Monday, June 29, 2015

Chief Wetona 2015

The 2nd Annual Chief Wetona Challenge was held on Sunday, May 17th in Mt. Pisgah State Park in Troy, PA.  In addition to the seven mile course, a half marathon distance was also added this year.  I opted for the short course though because I ran a marathon two weeks before, and two weeks before that was Hyner.  My friend Amy and I traveled to the race together.  Amy has been known as "Buff Fitness Girl" in previous blog posts of mine.  One day I hope to be as fit and fast as she is.  We got pretty mixed up on our way to the race and didn't have a whole lot of time to spare once we finally arrived.  We got our stuff, used the restrooms, and warmed up before the pre-race announcements.

I ran this race last year, so I'll spare you my blow-by-blow, but below is a course description for the short course from fellow trail runner, Brian Kunkle.
The Chief Wetona Challenge, named for a native American significant to the area, is a two loop course.  The first loop begins just below the parking area, following the lake for a few hundred yards (with the lake on your right), before ducking in into the woods and climbing back up to the level of the parking area.  After crossing a small foot bridge the course climbs a short but steep, grassy hill up to the park's nature centre.  The few hundred feet of elevation gained is quickly lost on a rocky, but fast and wide descent back to lake level.  From there the course circumnavigates the lake on mostly rolling trail, putting runners back at the start line in under three miles.  The short climb from the beginning of the race feels twice as long as it does the first time around.  About half way around the lake the 2nd loop diverges from the first, hanging a left, rather than keeping right, and ventures off into even muddier territory.  The majority of the 7 mile race's 1,000ft of climbing comes in the second loop.  The trail wanders up muddy double track and grassy paths cut through open fields before climbing the "Haymaker" trail to the course's highest point at around mile 6.  Once atop "Haymaker" the course follows a farm access road back down the hill, before veering to the right and sloshing its way down a drenched power line cut.
Don't forget ladies- Fit is the New Skinny

I didn't run the long course myself, but I did hear of several folks getting lost.  Race director, John Johnson, was very apologetic and open to suggestions on how to ensure that it doesn't happen again next year.  But as my friend Sayard said, "that's just a part of the sport!"
Betsy, Cathy, Sayard, and Myself post-race

I finished the 7+ mile race in 1:09:22 with a 9:36/pace.  I was 17th of 95 overall and 2nd of 19 in my age group (F30-39).  My friend Amy finished first in our age group with a time of 1:06:14!
Amy being amazing!!

I love this race.  I love the trails and I love the park.  I love the people and I love  the food. Seriously, what more can I say?!  Join us next year!
D-O-N-E !!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Team CJ at River Towns 2015

After a successful inaugural running in 2014 I knew I'd want to organize Team CJ again for another race and fundraising event.  Last year we raised about $7500.  Proceeds were donated to the Operation Jack Autism Foundation and the Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI). With race director Bob Stoudt's blessing, I decided to bring the team back to River Towns Half & Full Marathon on May 2, 2015.  The team grew to thirty-three runners strong, seven for the full marathon and 26 for the half marathon.

Marathoners- Jared, Jenn, Janell, Glen, Erin (not pictured- Adrian & James)

Half Marathoners- Erica, Kelli, Christa, Brenda, Steph, Krista, Shelby, Penny, Ali, Greta, Shannon,
Kevin, Brandi, Tina, Kelly, Maggie, Justin, Kristen, Julie
(not pictured- Don, Tammy, Jen, Julia, Michelle, Ed, Casey)
I am still absolutely amazed by this group of people.  Just like last year, I didn't know everybody on the team.  Friends recruited their friends and the team just grew.  Regrettably I didn't get to meet everyone by the end of the day, but I hope everyone knows how grateful I am to each of you.  We raised a total of $8717!  That's over $1000 more than in our inaugural running!  You are an amazing bunch and I'm so fortunate to have you in my life, if only for one day.  I loved seeing the blue shirts out there along the race course and hearing of friendships forming along the run.  I love everything about doing this!

There are some really noteworthy things I need to share.

~Jenn and Erin ran their first marathon with Team CJ this year (and Erin her first half marathon with the team in 2014!)
Erin crossing that finish line!

~Jared used the marathon as a training run for his first 100k, and "accidentally" PR'd his marathon!
Jared cruising!

~Shannon took First Woman Overall for the Half Marathon!

~Krista took Second Woman Overall for the Half Marathon!
Places 2nd while setting a new PR!!!

~"CJ" isn't the only autistic child for which we run.  Current statistics are 1 in 68, so many of the team know someone.  For example, meet Landon's Entourage!

Our gracious host, RD Bob Stoudt, has already invited us back for next year.  In fact, he's extended an invitation for two of MARC's races, the hilariously fun Humdinger as well as River Towns Half & Full Marathon.  Those details will be worked out later this year.  For now, know that the Humdinger is an early March race and River Towns is early May.

More pressing is what Team CJ is doing this fall.  We're going to be running the Runner's World Half & Festival!!!  And yes, I'm talking about Runner's World the magazine!  This is a fun filled weekend in Bethlehem, PA October 16-18.  Friday is an expo, Saturday is a 5k and 10k, and Sunday is the half marathon.  Team CJ teammates will have the option to run the 5k, 10k, Five & Dime (5k & 10k), Half Marathon, or the Hat Trick (all three races!)  Interested???  Or know someone else who might be?  Contact me!!!
Join the fun this fall!

So finally, I just want to say one more thank you.  You all have inspired and encouraged me and lifted me up.  Your acts of kindness give me such hope for the future and fill my heart with gratitude.  It may have been just a race to you, but it means so much more than that to me.  Thank you.