Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mohican Race Reports

I always enjoy race reports. I’ve compiled a few reports (that I know of) for your for reading pleasure. Or helpful advice for next year’s race!

Laurie Colon

Rebekah Trittipoe's Account

Brian Philpot's First 100 Mile Finish!

Red's 1st 50 Mile Race Report

Mark Carroll's Story-well at least the beginning!

Star's Pacing Report

The story from David Huss

Mohican from Steve's Side

Michelle's Report

Suzanne's Journey

Terri's Race

Dan Rose (2nd Place!) His Race

NEO Trail Member, Eric Deutsch

And last, but certainly not least, my friend Ron Duke’s account on his pacing Chris Gillen on his finish. Enjoy, especially the last lines!!

Hi All: I thought that I would share with you all my "race report" from this years Mohican 100. Chris had a very good run on a hot and very hilly course. This year, the pacer pick up point was at mile 65 which was also the start/finish line. It was very physcologically challenging for the runners to go beyond that point when they were hot, tired and their cars were parked nearby. I saw some nationally known ultra runners get to mile 65 and call it quits.

Chris had given me 4 different race plans that I had printed. The plans varied from his dream race to a fall back hot weather plan. As I sat at the pick up point, I tore sheets off of my bundle of plans as the clock ticked on. When Chris got to the pacer pick up point, I had two sheets left which i stuffed into a pocket in my shorts. As we ran, I would check his plans to see how we were progressing. Chris' wife and sons attended this run for the first time. When Chris told me that his family was going to be at mile 65, I told him that his wife might take one look at him and grab him by the ear and drag him home. Cathy was quite a trooper as we sat waiting for Chris to arrive. I tried to assure her that as insane as it all seems, we would be practical in our approach to the run.

The run was mostly uneventful. Two years ago, we saw lots of runners along the trail as we ran. This year, the heat had knocked a lot of the runners off the course and I would say we only saw two or three runners the entire night. As the temperatures fell, I could see that Chris was recovering from the heat effects from earlier in the day.

The job of a pacer is a very interesting one. Mostly, my role is one of providing some sort of a level of safety in case he were to have a heat stroke or injury. Months before the race, as Chris and I were discussing whether or not I was going to pace him, he assured me that he could make it on his own. I told him that I knew he could and I was just an old dog that he was taking along on the trip. My analogy was that of those old Lassie TV shows. That stupid kid, Timmy, was always taking Lassie out some where and at some point in the show, Timmy would fall down a well or something and Lassie would have to go get help. I told Chris that I was glad to go along on the adventure and if he fell down a well, I would go get help, otherwise, I was just out for a fun evening in the woods.

Another job is to monitor the runners intake of fluids, food and electolytes. After that many miles, the runner's mind is a little clouded and it is the pacer's job to make sure the runner is getting his needs met. Before we would get to an aid station, I would ask Chris what his needs were at that station so we would have a plan. If you haven't had the experience, it is hard to understand the incredible gift that the aid station volunteers give to the runners. Most of the volunteers are locals and not runners. They sit in the forest all night long and seemed to be as glad to see we runners as we were to see them. Some of the aid stations have generators and string lights along the trail at the entrance to the station. The cheerful lights and volunteers are a huge boost to the runners. When we get to the aid station, the volunteers hover over us and help us resupply our food and water.

The last job of the pacer is phycological. Years ago, I was running a Mohican training run with some first rate runners. I asked them what makes a good pacer. One runner told me that I always had to remember that the run was not about me. If I hurt.... I needed to keep my mouth shut and concentrate on the runner's needs. It was perfect advice. As the miles go on, the runner has a tendency to do a lot of math in his head as to how long he has been running, how far and how much longer he has to go. The pacers job is to keep the runner out of his head. Along the trail, I chattered like a monkey. I got Chris to talk about his family, his plans and the World Cup since he is a big soccer fan. As we ran along, I talked about an episode of Deep Space Nine that I had watched earlier in the day, Chris is also a Trekkie. I was amazed the he didn't turn around and throw a punch at me for my constant yammering. The job of a pacer is to keep the conversation light and positive. If the conversation turns to tiredness or sleep, it can be very damaging to the runner... not to mention the pacer.

