Saturday, December 27, 2008

The tide has turned

I believe! It's been almost 20 hours since I spent any quality time in my bathroom. I did manange to read about half a book, "River of Doubt" whilst being sick. It's a good read, about Teddy Roosevelt's bungled trip exploring a river in the Amazon Forest in 1912.

I think I will get the dogs out for an early walk, and then attempt a 4 mile walk around the block. I would say run but I don't want to crash myself. A nice fast paced walk would make me happy at this point.

I seemed to have weathered this sickness with a 6 lb weight loss. While not thrilled how it occurred, hopefully I can capitalize on this and keep eating healthy. That should not be a problem, at least for today. Toast is looking exotic for breakfast again!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Still Sick

Realized I've now been laid low since Monday afternoon and rapidly getting tired of this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Race Waffling

Ok, after Nick's ultraholic tagging, that made me look into the 2009 Applachian Crossing. This is only for members of the West Virginia Trail Runner's Club. This is a four day epic adventure across the Eastern Continental Dvide. This is around 120 miles, up and down mountains, Sept 3 through the 6th. I am definitely in for this. I have a running partner lined up; as that is one of the rules you have to be with another person for safety.

So this brings me to the question of running Burning River. It's the first weekend of August. I usually recover pretty well from 100s so I should be ok. But with another person depending on me to be ready to go Sept 3, I don't want to let that person down if I get hurt somehow.

Another consideration is money. The race fee goes up after December 31 for BR. There is no fee for the AC, although it will cost about 100 bucks per person to cover supplies.

So I'm not sure right now if I will run BR. Any comments?

Laid Low

It's my turn at the old stomach flu.No work out yesterday and certainly not today~!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Treadmill Today

I watched "Shaun of the Dead" while treading. The first 60 minutes, I walked, with a 5% grade, increasing that to 10%. That's quite a good workout!
The last 20 minutes, I used the intervals feature on my treadmill. Also a good workout, kept me at a 5% incline, and then 60 second intervals at 6MPH (making me work at a 6 MPH time). That was kind of fun (as much fun as a treadmill can be) so I might try more of the treadmill's built in programs just to mix it up.

Tomorrow is a gym day. I'm going to work on some more efficient moves at the gym.

Shortest Day of the Year

And first day of winter. It's been winter-well winter weather here in Ohio since mid-November with what seems like below normal temperatures.
I ran 10 miles on the treadmill yesterday. Watching "trash TV" helps. I went through "the Biggest Loser" "You are what you eat" and a little "what not to wear".
I wore my Akron Marathon Brooks for the first 5 miles. I developed tightness in my shins, and then decided to switch out to an old pair of Saucony. I think I will keep the Brooks for gym work rather than running.

The reason I ran inside was this is "Bonus Weekend" of deer gun season. It still is prudent to choose an alternate route to run. Today will also be another inside run.

I am thinking of a trail run at Salt Fork State Park on Friday, December 26. I have the day off from work and want to get a nice trail run in that day. Email me or leave me a comment if you might want to join in!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uneventful run

Cold temps, about 30, mix of sleet/light snow. Had the "Tin Man" run since my legs are still stiff from the FA Saturday. On Sunday I walked about one hour on the treadmill, and Monday was core work at the gym. I'm really pleased with my core workouts; time to step them up a notch!

The salt trucks were out in full force on my drive home. We're supposed to get hit with snow/freezing rain/snow so at least the DOT is well prepared for this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I opted for the 50K at yesterday's URINEO FA. I arrived at Mill Creek Park a little after six. To my surprise, there was at at 10-12 vehicles already parked there! In fact, a group of six or eight runners were just heading out. I waved them on, since I wasn't ready-I had to change shoes, add shirts, and arrange items at the Aid Station-aka my vehicle.

I donned two long-sleeved shirts and a windshirt. I knew it was too much clothing, but it was only twenty degrees at the start! I also was wearing a fleece balaclava. I was trying to protect my air passages. After so many hours outside in the cold, my wheezing will start up (it doesn't seem to matter if I use my inhalers or not).
I got under way quickly. It was dark, so I made my way out cautiously. In fact, I missed the first trail turn, and the trail dumped me out on the road! So I ran down the road-after all I knew what I was doing. I turned off my light since I didn't want the park rangers to see me (didn't know if I was there legally or not!)

I heard two loud runners and then spotted Slim and Bob running my way. I yell hi and we all stop and chat. They've already been out since 5AM; Bob is sporting a nice bloody cut on his hand. He's taken a fall and got 'first blood' of the day. They are heading back to greet the 7am runners. I keep going, knowing the 7am runners will catch up to me soooner or later.

