Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rock On

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

I weighed in this morning, with a 1 lb weight loss for the last two weeks. I've lost 10.5 lbs.

I'm feeling very successful and motivated. For me, success begets success. As I continue to show positive (or should I say negative numbers) results on the scale, it pushes me to continue portion control and getting my cardio in.

Today I hope to get a run in outside, if it warms up to around freezing. I also hope to see the snow still covering the private road out back, so I can get on the cross country skis for the first time this season!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vitamin D Run

I finally got my butt out the door and went to Salt Fork for a run.

Knowing it would be chilly, I decided to bring my new Christmas Snuggie with me on the run. Hey! They take them to football games,I figured a trail run would work!

Well, I decided to leave my Snuggie on the tree branch to retrieve later. Bad idea. Scroll down to end of the post for the sad results...

A gorgeous day to be on the trails! I counted 14 deer in the first mile of the run, and 28 overall! Not bad for 8'ish miles!

Not a bad run for December in Ohio!

As I came back toward my vehicle, I cam across this low spot, which I thought was due to the rains yesterday.

It appears Mssr. Beaver have been busy at work in this sector:

Well, I got back to where I had left my Snuggie. It's missing! I did see a pile of deer poop under the tree. So, either the deer stole my Snuggie or some human did!!

What kind of person steals a Snuggie? I bet karma determines it won't keep you warm!!

Okay, just to let you know it did not kill off my sense of humor to have my Snuggie stolen, I had to post this latest bit of tree graffiti:

I saw this and immediatley thought of Mikey and our training runs at Mohican and the road training run..and the road graffiti there.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Salt Fork Run White Trail Loop

Yowza! I was hoping the elevation JPEG would come out a bit bigger. For a short trail run, this kind of kicked my butt!!

I parked at this little parking lot, below the Salt Fork Lodge. I was originally planing on parking at the Sugar Tree Marina lot, but for some reason there was a "road closed" sign across the road. Since these trails were right in front on me, I decided to start with them.
The Pine Crest Loop was first. It's a nice gentle 1 mile loop. Going out is a bit rooty, on the flip side it's a big rocky.
Garmin had me right at 0.99 miles and I started out on the Morgan's Knob Loop Trail. Nice single track, ran past some big huge rocks. This hugs the shore line of Salt Fork Lake.

More tree graffiti. I do find this interesting, even though I cannot condone maiming the tree like this.
I came up to this intersection. I decided to go stage right onto the yellow blazed trail, as I believed the opposite way would just take me back to the car.
This yellow blazed trail ends up a big hill, rather abruptly. If you can't tell, the trail ends here.
Behind the trail, on the next hill top over, is the Lodge. Of course, I noticed the trail continuing down the hill, so I followed it. It kind of became a deer trail. I went to the right, hoping to hit the white blazed trail, but when I couldn't find it, I hiked back up to the top of the hill, ran down it, and took the intersection on the white blazed bridle trail.
I had no idea how far the loop would go. I knew it was a loop, and we would have to get close to the Sugar Tree Marina and cross Park Road 67. The bridle trail wasn't as "nice" as the non-horse, hiking trails had been. There were some ruts, but mainly, the trail was covered in leaves. At first it was fun to be in leaves up to my mid calves in places. But with the leaves so deep, it was slick trying to climb the hills!

This was a good challenging loop! Nice to find new trails!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where is Ultra Running Going?

Subtitled A Dean Rant

Ultra running is growing in popularity. Races sell out 8 months early (the summer Buckeye Trail 50k), meet their runner limit in minutes (Way Too Cool and the Umstead 100 for example) and others have gone to lottery system to designate who gets a chance to run: Western States, Massanutten, Hard Rock, Bull 50, Miwok.

A new race caught my eye: The Dean Karnazes 50K Ultra which I see is sold out!

If you read farther, all this race consists of are tacking 4.8 crummy miles "before" the official start of the PF Chang Rock N Roll Marathon. For this privilege, 50 runners are paying 150 dollars. They run their 4.8 miles, then have to hang out in a corral behind the "elite" runners and then they run the official marathon.

