Friday, March 30, 2012

Five for Friday

1.  My Dog Tino- is home again.  He had 4 different tumors removed-mast cell tumors, the same type Sandal had (and the most common for dogs).  It appears the surgery did remove all the cancer, but these could pop up again. I really didn't like this sentence: Prognosis: guarded and poor, long term.

2. Her name is Alice- she's a black and tan German Shepherd puppy, and she joins us next Thursday.

3. REI 20% Coupon-how come these show up when I don't have an item on my shopping list? I've got a wind/rain jacket, rain pants, hat, new running shoes, Jet Boil; I'm good with my current running tops and bottoms, sleeping bag.
Do I look at the backpacks for children?
Yes, laugh if you will. But I have a very short torso-quite hobbit-like.  The G2 Pack I bought  I like, but it hits me in the neck and also low on the back, just a little too uncomfortable for my liking.

4.  Balance-it's been a fine line this week, with the dog issues and working.  Next week is also 6 work days in a row. And a new puppy. And training. I've rearranged my long run for next weekend to NOT go to the Laurel Highlands but go to Mohican instead.

5.  Weekend Racing-this weekend, there are two races going on-the Umstead 100 Mile Race, and the Barkley. Kind of like total opposite ends of the spectrum.  I am looking forward to following both races as I work all weekend long!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Public Service Announcement: DVT's in Endurance Athletes

I posted about this three years ago, in my old blog, after two of my runner friends developed DVT's-blood clots.

It's still a good read. And read the comments that other athletes left, about their experiences.

Yes, I want to scare you. A bit. OR actually, I just want you to be aware.

You think of blood clots in ..old people. You don't think about ultra runners, or triathletes, being the ones who who develop these blood clots.

Yet we are prime candidates for these.


Okay, Athletes tend to have a lower resting heart rate. This results in blood flowing slower through the body.

Dehydration-this plays a factor in your blood viscosity. More dehydration leads to thicker blood.


 Falls, bruises? Nah, this never happens in an ultra. (Non runners would call this "trauma") Ultra runners? Well, we took a face plant eight hours ago. No big deal, right? I got a little banged up. Got some bruises on my quads, knee, arm. No big deal.

Due to this trauma, there may be a clot forming at the spot in the cell wall. This is your body functioning normally.

After the race is over, we get into our car, or onto an airplane, and travel hours back to where we came from. We spend hours in a cramped position.
Meanwhile, the thickened blood is pooling.The body is still dehydrated. The body is forced into the worst position to get the blood pumping throughout the body again. This is where the start of a clot in the legs (in the deep veins) can begin.

Why I am posting this again?

Well, another well known ultra runner, Amy Sproston, had posted to the Ultra List about her diagnosis with DVT's.  Amy is an elite runner AND spends many hours in the air with her career.  It didn't seem like her DVT developed post-race, but maybe due to her air travel.

She had a pretty scary weekend, according to her blog post, where the DVT went from the DVT to a PE (pulmonary embolism).  She did go to the Emergency Room, and got admitted, and treated.   Amy is still hoping/planning on going to the Worlds 100K Race.

So take ten minutes, and read through some of this. And think about your post-race plans. If they involve plane travel, think about compression stockings.  Stop more often on the road for a rest break. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Covered Bridge Fat Ass 2012

This year , NEO Trail Club hosted our annual Covered Bridge Fat Ass at the Mohican State Park, Loudonville, Ohio.  I was in charge of organizing this and I believe everyone had a good time.

We  had about 40+ runners out for the day.  The idea was to follow "The Forget the PR" 25 and 50K race course.  I went out with the 25K runners, as  I had other ideas for a workout post run.

It was a very pleasant day. I met at least 10 new runners, some this 25K was their longest distance ever; others were training up for 50K and 50 Miler and even 100 mile attempts at Mohican.

For quite a few runners, it was also their first trip to Mohican and all seemed to appreciate the beauty.  Although it was still a bit too early in the year for much greenery!

Hill Repeats

A few years ago, mmm. maybe 2007, I was running alone at Mohican, on a training run.  I went straight, instead of turning left, and went down..a Big Ass Hill.  I ended up at the back of the campground, and had to re climb the hill.  I thought then, wow, this is a good hill to do repeats on.

Well, a few years later, "Big Ass Hill" is part of an official race course, and I think it's good training to do hill repeats on.

