Sunday, September 30, 2007

Akron Marathon Race Report

It was a beautiful day for a marathon; Akron puts on an extremely well organized and managaed event. When I shook the RD's hand after finishing, I made sure I told him how nice the volunteers, policeman, and citizen were on cheering everyone on.

I got to the expo in the late afternoon; I managed to snag a 60$ pair of Saucony Trigon Ride 4's and some new sunglasses; bought some of Chef Sub-Four Bill Bailey energy bars and some Clif Bloks from Vince; then went over to Mike's place for the evening. Mike's daughter graciously gave up her bed for me for the evening where upon I had a marathon nightmare. I used to have these quite often; I really don't have these since I started running ultras.

The Dream
I was running a marathon. It started at John's farm (the RD from Punxy) out in the country. But it was starting at 5pm in the evening. For some reason, the race was getting postponed until 6 pm, and I realized I would need a light, so I was rummaging through my drop bags for a light. Then I realized everyone wasn't around for the start of the marathon. In fact, most people's attention was at the pond/lake next to the property. Apparently, there was a water monster in the lake- and it was actually Godzilla- yes the monster. So somehow, it was the runner's responsibility to deal with Godzilla somehow. I wanted nothing to do with the monster. I went back to the farmhouse. All ideas of the marathon were now off, and people were just heading out for a run (avoiding the Godzilla area of course.) I was just getting ready to head out with my friend Nick when my phone rang, and I got into some lengthy conversation and my friends ran without me. It turns out it was okay, because they were back soon, because it was about 50 degrees out, and very windy, so they only ran three miles. The last I remember from the dream was, I was walking down a long hallway, and someone was commenting on the runners were going to eat John out of his house, because, for some reason, we couldn't leave until Godzilla was vanquished!

I know, very weird. But I used to have these on a regular basis. Good thing I run trails now, huh?

Mike has to listen to me tell this story at 430 am...he probably wondered where I hid the bottle the night before.
We take the obligatory prerace photo and head down to Akron...a whole ten minutes away. That was sweet, to have a marathon in your backyard!

We hang out for a short bit in my vehicle to catch up, then feel the urge to do the social thing, and run into our fellow runners out there on the blue line.

Mike goes off to the 4.00 corral and I just hang out in the back of the pack, just smiling at the people stretching, and bouncing. People, you'll have plenty of time to get those muscles stretched out, especially if you are running in the 4.30 + group!

It was a nostalgic run for me, since this was my first marathon in 2004. Over the bridge, I catch up to the Akron group, and I yell out their names as I am behind them: Red! Brett! Debi!! Sarah!! Red whips her head around and everyone says hi!! I know I am running a bit fast to be with this gang, but I hang with Red across the bridge and around the corner. We discuss how hot Tony is, since we managed to see him on his way back across the bridge, and then Red pulls away from me as we get back into Akron.

I was suprised how much I remembered from the course, just about the whole thing. I studied this course in 2004; in 2007 I didn't even glance at it. Hey, I will follow who's ahead of me.

I was having a good run, although very slow; my legs tightened up around 11 miles, although nothing really hurt; it just felt like my hamstrings shrunk in half. It was more difficult to walk than run, although I wasn't finding any place to walk on the course-way too flat for me!

I was so appreciative when we hit the towpath trail portion, about 4 miles to get off the asphalt. But my hamstrings were still so tight, I didn't make up any time here at all. The hammies didn't really loosen up until we got into the little undulating hills after the Sand Run Area, the up and down just really helped.

Of course, as soon as the hammies loosened, we ran by Debi's house. I knew it was Debi's house because of all the signs out! I also then noticed Debi's street was made out of concrete...which started to pump the cement back into my hammies again.

Soon we're at Stan Hywet, and I am ready for this to be over! I remember my first marathon, at this same point, I had messed up my Garmin, and was so upset because I wouldn't have my splits proper...and today I didn't even set my watch at all. This was just a training run for me. I was much slower than I wanted to be, but it was good time on my feet.

