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Monday, April 30, 2012

Massanutten

I have not written much, if anything, about my upcoming 100 trail run.

It's not that it hasn't been on my mind.  After my February month, the brain cycled around to MMT.

About, oh four weeks ago, I started the serious thinking about MMT.

I had decided, some time ago, to enter the solo division. This means no pacer, no crew, no headphones.  At first I thought I wanted a crew/pacer, then I got into Hardrock.  So then I really didn't want a pacer, or crew! If I am to complete HR, I need to be able to run MMT solo.

THEN I wanted a crew again, to get me in and out of aid station quickly. But then I changed my mind about that too.

I'm going solo.

I would like to finish the race in around the same time as last year-31.50, or sub-32.

Of course, first goal is to finish the race. Barring problems, I feel pretty confident that I can complete the MMT Trail Race. (That statement, in itself, is very big to me, just to be able to type that. I've come a long ways over the last few years.)

Second goal would to be sub 32.  Third goal would be to do better than 32 hours. That would be awesome.

But MMT is not my goal race for 2012, Hardrock is.  MMT is a good solid race-and training run-to shake everything out for HR.  The clothes, the gear, the shoes, the food, all prep.

I am even going to use the trekking poles at MMT.  I'm going to pick them up at the Visitor's Center, use them over Bird Knob and the Brown Trail.  My plan is to drop them at Gap II, the last Aid station.  See if they give me some added quickness in the tired hours and climbs.

I've written up my race plan and AS strategy, and have my drop bags planned.  I'm glad I was in the Massanutten Mountains in February, for the Reverse Ring and crewing the day before the Ring for Cam's Double Ring Event.  That gave me more time on the MMT trail, and I can visualize big sections of trail.

I find knowing where I am on a trail, knowing where the climbs are, how far you still need to go to an AS, very helpful during an event.

One of my next days off will be the packing of the drop bags.  This usually takes several hours, as I tend to get wound up and then distracted.  I am very good at using my non-sanctioned Excel spreadsheet to make my lists on.  I write the lists, and then I check off each item, one by one.  This gives me piece of mind that everything is covered.

Twelve days to MMT.  About the only thing I have not prepped for MMT is heat training.  This coming week may help with that, as the temperatures seem to about ready to climb.

I guess I am in taper mode now. I ran 20 miles with Kate, Cam, and Slim Thursday night.  That was my last long run. I got the 10K run around the block today.  I plan another hill repeat this week and will keep the loops to either 4 miles or 10K around the block.

Hmm, what else to say? I don't know. I feel ready for MMT. I wish it was tomorrow.  I can't wait to get back on the rocks.  Kerns Mountain will have to be warmer than it was in February.  Can't wait to feel that difference.

Can't wait!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dirt!!!


lllll

After about a year of discussion, we moved our garden beds.  This actually happened today.
My DIRT was moved, from the old raised beds (two feet deep) to new cinder block beds..not two feet deep.

I have great dirt. My old garden beds consisted of eight raised beds. One bed, at all times, was the "compost bed".   This rotated yearly.  Into this bed, we threw all our compostables: leftover/wilting veg, coffee grounds, coffee filters, clippings, really anything that can be composted.  Our first grass amur casulty, "Moe" joined the compost pile. I also shovelled and haulled wheelbarrows of dried horse manure from our barn across the road.

So, as a result, I've got great dirt.  Soil so good it needs to be moved.

And the Move happened. And garden beds were created.  And I did not have to lift a finger for this.






..

Some of my Thai hot pepper plants growing inside.







I am so happy about this.

I can now get out and sow the turnip seed.  I've got a bunch of plants growing under the lights, but some plants need to be started in the garden.








Evening Run

On somewhat short notice, I got together with Slim and Cam, and Kate for a little tour of Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania.  This is just outside of the Pittsburgh area, and just a few miles inside the state line from WV/OH.

It would get dark on us for the loop, and I brought along two new lights, a Fenix handheld and a Petzl.  I also wore my gear that I believe I will start MMT in.

This was a nice little loop in the park, very runnable conditions. Of course, once the sun went down, your world gets reduced to the 3 feet circle you live in.  So I can't say I saw alot of the park.