Although it's cold, I'm enjoying the run. I've run in Mill Creek Park a number of times, and know where I am going. I pass Volney Rogers field, with its tennis courts and football fields, and start down a long gradual downhill, and
WHAM!! I catch a root and take a full body slam down. I've literally knocked the air of myself. I rip off my balaclava and light and roll to a sitting position. I feel like throwing up. My knee is hurting horribly. I finally get by the tossing cooky feeling and roll over to my feet. Nothing is broke. Is my knee sprained? It still hurts. I start limping down the trail. Oh well, walk for a bit and see what happens. I'm cursing myself because I'm only two or so miles into the run! Gradually the knee goes into a throb. But now I'm being cautious on downhills, which I normally take with a good amount of confidence.

Slim, Dave, and Lloyd run by at some point and we get a hi out. Dave and Lloyd are both in MMT this year!

We are running the loop from the Lily Pond to the Covered Bridge and then back. I wore the Garmin, and it showed 31.52 miles for the 4 loops I ran. On the second lap I picked up my camera, and ran a bit of this run with Bob and did some talking. When we got near the Covered Bridge, we had some of the NEO Trail Runners on the other side of the creek and got some talking going on. I readied my camera for a group photo-and found the camera non-functioning due to the cold-batteries not working! Yes, it was still that cold!

Rich opted to turn and run with Bob and I, as we hadn't talked much in a long time. Also, Jeff and Frank had caught up to us, so we had merry little group of runners along for a while.

About the end of loop two, the other runners have gotten ahead of me. I'm hitting a bonk. My hip flexors are hurting alot-maybe I've been overdoing the weights,and I'm suddenly out of energy. Luckily, I'm back at the vehicle soon, and I get a bunch of food and some ibuprofen in. I get back on the trail, and catch up with Rich and Bob in a few miles. They're walking (which is almost a jog for me) and we end up walking most of this lap.

This is a valuable to me, because I think I am walking faster than usual. (I need to look at my Garmin data) And I think the walking was good, because I didn't feel as fatigued as I normally do starting loop 4.

Bob and Rich (and almost everyone else) were done with their 50Ks, while I still had another loop to go. This didn't bother me at all, so I think I've developed a little more running toughness. Sure, I would have loved to been done and drinking a little home brew, but I was out on a 50K run today, and that's what I was going to get in. So I ate quickly, and headed out on lap 4.

I picked up my Zune for this, since I knew I would be alone, and put on a running playlist. I also started eating chocolate espresso beans, which did huge things for my mood!! And fatigue factor. I still felt good out there on the trail, although the sunlight was turning down setting now.

As I crossed the Covered Bridge, I noticed a family trying to take the "timer photo" so I stopped and asked if I could help them. They were very happy to get their family Christmas picture (they were a cute couple with a baby) so I felt good about that unplanned two minute stop.

I just kept counting down the various little points on my last loop. I ran into Slim on the Monkey Trails-he was almost done with his 50 Miler! So after the Monkey Trails, I just had the Stone Bridge, Volney Rogers Field, and then the steel staircase, and then I was just about home free!!!

I clicked off at the Lily Pond at 9.29.59, at 31.52 miles. I don't stop the watch at all, and I would guestimate I spent at least 15 minutes at the AS, so not a bad time.

The trail was in very good shape. It was frozen, and still had a layer of leaves, which meant, if you had screwed shoes, they would dig in. And in some areas, the leaves gave some good traction. There were very small patches of ice (unlike the spring FA, where there are long areas of ice) but very mangeable.

Since I was the last in, and everyone still had a few minutes of free time, five of us adjourned to Jib Jab's Hot Dog Stand (or something like that) for hotdogs and fries!MMMmmm good post ultra food!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Desolation Run

I got out of work. It was gray. Gray, gray, gray. I headed over to Lake Park. It was desolate. Not a soul in site. I decided to take my camera and show everyone the bleakness and total lack of color in Ohio in winter.
So I started snapping pictures. But a funny thing happened. I kept trying to see the usual landscape as ugly, and desolate. But I couldn't. Even in winter, there is always beauty in nature.

I realize as I took this picture that I'm so used to the pool being closed (it's only open Memorial Day through Labor Day) I'm usually startled when I run by and it's full of people!

Heading toward the bridge, over the Tuscarawas River:

Another small pond. I'm running toward Roscoe Village right now:

Sometimes I will run over to Roscoe Village, just to extend a 1/2 mile onto a run:

Usually, it's pretty slow going through here, because of car traffic and running on bricks through the village. It's very pretty in the summer

My tour of Roscoe over, heading back toward Lake Park. The bike trail is very safe; you don't have a cross a road while on the bike path.

The white jugs are luminaries. I might try and get a twilight run in where they've gone through and lit all the candles.

This is the bigger lake at Lake Park. You can rent paddleboats for it. Lots of folks fishing on it in warmer weather:

As I ran back toward the river, I heard them! Murders of crow!! Hundreds of crows in the trees and on the empty cornfield, making a cacophony of sound! I wish I had a recorder so you could hear them!

I kept trying to snap pics of them, as they rose out of the trees, but alas, my camera kind of sucks at that. My camera batteries also became "exhausted" (their words on the screen, not mine) and that was the end of the photo journey.