I decide to climb BA Hill, run down the other side, then go up "Gas Line Hill" to the jeep road to the Fire Tower, and repeat. It was about .55 miles each lap, so about 1 mile for each out and back.  I arbitrarily decide to do..ten of these.

It really wasn't that bad.  In fact, my knees hurt a little afterwards, but my quads were fine, so I either 1) didn't push it enough 2) didn't do enough repeats.  I really wanted to tax my downhill legs, so I am sure it was better to do the training than not.

Overall, a great day in the woods with friends!

This is not the best written blog post, but I received not very good news about one of our dogs, Tino, on Friday afternoon.

Tino has the same type of mast cell tumor that our dog Sandal had.  Sandal just died in January, and this was not the news we thought we would receive about Tino.  We're going to get him to Medvets, in Columbus Ohio, as quickly as possible. Of course, it's not good that we already "know the routine".  I hope this may be a simple excision of the cancerous tumor and it has not spread. I have to keep the most positive outlook until I am told otherwise.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Yesterday I got out of work a little early, and headed out to check on my ramps location.
What are ramps? The common Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum) is our best wild onion and a source of food and spiciness all year round.

Broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems begin arriving in small troops as soon as the snow disappears. Scallion like bulbs are  strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the soil.

Alas, it is still too early, although the green shoots are starting.  Perhaps in five days or a week from now it will be harvest time.

I then spent the rest of the hour hiking down the creek bed, climbing up a hill to see what was on the other side.

Remains of a deer
I have not run at all this week due to working all sorts of shifts.  Working until 9pm and then doubling back at 8 am the next morning does not make me want to exercise.  My hip flexors have been very tight, but that might be a function of the 50K on Sunday and then all the time on my feet at work.  So the hiking was beneficial in stretching out my hamstrings.  That may be my goal for today, STRETCH!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kickstarter Project: The Barkley Marathons

Long time readers of my blog know my interest in The Barkley Marathons.

Actually, before I won the Hardrock Lottery, the Barkley was my goal race for 2012.  Well, goal was to get selected or place high enough on the weight list to venture down to Frozen Head State Park.  I had already started doing some training in November and December for it.

For those not in the know, the Barkley Marathons is a 100 mile race in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee.  Only ten runners have completed the full 100 (or so) miles. 

The Barkley is considered one of the toughest 100 mile races in the world. It has 59,100 feet of climb (and 59,100 feet of descent), more than any other 100 mile race, more than the 33,000 ft. of climb at Hardrock, and more than the 45,000 ft. at Nolan's 14.

The Barkley consists of 5 20-mile loops with no aid except for water at two points. The cutoffs for the 100 mile race are 12 hours per loop. The 60 mile "fun run" has a cutoff of 40 hours, or 13:20 per loop. To prove you completed each loop, you must find 9 to 11 books (varies) at various points along the course and return a page from each book. 

The Barkley has been attracting more media attention (probably since we have so much more media in our lives) and this year, there is a Kickstarter project about a Barkley Documentary.

This has the blessing of Laz, the race director. 

Go here, to check it out.

You pledge money for a Kickstarter project.  If they do not collect their full amount, you do not pay them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Recap

It was a great weekend!
This will be pretty short, as I was gone most of Saturday and Sunday...out running!

Ran the Shamrock Shuffle.  Ran a  27.10.  Then I went off to Salt Fork, put the pack on, and ran.
Ugh! I don't know whether it was the combination of the 5K, with no pack, or the heat, but I wasn't really feeling the love on these miles.

Which is fine. Sometimes you don't feel the love, so it works out well when you are on a loop that takes you away from your vehicle.
So I got 15 miles in for Saturday

  Sunday Buzzard's Day FA

A good group of folks showed up for Roy and Shannon's 2nd Annual Buzzard Day Fat Ass.

 This was in Hinckley, Ohio, where, on March 15, every year, the buzzards return to Hinckley.

 The legend of the annual return of the buzzards (turkey vultures) to Buzzard Roost in the Cleveland Metroparks goes back nearly a century in Hinckley history. Legend has it that they were first attracted by the tons of butchering refuse and unwanted game left behind in the great Hinckley Hunt of 1818, but additional historical research among the records of the Sylvester Library of Medina uncovered an old manuscript by William Coggswell, who as a youth with his uncle, Gibson Gates, were the first white men to set foot in the township in 1810. 

