Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still I Run

It was either 90 or 99 degrees today, depending on what sign you wanted to believe...I think it was closer to 90 myself. I really wasn't feeling the love of the run...I was in my normal tired after-work whininess, and didn't have my daily chat with Andrew to re-energize me to run...but I still put the sunglasses on and the iPod and walked off from the gym to do 4 miles around the block.

I automatically started running at the "bridge" at the end of town. I was running my loop backwards, because at this time of year, the sun angle is different, and I knew I would have more shade this way. The thing is, the 1/2 mile hill is now in the first 1/2 mile of the run, which has caused some shin pain in the past.

I start up the hill, wondering when I will start walking. But still I run. Up the hill. Well, it's not actually running, but it's not walking. And up I go. I'm listening to a podcast, and my brain is kind of frantically waiting for the legs to take a walking break..and still I run.

20 feet from the top, I slow into a walking mode...but I crest the hill and go back into running. The handsome German Shepherd merely barks hello but stays in his yard.
I run down the hill, and keep running. I keep seeing little inclines, and the brain is saying "Oh good, up ahead, we'll walk there" and still I run. The legs were on auto pilot.

I hit the 1/2 point, run across the highway, and noticed the "Road Closed" sign. What? Could it be? Yes, sure enough, the 2 mile section of road that I normally dislike because of the high traffic is closed! The road is practically mine!!!!

It's hot on the asphalt, out of the shaded areas. But still I run on. All of a sudden, I round the last bend, and see my other bridge, my ending point on this side of town. Wow. The body did not listen to the brain for this run. This body wanted to run.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hot Run said 90, the bank sign said 99..well, somewhere in the 90's. The trail goddess invoked her friend Mother Nature again, who obliged by covering the sun with a few clouds on her 3 or so mile run around the park. Man, the park was deserted. Nobody was out! When the sun did peak through, it was hot on the asphalt bike trail. I ran the sunny spots walked the shade. A good little effort in 90 degrees.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Run

Although the temp was about 74 degrees, the humidity was about 98%.I was really hoping for rain, as it would have cleared the air and cooled me down. I did my 9 or 11 mile "around the block" in around 2 hours. I didn't carry a watch or Garmin, just one of those good runs where it felt good to get out there, although I was wearing a ball cap which just makes my head hot.

Around the halfway point, I found my Montrail bottle of water that I had stashed there...oh about a week ago. I was happy to find it still full and looked okay to drink. Which was good, because I then unscrewed the cap of the hand held I was carrying. I had added Gatorade to this handheld, and it had been in my gym bag for, oh, maybe a week...nice black stuff growing on the sides. Yum!! Well, since I had already drank the bottle, I just added the water to the bottle and went on my merry way. If it doesn't kill me it will make me stronger.

I almost had a dog altercation. On my way back to town, I run by a house with a dog. Actually dogs on either side, very narrow drive (road/street) between these houses, more like a driveway. I hear the barking as I go by the house. 3 Golden Retrievers are galloping toward me on the left--no worries, there is one of those awful "invisible fences" but the mutt on the other side is total free.
He comes into the road, hackles up. I had no karma with this dog, I have met him before. I am actually raising my water bottle in defense and hissing at this dog repeatedly " go back. Go HOME. GET BACK" as I continue to move forward slowly. For some reason I wasn't really scared of this 50 lb mutt, but really annoyed at him. He left me at the bridge, at the end of his property. Hmmmph. I might need to stop in and have a talk with the property owner. This isn't the first time this dog has challenged me, and this is a normal route I run!

My knee is feeling fine now, thanks for all the concerns. But I believe the streaking will have to be put into the "difficult" category for me and may best be avoided in the future. Snort.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trail Run

I am back. I really wasn't anywhere, but thanks for the kind enquiries. Increased work load, starting a long-distance learning class, and sucky runs lead to drecreased blogging. Worrying about things beyond my control, for the moment, sucked my creative juices. When Nick emailed about a Mohican run "you know you want to" I said heck yeah.

Nick is running his first 50K in a few weeks, the Haliburton Race which offers a 50K, 50 mile and 100 mile race. I have been interested in the 100 mile since meeting Helen Malmberg, the RD. This was Nick's training run, on the course the three of us knew pretty well: Nick, Tonya, Kim.

