Thursday, April 29, 2010

Salt Fork Run

Spring is in the air!!! Every thing is in bloom here. I was glad I had taken an antihistamine before the run. The pollen was so heavy, however, that my eyes were itching and I was sneezing in the last mile.
My latest Garmin Forerunner has bitten the dust. I must be hard on them. The unit said "fully charged" this morning. When I attempted to turn it on..nothing.

I scrounged in the car and found my cheapo watch, and actually located the stopwatch function. So I clicked it on, and off I went!

I decided to stay on the Purple Bridle Trail, for no real reason...then it occurred to me that I could actually track my miles, since they have these posted about every mile..

It was a good run. Beautiful day out there. Just me and the park. And the deer. There are five in the picture below...

I got back to the vehicle, and clicked stop on the watch. 3 hours. Around 13 miles. Hmmm. That's a pretty good trail pace. (I think the mile markers aren't so accurate for this...) but 13 miles in 3 hours makes me feel pretty good!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I am Not an Extra Large

I went out after work for a trail run at Salt Fork State Park. I had a new running skirt to try out. My old standby company, Atalanta Athleticwear is shutting down. I'm very sad, because these are the skirts I've been running in for the last four years! Quality clothing! (She still has some skirts left, so check it out!)

So I started skirt shopping. I bought a skirt from Skirt Sports. I wondered about the size. I paid attention to the sizing, and decided on an extra large.
The skirt arrived yesterday. Hmm.Looks big. Feels a little loose. I threw it into the running bag anyways.

I started off from the lodge, scaring up the usual gang of deer that hang out here.

I ran down the hill. And the skirt started slipping off my hips.

Sheeesh!! I had to keep stopping, to pull the skirt up. It's going back to REI after laundering. I need a large. Or maybe even a medium. Maybe I will get two skirts, one in large and one in medium to see which one fits better.

I am NOT an Extra Large!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Day Marathon Race Report

The weather conditions just kept changing for the Earth Day Marathon in Gambier, Ohio today. This is a nice, small, well organized race originating out of Kenyon College. The course goes through about 4 miles in town, then an out and back on the Kokosing Trail, and then another longer out and back on the asphalt Gap Trail.

I got in the back of the pack, and we started promptly off. The only "hill" in this course is within the first 1/2 mile. I walked it, noting I was able to pass a few runners who were still trying to get the leg turnover going.

Actually, the four miles or so through town is not completely flat, there are still some uphills and downhills. A nice downhill spins us down onto the Kokosing Trail. This is under some trees greening up, with some white trilliums blooming.

I was wearing my Garmin, and a little amazed to see my miles: in the 1100's and some in the 1000's. Huh.. do I slow down, or keep going, as I feel fine, and I'm really running on how I feel.

I get to the 13.1 mile mark, and Cheryl and Julie take my picture. I get through here in 2.26.47. I head out on the Gap Trail.

At this point, it's getting warm out there. The rains from over night has left it pretty humid-the first major humidity of the year. I'm starting to slow down a bit after the 1/2 marathon-I'm seeing the pace fall off into the 12'00 and 1300's.

Around the 17 mile mark, the water stop has ICE! I'm pysched! I put some in my water bottle and dump a cup down the back of my running bra. That helps to cool me down a bit.

My friend Ron Dukes catches up to me around here. He keeps me company and we chat and reach the turn around spot. At this time we can see the ominious black sky ahead of us. The approaching storm actually helps by blowing some of the humidity away.

My friend Cheryl Splain catches us around mile 22. She's worked the day for the Mt Vernon Newspaper, reporting the race for the paper. After she interviewed the winners, she headed out to run a few miles and pace me in. About the time Cheryl arrived, the rain started. It felt really good.

My pace was still off, and when I glanced at the Garmin, I noted it still read 17.18. I must have hit the stop button when I got the ice. Arugh!! I just went ahead and turned it off.

We caught up with Ann at mile 24.5 something. It turned out she was a friend of Julie's also, and running her first marathon!! The rain started here in full, and Cheryl and I kept chatting away to distract her. We turned the corner to enter the track, and Ann pulled away in order to beat the barefoot girl running. I also tossed down my water bottle as I hit the track, and yelled at Ann that I was right behind her. But Ann was putting the hammer down for her last 0.2 mile lap, and she finished a good twenty seconds in front of me.

I finally look at the clock as I come through the finish, it looks like a 5.10.something.

I'm good with this. I wanted to run a sub 5 hour marathon, but I probably went out a bit too fast, and then the heat/humidity kind of slowed my speed down in the second half.

Good food afterwards: chili, both meat and meatless, and ham, roast beef, and veggie sandwiches, with cookies and soda. AND plenty left, for us slower runners!!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mohican Weekend Recap

The week is getting away from me, so I thought I would get a quick post about the "Forget the PR" 50K race this past weekend at Mohican.

