Friday, June 29, 2012

Trail Run

Went out with Shubi and Gombu for a little trail run.  Hiked up Evergreen Mountain, then headed over to Elephant Butte.  Very warm temperatures, but got in a little bit of breezes.

I have a slight headache going on, that could just be due to the heat, lack of calories, lack of caffeine or maybe the increase in elevation.

Going to Frisco to hike and then long run-whatever that  means!!-Saturday.

I am in the West!

I arrived in Denver in the afternoon, smooth, fast uneventful flight out.  I spent my time waiting for my ride, reading a new blog:  The Mediocre Athlete.  OMG.  She is freaking hilarious! And a good writer, and definitely NOT a mediocre athlete, by any standards.

At the Denver airport, you could smell smoke, although it was hard to tell if that was smoke in the distance, or just the weather, Gombu says that it was just the weather.

I immediately noticed I was in the West, as my hands went extremely dry.  I also have noticed it with my eyes also.  I will probably try out my contacts and see how they do.  I might be wearing my glasses for the time out here.

I seemed to eschew the whole  "avoid alcohol, drink lots of water" advice immediately.  I had a Mojo IPA at the Boulder Brew House, at the airport, then had more beers with Shubi and Gombu, at their local hangout.  Sigh.  Perfectly fried sweet potato fries.  (Perfectly fried potatoes is like a Holy Grail search in the restaurants around where I live.)

No worries, I was also drinking water, and am continuing to drink water.  I may have straight hair by the end of this journey, due to lack of humidity.

As we drove west, on the highway, I was treated to a spectacular view of the Rockies-a true welcome to the West! (It's too bad I didn't think of trying to snap a picture.)

Today is a mellow day.  Gombu is going to show me some trails later, I'm going to visit the grocery store to lay in some supplies, and enjoy the great outdoors.  But there will be pics later!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Last Run at Home

Today, Monday, is my day off work. I work Tuesday and Wednesday, and I know I am not going to get a run in after work-need to spend as much "me" time with the husband and the pups. So I got out this morning for my usual 10K around the block, the last one before heading West.
Deer Trail off the road

Neighbor's Barn

a Toyota Landcruiser for sale.

Just what I see daily on my run

Amish Barn

It was a very animal free run.  No Scooter the dog, no beagles, only two of the Gump dogs; no cows in the pasture, no goats in the pasture.  Must have been in the alternate meadows.

I listened to the Dirt Bag Diaries and felt very light on my feet (although Garmin didn't seem to agree with me.)  A nice wind was blowing, there was low humidity.  A good run to shake out the legs and calm the nerves.

I fly to Denver on Thursday, and get to hang out in Gombu's basement until July 4.  I don't really have any plans made for this time.  I believe we are going to attend the Arapahoe Basin Trail Race on July 1 before picking up Baby Saquatch at the airport.  It's a 4.8 mile race-around 12,000 feet.  (Note:  I plan on pretty much hiking this!!!)

On July 4,  Eric and I will pick up Cam and Slim and head off to Leadville!!  Yes, home of the Leadville 100 Race.  Current plans are to hike Hope Pass, and the next day, to climb Mount Massive, one of the 14'ers.

After that, we will head further south, to the San Juan Mountains, to see as much course as we can, before heading to our base camp in Silverton.

I am planning on blogging this whole amazing journey, as I don't think I will be off the grid so much-just during the daytime hours! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Date Deprived

I have no concept of what the date is. Or, if I know what the date is, no concept of the relation to the date.

I thought I had not written a blog post in "a long time".  In turns out, it was just this past week.  Was it just last weekend that I paced at Mohican?

I leave for CO on Thursday. I'm pretty tightly wound. I would say, welll, I am wound.

I think I will feel better once I arrive in Denver and get to my friend's house.  Once I am on the ground, in the West, I want to lay on the deck, at his house, and see if I can decompress.

Tomorrow is my day off here, of work. I need to finalize my packing, and spend the day with my husband.

And run my 10K loop around the block, because I haven't run in about five days, and with all my tension and non-running (aka called working the weekend) I need to run.  I have to say good-bye to my little neighborhood, I will be gone for 3 weeks! I will miss the green woods of the east.

Then I work Tuesday and Wednesday, then Thursday I fly West.

But do not worry!  The internet works in the West also, and I'm pretty sure my friend has internet at his home, so my blogging will be updated.  I will be interested in blogging about the altitude, as a lowlander, and my thoughts on the Big West. 

Maybe Monday's blog will be an update on the plan out West!!


