Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chi va piano, va lontano

Less than a week before the World 24- hour race in Italy. To prepare for the race, besides running, I've tried to cram in some Italian. In perusing one of my language books, I came across the phrase, "Chi va piano, va lontano." Translated, it means "He who goes slowly goes far." In English, we would say "Slow and steady wins the race." This phrase very nicely summarizes my 24-hour racing philosophy. I am not very fast so I need to stay at a slow and steady pace and maintain that pace for as long as I can. Typically, I am near the bottom of the runner standings at the beginning of the race. If I do everything right, however, as the hours tick by I slowly climb up in the standings.... We will see how things go in Bergamo. The course looks pretty good - flat, and while there are more left turns than right turns, none look too sharp. Length is approximately .7 miles. The weather forecast is also good with a predicted high of 72 and a low of 52 with 30% chance of scattered showers. For Live Updates of the race, go to the International Association of Ultrarunners website. As you're viewing the updates, just keep repeating, chi va piano, va lontano......

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cleveland to Host 24-Hour National Championship

It's official. Cleveland has been chosen as the site of the U.S. National 24-Hour Championship! The race will be held during the newly created North Coast 24-Hour race, scheduled to take place on Oct. 203, 2009 at Cleveland's Edgewater Park, alongside Lake Erie. I will definitely be running it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

24-Hour World Competitors Announced

The competitors in the 24-Hour World Challenge have just been posted on the website of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). The race is getting more real as I can now focus on who will be running and what the competition will be like.

This year, 65 women from 18 countries are on the list, which is 10 more women than last year. It is good to see the sport growing on the women's side. Also, in addition to more individuals competing, more country teams are also entered for women. This year 14 women's teams are represented compared to 11 teams in 2008. The countries bringing women's teams this year are: Austria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Sweden and United States.

I also noticed that there are 7 women who are older than me. So I have no excuses whining about being the "old lady" on the team :)

In 2008 at the World Challenge in Korea, the French women blew out the field, followed by Japan. Looks like this year Japan is only sending 2 women - since 3 individuals are necessary to compete for team placement, Japan will not eligible for team medals.

Last year in Seoul, the third team spot was hotly contested between Germany and the U.S. We were neck and neck and actually ahead until the last few hours of the race. The Germans, however, pulled ahead eventually and ended up with 7.728 kilometers or 4.8 miles more miles than us.

We have five women on the U.S. team this year, with Jamie Donaldson and Carilyn Johnson returning. New on the team -- and both incredibly strong runners -- are Annette Bednosky and Jen Van Allen. It will be interesting and exciting to see how the race shapes up between the women in Italy. I think the U.S. women will be a force to be reckoned with and I am proud to be on a team with such talented runners.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Springtime at St. Catharines Bon Spiel

Me, Laurel, Karen & Courtney

Since our curling club has been closed for two weeks, we signed up for the Women's Last Chance bon spiel in St. Catharines, Ontario this past weekend. Between now and next November, there will be little curling going on so this was a good opportunity to stretch out our season.

Our first game was on Friday night at 9:00 p.m. On Friday afternoon, we hit torrential rain driving through Ohio, PA and NY. The border-crossing,however, took 1 minute and we were in St. Catharines in record time (about 3 1/2 hours). We had a pre-game drink at the hotel and then headed to the curling club (about 5 minutes away). The bon spiel theme was "Spring Fling" so we attempted to look the part in our matching hats, vests and socks. Our first draw was a St. Catharines team. We ended tied in the 8th end and so had to play an extra half end (each person only throwing one rock). We had the hammer and so had a huge advantage. Unfortunately, we blundered and lost by 1 point.

The next day was better. We played two different Welland, Ontario teams, winning both of them. We ended up winning the 2nd event. It was fun playing on "Canadian" ice. It is much faster and swings a lot more than our ice. It is fun to actually be able to draw behind rocks (hard to do with the straight ice we have at Mayfield). The bon spiel concluded with a dinner, lots of raffle prizes and too much Niagara wine! Afterwards, we retreated to the hotel, drank beers and watched the World Men's curling competition on TV (Canada vs. Japan).

We were rousted early on Sunday morning with the hotel's fire alarms blazing. False alarm but this got us all moving. It seemed like a good idea the night before to have a "Team run" in the morning. We actually followed through with it (Laurel and Courtney are not regular runners) and ran through downtown St. Catharines for about 40 minutes. We then hit the road and arrived back in Cleveland in time for me to get in a 2-hour run before dark.