Monthly Archives: September 2010

FAA Road

The FAA has a right of way, a road, through our property. The road leads to a VOR Navigational beacon on the adjoining property. The gravelled road is gated and locked. It was where I first began my work out journey. Back in the day, I would walk the road about three times almost every day. Just walking-walking people!!!-and watching portion size (ala WW) helped me shed 75 pounds.

I returned to the road yesterday as a new source of working out. The road was re-gravelled last year, with some large, #1 gravel. What is #1 gravel? Well, larger rocks. Kind of uncomfortable to walk on. When we accompany the dogs on the daily hike around the property on the road, we try to find the most settled part of the road.

My road workout is to walk over the rough section of the rocks, and improve my speed over time.
So I set out in the morning, armed with the Zune and podcasts.

It turned out to be rather uncomfortable and tedious. I was glad to have the podcasts to listen to. The footing is not that stable (I was wearing trail shoes) and it was slow going. I walked for 54 minutes, 2.9 miles. Now I have a baseline established, time to go about improving on this.

A few hours later, at work, my lower back was very tight and painful. I believe it was due to rough walking surface! So I think this was a good idea, it’s a different surface, it should help me increase my walking speed, over time, and work on some different muscle groups.


Well, the cold wet rain kept me from running my ten miles I had planned today. I was fretting a little about this, because with my work schedule, I’m not going to be able to get any sort of a long run in before the WV Trilogy.

Tapering? Should I be tapering? I got an email from Adam Cassedy, RD of the West Virginia Trilogy, and he mentioned tapering. I was feeling all guilty about not getting to my ten mile run in today.

Then I did remember I just DID do a long run- 26.2 miles in fact, on Saturday. That should be a good enough long run.

I’m feeling pretty good about the Trilogy. A 50K on Friday, a 50 Miler on Saturday, and a 1/2 marathon on Sunday. I’ve gotten my list of lists compiled. Sunday I will start to assemble the necessary running clothes-I need three days of running clothes (good thing I own a bunch!)

I did walk one mile on the treadmill, at 10% incline, at 3 MPH. Interestingly to me, this wasn’t hard at all. I guess it’s time to ramp up the speed! And then I ran one hour on the treadmill.

Akron Marathon Race Report 2010

Well, as you can see by the Akron Marathon “Taunt” Card, they sent me, I did spend a little less time with them this year.

I thought this was a very funny marketing ploy by the Akron Marathon-but I could see how it could really bother runners who didn’t hit their target goal for the race.

I kept this on the bulletin board all year long, and about two months ago, decided to run Akron. Yes, the 50K was the weekend before, but please, I’m an ultra runner. I did take most of the week off and didn’t run, my version of a taper.

Race morning was chilly. I was amazed at how much the little Akron Marathon has grown. I started the race with my friend and Umstead pacer, Steve, and his brother-in-law, Ken, who was running his first half-marathon (and finished too, in 2:41!! good job!!). As always, I keep to the far left on the Y-Bridge so I can bellow at all my fast friends who are already coming back: Tony, Frank, Dave, Kevin, Jim. Then we run a quick around the block to go back across the bridge. This is where I parted company with Ken and Steve who stopped for a port-a-potty break.

As I ran back through town (running too fast) I was amazed at BLOCKS of spectators. Usually there is one or two blocks or so. This was like a freaking parade route! Amazing!!
I was still running too fast, but was trying to slow down. I had looked at a marathon pace chart, and my goal was to run just under 11:00 minute miles. Every time I looked at Garmin, it seemed like it was around 10.30 ish. Sigh. I knew I would pay later for this. But hey, as I said to Cindy, Bob and Don post-race, I know nothing about pacing a marathon! I don’t run them!

It was kind of an uneventful race through the first half. My left calf cramped up in the first two miles. I kept taking my S!Caps every hour, along with an amino cap from Hammer Nutrition. I did give in and took a few ibuprofens. The leg hurt, but the drugs kicked in eventually. I wasn’t going to let the excuse of a “muscle cramp” be what defined my race.

I hammered the hill leading into the towpath-hey, let gravity help. Although I like the towpath section, since we’re in nature, it really slows me down. I concentrated on the Garmin and tried to move away from the 4:45 pace leader. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and the chattering is helpful to keep the group on pace, but I just wasn’t into the chatter. They did pull in front of me on the towpath.
The 13.1 banner is overhead, and then the lady giving you your predicted race finish time: “you’re on track for a 4:56 finish” Yack! Egads! Great! That’s a little too close for me!

