Thursday, November 29, 2007

2008 Georgia Trail Races

Since I was unable to find a comprehensive list of Georgia Trail Races in 2008, I compiled one. Below are all confirmed trail races. If you know of any others please leave a comment or e-mail me. I will keep this updated throughout the year. Enjoy!

January 6
Atlanta Fat Ass 50k

February 2nd
Runnin The Rocks 10k
XTERRA Trail Series

February 10th
Red Top Rumble 11.5 Mile Trail Run

February 16
Curious' Trail Run 5K/Mile

March 1st
Thrill In The Hills ½ marathon
XTERRA Trail Series

April 12th

Blake Gammill 5k & 1mile Fun Run

April 19th

Granite Grinder Half Marathon

Active Sign-Up

April 26 (NEW DATE!!)
Sweetwater ½ marathon, 50k

May 10th

Ranger Run (15k and 5k)

May 17th
Twisted Ankle Marathon & Half Marathon

May 31st
Deep South 15k
XTERRA Trail Series

June 14

Jenny Melton/Father's Day 5k

Cross Country Race

Gainesville, GA

For info contact Susan Espinosa (770.318.8108) or Will Chamberlin (706.769.6593)

October 11

Trail Race for Camp Grace 10k

November (Date TBD)
Blue Ridge Mountain Masters 50k

November 02
XTERRA Heritage Park Trail Run
5K 10K

November 15

Getting Around Serenbe 15k

November 23
XTERRA Oconee Heritage Half Marathon Trail Run

November 29
Bartram Forest 50k and 26.2 miler

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Return to My Sanctuary

The past couple of days, I have been restricting myself to shorter runs mainly on paved roads. Today, I finally made my return to the trails. Just a couple of miles on the Pentachaeta Trail, which is right behind my girlfriend's family's house in California. Oh, how I missed running on dirt and in the hills!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Couldn't Wait Any Longer

30 days of waiting
720 hours of resting
43,200 minutes of anticipation

...and it's all over. Last night, inspired by both Addy's beautifully written entry and Doug's imminent return, I went out for an easy 2 miles. Boy, did it feel good! It's sad to say, but I even missed the ipod lady voice: "Press the Center button to begin your workout".

My body felt like an old car that hasn't been driven in a while. The muscles and joints were a little squeaky. The lungs aren't used to all that oxygen anymore either.

But I could feel my whole body blossoming slowly throughout the run. Like a desert meadow after a rainstorm.

Everything feels fine post run. I should be back out there again today. I'm thrilled to be back!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

28 Days Later

So the pop-pop-pop (one for each torn ligament, get it?) incident is a month old now. It's been hard not to exercise at all. Like a smoker quitting cold turkey, I stopped my almost 10-month long running streak and haven't done anything faster than walking in four weeks now.

It's easy to want to come back too quickly, but I've got big plans for '08 and foot needs to be fully healed for those. So, with doctor's and PT's permissions, I will be able to start running easy 1-2 miles next ("and immediately ice afterwards!"). That's exciting stuff!!

(This post is in response to a tag from Doug. But I have been meaning to write this anyhow. He must be mind reader.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Janice Anderson Interview

Atlanta, GA-based Janice Anderson has been a fixturein the ultra scene since the early 90s. Among her accomplishments, she counts setting course records at five different 100 milers, most notably the first ever sub-17 hour finish of a 100 mile trail race by a woman (16:03 at Rocky Raccoon in 2000). Anderson has also competed for the US at five World 100km Championships. To see a complete list of her accomplishments (there are a LOT), please visit USATF's website. Janice recently took some time out of her busy schedule to meet for sushi and an in-person interview. (all photos courtesy of Janice)

You were a successful high school and college runner. Describe your evolution to running on trails and longer distances.

I've always been attracted to running longer distances. Growing up in Huntsville, AL, I ran my first marathon in the 8th grade. In college, I ran shorter distances, focusing on the mile in particular [editorial note: with a PR of 4:55].

After college, some of my friends got into ultras and eventually talked me into running one, which turned out to be the Strolling Jim 40 miler up in Tennessee. The first few years, I focused mainly on road ultras, running about two or so a year. My first real trail ultra was out West at Big Horn. I was completely unprepared for what I would encounter, including snow at the top of the mountains, heat at the bottom and especially the altitude.

However, that didn't turn me off to ultras. I started training with a guy who was getting ready for Western States. Once I saw that he could complete it, I figured "I can do that, too" and managed to get in through the lottery the following year. [ editorial note: Janice has done extremely well at WS, placing top 10 female a total of five times with her highest finish in 1997, when she placed 2nd to Ann Trason]
(running in the snow at WS)

You have competed in so many different races. What is your favorite?

I really like Vermont 100. It's a fairly low key race and Vermont is absolutely gorgeous in the summer.

