Tuesday, June 26, 2007

4 Mile Run Today

It said it was a trail so I guess it counts. This is a rails to trails project that is underway. This is part of the trail which is going to connect southern Ohio with Northern Ohio some decade. This trail has been improved since the last time I was on it, less cinders, maybe they all washed away since last summer.
It was a bit hot out today at 330pm, since I left work early. It was about 90 with 100% humidity. When I started running, you weren't breathing air in, I seemed to be eating air, it was so hot and heavy. But hey, I was running!!
And for me, running a bit fast! I actually charged the Garmin so I glanced down and noticed I was running a 9.50 pace-WTF was up with that???? Maybe no run for a week and total flat running space despite the heat?? In fact, I kept around a 10-ish minute mile pace for about two miles. Then I drank some water and immediately broke out into chills. Maybe running at 4pm with no hat and running a bit fast really wasn't the best idea. How on earth did I get so overheated in just two miles? And why didn't I care more? I was having this strange little fight going on. Mentally and emotionally I was so into the run, and then I had Body on the side saying "hello, I really shouldn't be cold now! Did you even notice my chills? Is this heat stroke or heat exhaustion, but does it matter and why isn't anyone paying attention to me?"
I slowed down on the two miles back, stopping to walk when the chills got a little stronger-after all, what could I do? I'm out in the middle of kind of cornfields, behind people's houses. I actually was still in a very good mood although Body was still pretty miffed. It was about a 1/4 mile walk back to my car, so I guess I must have been hot, since the air felt pretty good for the walk back. I'm still convinced I had a good run there, it felt so good to get out and run!

Trail Goddess Post Run

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mohican Race Report-1

Miles 0 to 61
It was going to be a hot day out on the course. We got started promptly at 0510. Hummpff..Lots of chatting and bantering as we ran through the campground and onto the main road. We turn onto the first side road and a huge 1/2 mile or so hill oblingly pushes everyone down into a nice walk up the hill. Except my friend Jerry, who yells at me as he runs up the hill and disapears for the day. Jerry came in 2nd place for the race, I am so happy for him!!
The first ten miles are just country back roads, rolling hills. New runners to the Mohican course comment on the amount of hills. Yes, and that's not all of them. Mohican really is a series of ups and downs. I guess I don't think about them because I run on them so much. And that's probaly why I don't like flat courses because I don't have so much oppourtunity to walk!!
We get to Rock Point Aid Station and turn off onto the first of the trail's very well marked thanks to Mike and Glenn.
I must have been running a bit faster than my slowpoke normal pace because Aid Station workers would comment on my good time. I need to work better at chatting less at aid stations, but it's hard, because I do know bunches of people, and most of them I haven't seen in months. Maybe I need to go run up north with them so I can socialize then and just focus on the race.