As I said, the field of 150 runners and 100 pacers had thinned out to a point where we were alone in the forest for 99 percent of the time. One might think that running through the forest in the dark would be a problem but I find it quite pleasant. We both had head lamps with halogen lights which were quite bright. When the trail was wide enough, I would pull to the left or right of Chris so my light would widen our field of vision. Roots and rocks are a constant danger. At one point, Chris tripped on something and did a bit of a flip. My job was to act like it didn't happen.

Most of the run was under a canopy of trees. At one point we were in a clearing. Chris stopped running and told me to turn off my light. I sort of thought he had gone nuts but I didn't ask any questions and turned off my light. We looked up at the stars and to our surprise, we saw a shooting star. Ultra runners often talk about mystical moments that they experience in an ultra and Chris and I had that moment. We thought that maybe we were hallucinating but at the next aid station the volunteers assured us that they had seen the shooting start also.

The forest had been completely quiet all night long save the very erie call of a blue heron. As dawn began to break, first we heard one bird chirping and soon it became a symphony. Daylight was a big boost for both of us.

The last ten miles were on a very challenging section of the trail. Chris was in a bit of pain but his gait was not showing it. I could tell he was digging deep so I cut back on my chatter and let him to himself. Two miles out from the finish line, Chris picked up his pace and I was scampering to keep up with him. At one point, I asked him where he was getting that finishing kick... his response was that he just wanted to be finished. Chris began to thank me for keeping him company on the run but I could honestly say that I got as much as I gave that night. 37 seven miles... the course was actually 101.99 miles is a real stretch for me. In the time leading up to the run, my biggest fear was that once we went beyond my normal mileage I would become a liability. I learned that I could run pretty well after that many miles.

Chris called his family when we were two miles out so they met us about a quarter mile up the trail from the finish line. As we neared the finish line, I told his boys to get behind their dad and I followed from behind. His boys were having a bit of a time trying to keep up with him. I now know that I need to add wind sprints to my training runs in order to keep up with Chris' finishing kick.

The tradition in ultra running is that the pacer veers off of the course and lets the runner cross the finish line alone or with his family. There was an aid station just before the finish line. A good friend of ours who completed 65 miles but was pulled off the course because she missed the cut off time for that point of the race was there to greet us as we finished. Like the good sport that she is, Cheryl spent the night at the campground, got up early and cheered the runners as they finished. Cheryl was my cheering section at my "finish line".

I suppose this all might seem sort of crazy for those of you who had the patience to read this entire email. It is hard to explain exactly why this is all so much fun. We live in a world where we are surrounded by people who have a million reasons for why they can't do this or that. I am incredibly grateful that I have found a community where I can hang out with people who have a million reasons why they can.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MMT 2011

You all know about the comfort zone.
That's where most ultras take place.
Running ultras is all about staying in the comfort zone.
All our strategies revolve around staying in the comfort zone.
All our advice is about staying in the comfort zone;
"Start slow"
"Walk every uphill"
"Don't take any chances"
For all the talk about exploring human potential, and seeking our limits, Ultrarunners tend to play it safe.
They line up "challenges" they know they can finish.
And run them carefully
Well within their "limits".
We believe that success is never failing.
At the Barkley success is about over-reaching our abilities,
and living to tell about it.
Sometimes success is getting your ass out alive.
Some people "get" the Barkley. Some don't.
But the Barkley is all about leaving the comfort zone.
The Barkley is about taking our chances with failure.
True success is not the absence of failure,
It is the refusal to surrender.

                 -From Laz, Race Director of the Barkley

This is mainly aimed toward me, as I contemplate MMT 2011. I waver between thoughts of not being good/tough/fast enough to contemplate finishing MMT 2011;  then I read something like this (again)  and realize I do need to step out of my comfort zones. If I don’t push myself to bigger and better things,I’ll never get bigger or better.

I like challenges. I sometimes (and frequently) don’t like the failures that follow. Sometimes I don’t handle them very well. But this post by Laz made me realize that sometimes success does not mean not failing. Like Laurel Highlands this year. It was a DNF for me, but I was satsified with my performance. I reached! I worked outside of my comfort zone a little!!!

Okay, I’ll need to revisit this post on my next wavering of MMT lol.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

CREW Report:Mohican 100 Race

In the ultra community, there are the friends and families who follow their runners around on long races, commonly referred to as handlers, or "crew". And the acronym of crew, is

And you know what? It's true.

Actually, it's not that true. My runner wasn't so cranky.