It's been a few days since a blog post.  Update tonight, after work!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mohican Recap

I had a nice time pacing fellow VHTRC'er Mark McKennett to his fifth 100 mile finish at the Mohican 100 Race.

I tracked Mark down at the Fire Tower, and began pacing him there. This was 10 pm Saturday night.

Mark did very well, hiking with a nice power walk, about 16 minute miles.  Now, if you are a non-trail runner, this probably sounds incredibly slow.  Remember, this is night time, and we have head lamps on-and Mark has already completed 66 miles.  Oh, and this is on a trail, with roots and rocks.

We got back to the start/finish, and started the final loop. Mark actually ran a bit of this, I think because he just wanted to get done.

The wheels fell off, around the Fire Tower.  His toes were really bothering him, and we were at a very slow walk.

Mark was a good trooper, though, no whining from him, and I complimented him on that. Other than mentioning his feet hurt, that was about it.

I did the typical pacer routine-I chattered on and on about everything and nothing. Mark was very quiet.  He did tell me at some point it was fine for me to talk, he was just too tired to respond.  I also told him he was fine to tell me to "shut the fuck up" whenever my chattering was too much for him-which allowed me to tell the "shut the fuck up" story about two other ultra running friends.

This was my first return to Mohican since crewing there in 2009, I believe.

My constructive criticism:

The course was very well marked.  Lots of signs, and colored arrows on the ground.  I don't see how you could go off course. Well done.

Runner Tracking-the race had a new tracking system set up.  When I arrived at the Start/Finish HQ of the race, I could punch in Mark's bib number, and see where he had checked in on the course.  This was very helpful to find your runner out there.

Volunteers-all the volunteers were very nice and helpful.

Aid Stations-this has nothing to do with the volunteers-the aid stations were pretty poor.  Poor on food and organization.  Now this was late into the race day, 10 pm at night.  No aid station, other than the Covered Bridge, had any hot food.  There seemed to be plenty of oranges, watermelon, and bananas.  There was usually some chips and PB&J sandwiches.  The only item I tried to eat was a freshly made turkey and cheese sandwich.  There just was not enough-and at some AS, no veteran volunteers.  When a runner is late into a 100 mile race, it is hard to eat. And that is when the runner needs calories.  The only thing Mark was eating was watermelon (little calories there) and turkey and cheese squares.  One AS was just a wreck.  I was cutting watermelon with the dullest knife ever.   I then was able to fish a fresh banana out of their stash still below the table.

I am glad I paced at the 2012 race.  I have mentioned before, if it seems the race shows steady improvement, I would run it again.  I will not be back for the race, plenty of other races to spend my $$ at.

It was good to see friends out there, and see Mark Carroll finish his 10th Mohican, 1000 miles of Mohican!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pacing at Mohican

So this is what it feels like to not be running on a Saturday morning!  I cleaned the bathroom and the living room, and got the rest of my packing organized for the West. I took a rather nice  nap in my hammock outside.

I did not run this morning because I am planning on pacing a runner tonight at the Mohican 100 Race.

Mark is a fellow VHTRC'er.  He kind of fell into the runner bib, because Max, another VHTRC'er became injured and cannot run the race.  Mark emailed me about the race, and I gave him my opinion.  I also mentioned pacing him.  

100 Mile races have "pacers" for safety reasons.  A runner can typically pick up a pacer  about mile 50-60, or up.  Older pacers usually have the option of a pacer at the 30 mile mark.  The safety factor is there, because, as the sun goes down, the runner is tired after so many miles on the feet.

A pacer is supposed to be support.The runner is the one who should be leading.  The pacer is there to talk-or not talk, to make sure the runner is eating and drinking and peeing.  The pacer is not to be carrying the runner's gear or water bottles (referred to as muling) in most races.

My job, when I arrive, is to join  Mark on the trails in the middle of the night.  I will chat him up, tell him stories, jokes, monitor my watch and make sure he is still eating and drinking on a schedule.I will also be quiet if he wants me to. Some runners don't want to hear chatter late in the race.

I wanted to get another long run-or, with pacing, more time on my feet before heading out West.

My plan is to try and get a "bead"on Mark about his mile 50 or so. These days, with technology, it might be more easy.  The Mohican 100 does not have a live update, as many 100 races do.   But cell phone coverage is much better, even in the Mohican State Park/Forrest area.  Mark  tweeted when he came through his first loop in six hours.  I am anticipating a second loop of eight hours due to the heat of the afternoon.

It is only 1.5 hour drive for me to Mohican.  Hopefully I can learn where Mark is on the course, then I can go run him down, either backwards on the course, or chase him down.  That way, I get some running in before I join him.