The last two miles are about all downhill. I made the turn at West Market Street. The police are controlling traffic. They see me start to slow down because of the cars, and they immediately stop traffic for me, and tell me I get priority to cross on this day! This really tickles me, and I thank them and tell them it's cool to have traffic stop because of me! The police and traffic control folks out at all the side streets were really the best!

I hit the downhill, and start to pick it up a bit. Hey, it's less than two miles. I start to eye folks ahead of me. I manage to "chick" six guys on the way to the finish line.

I run into the ballpark, I hear someone yelling "Trail Goddess" (I think it was TJ but not sure) and cross the finishing line in an astonishing PW of 5.25. Yikes!! Oh well. It was a good training run for me. I get my sticker for my free pair of Brooks shoes (all marathon finishers receieved free running shoes) shook the RD's hand, got my medal and went off to look for food!

The Akron Marathon organizes their race so well there is still food left over for us slowpokes, and I managed to cadge a beer off some other finishers in the stands. I know Mike probably has taken off for home with his family (and if not, it's just a 4 mile run/walk home) and I decide to head south. I do stop at the running store, Second Sole, that is sponsoring the free Brooks shoes and I pick up my Radius Shoes. I wore them this morning, for a four mile walk around the block, and they felt good.

I did the ice bath after I got home and still was very stiff! No wonder people only run road marathons a few times a year. It's tough on the body! It's back to dirt for me. I've gotten a better offer for next weekend (a run at Mohican) instead of the Towpath Marathon!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

YUT-C 50K Race Report

What a beautiful day for a race!
A little warm, I'm guessing it was into the 80's around mid day, but thankfully the course is almost completely shaded.
I really love running this course. Mill Creek Park is a real gem of a park set right in the middle of urban Youngstown Ohio. This is a very long, skinny park; the race course follows the shore of three different lakes.
The course consists of two figure eight loops and then one shorter loop to make up the 31 mile distance.

I took the early 7 am start. There was about seven of us this year starting early. We had one runner, Jim, from California! Jim is making his way all over the country, running marathons and ultras. I believe he'll be running 68 marathons this year alone! Jim needed the early start because he needed to finish and then drive to Illinois for the QuadCities Marathon the next day!!

It's just daybreak as we start running, and a little dark in the woods, but nothing where we need lights. We get to the infamous Monkey Trails and I get across the "Love Log" first and manage to snap a pic of Jim traversing it. It sure looks easier on those folks with the long legs getting across it!

Just after the Monkey Trails, you are almost at the covered bridge (we have alot of these in Ohio!) where the aid station is located. Actually, since we're the early runners, there is just water and GatorAde, but no one is in need of food yet, so I top off my water bottle and we continue on.

There is a small section of road along the 'bottom' of the course, because we have to go around the lake (I guess that would be better than going through it) and I encounter my geese hazard. I eye them and give them an 'amscray' and run through them, hoping I am not going to get nipped in the butt by a goose-hey, they're not really nice creatures!!

I have a goal for this first loop, with my early start. Last year, the lead guys caught me around ten miles and passed me. This year, I want to make it back to the start before they catch me. So I am running a bit hard (for me). I pass Shubi with about two miles to the cabin and he thinks I can do it. So I keep going. And I did it! Back to the starting line in 2.5 hours. The lead guy comes in about two minutes later! Ha ha!! (This means they have run the 11-some miles in 1.5 hours..)

I start back on the second loop. For this loop, you reverse direction and just run back the way you just came in. This gives me a chance to now see everyone in the race, and it seems like most of the folks in the Northern Ohio ultra community are out for the race.

I hit the aid station again, this time fully loaded The two boys helping out are the Harris boys, Slim's great kids-thanks for helping out Heath and Eric!! and I go off to go around the lake again.

It's pretty warm out here for this loop, and the road section and the asphalt is a bit warm. But there are really great views, if you pick your head up and look around!

Somewhere out here, I WHACK my left foot into a rock-not hard to do when the trail is as rocky as the YUT-C is. I hit my two middle toes and it hurts pretty bad. I wonder if my toes are broke. I know there is really nothing you can do for broken toes but tape them. So I figure keeping my shoe on so the toes won't swell is my best option if they are broke. I just figured it they were broke, I wouldn't be running the Akron Marathon the next weekend. Just then, a bee comes out of nowhere and stings me! No worries, now my arm hurts worse than my toes!