But back to the beginning of the tale. I'm going to just go over my life as "crew" here in this post. There will be another post about what I observed at the Mohican 100 Trail Race a little later.

I was well stocked for my 24 hours of following my friend around all weekend. In addition to me, his two friends, Luke and Heather, and his 14 year old daughter, Amanda, compromised of the rest of John's crew. I found it helpful to have the four of us to help out John.

11 miles into the race is the first place crew is allowed. Runners aren't expected until 0700. I get there, and the place is PACKED with cars! Whoa, I'm not used to be hanging with the front of the pack. I get of my vehicle, and am startled to see Dan Rose already running through. He's running with the 50 mile people! I barely get a "hi Dan" out before he's gone!

My runner is # 3 of the 100 milers here. Ooops. This is way too fast. But he's happy and running. We get him some fresh food, swap out his water bottles and send him on his way. With all these cars, we head out early to our next handler location.

This location is right on State Route 3, a very busy state route. I am getting a bit stressed watching folks lingering far too close to the edge of the highway. Semis are going by.I just don't want anyone to get squashed!

John comes through here, still in good spirits, well on his 22 hour pace. In fact, I think a little too fast still. It's not a long stop for him, and he goes off for what I know are some good long hills on roads.

Our next stop is Mohican Wilderness, which was the old start and finish of the race. I kill some time here waiting for John by helping set up the aid station and working at the Aid Station.
John spends a little time here, chatting at the AS, while we wait for him at the cars. He's still moving well and complaining about the hills.

We have a bit better idea of how John is moving now, and I spend a little more time working at the AS before moving onto our next handler spot. Which is back to our location on State Route 3.
We get settled in the shade, and I set up my chair so I can see runners coming toward me. Us crew is now reading books and magazines. I try and get up each time a runner comes through to tell them they are almost off the asphalt, just a turn onto the dirt roads 1/8 of a mile away.

With Mohican being such my local race, I know many many of the racers coming through. I am really enjoying being able to give a shout out to everyone going by, because I know how much it makes me feel to get a 'good going' from a friend at a race.

John is overdue, and as he turns onto the state route, I can see he's in meltdown. It's a total 100% change from before. I go down to greet him and know we've got a situation on our hands.
We get our runner seated, and let him sit for a bit. We get some cheese pizza and sweet tea (I swear by this, this is ultra runner nectar). We get his girlfriend on the phone (miraculously, this is an area of cell phone reception). Still, he's not real enthused about going on.

So I go and change into my road shoes, and a running bra. I'm already in running clothes. I tell him to come on, I'm going for a training run, and he can run with me down to Rock Point. I don't really give him an option here. He gets up and we start down the road. He realizes he forgot his bib, when changing shorts, and I run back to get it.

When I turn off onto the dirt township road, John is out of site! My gosh, did he get a second wind or what? I take off into a run. I caution a runner that I am passing that I'm not in the race, that I'm a fresh runner. (There's nothing more demoralizing than a runner whizzing by you at mile 40 in a race.) I catch John on the uphill, and we chat and carry on down some country roads. I believe I told John 3 miles to the AS, but it's closer. We approach the AS, and I turn around. John's feeling much now, and looking forward to get back on the trails. He's also mentioned having some more pizza next time he sees us.

Our next spot to see John is the Fire Tower Aid Station. I get here and get to hang out with a bunch of friends. I also made a stop back to town and picked up pizzas. My timing was impeccable. I was back maybe 10 minutes with the pizza when John came through.

His pace has slowed down. The hot horrible weather is taking its toll. The weather this year is awful. It's around 90 degrees and very humid. My short run I took was horrible. I was soaked through my shirt in the mile that I ran. There's no way these runners can keep up with their hydration and nutrition. Still, John's going on. He keeps talking about being in the "hurt locker" but we give him a 20 minute stay and then make him go on to the Covered Bridge AS.

We have about 2.5 hours until we expect him at the Start/Finish line, which is mile 65 for the 100 milers. I hang out at the Fire Tower AS. The weather is taking its toll on the runners. Many 'faster' runners that I know are well off their pace. But everyone I see at Fire Tower continues on.

I leave the Fire Tower so I can get over to the Start/Finish at Mohican Adventures so I can have a shower. There's a line at the showers, so I can this idea for now.I'm expecting John around 8pm.

