Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Repeating the Fundamentals

I like to read articles about training, and Endurance Corner is a nice website with articles written by various pro athletes.

One excerpt I liked from this article, by Gordo Byrn:

The Five Steps that directly impact performance:
  • The degree of internal/external harmony in your motivation and capacity to execute;
  • Creating a habit of daily action towards your goal;
  • Get the weight off and/or enhance recovery through nutrition;
  • Create the capacity to perform more work; and
  • The emotional maturity to stay the course and deliver results.
You'll see that there isn't a single protocol mentioned above. That's because your protocol DOES NOT MATTER unless it is supported by a habit of personal excellence.
You'll also see that, for athletics, you probably should tackle those steps in order. Looking at it another way:
  • Figure out why and create harmony to execute the how;
  • Do something daily;
  • Get the weight off;
  • Lift your work rate and total work completed; and
  • Learn how to deliver in training, then in racing.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just AT Ruminations

I am up early to work-yes again-Day 4 of 6. Got told again I should take it easy with the running, so will do so. I may still go to Mohican and explore some new trails-and hike and run. Or I may take my compass to Salt Fork and do a little off-piste exploring, if the multi-flora rose briars haven't gotten too big. Or that could be good way early Frozen Head Training.

I have been interested in stories of folks who have hiked the Appalachian Trail way before Adam and Kadra started on their epic journey this spring.

I just finished reading Jennifer Pharr Davis' book on her first AT hike: Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. This was her story when she first hiked the AT, at age 21, just out of college. Pharr Davis went on to set the women's record for the fastest speed hike on the trail.
In June, she is going for the overall record for speed hiking the AT. Her goal is to hike the entire 2,181-mile faster than the current overall speed record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes.

Another AT book recently read was "Awol on the AT" by David Miller, also an enjoyable read. Miller quits his job in order to hike the AT. Miller was at a different point in his life/career than Pharr Davis, so it was interesting reading these two books close together.

Do I want to hike/speed hike/run the AT? Not really.I have plenty of epic runs/races that I want to experience. I would like to do a long multi day hike or run, solo. Or as solo as I could make it.
Hiking/running the Buckeye Trail in Ohio sounds cool, but in reality, there is some good portions of the BT that are on roads. So that doesn't interest me too much.
I had thought in the past it would be cool to solo the Laurel Highlands Trail, but I've pretty much done that in a race.
Oh well, I've got too much time on my hands of not running. But maybe I can conjure up the idea of some epic long run for the future.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to FOMO

Reading Facebook before work this morning, it seemed like everyone (except Mike Keller) was having epic long weekend party runs. And while I am not envious of that (it is my weekend to work, can't change that) it made me restless again for a long run..or race.
So I consult and see the West Virginia Ridge Runner Marathon is June 4. It's in Cairo, WV, which is just outside of Parkersburg, and I could drive to in around 1.5 hours.
I ask the husband about it, and since it's a day trip, he says okay.
Then I keep thinking about it. It's a 'road' race and should I be running a road race? Just because it's there? Is it too soon to go for a long run after MMT?
I decide to not bug Slim with a training question like this, and think, well, what about running to Gnadehutten and back here...on the roads. But that's not tripping my trigger either.
Well, maybe a marathon in Salt Fork? But would I do it? Would I just cut the mileage short?

Okay, if I am willing to drive 1.5 hours for a long run, what about MOHICAN????

Not the "new course" not the 2011 course..because I actually don't know what the new course is.

I'm thinking about old school, old Blue Loop, old Red-Green section...maybe I won't even venture up the old "new" Red, instead, take the creek bed which was the "old" Red start, with the bigger climb.

And then maybe, at Bridle Staging, venture down the "Yellow" and "Blue" horse bridle trails, to see where those will take me.With Mohican trails not being focused as training for the Mohican 100, I feel free to wander where I may.