So, my point is, I was originally trying to show how dank and dark and ugly my area was in the winter. But after a few steps of running, I couldn't do it. The mood lifted and I found lots of wonderful interesting items to look at, even in the middle of a gloomy grey winter afternoon. Must be those endorphins!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainy Day

again, here in Ohio. I decided to hit the weights and core at the gym. There wasn't too many people around, so I tried the hanging ab strap thing. You know, this machine and was impressed that I was able to do it. I also tried a different program on the stair master, it almost beat me...but not quite. I luv that stair master!

I've heard that Oprah got fatter is a good
blog post about her weight gain. He's got a good point. Good grief, she's got a personal trainer, a chef, and she still gains weight? It appears she's playing the "thyroid card" which I really can't stand. So if Oprah and her charmed life can't lose weight, what about the rest of the women in this country?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

4 Mile Run today

Nothing fancy, just four miles in Lake Park. It was cold, about 26 degrees. But it's all comparisions. I'm happy I ran Slim Pickins two weeks ago-hey, if I can run 10 hours in 20 degrees, I can certainly run less than one hour in 26 degrees.

Note to self: either use the albuterol inhaler pre or post run. Even though it was only 4 miles, I did find myself with a bit of a coughing fit (asthma related) afterward. And having the inhaler in the gym bag in the back of the vehicle didn't help!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Peoli Turkey Trot

Well, the Peoli Turkey Trot didn't happen today. Due to some domestic problems (no, nothing like that, our water tank ran dry) and travel up north, I hopped on the treadmill for 3.79 miles. Burned 400 calories. Ha ha! That covered about 1/2 a dinner roll.

A record for me: I had 3 pieces of pie today. Key Lime, Blackberry, and Cherry. And all was good. No pumpkin for me. (I don't like pumpkin pie.) And nope, I don't even feel guilty about it. It's one freaking day people.

Back to the gym tomorrow, weight training day after work.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slim Pickins 2008 FA Report

The weather held up for the annual Slim Pickins FA...meaning it was cold and snowy. It was about 17 degrees at the start of our adventure..

Runners that braved it out L to R: Dan, Slim, Little Pebble, Kimba, Gombu, Les, Roy, Eric

This years Slim Pickins started at Ohiopyle, PA, at the zero mile marker of the Laurel Highlands Trail, and was an out and back to mile 26, which was Seven Springs Ski Resort.
Since this is a FA, you can run any distance you want to. My original plan was to go to mile 18 and then turn and run back. Second thought was to run until noon, and then around, because, depending on the weather, I did not want to be out late into the evening in the dark and cold.

Pennsylvania just got dumped on with snow on Friday, as you can see from the sign, between 6 inches and around 12 inches or so of snow. Luckily, since I am slow, the path was being beat down in front of me-thanks guys!

I have only run the Laurel Highlands Trail from mile 18 down to mile 13, and then the section Mile 70 down to 38, so this start, from mile zero to eighteen, would all be all new trail to me.
Eric, who is a new member of the NEO Trails Club filled me in on the first section of the trail, with the "grueling" uphill around mile six.
Eric was dead on. Check out the elevation chart:

Actually, check out the first six miles of trail. There is two good downhills-and the only problem with this run is it is an out-and-back. Meaning "what goes down must come back up" and I thought of this as I flew down hill. I caught up with Bob Combs, our fearless leader, walking. Bob's walk is fast as my shuffle. Bob and I started up the big hill. It's about 1.5 miles straight up, around 1500 feet of elevation.

Bob was right behind me. And he was very kind. He didn't say anything, like "can't you go any faster" or anything. I didn't look back. I figured he was running hill repeats up and down behind me, or painting a watercolor painting, and waiting for me to get another ten feet up the hill. And I didn't stop either. We finally get to the top and rewarded with the blustery winds now that we are on top of the ridge. I stop to put my windshirt back on, since I am completely drenched in sweat after our little climb.
The snow on the ridge, for about 1/4 mile, was deep. The guys had more or less post holed through this section, and it was tiring. My strides don't match these taller guys. But soon the snow diminished and the trail became actually runnable again:
Bob pulled away from me as I had stopped to put my windshirt back on, and it was a very nice day running by myself. The weather was good, yet cold, the trees and woods very pretty with the snowfall.

I was getting very thirsty. I had carried two handhelds, 20 oz, and had drained those. We had aid stashed at mile 11, and 2 bottles for 11 miles is just not enough for me, not after all that sweating. So when I got to mile 11 I was relieved to see the water jugs had not frozen through. I checked my watch, and saw it was getting rather late. I decided to just run to mile 15 and then run back.

Right at mile 14 I ran into Dan and Brian coming back:

They had decided for the 50K option also. I felt better about my decision, and after a quick snapping of pics we parted.