So that's 4.83 dollars a mile. Heck, the Massanutten 100 is 150 dollars-that's a dollar a mile folks! And you get real food! What do you get at the DK 50K Ultra? Water, Cytomax, Gu (hint: the normal marathon stuff.) I just don't get it. Many ultra runners will use a marathon as a long run, and might tack on miles before or after. I don't know if anyone then calls it their "Cleveland UltraMarathon finish".

The race also advertises rock bands at every mile for the ultra. Well, it's actually for the marathon. Could you imagine hearing a band every mile at Umstead? Actually, I don't think the rockers could last 30 hours out on the course LOL.

Oh, if you haven't gotten enough Dean yet, he's also putting his face to yet another race: The Fargo Marathon

So why I am writing this post? I don't know. I'm dismayed to see ultra running entering the slick world of the Rock N Roll Marathon. I don't need chip timing, water every mile with paper cups to trash roads with. I kind of like our little below the radar, quiet, laid back ultra world. Where running a marathon is just some miles and most of the time "it's only a 50K" are common comments. I don't want to see all those anxious, watch timing uptight marathon runners showing up at ultras. Groaning about the hill coming up, muttering that they are still "on target" to run a 7.32 50K. I'd rather not see
The Barkley mentioned in the NY Times. Ultra running is like a hip little secret. It doesn't need to go mainstream.

Luckily, lots of us ultra runners don't need the fanfare of a medal for a 50K. Many 'races' are run without official sanction of...well, anyone. Sometimes they are called Fat Asses or just "group runs". Where time on the trail (or road!) and some camaredie is all the recognition one needs.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Lottery

So I entered the Massanutten Lottery. For anyone not familiar with the “Rock Dance” this is the toughest 100 mile race in the east. Many people attempt it, and some go home with a rock and are listed as “visitors”. Others complete the race within the 36 hour limit and get the coveted buckle.

I actually signed up for this race in 2007. Then a staff member quit, and I started working lots of extra hours, and I withdrew in December, since I knew I could not get the training in.

MMT has since gone to a lottery system in 2008 due to the popularity. Registration opened December 1. It had been in my mind back and forth. I even looked at finisher’s time from a few years-oh heck no, look, my friends who are “good runners” finished in 34 hours. There’s no way my back of the pack butt could get it done.

Then Bob Combs says something to me out on the trails of URINEO. I mention that I have been thinking about it. He does say it’s a big goal but a good one to have.  So I spent the rest of the run thinking over factors. I have already planned to run Laurel Highlands as my spring race, and am planning a vigorous weight loss and training  program (in fact started today on that).

There were two factors that led to my decision to enter the lottery. The first was two different people’s reaction to my stating I was thinking of entering the lottery. It was their look of astonishment that kind of gave me the “ yes I can do this” motivational feeling.

The second factor was my fellow runner friend Sherry Meador. I first met Sherry at Mohican a few years ago (she did not finish.) She had also DNF’d  MMT that year. In fact, Sherry enters alot of 100 mile races and DNF’s them. Yet she keeps going. She has some health issues, like asthma and allergic reactions, and some bad luck! (She got stung by a scorpion at Rocky one year.)

Yet I saw Sherry’s name on the MMT lottery list. By golly, if Sherry can keep coming back for more, I can surely have the guts to just put my name on list, and see how the luck plays out.

So my random number is 069. If I get in, I’m determined to lose 30 pounds,train like David Goggins, and finish the race!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

URINEO FA December 6

The annual URINEO (Ultra Runners in North  East Ohio) FA  commenced on Saturday  December 6. My day did not start off auspiciously as I forgot to set my alarm clock! Luckily,my dog jumped on the bed at 330 am, and woke me up!

I arrived at Mill Creek Park and only had to grab my hydration vest,lamp, and “Hannibal Lechter” mask and get on the trail. I had an immediate gear “fail”.  Using the facemask (which helps keep the air I inhale a bit warmer and cuts down on my wheezing) was causing  my glasses to fog over. I didn’t have my contacts in because my eyes are barely secreting tears these days. If I over do the contacts, I tend to end up with ulcers on my corneas- not exactly what I to happen! So I pulled the face mask down, and resolved to try the contacts later in the day.

I ran into Bob Combs, Dave Peterman, and Dave(?) shortly. They were heading back to the Lily Pond to meet up with the 7am starters. I continued on my trek. It was good to see all the little landmarks at Mill Creek Park-it had been a year since I had an opportunity to run here!