I fell twice.  The first time was in the first two miles of our run.  I hit something unknown and boom, went down hard, on the same side and spot as I fell during the marathon on Saturday, adding yet more filth to my  already dirty hydration pack.  Kate remarked about not getting hurt (this close to MMT) and I agreed!

The second time I fell, we were walking uphill in a marshy bridle trail; I caught my foot under a root and had a controlled fall to the mud. Wow, two falls on the same night, kind of alot for me.  All with my right foot. I wonder if I have an imbalance going on.

I took it carefully once the lights came on. I really do not want to risk an injury this close to MMT.

It was very good to get a night run in.  I haven't done this since February, and had kind of forgotten that sensation of your small circle of trail.  Your world gets reduced to a very small spot, and you run for hours within that spot.  It's a very different sensation. If you haven't run at night, on a trail, (and your race requires some night time) I would highly recommend getting out there.  The best training for a night run is a night run!

Friday

No Five for Friday today. Heck, too busy to collect enough thoughts for that.

I did only work 40 hours this week, and my Thursday off was full of errands, chores, and FUN!

I managed to take my body measurements on Thursday.  To my surprise, flipping back through my notebook of assorted jottings, I haven't bothered to take measurements since November 2011.

I haven't lost any weight in a month, I keep jumping around the same number (sigh, clean eating Kim, clean eating) but I've gone down a pants size.

About the only big difference was about a 1/2 inch off my hips.  That must have been enough to make the size 8 fit comfortably.

I do still need to get 10 lbs off.  Clean eating clean eating clean eating.

It's tougher than it sounds. I am constantly hungry. And I crave salt. Therefore,  I want to eat chips.  I try and compensate by eating crackers and jerky.  Maybe I should just salt my food more.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Race Report: On My Own Two Feet Marathon

This was the inaugural marathon directed by ultrarunner Melissa Cairns.


ALL proceeds benefit local shelters including Cleveland's Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center and Portage County's Safer Futures.

 Melissa has been working on this very hard for the last year. About one week ago, she had to change her entire marathon course! The final course was hike a bike and trail; so I thought this would good long run material for my last long run before MMT.

I got out for about 3.7 miles before the marathon and 1/2 marathon started; my plan was to get at least 50K in. The course was nicely split up. We went 5K up on the hike a bike trail, then returned to the start/finish line. Then we went the opposite direction on a crushed limestone trail (towpath?), then entered Towner's Woods for about two miles. We then exited the woods, ran up to mile 8 on the limestone trail, then ran the woods trail loop again, and back to the finish line for exactly 13.1 miles. The marathoners then repeated the loop.

 It was drizzling rain as we set out. I alternated between being a little hot in my green windbreaker and out right cold. I got to share trail with NEO TC member Elizabeth for a bit in her trim black and pink ensemble; then I slowed down a bit as the half-marathon pace was a bit fast for me.

 My hip flexors were really aching around the half-marathon point. I think it was because of the constant running forward I was doing. In trail running, you don't do all that much repetitive constant forward motion; there's obstacles to go over/around, grades to ascend and descend. I did stop and take some Tylenol. I also turned my music on here. The 1/2 marathoners were done and there were about 30 full marathon runners out here, so we were well spread out.

 On my third loop through the woods, I tripped on the same exact spot I had on the second loop, but this time I ate dirt. I found it extremely funny. I resolved to walk through this section on my last time through here.

Melissa had nice aid stations-more like an ultra than a marathon!-spaced out. I stopped to eat and drink at all of them. It was a very cold, pretty nasty day for volunteers out there. There were some young kids out volunteering, and I made sure to thank everyone.

 I managed to chick Mike Halkovich around mile 22.5, then a nice Live Motley Crue song came on my Zune, so I made short work of the woods trail loop. Then it was less than one mile to the finish, and I finished that strong.



Race Director Melissa Cairns and the Trail Goddess

 5.10 was my finish time, not bad for a one day taper, and a week of being tired. This race was more for my head than my body. With the amount of trail on this, I don't think it stressed my body as much as a road marathon would have. I hope to get in maybe one more longish run in the next week, then it's taper time.


