Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race # 2: Akron Marathon Race Report

Beautiful day for a race. Cool temps. As I walked into Mikey's house he commented on my "carefully chosen marathon shoes" which were dirty. I had just picked up one of my pairs of Saucony road shoes and brought them.

After listening to some cool Daft Punk in the car, we started for the start line. Mikey got felt up by Rob but I got nothin'. Sigh. I went to stand in the potty lines, but they were too long, and I got back to the 430 pace area so as not to lose Mike. Here we met up with Brett,Red and Bob. Kurt was there, gave me a quick hug, then shot off toward a faster group.

Mike and I had goals. First goal was to see Tony the Tiger come back across the Y Bridge. I told Mike he would be shirtless, and Mike said no-first bet. Yep, we saw Tony and yelled wildly for him. I also got to see Wendy, my elite runner neighbor, as she headed back across the bridge too!

Seeing as I hadn't made it to the potty before race, I told Mike I wanted to stop at the second group, but it was too crowded. But we lucked into seeing the lovely Debi, who was back from her broken leg, looking good out there!

We headed back into the city of Akron, and the second water stop was out of water, to our surprise, and to many others dismay. Wow, there must be many more runners out there. The next two water stops were rather sparse, but after that, everything was fine.

Mike and I were having a great time, talking about everything, still running a nice slow race. The course quiets down after the 1/2 marathoners peel off at around the 10 mile or so mark, and we hit the flat towpath, very humid.

Where we find food

The Summa Health folks have the water stop at around mile 13. Mike spots blueberry muffins and asks we can have one. Yes! Real food! Solid food! We slow down to walk and stuff our faces with our muffins. Ok, I am much happier! Running through the woods, eating!
I'm glad Mike was with me. My hamstrings were getting very tight, and I knew I would have been even slower had Mike not been with me.
We turned onto the Sand Run portion of the race, and were so involved in talking that we were up the section, and I was "oh, we're at the top already."
Around this area, we start encouraging runners that we overheard were running their first marathon. Mike was very good about telling them what was upcoming on the course. Mike kept talking about Garmin hill, and I finally remembered it. Oh geez, it's only about 20 feet long!

Probably the hardest section for me was the concrete section through the "Neighborhoods" because the concrete sucks all energy out of my legs. But the folks who have persevered through partying for 4+ hours and still yelling encouragement helps. I had started yelling "you can do it"!! around mile 2 or so. And a couple times I had to yell back to people "Yes, I can do, I will finish!!!"

We had just passed out of Stan Hywet hall, when Mike remarked we had not heard the infamous "you're almost there" yet. A traffic control person (some 20 feet away) must have had awesome hearing, because he bellows out after us "Hey,you're almost there!!!!" and just cracked us up!

Elizabeth comes running toward us around this point. She's finished the race, pacing her group in, and now she's turned around, and running back to pace her cousin Noreen in! Man, Elizabeth is a bundle of energy out there!

We caught another first-timer running along this street, and tried to pull her along with us. This street is notoriously longer than it seems, and I finally saw the light for West Market Street, and yelled out to Mike. At least 4 others around us said "What's West Market Street" and we were happy to give them the news that it is the left turn for the almost two mile downhill to the finish.

We turn onto Main Street, and Mike coaxes a relay runner to break into a jog with us, and she manages a few blocks closer to the finish.

We hit the finish line in a blistering 5.30~~hey, plenty of time to clain our free pair of Brooks running shoes!!

Special mention: Our friend Tony the Tiger set a new course record for the masters in 2.56.34!! Nicely done Tony!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I feel good. The quads are not in tight knots as they usually are after a Mill Creek Park run. I attribute that to the direction of the run. In the past, we would run a loop, then reverse direction and run. The reverse direction seems to have more steeper downhills that trashes the quads.
I came home from Youngstown, had my ice bath, showered, and then had a glass of wine and went to bed. Oh yeah, on the way back from Y-town, I also had a Recoverite drink from Hammer Gel. I have been having very good results after using this. In the past, after long races, I would get random cramps and twitches in my legs, sometimes even to wake me up in the night. After using Recoverite, I don't have any of that.

