Saturday, March 30, 2013

Junk Miles

It was inevitable that this would finally happen. Yes, even the trail goddess has a bad run every now and then.

Of course, this WAS road miles, but still.

This was been an unstructured week for me, meaning just see how the body feels. I walked/jogged Sunday, walked on Tuesday, and ran my 10K loop on Thursday.

Friday I got out of work unexpectedly early. Great, I can get the dogs out for a walk, go for a run, get my seedlings re potted, have dinner with the hubby.  I was tired driving home from work, but hey, when am I not?  I briefly thought about not running. I dismissed the thought.  Just because I don't have miles written down for me, that's no excuse for not running. Besides, I was not planning on running Saturday due to the 10 hour work day.

After the dog walk, I started out, just going to do 4 miles around the block. Ugh I did not feel it. Legs were heavy, I was tired, I felt I was just shuffling along. Looking at the Garmin, I was just shuffling along. I walked up the first big hill-that should have been my first clue.

Instead of running around the block, I decided to run an out and back. I just felt awful. Like I was some newby runner out there. No energy. Quads still ached a bit on the the downhills.  But I kept going.

I was never so happy to hear the Garmin beep at mile two, and I turned.  I reflected on the definition of junk miles, something like this:  Junk miles: Miles added into your training plan with no purpose other than to increase your mileage count.

Yep. I think I am guilty of junk miles on this run. The idea of a week with only one run, and less than 10 miles on it spurred me out the door.  Did I gain anything from these four miles?  I don't think so.  I should have just gotten my seedlings re potted and put my legs up and rested.

Oh well, a new day and almost a new month!  April is finally almost here, and maybe the ice and snow are gone for the year. I am anxious to get some runs on dry dirt and roads, in daylight! where I can get a better idea on my pace and speed!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gate 2 8 x 2 Report

This started a few years ago. We (NEO TC) love running on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.  But it's the first eight miles that really get our attention.

Mile zero to 8 are the "big hills" on the LHHT.  And if you run to mile 8, run back to zero, and then repeat it, well, it's a good little workout.
People always whine about the almost two mile climb from six to 8, but if you are returning to Ohiopyle, the mile 5 hill and the mile 3 hill are really good climbs too.

We got started slightly after 8 am. Slim started early, and Pebble and Jeffro started late. But it was all good, it's a FA.

If you are running the Laurel Highlands Ultra, whether it's the 50K or the 71 miler, you start in the "middle" of Ohiopyle, on road.  This will help string out the runners, when you get to this sign above, where the trail begins.

Climb up mile three

Mile 4ish overlook.

Our tree. This tree, an evergreen, in a clearing, is across the river. It's viewable between mile 3 and 4.  We've always wondered about this little clearing and tree.  It seems the tree is bigger and the clearing is smaller these days.

Our tree on the far left.

On the ridge, almost to mile 8. The snow appeared. It was several inches thick, and solid. There were many spots where I could run on top of the snow.  There were also patches where it was almost technical snow, where I was following footprints.

Many memories up here, on the LH. I remember one of our Slim Pickins, where the plan was to run from OP to Seven Springs, and back.  The snow was deep up on the Laurel  Highlands. When I got to the mile 8 area, I was post holing up to the thighs. Luckily, I was the 'slowest' runner out there, and the guys had broke trail for me.  We all gave up at mile 15, and just ran from zero to 15 and back to OP that year.

Mile 8 The first time

Athena, Kimba, Allison

The nice part with an out and back is you get to see other runners.  Athena was keeping pace with me up to mile 8 and down the big hill.  I stopped for a bathroom break, and zoom! Athena was gone! Good running for her. This was her second time on the "Gate 2 8".  She is running the LH 50K, so this was great training for her.

 Since I couldn't catch Athena, I ran the rest of the way back to OP (after seeing Rich, Allison, Pepper, Barefoot Johnny, the Musick Bros, and a bunch of hikers) back to my Aid Station, aka the Ford Escape:

 It was an 8 minute turn around. That included changing bra & shirt, eating a Nutella tortilla; grabbing new bag of calories for the road, refilling water bottle, and chatting a minute with Athena, who was sitting outside of the pub, waiting for The Professor to finish up.

Ah, the second time out. Once you make that "turn around" and get back on the trail, it's time to focus.

Running this section, I translate the hills to the land marks usually associated with aid stations.

First it is to the first hill, at mile 3.

But first I got to run back into Kirstin, who was finishing up her 16 leg on the LHHT: 

I didn't get to share enough trail time with her, but glad she came out!

