I did a good job of recovering this week. No running on Monday due to all day meeting. I did get to the hotel pool after dinner and swam some laps and then sat in the whirlpool to work on my legs. Tuesday I got two miles in on the treadmill. No running on Wednesday due to driving home. Today I want to run three miles. I’m sure it will be on the treadmill since it’s currently raining out. The weather forecast for Saturday is a high in the 60’s and a good chance of rain-oh well. That’s probaly more significant since I will be waiting for my relay runner. I’m seeing some disposable clothes to wear on Saturday. Actually as a ultra runner, I will probaly be more comfortable than most if I end up waiting around with wet shoes to run in. Many smaller race day problems and irritants just don’t affect me like they used to. Wait an hour or two, the irritant may go away. That’s the beauty of a long race!
Isn’t she so angelic? Fifteen minutes prior to this, she pounced, bit me in my nail-less big toe. As the blood started dripping, she then grabbed my sandal and ran through the barn with it. So I am hobbling through the barn, dripping blood, trying to catch up with her. Puppies. Sheesh.
I didn’t run on Sunday, I had a blood blister under one of my remaining nails on my left foot so it was kind of tender, and the drained ‘slug blister’ on the other foot. So I did an hour on the elliptical at the gym. That was a tiring workout. Of course, it was supposed to be, as a back to back after the race Saturday. I also did a quality fifteen minute stretching routine too.
I was looking at comments on my blog and saw that Elizabeth had visited. I met Elizabeth at the YUT-C race on Sunday; actually I had seen her at some previous races too. It turns out I have read her blog on and off, it’s cool to know anothe blog person out there!
I knew I was going to have a nice race when we turned onto a flat dirt path, with pine trees on one side, and water on the other. I was running a 50K in nature, in beautiful weather, and all was irie with me. This was the YUT-C 50K, the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic. Run entirely in Mill Creek Park, a gem of a park in the middle of Youngstown, Ohio. It’s a beautiful park. The trail follows around a river and several lakes; there are man made waterfalls on the river and several natural waterfalls in the woods. I got to the race start a bit early, and Bob Combs, the race director asked me if I wanted to start early, another couple was taking the early 7am start. I had about fifteen minutes to decide, and since my gear was ready to go, I decided to. Instead of waiting around for another hour, I was there to run so why not? Jim Harris graciously paced us out the first mile or so, through the little urban area to where the trail began beside some football fields and tennis courts. It was fun being out there at 705am, because it really was not very light out yet, and the tree cover was heavy. So Lisa, Dennis and I were pretty cautious and concerned about staying on the trail. I got ahead of my running partners when we hit the “Monkey Hills”. These were some up and down trails on some pretty steep hills, about five in all, all one after another. But the footing was nice dirt and pine needles and no rocks, so that helped. At the top of one of the last hills was “ The Tree” that I had been warned about. It’s a tree blocking the path. On a 5’2” female, the tree comes up to my waist. My only way over it was to lie down on it, and roll over! The trail continues to follow a river and lakes. It’s an old path; on one side are the woods, usually at a steep grade uphill. There are many retaining blocks of sandstone that probably were built by the WPA back in the 30’s. It’s all grown over and covered in moss at this time. I marvel at the hours of work it took to put all these stones in place. I am also impressed by the lack of graffiti in the park. I come to a section of wooden boardwalk, which leads to the old Gristmill, where the covered bridge and aid station is located. I am the first runner through!!! (Remember, I started one hour early.) Everyone congratulates me and I laugh—it’s a good feeling to be first! I might as well enjoy it while I can!!! I decide to keep with that theme, and try to gauge when the first men are going to catch me on the course. I believe I conceded the lead at mile 10. That was pretty funny. There were about 10 guys in the first fast group; about half of them knew me, and figured it out that I started early. The ones who didn’t know me gave me this “what the heck is SHE doing out here?” Oh well, I enjoyed it; they had a long time to figure out who I was and what I was doing. It was fun running with the “Big Dogs” as I tend to call the front-runners. We get back to the race start, and then we run the same loop again, backwards. So now I was passing all the other runners coming toward me, and that was fun, I think I knew about 1/3 of the runners, and it’s great to hear a personal “way to go!” I saw a bunch of roadrunners out on the