Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fine Folks at Cheat Mountain

A hot night for a race; high humidity; the nicest runners. All nice and polite as they hit our Aid Station twice; many hurting with turned stomachs and beat up quads, but they never directed that toward us.

 The runners encountered us as Aid Station # 2 on their way in.  They have just climbed 12 miles up a dirt/gravel Forest  Road. We are surprised to have three runners as the ‘lead pack’.  We get their water/Coke issues taken care of and direct them to finally, trail.

The second group is just a few minutes behind, surprisingly. Last year, Jeremy Ramsay was all by himself in the lead, but not this year.
Now the runners are coming in rather steadily.This is the time where they just want their packs filled up. We are dancing around trying to get to everyone in a timely manner. I curse the new Nathan Hydration Packs, with their weird slide across/clippy thing bladders.  These bladders are a pain in the ass. I need to email Nathan my displeasure.  I had an old Nathan bladder that had a screw on lid; these are much easier to fill up and reseal than these new ones!

Chris comes through. Chris is a noob. He’s never run a marathon, ultra. Since we’re at around mile 12, he is almost to his longest distance ever (which I would guess is the 1/2 marathon.) You gotta love the spirit that decides to just jump into an all night trail 50 mile race, in West Virginia!

Things settle down. I go and rest in my vehicle. It’s one am. Our lead pack should be back around 230 am.
I set the alarm for 215 am. It’s more resting than any shut eye.

Our first runner comes through. It’s Frank Gonzalez, on his way to the course record. He just wants water and he’s gone.

A little later, Jeremy Ramsay comes by. We tell him he can catch Frank, and he laughs. He is in a good mood and even stays for a cup of hot potato soup before he meanders down the trail.

On the way back, runners are not coming through that quickly.

On their way back, they had 7.2 miles to the next aid station..I stopped dropping the ” 0.2″ early on.

I also made sure I told them 7 miles to the next AS..not really what they wanted to hear, but I wanted to make sure they grabbed some calories with full water bottles before they left us. Only had to scold a few about water bottles. Food I left to their discretion…made sure they knew what we had, tried to push some things to them.

A shorter race (like 50 milers or under) is different than a 100 mile AS. I only had one person sit down during this 50 miler, and she was attending to a blister. Of course, there were AS workers sleeping in the other chairs, so that probably helped lol.  But generally, during a 100 mile AS, I will literally put the cup of soup/hydration in a runner’s hand…and they will generally try to intake some of it.

This year’s Cheat Mountain 50 miler was HOT and humid. I put on long pants and a sweater and didn’t really need it. The temps, even at 530 am, was not that cool. Runners were still coming in, totally sweated up at 5am in the morning with stomach issues.  They didn’t want to eat much, and I tried not to push. Next year, if I am working the same AS, I will have chicken broth along with potato soup, to try and coax some folks to eat.

The back of the pack was huge this year, maybe 15 to 20 folks rolling in within minutes of each other.

All very pleasant. Really, I can’t think of another AS that I have worked where folks were so nice. They mentioned how they couldn’t run downhill any more, that they couldn’t eat, nothing sounded good; but it was not whining complaining.  All runners thanked us as they headed out.

Oh, and our newby Chris?? He revisited us!  We remembered him, got him some water and food, and sent him on his way to his first ultra finish.  I am pretty sure this is

Christopher Bates      26   M      12:39:49.8
Congratulations Chris! Great finish at a tough 50 mile event! Hope to see you at many more! 

Dog gone Run!

It’s a good thing I am not afraid of dogs.

The normal 10K around the block. I fill up my water bladder all the way. I don’t need it on a 10K, but I want to make sure the very small leak is ok.
It isn’t. Probaly with the weight of the entire bladder being full, I am drenched on the bottom from this water bladder. Check. This is the better time to figure out this isn’t working than this Friday or Saturday! I do have a replacement bladder that I will fill up and check for leaks.

Back to the dogs..