50 milers are still finishing up and it's exciting to see folks finish. I managed to see Cindy and Bob, close behind finish!! I also start to get caught up on race gossip. Who's dropped. Who hasn't. It's easier to figure who is still in the race. Not that many.

John's over due. I start toying with the idea that I may need to pace John. I don't think I can pace him for 30 plus miles. My blisters have healed from Laurel Highlands, but frankly, John's a faster runner than me. He outran me when we ran our little mile together. I was fresh, he was 40 miles into a race. I go and get my gear together. No trail shoes. No inhaler. No hydration pack. But I do have running clothes, and a hand held bottle. I figure I could manage with a hand held if I have to.

Everyone is over due at mile 65. Pacers are milling around, restless. Experienced pacers, like my friend Ron Dukes, is sitting still in a chair , conserving his energy waiting for his runner, Chris Gellen. I try to follow Ron's example and sit, and keep hydrating. (I'm glad I only drank a few beers through out the day now!!)

We're all still waiting and waiting. Luke now changes into running shoes. But Luke has a bum ankle, and is really not supposed to be running. We don't talk about it.

John finally arrives. He says he is done. I say he isn't. We get over to the RD, who's taking numbers.John says he is quitting. I tell Ryan to ignore him, we're going to get some food.
So begins about one hour of me trying to cajole John back onto the trail. I do understand that he's hurting, he's stopped sweating, he can't run any more. But John still has plenty of time to rest up and get back out there. I know how he will feel on Sunday and Monday after a quit.

It's my JOB, dagummit, of what he wanted me to do for him, is keep him moving forward. I get him turkey and cheese sandwiches. He drinks sweet tea.I get his girl friend on the phone.

To no available. The girlfriend is giving him permission to quit. Now his other friends are siding with John. He's not sweating. He can't run. I scold and swear, and bitch some more. John's being more stubborn than me.

I guess I quit about one hour after John did. I took his race number, and reported him in as drop.

I think John did very well out there. It's been several years since his last 100 miler. I think maybe the memory of the pain and suffering he had forgotten. But he did very well out there in the horrible heat and humidity. John's a very good runner. It kind of gave me validation to hear him say "these are some tough trails" as these trails are our training ground here! Maybe I'm tougher than I think!

Kudos to all who ran Mohican this weekend, finisher or not. These are some tough trails, in good weather. And in poor running conditions these weekend, good for you for going as far as you could!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Race Grade

I give myself a "B" for race performace. This was an above average performance for me. I keep steadily moving forward. I passed people on uphills. I power walked for the most part when walking.

Equipment was F for Fail. I wore Drymax socks this time. In past long races, I have worn Injinjis and taped the bottoms of my feet. As I have not been having blister issues in 50K and marathon races, I decided to wear the Drymax. This was my race stopping mistake.

I would have to say C- or D for hydration/nutrition. I was eating an Endurolytes cap every hour. In retrospect, I probably needed more. My face and arms were coated in salt. I was eating a gel around every hour, and eating at the AS. But the idea is not to stay at the AS. Getting water into the packs took time, and I was eating about a 1/4 or a 1/2 PBJ and then heading out. I'm sure everyone was dehydrated with the weather. Getting the hydration out of balance may have been a factor in my blisters.

Race Report Part Two!! Finally!

Back in December, PennDot discovered the bridge that the LHHT used across the Pa turnpike was unsafe, and closed it immediately. The good news is a detour was found. The bad news is the detour is 8 miles-of road.

Dan Bellinger had run the road section and given some intel on it, which was immensely helpful. But without mile markers, I had no frame of reference on how far I had run. There is a gravel downhill, then a turn on a rolling asphalt road, then you cross the turnpike around mile 4 in the detour, then around 4 miles in a gradual ascent back to the trail.

I stop to pee and the runners who were in front of me are now out of sight. I'm alone, and thoughts are going negative. This long gravel downhill is getting to me. I'm really getting depressed and bleak. I finally realize I'm bonking and get a gel into me.

I finally make the turn onto the asphalt road. Where is the turnpike? It's nowhere in sight. I try not to get hit by the fast moving trucks on the road. Now I can feel hot spots on my balls of my feet. CRAP. I'm getting pissed now. I've not had a hint of a blister problem until I hit this stupid road. I'm not happy. And WHERE is this turnpike?