I'm still having a great run mentally, but know I am running pretty slow. Gee, wonder if that extra twenty pounds has anything to do with it? Hmmm....

I go through the whole gamut of aches and pains-bad headache, quad hurting, arm hurting from bee sting,but you know, it's kind of the normal stuff. I'm still in a very good mood. Sometimes it's amazing how you can separate your mental/emotional mood from your physical pains. Sure, I was hurting, but still having a great time out on the trails.

I get back to the starting line, grab some quick chow, and turn around for the last and shorter loop. This time I am kind of dreading the Monkey Trails, probably because I am tired. But I also know the Covered Bridge is right after them and that will be halfway through the last loop. I know I am not going to make my goal of a sub eight hour race, but I continue to chug along. I've run this course four times now, and it really helps me at races to know where I am. This way I can gauge where the aid station is and drain my water bottle ahead of time.

I start on the little side loop which we only run on the third loop, and I notice this cool little waterfall/pool off the right. The water level is really low in the park, and the waterfalls aren't as spectacular as they usually are:

After this, I climb some stairs and cross a road-where I don't see any Montrail yellow markers. Even though Slim pre-ran the course at 630 am, there has been trail mischief out on the course. I know where to go, here, so I go down the trail, grab some Montrail marker from the course, and hang it where hopefully runners behind me will see it (and someone won't remove it before the end of the race.) As it turns out, Josh who has never run this course before, got lost several times. He probably ran 40 miles instead of 31.

I am finally done with the side loop and heading for the finish line! The last 1/8 of a mile on the road to the cabin is nice and hot, but I still run in for a 8.26 finish-well off my goal, but I had fun out there, as I usually do!

Probably by pushing it on the that first loop, I may have done myself in, but hey, that was my goal to do!
There was soup, pizza and plenty of stuff to eat at the finish line. Josh finally comes in after his 31+ miles. Josh eschews the pizza and goes for the healthy watermelon:

After sitting around and chatting with Josh and trying to pry his future races out of him, we both take off, since I have a two hour drive and he's got a four hour drive ahead of him.

Thanks Bob and the NEO Trail Club, this was another excellent race, I had a great time!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Groundhog 50K Race Report

It was back to Punxsutawney Pa, "The Weather Capital of the World" for another fine 50K race put on by John Goss and the Punxy Runners--just such a first class event.

This year, though, I picked up my co-host Andrew, at the Pittsburgh airport and we ran the race together. Andrew believed me of course when I said the course was runnable and there were only 6 hills. Well, I guess I meant "major hills" aka named major hills. The fun thing in Punxy is they have banners out announcing the hill you are going to run.

This year we weren't as lucky as last year. It was a bit muggy at the 7 am start. We were off and running, about two miles through town, then out past the schools and the first down hill. This is a bit long gradual downhill named "ESPN Hill" and why, the name escapes me for now. We climb up a bit and then I note we are going down the notorious "Two Beer Hill" which apparently it takes two beers of courage for the mountain bikers to go down this hill! (see "T" on the map.) After this huge downhill (all I remember is the fact we have to go back up it at the end of the race) it's just some undulating mix of some roads and jeep roads for a few miles. Andrew and I have a differing opinion on this. If it isn't an asphalt road, it's trail to him.
Note to Andrew: I will publish your race report here if you will write one!

We finally hit the loop that we will run twice. The first hill is "Yellow Bus Hill". It is a really really steep uphill incline. Looking at the elevation profile, I would still say it's tougher than "Two Beer". Andrew hit a bad spot near the top of this hill and we both stopped for a break. As we rested, we got to see Mark Godale running his second loop, running up the freaking hill. Not tromping along. Not trudging. Running!!! And having enough breath left over to talk to us. Unreal!!! It was very cool to see the front runner come through at a race!

Andrew and I continue on. "Cry Baby Hill" seems like nothing after Yellow Bus, and Andrew recovers a bit and gets his sense of humor back. We start on the second loop and take "Yellow Bus" a bit slower the second time. The day continued to be hot and muggy, although cloud covered. I was glad for the sun but we kept hoping for the rain!

