Okay, I’m too chatty to do this in one post..
After a nice afternoon/evening doing absolutely nothing ie lying in a bed, watching trashy TV, I got up early, to go to Mellor’s, for 1.99 all-you-can-eat pancakes…to find them not open.
Doh! I join Eric at McDonald’s, eating second choice pancakes here…better than nothing, I guess.
We get a great group of runners an hour later. Cheryl and I are joining them, an hour or so later, over at the Covered Bridge. This gives us time to kind of bask in the early morning sun, and listen to stories that Roy tells to us.
The runners show up, and I let the first group of “fast runners” to head up to the falls. We’ve been doing a pretty good job of having a seasoned “Mo runner” in each group of runners to lead the way. Cheryl and I get with the next group, as I know there are veteran runners in the next group behind.
It’s the usual merry trek up “Enchanted Valley.” It’s fun to have John with us; he’s running the Mo 50 as his first 50 miler. This whole root climb up the hill captivates him.
The running group changes and merges as we hit the rest rooms at the dam, and we merge with other runners as we climb Goon Road. We veteran Mohican runners share some memories of Mr Avery Ball. (Mr Ball had a trailer on this road. He seemed to always be out, during races AND training runs, giving us a friendly wave and cheer as we went up this steep road. Mr Ball was a milestone for a very long time. He passed away, last year.) As Mark Carroll said, Mr Ball’s trailer, like Mr Ball is not gone, just relocated. It looks like there is a “custom log home” being built in the same location. I hope we get the same friendly karma we always got off Mr Avery Ball as we climbed the hill here..
We all come off the Lyons Fall (purple loop) around the same time (ie faster runner folks got off trail somewhere) so we all start the red section somewhat together. It’s kind of nice, since alot of Mo training runs get separated into smaller running sections quite quickly. In fact, Don Baun, course creator, is leading our little group. So, if we’re all keeping up to Don, we’re doing well!
We get up to Bridle Staging AS area, and I lag behind to see if everyone makes the correct turn. They do, and then I try to make up time on some of them with the first nice downhill run.
I actually catch up because of the horses. It’s a beautiful Sunday, and there are lots of horse folks out on the bridle trails. We are being courteious runners, and stop running to let the horses get around us. That is something I have learned on these trails, in the last few years, that many horses are skittish around people.
All this time, John More has been running around and back and forward. He’s a very talented runner, and fast, but doesn’t want to get lost out here, on his venture at Mohican.
However, at Rock Point, which is most of the runner’s stopping point, which will garner them around 21 miles, John wants to go on for more miles!
Cheryl and I parked farther down the trail. Running the purple loop, then the red-green sections, this will give us 25 miles. John started out with the original runners, so this will give him,or 31 miles or so.
Cheryl, John,and I go on. We give him the race intel, and John starts to think….he’s now thinking about running the 100 instead of the 50 mile race. His running is talented enough to support this..he is a doctor into sports nutrition so he actually knows something about hydration and electrolytes…
SO, we finish up 25 miles in 6 hours something(not bad for a trail run!!!) and I think we’ve got a new runner Hooked up with the idea of running 100 miles… I told John he could curse my name for 40 miles as he finished up his 100 mile run….
As for me, very satisfying run. I hammered the downhills. My quads did not even start to tighten up until right before I finished. I still had good energy going,and legs still felt good, after a cumulative 50 miles at Mohican!
Eric summed it up perfectly. “You don’t even need to be running Mohican for this weekend. It’s still a good solid three days of running.”
Someone else chimed in with “running, eating, sleeping, repeat. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Although I am not running the Mo 100 this weekend, the draw of lots of miles on my beloved trails drew me to Mohican.
I missed the Friday night run, which happened on trails, at night, in rain and fog-perfect training conditions, right? It sounded like great fun.
I showed up for the Saturday run. It started to rain on us as Roy Heger, our organizer and Obi-Wan runner, got us into groups. This was the “road section” day which I wasn’t real fond of, but I just wanted the miles.
We start on the road section out at the “Rock Point” AS. I’m running ahead with Ted, who is a really good (and fast) and (quiet) runner.He doesn’t seem to mind as I chat away as we go.