I then ran into  The Professor and Allison, on their way back.
 I was then on my own, until I ran into Slim and Coach Hanks, on the mile six hill.

Slim was relieved to run into me about 75% UP the hill, as he was going to turn and finish my run with me.

Coach Hanks
 Slim had made the comment earlier in the run, that I was running very well, not too far behind Coach Hanks. Hey, I hope I am running well! I've been training all winter long!

Slim turned with me and we climbed again up to mile marker 8.

My time ended up being 9.17 out there, not 8.17, as my fogged over brain first thought! Still a PR for me, my last attempt was 9.55.
Fuel and hydration were great. I consumed about 1200 calories for the first 16 miles, and 1300 calories for the second.  I felt like I was constantly eating-which I was-and this resulted in no drops in energy or low spots. I had no stomach or gi issues with my malto, gels, PB Reese Egg.  I did consume a Nutella Tortilla for the first time-now that is a tasty addition to my ultra fueling!

I was very pleased with all aspects of my run-well, I drank far too much Friday night and didn't get enough sleep, but hey, think of how I should improve the next time I do this and cut those two items!

I am going to repeat this challenge on April 6, if anyone is interested in a little hill work!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Packing for a 50K

This weekend is our NEO TC annual Fat Ass, this year on the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail, in Ohio Pyle, PA.

Packing and fueling strategy differs for every 50K.  For example, is it an 'actual race' with aid stations set up at regular intervals? Is it a Fat Ass, where you are on your own to bring fuel and water? Is it a Virginia Happy Trails Fat Ass where, although you are allegedly on your own, there are usually fantastic aid stations and volunteers about?

Even if it is a FA, where you are on your own, it depends on your route. Are you running loops where you can hit your car and/or cache for food/drink?  Can you cache food/drink along the trail somewhere? Or are you on your own, carrying enough fuel for your loop? How long is the loop-3 miles, 8 miles, 25 miles?

Our planned event is the "Gate 2 8 x 2" Challenge.  I will start at mile zero, on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, go to mile 8, then back to mile zero. Then repeat.

The first 8 miles of the LHHT has the most elevation change on the trail.  You can get some good hill workouts in by just doing this 8 mile out and back twice.  Although the big climb is the almost 2 mile uphill at mile 6, the hills at mile 3 and 5 should not be dis counted, especially on the way BACK to Ohiopyle.

The clothing piles are: left: Saturday morning run; Sunday morning run. The pile to the top of the pic are the extra clothes I will have at my vehicle.

There is only one restocking point on this 50K, mile 16, back at your vehicle.  Or the General Store in town, if you want to add another mile or so to your run.

An assortment of food stuffs.  The white powder is plain maltodextrin. That is my main fuel.  However, I will just carry two bottles with me on the 16 mile "loop".  One will be full of MD, the other will be water.  There may be a spring running around mile 7.  If so, I will replenish water there. No, I don't recommend this for everyone. I've drank out of it before.  No, it won't be there in June for the Laurel Race,  it will have long since dried up.

So I will have malto and assorted gels and chomps/blocks.  I just tend to grab a handful of assorted sports nutrition, so I can mix up flavors and textures.

I have to recommend the GU Peanut Butter in your morning oatmeal before a run!  

I also have a York Peppermint Patty and some Reese PB Eggs and some jelly beans.  Since it will be cold out, I can still carry a chocolate candy bar without it melting all over me and my pack. 

No, I don't plan on eating all this Saturday!  I've divided it up, I have one baggie for "start" another baggie for "turnaround" and the rest of the goodies in a separate bag.

I will also carry a light for the second 16 miles.  I should finish in the daylight, but sometimes stuff happens. If I slow down or get delayed, I don't want to traverse the trail in the dark!

It's been a month since my last long run...I need it!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making Lemonade

This weekend sucks.

I know it could be MUCH worse, I do know that. My dog could have been dog napped. Or she could have been hit by a car.

Alice is feeling much better.  She is sitting up, and is perky, and she wants to look out the window-she is putting her good right front leg up on the couch and looking out the window over the coach-yes, she is that  big.

But now, whenever I go downstairs, Alice starts caterwauling.  I am not sure whether I am even going to get a treadmill run in.

The other two dogs are troopers.  But they are also pent up, as they have not gotten their long walk in yesterday or today.  They've been pestering me too for attention.

So I am resolved to try and forget I am an endurance athlete training for an event in less than 70 days.  Maybe I should just try and forget a workout today (although, as I type this, I am sitting here in complete workout clothes, in case the dog falls asleep and I can sneak downstairs.)