The Monkey Trails! I entered the portion of the YUT-C course

known as the “Monkey Trails”.  This  is the hilly portion that you either love or hate. There was a new tryst this year.Mike Dobie's brought up the idea of the Monkey Trail Marathon” subset of the FA-just run the Monkey Trail portion back and forth, over and over,very pointless. Of course we all thought it was a great idea!  (Dobie's then did NOT show for the event.) Jim Harris and the M brothers (Brian and Jeff Musick) were doing some laps as I approached the “ Love Log”.  As you can see from picsur10 if you are shorter, the easiest way to get over the Love Log is to lay down on it, and then roll off the other side. I got some poor pics as runners  were just catching up to me here. kimbalovelog


Shortly after the Monkey Trails, you arrive at the Lanterns Mill and Covered Bridge, usually considered the half-way point on this loop. You then cross the creek and start up the other side of the creek and then around Lake Glacier. Bruce McMurray caught up to me here, and we chatted all the way  back to the Lily Pond.

This is where I met up with Chris and Nora, two new NEO Trail members and new trail runners! They went out with me on my second loop, and we had a good time chatting and running. They had just completed their longest race, the Fall Classic,1/2 Marathon, in Strongsville November  20, and now they were tackling some technical terrain! They did great, although Chris was a bit astonished at the Monkey Trail!

We kept running into other runners out there, as when you ran a loop, you then reversed direction. This gives you a chance to see other folks out there.

Chris and Nora made the mistake of getting in their car and starting the heater. That lured them away from starting another loop! They probably run at least a 1/2 marathon (they ran for an hour on trails before they found me)Loop 3 was uneventful. I did get the contacts in, and did keep remembering to use eye drops.

On my last stop at the vehicle, The M brothers, Slim, and Gombu were hanging out, waiting for me and Lloyd to finish.  (Lloyd was finishing up 50 miles, not a 50K!!) I got some hot soup from them, turned down Brian’s offer of a beverage, and picked up the Zune for some company on the last loop. I was starting to get a bit tired.    Most of the last two loops I had spent thinking of the MMT lottery. I have had this on my mind for quite some time. I vacillated back and forth on this quite a bit. This probably deserves a separate blog post of it’s own, so I will say I was still undecided on anything as I finished up.

It was just Lloyd’s car and mine left, and I did the usual hurried end of run procedure-rip off wet clothes, get dry tops on, get heater going, drink my Recoverite drink, and eat some food. Lloyd then finished up before I got out of the parking lot, so I chatted a bit with Lloyd.

Another great trail run at Mill Creek Park. I’m not sure of all who was running, and there were a few faces I knew but not sure of their names, so I will try and get that information.

We do this same Fat Ass in March, same course,called the Covered Bridge  FA, so come join NEO Trail Club for a run!



I have gotten the pics uploaded. A report will be written maybe tonight or tomorrow morning. I have to go get ready to drive to Cleveland for a Christmas party.

Enjoy the pics!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slim Pickins 09 Report

Slim Pickins is annual run put on for members of the NEO Trail Club. This has been, for the last four years, a run of various distances on the Laurel Highlands Trail. Always held the weekend before Thanksgiving, it's an eagerly anticipated FA run.

We've had some rather epic conditions:

in past runs. So, having no snow and rather nice temps (forecast for the fifties) it was almost too good to be true.

We had various lengths of courses that we happening. Some runners were doing the full 100K-from mile 31 to Ohiopyle. Some runners were starting at mile 31 and running the 50K to Ohiopyle and stopping. Others, like Tanya and myself, weren't quite sure what we were running.

We also various start times of 5am, 6am, and 7am at mile 31. We met new member Cam at the trail head-he had locked his keys in his truck for an auspicious start to the day!

Tany and I decided to start down the trail and let the guys sort it all out. Dobies pulled a McGuyver, and the trio overtook us around the three mile mark.


It seemed like we were quickly at Seven Springs Ski Resort. The group slowed up and waited for me on the climb here, and I was glad, because even with Bob's instructions through here, I may have missed the trail in the dark.
In fact, Seven Springs is the only place where I belive you can get lost. This trail is heavily overblazed with yellow blazes. You can frequently see two or three blazes at the same time.
Bob and Slim caught up to me in a few more miles, they took the 6am starting time.