Late in a race, in a 100 miler, there is much more walking than there is running.  So I need to be prepared with my own water, food, clothing, for a slower night.  Also, it should not need to be mentioned, LIGHTS!!!

I am pretty excited about going to Mohican.  I've been avoiding the race for several years (long story not worth the negative  karma) but getting to the race late in the game will be fun!

I will see many many friends in the 100!  Mark Carroll, who is going to finish for his 10th time this year!  Ron Dukes, who is going to finish his first Mohican!

So I am going back to my lounging here.  I'd like to leave now, for Mohican, but that would expend alot of energy too early.

So, there should be another chatty post tomorrow night about my experience over night!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Okay, I am behind in my packing and my lists.

I have to have lists for races. If I don't have lists, and items checked off, I have no idea if I brought the item.

This is one of those "travelling" races where you have to bring everything. I am flying to the race, so I don't want to have the airlines lose anything crucial.

The good part about this race is my friend lives out West, so I am going to ship a box out before the race.

Which means soon. So I need to get the lists made, so I can pack the box, so I know what stuff is where!

Shoe Update

My Montrail Bajads were shredded after MMT.  Evidence below:

I called Montrail.  I got a very bored phone representative who asked me why I didn't return them to the store that I had bought them out.  But she gave me a RA (return authorization) number and cautioned me that the shoes had to be clean.

So then I hopped onto the website where I had bought the shoes, Road Runner Sports.  I discovered, since I am a VIP member, there is a 90 day Test Run Policy. Huh.  Well, it's been less than 90 days since I bought them, so I read through the fine print; sure enough, just return them, for either a refund or exchange.

I believe the shoes went out last Friday or Monday, and I just got an email from Road Runner Sports saying they recieved the shoes and credited my account.  Awesome!

I know many times it is better to patronize your local running sport.  My closest running store-which doesn't stock trail shoes-is 47 miles away.  So I buy most of my shoes, and gear online.

So what shoes go to Hard Rock?  I have been wearing a pair of La Sportiva Raptors with good results. I wore those shoes for some rocky miles on the Laurel Highlands Trail.  I will also bring my spare unripped Montrail Bajadas and my La Sportiva Cross Lites.  This will be drop bag shoes, in case I want to swap them out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Salt Fork in Pics

"You're going to Salt Fork, right"?

The husband asked. Uh, no, I was planning on running the 11 mile loop around the block, but since he thought that, and my lower back was hurting, I thought dirt miles would be more helpful than road miles.

"I sure am!!"

The spring on the road, on the way to SF. Always replenish my gallon jug and whatever bottles are in the vehicle.

Super secret trail head. Actually a deer trail through the willows, to the bridle trail.

Geese on the beach by the lake

A little uphill, getting away from the beach

He was sleeping right beside the trail.

Not very scared or anxious to move off

A little pine woods to run through

The Ultra Trail Goddess.  Cut two inches off the hair so I won't have to be bothered out West.

Almost stepped right on Mr Box Turtle

About mile six or so.

Almost done with the loop

Ran the purple bridle trail

I don't know why my back has been very stiff, maybe sleeping in my vehicle Friday night? 

A great morning in the woods. The humidity and heat of Monday long gone, it was maybe 60 degrees at the start, 68 at the end.  Very happy miles for me.  Lots of positive contemplation and affirmation out there.  I love running with people, as I mainly run alone, but it was good to be by myself today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's not the Heat, it's the Humidity

Oh, lovely  Ohio in June.

I stepped outside at 6am to let the puppy go outside to  pee, and it hit me like a big wet blanket.

But, it was totally overcast, and as I started around the block, it really wasn't too bad.

Low cloud cover.  Enjoyable run around the block.  Getting the last of the residual soreness out of the quads and able to pound the downhills at the right speed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Days on the Highlands

It was a good weekend stacked up on the Laurel Highlands Trail.

Run with Slim Friday, then work aid on Saturday for the race.

After a few changes of who was running what; who needed a ride; who was working aid; it bottomed out rather simply for me: meet Slim at Maple Summit Road Trail Head, mile 11 on t he Laurel Highlands Trail. Run to Ohiopyle (mile zero) , run back to mile 8, then run back to Ohiopyle for dinner with friends.

Overlook Mile 3

Overlook Mile 8

Slim at Mile 8

Of course, that plan was changed on the fly to accommodate what-ever-the-hell we were doing.  I did meet Slim at mile 11, we ran down to Ohiopyle, rather effortlessly, got some food and drink in town. (Slim had arrived on the LH Thursday, and had already done 30 miles when he met up with me.)

