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..

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!!

PSA: Screwed Shoes

It actually is a record; it’s the 20th of January and I just screwed my shoes this morning.

For anyone not familiar, this is the old school, cheapo, better way to traverse on ice in the winter months.  It will cost you about two bucks to go buy some sheet metal screws.  The hexagonal ones, not the round. The round ones won’t help you at all.

This was the first post I ever read about screwing your shoes, and it tells you everything you need to know.

The rusted screws are from last year.  They were worn down, and many had fallen out, so I just decided to add to the others. 

Scooter Is Back

I went out for my 10K around the block. This time I decided to run it clockwise, I usually run it counterclockwise.

I did get out around 9 am, in a period when it was not actively raining. But I did keep the raincoat in the pack where it has been.

About one mile into the run, it began to pour. I quickly dropped the bag, and took off my merino wool top, leaving on a short sleeved shirt, since I was already warm-the temperature was about 48 F.

The rain was not so bad, it was more the wind. I even put up the hood of the rain coat, and then had to cinch it down so it didn’t act like a sail.

I was going to do some hill repeats, but after one, my legs felt like concrete and my heart just wasn’t into it.

I ran into Scooter in his neighborhood. He decided to accompany me. Which was fine, until we got to the corner of my road.

Scooter started following me up this road too. I stopped, and called for extraction. I told Dennis to just start down the road and pick me up.

So I called to Scooter, who now was delighted to run more, and proceeded to jump all over me, so I could tell he’d had a skunk encounter in some prior time.
I managed to extricate myself from Scooter and hop into the vehicle when Dennis arrived. Scooter was on his own to meander back to his house.

I think I am going to 1) Find out who Scooter belongs to, for future reference 2) run my loop CCW instead of CW. About one or so miles going the other way, the Gump dogs live there, and Scooter always turns around as not to get involved with these other dogs and their territory!

So I actually got a little bonus mileage, aka “Scooter miles” for my 10K. Thanks dog!

My dog Sandal

My dog Sandal

My dog Sandal, passed away today. She had cancer, with a tumor removed in June. She fought a good battle with chemo and radiation and was loved by everyone. She tolerated all her treatments so well. In fact, she would jump into the vehicle to go to the “spa” as we called it. She had a cancerous tumor removed last week, and then this week, all of a sudden wasn’t feeling so good. It was very sudden. Pneumonia in her lungs and it appeared that the cancer was also back in her lungs. We took her to Medvets on Friday, and she was in the ICU. The doctor indicated that the antibiotics weren’t going to cut it, and we decided to let Sandal go, so she wouldn’t have any suffering. Sandal was the best tempered family member we ever had. She was just loved by everyone. And she loved everone. She was the best.

 My two favorite pics of me and Sandal.  This is from 2004. I have just ran and returned from the Akron Marathon. My first marathon.  I’ve have a few glasses of wine LOL.

I just love this picture of she and I here.