Monthly Archives: December 2011

Monkey Hills Marathon Report

This is just a repost from the NEO TC News Blog! “Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.” -Doug Larson

The Monkey Hills Marathon is a very simple premise.  Run the 0.9 mile section of trail that has been christened the Monkey Hills, for a total of 29 laps, to make a marathon.

3 Hills on the course, 6 climbs per lap.  6 x 29= 173 climbs.

452 feet of gain per lap, so 452 X 29 = 13,108 feet of gain.

Mike Dobies, the genius who dreamed up this idea, was also smart enough to not attend the MHM for the second year in a row.

It was dark at 6 am, so I had the light on my head. I climb the last hill at the north end of the loop, and begin to run, and then WHAMMMO! I hit the tree branch and fall on my ass.

Yes, I ran head on into this branch. It hurt quite badly, and for a brief moment I was scared my day of running was over. And all this in the first loop! The pain subsided, and I gingerly got up, and continued down the trail. At least I didn’t damage my light.

With this very short loop it was easy to see the other runners-the early starters were Jim, Bob, Jonathan, and Erin. The trail at first was slick and greasy, and I thought for sure it would deteriorate as the day went on, with the myriad of runners on the trail.

It began to snow after the sun came up

and the wind increased. This actually seemed to help the footing on the trail; the mud dried out a bit.

Running-if you could call it that-this was more like climbing a marathon was simple. It was easy to step into the zen and be a little startled to see Scooby passing me yet again. (He passed me alot!)

Dan Kuzma showed up, and the time passed more quickly with him. Erin, Dan and I stayed together for quite a few loops, chatting the entire time.

Todd “Cheesburglar” Hanks showed up at 1pm with the promised fast food, and the cheeseburger tasted pretty good!

But around this time, I hit my low spot of the day. I was slowing way down. I was also wet on the top, and starting to get a good chill. I made a trip over to my car and changed my entire top, which did help.

I did not eat and drink properly for this effort, despite passing the aid station twice on the loop. The short distance made it deceptively easy to think, yeah, I will grab a cookie next time through… I should have actually been eating more and drinking more.

We were keeping track of our splits on the clipboard at the Happy Hill Aid Station

and it was good to start actually noting what lap I was on.

Bob and Slim joined me for their last few loops, and then Todd accompanied me for my last two loops, so the end of the Monkey Hills Marathon did not suck as bad as I thought it would. I cheerfully said goodbye to the tree that tried to take me out, way back in the beginning of the day.

I finished first female-or first broad, whatever, and also DFL. 10 plus hours for a marathon? Believe it. I was just beat. I have not been that tired from a run in a long time!

There were four finishers from the December 28 MHM, which brings the entire MHM finishers to five. Slim is the only runner idiot to have repeated the marathon effort. 

New Years Resolutions

I hate them! And you shouldn’t make them! And every blogger out there is saying the same thing, blah blah blah! So I won’t say any more!

I don’t really make resolutions, I set goals. And I set them all the time, I don’t wait for an arbitrary number to turn to “one” to do so.

But I do have two resolutions, if they must be called that, this year, and I can use the start of the new year to begin them.

I want to write more, and write better. My blog writing has not been up to what I would like it to be.  Many times that is due to time constraints, or simply when I have the time the writing muse is not upon me. I bought a small netbook to try and do some writing, but it may be easier just to put pen to paper.

The other resolution is to read all the half-read and unread books on my Kindle before buying more! This interferes with the other resolution I have, but I am a reader. With many unread books bought and half forgotten. So, no more new books until I have read the ones already bought!

SO, two resolutions, or goals. Small, and achievable. Measurable.

2012 Training Plan

As presented in MS Paint:

I have my 2012 training plan basically set up.

There is no need for me to stay up late tonight, getting ready to submit my Barkley Essay. I am not entering the Barkley lottery this year, due to getting into Hardrock.

Fatass January 1; 50K distance or less, depending how my legs feel recovered from the Monkey Trail Marathon three days earlier
January 6: 4.6 birthday miles. Yes, that is all. I work on my birthday, and want to have a nice dinner after I get off work. So I shall get up early and run! to get my FA miles in for the 2012 edition of the KOTM contest.

January 14: MMT Training Run #1-  This is the first 32 miles of the MMT 100 Course, from Carolina Furnace to Elizabeth Furnace.  I also plan on getting some Sick Jimmy Virginia miles by travelling down one day early
BT FA January 29-may or may not attend. This is the traditional, now mainly underground Buckeye Trail FA, held on the traditional last Saturday in January

February is a big training month. I hope the weather cooperates with my plans and lets me get my two long runs in.
TWOT-There is a little known event in Virginia, the The Wild Oak Trail, affectionately know as “TWOT”.  This is four loops of TWOT, 25 miles each.   You are entirely self supported on this endeavour.
Reverse Ring-A favorite run on the MMT trail, all 71 miles.  But this is in the counter clockwise direction, so Signal Knob does not suck; but you get 25 miles on your own, in the dark on the east side of the mountains.