Although not as hot and humid as last year, it was still hot. I was carrying a handheld and another bottle at my waist. I couldn't seem to drain both bottles between aid stations, kind of unusual for me. As a result, I was not having to pee so much. I kept trying to work on that, monitoring my hands swelling and taking my Succeed caps on schedule.
The orange loop followed the green section this year, and I headed down to the Grist Mill at the heat of the day. It was nice to have to the new trail section created for us, to keep runners off Route 3 during the day and night. I found Wendy at the Grist Mill and dropped my stuff with her, since the small loop behind the Grist Mill is 7/10 of a mile. I ran that in 11 minutes, checked over the meager food at the Aid Station. I saw a 1/2 eaten burger and thought, wow burgers!! Nope. Someone had a little stand selling burgers. I remarked to my friend Frank that I wasn't carrying my credit card with me, so I made due with some Ensure and ClifShot Bloks, yummy lunch there, picked up my stuff and headed out again.
This section of the orange takes you along the river, back to the Covered Bridge, where you ford the river. I tried my Tom Jennings Crossing Gear, but I either got a hole in them, or the water spilled over, so I knew I was going to have to sit at the Covered Bridge and do the sock/shoe change.
I was about ready to leave when Andrew came in and said hello to him. I headed out on the blue loop, the prettiest part of the race.
There were no other runners in front or behind me, so I missed the usual incredulous comments about running (actually hopping over rocks and the stream, climb over logs) up to Little Lyons Falls. I had to share the climb up with a tourist who was coming down; we had an impasse for a minute and then I just climbed up around him. Was he running a race that day??? I stopped in the real restroom at the dam to fill up my water bottles again; I knew I was going to be on about one mile of road, uphill, so I had tied my bandanna around my head and dumped a bottle of water on it to cool me down. Andrew ran by as I was filling bottles at the water fountain, and I yelled if he needed more water, here was a spot, but he waved and continued on. I followed him and quickly caught up to him as we started the long uphill. Andrew is from Alabama and Mohican had more hills than he had expected. We chatted all the way up the hill, dodging inconsiderate drivers. We turned back onto the trail, which, since we climbed the hill, now we descended the hill down to Big Lyons Fall. It was nice to run with someone new (apparently I am not new to Andrew, since he reads my blog yet leaves no comment love!!!) and we were getting along great. I don't think Andrew was eating/drinking enough and tried to encourage him to do so. He started making sounds about stopping at Covered Bridge, and I got my stuff ready as I watched him sit down and get his stuff together. Andrew said he was just going to sit in the shade for awhile, and I told him, if you stay here, you know what was going to happen. I know he was dehydrated and had too much sun, but I wanted to coax him along as much as possible. He still was saying he was going to sit in the shade as we crossed the road and started up the red section hill.
Now maybe this was a bit mean of me, but I didn't tell him what a big hill the first climb is. I tried to distract him with chatter about the trail. He still managed to notice how tall the climb was.
Somewhere after the top of the hill he told me to go on, so I reluctantly left him. Then he caught up to me as I stopped for a potty break at the side of the road, and we ran and walked along together. I told him it was only 2.5 miles to Bridle Staging Area. Around here Tom caught up to us, and I tried to keep my swelled head on the trail as the two of them showered me with compliments. (That's actually a really nice way to run, with two men saying how wonderful you are!) I stopped for a potty break at Bridle, and Andrew again said to go on without him. Wendy gave me a slice of pizza as I went by, and then a woman popped out of a van and asked me if I had ever gotten my hamburger. I said no, and she gave me a McDonald's cheeseburger! This was Frank's wife, and she rocks!!!
So I got into the aid station with all this food I mooched along the way, it was hilarious. Andrew tried a bite of pizza, then refused it when we dropped it on the ground. I took a bite though! We started out on this section together and he again told me to go on, so I did. I knew he would get to Rock Point and probably drop, and that was too bad, but he wasn't sure he could do the Red and Orange Sections again at night.
As soon as I left Andrew, I had a serious bonk. I started having negative thoughts, didn't feel good, wasn't running so much. I tried to get away from the thinking and concentrate on where I was on the trail. I ate more and drank more, but was still rather dispirited. My Tom Jennings water crossing gear failed at the third water stop, I think I sprung a leak. Oh well, that was fine. I had a blister on the side of my heel I needed to bandage so I might as well change socks.
I get to Rock Point and sit down and do the tedious wipe off the feet and dry them, and then figure out how to tape them. I should have brought more tape. As I finishing up, I really must have done that section slowly, because Andrew caught up to me at the Aid Station. And ladies, maybe this is southern manners, because Andrew sat down in the dirt at my feet and helped me put my socks and shoes back on! I haven't had any Yankee men do that for me! I felt I could sit there and chat more with Andrew, but I knew I needed to get down the trail. So I told him I would see him in the morning, and started back down the green section.
I think this is where my bonk on the red, and the blister first aid, and googling at Andrew, cost me a bit of time. I had lights in my drop back at the Fire Tower-about nine miles away. None at Rock Point. It was heading toward evening, but I thought I would be fine to get to the Fire Tower.
I checked through South Park Aid Station and started on the next 4.5 miles. It was now getting dark. This is where it helped me to know the trails so well. I ended up running/walking these miles in the dark, no lights. My own damn fault. I should have put a light in the drop bag at Rock Point, for just in case. I know I slowed way up walking/jogging my way through here in the dark. I was proud though, I never got off trail once, never fell.
I hit the Fire Tower Aid Station and kind of surprised them when I strolled in without a light.

