Monthly Archives: November 2010

Back from Slim Pickins

Slim Pickins is a Fat Ass NEO Trail Event that I have been looking forward to since..well, last year’s Slim Pickins.

It’s always held the same weekend of the JFK 50 Miler. We’re not fans of the JFK..for various reasons. I have several. Too many miles on the towpath (26.2 I think) and then I think, another 10 on roads. The only part that was interesting to me at all was the first part on the Appalchian Trail. Then there is the whole entry fee/ race director salary. But I digress. Suffice to say, I never thought about entering the JFK.
But around this time of year, in ultra running, it’s “Slim Pickins” if you eschew the JFK. Get it???

I got over to Linn Run State Park, about 1030 am. I left a careful itenary on where I was running (since I was alone). I started up the “Quarry Trail” then absent-mindedly ended up on the Grove Run Trail. Ooops. So much for my trail itenary!

I ended back up on my original trail, the Quarry Trail. It then seemed to change into the “Powdermill Trail” since I saw signs about it on trees. It led me to a dirt road triangle..with nothing marked, no blazes, and no signs. I chose the lower jeep road.
This dumped me out right along the PA Turnpike. OK! This was good. The PA Turnpike runs east-west. I squinted at the sun. It was 12.37 pm. So I should go east. I should pick up the Laurel Highlands Trail (which runs north-south) eventually.
If I was wrong, I should end up in Donegal, Pa. I had 40 bucks and a charge cell phone in my pack. I would think someone would give me a ride to my cabin (about twelve miles away) for twenty dollars.
But this trail led to an actual sign, and I was confused about where I was. So I chose a direction.

And ran into fellow NEO Trail member, Bruce! I told him of my confusion. We ran back the same I had come, and took a different trail. This dumped us on Fish Run Trail, which would lead us back to the cabin. At this point we ran into club President Bob Combs.

Bob chooses to run around and run back with us. I’ve had a good day of running. I’ve gotten 15.38 miles for my troubles.

We have this awesome cabin at Linn Run State Park. Fireplace, stove, frig, bedrooms. We get the fire started, and start breaking out food. We’re relaxing, and a fourth club member, Rich, arrives shortly after dinner.

We have a few drinks, and pretty much decide to go to bed. It’s 9 PM! I get into my bunk (I have the ‘girls room’) solo bunk bed. I hear Rich and Bob talking about how nice it is outside, with the full moon. I am still wired also, so I go out and ask them how far we are running. In short time, we’re garbed up and outside in the cool icy night, starting up a hillside in the dark.
It was great. We would hit some un-rocky ground where we could turn off the lights, and just run/hike in the dark. Awesome six miles on the trail.

We got up early the next morning to run some more. Slim and Cam were joining us. These were my running buds from the Ring. It was cool that Cam (and Jim) hung with my running pace, which is not up to par with these guys yet.

I got to have some great chats with both Bob and Jim. Have I mentioned how much I love and respect these guys? They believe in me so much, tell me I can accomplish my goals and are so generous with their advice and admonishments. They’ve been a huge part of my growth as an ultra runner (and person!)

We got in somewhere around 28’ish miles. (The Garmin died on me). So I got 20+ miles on Friday, with the night run, and 28’ish on Saturday. I got good advice on plans for future runs and races. I got feedback on my training. I got to hear hilarious stories about past runs and racers. I got to share trail and face time with friends-priceless!


It’s Beaujolais Noveau Day!!

And another blog post about Beaujolais Noveau Day!

t one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns like Romanèche-Thorins, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Banners proclaim the good news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivĂ©! “The New Beaujolais has arrived!” One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun.

By French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is to be released no earlier than the third Thursday of November.

Well, here in rural Ohio, I usually get the Beaujolais Noveau, 2010, around the second week of December. It takes more time to get it here.

The red wine is usually…not that good. It’s a 2010 (new harvest) edition. It hasn’t aged at all. I usually drink the bottle by myself ( or with a local friend) as the husband has signed himself out from participating with the vintage.

It’s more about the “event” that is usually 2 weeks late around here, than how the actual wine tastes.

But actually, the husband and I are going out for lunch at the local winery on Thursday. Perhaps we shall celebrate “Beaujolais Noveau Day” in spirit.

Zoar Valley Trail

As I had to have bloodwork drawn at the doctor’s office, I decided to head north just a bit, to Bolivar, Ohio, and run on the Zoar Valley Trail.

I picked up this trail at Fort Laurens. This is a historical site-the only Revolutionary War Fort in Ohio.

Apparently the Zoar Valley Trail is also combined with the Ohio&Erie Towpath Trail at this point also.
Canals were popular in the early 19th century to get people and goods faster than horseback. This was before trains. There were quite a few canals dug and built in Ohio. Most were finished around the time of the railroads-which pretty much killed their business. There was a big flood in 1913, which destroyed many canals.

Well, for anyone not from the Ohio area, horses or mules pulled the canal boats. The animals walked on the “towpath” right next to the canal. Many of these towpaths have been converted into recreational systems. Some have asphalt surfaces, some are a crushed limestone. The towpath I was running on was a bit rougher.
I passed three of the locks. These locks were due to a change of elevation. The canal boats would enter the lock, and the water would be either lowered or brought up so the canal boat could continue. (Don’t ask me how this worked.)
As I ran, I also noticed the “blue blaze” on the tree. The Buckeye Trail also shares space on this trail.
I got almost to my turn around point, where I noticed the historical marker for the Zoarville Station Fink Truss Bridge. Well I had to go and look at it! Pretty cool bridge.
The Zoarville Station Bridge at is the only Fink Through-Truss bridge known to exist in the United States. Well, of course, I had to find out why this was a big deal.
The Zoarville Station Bridge is a rare survivor of the earliest period of iron bridge construction in the United States, an era when unprecedented railroad expansion gave American bridge builders an international reputation for innovation. German immigrant Albert Fink first developed this truss design for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the early 1850s.
Because it is the last of its type, features unique engineering, uses Phoenix columns in its structure, and is ancient with an 1868 construction date, this is a bridge that is rivaled by few in terms of importance.