 I do not have much planned long run/race for March.  NEO TC Covered Bridge FA will be this month, but we have not decided on the event location yet.

I would hope to get in at least a 50K on the CB FA weekend.


Another month with no long run/race planned for the month.

 I do have one weekend of volunteering, “Forget the PR” 50K is April 15, so I will be working both weekend days for that.

For March and April, I do plan, weather permitting, to get over to the Laurel Highlands Trail and run the G28X2; this is our mile zero to mile 8 out and back-twice. It will net about 7000 feet of elevation gain, and the closest simulation to MMT trail as we can get without going to Virginia.


Back to Massanutten!!!  This time it’s a training run!  Almost said in jest, but it actually is very good prep work for the Hardrock.  I love the MMT trail.  It’s tough, and just ridiculous and absurd with the rocks.
This year I will be running solo, no crew, no pacer, no headphones.  I was thinking about a crew before the HR lottery; after I got in that idea went right out the window.  I need to do this race all by myself.


June will be about recovering from MMT.  The only race I may do would be the Laurel Highlands 50K in June, and that’s just a thought at this time.


Hardrock –for folks that just read my blog, they might not know that this is my “dream race”.  Alot of newby ultrarunners gravitate toward Western States as their big dream race to get into; after I saw Klas Eklof’s pic of the Hardrock course,  that was it. I was smitten.  The beauty and the grandeur of the mountains. WS?  Nope.  I wanted to run Hardrock.
No problemo.  Bob Combs told me I could run HR, but I would have to finish MMT first.
(You have to run a “qualifying” 100 trail race in order to enter the lottery for HR.)
So several years go by, and the time is finally right for me to train and complete MMT in 2011.
And then I get into Hardrock, on one lottery ticket. And, voila, there I am, Hardrock 2012!!

The Rest of 2012:
I am signed up for the 50 Mile Race at the North Country Trail in Michigan at the end of August. This is my only scheduled race, and I haven’t thought really any farther than Hardrock and this 50 mile race.

So that is my 2012 Plans! Time to get training!

Taking Advantage

I try and plan my workouts about one week in advance.  I look at my work schedule, see what different shifts I work, and what week day I am off.  I then take in consideration the family life, what my husband may want to do on my week day off. Last consideration is overview of the weather for the week.

Today was supposed to be a gym day, I was going to climb for one hour before work. But looking at the weather forecast yesterday, I promptly eschewed that idea.  The temperature was 46 degrees this morning, so I went for the 10K around the block.

It was a quiet gray morning. No Scooter the dog or the Gump dogs out and about.  I saw a few gray squirrels and one young Amish farmer.

I ran my loop about 3 minutes faster than normal.  I pushed it on the downhills a bit more, taking advantage of another mild day in Ohio to enjoy the outdoors.

A WW Funny

WW sends me an email, inviting me to assess my weekly Activity Points. 

I click on the link, and it has my current weight, and then wants me to plug in my minutes of activity for the week before.

I’m really not that awake yet, but I do remember about 4 hours at URINEO, I did my 10K loop at least twice, and I think I ran 11 miles around the block. So, let’s just say 10 hours or 1000 minutes.

The WW program won’t accept 1000 minutes.

It finally accepts 500 minutes.

It tells me: “What this means: Great news, you’re currently reaching your Weekly Activity PointsPlus goal!”

While I really do believe in the WW program, it does a better job for helping sedentary folks out rather than the high performance athlete.

Which, now as I sit here and type, might be my stagnation of not losing weight the last two weeks.

I may not be eating enough to offset the calorie burn. 

I think this weeks goal is going to be try and stay OP-on plan-and journal both food and activity level.

With Christmas festivities, I’m sure the food points will be far higher than the activity points.

But I need to get back into the habit of journalling.  I do have a goal of 10 lbs to lose by February.

Monday Run

I probably got out in the nicest time of the day for my run.

 It was still blue skies as I started out.
I brought the camera in order to take a picture of Scooter the Dog.  He seemed to be somewhere else today.
The cow seemed to be interested.
Amish haystacks

Legs felt a bit tired on this 10K.  Tomorrow is a rest day due to working an extra work day this week.

My History of URINEO

Wow, how does time fly.
I’ve been attending URINEO (Ultra Runners In North Eastern Ohio) since 2006.

2006 was a big year of mileage.  (Not for me!)

This was the 50 Mile Group:
Jim Harris 10:28
Dave Peterman 11:55
Frank Dwyer 12:07
Dan Kuzma 13:01
Mike Dobies 13:01
Bill Losey 13:01
Bob Combs 13:01
Brian Musick 14:15

I got in 16.6 miles, and I believe this was the year I slipped and fell. Yep, here’s the post: “On this section, I hit a patch of ice, slipped, got a foot on solid dirt, then the other foot came down on more ice, and WHAM!!! I slipped, legs in the air, landing on my back. My water bottle,which was in the small of my back, kind of melded into my body, which was pretty painful.