The bloodhound is in a yard, at a house on top of a hill-maybe he actually lives there. I’m glad to see him up there, since it’s pretty fair away, and he won’t bother me.

I see him about one second before he slams into me.

He seems to have learned ‘no’ and ‘down’ a bit better. I can continue down the road, but now he’s running along with me. Great.

We run down the hill, where the friendly passive beagle dogs are. Good, maybe bloodhound pup won’t get by these two.

Nope, 1/2 mile down the road, he’s back.

We climb up the hill to where the Gump dogs live. Three of the Gump dogs are waiting for me at the top of the hill. Bloodhound pup does retreat and presumably went home.

Well, the Gump dogs were back to their pushy selves, one wanted to gnaw on my closed fist, getting in my way. I finally push by them, and start to run again.

Cranky old beagle doesn’t like this, and I have to keep slowing down to keep an eye on him. He’s a little too close to my calves with his hackles up, so I have to tell him to “back off Jackson!” rather sharply. This helps, and he retreats.

That was it for the dog encounters. At least they are all rather friendly like. I don’t want to get into antagonizing all these dogs on my route, but sometimes it’s a bit wearing. A small price to pay perhaps, for the pretty views I get to see on my routine route!

Cheat Mountain Aid Station

Leaving for the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50 Mile Race in a few hours.
I will be working Aid Station 2/7.

Cheat Mountain is a night time race. Starts at 9 pm Friday night.
There will be more pics after I get home Saturday afternoon!

Why Not?

My, sometimes the thoughts fly fast, and faster than I can capture with the pen..or, computer..

I was listening to an ultra running podcast, the latest episode, and I believe the host was referring to my blog post in his discussion. I burst out laughing. The podcaster is very good at trying to keep anonymity on the internet (which I think is a good idea) but it was pretty clear to me he was referring me. (Ok, I guess you had to be me to understand this.) But he actually recanted his statement about a woman finishing The Barkley. He changed his mind due to Jennifer Pharr Davis new world record on the AT. Davis’ AT times bested two Barkley finisher times, David Horton, and Andrew Thompson, who also finished the AT (and Thompson used to hold the record).

The question would be, is, does, Jen Pharr Davis have any hankering to run the Barkley? I’m sure she knows what it is, she is in the ultra community, and friends of Horton.

Okay, that was amusing stuff of the day.

I’ve been feeling rather bipolar in my self lately. One minute I am fretting over low mileage weeks, then I run my personal best on a training route and post my best body weight.
I’m doing real good with small goals lately. Run up that hill by summer’s end? Ok; check that box off twice. I now have a different hill planned to summit by running by summer’s end.
And you know what happens after you know you can *run* the hill (instead of hiking)? You have now freed your mind that you “cannot”. Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier. I’ve run up hills that I thought impossible. Now these hills will become part of the normal “running” routine. (Not every time; but I used to say that about wee small hills, that I now routinely run up).

Future goals:

I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo,this November.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

This is quantity, over quality. I have no idea what I am going to write about yet.

But, why not?

Why not force my creative side to the front? Why not eschew reading Facebook and Twitter, and focus more on a new, creative, challenge, than catching up on what everyone is having for lunch?

I am also going to apply  for The Barkley Marathon for 2012.

Again, why not? It’s the quotation I have at the top of my blog, from (aptly) the Barkley RD:

“1) you will never achieve great things with small goals
2) there is no guarantee you will have another chance tomorrow”

Breakthrough Run

Okay, after all my angst of no-weekend training, I did it.

Breakthrough run.

The degrees helped. It was about 60 degrees when I left the house, I actually had goosebumps on the arms as I walked up the road.

