Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fine Folks at Cheat Mountain

A hot night for a race; high humidity; the nicest runners. All nice and polite as they hit our Aid Station twice; many hurting with turned stomachs and beat up quads, but they never directed that toward us.

 The runners encountered us as Aid Station # 2 on their way in.  They have just climbed 12 miles up a dirt/gravel Forest  Road. We are surprised to have three runners as the 'lead pack'.  We get their water/Coke issues taken care of and direct them to finally, trail.

The second group is just a few minutes behind, surprisingly. Last year, Jeremy Ramsay was all by himself in the lead, but not this year.
Now the runners are coming in rather steadily.This is the time where they just want their packs filled up. We are dancing around trying to get to everyone in a timely manner. I curse the new Nathan Hydration Packs, with their weird slide across/clippy thing bladders.  These bladders are a pain in the ass. I need to email Nathan my displeasure.  I had an old Nathan bladder that had a screw on lid; these are much easier to fill up and reseal than these new ones!

Chris comes through. Chris is a noob. He's never run a marathon, ultra. Since we're at around mile 12, he is almost to his longest distance ever (which I would guess is the 1/2 marathon.) You gotta love the spirit that decides to just jump into an all night trail 50 mile race, in West Virginia!

Things settle down. I go and rest in my vehicle. It's one am. Our lead pack should be back around 230 am.
I set the alarm for 215 am. It's more resting than any shut eye.

Our first runner comes through. It's Frank Gonzalez, on his way to the course record. He just wants water and he's gone.

A little later, Jeremy Ramsay comes by. We tell him he can catch Frank, and he laughs. He is in a good mood and even stays for a cup of hot potato soup before he meanders down the trail.

On the way back, runners are not coming through that quickly.

On their way back, they had 7.2 miles to the next aid station..I stopped dropping the " 0.2" early on.

I also made sure I told them 7 miles to the next AS..not really what they wanted to hear, but I wanted to make sure they grabbed some calories with full water bottles before they left us. Only had to scold a few about water bottles. Food I left to their discretion...made sure they knew what we had, tried to push some things to them.

A shorter race (like 50 milers or under) is different than a 100 mile AS. I only had one person sit down during this 50 miler, and she was attending to a blister. Of course, there were AS workers sleeping in the other chairs, so that probably helped lol.  But generally, during a 100 mile AS, I will literally put the cup of soup/hydration in a runner's hand...and they will generally try to intake some of it.

This year's Cheat Mountain 50 miler was HOT and humid. I put on long pants and a sweater and didn't really need it. The temps, even at 530 am, was not that cool. Runners were still coming in, totally sweated up at 5am in the morning with stomach issues.  They didn't want to eat much, and I tried not to push. Next year, if I am working the same AS, I will have chicken broth along with potato soup, to try and coax some folks to eat.

The back of the pack was huge this year, maybe 15 to 20 folks rolling in within minutes of each other.

All very pleasant. Really, I can't think of another AS that I have worked where folks were so nice. They mentioned how they couldn't run downhill any more, that they couldn't eat, nothing sounded good; but it was not whining complaining.  All runners thanked us as they headed out.

Oh, and our newby Chris?? He revisited us!  We remembered him, got him some water and food, and sent him on his way to his first ultra finish.  I am pretty sure this is

Christopher Bates      26   M      12:39:49.8
Congratulations Chris! Great finish at a tough 50 mile event! Hope to see you at many more! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dog gone Run!

It's a good thing I am not afraid of dogs.

The normal 10K around the block. I fill up my water bladder all the way. I don't need it on a 10K, but I want to make sure the very small leak is ok.
It isn't. Probaly with the weight of the entire bladder being full, I am drenched on the bottom from this water bladder. Check. This is the better time to figure out this isn't working than this Friday or Saturday! I do have a replacement bladder that I will fill up and check for leaks.

Back to the dogs..

The bloodhound is in a yard, at a house on top of a hill-maybe he actually lives there. I'm glad to see him up there, since it's pretty fair away, and he won't bother me.

I see him about one second before he slams into me.

He seems to have learned 'no' and 'down' a bit better. I can continue down the road, but now he's running along with me. Great.

We run down the hill, where the friendly passive beagle dogs are. Good, maybe bloodhound pup won't get by these two.

Nope, 1/2 mile down the road, he's back.

We climb up the hill to where the Gump dogs live. Three of the Gump dogs are waiting for me at the top of the hill. Bloodhound pup does retreat and presumably went home.