The funniest part of the day, (well at least to me) was when we started back through the strip mine area. This did not follow the same route that we took on the way out; we detoured in order to take in yet another hill. Even named. Water Tower Hill. This was the last straw for Andrew and he went off into a very long diatribe about detouring race courses in order to pick up as many hills as possible. I was laughing so hard I couldn't even trudge uphill and he was getting away from me!
As I recovered from my laughing fit, Art Moore, age 69, ultra runner extraordinaire, caught up to us, and chatted with us as we ran through the strip mine (or Death Valley as it is also called, especially when the sun is out). Art kicked our young butts as he broke away from us and we watched him run into the distance....

But we were almost on the homestretch..except we still had Two Beer Hill and ESPN Hill to go up. I used my same strategy as last year to get up Two Beer...walk ten steps, rest for a ten count, then repeat.. We made it up the hill!! Crossed a road and I turned to tell Andrew it was the last year as he jumped across a downed tree and really put his back out. His back had been bothering him for practically the whole run, but this was about the last straw. He went on, though, since we only had 3 miles or less to get through. He's much tougher than me, to run with a bad back!!

We finally get through the last hill, and get back on the road. It's all downhill (really) at this point, except Andrew is telling me it's uphill. I don't know whether he's teasing me or delusional at this point. The run down the dirt road (we compromised and called it a troad) seems really long. The ambulance is behind us again and we think we are the DFL runners. We are hoping we aren't, because the couple behind us was running their first ultra, and we're hoping they didn't drop out.

We turned the corner to finish, and all my local ultra runner peeps are still there, waiting for us-Gabe, Rich, Wendy, Reg, Di! How nice of them!! They knew we were still out there somewhere!!!

We get a nice finishers hat and Andrew gets a glass groundhog for coming all the way from Alabama to be tortured...I went off to retrieve my vehicle and towels for a nice shower. Andrew recovered quite nicely from the run and was already chipper as we headed back to Pittsburgh...stay tuned for a podcast coming soon of our race recollections, I am sure you will get both sides of a race after this one!

I think I now owe Andrew a road marathon race together after this one!

To me,it still was fun. It is a nice challenging course. I still think it's runnable (except for the hills and if your name is Godale) and John puts on one excellent race-thanks John and the great volunteers!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Trail Run Salt Fork

I did the same route that I ran last Sunday, except I did it about twenty minutes faster! I also didn't dawdle or have epiphanies out on the trail like I did last weekend. I broke my rule and ran with my iPod--I really just didn't want to think out there today, just run, so I ran with it at a very very low volume.
I didn't start until almost noon, and thought for sure there would be alot of horsepersons out on the trail. I only encountered two couples out there, which was kind of nice.
Less than one mile into the trail, I tripped and fell!! I swear it was about the same place as last Sunday. Today I was a bit smarter and was wearing capris, so I wouldn't rip my legs up on the briars like last week, so no new skinned knees today!

The run did break through my apathy. I'm going to get up early and run to town and back, about 18 miles. This sleeping in is for the birds--I'm not feeling any better rested!!

Umstead 2008

If you were thinking of this race and haven't registered for it yet, you are probably too late. They had 200 registered about 1 pm September 2 and would reach their online registration of 225 later today. I hadn't quite decided on Umstead but the race filling up quickly made me change my mind. It's crazy! Signing up Sept 1 for a race in April 2008. It's nice that ultra running is getting so popular, but you also have to make your plans well in advance too! If you are just thinking about a race, you might want to register for it! FYI: Massanutten registration opens December 4.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still I Run

It was either 90 or 99 degrees today, depending on what sign you wanted to believe...I think it was closer to 90 myself. I really wasn't feeling the love of the run...I was in my normal tired after-work whininess, and didn't have my daily chat with Andrew to re-energize me to run...but I still put the sunglasses on and the iPod and walked off from the gym to do 4 miles around the block.