I was running well. The temperature was so nice and cool.  I ran up the first little hills of my normal route. I looked at my Garmin at the one mile mark: 10:54.  That was good, due to no walking on the hills.
I ran past Yellow Water Road, and the next hill I ran up.
Now I have a big downhill, and the giant bloodhound puppy was not out to accost me.
Across the cow pastures, then up the steep hill that I conquered earlyt this summer..still running.
The Gump dogs were not around either, and I hit my big downhill.
Across a few more rolling hills, to the Big Hill, where I was planning on my hill repeats.
This is the hill I vowed to run up last week, as I was pushing my bike up it.

I started up it, resolving to “see how far” I could get running. I kept my eyes on the road in front of me, and kept the leg turnover in a running mode. I kept going. I got past the first rather steep grade, and then it’s easier. I’m still running. I glance at the Garmin, it’s showing a 19 minute pace, but it’s still a running motion.
I keep it up and as the hill levels out a bit, it’s a 17 minute mile.
Then I crest the hill. I  have done it!!!!!!

Well, if I have run the biggest hill, now I have to run the rest of them. And I do.

6.4 miles, 1.15:38, 11:50 pace, a new PR for the route.

It’s more about than I ran the entire route. I conquered the hills!

Eating Clean for August

Well, I am not sure I have ever defined what my “clean eating” was for August.

But it’s definitely worked for me. Basically,I cut out the white rice, potatoes, bread, and crackers from my diet.
And the turkey pepperoni, jerky, and string cheese lite.

The above mentioned foods are about the only processed foods I actually eat.

What  have I been eating in August? Squash. And tomatoes. And I love both.

I have been cutting  up zucchini squash raw, into strips. Drizzling with a little EVO (extra virgin Olive Oil) and spices (whatever is handy, oregano, Adobo, thyme, savory) and throwing into a little container for work.

Tomatoes? I love in every form.  I eat, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I eat tomatoes,cooked in a pan with eggs. I eat two servings of grape tomatoes daily at work.

I find, curiously, that I am not missing my crackers. I used to have that “crunchy” craving, usually at work when I was bored.

Now, this is not all or none. I’ve ate pizza a few weekends ago; ate lunch out with my husband, happily eating all sorts of Greek food, and did not even try to eat clean. Today we will have lunch out, and I probably will have a burger and fries or something similiar. Over the weekend, at work, I ate homemade whole wheat pasta salad with chicken as my main meals.

But I am happy trying to eat unprocessed foods as much as possible. I am sure that has helped with the last two pounds of weight that came off. I no longer think I have to have a “carb” with my veggies and protein at every meal. And I can work all day and then go run, without having to have some sort of processed carb to give me some energy.

I have also changed my omega 3/6 supplementation, which I am going to address in a separate post, which may also have some sort of bearing on satiety-the fact that I am taking in more (healthy) fat.

So I think the clean eating will continue way past August. It probably will fall into the 90-10 rule; eat clean 90% of the time, and don’t fret about the other 10%.

Trusting Your Training

Ever just feel like you aren’t doing enough? Feel like you should be doing more, doing speedwork, running more miles, more hill repeats?

I usually have this feeling around the weekends I work, where my mileage week is typically much lower. And then I surf on Facebook and Twitter, and see where *everyone* is running and racing..and I am stuck at work.

Sigh. I know it’s irrational. My training has been..adequate..

I guess it depends on what I am training for. I would say I am training for the WV Trilogy, in October. So the Sick Jimmy and the Ring are just good back to back runs for the Trilogy.

What is the Sick Jimmy? Well, this is the Event staged the day before the Event. Named after Jim “Slim” Harris. Slim tends to try and add on miles the day before whatever he is running.

Like the day before The Ring…Jim took Cam and I on a little tour of Bird Knob the day before the Ring last fall…
Then, before the Reverse Ring, Slim had to get 20 miles in on Dickey Ridge with Q the day before..because 71 miles was just not enough..
Hence Moose coining the term “Sick Jimmy”..

So this year, the day before the Ring, we’re running 20 miles. Hence, the Sick Jimmy.

But hey, this is great training for an event that starts with a 50K on Friday, a 50 mile race on Saturday, and a half-marathon on Sunday! I can’t wait!