road, and just kept shaking my head. They had a beautiful trail just feet away and yet they ran asphalt!! Freaks!! (I’m sure that they said the same about me when they saw my wet, dirt covered body.) I was crossing a road when I ran into two roadrunners, and tried to cajole them on the trails. They rather haughtily told me “they were training for a marathon”. Dudes! Excuse me! I’m just running a piddly 50K on rocks and roots!! Freaks!!! I ran the first loop in just under three hours, and the second just under 3 hours also, which was very good for me. I conceded my lead as first female at mile 19. The last loop is shorter, 7.94 miles. As I got into the 3rd loop, I started to feel a little light-headed, a new trail feeling for me. I stopped and assessed my situation. It was a cool day, in the 60’s but high humidity because it was trying to rain. I had been hot on most of the course and doing most of my usual sweating. I had taken my last Succeed capsules on the last loop because I was starting to get a cramp in my calf muscle, and didn’t grab any at the last aid station. I also had not eaten much salty food in the last 3 hours. I also realized I had not peed but once on the run, very unusual for me. So I grabbed a gel from my waist pack, feeling that would have to help. The light-headedness would come and go a bit, but I knew the aid station was only about 4 miles away. I kept running and wondering when I was going to get to the hills. Did I miss them somehow? Ran them already and forgotten? I hit the last time through the “Monkey Hills” and the third time was actually easier than the 2nd (probably because I was lightheaded!!!!) but my running kept getting slower on this third section. This course was very runnable also, no big chances to walk! The only time I get cranky is when I think I am hitting the last, final section, and it turns out that I forgot a piece that I still have to go through. I finally turn onto the park road for the last little finish and get cheered in by the other runners. Bob shakes my hand and hands me a pint bottle of beer, from the Buckeye Brewing Company. I get cleaned up and spend another hour eating soup and pizza and cheering in more runners. We get a nice short-sleeved technical T-shirt and I find a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters in my goody bag!!! Very cool!! I change clothes and when I take my socks off, I am puzzled to see a slug attached to my toe. Hmm, it’s a rather large blood blister. I make sure I show it to all the other runners. Everyone is in awe of my blister and say it’s a good one. I do remember reading that being dehyrdated can lead to more blisters. I think it’s also time for me to try the Injini socks and see if that helps me out.
I enjoyed the course. It’s very runnable, a bit rocky, but not vicious hidden rocks. You just have to watch. Some parts had some roots. I thought the course was marked rather well. There were a few places, where, as a first runner of the course, I had to apply some common sense and keep a watchful eye for trail markings. I hope Bob and Team PR get the word out about this race; Mill Creek is a very nice and scenic place to run. Thanks Bob and the volunteers, the food was plentiful and the volunteers were friendly and helpful, I had a great time!
Actually off to New Castle, PA, where my SIL lives. They won’t be home, but are graciously allowing me to crash there for the night. Their house is about 1/2 hour from the race site. Of course I can’t find my cheapo watch that is 10 minutes fast, so I decided to go buy one today on my lunch break..and of course I have now realized that I get no lunch break today because I have to cover the department while I send most of them to a mandatory meeting scheduled weeks ago..So I will go after work, buy a new cheapo watch, puppy dog food, adult dog food, and I might as well buy the normal groceries while I am out LOL!!! I may never get on the road to PA. I have been fighting a low level cold given to me by my husband (thanks!!) all week. I even left work early yesterday, and came home and just laid down and rested. I think I actually napped too, since the puppy was sleeping. I still feel a bit fatigued, but I’m going to eat well today and see how it goes.
I had an interesting point of view about running trails yesterday. A friend emailed me and asked what a FatAss theme run was. I told him it was basically just a fun run, no times, no aid, no whining, no wimps. He replied ‘no aid and no times? That doesn’t sound like fun to him’. Wow, that was interesting, until I thought about how my friend views running as opposed to how I view running. He is very competitive, does alot of short races, does like to focus on times and placing, and I, on the other hand, do not. I really am out there running for the sake of running in the woods. If this race tomorrow was a fun run, that would be fine with me. Sure, I like improving my times, and hope to get a bit better as time goes on, but it’s more about just being out there and enjoying my health and nature.