I automatically started running at the "bridge" at the end of town. I was running my loop backwards, because at this time of year, the sun angle is different, and I knew I would have more shade this way. The thing is, the 1/2 mile hill is now in the first 1/2 mile of the run, which has caused some shin pain in the past.

I start up the hill, wondering when I will start walking. But still I run. Up the hill. Well, it's not actually running, but it's not walking. And up I go. I'm listening to a podcast, and my brain is kind of frantically waiting for the legs to take a walking break..and still I run.

20 feet from the top, I slow into a walking mode...but I crest the hill and go back into running. The handsome German Shepherd merely barks hello but stays in his yard.
I run down the hill, and keep running. I keep seeing little inclines, and the brain is saying "Oh good, up ahead, we'll walk there" and still I run. The legs were on auto pilot.

I hit the 1/2 point, run across the highway, and noticed the "Road Closed" sign. What? Could it be? Yes, sure enough, the 2 mile section of road that I normally dislike because of the high traffic is closed! The road is practically mine!!!!

It's hot on the asphalt, out of the shaded areas. But still I run on. All of a sudden, I round the last bend, and see my other bridge, my ending point on this side of town. Wow. The body did not listen to the brain for this run. This body wanted to run.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hot Run said 90, the bank sign said 99..well, somewhere in the 90's. The trail goddess invoked her friend Mother Nature again, who obliged by covering the sun with a few clouds on her 3 or so mile run around the park. Man, the park was deserted. Nobody was out! When the sun did peak through, it was hot on the asphalt bike trail. I ran the sunny spots walked the shade. A good little effort in 90 degrees.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Run

Although the temp was about 74 degrees, the humidity was about 98%.I was really hoping for rain, as it would have cleared the air and cooled me down. I did my 9 or 11 mile "around the block" in around 2 hours. I didn't carry a watch or Garmin, just one of those good runs where it felt good to get out there, although I was wearing a ball cap which just makes my head hot.

Around the halfway point, I found my Montrail bottle of water that I had stashed there...oh about a week ago. I was happy to find it still full and looked okay to drink. Which was good, because I then unscrewed the cap of the hand held I was carrying. I had added Gatorade to this handheld, and it had been in my gym bag for, oh, maybe a week...nice black stuff growing on the sides. Yum!! Well, since I had already drank the bottle, I just added the water to the bottle and went on my merry way. If it doesn't kill me it will make me stronger.

I almost had a dog altercation. On my way back to town, I run by a house with a dog. Actually dogs on either side, very narrow drive (road/street) between these houses, more like a driveway. I hear the barking as I go by the house. 3 Golden Retrievers are galloping toward me on the left--no worries, there is one of those awful "invisible fences" but the mutt on the other side is total free.
He comes into the road, hackles up. I had no karma with this dog, I have met him before. I am actually raising my water bottle in defense and hissing at this dog repeatedly " go back. Go HOME. GET BACK" as I continue to move forward slowly. For some reason I wasn't really scared of this 50 lb mutt, but really annoyed at him. He left me at the bridge, at the end of his property. Hmmmph. I might need to stop in and have a talk with the property owner. This isn't the first time this dog has challenged me, and this is a normal route I run!

My knee is feeling fine now, thanks for all the concerns. But I believe the streaking will have to be put into the "difficult" category for me and may best be avoided in the future. Snort.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trail Run

I am back. I really wasn't anywhere, but thanks for the kind enquiries. Increased work load, starting a long-distance learning class, and sucky runs lead to drecreased blogging. Worrying about things beyond my control, for the moment, sucked my creative juices. When Nick emailed about a Mohican run "you know you want to" I said heck yeah.

Nick is running his first 50K in a few weeks, the Haliburton Race which offers a 50K, 50 mile and 100 mile race. I have been interested in the 100 mile since meeting Helen Malmberg, the RD. This was Nick's training run, on the course the three of us knew pretty well: Nick, Tonya, Kim.

Nick wanted to start early, to "Beat the heat" which is typical for August for us, but a cold wave hit, and it was in the mid-fifties when we met up at the Covered Bridge!