Well, the Gump dogs were back to their pushy selves, one wanted to gnaw on my closed fist, getting in my way. I finally push by them, and start to run again.

Cranky old beagle doesn't like this, and I have to keep slowing down to keep an eye on him. He's a little too close to my calves with his hackles up, so I have to tell him to "back off Jackson!" rather sharply. This helps, and he retreats.

That was it for the dog encounters. At least they are all rather friendly like. I don't want to get into antagonizing all these dogs on my route, but sometimes it's a bit wearing. A small price to pay perhaps, for the pretty views I get to see on my routine route!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cheat Mountain Aid Station

Leaving for the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50 Mile Race in a few hours.
I will be working Aid Station 2/7.

Cheat Mountain is a night time race. Starts at 9 pm Friday night.
There will be more pics after I get home Saturday afternoon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why Not?

My, sometimes the thoughts fly fast, and faster than I can capture with the pen..or, computer..

I was listening to an ultra running podcast, the latest episode, and I believe the host was referring to my blog post in his discussion. I burst out laughing. The podcaster is very good at trying to keep anonymity on the internet (which I think is a good idea) but it was pretty clear to me he was referring me. (Ok, I guess you had to be me to understand this.) But he actually recanted his statement about a woman finishing The Barkley. He changed his mind due to Jennifer Pharr Davis new world record on the AT. Davis' AT times bested two Barkley finisher times, David Horton, and Andrew Thompson, who also finished the AT (and Thompson used to hold the record).

The question would be, is, does, Jen Pharr Davis have any hankering to run the Barkley? I'm sure she knows what it is, she is in the ultra community, and friends of Horton.

Okay, that was amusing stuff of the day.

I've been feeling rather bipolar in my self lately. One minute I am fretting over low mileage weeks, then I run my personal best on a training route and post my best body weight.
I'm doing real good with small goals lately. Run up that hill by summer's end? Ok; check that box off twice. I now have a different hill planned to summit by running by summer's end.
And you know what happens after you know you can *run* the hill (instead of hiking)? You have now freed your mind that you "cannot". Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier. I've run up hills that I thought impossible. Now these hills will become part of the normal "running" routine. (Not every time; but I used to say that about wee small hills, that I now routinely run up).

Future goals:

I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo,this November.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

This is quantity, over quality. I have no idea what I am going to write about yet.

But, why not?

Why not force my creative side to the front? Why not eschew reading Facebook and Twitter, and focus more on a new, creative, challenge, than catching up on what everyone is having for lunch?

I am also going to apply  for The Barkley Marathon for 2012.

Again, why not? It's the quotation I have at the top of my blog, from (aptly) the Barkley RD:

"1) you will never achieve great things with small goals
2) there is no guarantee you will have another chance tomorrow"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Breakthrough Run

Okay, after all my angst of no-weekend training, I did it.

Breakthrough run.

The degrees helped. It was about 60 degrees when I left the house, I actually had goosebumps on the arms as I walked up the road.

I was running well. The temperature was so nice and cool.  I ran up the first little hills of my normal route. I looked at my Garmin at the one mile mark: 10:54.  That was good, due to no walking on the hills.
I ran past Yellow Water Road, and the next hill I ran up.
Now I have a big downhill, and the giant bloodhound puppy was not out to accost me.
Across the cow pastures, then up the steep hill that I conquered earlyt this summer..still running.
The Gump dogs were not around either, and I hit my big downhill.
Across a few more rolling hills, to the Big Hill, where I was planning on my hill repeats.
This is the hill I vowed to run up last week, as I was pushing my bike up it.

I started up it, resolving to "see how far" I could get running. I kept my eyes on the road in front of me, and kept the leg turnover in a running mode. I kept going. I got past the first rather steep grade, and then it's easier. I'm still running. I glance at the Garmin, it's showing a 19 minute pace, but it's still a running motion.
I keep it up and as the hill levels out a bit, it's a 17 minute mile.
Then I crest the hill. I  have done it!!!!!!

Well, if I have run the biggest hill, now I have to run the rest of them. And I do.

6.4 miles, 1.15:38, 11:50 pace, a new PR for the route.

It's more about than I ran the entire route. I conquered the hills!

Eating Clean for August

Well, I am not sure I have ever defined what my "clean eating" was for August.