I love how the fall leaves makes Slim's pink gaiters just "pop".

After they passed me, I was alone again, and fine with it. It was a nice day for running, I had little issues going on. My heels were developing some hot spots, but once I loosened up my shoes to the sloppy side all was well. I also kicked a rock really hard (well, it was a mean rock, and had it coming) so my attention was diverted away from the foot issues.
The Laurel Highlands Trail is a very rocky, rooty trail. There are not too many spots of smooth dirt. There are some good ups and downs, but for the most part, you are on the top of the ridge, once you get there. I've run this trail before, so I knew what to expect, but it was still wearing on your feet and ankles, as they landed on rocks, and twisted and turned.

As I ran, and counted down the markers (each mile on this trail is marked) I contemplated my distance. I had told Bob I would run to mile 6 and back, for 50 miles. As I got nearer to the 10 mile marker, I started to assess the situation. At mile 8, there is a 1 mile+ downhill. As a rough guestimate, I reckoned on 1.5 hours for the trek from mile 10 to 6, and then 2 hours back (cuz of the climb back the big hill.) I also thought about the guys who were doing the out and back, and I wanted to stay in front of them, for safety reasons. (I am getting more cautious in my older age.) I didn't want the four of them to pass me and leave me the last one on the trail. I also wanted to get as much of the return miles in before dark as I could.

So I made the decision to get to the mile 10 marker and turn.
I was glad I did, since this then allowed me to come across the 50K runners who had started at 7am:
Mike Halkovich

Dan Bellinger:

Dan Kuzma, Wilma, and Mike Keller:

Mikey made my day by offering me a half-turkey sandwich. Free food on the trail? Sure!!! It was an import from NYC, and very tasty as I made a stop at the aid cache at mile 11. I topped off lunch with a few cookies, got some water, and started back toward mile 31.

It was a very uneventful run in terms of issues and situations. I felt good, I kept eating and drinking. I kept an eye on the time, as it would be full dark right about 5 pm, and I wanted to get as many miles in before this. I kept looking for and counting down the mile markers.

It was almost full dusk, I was at mile 26, and where the heck was that ski resort? I thought lights would be blazing. It was kind of nice to see, since they were not making snow, all the lights were out. I topped the peak and started down the other side, down the asphalt road, where I would pick up the trail again. I was startled to look off to my left and see "a city". Cars, a 5 story building-I don't remember that! But I kept going downhill. I was relieved to find a big gravelly patch that I remembered. Still, where was the trail? I glanced up to my right, and saw the trail-whew! I had almost kept running down the hill and missed the turn! Being by myself, this would not have been good.

Ok, we're past the ski resort, it's all downhill from here, right?

Wrong! I was amazed to find myself on a longass climb (that I didn't remember from the morning on a downhill.) Blecch! I kept looking for mile markers-ONLY 28? It should be 29 or 30 now!!!!!

Finally, 29, and then 30. I really should have ate at Seven Springs, but I thought I was almost "done." I was so glad to see the sign to the parking lot. What to do first, call home, rip off wet clothes, or cram my turkey sandwich in my mouth? I attempted to do all three at once.

Once I warmed up, I drove back to the hotel room, asked nicely for a key to my room, and managed to fall asleep after 1 beer. I thought the guys would be back right behind me, but then I finally put the time together and knew it would be quite a while before they returned.

Mike Dobies and Brian Musick returned to the hotel room sometime after 2 am. They had completed the full 100K, but went an extra two miles when they missed the LH trail at Seven Springs, like I had almost done. Interestingly enough, they called a bunch of people to try and help them figure out where they were, but they never called me (who had left the phone in case of problems) ha! Now they will know better.

A very good solid run for me. Slim and Bob don't think I was challenged enough, but I am satsified with the run. Yes, I could have gone to the 50 mile distance, but I played on the side of caution. Maybe if I had been running with another person, that might have spurred me on, to go on farther.

I'm now rather interested in running the Laurel Highlands Race in June. It's south to north, which I think is the "easier" direction. You get your big climbs out of the way early.

Big thanks to NEO Trail for the aid cache, Mike Dobies for the beer, and John DeWalt for picking up the aid cache after the runners went through! See you all for another NEO Trail Run (open to all)the annual URINEO !!