It was also still dark, and Kim brought the only light!! So we started on the mountain bike trail, because I knew that was a better trail than the traditional 2 mile hike up Gas Line Hill. In fact,the mountain bike trail was really sweet, lots of switchbacks. I think we end up with the same elevation climb as the traditional Red Loop climb. But a much easier route! In fact, we got to Bridle Staging Area in 47 minutes, where that is normally about one hour for our pace.

It started raining as soon as we started running, but that just made for a very cool day. Very much different than our normal running in August. Running under the trees, we actually weren't getting that poured upon. It was a very good run, it seemed to go fast, with our chatting about the different races we've been at lately, the local running gossip, and upcoming races and plans.

The big news for me was NO BLISTERS!! In feet that were wet as soon as we started, five hours of running in wet socks and shoes, 4 water crossings, NO BLISTERS.

The difference? I really don't know. I wore my road shoes, my Saucony Pro Grid Triumphs. I laced the very top a little tighter than normal. I did not tape my feet at all. Could it be something in the shoe heel area? I'll run exclusively in these shoes if that fixes my problem!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

North Fork Mountain Trail Run

This is a club event of the West Virginia Trail Runners. It is a run on the North Fork Mountain Trail, down in southern West Viriginia. It's actually on the mountaintop behind Seneca Rocks.
The biggest problem with running on top of a mountain is there is no water supply. The plan this year was to drive a bunch of cars to the top of the mountain (driven part the second half runners) for the first half runners to drive back to the campground.

I arrived in the early afternoon at the campground, set up the tent, and retired to the shade. The talk was of the heat of the next day..I was quickly waffling on whether to run the full 24 miles, or start at the half-way point, since I had run the first 12 miles the year theyear before. I actally went over to Seneca Rocks this year, and hiked the 1.5 miles to the overlook. Great view, but stil a hot hazy afternoon. I decided to run with Siobhan, who runs about my pace, and we would run the second half.

We all drove up to the starting point, to drop off the full and first half runners, and to take the obligatory starting line pics. Siobhan and I did not plan this before!

Once we did the scary drive to the top of the mountain, to the halfway point, Siobhan and I took off. The first mile is actually back down the same road, and then we were off on the trail. I actually preferred the second half of the trail, but this time I was ready for the rocks. It's very rocky, pretty technical, but with some good sections of smoother single track. There was also some sections with overgrown mountain laurels, where you had to bring up your hands up to your face to kind of protect it.
The first lead runners (who had already run twelve miles) caught up to us about 20 minutes after we started. A few more people passed us, including some who yelled at us to climb up to a senic overlook.

It was a very hot day out there and we were glad we had only 12 miles to run. The trail gets more rocky. Dan, our fearless leader had cautioned us on two forks in the trail-luckily I was paying attention on a good downhill stretch, and we managed to make the fork. A little distance further, the trail was not marked with the blue blazes, and I had just turned to reconnioter, I was afraid we had taken the wrong fork, when Siobhan's father, Charlie arrived. Charlie was an old veteran on the trail and we were going the correct way. Charlie would run with us the rest of the way, which was good, since we were all getting tired by this point. The last two miles were downhill, but very rocky, and full of loose shale. It was hard to keep the feet under you.

It was good to get back to the campground for cool showers, lots and lots of food, with lots and lots of beer and wine (but that's a whole separate post in itself!!)

I got up way early Sunday, I had been dreaming of a bottle of water--yes I was dehydrated. Once up, I decided to strike the tent and get home earlier than planned. I was home, after my four hour drive, around noon. I was a little stiff after the drive, but I hope to be back next year for the run-next year, really, the full 24 miles!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Burning River Pacing Report

Surprise! That's not Mike I'm pacing in. That is Sean, from Cincinnati. If he seems familiar, Mike paced him for his last ten miles at Mohican. So I did the same for Sean at Burning River.

I was at my aid station all day, getting the runners through at Happy Days. Bob, our Aid Station Captain, would periodically tell Adam and I, (Adam paced Josh) to sit down, rest, take care of ourselves, as we both had 35 miles to go to the finish line.

The night kept wearing on, and we started to get closer to the cutsoffs for our aidstation, I prepared to go. I was ready to go.