The Mount Mist 50k in Huntsville, AL is another favorite of mine. I grew up running on those trails, so it holds a special place in my heart.

(Rucky Chucky!)

Tell us about your most memorable running experiences.

Placing second at WS was definitely special.

Then, of course, Rocky Raccoon in 2000 [where Janice became the first woman to break 17 hours for a 100 miler on trail, finishing in a mind-boggling 16:03]. I had just recovered from a case of pneumonia that winter and wasn't in top shape. Really, the only reason I ran the race was because I was trying to complete all the East Coast ultras in one year. I had worked all day the Friday before and flew out to Texas that night barely making it in time to pick up my race packet around 8 pm. The next day everything just felt great. At 100k, I looked at my time and was surprised at how fast I had been going. I was without a crew or pacer and finished early enough to get back to the hotel and get a full night's sleep before attending the awards ceremony the next day. It was just one of those days where everything went just right.

What does your average training week look like? What are you favorite cross-training activities?

I have been injured for about two years now [a nerve injury that causes Janice's leg to go numb during runs; it is puzzling both doctors and Janice alike ; please send her your well-wishes]. Up until then I was running about 60-70 miles a week with a strong focus on my long runs on the weekends. Now, I run about half that distance. My work has a gym, so I do some weight training and bike work there.

(Janice competing for the US...and smiling, of course!)

What areas of Atlanta and the South do you most like to train in?

I do most of my hard long runs in North Georgia on the Appalachian Trail. That's where I would go to train for WS in particular. I do some long runs at Pine Mountain as well.

Do you have any advice for novice ultra runners?

My most important advice would be for new ultra runners to learn how to stay on your feet for a long time. It is equally important to learn how to take in fluids and food in order to keep going and know what it feels like to run on tired legs. I have trained a few people for their first 100s. The key thing we would work up to is 5-6 hour long runs in the mountains on Saturdays followed by easy 3 hour runs on easier trails around Atlanta on Sundays.

Are there any runners you especially admire or who inspire you?

Ann Trason, Greek runner Yiannis Kouros and Eleanor Adams of the UK come to mind.

What are your favorite foods for training and running?

To be honest, whatever looks good. During 100s I usually eat light in the morning waiting to have "lunch" around mid-day. I usually like to have sandwiches and chips, sometimes fruit. I carry gels with me in between aid stations, but you can only have so many of those. Recently, I have become a big fan of Sharkies.

(fueling up)

How do you manage training between your job and family?

Well, I have a very understanding husband who is ok with planning our vacations around races. It's also my only hobby, and I don't do as much running during the week as on the weekends. I believe that if ultra running is something that you really want to do, you can schedule around it to make it work.

(Janice competing alongside Stephanie Ehret, Krissy Moehl and Francesca Conte at a team event, the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km in Hong Kong in 2002)

Many trail races sell out early, some even have lotteries. How do you feel about the surge in popularity of trail and ultra running?
It's certainly a change (except for WS, which has always been that way). It's a lot harder to schedule 8-9 months in advance. And when you cannot participate in a race for whatever reason and it is sold out, you'll have most likely taken somebody else's opportunity to run unless, of course, there's a waiting list.

(another beautiful shot from Hong Kong)

What are your plans for 2008 and beyond?
I have no real specific goals as long as the injury keeps me guessing as to when I might be able to run or not. But I would like to join the 50 States Marathon Club. I have about 15 states left.

I will also continue to be active as president of GUTS (Georgia Ultrarunning and Trailrunning Society) as well as on the boards of various other running organizations.

Thank you for your time, Janice!

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's time for an avatar

There could hardly be a more fitting avatar than this one. It perfectly describes my love for trailrunning.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

GUTS! - Georgia Ultrarunning and Trailrunning Society

The question remains: why did it take me so long to join the running group with the most fitting acronym? Who knows. It's been corrected. I am now an official member of GUTS.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Preliminary 2008 Plans

Although nothing is set in stone yet, I have started to think about some potential races in 2008.

Provided that my foot is healthy and I can get myself in shape in time, the Atlanta Fat Ass 50k on January 6 will be my first race. The Hogpen Hill Climb 17k later that month will probably my second race. Otherwise, I'm looking at one or two more trail 50ks for the spring in addition to all three races in the xterra Atlanta Trail Series. A bunch of people are talking about going up to Nashville for the Country Music Half and Full Marathons, so I might join them there. The Georgia Half or Full Marathon might be another option.

That could be a busy spring. For the rest of the year, I am eying the Peachtree Road Race (of course!), taking care of unfinished business in New York and in Santa Barbara as well as a potential 50 miler.

On thing I definitely regret about this year is not racing enough (or at all) the back half of the year, some of which is due to circumstance. There were, however, four or five months between my last race and my foot injury, which is unacceptable. I miss pinning on a race number, the excitement around the starting line, meeting new people...just everything about racing.