The road section is familiar to me. It’s back country roads. It’s dirt and..mainly dirt,not gravel. Rolling hills. This is “old Mohican” course.
Ted and I get to the “new part” of the course, and we pause to make sure the runners behind us follow us, and not take the “old course” turn. In fact, we’re not that quite sure either, but I was listening to Roy and see the pink markings at a road turn, so I know we’re still on route.
After a huge downhill, and being passed by a manure spreader, we see the turnoff for a short trail. This is all new ‘2010 course” for about 2 miles. Then it spins us back to “traditional Mohican course” which includes the climb up “Big Hill” Road, aptly named.
I’ve been keeping company with Terri and Mitch as this time, ridiculously fast for me. After we hit the Mohican Wilderness Aid station (Roy Heger’s car of rolling Aid) we ascend the Big Climb.
In last year race (and many years prior) we hit this race at mile 2’ish in the race. It’s barely sun-up, we’re all excited, chatting, seeing old friends and new. You *barely* notice the big hill climb.
However, now, after a 10 mile run (and it will be farther in the actual Mo race), this hill seems bigger and longer. And everyone agrees!!!!!
After we summit the hills, and direct everyone the correct way: (old ultra saying here, which is true: when in doubt, go uphill!!) for even more of a climb, I begin to bonk a bit. Which means I get to now catch up with everyone I’ve been in front of for the first 10 miles.
My old running buddy, Cheryl Splain, and I are together, when we hit the Buckhaven AS area. We run a bit, then nothing looks familiar. We retrace, and run into Tara and Bill. They think we should go the exact way Cheryl and I had found to be the wrong way. Bill performs the ultimate male act: he goes back downhill to ask directions!!!
It turns out all four of us are wrong, and should have turned a few steps earlier. We find the trail section, and run it back to Rt 3, where we’re turning off course, for just a few more miles back to where our cars are parked.
This last little (3 mile) section of road is the worst part of the run for me. All asphalt road, on a state route, with lots of vehicles going by. All day, we’ve been on back country roads, with barely a vehicle, and now it’s rush hour!
The rain begins in earnest here too. The bad part of this is, I know exactly where I am, and know the distance to my vehicle. I’m starting to tense up in my shoulders, from the vehicles passing, and my IT band, on my right knee, is starting to sing.
I’m finally back at the vehicles, doing the Recoverite drink, talking with the ‘gang’. The rain has ended, of course. It’s been a good day of running…even on roads.
Somehow I forgot that it had been raining for the last four to five days here. When I looked out the window, prepping for my road run, I saw it had begun to rain..again. Screw it, I thought. I’m going to Salt Fork State Park, it won’t rain on me so hard under the trees.
Well, that was true! And I had the park to myself on Wednesday. I also had mud, glorious mud! Creeks careening down trail! Having so much water, lots of the slick leaves were actually pushed aside.
I changed my plans from Laurel Highlands to run at Mohican on Saturday. With the weather changing, I didn’t want to be on the LH trail-alone-with inclement weather. With inclement weather, there would be no hikers out. Now I don’t have a problem with running in bad weather. It’s just when you fall down and twist your ankle and there is NO ONE else out there where I think it’s a bad idea.
There was a good turn out of runners for this morning-Terri, Thomas, Kim B, Bob, Cheryl, Ron, Julie, and Brian. Brian was a guy out of Akron who wanted to see some of the course before the race. All of us excluding Kim headed up the red (mountain bike) trail. Kim was waiting on a friend to make it all the way down from Detroit!
Bob sets a brisk pace up the hill and I follow. Soon we have to let speedy Brian by. I give him instructions on trail turns, and this turns into what we do all day: he’s very fast, so I give him course descriptions, and he runs ahead, and then waits for me when he’s at a spot where there is no carsonite markers-he actually did great following a course he’s never been on before, with some limited trail promptings from me!
Bob and I pause at the Mo100 course split from the mountain bike trail, then I realize Cheryl and Ron are with this group, they know where they are going! Bob and I go ahead, and then catch up with Brian at Bridle Staging.
At this point, I joy ahead with Brian, as the others haven’t caught up yet, to show him the trail off to the left-hidden by horse trailers today. And then I don’t see any of the other runners for the rest of the day!