The bridge features the highly unusual Fink truss configuration. These endposts are vertical and utilize a modified Phoenix Column. Phoenix columns are also used for the top chord and vertical members. Phoenix columns were a special patented type of built-up member. Very few examples of them remain today.

The bridge is also noteworthy for its high levels of aesthetic value. Most notably, the portal of this bridge has a very unique and stunning design to it that makes standing before this bridge quite a visual experience.

Wow! This apparently is a big deal. This is only one section of the bridge. There was originally three sections, and it spanned the Tuscarawas River in Dover. It has been reassembled and restored, and now is over the Conotton Creek.

It was a nice little find out there. Fort Laurens is right off I-77, at the Bolivar exit. This entire trail is actually 20 miles long. It’s non-hilly. It’s almost flat. This might be a good training trail for some “safe” winter miles.

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all the service people out there. My husband is a combat veteran; we’re going out to eat today.

I had a doctor appointment first thing this morning. My husband drove to town with me, as we had an insurance appointment next. Then he went to buy some groceries and I then ran home! 11 miles in 2.15.

My doctor was very pleased with me. As she has not seen me in a year, she was very happy with the 24 lbs I have lost on their scales. My BP was 94/64- no wonder I always get faint whenever I have blood drawn. My oxygen level was 99%, HR was 56. The doc agreed with all the blood work I want to have done-cholesterol, Vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, and the T3 & T4 for the hypothyroidism. She also remarked my levothyroxine dose may need to be changed with my weight loss-something I had not considered. She didn’t know what to do about the calf cramping but finding out what my magnesium and potassium levels are would be a good start. (And the calf just throbbed on my run today-I guess mr Knot didn’t like getting discussed!)

I was very pleased with my time, which included power walking up some steep hills. I’m wondering what I could do in a flat-like 1/2 marathon course!


I have been assessing the rest of November and December. Although I look at each week, assess my work shifts, and then decide on a workout, I also decided I needed to pull back and look at the overall picture too. I think I need to try and push my mileage a bit.
I have a race or “event” once monthly through February. January is an actual “paid” for race. Having an event or race helps get some automatic mileage in.

I work one weekend every month which generally leads to a lighter mileage week.

So my mileage looks something like this:

This week (work weekend) 30 miles
Slim Pickins Weekend-50 mile week, push for 60
Thanksgiving Week- 40+
1st week of December-which is deer gun season-40+. Now this mileage could be set almost to zero if my time after work is tied up with cleaning and wrapping deer. Last year I believe we cut and cleaned deer on 3 days straight.
Work weekend- 33 miles
URINEO Weekend- 80 miles
Week of Christmas- 30 miles
Week of New Years- 60 push for 70
Work Week- 30 miles
Week of Jan 15- 100 K Race on January 15. 64 miles.

I do have some big weeks pencilled in. But at URINEO, I am planning on running 50 miles that day. That only leads to getting 30 miles in on other days.
This will be weather depend also. I’m staying very flexible to weather and family plans.

Planning the weekly mileage out a bit in advance will help me in deciding-and then keeping-the daily mileage runs.
For example, my husband told me Tuesday we were having friends over on Wednesday evening. That meant no run after work. That made me very determined to get my planned 6 mile run in on Tuesday after work.

Which I did! Darkness and all! This was done on the flat bike asphalt trail. As tedious as an out and back is, I think having this trail close to work will help me get miles in this winter. 6 miles, with average pace of 10.58. I was very pleased with my time and getting the full miles in.

Dark Workout Day One

This workout-scheduled, thank god, as a walking day! had alot going against it.

I ended up working 10.5 hours. An impossibly long stressed Monday.

I phoned the husband, “I’m just leaving work now. Still going to get my workout end. I’ll be on the FAA Road walking for a hour. Be home around 8pm.”

So I’ve called myself out. I drive by my home. Park on the private road on the property. Change shirt and shoes out. Strap on the running light. Grab the Zunie and go.

I can hear my dogs caterwauling from below. The road dips,to a point where I can see the living room window light. I know the dogs can see me up on the hill. And I know that they know that it’s me!

On my first loop, I hear something behind me, and I jump and scream a bit. I think it is one of my dogs that has jumped the fence and joined me..but nothing is there. I laugh about this.

Okay, I am doing this in the dark. Stumbling a bit in the dark. But briskly walking my distance.

And I did it faster, in the dark, than I did in the daylight. LOL.

Daylight Saving Time

It’s here. Did you turn the clocks back? Got an extra hour of sleep?

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer since 2007 due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours.

Of course, that means, here in the East (EST) it will be dark at 5 pm. As winter progresses, closer to 4 pm. Many of us will rise in the morning-in the dark and work all day, and return home in the evening-in the dark.

It just sucks your will to live.

(I would never last in Alaska. One, with the 23 hours of sunlight, I’m sure I would go sun happy and kill myself doing things 23 hours of the day. I wouldn’t even make it to the winter hours.)

However, this year I’m prepared for it. I’ve already thought about it (hence the blog post) and am mentally preparing for doing most workouts in the dark.

It is what it is. Good training for the dark hours!