Monthly Archives: January 2012

Blast From the Past: My First Ultra Race Report

I’ve been organizing files (photos) on my computer this morning. In doing so, I came across my first ultra race report, the HUFF.  I thought I would post this for your Sunday morning reading pleasure.

HUFF 50K December 2005

Short version: I did it!! 7 hours 38 minutes official, my watch said 7 hours 22 minutes (what’s 10 more minutes after 7 hours…)

Pre-race histrionics: I start SUV to warm it at 0530. I lock doors with clicker. Clicker stops working at this critical minute. Panic and despair ensue. I finally call the Huntington Police, who say they will send someone out. There must not be much crime in Huntington at 610am Saturday morning, because the K-9 unit showed up, broke into my vehicle,and I was on my way again at 615am!  (The police officer did say maybe this was a sign I shouldn’t run the race…) 

I arrive way early at the campground, enough time to calm myself down, get all my food, clothes, etc ready for the loops. I am parked right by the trail so I can change or pick up food from my own vehicle. 
This is a loop course, 10.8 mile loops around the Roush Lake Reservoir. Temps are a bit cool, in the teens (F) when we start. We’re all really really cold at the start. 
The cannon does go BOOM!!! And we’re all off, the relay runners and 50K’ers. The one-loop fun runners will be started about ten minutes behind us.  
This is a nice, scenic course, it was very pretty at daybreak, sun glinting off icles and the lake. It was hard to look up though, because the footing was very uneven and unstable this first loop. There was probaly 6-8 inches of snow, which, due to the cold, was not getting beat down at all, even with all the folks in front of me. The first loop was very crowded, too, it was pretty much going one by one up the trail. Passing someone ment going into the deep snow of about one foot on either side. The trail or the racers finally opened up for me about the second aid station, which was around mile 8 or so. 
I had no real expectation of time goals, although I thought 6 hours seemed rather a reasonable number. I thought I could do each 10 mile split in about two hours (I was just ignoring the other 0.8 mile, not being a mathelete.) And my splits through the 10 miles were 2.01 hours, then around 2.15 for the second 10, and 2.30 for the third then (more or less).   
On the second loop, there was no problem with running space! Everyone had spaced out, and I wasn’t running around alot of other folks. It was amazing what I remembered on the first loop to prepare for the second loop. The footing was improving too, the sun was heating some of the snow and it was getting trodden down, improving in many areas. I was getting tired already though, the first lap of tromping and teetering, trying to balance, had tired me. My upper body was stiff after constantly watching the trail. I was shuffling along on the second loop, on the road to the first aid station when I thought to myself “I am dog azzed tired” And I immediately felt worse. Then I banished that thought, thinking, no “I am strong but slow.” Then I thought it should be “strong AND slow” so I quibbled over that myself and managed to while away a good half mile before I decided on “slow AND strong”. 
Loop 3 came about and I did not change my shoes and socks like I did after the first loop. Which I should have, because I had changed out of my trail shoes for running shoes, which got soaked rather quickly in the inches of snow. I just grabbed a fresh toboggan hat (I changed hats at each loop I sweat so much) and more food and shuffled on. 
Loop 3 was good because it was the LAST loop!!! I was really out there by myself now. I picked up some of the remaining Coke at Aid Station 1, and that really perked me for a few miles. I then tried to keep eating as I went forward, because that seemed to help with energy levels. 
I was of course power walking any slopes. There were only a few areas that I could call “hills” here it was a very mangeable course. I developed a non-specific leg pain in my right thigh (different that my normal hamstring pain) which actually hurt when I walked. 
I glanced at my watch at one point and saw I was over the five hour mark…longer than any other run I had every done..then once I clicked over 26.6, longer in miles than any run I had ever done! 
I just kept watching for the mile markers on the last lap, and the big landmarkers..airport, check..aid station 1, check. Awful road section by shooting range, check. 3 runners passed me here and asked if I was okay. I was walking the uphill and eating potato chips and told them I was fine. I caught them at the last aid station, grabbed some hot chocolate on the go and moved on. It was interesting trying to drink hot chocolate and shuffle at the same time. Next was the reservoir, then 3 foot bridges, then the restrooms at the campgrounds, then done. 
Got to the reservoir, headed across it. There was a woman ahead of me, just moving ahead very steadily. I was surprised when I caught up to her right before mile 10, she had been doing great. I passed her and then finally saw the Magical Mile Ten Marker!! 0.8 miles to go!!! I was so excited, I was muttering “ten! ten! ten!” Then I knew all I had to do was pass over 3 footbridges, and then I was see the restrooms and be at the campground. 
I pass over the first footbridge and heard an awful commotion behind me. First I thought it was dogs barking, then I thought it was the trio of runners being me, catching up to me and yelling! I must have really slowed down! No, it was the geese over on the reservoir I was hearing, I was finally getting close!!! Two more bridges….and then…yes it was, ohmygod, I’ve never been more happy to see a bathroom (well, actually I probaly have been, but this meant the end of the race) I trucked it through the campground, and turned the corner into the finishing shoot and completed the race!!!! 
My chip and bib strip was taken, and then I passed the mental examination in the hot tent (I had to fill out a card with my name, sex, bib number and approximate finishing time…you do that after running 7 hours..) I must have passed because I got my finisher’s medal and was pointed to the soup tent! 
I got some great chicken soup, slumped down over it in the corner and started to cry..I am not sure why..just so damn glad to be done running. Some nice man noticed me and came over and talked to me, congratulated me for the race and finding out it was my first ultra. That helped me recover a bit and he said he thought conditions were pretty tough out there on the first loop too.