Waistpack on, water stowed ready to go. I even received the Shubi blessing as I prepared for battle.

As the night wore on, the temperature dropped nicely for the runners. If you were just sitting around the aid station resting, it was getting a bit chilly.

Josh hit our station with about 40 minutes to the cut off. Adam let out a huge whooop when he saw Josh. I heard it. So did Maria. Josh was all business as he grabbed several handfuls of food, tossed me and Maria a greeting, and headed back out on the trail, a fast aid station stop. He was focused on his race.

Still no Mike. Getting antsier and antsier. It didn't help that, as each light appeared across the field the runners had to traverse, that Pebble kept saying "I see Mike Kim. That's him." And each time it was not Mike.

Finally, about 1228, (our AS Cut off was 1242) I went uptrail to see if I could find my runner. I found Mike, within a 1/2 mile. I told him we were almost out of time, and we started moving a bit faster. When we entered the field, I said I thought we might be at the cut off but we still needed to push it to the AS because I had not co-ordinated my watch with official race time.

It was so good to see the NEO Trail members running toward us on the trail, yelling RUN RUN!! And Mike was running. I know he was hurting bad, but he was running much faster than I was at my cutoff for Mo. We hit the AS and Mike slowed down and I ran through, and the NEO Trail members pretty much pushed us out of the AS down the trail, so quickly that I didn't even have my waist pack! (I had left the AS so quickly before I didn't even think about it.) Brian shortly appeared with it, though, thanks buddy!

Mike stopped shortly up the trail. He was hurting, and didn't think he could make the cutoffs. So we walked back to the AS, which was now being dismantled.

I then went over to the Merrimam AS at Mile 91 Yes, that is Aid Station Captain E-Speed!

This was a disoriented jump in time for me. I had just left the back of the packers, and now I was at the point of the race where the first ten runners or so had just come through. It was kind of like a time travel! I got comfy in an AS chair and put some layers of clothing on, as the AS workers took care of the runners, and I looked to see if I could pick me up a runner.
I heard a familiar voice before long, it was my neighbor Wendy, who was pacing Gabe our 19 year old ultra neighbor. Wendy was snapping at Gabe in the aid station as he tried to dawdle. I looked at my watch and saw Wendy was going to pull Gabe to a sub 24 hour if he didn't waste time. Gabe slumped over the AS table and was singing "I hate Wendy I hate Wendy" as we all laughed. Wendy and I kind of removed Gabe from the AS and they disapeared into the night. Gabe finished in 23.59.32!!!!!!!!!

As I sat there, getting more cold, I thought about who else I knew that was coming through. I knew Sean should be in soon, and Dave P, so I thought I would volunteer to pace either of them in.

Sean showed up first, and gladly accepted the company to the finish line!! Sean did not need a pacer, as he was still in very good shape for mile 91. We alternately walked and ran; Sean did alot of run for his last 9 miles of the race! It was a very nice way for me to end my volunteer time at BR!

Best pic I took at the race. Gabe was crashed out in his sleeping bag at the finish line. I said "Gabe, sub 24" and I got this smile:

Happy Days Aid Station Report

The NEO Trail Club sponsored the Happy Days Aid Station at Mile 65 of the Burning River 100 Race. We had a very good time. We had great organization and flow through the aid station. It helped greatly that we kept crew and family out of the aid station.

Race winner Mark Godale (16.07) checking in at Happy Days

The Trail Goddess had brought the washcloths, and that was a big hit. I received one look of such gratitude from a runner that pretty much made my whole day! It's amazing what a small gesture can do to help a runner with their race.

Race Director Joe Jurcyzk coming by for an inspection:

It really was fun to work the aid station, seeing everyone come in, greet the runners, get them their aid, and kick them the hell out!! I hope we were able to assist someone in finishing their 100 miler on a very tough day out there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Buckeye Trail Aid Station Report

I decided not to run the Buckeye Trail 50K this year. It is held in July, and usually has some of the worst weather of the year-muddy slick trails, hot oppressive muggy weather. So this year it was sunny, cool at the start, dry trails-a picture perfect day to run trails.