We got back to mile six, right where the shelter turnoff is, and right where the climb to mile 8 begins.I pointed to the gasline right-of-way, and suggested we climb it, and then descend down it to the river.

I've ascended this climb once before, with Gombu last year, and it's a good climb.  Almost elevator like, in grade.  Sweat was dripping off the face and arms on this climb.  ( I don't remember it being this steep...)

We finally  hit the summit, and then start the descent.  Honestly, I think the descent is worse, because the grade is very steep in spots, and I am trying now to brake with the quads.  I am trying to turn over, turn over, the feet, so I am not "braking" which can kill the quads.

We cross the LH trail and keep descending to the railroad tracks, where the Yough River lies beyond. We can't spot a quick place to ascend to the river, so Slim wants to find the creek to ascend where the Mile 6 Shelters (and water) are.   We wander down a rough jeep road for about one mile, then return to our starting point..where we find the creek we are looking for.

It's much easier to just climb up the creek bed than bushwhack next to the creek bed, and it's actually cooler.
Plus, it's good Hardrock training to run around with wet feet too..

Sure enough, the creek bed led us to the Shelters at Mile Six, where we refreshed our water supplies.

Slim was pushing me to climb the mile 6 hill and go out to mile 8 again, but I looked at the watch (and my hungry belly) and opted for just the six miles back to Ohiopyle, where a soaking in the Yough  River and food and beer awaited us.

We chat with just one hiker at mile 3. Then we chat with two young kids, with a dog,at mile marker one.  We say good day, and I take one step, and as I set my right foot down, I see


It was very quick. I did not scream like a little bitch, but I did eek something out, as my brain went through-That's  A COPPERHEAD-and I hopped way out of the way.

Everyone stopped;  Slim, the couple with the dog that we had just chatted with, literally one feet away from this snake!

I got the picture, and Slim poked it with a stick (ala Cartman) and it moved off the trail.  Yep, I will quite remember what the markings are on a copperhead from now on!

Slim and I got back to Ohiopyle, and headed to the river, to soak the legs.  The Yough River felt great to sit in. I went in, up to my waist.  The late afternoon sun was hot on the upper body, yet the lower body was chilling in the river. The only thing better would have been if our burgers, fries, and craft brews could have been on the little rock ledge next to us.

We run into Cousin Tim, and Moose (who we were looking for..) on our way to the Falls Pub.

In season, there are many more places to eat/restaurants in Ohiopyle.

But out of season, in  Ohiopyle, there really is only the Falls Pub.

Which is parked at the end of the Laurel Highlands Trail.

How awesome is that, for a pub?  You may not understand how awesome it is, to come off the trail, cold/hot,dirty, to nice hot food, and nice beers.

Tbe Falls Pub is open year round, and always accessible to us, especially in the off season in the Ohiopyle tourist season.  Their food has alway been good, so it's now to patronize them in season, and off season there.

We had burgers, fries, and beer, and walked back over to the Yough Motel in Ohiopyle, where Cousin Tim, and Moose, who were running the 70.5 mile and 50K, respectively.  We had a few more beers courtesy of Moose, then I heard tell that the *overnight* running section was starting one hour earlier than planned, so I wanted to get Slim and I out of Ohiopyle as quickly as possible.

*The overnight running was Cam starting at mile 31, and running to mile zero.  He was then sweeping the 50K course out of Ohiopyle.
Slim was (after his 30 miles on Thursday and Thursday nite) (and 26 miles with me on Friday) was going to accompany Cam from miles 31 back to his vehicle, next to mine, at mile 11.  (Yes, another 20 miles for Slim.)

I slept in my vehicle, at the trailhead, at mile 11.  I knew Slim would be back at his van, next to me, somewhere before sunrise, so I felt pretty safe.  There was also no other vehicles in the parking lot at dusk, so I felt fine with Slim going up north for his run.

The birds woke me at daybreak, and Slim had indeed returned to his van..I didn't hear anything the night before!!

I got busy making trail head breakfast..Starbucks instant coffee via the Jet Boil, and then trail skillets.

Trail Skillet: The day before, cook up potatoes.  Chop up and saute with onions, throw in plastic bag.
With your single propane burner, throw some olive oil into the pan, add the pre-cooked potatoes to warm up. Crack a couple eggs into the potatoes. Add some ham, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top.  It takes about 3 minutes to have a nice hearty breakfast.

At the same time, Rich had arrived with the aid station equipment, and all the runner crews were also arriving very quickly. I got a few of them to help carry my AS stuff down to the trail head.