But the 13.1 marker was also my release to put my headphones on and turn the music on. That was my carrot, what I was looking forward to for miles. And man, the music really picked up my pace!
We got off the towpath, and I kept a steady running pace through the traffic lights, and onto Sand Run Parkway. This is the notorious 3 mile uphill stretch. I put both earphones in and turned up the volume.
Where were all the marathoners? I swear, every person walking up the hill was a relay runner. Which is funny, because this is “ONLY” a 5K section for the relay, and they just started out. Whatever. I ran (not walked!!) the entire section. In fact, I ran this whole marathon, except for some walking to pick up water and to drink PowerAde at the water stops.
Frank Dwyer was running the relay, and we chatted for a bit after Sand Run, it was good to see him!
I got through the neighborhoods and then we hit Stan Hywet Hall. I wasn’t sure how much farther I had to go but the sub 5 goal was looking pretty good…as long as I didn’t blow up or cramp.
The turn onto West Market Street means it’s about two miles to the finish—and a big long downhill. “Footloose” comes on the Zune. I got something like 40 minutes to go 2 miles, so I have a big old grin on my face as I RUN down the street. Best marathon feeling finish since the first one here at Akron in 2004!

I ‘chick’ about 4 guys and a few girls that seem to be far worse off than I am on the last leg. Really, I don’t feel bad at all, just hungry and want something to eat!!

Run across the infield at Canal Park, finishing time of 4 hours 50 minutes!

So beat Goal C: improve on the Akron time of last year of 5:37: done

Goal B: Run a sub 5 hour marathon

Goal A: Would have been to PR the course and my marathon record of 4:37. You know, if I had trained to ‘run’ the Akron Marathon, and run a road race, and tapered, and not run a 50K the weekend before, I think that could have been doable. But I’m actually more proud of my 50K PR of the weekend before, and very pleased with my marathon finish.

I jogged/hiked 6.3 miles on trails this Sunday morning, to help the hamstrings become less stiff. I think after some stretching, I’ll be good to go. Now to work on a somewhat tapering plan for the West Virginia Trilogy in 13 days!

Last Days of Summer

Today is my day off, and what a gorgeous one! My legs feel good. This new thing I tried, post-race, standing around drinking beer for several hours vs hopping in a vehicle and heading home? Well, it seemed to help my legs. Just a very small amount of muscle tightness in the quads.
The weather was too nice not to run. Cool temps, no humidity, I was out the door around noon.
I did try something different on this run. My stinky hydration vest was washed and on the clothes line, so I used a waist pack, which holds one bottle-uggh! I do not like that any more! It really was cumbersome around my waist! I guess I like the weight higher up, between my shoulder blades now.
The camera doesn’t do justice to the goldenrod. The sky was actually much bluer.
This is the tractor, that I took several snow-covered pics of last winter. I think it looks better this way!
I listened to music, and ran well. I was about “average” with the loop time, so very pleased with that, after running a 50K on Saturday!

YUT-C 50 Race Report

Pictures stolen from Nick Billock. Thanks for the pictures, Nick! Good to see you out there. Hang in there!!
Early Saturday morning, I made the decision: carry the camera, or not? I put the camera in my purse. I came to run the YUT-C this day. No putzing around taking pictures.

I spent the night at the Harris’ home, thanks Jim and Beth for the hospitality! I really appreciated it.
Jim and I were up very early. We drove over to Mill Creek Park, where Jim was going to run the 25K course to make sure of trail markers. I had gotten the okay to start early, so I figured 430 AM was good to go. I turned my trail headlamp on and started my two watches.
Jim caught up to me right as I hit the Monkey Trails and took a slight wrong turn, so I was then back on track. We stayed together until the Covered Bridge, where Jim decided to just run the shorter loop, and I promised to proof the bottom half of the course.
Course markers were still in place, and I had a pretty uneventful run through Mill Creek Park. I had forgotten that the trail here is a bit technical-both rocky and rooty. I’m glad I have a 50 miler-the URINEO, December 18, on the same course. I did note I got back to the start, for the 25K distance, in 3 hours 6 minutes. A very good time for me.

The YUT-C 50K course has changed a bit over the sixth year history. The present version is a 25K of both the upper and lower lakes, then two more laps of the upper loop. So when I got back to the start/finish, the official race had not begun yet. Bob Combs, Race Director, advised me that I had 23 minutes until other runners would be joining me on the course. I took off!