This manuscript told of their expedition from Bath and Richfield through Hinckley, and of finding the "vultures of the air" at the gallows at Big Bend of Rocky River around the foot of the ledges where the Wyandots had hanged a squaw for witchcraft two years before. This indicated that these turkey vultures had made their home on Hinckley Ridge long before the white men settled west of the Cuyahoga River, and it moved their occupancy back into the midst of the Indians legend. 

The Cleveland Metroparks welcome visitors yearly on March 15 to the Buzzard Roost in Hinckley Reservation. With a traditional "Buzzard Spotter" (for many years retired ranger Roger Lutz and now the chief naturalist Robert Hinkle) the first buzzard's time of arrival is clocked. The event is hailed as a sign of spring in the Midwest by all who attend.

And crowded it was!  We did spot our first buzzard right by Hinckley Lake.  This was an 8 mile loop, which took us around the lake, through Whipps Ledges, through a meadow, a little road, some Buckeye Trail, and some ups and downs.  A very nice loop.

I did the full 50K, and as I stopped the Garmin, I was pleasantly surprised to see it read 7.00.  Wow!  This was with stopping at the Aid Station, at the start/finish area, and I wasn't particularly moving quickly through there, and I chatted with Roy and a reporter person on one trip through.  I took my time, not really pushing anything, as the temperatures got up around 75 degrees or so.   

So I had a great weekend of running!  Onto the next Fat Ass, at Mohican, this coming Saturday! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle 5K Race Report

Yes, another 5K for me.   

This 5K got off promptly at 914 am.
Cambridge, Ohio, is a very hilly town, so this was a pretty "flat" course compared to what side streets we could have went up and down.

The first 1/2 mile is mainly down and I try to hammer it.  Then it turns to uphill, heading toward a cemetery, and I am amused by how many people I pass here.  First mile: 907.
Second mile is a loop around the cemetery, in 8.48.  
Third mile we are headed back uphill toward the YMCA.  I focus on the pavement and think about the 5K road section of MMT and what good training this is.  Third mile? 8.27

I finish in 27.10 (Garmin unofficial) 

I then ate a sugar cookie which I am pretty sure negated the calorie burn from the 5K.  Then I went to Salt Fork and did 11 more miles on the roads and the Buckeye Trail (more on that soon.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five for Friday

1. Seed Starting-I've go the Cayenne and the Thai Hot Peppers started.  I'm sure I need to get a few others started, need to consult my list.  I want to grow mainly heirloom plants this year, so I can save my seeds to start next year

2. DC Rainmaker on IM Talk!  One of my favorite bloggers on one of my favorite podcasts!

3. Training Weekend- this is a 5k/50K weekend.  The husband is away, so I'm kind of free to do what I want.  My plans are to run the 5K in the AM, then head over to the park to run at least 14 more, with the provision to jump onto trails also.
Then a Fat Ass 50K "up north" on Sunday.  I'm hoping to get some nice miles in on Saturday, and the 50K Sunday.  The weather looks awesome.

4. Daffodils-this early spring warm temperatures really has the little blooms popping up all over.  I have a new patch spotted in the park, so will take my camera (and maybe shovel) in case it looks like a new variety to my eyes.

5.  Happy St Patrick's Day!   I don't know what makes all of us non-Irish want to be Green for the day, nor why there are so many "Shamrock Shuffles" organized for this day, but
hey, enjoy your green beer and Shuffle for the day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Now I want pie..

 Celebrate Pi Day! Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…

Or do hill repeats!!

I decided to do my shorter hill that is on the dirt back road rather than the longer asphalt road I re-discovered yesterday.  The bottom of my right foot is a bit sore, so I am going to favor it with dirt rather than more pounding on the pavement.

I did six hill repeats in the time allotted, as I still had to shower and pack my lunch.

  This is where I wish I had a training partner; all six were done in about the same time, but I didn't feel that worked.  I know I need to either push harder or do more of these repeats. 

So I need to probably do hill repeats on one of my day offs.  It would be nice to have someone push me.  Looking at my repeats from February, I'm still pretty consistent-i.e., I haven't improved.