But it's definitely worked for me. Basically,I cut out the white rice, potatoes, bread, and crackers from my diet.
And the turkey pepperoni, jerky, and string cheese lite.

The above mentioned foods are about the only processed foods I actually eat.

What  have I been eating in August? Squash. And tomatoes. And I love both.

I have been cutting  up zucchini squash raw, into strips. Drizzling with a little EVO (extra virgin Olive Oil) and spices (whatever is handy, oregano, Adobo, thyme, savory) and throwing into a little container for work.

Tomatoes? I love in every form.  I eat, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I eat tomatoes,cooked in a pan with eggs. I eat two servings of grape tomatoes daily at work.

I find, curiously, that I am not missing my crackers. I used to have that "crunchy" craving, usually at work when I was bored.

Now, this is not all or none. I've ate pizza a few weekends ago; ate lunch out with my husband, happily eating all sorts of Greek food, and did not even try to eat clean. Today we will have lunch out, and I probably will have a burger and fries or something similiar. Over the weekend, at work, I ate homemade whole wheat pasta salad with chicken as my main meals.

But I am happy trying to eat unprocessed foods as much as possible. I am sure that has helped with the last two pounds of weight that came off. I no longer think I have to have a "carb" with my veggies and protein at every meal. And I can work all day and then go run, without having to have some sort of processed carb to give me some energy.

I have also changed my omega 3/6 supplementation, which I am going to address in a separate post, which may also have some sort of bearing on satiety-the fact that I am taking in more (healthy) fat.

So I think the clean eating will continue way past August. It probably will fall into the 90-10 rule; eat clean 90% of the time, and don't fret about the other 10%.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trusting Your Training

Ever just feel like you aren't doing enough? Feel like you should be doing more, doing speedwork, running more miles, more hill repeats?

I usually have this feeling around the weekends I work, where my mileage week is typically much lower. And then I surf on Facebook and Twitter, and see where *everyone* is running and racing..and I am stuck at work.

Sigh. I know it's irrational. My training has been..adequate..

I guess it depends on what I am training for. I would say I am training for the WV Trilogy, in October. So the Sick Jimmy and the Ring are just good back to back runs for the Trilogy.

What is the Sick Jimmy? Well, this is the Event staged the day before the Event. Named after Jim "Slim" Harris. Slim tends to try and add on miles the day before whatever he is running.

Like the day before The Ring...Jim took Cam and I on a little tour of Bird Knob the day before the Ring last fall...
Then, before the Reverse Ring, Slim had to get 20 miles in on Dickey Ridge with Q the day before..because 71 miles was just not enough..
Hence Moose coining the term "Sick Jimmy"..

So this year, the day before the Ring, we're running 20 miles. Hence, the Sick Jimmy.

But hey, this is great training for an event that starts with a 50K on Friday, a 50 mile race on Saturday, and a half-marathon on Sunday! I can't wait!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Missed Turns Mean Extra Miles

My first missed turn was the exit from I-77. I passed Route 40, and kind of woke up as I neared the exit for Route 22..which was Salt Fork State Park.

Ok, I will go run at Salt Fork. But as I was planning on a 4 mile run on an asphalt bike trail, I had road shoes, so I decided to just run on some back State Park roads.

I parked at the Horseman's Camp, and headed down a back road.  I thought my route would be like a lollipop, a loop with an out and back.
This was a good run! Totally shaded gravel road, all alone, lots of up and downhills. There was lots of little jeep roads that I am going to explore in the future-when I have long pants on, to protect my legs from poison ivy and scratches.
I hit the bottom of this area, and I turn right, onto the  next Park Road. I think this is going to intersect with the first road I started on.
So I am going up and down hills, enjoying my run.
Then I notice a guard rail, and then my road ends, on the main road through the park.
Hmm, I don't remember this, but I take a right and start running down the main camp road. But I am not quite sure where I am...exactly.
As I keep running, I see the lake on my right. Huh? Where am I, exactly? I keep going.

Then I see the road turn off for the beach! Wow! I really took a wrong turn somewhere. I know exactly where I am now-about 2 or 3 miles still from my car!

Did I mention, I thought I was going out for a 45 minute run, took no water, actually nothing with me?
Luckily the weather wasn't bad, and  I ended my run, in 1 hour 40 minutes.

So pay attention to your routes. Or you will add up with extra miles, like me!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hitting the Fifties

No, not my age..

The weight fifties!!!