I travelled up to Loudonville early on Saturday. After a few stressful days of work, I could not wait to flee into the woods. After meeting up with Don Baun, Rob Powell, the Race Director, and Lucas, we split to mark trail.

For our trail marking, we were using orange and yellow flags. We were also using lime/chalk (the kind they line baseball fields with.) Rob was doing away with the pie plates with arrows. I loaded up the backpack with an extra 20 lbs of chalk, and started marking trail from the Covered Bridge, up to the Fire Tower.

For a well used trail, marking it for an event is not that hard. I mean, if you are on the trail, there is usually nowhere to go. If you step off the trail, you are in the woods.

The trail through here does intersect with some rough gravelled well roads (we have many natural gas wells here in Ohio) so I tried to mark the trail crossings well.

After the climb to the Fire Tower, I picked up my lime that I stashed there and started down the mountain bike trail. For this section, I stashed the music away-this is the mountain bikers trail, and they were out in full force today. The good thing was I was travelling toward them, so I kept my eyes open for the bikers coming downhill.

After trail marking duties, I met the group back at the race start/finish. Luc was just starting to organize the food/supplies for the aid stations, so I joined Ted, Matt, Rob, Michelle, Terri into packing the supplies. More hands make work go quicker.

Around five o'clock, we all kind of look up to see about twenty runners standing in front of us for packet pickup! We weren't quite ready for so many folks the day before. (I think last year, about five people picked up their stuff on Saturday.) But Rob got everyone squared away.

We retired for the evening to the Race Director's cabin for pasta and beer. None of us stayed up that late; all of us were either running the next morning or working. I got to the start/finish line at six am to help with packet pickup. Betty Baun and I grabbed runner's bags when Michelle or Elizabeth Martin yelled out a race number. That movement helped a little to keep us warm, because it was COLD!!!

The 50K and then the 25K got off to their respective starts, and I picked up Autumn, Mike Keller's daughter, and we made a pitstop at McDonald's before we got to the Fire Tower.

Fire Tower Aid Station

Same as last year-get everything all organized way too early, and then wait!! Note to self: first runner wasn't in till 1130 (double check that with Paul's sheet).
Shaun Pope was first through, and Jay Smithberger was 4-6 minutes behind him. Jay pulled to 45 seconds behind Shaun for the finish!

I amused myself by almost calling the top ten runners through the AS. Vince Rucci was next; then I believe a man from PA that I did not know. Then Justin, and then my neighbor Trevor came through. Beth Woodard, the female winner, was in the top ten!
My friend John Reynolds from WV, whom I will be crewing for the Mohican 100, came through around this time. He was bonking due to not eating, so I let him stand around and eat (and talk too much). But most runners were through the AS fairly quickly. Many of my friends were energized and on course for a PR, so they were leaving the AS quickly.

This year my parents participated again at the AS. Mom made hot potato soup and Dad made his homemade peanut butter fudge-both were big hits!

Right around the cut off time, the last runner emerged from the woods, followed by the race sweep, Matt. (Matt was the one in the kilt.) It was great having a sweep because I knew then that all runners were through, and we didn't have to worry about someone being left out on the course. Our station was quickly packed up, and I delivered Autumn back to the start/finish.

My goal was to leave fairly quickly, as I had spent the entire weekend away from home, so I did make it out after about a 1/2 hour of socializing. (I really could have hung out for hours!!!)

It was a great weekend. It's always a good time to volunteer. The weather was cold for the volunteers, but great for the runners. If you have never worked an AS, try going to the other side of the table. It's good to give back and support the community.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Race Director's 50K Race Report

Rob Powell, the Race Director of the upcoming "Forget the PR" 50K, created an additional race event for the volunteers working his race. We ran a 50K on April 11, which was followed by a catered cookout and complete with buckles for us!

After stashing some aid, as Rob had advised this to be a 'no frills' event, I met up with Rob and Michelle arriving. I left early to start out, as I was 'there' and might as well run!

My legs were into their traditional DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from the hilly run at Laurel Highlands on Friday. The idea was to "trick them". It didn't work for a long time. Every downhill my quads were hurting and misfiring. I was hoping they wouldn't lock up on me-where a runner literally cannot walk/run downhill because of the quads. Then, my hamstrings started to protest. The quads managed to pick up some cement along the way and proceeded to fill up my legs with it.

I finished the mountain loop which spins you out to the Covered Bridge. Mike Patton and his wife were our rolling aid station and there was everything under the sun, except ibuprofen! However, there were Anacin Migraine Tablets, which were Tylenol and caffeine, and I took two of those. I think they were magic pills, because once I got up Little Lyons Fall, and started down the dam road, I was feeling much better.
Maybe the little climb up by Mr Avery Ball's home helped stretch out my legs. As I started the Lodge section, I was feeling good. Rob was surprised to see me getting to the lodge as they were leaving it-I had caught up some time on them.