I wore the new Montrail Bajadas on my dirt and gravel road and they felt really good. I'm glad I have a trip to the Laurel Highlands Trail to see how they work on more rocky conditions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Valley to the Ridgeline

One of these days-maybe later today-I'll get my Garmin software reinstalled on the computer so I can recreate my elevation on my route.

I had a very nice run today.  Sunny, temperature about sixty, although a bit windy on the last few miles right into a headwind.

I ran the hills again. On this road, there is a one mile hill. Some of it has some climb, then a bit of a plateau, then more climb. This is the first time I've ever run up the entire hill. Well, actually, I did more than that. The road ends, and I turn onto another road, so I actually ran up to the crest of the ridgeline.
I ran many of the small hills on this course. It felt good. I feel like I've gotten much stronger as a runner out here on my climbs.
I had to break up the black with some pink
Yes, my cheeks and headband do match nicely
It became congested on the last hill. An Amish buggy came by right as I turned onto the last road, with the last 1/2 mile hill. I then caught up to the buggy, finally passing it on the slope. Now it's time to go outside and do some yard clean up and enjoy this last week of winter!

Training Week

Good weather makes it much easier to plan your workouts for the week.

For example, this week, it's looking like outside workouts ALL WEEK LONG.

I work the late shift, which I don't like to work, but it actually allows me to get in (usually) longer workouts in.

On my way home from town this morning, I drove over to a hill I used to do repeats on.  It's 0.8 miles long! Whee! I have found a new hill for repeats on.  It's not too terribly a busy road, so I should be able to use the road and not get hit by a car.  That is the plan for tomorrow morning.

Thursday morning will be the 10K around the block.
Friday morning, because I will also need to take the dogs on the 1K walk, will be 4 miles around the block.

Saturday morning I am  running the local YMCA "Shamrock Shuffle".  For  a brief moment, I thought about driving over to Pittsburgh for the JC Stone 50K race.  Then I rethought that.  I want to make sure I get my dogs out for their playtime.  If I went to Pittsburgh I would be gone all day.

But I then decided there was no reason I couldn't get in some miles on Saturday.  The plan is to run a 5K warm up; then run the 5K race. Then drive over to Salt Fork, and run my loop on the back roads.  This is a 7 mile loop, so I can just run it twice.  That will give me about 20 miles for the day.

I am also planning on jumping off the road, and onto the Buckeye Trail at SF.  The BT is on part of the road section of the park here, and I've not followed it back into the woods.  So maybe I will follow the BT for a bit and then retrace my steps.

Sunday I am going to Hinckley for the 2nd Annual Buzzard Day Fat Ass.

And today?  I'm going out for my 11 mile around the block. I'm looking forward to short sleeves and running skirt today!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Recap

It's good to be home.

After a weekend of drinking, eating, just a bit of running, I am tired.  I am ready to get back to my normal routine.

It's time to buckle down.  The Cinti Wine Festival was the big weekend out. Now it's time to eat right and drink way LESS.

I checked my results for the Emerald Mile 5k, and found I was second in my AG! And chip time was 27.53.

I am running a 5K again, this Saturday, at the local YMCA. So the goal at this 5K is 1) complete the race (always!!)  2) beat my 27.53.  This should be possible, because I am not planning on drinking wine for 2.5 hours this coming Friday! (well, there is always hope!)

I am also running a 50K (not a 5K)  on Sunday, the 2nd Annual Buzzard Day FA, in Hinckley, Ohio.  That will get me a long run in for the weekend.

So it's back to reality. I am really ready.  Let's do this.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Emerald Mile 5k

I happened to be in Cincinnati for the wine festival and saw there was a local 5k at Newport on the Levee. It was for a good cause, to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

I ran over to Newport, on the Purple People Bridge, over the Ohio River. I picked up my long sleeved shirt and wore it, as it was about 30 degrees out.  I then went out and ran another 1.5 miles as a warm up. 
The race starts in Newport, right at the bridge. Which is unfortunate, because its really crowded in the first section.

we head into Ohio, toward Yeatsmam Cove, and then we turn and are next to the river and the Serpentine Wall.  MIle one was 9.14 according to the Garmin.
We continue thru Bicentennial Park, which is very nostalgic for me, as its been years since I have been here. It is still crowded om the course, and I am still darting around people. MIle 2 was a 9.26.  Now we are heading back toward the bridge, which is the slight incline.  I start to increase pace.
when we start the bridge, I look at a guy in front of me and start to reel him in Then I look for someone else to follow in.
I crest the bridge and try to catch the guy in front of me I can see the Finish Sign, and I try to pump my arms as much as I can.
I see the time as 28.22 and I am done! Well, that didn't take much time!  then I remembered that was gun time, so my Garmin read 27.54.
Not too bad for a little speedwork after an evening of wine fasting. I then ran back to the hotel and went swimming, so I had about 6 miles of running and some relaxation wedged into my weekend.