Thanks Melissa, for a great race, and nice payback to the community!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sometimes a Run is Just a Run

That's what today's run was.

I was bored with my 11 miler around the block.  So I mapped out a new location, it was about   9 miles, but I was hoping it would hit with a good descent in a valley.

A "Blah" run. I don't have many of these. I drank some orange juice with my breakfast, right before my run.  It burned and irritated me on the entire run.

The back roads I chose weren't that interesting or that epic.  A slow descent to a valley, a short climb up, and then, meh, boringness.

I didn't have the energy either.  I haven't gotten that much decent sleep since the Alice pup has arrived.  I believe my longest sleep has been about 7 hours.  I am hoping to improve on that in the 11 days before Massanutten.  And hopefully sooner than that.

So, sometimes a run is just a run.  I am running a marathon on Saturday, it may well turn into my last long run before Massanutten..  I meant to get more long runs in the month of April, but the new mantra I have found is true: " Train as much as you can consistently train."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Aid Station Report "Forget the PR" 25 & 50K Race

It was our 4th annual "Forget the PR" 25k and 50K....another successful race.

Unseasonable warm weather for the runners. It was hot and humid out there.



Rob paid me a high compliment by having me start the 50K race.  Of course, I had to first go set up my aid station, then rush back to the Starting Line to get there before the race started!


One of the signs I made and posted on the course as I  marked trail Saturday.
 

I captained the Fire Tower Aid Station again.   The 25k and 50K runners came through our Aid Station at mile 5.  It was astonishing how much FOOD they were eating at mile 5.   Apparently nobody ate breakfast that morning!

It was a warm day.  The runners were very sweaty but still energized at mile 5.

The 50K runners then returned to us at Mile 19.9.  It was a far different picture on most of the runners on the return.  It was pretty much the first "HOT" weather day of the year for everyone, so there were alot of heat issues with runners-upset stomachs, cramps, fatigue.  

 



It was a busy time at the Fire Tower.  We were repaid for our suffering at the FT this year. Last year, the weather was in the 50's and windy for the race. Since the Fire Tower is on the highest point of land, we were in sustained winds.  It was cold and miserable.
This year, it was hot and windy.  That meant, although it was in the 70's, it was pleasant and non-humid up on the Fire Tower plot.  It was nice to hang out in shorts and race shirts and be comfortable as we catered to the runners.

A troop of Boy Scout types hiked up to the Fire Tower and had lunch as my AS was winding down.  We were packing gear away, and I glanced over at the boys.  I grabbed my open bags of potato chips, pretzels,  and walked over to the troop.  I explained I was packing up my aid station, and would they like some leftover jelly beans-chips-pretzels-bananas?
In about a minute, my open containers of food were gone! The raccoons were unlucky as they got much less leftovers than is usually tossed into the woods.  The boys even ate up my PBJ and rehydrated themselves with water and even Heed, after I explained what it was. 

My last runner was through before 2pm and I rewarded myself by hanging out at the Finish Line a bit longer than usual.  But it was a beautiful day, and I felt like rewarding myself.

The weekend went by too quickly. Although I was glad to be home again, I wished the Mohican weekend could have been four days long.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Five for Friday

1. Blog Posts-I've got at least 3 or 4 good blog posts started. But they involve a little writing, a little time to think, and I've just been short on that spare time lately. But that's good. The posts won't go anywhere.

2. Tino got his stitches out and has a clean bill of health.

3.  I think I only work 40 hours next week.

4.  It's time to go and revisit the ramp beds again to see if it's time to harvest.

5. MOHICAN Weekend!  Spending Saturday and Sunday at one of my favorite places on earth, Mohican. And I am going to spend it with my friends. Awesome.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quote

I really like to read the daily blog posts from Endurance Corner.  It is mainly a triathlon site; but endurance training is endurance training.

Wednesday's post particular hit home, written by Sam Doolittle, especially the line:

 “train as much as I can consistently train” 


 I've been doing well with this.  I really don't have the athlete's guilt going on about missed workouts. If I can't get the workout in, due to dogs, work, schedules, then I move on.