I was really beat after this run. I was running two more hours longer than anything I had ever done. I am glad I had just run the marathon two weeks prior though, where I had good mileage in for this. If I had only run 20 milers or so for this I think I would have been cooked. 

I’m going to buy some more wool-blend socks and some gaiters for winter running too. 
I’m really really pleased with myself. At no point did I not think I could run these race…strong and slow, I knew I could do it. I really did not have too many bad hurts, just one toe which I knew was kind of turning into hamburger but there was nothing I could do about it, and leg pain, but nothing really too bad. 
 Notes from 2012:  I don’t think I would recommend running a road marathon 2 weeks before your first 50K..

Fun Day Up North

I travelled up north-to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park-for the traditional Winter Buckeye Trail FA, held on the last Saturday of January. Most have forgotten about this, since it turned into the “Run for Regis” which is now held MLK Jr weekend.

But NEO TC has not, and the King of the Miles Contest is underway for 2012!!

Six of us made it, with two more females that must have turned and ran a different route. Tara, Wild Bill, Barefoot Johnny and Pepper, Dean, and Bryce. Dean and Bryce turned back after one hour, and Johnny had gotten behind, so it was just Tara, Bill and myself.

Blue Hen Falls

We ran the Buckeye Trail to the stables-very muddy and slick. We returned on some of the BT, but also took a side trip. Wild Bill even took us off piste for a bit!!

I had never been to Brandywine Falls, so we also made a stop there:

Check out the force of nature here!!
Bill and Tara
The Trail Goddess and Tara
A good run “up north” today.  Trail conditions were slick and slidy, and lots of water.  I got the time on my feet that I needed, and completed my last long run before The Wild Oak Trail.  I feel kind of relieved to have gotten the miles in.  Now for the modified taper-ish time!

Bread Baking Wednesday

I finally got around to experiment with the 5 minute, no knead bread method.  This is from the book: “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”.

This is Attempt Number 1 !! 

The bread came out a bit dense.

I am not sure I had the proper whole wheat flour, as it said “whole wheat graham flour”. I am going to buy some new whole wheat flour for another try.

It really is dummy simple. Mix the dry ingredients, add the water, let rise. No kneeading. Throw it in the refrigerator. On baking day, take out, make round-like, let rise for 90 minutes, then bake.

Okay, for running content-no run today. I have had a bit of pain in my adductor muscle, the adductor magnus, I believe. This is probably due to the uneven surface snow surface at Mohican on Sunday. Instead of the 10K run planned, I elected to walk on the treadmill and get my pushups in.

I am planning on running 20 miles for the Winter Buckeye Trail FA, in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Saturday. I would really like it to be 50K, but I will see how I feel. I have to keep in mind I do have a 100 mile event coming up soon and I do not want to be overtrained-or under-recovered for that.

It felt Like Spring

The temperature was a balmy 36 degrees this morning. In the daylight it felt like spring, after the cold winds of the last few days.

Today was hill repeats. I drove over to my hill.  It is about 3 miles into my normal 10K loop, but performing hill repeats on the hill in the middle of the 10K does not give me enough time in the morning to get all this in.

My 10K loop is a nasty road to drive on, as it’s mainly slidy mud right now.

I am glad I got out for these hill repeats, because I can tell my improvement on this hill from last year.   I could have done more repeats had I not run out of time.  I was not that fatigued climbing the hill as I was last year.