Okay! I feel better! Long run scheduled for Friday or Saturday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Surprises

I got out for a 10K around the block here. I really wanted to go to the woods, but were waiting on the mechanic to call us back about our vehicle.
So I went off on my around the block. It's mainly a dirt road, so it's more like trail than most people get.
First surprise-there is a hill, that I have labored up, in the past. This hill was very easy to walk up today. Yes, still walking it, but, it's just not that big anymore. So goal for this summer? Run UP the hill.

Second surprise-dogs at the top of the hill. I spotted one, sleeping. So I cleared my throat and said hello. He stood up and barked. The second dog didn't even get up. They usually run over and get in my way, today they were content to stand in their yard and bark. I guess they are finally used to me.

I have decided to accept recovery and not fight it. I'm going to just take it easy, eat properly, and rest, and run when I feel like it. I just read a couple articles on line about recovery, and will try to find them again and post links. So maybe that is actually three surprises, I will be smart about recovery!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I stepped on the scale this morning and pleased to see I am back to my pre-MMT weight.
Which you can look at from two directions: You can run a 100 mile race and not gain any weight.You can also run a 100  mile race and NOT lose any weight!
If you are running ultras for weight loss, it probably is not going to happen.
I did not journal well this week (it's hard to figure points for homemade lamb/rice stuffed grape leaves!!) but am determined to do so this WW week. I work this holiday weekend, which usually helps with weight loss, since I only eat what I bring.
I still need/want to lose another 12 pounds. This may be easier since I am not currently stressing my body with long runs-for now!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This didn't take long. I'm itching for a new challenge. I have no races planned, just 12 Hours of Big Bear Lake in July. But I want to do something!!! I don't know what, but something!!!

Something challenging, and epic. It doesn't even have to be an organized event. I need to look at my work schedule. I have a few ideas spinning, I do not know if anything will come to fruition, but I need to do something!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Part Two

I was listening to an ultra runner podcast while ultra-raking grass clippings yesterday. They were discussing their 100 miles, which led to introspection on my part as I continued to listen and rake.

At some points, during the MMT race, while I was alone, I would kind of wake up and think "hey! I am running MMT! I'm like those runners in the movie, coming into aid stations.."

I got a big canary eating grin on my face as I think I realized, I ran this course!

In a respectable time! This was no squeaking by barely, this was a hardcore finish! This is the hardest 100 miler east of the Mississippi and I enjoyed myself!

I've spent the last week being the "confident runner". I am enjoying myself. I hope this does not segue into the "cocky runner" but that's really not my style. I have found my ability to believe in myself.

Today was the first day I ran since the race. Last week, after working I had just been exhausted. I could have ran Saturday or Sunday, but had other more pressing activities to perform.

This was to be just a 4 miler, on the flat asphalt bike trail close to work. I was pretty sure it was going to suck, after working all day and running on asphalt after dancing over the rocks the previous weekend. But I didn't care. I was getting out for a run, and was pretty eager to get the legs moving again.

I parked the vehicle, then started down the bike trail. I always walk for 5 minutes, to warm up, which usually coincides with walking over a wooden bridge over a creek.

I approached the bridge. I thought of the last time I had run-with 200 other runners in the pre-dawn, determined to conquer mountains. My last running steps before this was triumphantly, through a field, to cross a finish line after 101 miles.
Now I was going to begin again.A new run. I walked across the bridge, into my running future. I smiled as I clicked the Garmin, and said "Part Two".

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Nope, not about my race, just for not posting any thing this week!

My free time, despite NOT running at all, seemed just sucked away.
Tuesday, I worked. I probably should not have, I was just exhausted and eating everything in sight.
Wednesday was my day off and I pretty much spent it on the couch. I did take the dogs out for their hike, and the legs felt pretty good.This was when the chest cold settled in.
I worked Thursday and Friday. We got some of the garden planted on Friday, then the rest planted Saturday, then went up north for Lloyd Thomas' birthday party.
Today is "get the yard under control day". And maybe a run?  My cold has kind of subsided in my chest. I would dearly love to run/walk my 10K route-since I was gone last weekend, the landscape here has just exploded in greenery.
Well, the yard work is first priority, and then the housework. Did I mention I have yet to unpack my dropbags?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Massanutten Trail 100 Race Report