My pics are blurry because I set my camera on a rock for a self-portrait, and it promptly slid off the rock right into a big snowdrift. You try cleaning off a camera in the cold!
This was taken by Les, who was visiting from Minnesota.

Les had been only about 1/2 mile behind me the whole time. He suggested we run together, except he wanted to go that extra 1/2 mile to make it "exactly" a 50K. What the hell, what was another 1/2 mile. We ran into Bob returning, who had gone to mile sixteen and was going back. Bob reminded me of two important things: Remember there would be three big climbs in the last 4 miles, and he would be at the microbrew pup right at the trail head after we finished.

Les and I went to the official 15.5 mile mark, where he wrote 50K with a smiley face in the snow and we turned to go back. It was very good being with Les, he is a very experienced ultra runner with years of experience. He told me about Leadville, and Pike's Peak, and made the miles from 15 to 11 go by quickly. We stopped for aid at mile 11, and we stayed together for about 1/2 mile more. Then I stopped for a pitstop, and the wheels kind of fell off at this point.

Other than being out of shape, I don't know what else to attribute it to. I had just ate and drank, so maybe that had not caught up yet. The trail was runnable (read shuffable here) but I couldn't get it out of a zombie walk. So I ate some more, hoping that would help. I could not seem to catch back up to Les. I comforted myself knowing that around mile 8 or so the big downhill would start, so that would help with my time.
I got to the big downhill, and while it was not as tiring as it was going up, it was a bit more dangerous. It was still light out, but total ice in patches. Still, I made it down, and started thinking about the 3 big "climbs" I had still coming.

I was just starting to get a bit of a wheeze going, with my exercised-induced asthma, but I didn't want to use my inhaler, because I could feel my heart rate was already sky high. When I hit the first of the big climbs, I would walk twenty paces uphill, then stop for ten breaths. This took me forever!!
FINALLY I saw mile marker 3, and then two, and then one. Man I was so happy to see that end of the trail. And even more happy to see an open brew pub right at the trailhead! I walked into warmth and friends sitting at the bar. They stared at me and told me to turn off my headlight!!!
What a joy to have hot food and a beer right after a run! Brian, Bob and I sat waiting for Slim and Roy to finish. Eric had run to the ski resort to mile 26 and had his dad pick him up there, so we knew where our remaining runners where.

All in all, another great run put on by some very cool folks! My quads are stiff today (Sunday) as I type this!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Ohio Race: Forget the PR 50K April 19 2009

There is a new Ohio 50K available for trail runners now: The Forget the PR Mohican 50K which will be on April 19, 2009.

The Forget the PR Mohican 50K is in Mohican State Park Campgrounds in Loudonville, Ohio.

The race promises to fit the name "Forget the PR". This will be a challenging, hill infested, technical running, lakeside, riverside, covered bridge and resort style packed race. Basically, this race is going to work you.

If Mohican or Loudonville sound familiar, that is because the Mohican Area is where the Mohican Trail 100 Race is held. But this is no "50K" part of the Mohican 100, this is a new course taking in other trails AND some of the Mo course.

Rob Powell the Race Director, is promising a good hard fun (well, maybe fun isn't the right word..well, it is to me!)50K. This isn't going to be the course for you to post a PR on!

Registration is open now for the race, go to the Website for all the details.

Since I have Umstead on April 4, I thought that was a little too close for a 50K. So I am the Aid Station Captain for the Fire Tower. I will be contacting you soon to either work my AS or run the race!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Orange Trail Salt Fork

Gorgeous day for a trail run. I was down in Salt Fork again. This time I had my Garmin, which tells me my orange trail loop is 7.2 miles. And I found a spot to drop water off around mile 3, which will make water restocking much easier!

See, this pic was taken while running, and I was running so fast that the trees in the background were a

Just found a cool post by Lana. I spent alot of time on this run reflecting and thinking about future runs and goals. I need goals. I need to have something to train toward and plan toward. I'm thinking a little about Rocky Raccoon again. With it being the first week of February, it would make me start to really train-not just exist and toddle along like I feel I have done for most of 2008-but really train for my next 100.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two other things from the Momentum Race..

First, the smell!!

As I ran through the evening in Virginia, I kept smelling the same smelled like food of some sort, very familiar, except I could not put my finger on it. The odor would come and go in certain areas of the trail.Finally, around 3am, I recognized it! Sliced cucumbers! Something in the woods smelled like cucumbers!

I came home and googled it..and it was not a race hallucination.

"trans-2-Nonenal was identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis as the cucumber odor in the cucumber/farinaceous subgroup of mushrooms with farinaceous odors". Of course, I then had to look up "farinaceous" which is, Farinaceous or mealy. Often compared to the odor of cucumbers, watermelon rind, or an old grain mill. Common in many mushrooms, including Polyporus squamosus, Agrocybe praecox, Mycena galericulata, Tricholoma sejunctum, Clitopilus prunulus, and Entoloma abortivum Believe it or not, the cucumber/farinaceous sub-odor has been upheld by chemical research (Wood et al., 1994) as a valid distinction, and the chemical trans-2-Nonenal has been identified as being responsible for it."