The leaves have started turning yellow on some trees; the Buckeye Trees are already half-naked. The humidity is cut to 1/4 of what we are used to; I’m getting cold after being hot and sweaty on my cool down walk after a run. I went to the gym and did about 1/2 my core workout and my new shoulder/upper arm workout; I’m tired of waiting for my arm to get better (it’s been hurting for 4 months now) and I want to see my nice muscle definition on my upper arms again. There were all sorts of children in the gym today. Not sure where they came from. Kind of distracting to me. I like to get in, work out, and leave. I usually BS with the owner if he’s there, then split. I went for a run. I wasn’t really into it, but I knew once I started running I was committed to it. So I decided to run the uphill loop from my gym, which is about 0.8 mile uphill. It’s a pretty gradual uphill, which will be similiar to my relay part of the Akron Marathon race, so I ran it. I realized this was pretty good training for the race. But when will I have time to repeat it? Maybe Thursday this week? Rest of next two weeks: Wed: Cookout with local other ultra-runner couple Thursday: hill run, maybe repeats? Friday: No run. Drive to Youngstown to SIL house. Saturday: Run YUTC 50K Race. Sunday: Recover and pack for business trip Mon, Tues, Wed: go out of town on business trip. Find local running stores. Get into a pool or whirlpool to recover from 50k Thursday: Day off at home Friday: Day off and pick up stuff for relay at Akron. Meet up with other relay members. Have fun!! Saturday: Run 5K section of Akron Marathon. Then run the rest of the way in, another 7.6 miles, so I will get in 10 miles at least. Drink beer and recover with teammates. Sunday: Back to training for the Masochist 50+ miler. Argh!
I got my ten miles in this morning. It was a very foggy misty morning here. I picked up a running companion about mile 4. A dog jumped off the porch of a trailer and insisted upon accompanying me. I have no idea if he lived there. He ran with me for a good mile, then stopped to fight with another dog running free. About my turning point, a goofy yellow lab pup came running out to the road to run with me. I had to run up their driveway before the pup decided to stay home. I then picked up my running partner again, but finally was able to get him to stay in the area that I found him in. I was not going to have the dog follow me all the way home! We then took all three of our dogs out for the daily hike around the property. It was Condi’s inauguaral walk-and she did it all, about a 1/2 mile walk! She’s sleeping now. We’re taking her with us on our trip north, we have a steak roast with Dennis’ veteran group. The house isn’t dog proof enough, and we’re not totally comfortable leaving her with the other two dogs yet.
It was a busy busy day at work. Then I changed into my running clothes, and presto chango, I had energy again! First I had to do my core workout at the gym, then left from the gym for my little ‘around the block’ 4 miler. I’ve been running this in reverse, and I don’t hit the 1/2 mile hill until mile 3, which works out nicely, my legs are warmed up by then. It felt so good to be running again. I hadn’t run since Monday, and I was getting the pent up emotions/frustrations from not running. I don’t know what else to call it-impatience, maybe? I just was itching to get out there and run. My Garmin died on me, and I had no watch, but I had the iPod and cranked up the tunes and ran. My legs felt good, other than these knots in both quads I still have. It was a very good run. I felt good, I ran up the hill, I was happy, I was burning energy out there. I get so much more relaxed after running.
Does anyone follow IronWil and her Ironman training blog? Wil timed out at Ironman Wisconsin, and she is posting such a well written blog of her DNF you really should check it out. She’s a very good writer, and it has been inspiring to follow her training through the season. Reading blogs and listening to podcasts really kept me focused during my injury of last winter.
I’m becoming interested in the 100 mile race of Haliburton for a fall 2007 race. I met the RD, Helen, at Mohican this year, and I have read some very positive race reports from this year’s race. It’s just an idea right now, but it seems like a cool fall 100 mile race for the Eastern coast. It doesn’t seem like we have that many fall 100’s here in the east.