Anallyzing the Splits

So I have dredged up the papers from the Massanutten 2011..

I have found my original pages, with my SWAG splits, with my actual splits written next to..

It's interesting to see where I was, at points, in the race.

I did have a stellar 2nd half, as Mongold pointed out.  But at that point too, I picked up both crew and a pacer. So I had fresh legs with me, and now I was eliminating ALL time in the aid stations.

I really was.  I was instructed, per my pacer, to check into the Aid Station, and get out.  That was all I needed, having a crew.

I checked in, pretty much yelling "do you have my number?  No, I don't need anything."  (Hopefully I also said thanks!) and then Jill, my awesome crew person, handed me fresh cold bottles, and OFF we went to the next aid station.

I passed twenty-five runners at the Camp Roosevelt Aid Station, by virtue of having a crew. I checked in and out, got my stuff from crew, and went on down the trail. It doesn't get any easier than that to pass people!

This year, without a crew (so far)  14 AS x 5 minutes= 70 minutes.

Ouch.  So, I could, potentially, just add this to my 2011 finish time of 31.50.  So 2012 could be 33.00 hours flat, solo.

I would still be okay with that.  I've started to look at splits.  I think I can improve on splits from the first half of the race slightly. The course is very fresh in my mind right now, since Reverse Ring.  For the second half, I used my own splits from last year.

I may try to get someone to crew me. I have driven the roads in the MMT area and they are not bad to navigate to the various spots of the MMT race aid stations.  I would rather give up the "solo" division characteristic to be able to navigate in and out out of the aid stations more efficiently.

I still am planning on running MMT without a pacer.   I don't need a pacer at MMT.  I know the course, and I can self-motivate myself throughout the course. 

MMT, although beloved, is not the goal race this year. Hardrock is.  So all MMT prep is all good work and prep for the HR.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five for Friday

1. Cincinnati Wine Festival
it is time again for our  favorite event, the Grand Tastings in Cinti!  Besides the wine, we'll try out two new restaurants, hit up the Cork and Bottle, Jungle Jim's, and

2. Skyline Chili!! 

You either love it, or not love it.  After living in Cinti, going to college here, I love Skyline. I usually only eat it..once a year.  I'm looking forward to my Cheese Coney and a 4-way!

3. Clean Eating-but Trail Goddess, what about eating clean?  Hey, I can't help it if my once-yearly chili eating falls in my Clean eating push.  And, like I said, "once-yearly"  eating.

4. 5K Run-I am going to run a 5K on Saturday morning, at Newport on the Levee.  Now, this really won't put a dent in the calories consumed with wine-drinking and chili eating, and I realize that.

5. Grilled Cheese Donut- and I may hunt out and find this after the 5K too!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This morning I ran my 4 mile course around the block.

This means I ran UP the hills. 

I live on a saddle, between two hills, but up on the ridgeline.

My 4 mile consists of rolling hills, then a big 1/2 mile descent to the valley.  About 1.5 miles through the valley, then 1/2 mile climb up another hill, a plateau, then a short climb up to the neighbor's mailbox where I click off my 4 miles, then walk down a hill to my house.

I ran it all today.  I ran up the blind curvy hill, then the rolling hill.  I ran the downs and flats of course, and then I didn't stop, I even ran the 1/2 mile uphill.  I kept thinking of the climb up Indian Grave Trail on the MMT course, and how easy this was, compared to that.

And you know what?  It was easy. Not super easy. But there was no reason not to run it.  Yes I got warm, but not out of breath. No, I wasn't moving that fast up the hill either, somewhere around a 15-16 minute effort, but I still had the leg turnover of a run.  Yes, I could have probably power-walked it quicker than that, but I need to put some more effort into running.

So, a milestone.  Improve and move on!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The plan was to go to the gym after work, and do some climbing on the Precor.