Of course, when I told my husband about the cucumber smell, he whipped his head around and said "That was a copperhead snake smell" and you know, I googled that too!

"Copperheads smell like cucumbers. You may have heard someone say you always know when a copperhead is around because it smells like cucumbers. This is both true and misleading.

Yes, copperheads and most other kinds of snakes give off an offensive odor when molested, cornered or captured. This defensive odor, produced by glands at the base of the tail, is given off at will and may also be mixed with feces. To some individuals this musk may smell somewhat like cucumbers"
Given that I had seen plenty of mushrooms around the trail, I would have to go with the cucumber mushroom smell, not big dens of copperhead snakes all over the race

No fainting! Or rather, as Mongold or Casseday would say, no vasovagal syndrome. I was prepared for it though. I changed shirts after I finished, then went to sit outside in the colder air, waiting for that familiar roaring in my ears, to know it was time to slide off the bench and put my feet up higher than my heart.

It didn't happen. WTF? Maybe this only happens after I cross the 75 mile barrier (all fainting and puking stages have been after 75 miles before). I was quite happy to sit on the bench, resign myself that I was okay, and went back inside to eat a pancake or two!

I've been very tired after this race. OR maybe three races in three weekends-a 50K, a marathon, and 24 hours- is around my limit. This was pretty much my fall racing weekend, although I've been eyeing the Presque Isle Run in two weeks. It's more the fact that many friends are doing the race than anything else. So who knows, you may see me sooner than later!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

24 Hours of Momentum Race Report

Ok, I'm finally home from work Tuesday with a race report!

I drove down to Virginia on Friday, about an 8 hour drive. I camped out at the race, which was at Camp Brady, a Boy Scout Camp. (A huge Boy Scout reservation, actually!) Since the race did not start until noon, it was very strange to wake up and just lounge in my sleeping bag before breakfast pangs sent me to find food.

After food, it was time to tape the feet and arrange the food and clothes. My tent was right on the race course, so it would be a quick and easy stop for anything that I needed. As I set up, someone walking by yelled "hey are you Kim? I loved your podcast!" Wow, someone knows me way down here in Virginia, and remembered our podcast. It turns out to be Dave, who now has his own podcast, called Running in the Center of the Universe. Dave was on a relay team, and looks like he's already got a podcast out about the race!

It seems like the 24 (and 12) Hours of Momentum Race has about doubled in size from its inaugural year. There were more relay runners than soloists out there, and I believe more 12 hour soloists than us crazy 24 hour runners.

We're off promptly at 12 noon, and I watch just about the whole race scamper away ahead of me. Whatever. I got all day. And all night.

When I first started reading up on running a 24 hour race from the running gurus, they all talked about 'strategy', like running 5 laps and walking one. Humpf. My strategy is my typical ultra running strategy-walk the uphills, run the downs and flats. Besides, I wanted to see what the trail looked like, since this was advertised as a 5 mile trail loop.

And trail it was! This was a tough course! It was alot of little ups and downs, never ending. Some flat sections, but mostly rolling up and down. Luckily it had not rained much, so the trail was packed down dirt, but if it had been wet it would have been slick. It was pretty rooty also.
Now when I say tough, it's tough because you are repeating loops on it. If you were just running it, say 5 or 10 miles, it would be a fun little workout. But repeated loops, the ups and downs (and mainly the little downs) will take its toll on your legs.

I ran with 2 ladies running the 12 hour solo, and they were not real pleased with the trail, seeing as they were from Virginia Beach and it was flat there. I tried to give them encouragement, since I'm Ms. Happy Positive Trail Goddess out there on the trails. They were also worried about the night running with all the roots. I told them it would be good practice for them. I hope they ended up with a good experience out there, I think the trail was a bit more than they had expected!

I think it was in the first loop that we came upon a female runner, who had stopped. She said there was a snake in the trail, a "big black snake". I said, man, I forgot my camera, and we 4 females went forward. Yep, there was the snake, about 3 feet long, pretty small as black snakes go. Since he didn't want to move, I just detoured about 3 feet into the weeds around him. The other females followed, as I remarked "Mrs Snake" should be around here somewhere. Sometimes I can't help it...

Starting at noon, we hit the heat of the day head on, but it wasn't too bad, the trail was mainly shaded, and I knew it would cool off soon. I was pretty much just enjoying my run, noticing new things on each lap. I had landmarks to look for as soon as the 2nd lap, something to look forward to. The first mark was the "Pirate Ship" a boat constructed at the edge of a pond. Boy Scouts were there for the first 5 hours of the race, fishing and having fun as we ran by. The second mark was the long switchback. The third mark was the unmanned water stop (with Portopotty nearby) around the 3.5 mile mark. Next was "the snake area" to look forward to. Next mark was the lake. When we hit the lake, there was probably less than one mile to go. Actually, this area was the most treacherous, with roots ready to trip you up here.