As I continue down the red trail, sending Brian to points ahead, I reflect on how good I am feeling. I am running. I am running sections I traditionally *always* walked. (And folks, I know this trail.) I ran through the icky part where, for some reason, sand has been laid. I’m running everything except the big hills. I have energy and don’t feel fatigued. Am I in better shape? Is it because I’m taking electrolytes and a gel every hour? Is that what an athlete feels like when training pays off??
Ok, the weather. I’m probably running a bit quicker because of the weather. It’s chilly! In the high forties, but the wind!! It’s killer on the hill tops. I’ve quickly sweated through my shirt, so I go through that annoying hot-cold-hot-cold scenario. I also put on and take off my windbreaker a number of times.
I get to Rock Point and check my stopwatch. 2 hours 11 minutes. Sweet! Considering I just ran 11 miles on roads in 2.29 yesterday, that’s excellent time!! (Where is the poky slow Trail Goddess?????)
Brian and I are now off and running the Green Section. I’m still feeling good on this section, despite the muddy trail. I even tolerate the last hill on the section, right before the Fire Tower (although I do mutter “I hate you hill”) I’m still feeling good. Much more tired, but not bad.
But now I don’t think the longer loop to the Lodge is going to happen. In fact, the four mile loop around the Falls is sounding daunting. Darnit, this is why I should have run that loop first!
I get back to the vehicle, change shirts, inhale some food, and said bye to Brian and head out to Little Lyons Falls. I realize I forgot my music..oh well..it’s good to run with out it.
The legs have really stiffened up, and I groan out load as I try to heave myself up on a rock on one leg….owww, that hurt!! Maybe use both legs to get that weight up there, Kimba.
The legs feel better as I hit the dam road and then walk up Goon Road. I’m sad to see Mr Avery Ball’s trailer is gone, and it looks like there is excavation for a log home there. I hope the new owners will wave to Mohican runners as they pass, like Mr Ball did.
I’m feeling much better on the top of the road, as I know it’s pretty much just all downhill back to the Covered Bridge. With a very light rain falling, there are almost no tourists out. I smack my toes pretty good on the last section of technical trail-ahh, who needs toenails anyways.
I finish the purple loop in 1.16. I’m astonished by this time. In the race last year, I was dismayed to see it be around 1.5 hours. I’ve also run it, fresh, right out of the car, in under 1 hour, so I’m really happy with the time. In fact, I double check my car clock to make sure my stopwatch is still functioning properly.
I call it a day at this point and start changing clothes to avoid hypothermia. Now, when you want to stand outside your vehicle and change clothes, this is when all tourists return to their cars around you. Today was no different.
A very good solid effort for me today.
I drove over to meet Mikey for a trail run in the evening. We met at Highbanks Metro Park, a very nice park right in the middle of surburbia/corporate headquarters.
I pulled into the parking lot, amazed to see all these cars.. I’m used to park lots being completely empty. We got some folks to take our pics, and off we went!
Mike directed us where to go, and we ran and ran. And talked and talked. It was so good to be out there with my dear friend, it’s been too long since our last trail session!!
To the woman, walking alone, with music in her ears: I’m not sorry we scared you barrelling down the trail. It is NOT a good idea to walk by yourself, in the Columbus area, with no ideas of your surroundings. It wasn’t like Mike and I were being quiet, by any means!!
We ran into the dusk, still talking and having a great time. Highbanks is a very nice park, there was a nice selection of different trail conditions out there.
We stopped after 7.3 miles, instead of pushing on for a few more.
That probably was for the best, as I was nodding quite a bit on my drive home! Thanks Mikey, for the trail run, love you!!!
Now and then, I do step outsides of the boundary of being an ultra runner.
I was looking, on Mapquest, at the town of Johnstown, Pennyslvania, where the Laurel Highlands 77 Mile Race will end. (I was looking for a hotel room.)
Then I started to scroll down, to find Ohio Pyle, where the race starts. (It’s a point to point run.)
I scrolled and scrolled! Okay, whew, finally there was OhioPyle. Why, it’s not even on the same screen as the town of Johnstown.
Okay, then I shut the whole idea of the distance out of my head and went on with my day.
(I just found it funny to be scrolling down so far on the map lol.)