I slept in this morning, and woke up to no leg cramps, and just some stiffness. I went out for a walk/run around the block. I walked for a mile, then ran a mile (a nice long downhill), then walked another 1/2 mile, then ran 1/2 mile, then walked about another mile home. This seemed to help out tremendously, although the stretching is still on the agenda for today.

I'm paying to my recovery closely this time because this race was just the first in my trifecta. Next up: Akron Marathon Saturday!

YUT-C 50K Race Report 2008

I was so happy to be on the road for this race! I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Mill Creek Park is a park hidden with the city of Youngstown Ohio. Yet it has woods, lakes, creeks, and technical trails. Who would think!

I took the early 7am start since I am a slowpoke. About six other joined me in the brightening hours.

Julie and Pru on their second 50K

The group separated quite a bit before the Monkey Trails and I was running by myself. The first almost vertical hill had been rerouted by a gradual climb up the side of the hill and my quads thank NEO Trails for that today!

The windstorm that rocked Ohio Sunday even hit way over in Youngstown. But alas, the Love Log is still in the same place. I did my usual graceful "lay down on the log and roll over" it.

I was having a great race! I was running pretty fast (for me). In taking the early start, like last year, I wanted to set a goal of when the regular racers would catch me. With the change of the course direction, my goal this year was to be back to the Covered Bridge AS, having completed the lower loop before the front runners caught me.

I was also running a bit too fast for the first 10 miles of the race, but you know, I just didn't care. I decided to adopt the philosphy of "go out fast and blow up later" cuz I was just having a good time out there. The weather was cool and beautiful, the trail was dry, everything was great!

I finished the first lower loop, where runners who started the 8am were still running in to begin their first loop. This was fun, because now I was seeing friends whom I mainly had not seen since Burning River, since I spent the whole month of August running races in WV.
The first male caught me at 9.47 miles, where I had already started down the trail on my second loop-check! First goal achieved. I was still doing very well out on the trails, taking my S Caps, eating some gels, ClikBlok Shots on schedule.

Where I make my Race Mistake

I get back to the Covered Bridge AS. I spot a cup with tomato/V-8 juice and drink it down. Then I grab a can of Ensure, drink 1/2 of it, then decide to finish it. Then I drink some Coke.

You know where this is going....
I start down the trail, get to say hi to Dave Peterman as he runs by me, and then start down the trail. Ugh. My tummy is sloshing. I feel like taking my waist pack off. I'm walking, although I'm on a downhill. I don't feel sooo good. Somehow, I get about a 1/2 mile down the trail,
right past the cool Silver Bridge, that the contents come rushing back up from my stomach!
Of course, 2 or 3 runners went past, with the usual "are you ok?" I shouted I was fine between ralphing. I felt much better after puking, rinsed out my mouth. I leaned up against a rock and was prepared to feel sorry for myself, when I heard Nick!

I have been following Nick's blog since around the time he started it, but we've never had a chance to meet. I think Nick asked me how I was, and I told him I had just tossed my cookies. He looked a bit dismayed! We walked down the trail together, then jogged a bit so we could talk. It was great to finally meet you Nick!
As we crossed a road, we started up a rocky climb, when whamm!! Charly horse in my calf! Nick went on ahead as I climbed slowly, now feeling cramps in both calves.
Huh. I never get cramps. So what that I had just tossed my cookies, that shouldn't affect my electrolytes that much. Although I was sweating out alot of salt, I could feel it all over my face. And I wasn't interested in the gels in my pack, my stomach wasn't up to it. It was kind of a rough walk/jog back to the start of the race, although mentally and emotionally, I was still just having a great time!

I got back to the start, ate a whole banana, asked for HEED in my water bottle, took an Endurolytes cap, and took some dry pretzels, as nothing was looking too appetizing to my stomach. I started sipping on the HEED also immediately, but backing off when my stomach warned me. I was still having calf cramps!!

Second time through on the Love Log. See, I am still having fun...