I maintained a good pace and stops for me. I would decide ahead of time what I wanted out of my own stuff to eat. The first 3 laps I did use just Hammergel, then I added a Payday bar. Around 630pm or so, I ate a small amount of spaghetti and garlic bread at Race HQ. I had learned my gluttony lesson at this year's YUT-C 50K about over eating so I made sure I kept it to a small portion.

Darkness finally fell, and I reluctantly donned my headlamp. I really like my Myo Exp headlamp, but wearing it for so long does drive me crazy. I also picked up my tunes on the first night loop.

On my drive south, I discovered I had broken my Zune somehow. There was nothing on it but 3 songs and whatever podcasts I had synched the night before. Luckily, I had brought the fully charged backup iPod, so I started listening to that.

I have gotten better at night running,and staying awake during night runs, and this race was a good learning experience for me, since I was alone and had no pacer. Music helps me alot! I need the stimulation to keep me going. I've also learned to start caffeinating early-I started drinking coffee around 10pm. I was also eating small amounts steadily.

Of course, you slow down much more at night and this was no exception. It did help that I had been on the course numerous times now, so it was much more familiar. I just kept the tunes, food, and caffeine going.

I always came into the race HQ smiling, and Mark, the RD, commented on it finally. I didn't tell him I was the Trail Goddess, since he didn't know me that well, but I did say I'm always happy to be out on the trail. And when you come into a nice warm place, where folks are smiling and cheering you, well, of course you should radiate that back!

My iPod finally gave up the charge and I switched to my Zune. I was so happy to see I had a few "upbeat" podcasts to listen to, like "Munchcast" and an episode of Running with the Pack, where they mentioned Ashland Dave, who I had just met earlier that day! Small world!

It's alway darkest before the dawn

I was doing pretty well at night. But as the night wore on, I was sick of drinking water, sick of eating, tired of being tired. I got back to race HQ about 5am, and knew I still had almost 2 hours to go before daylight. Boy I was crabby at myself. I bitched and moaned to myself as I walked down the slippery hill out of the race HQ. Funny, stopping was never an option, but I was just crabby. I had picked up one of my horrible junk food options-a chocolate pie and a cup of coffee. I told myself I would go on, no stopping, and I could walk the whole damn loop if that's what it took. So I took my time, eating my pie and drinking coffee, pretty much walking most of the loop.

And then the sun came up..

And miraculously, all was well again in the universe. I loved myself again. I loved the trail and running. I had energy. All was great.

But, at this time, the legs weren't going too well. I was at the point of starting to turn sideways for the downhills. As I ran in the sunlight, I saw my shadow. Then I walked, and looked at my shadow. I believe I was walking faster than my shuffle along.

I stopped after this lap, 12 laps in around 21 hours. But, to my surprise, I actually ran 13 laps, for a total of 65 miles. (20:56) I can't believe I messed up counting, but the ultra brain pretty much dies after 30 miles or so. I was also 4th of 8 solo runners! Ha ha! I'm liking this 24 hour running thing. I may be slow, but I'm determined. I can place higher in a race due to my stubborness and focus on relentless forward motion, no matter how slow!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race # 2: Akron Marathon Race Report

Beautiful day for a race. Cool temps. As I walked into Mikey's house he commented on my "carefully chosen marathon shoes" which were dirty. I had just picked up one of my pairs of Saucony road shoes and brought them.

After listening to some cool Daft Punk in the car, we started for the start line. Mikey got felt up by Rob but I got nothin'. Sigh. I went to stand in the potty lines, but they were too long, and I got back to the 430 pace area so as not to lose Mike. Here we met up with Brett,Red and Bob. Kurt was there, gave me a quick hug, then shot off toward a faster group.

Mike and I had goals. First goal was to see Tony the Tiger come back across the Y Bridge. I told Mike he would be shirtless, and Mike said no-first bet. Yep, we saw Tony and yelled wildly for him. I also got to see Wendy, my elite runner neighbor, as she headed back across the bridge too!

Seeing as I hadn't made it to the potty before race, I told Mike I wanted to stop at the second group, but it was too crowded. But we lucked into seeing the lovely Debi, who was back from her broken leg, looking good out there!

We headed back into the city of Akron, and the second water stop was out of water, to our surprise, and to many others dismay. Wow, there must be many more runners out there. The next two water stops were rather sparse, but after that, everything was fine.

Mike and I were having a great time, talking about everything, still running a nice slow race. The course quiets down after the 1/2 marathoners peel off at around the 10 mile or so mark, and we hit the flat towpath, very humid.