What I have been good at, is doing it. Doing the workouts.  I was pretty tired headed out on my Wednesday run,  but I didn't even think about not doing it, or cutting it short.  About mile 3, I actually started to feel pretty good, and finished it two minutes quicker than my usual time.

So today was a planned 10K run, but due to family commitments it is now a 1K dog walk.  It will also be my time to get my all my gear and clothing packed for the Mohican weekend, so I guess I better get moving!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Early Spring

The weather has returned to the usual Ohio weather, 33 degrees F when I started my run this morning.

This was another "around the block" 10K;  I was more tired than yesterday but ran it two minutes faster, go figure.

I wanted to get 2 more 10Ks in this week, but Tino goes to the vet early to have his stitches removed so tomorrow will be a no run day before work.  I hope this is when I get all my aid station gear packed (it is gathered) for the Mohican weekend.

So if I count Sunday-and anymore, I don't really recall if I start my "week" on Sunday or Monday, I've got 44 miles in for the week.  I will get some more miles on Saturday, at the latest, marking trail, and then probably will go back and proof trail (make sure the markings are still there) later in the evening.

Yay! I managed a blog update.  Now I need to eat breakfast and pack lunch.  I need to pack more food because I have been ravenous lately-but I have been making good food choices.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

RD Race Race Report

Rob Powell hosted the annual RD Race for the "Forget the PR" 50K Volunteers.  This is  for the folks who are working the 25K and 50K race next weekend, to run the course and earn a belt buckle.

A light turn out of people but that was ok.  Ron Dukes and Rob were our roving aid station.



Everyone followed the 50K course with a few people bowing out slightly early.

The 50K course goes up Big Ass Hill, over Gasline Hill, and  you follow the jeep road to the Fire Tower.

At the Fire Tower, the 50K runners go off to the Bridle Trail, which takes you to Bridle Staging Area.

We then pick up what was the "pre-2009" Mohican 100 Trail Race "Red Green Loop".

My, it was nice to be back on this loop.   I have not run on these trails since..at least 2008.  It was very nostalgic for me.  I thought back to old friends and incidents that happened out there.

I also corrected the runners in front of me as they just about began one section backwards.

Two runners finally understood I knew actually where I was at all times on the section and stayed with me.

We got back to the Fire Tower in about 4 hours 50 minutes, mile 19'ish, not bad as we were not trying for any particular time.

At this point, the 50K runners will now follow the course that the 25K runners completed. (The two races split at the Fire Tower at mile 5.)

It is a short run down to the Covered Bridge, and we start the Purple Loop.  More people are now out on this section, where Big and Little Lyons Falls are located.

It's a quick loop, and now we're back on the unending trek through Campground B, back to Hemlock Gorge Trail and North Rim  Trail.

Julie  fixed us a fantastic meal-RIBS, green beans, rice and beans, pasta salad.  I inhaled my food, it was delicious.

A wonderful day on the trail at Mohican.  Of course, I don't think I've ever had a bad day on the trails of Mohican!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Alice Update

I sit here on the couch, surrounded by 3 dogs.  It's good to say "3 dogs" again.  Condi and Alice are sleeping on the couch next to me, Tino is at my feet.

It's been a bit stressful 24 hours.  The two dogs accepted her, but want to "play" and are a bit rough in their play.

Dennis took Alice to the vet for her first check up and the other two seemed to accept her a bit better on this next homecoming. 

Alice is in great health.

I have stayed around the homestead today, my workout was my treadmill at its highest incline 12%. I eventually got the speed to 4.0 MPH as I watched some show called "Big, Bigger, Biggest".  This was about how the biggest prison was built.  Mild  interesting but better than anything else I have found on the TV during this time.

I would touch the side rails and have to smack myself down to NOT hold  on. 

A good workout for an hour.  Tomorrow, though, I do need to get the 11 mile around the block in.  And then Sunday I will go run 50K at Mohican.  I have to fit the miles in when I can.

Eating has been better too.

I'm very cognizant of my countdown to HR AND MMT.

