Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blog Roll - Annette Bednosky

As I write I am on the plane heading home from this adventure. Though this was not a focus race for me, it was fun and hard and joyful and now that “race weekend” is almost over, I am feeling tired and relieved and just a little lost....

Many amazing things happened out there for many people. The men's race was a true dual of fitness and tenacity and passion. A record number of runners finished. Some dropped. What I am writing is just a glimpse of this past Saturday from my own little world.

This year I enjoyed a few re-race activities. I have learned to steer clear of the much of the drama and hoopla that makes me stressed out. I got to reunion with many Montrail runners during Friday’s photo shoot and generally catch up with great folks! On Friday, the day before the race it drizzled and stayed in the low 60’s. A chilly day…I could hardly imagine dying of the heat in the canyons the next day.

Part of Friday at this race is getting a Medical Check. The volunteer staff weighs everyone, takes BP and pulse and records it on a plastic bracelet worn by runners until after the race. Runners are weighed at various points on the course to monitor for too much weight loss (dehydration) or gain (hypernatremia). I weighed in a 119 including shoes and running clothes, after breakfast. This weight seemed a few pounds light to me-yet I wasn’t about to be whiney and argue my scale at home might not be the accurate one.

The pre-race briefing was long and a bit daunting when the Top 10 finishers from each gender and automatic entrants from the Montrail Ultra Cup were called up front. I was on stage with no less than 20 other strong, accomplished female ultra runners. Add the other girls that are not as well “known”, and there was quite a lot of competition for the Top 10 spots of WS 100 2010! I had my work cut out for me, and I knew it!

I spent Friday evening alone in my little cabin at Tamarack Lodge in Tahoe City, dining on a veggie omelet and English muffin prepared in the kitchenette. I was in bed reading by 9:30pm and slept until the alarms (3) went off at 3am. After taping feet and gathering my things, jumped into my rental Toyota for the 8 mile drive to the start. I drank coffee, ate ½ banana and English muffin with almond butter and apple butter.

I parked the car, stashed the keys where teammate Matt Hart had agreed to pick it up in order to deliver it to Auburn. After taking care of “personal business”, picked up my race number and chip, got weighed in for the medical study having to do with hydration and salt I’d agreed to participate in, and found Tony and Elinor who unexpectedly would be crewing for me. Tony is George’s uncle and Elinor is his daughter, to me they are great people whom I am proud to call family. Both crewed for me in 2005 and were able to come back and offer their assistance and enthusiasm this year. It was a joy to share this part of my life with family, especially an event as dramatic and high profile as the Western States 100. Thank you Elinor and Tony!

The Race

We started at precisely 5am Pacific Standard Time Whooo-hooooo! I was approximately 100 runners from the front and the front folks jetted, the cluster I was with bounded and those behind me in the pack shuffled their way out of the start area for our 100.2 mile adventure across the snow and roads and canyons of the Western States Trail. I alternated scampering and hiking for the first 4 miles up to the Escarpment. (The final ascent to the ridge was a trudge on snow steps). I re-introduced myself to Amy Palmiero-Winters who would soon become the 1st amputee to finish this course. Amy and I had met a couple of years ago on Long Island when we were both running the LI Greenbelt 50k I also chatted away with Scott Mills and met Suzanna Bon on the way up. It was fun to finally meet Suzanna after cheering so hard for her via blog at this past May’s World 24-Hour Championship!