Miles 61 through 75

Mike had my lights all ready to go at the Fire Tower. I had some soup, got some more to go, and Mike introduced me to Christian. Christian had just signed up for the Burning River 100 for his first 100 (and first ultra!)and had just driven up from Columbus to spectate. Of course, Mike had chatted him up and asked if I minded if Christian paced with us over to the Covered Bridge. Hey,fine with me. The more pacers the merrier.
When we got to the Covered Bridge, I had the podiatrist treat my blisters. I had one on the side of each heel, and the podiatry student seemed to spend a long time working on them. I really expected just some tape wrapped around them, but they popped them, and cleaned them. We must have spent some time there because Mike was a little anxious to get me out of there. While I sat, I ate soup and drank Coke.
It was a bit tough getting out of the chair. Not mentally, just physicially, that stop had locked up my quads a bit. However, I knew we had the big climb up the hill and that would help.
We were now pushing the cut off for the Hickory Ridge Aid Station. We did lots of walking, a little shuffling. It was tough on me because I knew exactly where I was, and how far to HR. I know Mike was frustrated because he didn't know how far to HR. I noticed the foliage change as we got close and Mike grabbed my water bottles to go ahead. He asked me if I needed anything besides water earlier, and I said no, so he instructed me that we were just to blow through HR, give them my number and go on. Like I said before, I do take directions very well out on the trail. Every time Mike said try to run I did. (Now, it may not have looked like a run!!)
I think we hit HR with a five minute cushion due to watches not being all that coordinated which was fine. We headed back out toward Campground A, and I finally stopped to pee. I had been wanting to for some time, and couldn't afford the stop. In fact, I must have finally gotten rehydrated, because I was peeing every two miles it seemed (after not being able to for the first 18 hours of the race!).
I noticed my light was getting dim, and looked for the batteries I picked up at the Covered Bridge Aid Station. Well, it turned out they were not there. In the business at CB, they must have gotten stashed back in the drop bag. Again, that was my fault for not checking through all my stuff before leaving. I did not let it upset me, because really, what could I do about it? It ended up being a non-issue, because my light was still sufficient, and I had two pacers with lights with me.
While mentally I was still with it, most of the time, my quads were getting very tight. Mohican is a very hilly course. The downhills were becoming quite painful to descend. And the last two miles to Campground A are downhill, I think I was just tiptoing down through there. When we got to the bottom, Mike asked if I could run a 10 minute mile. I think I said something like, "well, I could." And I'm not sure if I vocalized the rest of the statement, which was, maybe not tonight!
Mike kept talking and trying to keep me going. I know he was terribly frustrated to get me moving. I felt bad for him, but I could not communicate that at the time. And I was moving, but not at a good speed!
We hit the new section of trail toward the Grist Mill. I didn't look at my watch because I didn't want to know. I got to the Grist Mill and looked at the Aid Station Captain and asked how I did. He said I was right at cut off. I dropped my waist pack and ran off across the wooden bridge for the0.7 mile loop up the side of the hill. As I got to the stairs, I saw my light was even more dim. So I turned and hollered at Mike "I need a better light than this!!!" Poor Mike, he just ran over and handed me his light, and I went on.
This actually is the funny part. Mike and Christian, not knowing the course out here, thought I was going to the restroom. I head out of the course, wondering why they aren't going with me, but figure since it's less than one mile, they were letting me do it by myself. Mike and Christian started eating at the aid station, waiting for me, then finally asked a volunteer if the bathrooms were in the direction I headed. The volunteer said no, that was the course!! So Mike and Christan ran uphill to catch back up with me.
There was a 12 minute allotment to run the 0.7 mile loop here. I had run it earlier in the day in 11 minutes. So I was pretty sure I was not going to make the time cutoff. But I wasn't going to NOT attempt it. They could time me out of the race I wasn't going to stop without running the little loop. (This little loop is probably the most unpopular section of this race.)
When we got back down, I looked at the Aid Station Captain and asked how I did. He looked at his watch and said I didn't make it.

I'm a happy little DNFer aren't I? Mike, me, and Christian at 75.6 miles.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Night Run on the Orange Loop

I finally got my night training run completed!!

Regis and I arrived at Mohican late afternoon. We checked out the new section of course for the Grist Mill area, then Reg convinced me to run the 3/4 mile loop (which goes uphill and then comes downhill)...funny, the hill didn't seem so steep anymore.
We then headed over to Camp Nuhop which was the HQ for the other Mohican 100 Race the mountain bike trail race! We got our volunteer duties for Saturday morning, proof part of the trail early on Saturday, to make sure signs weren't stolen, and marshall a crucial intersection of where biker meets biker.
That being done, nothing left to do but go for a little night run..
We started at the Campgrounds and ran along the river. It was still light out here, so no lights were needed. It wasn't until we had turned onto the mountain bike section where total darkness fell and we needed the lights.
I dropped back a little behind Nick and Regis. I wanted to get the full effect of being alone in the woods, where I wouldn't have the runner in front of me light.
First thing I noticed was a reduced pace. There is added concentration of focusing on the trail. The Orange Loop is the most technical, with roots and rocks along the way.
The second item I noted was a reduced perception in the trail. People, I know the orange loop. And some of now seemed rather unfamiliar to me in the darkness.
The third item was a distorted perception of distance. Some sections seemed shorter, others seemed farther away. I was still able to guage the turn off to the Hickory Ridge Aid Station rather successflly when I noticed the foliage change.

But then the fog hit!! (Actually it hit as soon as hit the ridgeline.) This was crazy!! It was hard to see one foot past your own foot. It made the going even slower.

With the slower pace, and the downhill on the ridgeline, which I normally just love to fly down, I found myself breaking much more. This took a toll on my quads. I also think my stride shortened up too. This was tiring me out much more than a normal stroll along the orange loop.
I took a good spill on the orange. Whuuumpph!!! Went the body. Was I ok? Yep, just got the breath knocked out of me. But it made me run a little more cautiously. I think I was down to a shuffle out there.

We finished the night loop of the orange in about 4 hours-13 miles in 4 hours. Not too bad. This was a great learning experience. I learned how to use my light (once I turned it from upside down) and that maybe a hand held torch could come in handy with fog out there. I am going to need to double Adrenalin and get some calories in for this section; this was tough and tiring at night. This is the most technical section that we will hit at night. The next section after this is the Red, which is on a wider jeep road for the most part.

Trail Conditions: Orange is in great shape. Nice and dry out there.