I am not sure what kind of race report I am writing.
Jim Harris predicted my race in February. This
could almost sum up my MMT Race:

 You are doing everything to prepare yourself for MMT.
You will finish at the Camp on Sunday and think that MMT was no big deal.
It will be hard, and it will force you to question yourself if you really want it.
At some point you may need to dig deep.
But after doing the homework and staying the course, you will be surprised at how smooth and easy your MMT run will be. 
All the karma and positive energy are building and with everyone in your corner you are going to be a stud at MMT.
What will really be surprising is that you will have no epic story to tell afterwards.
You are going to run 100 miles and not have any events happen to spin into epic ness.
It will be over and you will be bored with your run.”

That is almost my race in a nutshell-although I will say it was Hard, and I was never bored with my run!!

I trained for the 2011 Massanutten Race for almost one year. I signed up for The Ring for my first experience on the rocks. I was just hoping not to embarrass the rest of the NEO Trail Club. I actually enjoyed myself on the orange blazed trail (except for Signal Knob of course).
I got my race spot via the Lottery and continued to work through the winter, dropping weight and training. A loop of The Wild Oak Trail (TWOT), the Reverse Ring, trips to the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which has the closest elevation and terrain for MMT Training.
My biggest step in mental race prep was putting down a prediction time for myself.  NEO TC had a ‘race prediction’ contest, to guess and talk smack about what we all could do at MMT.  Putting down in writing, that I thought I could get through the race in around 33.5 hours, was huge. I was not only planning on finishing the race, I thought I could do a bit better than that.
The second biggest help in race preparation was my pacer. Back in October, Bradley Mongold offered to pace me at the race, provided he was available.
Having a rockstar runner and wild man that Mongold is, that motivated me to get my training in as much as the course did. There was no way I was going to show up unprepared if Mongold was going to join me along the trail.
The Start
The race started with an uphill road section. I was with a group of friends for a little time, and then I watched them all take off. Now that I think about it, I believe they all came back to me; I passed them later in the race.
Short Mountain is our first section of trail, and I take my time. It’s dark, I haven’t been on the MMT rocks, and I just get reacquainted with the trail.

I remember Short quite well, you have these false descents, that take you back up to the ridge again, and I can’t remember how many of these until the proper one takes us down to the Aid Station.
I believe after Woodstock I glanced at my watch and split sheet. I am about 30 minutes behind my projected time, and about 50 minutes in front of the cut off. I’m not pleased at this. I don’t want to get into some ‘chasing cut off mentality’ this early in the race. I resolved to not look at the times, and just go AS to AS, my plan for the first half of the race. I also know that my friend Roy Heger is behind me.  As long as Roy is behind me, I am not in any trouble with cut offs.
I run with a nice man named Ron who is dunking his hat into the stream crossings, and I finally remember to start doing this with my bandana. We get into Elizabeth Furnace together. Everything is going well for me. I have a slight headache, probably due to the heat and lack of coffee, but not enough to dive into ibuprofen for that.
At Shawl Gap Aid Station I pick up my music, which conks out after 3 songs. I was amused that the third song was AC-DC’s “Hard as a Rock” it seemed very appropriate. This road section is where I met Jen, a very happy 1st time MMT-and her first 100 miler. She mentioned we had over one hour on the cut offs, so that was good comforting info to have.
I could tell by my watch I was getting a bit behind on getting to Habron Gap at six thirty, but I wasn’t worried.
It was almost a relief to get into Indian Grave off the road. Vicki Kendall was there and being encouraging. This was about 4 pm, where I took a caffeine tablet and two ibuprofens. Taking it easy on the climb out of Indian Grave AS, I was rewarded with a breeze once I hit the MMT Orange blazes again.
In fact, I hit a second wind through here. I was not as hot, and I knew I was gaining crew and a pacer as soon as I hit Habron. The bad part was, I knew exactly where I was on Orange and knew we had those little rocky knolls to climb up and around. But soon enough, it was over, and I was heading down for the second half of my race.