The quads and hamstring aches and pains settled down in the background. I have a feeling they will get their revenge on Tuesday, but they let me continue.

Paul caught up to me as we started the climb to the Fire Tower, so we kept each other company for a bit and managed to jump off the bike trail as to not get hit by mountain bikers. I had music with me, but I didn't even think about using it while on the mountain bike trail-those folks are hitting their downhills fast, and you need to be able to hear them.

Last stop at the Covered Bridge again, Mike tells me Paul is about five minutes ahead of me, and I take off through the park. It's just full of cars and some cookouts are happening-so difficult for a runner to run through there at this time!

Many of the "Forget the PR" course is backwards Mohican 100 course, and the Hemlock Gorge Trail, along the river, is one section. It was refreshing to see the trail from this angle. I was also looking forward to the North Rim Trail (after I got up on it.) Because that trail, in Mo100 Speak, has three climbs. So, in "Forget the PR" speak, I got three downhlls baby!

As I got to the first downhill, I got a treat of a view. With the trees just budding out, I can see the trail spread down the hill and into the distance. It was just awesome. I ignored the stiffening quads and ran! I had music on at this time, and just cranked it up and went! Three nice downhills, in the last 1/2 mile or so of a race, is awesome! In fact, I kept it up running down the park road to the 'finish line'. I still felt very good and strong as I finished.

Alas, the ribs had been eaten by all the faster runners, but I still had potato salad, baked beans, hot dog, hamburger and a few tasty beverages. Rob presented me with a belt buckle, which tickled me. I'll have to find a belt now!

The course is in beautiful shape. Even the mud section by the Lodge is drying out. Keep an eye on the weather, though that might change this week!

For you runners in the race next weekend, I will be at the Fire Tower Aid Station waiting for you!

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Laurel Highlands Run April 9

I met up with Dan Bellinger and Suzanne Weightman to run 19 miles of the Laurel Highlands Trail. This is from race start, mile zero, with the big climbs in it. The race has cut offs at certain parts, so I wanted to make sure I could get through the first section under the cut off.
Weather was on the cool side, around 38 degrees when we started. I still shed the windbreaker around mile 3-the climbs begin and I didn't want to soaking wet with sweat. The pic above is around mile 6, where the river curves away from the trail.

As we started out, I kept letting my attention go to the climbs. The one climb around mile 3 caught my attention, but it seemed like I remembered more..I think part of my issues with how hard the hills were stem from my last encounter on them, in 2008. I ran this section as an out and back, and got to experience climbs on both coming and going. We got to the infamous "Shelter" post at mile 6, and the "big climb" begins here.

And while it is a HUGE climb, and goes up for over 1 mile, it just wasn't as bad as I remembered. Dan, Suzanne and I kept chatting the entire time. I was sweating buckets but we kept moving, no stops up the hill. Wow. Now, change the weather over to hot and humid conditions in June, and yes it still will be a killer hill. But it comes early in the race-for me, probably around 7am or so. I think I conquered my fear of the hill! I
At the top of mile 8, down the trail just a bit, Suzanne pointed out the rocky top. I had never ventured over here-usually still recovering from the climb and grateful for smooth dirt to run on.
However, the wind was horrendous but the view was awesome! It was a quick photo op, so we didn't get so chilled, and then hurried down the trail to warm up again.

It was a great day for a run! A little on the chilly side, but as long as you were moving, quite comfortable. We stopped for a bunch of photo ops, and I didn't stop the watch or look at it.
I feel very comfortable on this section of trail, as I have now ran on it about four times, and I do have an awesome trail memory.
Mile 15 was as pretty as I remembered it.

Unfortuneately, as we neared mile 18, I remembered a big climb! I was hoping my trail memory had it on the other side of the parking lot, as we were parked here. Nope! The big climb is right before the mile 19 marker! Grrr!

We got to mile 19 around the cut off time for the race, so I feel pretty comfortable about doing this in "race conditions" ie, no pics, focusing on running.

And with "only" doing 19 miles, it was strange to come off the LH Trail and not be completely fatigued!!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Landslide Run. Part...4

4 mile run after work. I ran downhill, and started back uphill. I could hear the clacking of hooves behind me, so I knew there was an Amish buggy coming up behind me. I kept running. The buggy caught up with me. I kept running. The buggy pulled ahead, and I slowed to a walk. As we continued uphill, the horse slowed too, so I began running again. I could see some little eyes peeking through the back small window slit in the buggy, so I started giggling and kept running. Uphill! I pulled even with the horse, and kept going. As we neared the top, I pulled away, triumphant!!! I won, by at least six buggy lengths! I turned off onto my side road, as the buggy continued forward, and we all waved to each other.
Did I mention I ran up a hill? Do I just need competition??