Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mohican Run

What a great day for running. I am so glad Tom wanted to run Mo this weekend, and coincidentally, Josh and Brian were driving up from Cinti to get acclimated on part of the trails before the race. So I hastily bagged my Ogden 20K race and Regis and I went over to Mohican to run again.
There were six of us for the Saturday, 25 mile run: myself, Regis, Tom, Josh, Brian, and Ted, a Mohican veteran that I had not run with before.
We started with the picturesque warmup loop, the awesome Blue Loop. This starts with a nice sedate, yet rocky trail down to the Falls. But us ultra runners run past the normal turnoff, and run to "Little Lyons Falls". This section is actually in the creek bed of the stream, very low right now, but lots and lots of bounding over rocks, climbing over logs. You arrive at Little Lyons Falls with the hand over hand climb to the top of the waterfall, on roots of an old tree. This kind of kills any sort of 10 minute mile pace, the vertical climb. Once to the top, it's an easy run (although I tripped and fell on a root) to the dam. At the dam, it's a short downhill, then about a mile climb on the road, then you turn onto a jeep trail, run it downhill back to the trail, to Big Lyons Fall, and then climb down to the bottom of the waterfall.
A man was panning for gold here. Regis, who took off from the rest of us, was of course chatting the man up and getting all his gold pointers. Who knew there was gold to discover out here in Ohio? (I have already discovered the gold, it's the friendship and camaraderie on the trail runs and the beauty of nature. I guess I am a millionaire then...)

Ok, off the hippiness, back to the race report...we finished the blue in about 57 minutes, very good; I ran this during the race in 45 minutes,so you know we were playing tourist taking pics out there. If I can run the blue in 45, most other runners can run this faster. I'm just saying.
After a short stop at the aid station (our vehicles) we girdled and garbed up for the 21 miler. Both Ted and I had put water out at various stops, and that was excellent. It was a hot day and having the additional water was real beneficial to the run: Thanks Ted!!!
The trails are in very good shape. There has not been much rain in the area in ten days. Most of the bad horse mucky areas are solidified mud. There is still about two bad spots before Rock Point, but that is all. It is very dry out there. Unless we get alot of rain, and alot of horse traffic, I would vention a guess that the red-green section could be in very nice shape for the race.
The three water crossings on the red, and the one water crossing on the green, the water is down. However, with the deeper channels cut after last years storm, there is not an easy (read stones above water) way to cross this and keep your feet dry. The rocks are simply not there.

Back to my monologue: This was a very nice run for me. Tom was running to keep his HR at a certain number, I was doing my usual nature-girl running and admiring nature, and I think Josh was running with me to see how the slow folks ran. I did lose a little steam around Rockpoint; I realized I was carrying two water bottles and only drinking one of them. I began drinking more, and remembering to take my Succeed Capsules,and then felt alot better.
Josh, Tom, and I arrive at the Fire Tower. Although the sky was darkening, and thunder rumbling, Josh had to ascend to the top of the Fire Tower; after all, Mike had done that, so he couldn't be left Tom and I took this opportunity to rest and drink and wait for Josh to be struck by lightning. When the lightning didn't occur, Josh bounded back down and we started the final 2.5 miles from the Fire Tower to the Covered Bridge. I gave Josh the secret information that although it was a net downhill to the Covered Bridge, there was still two little hills between the FT and the CB.
The storm never materializes, although the temperature does drop down. We finish up with Reg, Ted, and Brian meeting us right before the end. Regis has a fun story to tell.
Regis about got ticketed with a UIP. For those of you not from Ohio (my husband knew exactly what I was talking about when I said UIP) that is Urinating in Public.
Reg, Ted and Brian reached the Bridle Staging Area. While the other two guys hydrated, Regis decided to get rid of his excess water. And, while he was doing so, the park ranger pulled into the drive, in front of him. Regis knew he was going to get a talking to when he saw the ranger reach for his radio.
Well, it's lucky Regis is both charming and a talker. I believe he made have won his ticket with attrituion-after all, the ranger had five counties to cover. And if the worse problem he encountered that day was an ultraunner peeing on the trail, well, good for him.
The best part of this story is, there was a bathroom about 15 feet away from Regis. That the ranger pointed out to him. I'm still laughing about this one. I made sure Di knew this as soon as we returned home too.
20 days left. Will the trails stay dry. Will the creeks stay low. Will the deer flies go elsewhere. Will the lightning bugs (fireflies) be out at night? Who knows!!20 days is still a long time to do. Good luck with the start of a taper everyone, and see you at Friday dinner!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Orange Loop Sunday

On Sunday, all I could think of was the line from Monty Python: "bring out ye dead". Bleh. I was tired. It had been a cold night too, temperature had dipped into the 40's, but I was nice and warm in my zero sleeping bag.
The orange loop is 13 miles if you skip the Grist Mill section, 17 if you run that too. Since I did run it just in March, and had exorcised my demons of it (it really is not that big a deal, it just gives us runners something to whine about) I opted for the 13 mile.
The first three miles did not feel too good. In fact, I was adding walk breaks in, and I thought, this is going to be a long section if I feel this crappy this early.