Part Two The Second Half
My team was waiting for me as I approach the Habron Gap Aid Station-pacer Bradley Mongold, and crew of Jill Cantafio and Wayne Mongold. Mongold told me to go check in at the AS and return immediately.
I shed my hydration vest, get two icy cold handhelds, and we leave on the trails. Mongold says we have now just passed several folks who are in the AS, just the first of quite a few runners we catch during this race!

Way back in October, Adam Casseday mentioned to me that Mongold was interested in pacing me at MMT if he was available. I was both touched and flattered. And scared. My speed and Adam Casseday’s speed are just a bit apart on the spectrum. Mongold told me he could pace at my speed, so we had that tentative plan set.
As it got closer to the race, it seemed like Mongold would be available, so I was glad I had trained as well as I could. It’s a flip as to which variable made me train harder, the rocks or Mongold.
Having Mongold as a pacer really set my confidence. I felt as long as I got to Habron Gap, barring any accidents, there was no way I would not finish the race. I had that much confidence in my pacer.
We also had a plan, which I never had utilized in a 100 miler before, despite my previous attempts and finishes. From the race start, I had a plan on what I was eating and drinking, what I would pull out of my drop bags and then move on.
Mongold and I had also discussed this over the phone. I told him I would eat and drink what my crew gave to me, and I think he was surprised when I did just that.
We spent zero time at the Aid Stations. I checked in, and left. Jill would hand me fresh bottles, sometimes a bite to eat, and off we went.
We caught back up to Roy Heger (yes, he had passed me) in the section between Gap Creek I and the Visitor Center. This was actually pretty special to me. Roy is one of my first ultra friends, and has been a mentor to me. To get to spend a few hours on the trail as I march toward my first MMT buckle while he was getting ready to nail # 12, that was very special to me.
The rain started on us as we climbed Bird Knob, but it didn’t cool me off. We spent this section with Allen Gowen and his pacer Beth-I couldn’t climb, so they would pass us, and then we would run by Allen and Beth. It gave us all something to do through here!
My only low patch came after we went through the Picnic Area, on the way to Gap II. It was daylight, after 630 in the morning. I had ingested a Chocolate Boost and a caffeine tablet at the Picnic Area. We were climbing up a creek bed, and I just could not focus my eyes. I felt like Frodo, when he put on his ring, and started to get transparent.
We started up a switchback, and finally whine out “sorry I am fading on you” to Mongold.
Well that got a response! It was not yelling, not at all, but he informed me that I was not fading, I was fine, my pace was good, and I was not fading! So I started repeating that to myself.
It also seemed like the caffeine was kicking it. Soon, my mantra changed to, “the caffeine is working, I feel good” then “the caffeine is working, I DO feel good”.  I felt good enough soon to mention this to Mongold. We actually caught up to two younger guys on the downhill-we were running-and I told them I was on my fifth wind now.
Mongold is just a wee bit competitive, so every time we reeled in another runner he’d kind of chuckle a bit. When we crested a hill, coming into Gap II, we saw this CROWD of runners ahead. Mongold mentioned it looked like “We are the World” as they were spread across the dirt road.  We passed them all as we checked in and out of the Aid Station.
Mongold mentions we are on our last section as we start Jawbone. I correct him. No, we still have to do Kerns. Mongold tells me Jawbone is Kerns. (I don’t know this area of MMT very well.) I am dumbfounded. I thought we had to climb the dreaded Jawbone Climb and THEN go over and climb Kerns. Now it’s really just this last climb? I’ve just consolidated two climbs into one.  I am ecstatic. I don’t even care about this Jawbone/Kerns climb. My mantra is now “Jawbones is Kerns, pecan pie” (I had just some tasty pecan pie, and was hoping it would kick in soon.)
We get to the top. Less than 5?   To go?
We are still able to run. But when we hit the road to the finish, I really slow. The road is just sucking my will to run. I know Mongold was frustrated through here, as he kept breaking into a run, waiting for me to run, and checking his watch.
Finally, the last turn, after the last dreaded hill, and now I have to run around the field! Will this ever end?!!!!!
But I’m happy. It’s all good. I can see my friends at the finish line. I can see my time, 31 hours 50 minutes. I’m so glad to be done.
So that is it. No epic events. Uneventful-Mongold says it was NOT uneventful, with all the people that we passed. Adam said it was a breakthrough race.
As for me, I am incredibly pleased and satisfied. All went well. You cannot ask for more than that in a 100 mile race.
Much credit goes to Bradley Mongold, Jill Cantafio, Wayne Mongold, who helped me during the race, and to all my beloved friends, who supported and believed in me even before I did. I would name you all, but would be afraid I would miss someone.
And I do have to say it: Massanutten ROCKS!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Hi everybody,
I buckled.