Nick wanted to start early, to "Beat the heat" which is typical for August for us, but a cold wave hit, and it was in the mid-fifties when we met up at the Covered Bridge!

It was also still dark, and Kim brought the only light!! So we started on the mountain bike trail, because I knew that was a better trail than the traditional 2 mile hike up Gas Line Hill. In fact,the mountain bike trail was really sweet, lots of switchbacks. I think we end up with the same elevation climb as the traditional Red Loop climb. But a much easier route! In fact, we got to Bridle Staging Area in 47 minutes, where that is normally about one hour for our pace.

It started raining as soon as we started running, but that just made for a very cool day. Very much different than our normal running in August. Running under the trees, we actually weren't getting that poured upon. It was a very good run, it seemed to go fast, with our chatting about the different races we've been at lately, the local running gossip, and upcoming races and plans.

The big news for me was NO BLISTERS!! In feet that were wet as soon as we started, five hours of running in wet socks and shoes, 4 water crossings, NO BLISTERS.

The difference? I really don't know. I wore my road shoes, my Saucony Pro Grid Triumphs. I laced the very top a little tighter than normal. I did not tape my feet at all. Could it be something in the shoe heel area? I'll run exclusively in these shoes if that fixes my problem!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

North Fork Mountain Trail Run

This is a club event of the West Virginia Trail Runners. It is a run on the North Fork Mountain Trail, down in southern West Viriginia. It's actually on the mountaintop behind Seneca Rocks.
The biggest problem with running on top of a mountain is there is no water supply. The plan this year was to drive a bunch of cars to the top of the mountain (driven part the second half runners) for the first half runners to drive back to the campground.

I arrived in the early afternoon at the campground, set up the tent, and retired to the shade. The talk was of the heat of the next day..I was quickly waffling on whether to run the full 24 miles, or start at the half-way point, since I had run the first 12 miles the year theyear before. I actally went over to Seneca Rocks this year, and hiked the 1.5 miles to the overlook. Great view, but stil a hot hazy afternoon. I decided to run with Siobhan, who runs about my pace, and we would run the second half.

We all drove up to the starting point, to drop off the full and first half runners, and to take the obligatory starting line pics. Siobhan and I did not plan this before!

Once we did the scary drive to the top of the mountain, to the halfway point, Siobhan and I took off. The first mile is actually back down the same road, and then we were off on the trail. I actually preferred the second half of the trail, but this time I was ready for the rocks. It's very rocky, pretty technical, but with some good sections of smoother single track. There was also some sections with overgrown mountain laurels, where you had to bring up your hands up to your face to kind of protect it.
The first lead runners (who had already run twelve miles) caught up to us about 20 minutes after we started. A few more people passed us, including some who yelled at us to climb up to a senic overlook.

It was a very hot day out there and we were glad we had only 12 miles to run. The trail gets more rocky. Dan, our fearless leader had cautioned us on two forks in the trail-luckily I was paying attention on a good downhill stretch, and we managed to make the fork. A little distance further, the trail was not marked with the blue blazes, and I had just turned to reconnioter, I was afraid we had taken the wrong fork, when Siobhan's father, Charlie arrived. Charlie was an old veteran on the trail and we were going the correct way. Charlie would run with us the rest of the way, which was good, since we were all getting tired by this point. The last two miles were downhill, but very rocky, and full of loose shale. It was hard to keep the feet under you.

It was good to get back to the campground for cool showers, lots and lots of food, with lots and lots of beer and wine (but that's a whole separate post in itself!!)

I got up way early Sunday, I had been dreaming of a bottle of water--yes I was dehydrated. Once up, I decided to strike the tent and get home earlier than planned. I was home, after my four hour drive, around noon. I was a little stiff after the drive, but I hope to be back next year for the run-next year, really, the full 24 miles!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Burning River Pacing Report

Surprise! That's not Mike I'm pacing in. That is Sean, from Cincinnati. If he seems familiar, Mike paced him for his last ten miles at Mohican. So I did the same for Sean at Burning River.