Where we find food

The Summa Health folks have the water stop at around mile 13. Mike spots blueberry muffins and asks we can have one. Yes! Real food! Solid food! We slow down to walk and stuff our faces with our muffins. Ok, I am much happier! Running through the woods, eating!
I'm glad Mike was with me. My hamstrings were getting very tight, and I knew I would have been even slower had Mike not been with me.
We turned onto the Sand Run portion of the race, and were so involved in talking that we were up the section, and I was "oh, we're at the top already."
Around this area, we start encouraging runners that we overheard were running their first marathon. Mike was very good about telling them what was upcoming on the course. Mike kept talking about Garmin hill, and I finally remembered it. Oh geez, it's only about 20 feet long!

Probably the hardest section for me was the concrete section through the "Neighborhoods" because the concrete sucks all energy out of my legs. But the folks who have persevered through partying for 4+ hours and still yelling encouragement helps. I had started yelling "you can do it"!! around mile 2 or so. And a couple times I had to yell back to people "Yes, I can do, I will finish!!!"

We had just passed out of Stan Hywet hall, when Mike remarked we had not heard the infamous "you're almost there" yet. A traffic control person (some 20 feet away) must have had awesome hearing, because he bellows out after us "Hey,you're almost there!!!!" and just cracked us up!

Elizabeth comes running toward us around this point. She's finished the race, pacing her group in, and now she's turned around, and running back to pace her cousin Noreen in! Man, Elizabeth is a bundle of energy out there!

We caught another first-timer running along this street, and tried to pull her along with us. This street is notoriously longer than it seems, and I finally saw the light for West Market Street, and yelled out to Mike. At least 4 others around us said "What's West Market Street" and we were happy to give them the news that it is the left turn for the almost two mile downhill to the finish.

We turn onto Main Street, and Mike coaxes a relay runner to break into a jog with us, and she manages a few blocks closer to the finish.

We hit the finish line in a blistering 5.30~~hey, plenty of time to clain our free pair of Brooks running shoes!!

Special mention: Our friend Tony the Tiger set a new course record for the masters in 2.56.34!! Nicely done Tony!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I feel good. The quads are not in tight knots as they usually are after a Mill Creek Park run. I attribute that to the direction of the run. In the past, we would run a loop, then reverse direction and run. The reverse direction seems to have more steeper downhills that trashes the quads.
I came home from Youngstown, had my ice bath, showered, and then had a glass of wine and went to bed. Oh yeah, on the way back from Y-town, I also had a Recoverite drink from Hammer Gel. I have been having very good results after using this. In the past, after long races, I would get random cramps and twitches in my legs, sometimes even to wake me up in the night. After using Recoverite, I don't have any of that.

I slept in this morning, and woke up to no leg cramps, and just some stiffness. I went out for a walk/run around the block. I walked for a mile, then ran a mile (a nice long downhill), then walked another 1/2 mile, then ran 1/2 mile, then walked about another mile home. This seemed to help out tremendously, although the stretching is still on the agenda for today.

I'm paying to my recovery closely this time because this race was just the first in my trifecta. Next up: Akron Marathon Saturday!

YUT-C 50K Race Report 2008

I was so happy to be on the road for this race! I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Mill Creek Park is a park hidden with the city of Youngstown Ohio. Yet it has woods, lakes, creeks, and technical trails. Who would think!

I took the early 7am start since I am a slowpoke. About six other joined me in the brightening hours.

Julie and Pru on their second 50K

The group separated quite a bit before the Monkey Trails and I was running by myself. The first almost vertical hill had been rerouted by a gradual climb up the side of the hill and my quads thank NEO Trails for that today!

The windstorm that rocked Ohio Sunday even hit way over in Youngstown. But alas, the Love Log is still in the same place. I did my usual graceful "lay down on the log and roll over" it.

I was having a great race! I was running pretty fast (for me). In taking the early start, like last year, I wanted to set a goal of when the regular racers would catch me. With the change of the course direction, my goal this year was to be back to the Covered Bridge AS, having completed the lower loop before the front runners caught me.

I was also running a bit too fast for the first 10 miles of the race, but you know, I just didn't care. I decided to adopt the philosphy of "go out fast and blow up later" cuz I was just having a good time out there. The weather was cool and beautiful, the trail was dry, everything was great!

I finished the first lower loop, where runners who started the 8am were still running in to begin their first loop. This was fun, because now I was seeing friends whom I mainly had not seen since Burning River, since I spent the whole month of August running races in WV.
The first male caught me at 9.47 miles, where I had already started down the trail on my second loop-check! First goal achieved. I was still doing very well out on the trails, taking my S Caps, eating some gels, ClikBlok Shots on schedule.

Where I make my Race Mistake

I get back to the Covered Bridge AS. I spot a cup with tomato/V-8 juice and drink it down. Then I grab a can of Ensure, drink 1/2 of it, then decide to finish it. Then I drink some Coke.