Alice Friday

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

100 Days

100 Days until Hardrock 100.  My dream race.

Lots of thoughts swirling around my head, but no real cohesive thoughts.  I have vacillated through this cycle so many times this winter, from bleak doubts to the opposite, happy positive outcome.  I'm sure I will go through this many more times this spring.

I added the countdown counter in order to keep this Run in the forefront of my thoughts. It's time to make sure there is purpose to every workout.  It's time to formulate the loose plan for the week, tweak it as necessary, but work toward that goal-to be in the best possible shape I can be in by July 12.

I have a long way to go to get there.  I need to clean up my eating, that has definitely been slacking.  By cleaning up my eating, that will also help me lose 10 lbs by July 1.


The next 99 days is going to involve a lot of this. Balance.

 Balance workouts, work, and my family life in the right amounts. Work allows me to have the lifestyle that I have; can't have my life without my family; workouts keeps me...

 Workouts keeps me...complete? Sane? Happy? Running does all this for me. I get a release when I run. I am, like many many runners, Type A and a bit on the OCD side. Running relaxes me. I truly love being in the outdoors. I love covering ground and seeing sights and new sights. I like climbing up hills to see what's on the other side and bombing down trails.

So, onto the "to do" list I have started with my 4 day weekend, I can add another line:  Workout schedules for the week.  Make them all count. Only 99 days to go.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Barkley History

I am such a Barkley geek.

I've been fascinated by this race since I became an ultra runner.  When I had my podcast, in 2007, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laz and then Flying Brian Robinson after his course record.

I've been following the limited words and pics that have made it out of Frozen Head this past weekend. Part of the fun is the sometimes cryptic messages and long lag times in updates.

Also part of the fun is there is no Entrants List. Some runners outed themselves; others knew of folks running.  More people get revealed when folks start requesting updates on Twitter on certain runners. 

This was an EPIC Barkley weekend.

First, Brett Maune becomes the first person to finish the Barkley TWICE.  He also sets a new course record
in 52 hours 3 minutes.

Then Jared Campbell makes it back to camp, finishing Barkley on his first try, ALSO breaking the old course record held by Flying Brian Robinson, in 56:00.

John Fegyveresi was still "Out There".

Idly checking my emails, I see that John was chasing the clock.  Wow. It would suck to just miss the cut off.
Then, one email!  A headlamp has been spotted, with 20 minutes to spare!!

Wow,  now I'm not doing anything but waiting for an email update,  and sure enough John Fegyveresi finishes also, in 59 hours 41 minutes! 

Three Barkley finishers. Wow.  History.

But let's not also forget more history.

Beverly Anderson Abs became the 1st female since 2001 to finish the Fun Run.  I forget her time right now, but it's a great step in the right direction!

Ok, I am still all amped up.  I wish I could go for a run right now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Weekend Running News

Well, not for me. I've been working all weekend.

The sad news: Micah True's body was found Saturday, after a 4 day search:

 SILVER CITY ---- Micah True was found dead at about 6 p.m. Saturday in the Gila National Forest after four days of searching.
True, a renowned 58-year-old ultra-marathon runner from Boulder, Colo., who was reported as missing in the Gila Wilderness when he failed to return from a run Tuesday morning, was found by searchers near Woody's Corral, just one mile southeast of the Gila Cliff Dwellings, according to Incident Commander Tom Bemis.


Bemis said that two of True's friends found his body and that the cause of death is unknown at this point.
"It's too early to say, there was nothing obvious," he said.



Two races are happening this weekend, the Umstead 100 Race in Raleigh North Carolina, and the Barkley, in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee.  It's been pretty easy getting Facebook updates on friends at Umstead.

Barkley updates have been limited to the Twitter updates by a few folks.  That's also been kind of the mystique also, following online, just with the sporadic Tweets from the field.  Although I was a little freaked out by all the cameras out there in the campground.  As of last I heard, Beverly Anderson Abs was on Loop Two with her husband, Alan Abs.  There are three other females that started the race-I do not know who they are. But Beverly is a very good-even elite-runner-I am rooting for her to either FINISH the race, or get a Fun Run completed.   It's been since 2001 since a female has finished a Fun Run (three loops of the Barkley).

Well, it's off to work for me and utilize my social media for race updates!