Monthly Archives: August 2008

Asphalt: My Kryptonite

Or “My Parkerburg 1/2 Marathon Race Report”

Whew, I don’t know what is wrong with me today! Post race, I feel like crap!! I feel like I’ve run a hard ultra rather than a 1/2 marathon1!

This was about the nicest weather I’ve run the Parkersburg 1/2 marathon in. It was quite cool at the start at 8am. About ten steps into the race, I could feel the big rock that is still nestled in my right quad. Left quad was fine, no strain or pain there! The pain continued as I ran. I haven’t run the P1/2M in the last two years, so I was amusing myself as I ran, trying to remember what was up ahead on the course. My quad felt quite painful on the downhills, and I actually felt better running on the uphills-yeah go figure!

I think I was favoring my leg a bit, since then my hamstring on the same leg began to hurt. The asphalt was not being kind to me. Eventually both my hip flexors started to hurt also. I stopped at a water stop to fill my hand held, and walked a few steps-and WOW, that hurt more to walk than to run! So I kept running!

Parkersburg puts on a real nice race. There is a bunch of people who camp out at the end of their driveways and cheer on the runners. Water stops are plentiful and full of enthusiatic volunteers.

In the last 1/2 mile, I passed quite a few women who were now walking. I chicked one guy but he doesn’t count, since he was trying to coax two female friends into running to the finish.

Once I got home, I did the ice bath thing. Then I took a two hour nap. Then I got up and ate a tomato and cheese sandwich. And I still feel like crap! My quad feels okay, but the hamstring is still sore. We’re invited to our friend’s house down the road, so I may walk/stumble down there and see if I can work out some kinks.

I’ve been invited to run on Gabe’s trail loop Sunday. I may go and just walk a loop of it. I’ve got a race Friday night to rest up for!

It’s Back! The Race Nightmare!

I haven’t had one of these in two, my race was not a diaster, it hasn’t even happened yet. It was my dream last night. I usued to have these hilarious race-gone-wrong dreams. And now, another..

I was down in Parkersburg to run a marathon. There were only about 20 or so runners around the starting line. I had to use the bathroom, but knew the race would start any second. (Like an ultra start, just a casual go.) So I kept eying the official and looking for a luck.

Finally he says go! And we’re off. The area we are running in is the old downtown, with many little streets. But there is also trouble on the race course, some markers are missing. Volunteers are yelling, “take the fourth street! The fourth street! No, not that 4th Street!” It’s hard, for someone running, to distinguish an alley from the street. I finally make the turn, and them immediately am directed, four steps later, to a hard left turn. Then more volunteers yelling for a hard right. WTF? The markers are on the corners of the street. They are giant (3 foot tall) green glow sticks. Except that it is daylight, and hard to see. As I cross an intersection, I almost collide with the lead runners. Then I can see what they have done to the the course. In able to keep it mainly in the downtown, we’re literally running a maze, full of sharp lefts and rights.

The hell with it. I decide to DNF right there. I still have to pee, and I don’t feel like twisting an ankle with all these sharp turns. I go in search of a bathroom. Somehow I end up in a really dirty Burger King resturant, full of really dirty people. It turns out this is also the bus stop for cross country travel. And the bathroom has toilets, but there are no cubes. I decide not to use the toilets and go back outside. I run into a friend who also dropped, because she got lost on the course.

Now, for some reason, the entire town comes out to cheer on the 25 marathon runners. There are literally a few hundred volunteers. But the course just sucked. I’m really crabby when we find our way to the finish, to get our chips taken off. I tell a few people along the way how much their course stinks (really I was being such a bitch!).
There are about ten people at the finishing tent, and I again complain about the race. I say, you know, you have all these volunteers, and people cheering on the race. Maybe you shoud consider a 1/2 marathon.
Some vapid woman looks at me, and asks “What’s a half marathon?”
I stare at her, trying to figure out how she can be so stupid and still sucking air. I say “it’s a half marathon. A half marathon”. Doesn’t that tell you exactly what it is? She still does not comprehend. I say, really slowly “It’s half a marathon. Half the distance. 13.1 miles..” I wonder how she can be so stupid. I leave the tent before I kill her for her stupidity, still in search of a port-o-potty. Finally! Three of them! I open the first. Yes, it’s a potty, but there’s no toilet. It’s just like a room. The second potty is free, but the toilet seat is on the floor. WTF? I kind of just squat and finally pee. The door has a big crack in it and people can see in but I just don’t care.

We finally drive away from the race, and I’m still crabby in the car about the race.

Whew! End of dream. It must have been the BLT for dinner. I’m usually not crabby at all about a race. I wonder where that came from!

Signing up for Races!

Ah, a good sign that I am back to normal. I just registered for the Akron Marathon, September 27. Yes, a road race, but with a short part on the towpath, which is also part of the Burning River Course, and an uphill section through woods but on roads (where I stared longingly into the woods and the trail there). Akron is the backyard marathon (almost everyone! runs Akron) so you see your friends out there. And Akron gives good schwag. If you complete the marathon (natch) you get a coupon for a free pair of Brooks running shoes. By registering, you get a 6 month subscription to Running Times magazine, a nice Technical shirt, and a coupon for 2 free beers at the finish! Sweet!
Akron was also my first marathon, so I have a certain fondness for the “blue line” all over town.

I am also running the YUT-C 50K race the weekend before. This is the NEO Trails Club race. the YUT-C is run in Mill Creek Park, in the middle of Youngstown. A tough, but runnable and beautiful trail run-yes in the middle of a city. I look forward to the race as much as to see my friends as it is to see the infamous “Love Log”

AND, a new race for me:

This is a 24 hour race, on a 5 mile trail loop. I had such a good time at the 12 Hours of Big Bear Lake, that this sounded good to me!

