muscles. We jogged the entire course and walked the tough climbs to make sure I remembered where I was going. We stayed in Sparta, NC which was about 20 minutes away from the course. There isn’t much going on in Sparta other than a really nice Food Lion and a hip coffee joint called Backwoods Bean.  I got a perfectly brewed (3 minutes) green tea from a barista who apparently has studied British brewing techniques. Little did I know that this tea would keep me wide awake until the wee hours of the night. Ugh. Rather than eating at one of the local fast food eateries, Tad and I brought our camping stove and cooked up the perfect pre-race pasta in the comfort of our hotel room. Delicious!
Penne with Veggies

After only a couple hours of sleep, I woke to my 6:15am alarm, ate my breakfast and got packed up. We got to the course in time to pick up my packet and watch the men’s race. As the runners waited for the women’s 10:15am start, I was able to chat with fellow competitors, friends and racing staff. One thing that I love about this race in particular is the very kind people that come to it. Everyone is always extremely friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We are all able to bond over this brutal course. Misery loves company.

Almost to 4 miles

After “On your mark, go!” we took off downhill for ¾ mile before starting to climb and meander through the woods. Right away the leaders, Megan Kimmel and Amber Moran, took off out of sight. After the mile I was left to navigate the woods alone for the remainder of the race. Luckily I had the supportive cheers of the race staff that were strategically located at critical junctures on the course to prevent wrong-ways. I wore the most trusted Inov-8 X-talon 190’s. They kept me on my feet when the trails started to slope down the mountain from the wear and tear of runners. At about 4.5 miles my body really started to fatigue so I just tried to run strong to the finish. I ran a solid race, 52:58, placing third behind Megan (1st) and Amber (2nd). My time was over a minute slower than last year, but that is not surprising given the setbacks I have had this spring and early summer.

After a 1.5 mile crawl for a cool down, we enjoyed the awards ceremony over complimentary blueberry smoothies courtesy of Sheetz. After pictures and goodbyes we headed back to Morgantown exhausted, pleased and content. Thank you to Jason and Alison Bryant for doing such a fantastic job organizing this event. The day was a success and I will reluctantly, given the tough course, look forward to next year.

Megan Kimmel, Amber Moran, Maria Dalzot

Pictures courtesy of Tad Davis

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