You know where this is going....
I start down the trail, get to say hi to Dave Peterman as he runs by me, and then start down the trail. Ugh. My tummy is sloshing. I feel like taking my waist pack off. I'm walking, although I'm on a downhill. I don't feel sooo good. Somehow, I get about a 1/2 mile down the trail,
right past the cool Silver Bridge, that the contents come rushing back up from my stomach!
Of course, 2 or 3 runners went past, with the usual "are you ok?" I shouted I was fine between ralphing. I felt much better after puking, rinsed out my mouth. I leaned up against a rock and was prepared to feel sorry for myself, when I heard Nick!

I have been following Nick's blog since around the time he started it, but we've never had a chance to meet. I think Nick asked me how I was, and I told him I had just tossed my cookies. He looked a bit dismayed! We walked down the trail together, then jogged a bit so we could talk. It was great to finally meet you Nick!
As we crossed a road, we started up a rocky climb, when whamm!! Charly horse in my calf! Nick went on ahead as I climbed slowly, now feeling cramps in both calves.
Huh. I never get cramps. So what that I had just tossed my cookies, that shouldn't affect my electrolytes that much. Although I was sweating out alot of salt, I could feel it all over my face. And I wasn't interested in the gels in my pack, my stomach wasn't up to it. It was kind of a rough walk/jog back to the start of the race, although mentally and emotionally, I was still just having a great time!

I got back to the start, ate a whole banana, asked for HEED in my water bottle, took an Endurolytes cap, and took some dry pretzels, as nothing was looking too appetizing to my stomach. I started sipping on the HEED also immediately, but backing off when my stomach warned me. I was still having calf cramps!!

Second time through on the Love Log. See, I am still having fun...

Almost to the Covered Bridge AS, John DeWalt catches up to me. For anyone that doesn't know John, John is an awesome ultra runner, he's finished Hard Rock 13 times, his most recent this year, and John is 73 years old. He says his legs are "rubbery" (yeah, right John!) and runs by me. As I watch John go, you can't tell if it's a 30year old, 40 yearold, certainly not a 70 year old!!

I pick up a few more pretzels and HEED. It's not much to run on, but it's working for me. I continue down the trail, and now I feel my lower intestines cramping! Oh great!! This is an example of the trail here. River on your right, vertical slope on your left. No trees to duck behind...I somehow make it down the trail to the Silver Bridge again, run across the road, away from the trail! Ugh, man, I am getting all sorts of physical ailments to deal with today!!! LOL!

I am almost back to the race start to begin the 3rd and last loop when Jason from Pittsburgh catches up to me. This was very cool , because Jason and I ran most of the 3rd loop together, and made it a much more pleasant last time through. Bruce also caught up with us at the Monkey Trails, and I got to see how tall people got across the Love Log! No fair!

You guys don't even get dirty! Me on the third time!

I finished up in around 8.35, way behind my goal of finishing under 8 hours. I continued to have calf cramps throughout the second half. I'm still puzzled by them.
1. Was my electrolytes that out of whack? I wasn't swelling up. I was really drinking the HEED down. Cramping can be due to Potassium, sodium and magnesium. My food the 4-5 days before the race was probaly not as full as my normal veggies-we didn't have power 1/2 the week, so eating was a bit off kilter. My breakfast pre-race really sucked-2 sugar cookies and a Monster Mash energy drink.
2. Did I go out too fast and just blow up? Huh, I dunno.

Race Director Bob Combs, me, and John DeWalt

Ate some good food after the race, after my stomach settled down. That is the longest race I have done on the most little food. I was pretty light-headed the last 2 or 3 miles in, but what can you do? I wasn't worried about not finishing, or dying out on the trail, or something silly like that. I had a really great time, as usual!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Salt Fork Run-Purple Trail

Today was another nice day for a trail run. This time I headed to Salt Fork State Park, to tackle the "purple" trail. This bridle trail leads down by the lake. I haven't run on it in over a year..I don't know why! I'll be back again!

Despite getting rain for a few hours yesterday, I guessed that the trails would have sucked all the water up, and I was correct, but for some small areas of shoe sucking mud, the trail was just pretty much nice firm, spongy dirt!

I came across this guy about three miles in, I nearly ran into him:

This is a 3 foot black snake. I was kind of suprised to see him out so late in the season, but it is a nice hot day, so he must have just been enjoying the warmth.

A thing of beauty!

I was really having a good time out on this trail. There hasn't been much improvements to the trail itself, which is in pretty good shape, but the blazing has been redone, AND there are now mile markers! I couldn't remember how far this trail went, and now it's more convenient.

The biggest drawback is the lack of water available. Now that I know the distance, I can stash water on the trail around mile 9...which on an 11 mile run, doesn't do me so much good.
So NEXT TIME I run there, I bring this!

I bought this water filter in the spring, for Salt Fork, and haven't bothered with it. I mean, there is a lake right beside me! The water bottle is slightly larger than the usual 20 oz bottle I carry, but I think I can manage it.

Maybe sometime this fall, in October or November, I can get a group of runners to come over and run these new trails!