I finally see the turnpike---in the freaking distance. I glance at my watch. It's somewhere around 5pm. Now I'm worried about getting to the 9pm AS cut off. There's no way I can do that. This adds to my already black mood. Which makes me power walk faster.

As I come to the bridge, I spot three runners ahead of me! This makes me feel so much better. I cross the turnpike and catch them.
"I am NOT Happy!!!!!" I declare. I think I scared them. Michael says I am moving well. "That's because I am NOT happy!" Anger and unhappiness is giving me motivation to get down this gravel road, and I pull away from the three of them. The gravel is just making my now developed blisters worse.

A truck approaches from the direction I am going. It's Rick, the RD, and tells me I've got "a little over a mile" to the AS. As I keep going AND going, I realize he's lied to me. Of course he lied, he's the RD. If he had said I still had three miles to go, I may have had a meltdown.

The AS finally (how many times have I said finally here?) appears in the distance. I've got a dropbag here. A volunteer keeps bringing me cold Gatorade as I rummage through my bag. I get my light, my music, scissors and some tape. I decide not to do anything to my feet until the next AS, where I think I have another drop bag. I think I now have a shot of getting to the AS within the cut off time.

The rain starts as I get back on the trail. It's not particular a cooling rain. As it stops, it just raises the humidity level. It's "only" seven miles to the next AS. And I have music now! I crank up my playlist. Now my mantra is "hurry hurry". No walking, unless I am climbing. Go, go!

The soft dirt is kinder to my blistering feet, but when I set them down on a rock it hurts more. I can feel the blisters growing. That's okay, I can run through pain.

I catch Bill and Tara right as we get to the next Aid Station. They have soup!! I eat two cups. I have not really been able to keep up with calories through this race. I've eaten all my gels I've brought. To spend more time in AS eating and drinking cuts down on your time on the trail. It's hard to get this right.

It's also 12 miles to the next Aid Station, with the 1230 AM cut off. It's around 9pm. Doing the math now, I see I would need to keep a 17.50 minute pace to get there on time.

For any non ultra runners reading this far along (and thank you!) I know this sounds ridiculous. Who couldn't "run" an 18 minute mile?

Well, okay, I've already run 48 miles. I'm tired, it's still hot out. It's now dark, so I am on a trail with a headlight. There is an actual downhill here. The trail at this point is through these huge prehistoric looking ferns, with actually cover the trail. You can't see more than the edge of your light, and it's hard to see the rocks on the trail. It's very slow moving through here.

A kind AS worker had warned me of "two significant" climbs and I'm glad he did. I knew what to expect. But climbing is not keeping an 18 minute mile. I'm getting slower and slower, and the feet are hurting more and more. My mantra now is "run through pain". And I can, or actually I can shuffle, but it's getting slower and slower.

The worst point is when I put my right foot down in a water puddle. My burst blister explodes into fresh pain and I now can't put my foot down, just the heel. I try to look for a hiking stick. I start crying. Which makes everything worse.

I stop crying. I can put my foot down again. But even if I make the cut off, there's no way I can go on. A 30 minute mile does not complete a race. And now the cement mile markers are taunting me. I'm only at 54. I need to get to 56.

I get to 56. SO where is the AS? I'm looking for lights, voices, anything to show me I am close. I start to cry again. And stop. I'm not crying going into an AS. Finally I can hear voices, and see lights. Yes! I am finally done. I glance at my watch. I believe it's 109 am. Cut off was 1230 am.

"No Soup for You!" The LH Race Report

Race morning was a bit foggy and warm. Weather forecast called for temps in the 75-85 range, with a 50% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Race start seemed to go off right on time. Rick Freeman, Race Director, had warned us if the train was approaching Ohiopyle, less than 1/2 mile from the race start, we would have to wait. It was rather funny to hear a train come through just minutes after most of us crossed the very active rail line.
The fun at the Laurel Highlands Ultra race starts almost immediately-a climb. With over 100 runners registered, it was already a move a foot and stop. But then the trail opens up and it is runnable.
For most. Within a half mile, I try to speed up a bit and WHUMP! down I go-hard. Both knees, right elbow, right palm. Left hand was carrying a handheld water bottle, so was spared. Embarrassed, I spring up. It's not worth the time to try and clean up the dirt out of the blood.