In this case, it means I earned the finisher's award at the Massanutten 100 Trail Race. I finished in 31 hours 50 minutes.

I am also the first female from the state of Ohio to finish the Massanutten 100.

I've been overwhelmed with everyone's well wishes and congratulations. I am so very happy with all the warmth and  love from you all.

I work on Tuesday,and hope to write a race report on Wednesday. My internet connection is poking along at dial up speed today (Monday night).

Thanks again for the well wishes, and I will get to writing soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Okay, just one more MMT Post

Just one more post before I leave town in a few hours. People have been sending me great mojo and karma, and my favorite is from Sarah:

"Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way"

                                                                                                               -Dr Seuss

It's Green in Virginia

Check out this race footage from the MMT 2010 Race. I really forgot it's now spring, in Virginia. My previous trips have been in fall and winter. Looking forward to the green!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I have received many many well wishes and good lucks this week, and the last few months. It seems like the whole NEO trail community is standing behind me.
It's very very gratifying, and a bit overwhelming at the same time. Tanya Cady called (we were out) and left me such a cheerful, wonderful message, I got choked up just listening to it.

I finally got around to realize I might be running on the MMT course with some of my friends! I've been so focused on getting everything together, and what and where "I" will be, I didn't think about the fact that I might get to share trail with old friends. Having someone to talk to for a few miles is always helpful. I am not planning on running with anyone, and will run my own race, but knowing that I do know a bunch of folks out of the course will be nice.

So thank you all, for your well wishes. I plan to represent well this weekend at Massanutten.

Monday, May 9, 2011


There are 18 Buckeyes towing the starting line for the 2011 MMT, two females from Ohio. Out of the 203 entrants, there are 25 women. The average age is 44.

I am Bib # 125.

The training is done. The resting has become. It of course, is not easy. Yes, the rest. I am antsy and easily distractible.I haven't done some of the traditional tapering traditions yet-buying things online-! but I still have time.

I am antsy.Did I mention that? I only checked the weather channel 6 times from work today.

Tuesday ( I work all day Monday) I will get my drop bag contents packed up and items ticked off list. I will also get my "stuff" that I will take with me race weekend together-sleeping bag stuff, race clothes & gear, food items, what ever else I need for my MMT weekend.

I have been training for this race since last September. I ran The Ring, Labor Day Weekend. This was homework prep for MMT. This was actually just to see if I would actually like the MMT Trail, which I had been hearing for years about, via NEO Trail Club.

We ran the Bird Knob section on Friday, prior to The Ring Saturday. Rocky.

Yes, the trail goes right up through the rocks. Now, the MMT Trail is NOT all rocks. There are some sections with less rocks, and in the MMT Trail 100, there are even road sections,  usually leading to an Aid Station.
Great views from the ridge line, although I won't be looking for these during the race. In fact, I won't carry the camera during the race, that's too much time screwing around. Which is why these pics are from The Ring last fall:

Signal Knob-it is NOT on the MMT Trail 100 course, yippee!!

Base of Waterfall Mountain-the MMT 100 course does not go up Watefall Mountain this year (whew)

I don't plan to spend time admiring these views. Keep my head on the trail in front of me.

Oh, and the weather? Today it's Monday, as I finish the post, high of 79, low of 54 in Virginia.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Drop Bag Packing

I've been sorting and getting ready to pack my drop bags for MMT.

