Saturday, November 30, 2013

Berlin Amish Country 1/2 Marathon Race Report

I ran a race! An actual race! It's been quite a while..

And it was a road race!

 First things first. It's pronounced BUR lin. BUR lin. Not Ber LYNN.

I finished in exactly the same time as my last half road marathon, the Ashland race, in 2011. Ha! At least this course was hillier.  I know the upper topo looks hillier, but the elevation on it, the bottom number is 1025 feet, it crests at 1275 feet, so don't let that fool you.

25 degrees at race start, I was happy to have my eVent jacket and my face mask with me.  I started waay in the back of the pack.  Maybe a bit too far back, behind the 2.20 pace guy (they had pacers this year.)

Nobody passed me. At all.  So I guess I should have started farther up.  But WTF, I know nothing about running races anymore, I just do my own thing at trail 50K's and 100 milers.

This was in "Amish Country" aka where all the tourist shops are located, and yes, Berlin is heavily Amish.  I live in "Amish Country" also, but the Amish "up north" are a bit wealthier and have far bigger farms than the Amish down in Tusc county.  Of course, they have much better land for planting crops up that way too. 

Around mile two, there was a water stop.  Manned by a group of Amish.  There was no garbage can to throw down your cup into, and I felt very guilty about dropping a cup onto the ground.  I bet that Amish family will pick up every one of the those cups that were not crushed and use them to drink out of--just a fact of how they live.

The course was pretty similiar to what I run on daily, except today my goal was to "not walk" at all.  I actually did better on the hills and descents than the flattish miles I enccountered kind of miles 8-10.  Through this section, I just focused in on the runner in front of me, and reeled them in.

Got a bit tired toward the end, with a hill right before you turned off the state route back to the high school to finish on the track.  Just kept motorvating up the hill, but the runners I wanted to pick off were slogging just a bit faster than me.

The last 1/10 mile maybe was the most treacherous, the high school track was covered with snow and ice.  I was amused to see 2.10 on the clock as I passed over.

Finishing award was a block of cheese! And the finishing medal is a bottle opener!

A nice finishing tent had Subway sandwiches, water, chips, apples, bananas, and homemade buttered noodles!!  I got a cup of the noodles, my that was good.

Race organization: this was excellent. There were Port-o-Potties on the course! For a half-marathon! Around mile 3 and 8.  Although I did not need them, I thought that was great.

I think there were five or so water stops?  I carried a bottle, so I did not pay much attention to them.  Gu's were handed out around mile 8 and I took one.

Excellent post race food.  We started and finished at Hiland High School, so there was a heated area to start and finish in.

No complaints about this race at all, other than it was really c-c-cold!  Oh well, it could have been colder!

Time for Reverb 2013!

December is a time for Reverb.  What is reverb?

This is a good definition as any:

 "#reverb11 is a daily reflective prompt that runs every day through the month of December. It is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and manifest what the new year may hold. It was started by Gwen Bell in 2009 and has been passed on to individuals to host in 2011"...

In 2009 and 2010, I believe there still was daily email prompts sent out to the group participating, then it has become a free-form entity.  I have many prompts already stored on my computer, and I started working on some of the prompts in October, in order to spend a little time thinking about them.

In addition, Carolyn Rubinstein wrote a nice piece called "Reverb Remix" which separates the process into two sections, Reverb, and Manifest.  This is available as a PDF document, and I also found it valuable to read and muse over.

For the month of December, I will have a blog post up titlted "Reverb" that I (hopefully) have taken a little bit of time to reflect on. 

Now you can host your own Reverb, if you wish. To paraphrase her guidelines:
  • Create 31 prompts for the month of December.
  • Post those prompts to your blog.
  • Invite other people to join you!
  • Publish on the topics each day.
  • Use a hash tag to connect via Twitter (we used #reverb10 last year).
  • Support one another by sharing links, commenting, etc.
  • Create buttons to show that you’re hosting your own Reverb.
It's time for Reverb13!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Chilly Running Weather Time

 Yes, blah blah blah, blah blah blah.  I keep telling myself that these cold November runs are training me for a cold 100 plus mile run in February.  Now that is true; but it doesn't make it any easier to get out the door.

 At least the views were good.

The famous Gump dogs

I don't even slow down for them anymore. They just don't care either.

 The mask is helping both with my breathing and keeping the lower half of my face from freezing.

OKAY by a couple miles into the run, all was pretty good.  The climbs out on the ridge, into the wind, were really cold, but my face mask helped quite a bit.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Slim Pickins #8 in the Bag Report!

I am way behind on the blog posts.

This was Year # 8 of Slim Pickins.  Check this out for the historical details.

As this was my four day weekend, I headed over to Ohiopyle early on Friday, to get most of my mileage in.

My plan was a straight out and back on the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail, just to mile marker 10 and back, no epic "Gate to 8 x 2" Challenge.

Weather was looking good, there was still plenty of snow in the Laurel Highlands from a late fall dusting.

This was another run without headphones.  I don't listen to music so much, but podcasts.  But some of my runs I have been doing sans device.  I have been enjoying it.  It allows me to focus more on the running, on my particular run of the day.  Sometimes I think the podcasts are my little reward for running by myself, in particular non-pleasant running conditions.  It makes me feel like "someone" is accompanying me on my run.
But these solitary runs have been nice.  The woods, once I turned away from the river (with the active railroad lines) were silent.  There were a few chipmunks about, but that was the only wild life I saw.