I weigh 158 lbs today.  I have not weighed in the 50's since 2005. I remember weighing around 162 lbs for the Las Vegas Marathon and feeling like a fat slug. 41.5 lbs off!!!

I took measurements for the first time since mid March:

March 7                                             August 17 2011
Chest 33                                            Chest 32
Waist 33.5                                          Waist 33
Hips 37.5                                           Hips 37
Thigh 22 1/8                                       Thigh 22
Calf   15 1/8                                       Calf 15 3/4

Yes I do think my calves may have increased in size, which doesn't bother me at all.

Check out my original measurements:

Chest 38
Waist 41
Hips 44
Thigh 23 1/2
Calf 16

I can attribute this nice drop in some clean eating I am doing this month. I hope to follow up this blog post with one about what I have been eating this month, and what I have not been missing.

What's next? More weight loss. I can certainly stand to lose more. I also need to get onto a weight training routine and tighten up some of my body. I do make my weight loss goals very small and very achievable these days.  For example, my next weight loss goal would not be 145 lbs or probably even 150 lbs.  That takes too long to achieve and could result in a lot of frustration. Next goal will probably be 155 lbs...not too far away and achievable.

I am really pleased and proud of myself.  There's going to be some clothes shopping done sometime soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Longest Bike Ride

So I got out of work, and decided to go on my 10K around the block..except on my bike this time.

On my first 'real' hill, I managed to shift into a harder gear, and then accidentally squeeze the brake lever, halting me totally.

On the second hill, the one I challenged myself to run up this summer, I dropped my chain.  My first bike fix! I managed to get the chain back on, AND bike up the hill.

Then it's past the 4 dog corner. They were not out, although as I started down the big hill, I heard them barking.
This is a very steep hill I usually run down-I am running 8'ish minute miles down this hill. 
I am cautiously descending on the bike, braking. Almost at the bottom, I let up...and glance at the Garmin, I am hitting 19 MPH on this dirt gravel road!

The next hill is my hilll repeat hill. I've never run up it; and I do not bike up it. I walk the bike up the hill. Okay, I have already resolved to run up this hill this summer! And maybe I will get the quad strength to bike it too!

I finish the 10K about only 15 minutes in front of the time that it takes me to run this..but I did stop to fix my dropped chain too. I felt this workout in my legs, and my core. I would find myself hunching over to climb the hills, and I would keep reminding myself to sit up and work the core and the quads, to get up the hill.

I'm looking forward to more time on the bike, and improving on time around the block!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Feeling the Love Today

Me and Salt Fork haven't been getting along.

I decided I should do hill repeats today. Because I need to do them. And my day off work this week, I will going with the dog to her vet appointments in Columbus.

So I go to Salt Fork State Park. I parked in a different spot. I plan on running the bridle trail, until it intersects a gas right-of-way, which is the hill I am planning on doing repeats on.

I have to cross a drainage ditch, and then a meadow, to get to the trail, which is over at the treeline. The drainage ditch is too wide to hop across, so I just step down into it.

And I go into water, up to my crotch. I almost fall over, because I am so startled by this hole I have stepped into! It is a good thing I have a sense of humor.

The meadow grasses start cutting my legs. I am having another flashback to another recent visit to the Park; I'm not ending up with legs ripped to shreds! This is not a Barkley training day!

I end up finally on the bridle trail. It has rained buckets, all day, in this area, but somehow, I haven't thought about this and the trail.

The bridle trail is just quagmires of mud. There is no running happening, just mucking along.  As I do, I realize my legs are heavy and I am tired. I'm not doing this.  I do get over to the right of way and hike uphill a short ways, till I decide that I am not into this. I'm calling a recovery day.

I have gotten better at listening to the body. I actually was tired before I got out for the run, but thought the trail would perk me up. Lesson learned; listen to the body and obey what it wants to do. Sometimes the body knows better than what the head does.

Body Image

I was startled when I viewed this pic. It's about the first one, since I lost all my original weight, back around 2004, that I thought "wow, I look good, I look thin!"

Now, actually, I don't think I look thin. But I think I don't look fat in this picture. So thin, to me, means
"thin= not fat ".

The women that read my blog may understand this more than the guys. But, actually, for me to see a pic of myself, and approve is huge.