Incidentally, being way tired and feeling like crap will probably be how I feel when I run the orange section for the second time, so it was actually good training.

BUT about mile 5, we pick up the mountain bike trail, and it starts weaving in and out of the pine trees, and I pick up the pace here. Now I am starting to feel good. We cross the road and continue on. This is one of my favorite sections, running the mountain bike trail on the ridge line. You start going downhill, so you are running fast, but it's a bit technical with roots and trees in your way, but so fun! to run and dart and gravity is helping you run fast down the hill. I barely had time to jump out of a biker's way as we met up unexpectedly around a tree.

This trail was in great shape also. I got back to the Covered Bridge and again amused the tourists by sitting in the river for awhile. I think I'm getting old. The water isn't that cold anymore.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday Night Run

The next couple of posts are all in Mohican 100 Trail Race speak...

We gathered at the
Mohican Wilderness Campground where the Mohican 100 Trail Run begins. There was 17 of us for the Friday night run. Roy is still speaking when Rita says to me "let's go" so we start running, and all follow suit. We run out of the campground, onto Wally Road, for less than one mile, when we turn left for the first climb of the yellow section.
The yellow, which is on the roads for ten miles, is up and down. Looking at the elevation on the map, the first climb is at least 400 feet. On this section, still in the daylight, it's amazing how I remember the houses from last year.
I fall into running with Mary Lou, who has finished Mo in 95 and 96 and managed to get out for the run tonight, although still very undecided whether she's trained enough for the race. We end up running the rest of the run together.
As full darkness encroaches, I do get out my Myo Exp Light and have it on my head. It is working fine. We fall into the habit of running behind three other runners..and then they turn around and run toward us. Apparently we all missed the "no outlet" sign and didn't make the right turn that we needed. Oopps, 1/2 mile out of our way. No worries, this is a training run.
Runners are coming back toward us and we reach the ten mile point of Rock Point, which is where you would begin the Green Section of the race. Mary Lou and I make it to the Rock, and find plenty of water left for us.
We start back.Most of the course is the same, until about two miles out, when a different road is taken, so you come back to the campground from the opposite directin. Roy, Bob, and Steve are ahead of us. We end up all together at one point, then us ladies stop to pee and the guys get away. But at every intersection, I see a light pointed toward us, and I bob my light to tell them we get the turn.
So Mary Lou and I run, and finally we have about one mile left. Except the mile gets very long. Even to both of us. I pull out my directions. "Turn left at Geesling Road." Hmm, we didn't make that turn. And then I hear Roy yelling in the distance for us. Bless his heart, he waited, and then he turned and ran after us. We ran at least one mile past the road. So we all ran back. Roy and I pulled a bit ahead of Mary Lou, who was tiring. We finally reach the road we needed. Roy gives me explicit directions on the "right way" and says he will check on Mary Lou. So I amble up "Big Hill." Roy catches me right before the top, saying he gave directions to her, and we start down "Big Hill." It is a very very steep hill. It wasn't so bad on legs with 22 miles on them, but this is the last hill before the finish; I can see quads locking up here big time.
We get to the bottom and Wally Road, which is now 1/2 mile to the campground and finish. But the road sign for Wally Road is gone. I tell Roy to go on ahead, I will wait and make sure Mary Lou & I both make it back to the campground- there is no way for us to now get lost! He finally goes on, after much pushing. I stretch my legs well as I wait. Mary Lou is fading, so we walk the rest of the course back.
I get to my bunk at 2am. I believe we ran about 24 miles. I drink a Boost, eat a banana and a small serving of pasta salad, and set my alarm for 6am. I don't even bathe, I just tumble into bed.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Pig Hills Vs Road Runner Hill

Actually this post originated because of a post by Sensationally Red left, asking about the comparision between the Pig Hills and the Road Runner Hills. (Red, I couldn't find your email, but then thought this would be a decent post also.)