The first challenge of the course is the 2 mile climb out of mile 6. I had a mini goal of not getting passed through here, and I achieved that. I also passed people. I had my "up" switch going and was in a rhythm, and didn't want to get sucked into anyone else's pace. Before long, we were done! with "one" of the worst climbs.

Usually I am rewarded with a nice breeze up around mile 9. Not so much this day. It's just hot and humid. The first water stop is at mile 12.

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is rather unique in that there is permanent cement mile markers, every mile. While that may play with some runner's heads, I found it valuable to know exactly how far out I was from the next aid station, and tried to conserve the water.

The first 30 miles I have been on several times, and am most familiar with. I am running leap frog with around the same people. I talk a little bit, listen to some conversations, but don't get caught up in any deep discussions. Michael Frere, of Elite Runners-Trail Runners, out of Pittsburgh catches me right before we get to Seven Springs and we chat a bit. It is interesting to hear the active clay shooting range right next to us. There was several signs warning us to stay on the trail.
At Seven Springs I wet the bandanna and put it over my head, ala "running the Sahara" look. I know there is no shade as we summit the ski resort. I refill water bottles, eat a bit more, and head out. Jim Chaney catches me on the downhill here. He's running the 50K, and is a very fast runner. That was another sub goal of mine, to see how far I could get before he caught me-the 50K runners started at 8am-I bet that was a tough humid time to start the race.

Around mile 29 is what I think is the worst hill on the course-a very steep blip on the map. I think people think about Seven Springs being the highest point. Well, it is, but then you run down from the resort, and then basically ascend to the same elevation again.

And it's warm out. You can cut the humidity with a knife. My clothes are wet, they've been soaked through since around mile 2. I'm taking an electrolyte pill every hour. I probably should have been doing more. At this race, the Aid Stations are situated where there is trail access. This means the distances between AS are 7 miles-a close one-and 12 miles.

I come into the Mile 32 AS and ask how far to the next one. "12 miles". Wild Bill was there too, and looked about as dismayed as I felt. I filled my 2 Liter bladder almost up. I refilled the handheld. I ate some food and headed out.

A few miles down the road, it's time to run the bonus section.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

4 AM in the Morning

Dan and I at the overlook, around mile 7?

Did I run yesterday? Oh yeah, I did. During all the torrential rain, I got 4 miles in on the treadmill and watched "You are What you Eat".

The early morning rain storm woke me. My thoughts turn to my five days. In some ways, I am more uneasy about this race than my previous Umstead and Mohican attempts. Or maybe I'm just not remembering the uneasiness. This race is "only" 77 miles. That is usually, at Mohican, where I get timed out, around the 75 mile mark, in about 24 hours. And the race limit for this 77 mile race is 24 hours. But this is a much tougher course. But more of it is runnable. But how can I compare two race courses. It's apples and oranges.

Then I think about the bus drive to the start. It's a point to point race, so there is 1.5 hour bus drive. I don't do well on mass transportation, that's usually when I get a panic attack. So I resolve to bring a Xanax along. Well, great, that will take care of the panic, but then I will be sleepy and sluggish at the start of an all day race. Oh, I resolve to bring a can of ice cold sugared Coke and start sipping on it as we near Ohio Pyle, to counteract the drug, if I need to take it.

What else did I think of? Oh right, race goals. My plan is to finish the race. Beat the cutoffs. Then I start thinking about "B" goals: maybe be at certain places at certain times? All I can think of is I want to get through the ski resort in the daylight. (I know where this stems from, during the Slim Pickins FA last fall, I was trying to get to the ski resort with some light left.) Well duh, Kim, the ski resort will be mile 26 during this race, I sure hope you make it there in daylight! But I might as well leave that as a goal!

An aside on race day goals: most people have several goals in mind for a race. "C" goals usually mean what you are planning to do, like finish the race. A "B" goal might be something a little loftier, like a time to beat, or maybe to record a new "personal record" on the course. An "A" goal may be that "pie in the sky" where everything falls into alignment, where you BQ a marathon, or win the race....or it might be just simply finishing the race.

I eventually got back to some sleep. I'm still just slightly wired for this race. Since this is a new race for me, I don't have any preconceptions. I've stepped outside of my comfort box. I feel up for the challenge, and ready for it. I just wish it was tomorrow and I could get the waiting over with!!

From the epic Slim Pickins 2008 version, I believe we will have slightly less snow on the trail.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

20 in 10

It's the half way point, time to revisit my "20 in '10" goals....