I was at my aid station all day, getting the runners through at Happy Days. Bob, our Aid Station Captain, would periodically tell Adam and I, (Adam paced Josh) to sit down, rest, take care of ourselves, as we both had 35 miles to go to the finish line.

The night kept wearing on, and we started to get closer to the cutsoffs for our aidstation, I prepared to go. I was ready to go.

Waistpack on, water stowed ready to go. I even received the Shubi blessing as I prepared for battle.

As the night wore on, the temperature dropped nicely for the runners. If you were just sitting around the aid station resting, it was getting a bit chilly.

Josh hit our station with about 40 minutes to the cut off. Adam let out a huge whooop when he saw Josh. I heard it. So did Maria. Josh was all business as he grabbed several handfuls of food, tossed me and Maria a greeting, and headed back out on the trail, a fast aid station stop. He was focused on his race.

Still no Mike. Getting antsier and antsier. It didn't help that, as each light appeared across the field the runners had to traverse, that Pebble kept saying "I see Mike Kim. That's him." And each time it was not Mike.

Finally, about 1228, (our AS Cut off was 1242) I went uptrail to see if I could find my runner. I found Mike, within a 1/2 mile. I told him we were almost out of time, and we started moving a bit faster. When we entered the field, I said I thought we might be at the cut off but we still needed to push it to the AS because I had not co-ordinated my watch with official race time.

It was so good to see the NEO Trail members running toward us on the trail, yelling RUN RUN!! And Mike was running. I know he was hurting bad, but he was running much faster than I was at my cutoff for Mo. We hit the AS and Mike slowed down and I ran through, and the NEO Trail members pretty much pushed us out of the AS down the trail, so quickly that I didn't even have my waist pack! (I had left the AS so quickly before I didn't even think about it.) Brian shortly appeared with it, though, thanks buddy!

Mike stopped shortly up the trail. He was hurting, and didn't think he could make the cutoffs. So we walked back to the AS, which was now being dismantled.

I then went over to the Merrimam AS at Mile 91 Yes, that is Aid Station Captain E-Speed!

This was a disoriented jump in time for me. I had just left the back of the packers, and now I was at the point of the race where the first ten runners or so had just come through. It was kind of like a time travel! I got comfy in an AS chair and put some layers of clothing on, as the AS workers took care of the runners, and I looked to see if I could pick me up a runner.
I heard a familiar voice before long, it was my neighbor Wendy, who was pacing Gabe our 19 year old ultra neighbor. Wendy was snapping at Gabe in the aid station as he tried to dawdle. I looked at my watch and saw Wendy was going to pull Gabe to a sub 24 hour if he didn't waste time. Gabe slumped over the AS table and was singing "I hate Wendy I hate Wendy" as we all laughed. Wendy and I kind of removed Gabe from the AS and they disapeared into the night. Gabe finished in 23.59.32!!!!!!!!!

As I sat there, getting more cold, I thought about who else I knew that was coming through. I knew Sean should be in soon, and Dave P, so I thought I would volunteer to pace either of them in.

Sean showed up first, and gladly accepted the company to the finish line!! Sean did not need a pacer, as he was still in very good shape for mile 91. We alternately walked and ran; Sean did alot of run for his last 9 miles of the race! It was a very nice way for me to end my volunteer time at BR!

Best pic I took at the race. Gabe was crashed out in his sleeping bag at the finish line. I said "Gabe, sub 24" and I got this smile:

Happy Days Aid Station Report

The NEO Trail Club sponsored the Happy Days Aid Station at Mile 65 of the Burning River 100 Race. We had a very good time. We had great organization and flow through the aid station. It helped greatly that we kept crew and family out of the aid station.

Race winner Mark Godale (16.07) checking in at Happy Days

The Trail Goddess had brought the washcloths, and that was a big hit. I received one look of such gratitude from a runner that pretty much made my whole day! It's amazing what a small gesture can do to help a runner with their race.

Race Director Joe Jurcyzk coming by for an inspection:

It really was fun to work the aid station, seeing everyone come in, greet the runners, get them their aid, and kick them the hell out!! I hope we were able to assist someone in finishing their 100 miler on a very tough day out there.