Yep, you’re right, it’s the weekend after the Akron Marathon-3 races in a row! Woohoo!!

Today’s Work out is..

A short jog/walk on the trails, about 3 miles. I wore my Montrails Nitrus. Now, I wore these on my 3 mile run to the top of Seneca Rocks, and the shoe seemed very tight over my left foot bunion. Today, no problems at all. I think I will keep at these Montrais, maybe eventually I can wear them for some long trail runs!

North Fork Mountain Run Report

This is the third year I have travelled down to WV and ran with the club at North Fork Mountain. North Fork Mountain is in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. Seneca Rocks is the famous hunk o’ rock in the picture:

The rock is composed of fine grains of sand that were laid down approximately 440 million years ago, in an extensive sheet at the edge of ancient ocean. Years of geologic activity followed, as the ocean was slowly destroyed and the underlying rock uplifted and folded. Millions of years of erosion stripped away the overlaying rock and left remnants of the arching folds in formations such as Seneca Rocks.

I got to the campground early, and set up camp, changed clothes, and ran over to Seneca Rocks. There is a trail, pretty technical, that leads up to the top. I ran part of it-well, maybe more of the flats on the switchbacks. There is a spectacular view from the top.

Yes, I was up at the very pointy top of the rock!

The club members were all pulling in as I returned to camp. It was good to see everyone, although many of us had run at Big Bear Lake two weekends ago, so we had just been together!

The next morning, the caravan got off to a prompt start. We start at one end of the trail, and run the entire length. Instead of climbing up to the trail head, it’s a nice civilized drive to the start:

After a bunch of pics are snapped, it’s time to go! We take off down the trail. I’m in the lead of the pack for about three minutes, then just about everyone passes me. I’m okay with that. This first half of the trail was my first trail run in WV-I just was not used to the rocks!
It took about a 1/2 hour or so for my muscles to wake up. My shins were really tight, and then the pain shifted down into my ankles-no doubt to the rocks that we just do not have here in Ohio.
Tony and Juli ran by as I was taking a bathroom break off the trail, and I caught back up with them and had a short chat before I got ahead of them down the trail.
Before long, I came upon the trail intersection where I had my breakdown two years earlier, and I smiled fondly, remembering my hissy fit. Just past this intersection is the hang gliding platform, that’s what the wood is in this picture:

And no, I did not clamber up on the platform-no way!

I hit the half-way point (about 12+ miles) in three hours. This is the only place on the trail where there is access, via a scary old fire road. The WVTR Van was there, with snacks and plenty of water. I drank a bunch of water, refilled my two bottles, and started on the long descent down the fire road to the trail. We’ve said it’s a mile, but it must be longer than that-it’s a long downhill! I’m already feeling my quads protesting the downhill, so I know they will be screaming later (you descend about 2000 feet at the end of the trail).

Now I am on the 2nd part, that I ran last year with Sioban. She didn’t come this year, which was too bad, because we had fun out on the trail. You get a bunch of various footing, views, and flora on this part. There were also two big uphills that I didn’t remember from last year!

I kept waiting for the big rocky section. I thought I was farther along than I was. Given that it was now the early afternoon, I went through my water too quickly. I was out of water for at least 1.5 hours. Next year I will make sure to have three bottles with me. Despite being thirsty, I was having a wonderful time. The weather was PERFECT! Low humidity, a little breeze, lots of sun, not that hot! Not like it usually is!
I did have to stop and take some pics of the scenic views along the way.

I finally hit the rocky section that signifies the beginning of the end. At this point, Amy and Mike, from VHTC, come bounding by. They have completed the 24 miles, ran up the dirt road, took a side trail, and are now running the section again! I thought I was a good downhill runner, until they went by! By the time I looked up from my feet, they were gone!

The long downhill seemed like it would never end. I just wanted it to be over with, not because it was a bad day, or run, but I really wanted a drink of water!! I finally get to the bottom and get my own jug of water to drink!

WV Wild Weekend Approaching!

Or, I should say,it’s here! I’m packing lots of random stuff to take with me.
This weekend is the WV Mountain Trail Runner’s Club Run on North Fork Mountain Trail.
This is down at Seneca Rocks.
North Fork Mt Trail is a great run. High on the mountain (it’s on top of the mountain, we’re running on the ridge) a nice technical trail. It about killed me the first time I ran on this, in 2006. I had never been on rocks like this. I dropped at the 12 mile mark, at our only Aid Station, the Lehmann van AS, at the only point where you can drive a vehicle up a dirt road to meet runners.
Last year, with the heat, I chose to run the second 12 miles, driving a vehicle up that dirt road to the halfway point.
This year? The weather looks to be SWEET! Maybe mid-70’s. Unreal. I am planning on running the full 24 miles. I’m a tougher runner these days. And, I’ve run both sections of the course.

I may leave my vehicle at the end of the trail though, in case I am the last runner in, so I don’t hold up the festivites back at camp.

Back at camp is where the cookout and adult beverages begin!

Seriously, this run has become like a mini sanctuary for me in the past two years. This pic above is my default Zune pic. It calms me to look at this. I find myself relaxing so much when I get to WV.

This year, I am planning on a run on Friday, when I arrive at the campground, to run over to Seneca Rocks (the big rock in the pic!) and run to the top! (well, as far as you can go without starting to climb!)