Okay. To me, there is only one real hill in the
Akron Road Runner Marathon. It is about a 2 mile uphill. I have run the marathon there, and as a relay runner last year, I had the 5K section on the uphill through Sand Run Parkway.
I guess, as a hill goes, it would be challenging. I started the 5K portion on the flat; it actually descends, and then you ascend again. It seemed to be a sharper 2 mile climb than the climb at the Pig. The Pig does climb for about two miles, but it is a much gentler slope. Or at least it seemed to me.
I think, if you have run the Road Runner, you would have no problem running the Flying Pig.

Flying Pig Race Report

My Flying Pig Report

It was a beautiful day for a race, 50 degrees at the start, just a little chilly. There were mobs and mobs of people. Josh and I tried to find Rob, but that was hopeless. I eyed the Portopotty lines and told Josh I would see him after the race. I got out of the Portopotty at 626 with the race time at 630am. OH well, it’s chip timing. I was way way in the back. There was no way to move up or move at all. I think I shuffled by walkers for the first mile or so.
It was still very congested through about mile 3. I didn’t get of a view of the rivers as we crossed bridges or Kentucky due to the crowds. It got better as we ran back through Cincinnati due east.
I kept waiting for the hills to emerge. We started up a gradual incline about mile 6. Was this the hills? These weren’t bad at all. In fact, I didn’t even stop to walk them, just shuffled up. I guess we did go up hill for a few miles. There was a spectacular view of the Ohio River from Eden Park.
This was where the running gods paid me back for the Las Vegas Marathon. I was in need of the Port o potties again, but all I passed where ten deep in runners waiting. I saw a woman emerge from a park building on the left—I looked from where she emerged and saw the word WOMEN on the door-was it? Was it unlocked? I dashed to the door and found, to my amazement, flush toilets with only three women in front of me. I only spent two minutes waiting in line and was back out on the road!
Yes, speaking of ROAD. This was a road marathon, did everyone know that? I guess I did too. My body was not happy. I started to stiffen up around mile 8. My calves hurt, my lower back hurt, my hamstrings started to sing. Eew. I never tighten up like that at mile 8 on a trail run.
I made a few mistakes out there. I bought a new hand held water bottle, and never transferred my Succeed caps to the new bottle. I only brought one snack size Payday bar, w hich I ate around mile 9. It tasted great, but now I was starving. I’m used to food on runs!
About mile 14 or 15 I really felt grouchy and a bit light headed. It felt that maybe my blood sugar was a bit low. So I did it. I DRANK GATORADE.
And you know what? I kept it down. And didn’t need a Portopottie stop. I felt better with a little electrolytes and calories in me.
The hand held bottle worked great for me. I only needed to stop about every third water station and get water or Gatorade, and then got back to running. Walking actually hurt. This happened to me in another race. Walking really excasberated my muscle stiffness, plus I could feel both insertion points on the outside of my knees with the IT Band.
FINALLY There was the Clif Shot Stop at Mile 18 (I thought it was at Mile 17) and I got some much needed gel for my stomach.
This was a very nice course. Lots of people out cheering you on; although I got my ultra running feathers ruffled a bit. People were telling me “you’re going to finish! You can do it” Well, of course I am going to finish, that was never any doubt-don’t patronize me!!
Mile 24 was probably the toughest. You could see the bridges of Cinti and it looked far away. This was also on a stretch of road with no crowds, only one band. I wanted to keep correcting people’s form; runners were tired here, and slumped over.
Last ½ mile or so was a bit of a downhill; you round a sharp corner and can see the “FINISH SWINE” (ha ha ha) Some people blew by me; at least six of them finished in a pack; I took my time so I would alone in the finish line photo!!

Food was rather scarce after five hours; that was kind of disappointing considering I was still starving. I did get some Gogurt and bananas, but I would have really like something from Panera Bread. Josh and his parents were waiting for me, sunning themselves on the Serpentine Wall steps. Josh had finished about two hours prior to me!

This was a nice marathon. A good course, good swag; although the Pig needs to be bigger. You have to squint at the shirt to see that it is a marathon shirt from the Flying Pig Marathon-race organizers, we want a big PIG! Good crowd support, plentiful water stations. They need to reorganize the PortoPotty situation though. Potties not being used at the end of the race runners were desperate for in the first 12 miles.

It was a good run for me, as a training run. I didn’t really enjoy it so much, just because of my body hurting. I am going to rethink road marathons for myself, and not get sucked into my friends plans LOL!
I don’t hurt as bad as I thought I would, maybe my ice bath helped quite a bit. Although usually aches and pains catches me on day two. I am not planning to run today, just walk the dogs and maybe do some walking on the treadmill and get some good stretching in.