  • Read one book a week- check. Been doing very well. I bought a Kindle and have been reading away
  • Run a 5K- not yet. Need to start looking around and run one! The original goal was a 30 minute 5 K, but I would like to think I could improve on this!
  • Lose 20 lbs- about 18 lbs lost! Maybe, at the end of this week~!
  • Learn to swim- the local pool is open. I am thinking of going this Thursday or Friday for the first time!
  • Run a marathon/ultra in a new state-would Virginia count? (Again?) I am not so much thinking about travelling just for the sake of a new state. I am, however, planning on running MMT in 2011. My choice of races for the rest of this year are going to be to build on training for MMT 2011. So I may run races closer, or revisit old races, that will help build me for MMT 2011.
  • Leave blogging comments more-I still need to do better at this!
  • Go to wine country with hubby-Check. Well, it's happening at the end of this month!
  • Implement weight training/core routine-I have started, but need to get better at this.
  • Run 50 Miles at URINEO-still planning on this! This is a December 2010 goal
  • Complete Laurel Highlands 70 Mile Race-planning on finishing this on June 13!!
So that is the first ten goals. I still need ten more to go.

  • Call my mother more. Enough said. Implement!!!! ( just went off and spent 20 minutes on the phone with her :) )
  • Finish the WV Trilogy-my target fall race. It's a 50K on Friday, a 50 mile race on Saturday, and a 1/2 marathon on Sunday
  • Get my podcast going. Once upon the time, I was half of a successful podcast. I've been planning on doing another podcast on trail running-solo. It's time to get back to this.

So I need seven more. Still thinking about them! Any thoughts??

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laurel Highlands-Twelve Days Out!!

I decided on the Laurel Highlands Race not too long after our annual club run on trail, last fall. Of course, at that time, it was the traditional 70.5 miles, which is the entire length of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The unexpected twist (and extra mileage) occurred in December, where the bridge that crosses the PA turnpike was deemed unsafe and closed. I believe the bridge has since been removed.(Note: I ran across it and it seemed to hold my weight.)

Reviewing the aid stations for the race, I re

The LH trail has some very good climbs, and much of the footing is pretty technical-rocky. The LH trail is permanently blazed with yellow blazes-even over blazed. You can see one or possible two or three while on this trail-eliminating the lost factor!

alize I’ve had it pretty easy with runs/races in the past. Aid Stations have been generally 4-5 miles apart. For the Laurel Highlands Ult

The Race Director has since found a detour,which adds about 7 miles to the race. He’s also extended the time limit to 24 hours for the race.

ra, the aid stations are around 6 miles apart, with two spots where the aid stations are 11.7 and 12 miles about.

Prepping for this, I’ve been 1) losing weight so 2) I can carry more weight on my back-aka in the form of water. My hydration vest has a reservoir of a 2 liter capacity. I do not fill it up all the way! Two liters of water weighs 4.4 lbs, which is a little too much on my back! I usually fill it to about the one liter mark. I will also, at the start of the race, carry one hand-held water bottle for extra hydration. I can also dip this into a stream if needed. No, it is not a good idea to drink from streams, but sometimes you get a little desperate. Michelle just posted on FB about having to call EMS on the LH Trail on Sunday for a dehyrdated hiker.

My nutrition is going to consist of mainly Hammer gels and some Clif Blockshots. I will eat off the aid station tables. Drop bags are only at two stations: miles 44 and 64. I will stash some tasty treat that I will forget about and then be delighted to discover.

I will also have spare clothing at the drop bags. Having a dry bra and shirt could come in handy IF it becomes colder in the late afternoon and evening. Although it will be a hot and humid day (most likely) we will be at a higher elevation and it may be colder. Or it may not be. Either way, it doesn't hurt to have extra clothing.

I will also have some music stashed out there. Music is a good carrot for me, especially as something to look forward to down the trail. As this is a point to point run, you won't be seeing runners coming back toward you. And after the sun goes down, sometimes it's good to have music as a treat. I always develop a new playlist for a race. The playlist will have some songs I always listen to, and I like to find new songs-new blood-for a new race. I also like to listen to what I call "comfort songs" usually songs from my childhood.

There will be several factors to contribute to a successful Laurel Highlands finish: managing food and hydration, managing the weather, and most of all, relentless forward motion!