I stayed there for a couple of seconds, pretty stunned and hurting. Then I rolled over to my knees—anything broke? No. Well, maybe my right middle finger, but if that was all, that was okay. Everything seemed to be working. I got up to my feet and slumped over a big rock, I was pretty shaky. Wasn’t able to move from there for a bit. Some hikers walked past me and I snapped out of it. 

Okay, forward motion and see how you feel. My head felt a bit funny and I felt my eyesight seemed weird-did I hit my head when I went down? I couldn’t remember. I took my hat off to see if there was dirt on the back of it. No, no dirt, maybe I was just shook up. I walked for quite a bit, and pretty slowly. I wasn’t feeling all that great. My back, with its imprint from the water bottle was not happy. I wasn’t feeling like running either.
But I was getting colder, and I knew I needed to run to keep from getting colder. The Advil that I had at the vehicle, that I was going to take for my IT Band, was looking better and better!! I got back into a run, and got by the hikers, but still wasn’t feeling the greatest. I was worried a bit about my back. I knew it would hurt more later.
I decided it would be best to stop after this lap with my leg and back issues. So I finished up at 4.51.

Jim was coming in to start his fourth lap!! Back at the vehicles, so I chatted a bit with him, told him I was dropping, so everyone would know what had happened to me.


The Love Log 

This, according to my 2007 Report, was when the chatter about MMT began.
I wanted to bail after three loops, but Bob scolded me out to finish the 50K.
This is where the Snow Angel pic came from:

2008: This was the year Bob cut his hand open wide early in the run. I remember stopping at the Mill to help a family take a group phot(a young couple with a baby.) This year we did adjourn to Jib Jab (??) for awesome hot dogs post run.


Another 50K finish for me, but Lloyd Thomas completed 50 miles. This spurred me on to declare my intentions for 50 miles in 2010.

2010: I finish 50 miles at URINEO.

But Slim and I have the race ‘within the run’. It was great.

The Race I think I was still on the East Gorge boardwalk, or just off, when Slim hollers at me from the opposite side of the creek. He is about a 1/2 mile or so behind me. “I’m coming for you”! The throwdown was on. I yelled back some equivalent of “yah, you think so” and I took off. I thought perhaps I could get as far as the Monkey Trails before he caught up.

Besides, we had nothing else to do in the middle of our run, so why not challenge?

I get to the Monkey Trails and take them as quickly as the slick conditions will allow. I’m sweating, but Slim is not in sight. I go around Pot Smoker’s corner and have that very runnable section. The snow has packed down the more technical rocks, so I am able to move.
I get through Slippery Rock Pavilion, slowing down for little walk breaks, but then breaking into a run. I’ve got the mentality: “he can catch me, but I’m going to make him work for it.”
I climb up the mud at the Troll Bridge, and then the little switchback trail. At the top, I pause-and see him!!

 He’s under the bridge! Oh crap. Now he’s about 1/10 of a mile behind me? I feel like the gazelle being hunted down by the relentless hunter.

Still, I got the “make him work for it” mentality, and I just go!
I run into the Professor. “Hi Rich, can’t talk, Slim’s hunting me down”…. hug Rich, and keep going.

I’m at Volney Rogers, then crossing the road, crossing the interstate, carefully going down the steel steps…still no Slim.
As I turn onto Price Road, I hear this ROAR and now there’s a PACK of three (or four) runners, at the top of the Steel Steps!
I both giggle and say ‘oh shit’ now I’m caught.
Then I decided, no, I’m not, they’ll have to catch me. I run up the small incline hill (and mile 32) at a 9.31 minute mile.
I’m pretty much sprinting (as much as I can at mile 32) trying to hit the log cabin before Slim.
Lloyd Thomas comes out of nowhere behind, surprising me.

And I do it! I hit the log cabin about twenty feet in front of Slim. Both of us are laughing and breathing pretty hard. Nothing like a hard foot race in the 33rd mile or so of a 50 mile fat ass.

2011:  With a family wedding to attend, and management details to attend to, I decided 2 loops would have to suffice at URINEO 2011.  I ran with some different runners on my first loop, then second loop Slim and I got to spend trail time together, and then I turned to run with Cam back to the Log Cabin.

I hit a slick rock and almost took a fall right on my butt, but managed to stay upright, but did strain a few back muscles in the process.

Bob Combs and  Bill Losey went over the Hardrock map with Jim and I (and wow, have I come a long way since URINEO 2006) before the festivities got too far under way.

Way too shortly, I had to scamper at 215 pm to attend a family wedding.

Awesome time on trail AND at the Log Cabin with friends.  2012 I will get back to a 50K finish or a 50 mile at URINEO.