MMT is basically a point to point course. So once you've passed your drop bag at a certain AS, that's it. You better not need anything down the trail from it.

Myself, like many, have their drop bags planned out. Many of my drop bags only involve my dry powder of MaltoDextrin and baby wipes. Other bags I have added a special "treat" of something that is packable and can grab to eat on the go, like cashews and jelly beans (note to self: must still pack jelly beans.)
I have a few containers of cranberry juice in some bags. For me, it's easy to swill down and can help work against getting a UTI out there in your dehydrated state. Not something new to try on race day!  The cranberry juice tartness can also be a nice change of pace from the sweeter fluids at AS.
I have a few tops thrown into drop bags at Veach Gap and Habron. These may get used, maybe not. Sometimes it just feels good to get filthy smelly clothing off and something fresh on.
I have socks in various drop bags but do not plan on changing.
I have long sleeve shirts, gloves, hat in both the Camp Roo and Gap Creek drop bags, in case the temperature drops. After Habron, I will have crew, so my crew (Jill) will be able to grab those drop bags and have items ready for me.
I have my lists ready, and items will get ticked off as they are packed. All clothing gets put into food storage bags and sealed, then placed into the larger drop bag. That is how you guarantee your socks will be dry when you need them!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Forget the PR" Video

Samantha Goresh came out and filmed "Forget the PR" 50k. She is a photography student at Ohio University and was everywhere race weekend. She took hundreds of photos.

Here is her presentation:

Forget the PR from Samantha Goresh on Vimeo.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Successful Journalling

I did journal the last six days, every bite, and every activity. Results? Loss of 4 lbs. That puts me at 35.5 lbs gone. I really want to lose one more pound before MMT, as that would be put at 159, a decade I have not seen in five years.

I'm going to continue to try and journal through the next six or seven days, even though there are some planned restaurant trips out. It's so hard to try and guesstimate, although Weight Watchers does have an extensive library of points of food items.

I have to  give a shout out to fellow ultra runner and VHTRC member Brittany. She wrote a great post about being strong, and feminine:

"And the traditional idea of being  feminine is actually very unsexy to me compared to my new idea. Confidence rocks. Which is a reason why I'm cutting off all my hair this week. I'm going to rock a pixie cut starting this Friday, something I've been wanting to do for months. I think that, on young women, it oozes confidence and defies traditional notions of sex appeal and femininity--something that I think I'm ready for."

But go over to her blog, and read the whole entry:  My tattoo isn't pretty and I don't care  She rocks!!

The final entrants list is posted for the Massanuttten 100 Trail Race. I am # 125.

I ran around the block today, (to help with that planned dinner out) in 44.07.  That is about 1.5 minutes faster than before. Another confidence booster!

Oh, and lastly, I plugged my height and weight into one of those stupid BMI calculators. I am now merely overweight; I have moved out of the obese category. I think those BMI calculators are a bunch of crap, especially if you are muscular, but hey, now I'm not obese! Rock on!

Monday, May 2, 2011


PR-or personal record-today.

I ran my 11 mile "around the block" run. It takes me up and down hills, up on the ridge line, through the Amish neighborhood.

The run started out chilly, and I wore tights and long sleeve woolen top, as it was about 58 degrees. It did warm up as the run progressed, so I thought good! A little heat training!

I ran at my normal effort level, just an easy run. But I did run many more of the smaller hills. Many many more. They were "easy" to climb these days.

I PR'd my course by 8 minutes. I was very pleased with my effort level. I did not try to "race it" or push harder, just regular running. The weight loss and consistent training has paid off. I feel very good!

This is my third straight day of journalling all my food and activity for Weight Watchers. We had lunch out today, due to errand running.

My WW "points" for the day are 29 points.
My grilled chicken sandwich (with mayo, I should have asked for mustard instead) and fries were 23 WW Points.
My activity points, which I "earn" with physical activity, came to 24 points. So I did pay off my lunch out-I did enjoy those fries!