The 70 degree weather led me to throw that idea out the window.  Luckily, I had thrown in alternate clothing options into the gym bag.

I got out of work a few minutes early, and headed to Salt Fork.  The idea was to run some on the back dirt roads.  The one item I had forgotten was the trail shoes.  Since I only  had the road shoes, I decided to stay on the road.

Gorgeous late afternoon.  I found a new batch of daffodil greens coming up, and I noted where to come look at them again in a week.  It does seem like we are going to have an early spring.  The daffodils are coming up quickly, this seems far sooner than last year.

Once again, I had forgotten how long these two back roads were. I ended up with 7.25 miles, instead of the  5 or 6 miles I thought it was.  Dark had settled before I made it back to my vehicle (like the  last time I did this run) but I was on a road, so it was good.

The legs were a little heavy but then felt good about mile 3.  The ball on my left foot has felt a little funny the last two runs.  It doesn't exactly hurt, but I am aware of it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Shoes

I got the Montrail Bajadas out of the box finally for a run today.

I had read Bryon's review of the Bajada last year on the I Run Far website; and I had tucked away the info for future purchase.

I knew my beloved Montrail Vitesse would be wearing out sometime soon, and I needed some options for Massanutten and Hardrock.

The Vitesse never made it home from the mountains.  The right shoe upper ripped open.  I knew it was time for them to go.  Rest in peace, Little Vitesse, you served me well.

Alas, the Bajadas arrived on Thursday, at my house, before I left for Virginia.  But as I was not returning home on Thursday, I left for Virginia straight from work,  the shoes languished in their box until today.


When I discarded the tissue paper stuffing from the shoes, and put them on, I was astonished at how light they were! 

The Montrail Vitesse was 11 oz, the Bajada is 8.5 oz.

I only wore these for my "around the block" 10K route.  My back roads are pretty much dirt and gravel, so many times during the winter I can wear trail shoes on this rough road.
It's still winter here in Ohio.  A pretty day out, but it got a bit windy on the ridge when I climbed.

 The shoes felt good.  My shins were a bit tight in the first mile or so, but I think that was me, not the shoes.  It passed first test of comfort. Now they need some trail miles.  They also need some rocky miles to trial also before they accompany me to MMT.  I am hoping to get over to Laurel Highlands this month sometime to give them a proper test out!

Remind me to lose these glasses soon.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Race Week!

Yes, I have a race planned!

I am going to run the Emerald Miles 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, March 10.  This is a fund-raising event that benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

Emerald Miles is our annual 5K (3.10685 Miles) run/walk fundraiser. The race starts at Newport on the Levee, crosses over the Purple People Bridge, takes participants through Sawyer Point, along the Ohio River and back to Newport on the Levee.

 I will be in Cincinnati for the Wine Tasting Festival.  It's about one mile or so, from our hotel,  to Newport on the Levee, so I can run over, run the 5K, and then run back to the hotel.  So I can rack up 6 or so miles in the morning, depending on what scenic downtown route I take back to the hotel.

The hotel also has a pool (yes I am a country bumpkin, I don't get to swim much) so I am looking forward to hitting that up after my little race!

Then, back to the wine tastings!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Five For Friday

1. Clean Eating begins today.  Went grocery shopping yesterday and scored some nice fruits and vegetables.  It's back to eating quality not quantity!

2. MMT is in 2 months!  I dragged out my manila folder yesterday, and reviewed the aid station and distances between, along with the course description.  I made a few notes since the course is still fresh in my head.

3. Weight-still up about 6 pounds, but not concerned.  I did have fries with that bacon cheeseburger yesterday, and then a citrus soy sauce (Ponzu) on my salmon last night.  The Clean Eating will help with this.

4. Recovery-is going well.  Legs feel great!  I'm not all that tired at the end of the day.  But I am being patient. I think I will walk a few miles on the treadmill after work today.  I work all weekend, so that is almost a built in workout limiter.  I had the sniffles and sore throat for a few days, but it hasn't turned into a full blown cold, so I am grateful.

5. Attitude-I have my positive attitude back.  Most important!  I struggled after The Wild Oak Trail.  Now I feel like myself again, I will train to the best of my ability, and have at it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reverse Ring 2012

My RRing was fairly uneventful; no big drama or issues.