I stopped at the Mile Six Shelters, to see whether there was a water source, in able to advise the 50K runners for the  next day.  (The water pump was functioning.)

Then up the mile six hill!  1.5 miles!  Ugh.  Wow, I felt out of shape.  I felt like I had not gotten much elevation in for quite a while.  (I think that is true..)

Much more snow up on the ridgeline, at Mile 8.  I had stripped off my jacket, in anticipation of the sweat fest on the climb, but once I hit the ridge and the wind, I tried to hold off putting the jacket back on until I stopped sweating, but got a chill and recovered.

I enjoyed going further down the trail past mile 8..we've been doing the "Gate 2 8" for a few years and have been focused on that.

 I was solitary on the trail going back until I passed the Mile Six Shelters.  I passed three couples hiking, on their way to the Mile Six shelters.


I spotted the elusive Mile One Marker.  Usually this is missed, as runners are talking, and looking around, and are not counting mile markers that early.

My legs felt really good after the run, and I was a good runner and iced my knee and drank my Ultragen after I checked into our luxury suite at the Yough Motel.

I love my Ultragen.  I use it after almost every run.  I did an experiment this week and did not consume my serving of Ultragen after my 8 mile run.  Sure enough, my legs were stiff and a bit sore.  When I use the Ultragen, I do not have these issues!!

Allison, Bob, Paul, and Jeff showed up in the early evening, as Slim was going to join us in the morning.  Surprisingly, it was an early to bed for us.

My plan for Saturday was to drop the 50K runners-Allison, Gombu, and Paul at mile marker 31, and then go back to OP and do another out and back.  But I decided to join the trio through Seven Springs Ski Resort, and double back-that would give me ten miles.

The 3 Amigos, aka the 50K runners, starting south

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail goes straight thru Seven Springs Ski Resort


You gotta look for markers through the ski resort!

The King and Kimba

The King and Allison

After I left the 3 amigos, I headed back north on the LH Trail.  As I crossed the road, I noticed a wide trail intersecting the path. I looked to my right, and saw a building.  A shelter? I did not recollect any shelter just one mile south of Seven Springs, so I walked over to it.

It was an old spring house.  Still producing, quite well!

  Wow, I consider myself "remotely familiar" with the LH, and  I didn't know of this springhouse.  Probably not, because there are at least three spots on Seven Springs where one can get water at.
Too bad this spot is not at a different location on the LH Trail!

I got back to OP about 11 am and wandered into the General Store, where the chili caught my eye.  As I wolfed it down, I thought perhaps chili wasn't the best food as a refuel for an afternoon run, but it sure tasted good going down!

I went back to the suite and took some Ultragen and again iced my knee.  I figured both could not hurt and needed to let my stomach settle.  Jeff returned from his morning run, and we chatted a bit. Then I decided I was getting real comfortable on the couch, and if I was going to run, I needed to leave sooner than later!

The training schedule was supposed to be longer on Friday, and then "ten" miles on Saturday, but I figured some extra mileage-especially at a hiking pace, with a full stomach-would be okay.

I took a leisurely walk up to the mile 2 overlook.  I sat on the rock overlook there, just basked in the sun.  I stretched.

I took pictures of moths-I believe there were mating.

After about a half hour, I could tell my legs were tightening up, so I resolved to go north on the trail until I ran into one of my NEO TC runners.  At this point, there was no way I was going up the Mile Six hill again!  I figured I could camp out at the Shelter Sign until someone came along.

And happily, Gombu came along as I was climbing up the mile 5 hill.  Oh yeah!  Now I can turn around!  Gombu and I ran back to OP.  So I got eight miles in for the afternoon run/hike, so I got 38 miles in on the LH Trail for the weekend.

After showering, we headed over to the Falls City Pub.  It is the best pleasure in the world, to have a pub at the trail head!

Allison had texted me when she got to the mile 8 marker, so we were guestimating when she would finish.  I gave her a 630 pm appearance at the pub, and she arrived at 6.27!!

Allison was the only one who went out of her comfort zone for Slim Pickins.  This was an unsupported effort, with one water/food cache at Slim's vehicle at mile 11.  She was also running in the dark in the last hour or so of her 50K-on a very technical trail.  She was alone for almost all of her run, and had a very successful time!  Very proud of her effort on going it alone out there.

I think she looks pretty good after finishing a 50K

Sunday morning was most Slim Pickins are. Gombu mentioned wanting to get in some run in. I agreed, Allison agreed, and Slim was in.

I also knew what happens when you accompany Slim and Gombu on a casual, off piste run.

The key word is "off piste". 

After a stroll through Ohio Pyle, we walked up the road, and then disappared into the laurel, looking for the Yough.  After some straight down hill bush whacking, we found the River.

I don't have any pictures of us on all fours, but we were.  This wasn't the best place to fall into the Yough.  The current was pretty swift, and the Yough, in November, really isn't the time to body slide.

But the quatro was able to ford the river-and back again-for our casual mileage for the morning.