I should focus on what I have gotten done this weekend without going to the woods for hours-two loads of dishes in the dishwasher, 4 loads of laundry, logged in all the wine we bought in Cinti; cleaned up the guest room; figured out some more of this new-fangled Windows 8;  cleaned up my office and did some filing.

The dogs and I also did not eat much this weekend, and I actually drank less alcohol.  I guess that means I drink more from happy occasions than when I am down.

I've got HUGE amounts of sleep.  I got eight hours on Friday night, and ten hours Saturday night. Now I did sleep on the floor next to my dog, but that really did not bother me too much.

Training?  That's what I need to ignore.  I have told the coach what is going on.  I have a training schedule for the coming week, but that was before Dog Trauma Drama.  I've got some alternate plans, but these all have to wait and see what is on the husband's plate when he returns tonight.

I've never looked forward to a Monday so much.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dog Trauma

I got home from work at 930 pm last night to...two dogs. Not three.  I went into a panic, yelling around the house, thinking, someone stole my dog.
I went into the house, and methodically went room to room.  I went downstairs, and opened the back door, and there was Alice.
I was so relieved to see her.  Then I noticed the blood on her front legs, and thought, great, she's got into a dog or coyote fight.
Then she could not walk, and I really freaked out. Well, inside I freaked out.  I got her inside the room, and ran up to grab the phone and the vet phone number-always on a magnet on our frig. 

The vet-bless our vet, he and the staff really rock-met me at the clinic at 11 pm.  Alice does not seem to have any major trauma, internal injuries, head injuries.  She has a puncture wound under her left armpit, and doesn't not want to put any weight-at all-on. 

My husband is out of town (of course!!) so I called my dog sitter, who thankfully came over and carried Alice back into the house for me.

We (me and the other two dogs) slept on the floor next to Alice in the living room.

Alice is okay.  She is in pain. She has sat up when a buggy goes by outside, but then her pain in her front leg kicks in and she lays back down. I have not gotten her outside for the bathroom yet, but she has not shown much interest in getting up.

I'm going to have a real quiet day here at the house.  Sometimes that long run on trails gets cancelled.  I may try to see about doing several treadmill runs while I watch over my girl.

I still have no idea how she got out, or what happened to her.  The vet does not think she got hit by a car, or a dog fight.  I thought maybe she got hung up on the fence somehow.  It rained overnight, so I can't really see any fur or blood on the fence.  She jumped the fence somehow-I found her outside the fence.

I am very very thankful she is still here. I really thought someone had taken her. Then I wasn't sure exactly what was wrong with her, no broken bones or major trauma.

My other two dogs were such good troopers too, behaving themselves for the main part.

Everyone is resting comfortably right now.  It looks like I may even get a nap in today, probably on the floor, next to my Alice.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The numbers 1, 0, 9

Today's run was another reminder of why we just get out there and do it.

At 6 inner dialogue..

I don't want to run.
Then don't.  
Your coach will see that zero.
He won't notice, he's busy running a 100 mile this weekend.
But he will come Monday or Tuesday. And then what was your excuse? You didn't wanna? Nothing was hurt, broke, tired?
Drink some coffee. Have a Honey Stinger Waffle..

Okay, got the clothes on, donned another hydration pack that I was taking for a test run.  I felt guilty leaving the dogs, going running before taking them on their walk.

I had already resolved (yesterday) to really push my uphill movement, without totally gassing myself.

The run went well.  The back road was dried mud, no ice in sight.  The hills were not bad,

In fact, my little hills are almost all runnable these days.

I was at mile 4.5 ish, saying "hi" to my dog friends that are in a pen on the left hand side of the road, and I just realized I had absently RAN UP that hill.  I didn't even notice.  At all.  Wow. 

I don't glance at my Garmin usually on my run, and when I hit the stop button at the neighbor's mailbox, signalling the end to my "10K" of 6.4 miles, it showed 1.09


My FASTEST time around the block.

If I was on Strava, I could give myself Kudos.

But I have a blog that I can crow about it on.  Honestly, I am very stoked. The first 1/2 mile or so was actually still in the dark, with a headlight. And I had to slow to a walk to get around the Gump Dogs at mile 3.

So, the lesson learned from today?  Go out and do the run.  I went from apathy, to accountability, to commitment, to perseverance, to exhilaration, in the space of two hours this morning.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cinti Wine Weekend

Another weekend at the Cincinnati International Wine Festival Festival.  International for us, as the "kiwis"-our friends from New Zealand- Sophie, Linda, and Robert flew in to join us for the event.