Wow, 2011 has been huge for me. I have confidence in myself as an ultrarunner and now I like my body. Look out world!!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Catchup

Since I didn't get my 50K in on Saturday, I went out for my usual 10K around the block.
Of course, the nice rain sprinkling down on us as we walked the dogs had ended, and my run started right into the nice remaining 95% humidity.
I have been kind of frustrated that I am not improving on my 10K time around the block at all. Now, I have all sorts of variables with my training run around the block. The time started varies, sometimes there is a bathroom break stop, sometimes there is a dog obstruction in the road, sometimes there is the neighborly chat that occurs. So I guess I should try to get some of my runs started at the same time, and try to keep the variables at a minimum before I get frustrated with lack of progress.

The giant bloodhound puppy was out today. As I approached the neighbor's house, the two old dogs were in the road, and then I saw the bloodhound just bouncing toward me.
He proceeded to jump up onto me, about knocking me over. I had to keep swatting and pushing him down-really, he is just a wriggly puppy-that happens to weigh 100 lbs and be up to my shoulder.
He then proceeded to start puppy chewing on my forearm, getting me covered in dog spit.
I finally managed to extircate myself, then took several minutes to shake the pup off from following me down the road.

I figured that whole pup encounter cost me 3 to 4 minutes.

Then, as I was running up the hill, about 40 feet from my finish, my neighbor Dan pulls out of his driveway and stops to chat about cutting a tree on our property. I figure that was a 2 minutes conversation there!

Sunday haul from the garden. Just picked the ripest tomatoes for now!

Saturday: Volunteer Run/Familiarization Run at Mill Creek Park

I was sooo happy to be back at Mill Creek Park. I got there a little early, ran about 1 mile down the trail and back, taking a few early pictures. I was kind of astounded at the lush greenness; I usually am at MCP in the fall, winter, and early spring, so I really enjoyed the greenery this time of year.

Me on the Love Log. No, actually not named after me.

We had a very nice turn out, and started out all together after the group photo. After we ascended the steel steps and got to Volney Rogers field, the group split up, with three speedsters (Valerie, Cousin Tim, and Little Joe) taking off.  Then the main middle crowd, which I stepped off the trail to let pass, and then another group of three. This was Heath, Ashley, and Allison, that I spent most of the run with.

It was a good day in the woods. I was giving the tour guide for the YUTC race, so we were going slower than what I had anticipated running, but it was all good. I did take a bunch of pics that are already posted on the NEO Trail News Blog; so if you would like to scope out what the trails will look like for the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic, click this!

After my group got back to the vehicles, I went back out on the trail in search of Anastasia and Slim. I caught them with about one mile to go, so went back to the vehicles with them.

Pebble was still out there, with a few others, so Slim and I decided to go back down the trail again to find Pebble and run him in.

Instead we found Jim, who had linked up with Mike from Pittsburgh, and we decided to run back from the Covered Bridge with them and just wait for Pebble back at the vehicles.

Instead of running more (I ran about 20 miles) I spent an hour or so chatting with Pebble and Slim. I have not seen either one since MMT, in May, so it was a very nice afternoon.

The new people who ran on the Mill Creek Park trails said they would call the .trails "technical".  I think the YUTC course is good for runners of all abilities.  There are some parts with alot of rocks (hence the technical) and roots; but there are many smoother dirt sections where you can really run.  I hope to see many people out for the race!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to Work

I took a three day weekend of no training, no running, no biking.  Well, we did go out of town with the dog, which was kind of tiring and a little stressful in itself.
But it's time to get back to work now, and write myself a schedule. I do better if I have penicilled in plans. And I do use a pencil,cuz everything is subject to change.
I find it hard to run on the day of the week that our dog goes to Columbus for chemotherapy and radiation. That means the other two dogs are home alone, so I usually don't run on that day, just go home and hang out with them.
Today will be a 4 or 5 mile run after work.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Bought a Bike

So I bought a bike last week. It's a Specialized, Myka, female mountain bike. That's about all I know about it. Two wheels. "V" brakes.  26 inch wheels.

From the Web Site:

11 Specialized Myka HT

Specialized's Myka HT is an excellent all-around mountain bike made just for you. Its lightweight aluminum frame is fun to ride and features women's-specific geometry for a perfect fit, total control and maximum confidence. This sweet machine also boasts sturdy Alex wheels and an SR SunTour suspension fork for comfort and precision handling. And, it's equipped with an easy-pedaling SRAM 21-speed drivetrain that lets you cruise over the hills and linear-pull brakes for top-notch stopping power.