Shawn Pope, the race winner, didn’t catch me until just before the famous love log. Coming into the Covered Bridge Aid Station, I noted I was keeping almost even splits.

I ran into John DeWalt, ultra trail legend, right where we climb past the turnoff for the Lily Pond. John gives me praise for looking so strong, and congratulates me on finishing The Ring. High praise indeed, coming from a runner like Johnny D.

I make it back to the start/finish in 5 hours. I’m starting to think favorably on my one goal for this race: finish under 8 hours. I haven’t finished YUT-C under 8 hours (usually 8.5 hours) ever.
But now there’s this other little goal popping into my head:
what about finishing under 7 hours?

Well, first goal is to get to the Covered Bridge. I run. I mean, I run. I run everything that isn’t a big uphill. I run across the boardwalk into the CB. I take off my hydration pack, yell for Rich Vribonic to fill it, and tell him I’m trying to break 7 hours.

I then take off. I am RUNNING. I am running everything. I’ve got one hour. I don’t know the exact mileage back to the finish, I was afraid to ask. Afraid I will pysche myself out. I concentrate on just running.

I pass John DeWalt, again, at the Pionner Pavilion. He comments again on how happy and strong I look, and I tell him I’m trying to break 7 hours. He tells me I can do it!

I know the landmarks. I glance at my watch. I keep running. I get two girls in front of me. Oh crap, I will have to pass them. Luckily, they keep a good running pace in front of me.

Where’s that last little bridge? I hit it. I know we will dip off the trail pretty quickly. I glance at my watch. 630. Oh yeah. I’m doing it!!!
The girls hesitate at the last right turn, and I direct them to the right. We burst off the trail, and I pass them as I head into the open, heading for the finish line. I’m RUNNING! No walking, running!!

I hit the finish line at 6 hours 40 minutes. My fastest 50K time, EVER. Damn. And that’s with about three hours of night-time running to begin with.

I am very very pleased with my race. I felt good. My leg calf cramped up, very early, as it has been doing for around the last year. I had a ultra sound on it last fall, to rule out a DVT, so I’m safe there. I did use S! Caps, and ate some bananas at aid stations. I do have a compression calf sleeve on order, so maybe that will help.

A very good solid race effort. Weight loss and training is paying off!!!!

A Tale of Two Shoes

Actually, it’s a tale of two pairs of shoes.

I mentioned having a brand new pair of Montrail Vitesse, purchased in 2007 for my first thought of a MMT race.
I’ve never mentioned the other pair of Montrails I bought, via www.steepandcheap, a pair of Montrail Nitrus. I think I paid around 40 dollars for them. I wore them, once, and they seemed to cause an ache to my ankle. So I immediately consigned them to the closet.

This past summer, I got the Vitese out and ran in them. They seemed fine, a bit warm.

Somewhere, along the way, the Nitrus crept out of the closet too. And somehow, (since the Vitesse were out of sight, out of mind) I thought the grey/red shoe was the Vitesse.

I wore them several times, in West Virginia, and on trails around here. Wow, these seem good to go. I congratulated myself on having a second trail shoe option.

So, today, I was looking for the Mizunos, for the YUT-C 50K this weekend. I go into the closet, and find the Mizunos.

Then I also pull out the Montrail Vitesse. Huh. Well, this is not the shoe I think it is! AND I pull out the Montrail Nitrus. Which, two years ago, hurt my ankle, but now, in 2010, I’ve been running very well in it. LOL.

SO it appears I have two very capable trail shoes to run in. So why is this disappointing? Because I want to buy new running shoes, darn it!!

Trail Awesomeness

What a great run today. Cool temps, around 60, no humidity, light breeze. Our ongoing drought ensures that the bridle trail is bone dry. Even the huge muddle pockets that the horses have churned up have solidified into firm mud, where you can just run across it.

My first trail run since The Ring-I felt really good, and felt faster. I don’t know how to describe it. Well, I guess I can. I was running. After the rocks of Virginia, my minimally rooty dirt path just seemed like no effort! I was running everything. I felt lighter, and felt faster. I even ran some uphills. Just a joyful day in the woods.

I dutifully logged my run at, and then compared my pace to other runs there. My pace was 15.16 minute miles, which is a bit quicker than my fastest pace there previous, of 15.54, very nice, 38 seconds quicker per mile!

A very good run today. I think I will run Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and take Thursday and Friday off, to rest up for the YUT-C 50K on Saturday.