I had 7 miles to run on Saturday morning. It should have been 10 miles, but I knew nowayinhell that I could taste wine Friday night and then have the time for a 10 mile run Saturday. So I negotiated a swap-10 miles at home, on Thursday, and 7 miles on Saturday.

I woke up feeling pretty okay Saturday morning. I managed to score some free coffee at the hotel before venturing out.

We were at the Hyatt Regency, right downtown Cinti, so I knew my run would take me over to the Serpentine Wall, on the river front.

I went to college (University of Cincinnati) in Cinti.  The riverfront in Cinti has been remodelled since I went to school there. There used to be a street that literally ended in the river.

The Flying Pig controversy started while I lived there.

These are the infamous "flying pigs".  This controversy went on..for months!!

This is taken from the Cinti Enquirer web site:

To celebrate the city's 200th birthday that year, plans were made to build a riverfront park — Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point — that would include an entrance sculpture. From more than 50 proposals, a team of renowned artists and architects selected a sculpture design by Andrew Leicester, an internationally known artist based in Minneapolis.
        Mr. Leicester incorporated various aspects of Cincinnati history into his design. Pigs, he knew, played a significant role in the city's industrial development.
        Indeed, Donna M. DeBlasio, senior historian for Cincinnati Museum Center, notes that by 1835 Cincinnati was the nation's leading pork-packing center. And by the 1840s, it was the world leader, with a quarter of a million hogs a year being slaughtered and processed here.
        To pay homage to Cincinnati's reign as Porkopolis, Mr. Leicester included in his sculpture four 3-foot-high bronze pigs, with wings. They appeared to be blasting out of 30-foot-tall riverboat smokestacks.
Why winged pigs?
        Mr. Leicester, speaking by phone from Weymouth, England, where he is visiting family, says winged animals have a tradition in sculpture. That answer, he acknowledges, is rather boring.
        A more poetic explanation, he says, is that the swine represent “the angelic spirits of all the pigs that were slaughtered and were building blocks of Cincinnati's prosperity. So they're up there paying one last tribute — singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” — to all their (dead) brethren who flowed into the river.” 

        The pigs were a small part of the overall sculpture, but critics pounced. The swine were insulting, they said, and would make the city a laughingstock. Angry letters poured into local newspapers. 

        Then-mayor Charlie Luken told the Enquirer that the city “risks a lot of embarrassment from people who come here from outside the area and see this as a symbol of the city.”
        Pig proponents, meanwhile, argued the oinkers were a whimsical representation of the city's past.
        Looking back, Mr. Leicester says he was surprised by the “the sheer magnitude, and the sustained magnitude” of the controversy. “What was rather interesting in terms of the subject was that it wasn't about gun control, race, religion or morality. It was about this kind of undefinable thing — people's notion of what represents them.”
        As the debate swirled, the news media — including the national press — ate it up. Reporters wrote about the squealing in Cincinnati City Hall and pigs hogging the bicentennial limelight.
        At a city council meeting in January 1988, the public was invited to have its say. Three pro-pig councilmen wore snouts. Citizens brought signs that said “Let the Pigs Fly.”
        And the pigs did prevail. The sculpture was built. The riverfront park was dedicated in June 1988. The flying pigs are there now, for your viewing pleasure. 

I had to add this, because I guess not everyone knew where "The Flying  Pig Marathon" came from!

The Flying Pig Marathon
        And now there is a marathon that inexorably links the city with winged swine.
        Mr. Coughlin says he and a few marketing types got together a couple of years ago to brainstorm names for the race.
        “Somebody threw out — and I don't know who to credit, so I'll take the credit — the Flying Pig Marathon. And everybody laughed,” he says. 
 At first, the suggestion wasn't even included on the list of potential names. “Too stupid,” Mr. Coughlin says.
        But then he asked that the group fly with the pigs.
        Organizers eventually saw it as a name that would not only promote a fun event, but also tie in nicely with Cincinnati's history. And it had good marketing potential. They imagined someone saying, “Run a marathon? Yeah, right. When pigs fly.”
        “We thought, pigs are in, they're friendly, they're lighthearted,” Mr. Coughlin says. “We didn't think too hard about it. It came out of trying not to be too serious.”
        In October 1997, organizers officially announced the Flying Pig Marathon. The next day, a woman called Mr. Coughlin “berating me for being so stupid, and how (the name) belittled Cincinnati.
        “When I hung up the phone, I thought, "Now I know I want to use this name.' ”
        Runner's World magazine has called it “the most creative marathon name we've encountered.”
        “The name alone doubled the size of this marathon,” Mr. Coughlin says. Reaction, he notes, has been overwhelmingly positive.