My drama came the week before the RRing.  Or, maybe I should say, the days after TWOT.  I dropped at TWOT at mile 62, because of my breathing issues.  My lungs seized up, with bronchospasms, and I really could not get the climbs in.
This also happened to me, at Reverse Ring, on the climb out of Veach last year.  So I was hoping for similar conditions, to see if my tweaks to medicine and gear would help me. I am happy to say in advance this was a rather uneventful RR (well, beside Cam completing his DOUBLE that was the real event!!) So sit back, and enjoy the travelogue and pictures..

We got off promptly at some time after 6 am.  I did get to cuddle with Keith Knipling in the front seat of the Q'baru as we tried to get to Signal Knob on time.  But Bur wasn't quite organized, so we went off around 605..or so.
Disorganized Runners at the Start. There should be 17 of us here..
I stayed toward the back of the small pack as we climbed up Signal Knob. So pleasant to do so, in the first 1/2 hour of your day.

 The rocks do not seem as loose, and you are not quite in the same level of despair as you are in the other direction, at mile 69 or so. As we climbed, and hit the flat-like ground at the top, the snow squall enveloped us.

This is where we hit the first wind of the day.  The wind was strong and relentless. Not until I turned way down south, did I ever get out of the wind.

The snow blowing directly into my contacts and face gave me strong incentive to run down the rocky beat up road to get off Signal Knob.

As I descended, and the temperature got a bit warmer, I did get out of the snow squall.

I took the orange blazed trail around the reservoir and giggled to see the thong still on the sign..

I ran all of the road down to Powell's Fort, stopped at the spring to refresh, and then the short climb.
From Powell's Fort to Woodstock is some good runnable ground, but I have to keep reminding myself to run through here. 

I catch up with Quatro through here.  We don't talk much with the winds being so high. But Q mentions the "oxbow" and I have to ask what that is.  He indicates it is the bends of the Shenandoah River through here, and I immediately see this.

Q and I catch Vicki and Barb through here, and we all converge on Woodstock about the same time. That's good; that means the back of the pack is together and the AS workers are not hanging out waiting for the  last straggling runner.

Woodstock to Edinburg

This is a section I struggled through during The Ring in the Fall.  Nothing looked familiar (well it was dark) and it just didn't catch my attention.  I paid more attention this time.  This section really doesn't have the views to the west at all.  The best part of this section was some of it was sheltered from the wind.  In fact, the sun came out, and I almost felt sleepy and warm in the sunshine.  Q mentioned that could have been the quality 4 hours sleep the night before (and 3 hours the night before that).

Edinburg:  Here Comes Short Mountain

It was great to descend to Edinburg Gap.  Except they were in a wind tunnel.  I got a cup of the famous Pesta chowder, and hunkered down beside a big SUV to stay out of the wind.  I grabbed fresh malto bottles and got the heck out of there, that wind was killer.  
At this point, I am still just wearing a single merino wool top. I know with the climbs I will heat up. I do have a windbreaker in my pack.

Kimba a bit windburnt here

This was a cool rock formation here.  Trail is here somewhere too.
 I decided to count the PUD's on Short Mountain.  PUD's are "pointless Ups and Downs".
I remember...4 or 6 on Short.

 There are at least 19,  people! 

I do stop through here and put my windbreaker on. It helps. The wind is never ending. It blows and it is so noisy.

Moreland Gap 

I get to Moreland Gap, and now I just have to go over Kerns and Jawbone.  And hopefully get out of this never ending wind.

Going over Kerns was my low point. And I believe it was more a function of the wind that anything else. I'm moving slow, over the rocks, and the wind won't stop.  I think I am getting a wind psychosis happening.  I've heard of wind driving people crazy, and I can see how that can  happen.

All I want to do is descend to Crisman Hollow Road, because I know I will then go down Waterfall Mountain, I will be at the bottom part of the MMT loop, and maybe the west wind will go away.

Shortly before I hit Crisman Hollow Road, the trail drops behind a big rock and I am cut off from the wind. It is suddenly still. And warm.  I feel 40% better.  

I get to Crisman Hollow Road, with tons of aid food hiked in, thanks to Stefanie for that!

Also, Walker had hot broth. That was a life saver. Getting some hot food, and knowing I was off Kerns, really perked me up.

Windbreaker on Kerns

I had a really good section from Crisman Hollow to Camp Roosevelt.  I picked up my music and ran.  The wind was far less through here. I wanted to make as much time as I could, in the daylight.  There is a bunch of pretty runnable through here.