I've been out on it twice, for short, three mile rides.  It is certainly using different muscle groups of the legs.

I am still getting the whole shifting thing down. How do you know what gear to go into is my big question.

I'm still very cautious on the bike.  Downhill  on the back road (with  lots of gravel!!) is kind of scary. I am just taking it slow and easy.  But I think it will be alot of fun and a very good cross-training activity for me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jen Pharr Davis Sets New AT Speed Record

For many in the ultra community, word has already gotten around about the new world record on the Appalachian Trail hike.  Jen Pharr Davis set that by completing the 2181 miles in  46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes on Sunday, July 31, 2011.

She did not set the female record.  She already held that. She set the overall record, held previously by Andrew Thompson, set in 2005, in 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes.

I had been aware of Davis' female record from last year, then this summer, right before she started her AT speed hiking attempt, I read her book "Becoming Odyssa" which was about her very first through-hike of the AT. I would have to recommend her book too, it's an easy read and one of the more enjoyable books I have read about through-hiking the AT.

Brew, her husband, kept her blog up through out the journey.  Now even for hard core ultra runners, Jen Pharr Davis was covering 40 or 50 miles A DAY with no breaks. On her next to last day, she hiked sixty miles, and her last day was around 30 miles. That is just phenomenal.

Congratulation to  Jen Pharr Davis!!! Women rock!!!

August Is Clean Eating Month

August snuck up on me. I thought it was around Wednesday. I decided about a week ago, that August was going to be "clean eating" month for me.
Of course, by August 1, I had not decided what my definition of clean eating was. The idea is to cut out all the processed foods and really decrease the alcohol.
Next would be to figure out, what is my definition of processed food? Bread is a processed food, indeed. But what about my Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread?
One of my work snacks has been string cheese light-definitely a processed food. But what about real cheese? I think I will swap out the string cheese light, and use the 'real' cheese and take the hit on the fat/calories WW points-but maybe eat less of the real cheese.
I am going to cut out my crackers. Now my crackers are melba toast, matzo crackers, Rykrisp-all very low fat crackers. I do have some recipes for homemade crackers, so I might try those later this month.
I also haven't decided on breakfast cereal yet-meaning my oatmeal and steel cut oats. I am eating oatmeal this morning because I have a long run schedule. (Well, not that long.) I have a dentist appointment in town. My husband is going to drive me to town, then I am going to run home, 10 miles.
I am not going to be fanatical about this. Social meals will be social. We are planning lunch out today, and I hope to be able to find something like a grilled chicken breast and salad for me.
Well, time for breakfast for me.I soaked my oatmeal in almond milk last night (yes, a processed food! Still have to drink it up!) and will top it with a banana and fresh blackberries.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spruce Knob Camp/Thing

On Spruce Knob. But we had a very low ceiling and none of the beautiful view!!
The Huckleberry Trail

The folks running the ten mile loop splitting off from the longer route here.

High Meadow Trail-yes I was very happy to be here.  You run through about three meadows here. The views are spectacular.  Now, imagine these woods in their fall colors.  Insanely beautiful.

After the Meadow Trail, I didn't pay much attention to this sign post. I should have taken the Seneca Creek Trail down to Judy Springs, but I continued down the Huckleberry instead.

By doing so,I missed the gang at the waterfall, I beat them there.  I took a few pics, and then looked for the Horton  Trail.

After the waterfall,it was time to go UP the Horton Trail. During the 50K you run DOWN the Horton-it's very runnable. The next day, in the 50 miler, you go UP. Today was an UP day.

It goes up for one mile.

I survived the Horton Trail!!

For this run, Adam had us follow the Allegheny Mountain Trail back to Forest Road 112, which actually was just a pretty pleasant overgrown jeep road. It gave me time to take my eyes off the trail, and look around.

One thing I pondered is why the bears eat all the trail signs:

This trail is used in the Trilogy. After whipping out the map, I identified it correctly as "Bear Hunter Trail". (See, watching those episodes of Wheel of Fortune came in handy.)

The girls caught up to me here. Since I had cleverly cut the course above Judy Springs,I had cut 3.5 miles off the course. Ragan and Kate had dropped the boys and were at least five minutes ahead of them. Bill and Chris came along; and we waited for Charlie at the forest road.

So I got in around 17.5 miles with my short cut route. I re-familiarized myself with a bunch of the Trilogy Trails, and have a much better strategy idea for that race in October.  Great times all weekend!