 There's those pigs.  Except I have always thought of them more as dancing pigs, not flying pigs.

Okay back to the run...I ran through Bicentennial Park, then Friendship Park.  I also encountered a HUGE group of runners! Was there a race I missed?  (I did check.) No, the runners are running too slow and uniform for a race.  Wait, this is a "Training Group"!!! I have heard about these!!

I encountered several more 'training groups' of runners out and about.

I got to the end of Friendship Park, and followed two runners down a sidewalk, then I noticed a one-way street, going up hill.  It is called "Kemper Lane".   What was cool about this, was the old stones and steps  in the weeds and brush.  There was once houses here, where these steps ran up to.  I bet if it was a week or two later, I would be spotting daffodils sprouting up here too.

I stopped at the top of the lane, and had a nice view of the bridges and river.

I then ran downhill, ran over to Kentucky, to Newport, and got a pretty good pic of the Cinti Skyline.

Got back to the hotel in time to change into dry clothes for breakfast with our friends. 6 miles instead of 7, but it was good to fit those miles in.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Multi Tasking Run

We all do it. Usually because we have to. I'm in my time crunched set of days.  I had a haircut scheduled at ten. But I had ten miles to run on the calendar.  I drove to town, got my hair cut, then parked the car at the grocery store, and ran home.

 This takes me on some back roads, off the state route.

 This is a cool gate, bad picture. It says "Stony Hill Farms" and below it "Hello There".
I spotted another spot for potential daffodil rescue in a few weeks.

Southern Ohioans like their baskets.

 Climbing back up to the ridge...hence the name Stocker Ridge Road
Crossing the interstate

 We think a pipeline is going through here.  This is a new clear cut.  I live on top of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Formation.
A very pretty lady out and about

Barn down the road.

No pics from the last mile or so of the run, I glanced down at my watch and saw I could run 10 miles under 2 hours if I stopped screwing around.

A pretty good run.  The hamstrings were still tight from the Tuesday treadmill run.   One of these days I will actually stretch instead of talking about stretching.

Now it is off for the Cincinnati Wine Tasting Weekend, where I will see if I can squeeze just one run in on Saturday morning..

Oh yeah, we then drove back to town, got some last minute food for the road, and drove the second vehicle home!

Monday, March 4, 2013

LBD Incentive

I was pawing through my closets, trying to find my little black skirts for the Cinti Wine Tasting Festival, when I decided to pull out my LBD*.

This was the LBD I bought for my 20th high school reunion..which was 9 years ago.  My mom altered the hem of it for me.

Well, I gained 5 or 7 pounds by the time the reunion came around, and it was too snug to zip up.  So  I chose a different dress (actually a red dress, which was good, because everyone else was in their LBD) and relegated this to the closet.

On a whim, I tried it on. I expected it to not fit-at all.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could zip it up-almost all the way.  Right now, it's too tight at the bustline.  SO, if I can lose probably five or ten pounds, the LBD will fit again.

It's another good incentive for me. It's a cute little dress, it looks better on than on the hangar.  I've moved the LBD to the front of the closet, to keep a mental q on it.  5 or 10 pounds will make me faster going up mountains-but it will also make the LBD fit!

*LBD- little black dress, for you male ultra runners out there.  You know who you are.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Off and Running

Well, not me yet, I'm still recovering. The bruises are fading,  the legs feel pretty good, but I am still fatigued.  I just have not  had the opportunity with getting enough rest.  I worked Monday (should have taken the day off) and it was a struggle.  Since then, I have worked 10 hours, came home, tried to get to bed early, but still waking up tired.

So what did I do tonight, after work?  Painted the top half of our bathroom shower stall.  There was an area which needed spackled, which had been bothering me I finally spackled it, and then painted. Now I'm really tired.

The off and running is actually the weekend schedule for the next few months for my husband and I. It started last weekend.  If I am "at home" for the weekend, the husband is not.  I was gone last weekend, he is gone this weekend, then we're both at the Cinti Wine Festival next weekend, then he is gone, then I am gone, repeat, repeat, repeat.  

Repeating all the way into June now, with weekends booked, now I am starting to think about the fall, what I want to do, and how can I get a reservation and weekend away to the French Laundry?