I remembered alot of this section. I remembered the first light bulb you see, which isn't the light the RR runner is looking for. I remember the bridge, and remember the campsite off to the right which is not MY campsite.


 (This is from Friday. I was through here in the dark on Saturday.)

Then, I am on the road, and now it's a right up the hill and I am at Camp Roo! 
It helped that I was in this are on Friday, and ran the trails through here. 

I hear Slim whooping for me.
I was soo happy to see him. I had been looking for him all day, although I did not expect to see him, since he was crewing for Cam, not me.  But I was hoping he would still be at Camp Roo for me. 

Kimba at Camp Roo
Sucking down the soup, trying to stand as close I could in the fire without melting my shoes.

Slim got me soup, Coke, Bur's wonderful grilled cheese sandwich. I got the lowdown on Cam. He had one hour on me, as I left Camp Roo. I was hopeful that I could catch him.

I passed my first tests out of Camp Roosevelt. I successfully found the trail at Edith Gap, and I did not step over this wall as I did last year!!!!!
Don't step over this WALL!!

 Me sitting on the little wall, on the switchback.  (On Friday) 

Now I am on the east ridge.  There is still wind, but nothing like the west side.

View from Kennedy Peak, on Friday

This is a pretty good representation of a good portion of the eastern ridge, probably just past Stephens Trail or so.  You are up on the spine.  There really is no where else for you to go.

But there is some runnable.  I violate the first rule of trail safety and jam both earplugs from my Zune into my ears, turn up the volume, and I go.  If I can just run some, I should catch Cam.  He's got to be moving pretty slowly, so any jog of mine, should help.

The Cat

I am almost to the Milford Gap Trail, where I spy some red reflections off to my right.  Is that Cam over there?  I stop and look in that direction.   I finally focus that the two red reflectors are eyes.
Eyes of a cat.  It is sitting on a rock.  It has rounded ears, a long rounded tail.  It appears to be tan colored, and it is short-haired.
Huh.  How did a cat get way up here?  I think.  Oh.  Maybe it's a wild cat.  I study it for a few seconds more, then continue down the trail. It's not bothering me, I don't bother it.  I idly think it must be a mountain lion, although it really doesn't seem that big to me, 20 or 30 lbs?  I do glance back just once, but I see no eyes behind me.


Then, minutes later, I see a light, and a shout! "It's Kimba" I yell back.  It's Cam.  He's taken a nap and I have finally caught up to him, after thinking about catching him all day.  He was with Jeff Gura, but Gura had to go on with Cam taking his nap.
All he wants is an antacid, and I gladly fix him up. Now we are together, and we've got about a 1/2 marathon to go.
Cam is doing really well for someone with deep sleep deprivation.  He enquires if I will hit my 24 hour goal, and I tell him I don't care about that, now I am going to pace with him.  But we are still running when we can!  Because Cam's feet hurt horribly, he says they don't hurt more or less running or walking.

Veech Gap is cold.  We're walking now, and it is really cold. My hands, in two pair of gloves, are cold.  But my breathing is good. I'm so pleased about the breathing.  I've been using my inhaler every six hours, and I've worn my mask since we started.  I have not minded wearing the mask since it's kept the bottom half of my face warm.

We finally get off the ridge down to Elizabeth Furnace. Cam is careful to take us on the "Orange" Trail right at the river.  Quatro and Slim are waiting on the other side.  They offer us a ride.  But now we have 3/4 of a mile to go, we decline.

There is one last little rude climb from Elizabeth Furnace to the Signal Knob Parking Lot. I indicate to Cam to go ahead.  Even with his 71 miles addition on his legs, he can still climb better and faster than I can!  Cam does not, and we run each other in at the end.

Cam and his pacer/crew  Kimba and Slim

I finished the Reverse Ring in 26.35.  High attrition rate, 7 finishers out of 18 starters. In the statistic field, I am now 100%, going 4 for 4 Ring(s). 

I truly love the challenge of the Ring.  It's a tough course.  Your only motivation is yourself and a handful of other people who understand what you are doing.  There is no medal, no buckle, and no shirt. It's a tough day (and night) of play on the rocks. But it is a good feeling of satisfaction when you finally sit down.

Can't wait to do it again!