Almost to the Covered Bridge AS, John DeWalt catches up to me. For anyone that doesn't know John, John is an awesome ultra runner, he's finished Hard Rock 13 times, his most recent this year, and John is 73 years old. He says his legs are "rubbery" (yeah, right John!) and runs by me. As I watch John go, you can't tell if it's a 30year old, 40 yearold, certainly not a 70 year old!!

I pick up a few more pretzels and HEED. It's not much to run on, but it's working for me. I continue down the trail, and now I feel my lower intestines cramping! Oh great!! This is an example of the trail here. River on your right, vertical slope on your left. No trees to duck behind...I somehow make it down the trail to the Silver Bridge again, run across the road, away from the trail! Ugh, man, I am getting all sorts of physical ailments to deal with today!!! LOL!

I am almost back to the race start to begin the 3rd and last loop when Jason from Pittsburgh catches up to me. This was very cool , because Jason and I ran most of the 3rd loop together, and made it a much more pleasant last time through. Bruce also caught up with us at the Monkey Trails, and I got to see how tall people got across the Love Log! No fair!

You guys don't even get dirty! Me on the third time!

I finished up in around 8.35, way behind my goal of finishing under 8 hours. I continued to have calf cramps throughout the second half. I'm still puzzled by them.
1. Was my electrolytes that out of whack? I wasn't swelling up. I was really drinking the HEED down. Cramping can be due to Potassium, sodium and magnesium. My food the 4-5 days before the race was probaly not as full as my normal veggies-we didn't have power 1/2 the week, so eating was a bit off kilter. My breakfast pre-race really sucked-2 sugar cookies and a Monster Mash energy drink.
2. Did I go out too fast and just blow up? Huh, I dunno.

Race Director Bob Combs, me, and John DeWalt

Ate some good food after the race, after my stomach settled down. That is the longest race I have done on the most little food. I was pretty light-headed the last 2 or 3 miles in, but what can you do? I wasn't worried about not finishing, or dying out on the trail, or something silly like that. I had a really great time, as usual!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Salt Fork Run-Purple Trail

Today was another nice day for a trail run. This time I headed to Salt Fork State Park, to tackle the "purple" trail. This bridle trail leads down by the lake. I haven't run on it in over a year..I don't know why! I'll be back again!

Despite getting rain for a few hours yesterday, I guessed that the trails would have sucked all the water up, and I was correct, but for some small areas of shoe sucking mud, the trail was just pretty much nice firm, spongy dirt!

I came across this guy about three miles in, I nearly ran into him:

This is a 3 foot black snake. I was kind of suprised to see him out so late in the season, but it is a nice hot day, so he must have just been enjoying the warmth.

A thing of beauty!

I was really having a good time out on this trail. There hasn't been much improvements to the trail itself, which is in pretty good shape, but the blazing has been redone, AND there are now mile markers! I couldn't remember how far this trail went, and now it's more convenient.

The biggest drawback is the lack of water available. Now that I know the distance, I can stash water on the trail around mile 9...which on an 11 mile run, doesn't do me so much good.
So NEXT TIME I run there, I bring this!

I bought this water filter in the spring, for Salt Fork, and haven't bothered with it. I mean, there is a lake right beside me! The water bottle is slightly larger than the usual 20 oz bottle I carry, but I think I can manage it.

Maybe sometime this fall, in October or November, I can get a group of runners to come over and run these new trails!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Salt Fork Run

I had a good run down at Salt Fork. although I didn't get out until 130 pm to run.

I know some runners who would not follow this sign!

This is a bridle trail, called the 'orange trail', and I haven't run it all summer. I was there between "seasons" since the summer boaters are now gone off the lake and none of the hunting seasons have began. Very quiet down on the lake.

They've made big improvements to the trail, making it wider for the horses, except for this initial section below:
In fact, they have rerouted the trail, adding on about one mile, which now takes you along the lake shore. This is a nice improvement, since the old trail section was a very rutty shoe-sucking mud trudge fest. .

The drought is taking its toll. The lake at Salt Fork is starting to get low.

I had a very good trail run, although it was around 130 pm before I got to Salt Fork to run. This is my loop course, called the 'orange trail'. It's a bridle trail.