 Once the first fast guys came through, it got very busy at the AS.  Mile 11 was the first AS for the runners; and they had done the tough first eight miles:

These hills are the only big section of hils on the LHHT; you are then almost on the ridge completely for the rest. Sure, there are a few climbs here and there,  but nothing like miles zero to eight.

It was a great morning. We got to see many many friends, lots of VHTRC runners had come a little north for the race, so it was nice to be able to give back to folks that I've seen on the other side of the AS table.

Too busy to take pictures, which worked out since my phone died and I forgot the card for the camera!

All too soon, the runners were finished, I made more trail skillets for Cam, as he swept through, and the rest of us, and I had no other excuse except to go on home!!

Great two days on the trail, it was greatly needed!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week Recap

I've started blog posts all week, but when they turned into rambling blathering, I just deleted them.

I figured I would just do one BIG rambling blather..

The cold I have been fighting all week  has settled in my head.  Maybe it's not a cold, maybe it's just allergies. I am opting for that since my lymph nodes are not swollen or tender.  The nodes were a bit swollen and tender earlier in the week, and I took a rest day from running due to this.

Interview:  Mike Croy from Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe interviewed me last week.  Many moons ago, I was the co-host of a podcast.  It's always very gratifying to hear that folks really enjoyed our podcast.  I believe we were the first ultra running podcast out there.

Hammock:  I bought a bivy type hammock to sleep in out west.  I finally figured out how to lay flat in it.  It seems comfortable, although I have not slept in it yet.  It gives me/us another option when we are dirtbagging it on trail heads in Colorado.

Planning:  It's getting closer and closer to departure day for the West.  I sorted running clothes this week; winter clothes not going to CO went to the attic; then I was left with a huge pile of clothes, both summer weight and winter clothes, to try and figure out what I need for drop bags AND to wear before the race.
I did discover I don't need to buy any new socks! It seems I have enough to stash in drop bags and to wear.
It was a bit surreal to be writing "Telluride" on Ziplock Bags.

Laurel:  It's race weekend! But I am not racing!  NEO TC is working the first aid station, about mile 11, of the Laurel Highlands Ultra.  This is a point to point, 70.5 mile race on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Pennsylvania.  There is also a 50K, and relay team options for both distances.

I do have Friday off work, so I am getting up way early to get to Laurel in the morning.  I am going to run from mile 12 to zero, which is the town of Ohiopyle, then back to mile 8, then back to mile zero again.  This will be my last long run/hike before heading West.
Slim will be joining me on the trail, and we hope to have dinner in the Falls Pub with a few other NEO TC runners who are in the race.

Good luck to all the Laurel runners, I hope to remember to take a few camera shots while out on the trail!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Running in the Sea

I woke up this morning, early, in order to get my 10K in around the block

I immediately didn't want to.

Right away, I thought about Angela.  She would have  been  thrilled to have your body and the ability to go run a 10K around the block.   That was all the incentive that I needed.

I headed out, in the pouring rain, in yesterday's smelly running garb.  About 1/10 of a mile down the road, in the chilly rain, I thought "hey stupid, why don't you put on that rain jacket you've been carrying for six months in your pack."

It poured on me. It was a nice, warm rain.  It felt like I was running in the sea, running in water.

I thought about Angela alot, and cried a little.  I'm glad she is done with her pain now.  I can see running some eight minute miles down the trail, giggling, and smiling her big old smile.

I wore a brand new pair of shoes, La Sportiva Raptors.  They felt good. No complaints.  I also jumped right into the first water puddle I saw, in order to run with wet feet.  I will wear them at Laurel Highlands next week, to see how they are on more rocky terrain than my dirt road about the block.

Angela Ivory RIP

I find out on Facebook that my friend, Angela Ivory passed away.

I am sad.  Angela fought a long long long bought with cancer.

Angela had a blog. It is HERE.  She laid it all out, her fights with her body, and the cancer.

Angela was a trail runner and an ultra runner and she was ALWAYS so happy to be out there.

I want to say I first met her at Mohican in 2007, but maybe it was Rocky in 2008?

Anyways, our paths would cross, and it was always so good to see her, with her positive energy, and her huge SMILE.

I last shared trail with her at the Big Bear Lake 12 Hour Event, in West Virginia, last year.  Angela had been gravitating to events that would let her get her miles in, because Angela was an ultra runner!

Photo: I think this sums it up for Angela.  You will be missed.

Thanks for being in my life, Angela.  We will meet up again.

A nice arcticle about Angela, here 

Another article here