I did drive up north with my local ulra-neighbor Gabe. Gabe just ran the Rattlesnake 50K last weekend (along with finishing Mohican) a few weeks ago so he was looking to run along with volunteering.

We helped park cars at the start, then went over to the Boston Store Aid Station. With this being an out-and-back course, we would be the aid station at mile 12 and about 20. Suzanne and I were the bib checkers and split time personnel. Hey now I can say pin your bib number on so it can be read okay!

The Boston Store is siutated right on the towpath, so it is a very busy spot, with runners and bikers and walkers all coming through. So Suzanne and I had a chance to check out all the runners, not just our racers..

Tony came running through with his marathon training group, and Suzanne had to comment on how fit Tony was!

It was both fun and nerve wracking trying to get numbers, especially when the packs came through..and especially as you tried to both write down numbers and shout out to all your friends running!
Mark Godale came through first..he was just smoking. The course was extremely fast and dry this year. Kam Lee eventually beat Mark, with both of them setting new course records with times of 3.55 and 3.56.

As most of the pack came through, things calmed down for a little while, it would take the front runners a little bit of time to hit us for the second time through.
Suzanne and I were chatting, and I started a sentence with " husband"
She blurted out "you're MARRIED?"

I started laughing. Ooops, maybe I don't act like I am married? Hmmm...I thought I behaved myself okay out on the trails. Suzanne went on to say all the guys loved me, and she thought I had my pick of any of them!!

Well, maybe I do, I am the Trail Goddess after all... it was a very nice, if somewhat weird compliment. I love running on the trails with the guys. I will also run with the girls too, but many times I am the only female out there! I'll give any of the guys a run for their money, I might be slow but I can certainly tough anything out!

As the runners started coming back, they were starting to look a little less fresh and a little more tired. We spent more time making sure water bottles were full, seeing how folks felt.

Elizabeth and Melissa return to the Boston Store. As they are running in, this old man on a bike swivels his head around to take a look at them, tangles himself and his bike next to a post, and falls over, THWACKING his helmet on the ground, right in front of us all!
Elizabeth leans over to help, and I tell her "get out of here!! We've got him" or something like that. She's got a race to run and there is plenty of volunteers around to help. They split and we get the old man up--thank god he was wearing a helmet! He was good to go after a few minutes.
He needs to stop watching pretty girls and watch the towpath...

Maria came through the second time, still smiling, still having fun on the trail out there, hardly looking like she ran 20 miles already! (bitch!!)
Red arrived as I was on the phone chatting, and I heard a "I'm going to drop my IT bands hurt" so I got off the phone in a hurry to see what I could do to help. Red had things under control though, in mere minutes she had cute Craig massaging his hands all over her legs. That either helped her or distracted her.
Meanwhile, Debi runs in, still smiling too, looking fresh. They start to settle in here at the aid station, trying to make themselves at home, but we finally tell them to scram. Red disentangles herself from her personal masseusse and they go off for the rest of their fantastic finish!

We start to pack up the aid station about one hour later, and arrive back to see the post race festivities in full swing. Most of my friends have finished, and finished well...the dry course was giving everyone sweet times for their race!!!

I ran into Bob and Jim and Brian, and we had an impromptu unofficial NEO Trail Club meeting where I found I was no longer the token female but still assured of my trail goddess stature. Bob also scolded me for planning to run a road marathon in the fall, so I decided I will run YUT-C instead. Ok, Bob?

I missed Maria's finish because I was sipping adult beverages with the club, but we did wander back over to the finish line to see Red and Deb come in. Of course we waited for you to finish!

Gabe and I headed out not long after that, we had a little drive to go.
It was a really great day. Northern Ohio does have a great community of ultra runners. It was fun volunteering, because I got to see more of my friends this way, and got to give shout outs to everyone as they went through. It seemed most were having good races too.
The talk of the day was the very soon Burning River a brand new trail 100 in Northern Ohio. It seems most the ultra community will be involved in it. If they aren't racing it, they are either volunteering or pacing or both. I'll be at Happy Days Aid Station at Mile 65 before I start pacing Mike at the race. Let me know if you would like to volunteer at my aid station, or any of the others! We can always use more help!