This was an interesting kind of observation/quote from Frozen Ed Furtaw, from the Barkley List:

I like the way this concept was stated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
“It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.”

With this interpretation, one’s estimation of their abilities is irrelevant.  What is important is how one proceeds or acts, regardless of preconceived estimations.  At Barkley, we must proceed as if we can succeed.  If limits of our abilities do indeed exist, they will smack us in the face in due course, regardless of our beliefs.  Of course, those smackings occur sooner for some runners than for others.


I will keep this in mind for The Wild Oak Trail. 

Run at Mohican

I had seen on FB that Terri and others were going to run at Mohican on Sunday, but I was just planning on 20 miles on the roads here around town.

Then Mikey called and personally requested my presence. He’s going to be moving soon, and might not be back on the beloved trails of Mohican any time soon. So of course, I am off to Mo for the run.

Mike, myself, Terri, Mark, Zach, Don, Nick, Rob, Mark all convened at the pavilion at the Class A Campgrounds.  There was still quite a bit of snow at Mo-4 to 6 inches.  We were already downgrading the proposed 50K down to something managable.

We asked Terri what we were running…it seemed the plan was to run the Mohican 100 course loop.

So off we went.  The first mile of trail had been broken by a snowshoe trekker the day before.  Then Nick took the lead and broke trail as we crossed across the river to the mountain bike trail.

Lots of talk talk talk on the trail.  Lots of joke, smack talking.  We were trying to ignore the fact that the snow was rather deep; there was much more slogging thru snow than alot of running.

We lost Don, Nick, and Zach after a few miles, as they peeled off on the road to complete their runs.

The rest of us trodded on.  It was quite funny in places, as we tried to figure out where we were, exactly. (The group had more than one thousand Mohican miles between us.) 

Mark had a brillant idea when we got to the mountain bike trailhead, nine miles in. He proposed we just turn around and retrace our steps..since we now  had a broken in trail to run in, with the slight wind behind us.  This was readily accessable.

Rob elected to bail with Mark L. here, to continue on with his training plan of the day, so it was down to Mike, Mark, Terri and I. 

It was slower going back, but still a good time. Terri need to make her mileage an even 20, but I was fine to bail at 18 trail miles for the day.

GREAT to be back at Mohican and even better to spend some trail time with Mikey!!

I had a good run today.

It was cold-about 21 F at 11 am, and windy.  I donned long johns under my Marmot Precip Pants, and on top wore just one merino wool long sleev tops and my Sierra Designs windbreaker. I also brought along my $32 dollar wind mittens, along with my cheapo knit gloves.

I also decided to try out the Ultimate Direction bladder that my new Wink pack arrived with.  I was rather dubious of its design.

As my rotten pics show, there is no screw on lid, or clip for the UD pack.
It has this kind of sandwich bag type seal. But I could not get this to seal together.

Then you roll down the plastic bladder.


 And secure with the velcro.  Now this does seem kind of secure.

 And then into the pack, hanging off it’s little velcro hook.
The reason I decided to try this today was, the hose is insulated.  (And I could not take it off this bladder for use on another.)  It worked out just fine, but I am kind of hesitant to use this in a long race. I may use this again tomorrow, and see how it works out.  I am just hesistant about having this filled up at an AS and not having it sealed or cinched down properly.  As an old AS worker myself, this would also be a hydration pack that I would make the runner close up themselves.
Has anyone used this Ultimate Direction bladder in a race? Feedback?
Ok, back to the run.  It was cold, the wind was strong, and I was miserable. I was very glad for all the windbreaker clothing I had on, it was needed.  Miles 0 through 4 sucked.
Once I climbed up to the ridgeline, it was the point of no return, if I did retreat it would still be 4 miles back.
At mile 5.7, I paused. I could take the side road, for more mileage-original plan-or I could continue down the road to finish up a bit shorter.
Well, what would the point of that be?  My husband went out of town for the morning, so I couldn’t even use the excuse of that.  I turned left.  This is a township road, so it was just like running on a snow covered trail, since it’s mainly a dirt and gravel road at best.
I ate a Payday mini bar as I climbed up the township road and crossed the road for the big downhill section. I also clicked the Zune over to “music”.
And, at mile 7.9, the calories or sugar hit from the candybar simultaneously with the music starting, I was running downhill, and it was GREAT!!
It did not hurt that this is about a big one mile downhill.  The rest of my run was great. I smiled the rest of the way.
The husband was just returning home as I ran down the hill, so great timing!
I’m glad I suffered through the wind and my attitude for the first few miles.  Must remember this!!