Monthly Archives: April 2012


I have not written much, if anything, about my upcoming 100 trail run.

It’s not that it hasn’t been on my mind.  After my February month, the brain cycled around to MMT.

About, oh four weeks ago, I started the serious thinking about MMT.

I had decided, some time ago, to enter the solo division. This means no pacer, no crew, no headphones.  At first I thought I wanted a crew/pacer, then I got into Hardrock.  So then I really didn’t want a pacer, or crew! If I am to complete HR, I need to be able to run MMT solo.

THEN I wanted a crew again, to get me in and out of aid station quickly. But then I changed my mind about that too.

I’m going solo.

I would like to finish the race in around the same time as last year-31.50, or sub-32.

Of course, first goal is to finish the race. Barring problems, I feel pretty confident that I can complete the MMT Trail Race. (That statement, in itself, is very big to me, just to be able to type that. I’ve come a long ways over the last few years.)

Second goal would to be sub 32.  Third goal would be to do better than 32 hours. That would be awesome.

But MMT is not my goal race for 2012, Hardrock is.  MMT is a good solid race-and training run-to shake everything out for HR.  The clothes, the gear, the shoes, the food, all prep.

I am even going to use the trekking poles at MMT.  I’m going to pick them up at the Visitor’s Center, use them over Bird Knob and the Brown Trail.  My plan is to drop them at Gap II, the last Aid station.  See if they give me some added quickness in the tired hours and climbs.

I’ve written up my race plan and AS strategy, and have my drop bags planned.  I’m glad I was in the Massanutten Mountains in February, for the Reverse Ring and crewing the day before the Ring for Cam’s Double Ring Event.  That gave me more time on the MMT trail, and I can visualize big sections of trail.

I find knowing where I am on a trail, knowing where the climbs are, how far you still need to go to an AS, very helpful during an event.

One of my next days off will be the packing of the drop bags.  This usually takes several hours, as I tend to get wound up and then distracted.  I am very good at using my non-sanctioned Excel spreadsheet to make my lists on.  I write the lists, and then I check off each item, one by one.  This gives me piece of mind that everything is covered.

Twelve days to MMT.  About the only thing I have not prepped for MMT is heat training.  This coming week may help with that, as the temperatures seem to about ready to climb.

I guess I am in taper mode now. I ran 20 miles with Kate, Cam, and Slim Thursday night.  That was my last long run. I got the 10K run around the block today.  I plan another hill repeat this week and will keep the loops to either 4 miles or 10K around the block.

Hmm, what else to say? I don’t know. I feel ready for MMT. I wish it was tomorrow.  I can’t wait to get back on the rocks.  Kerns Mountain will have to be warmer than it was in February.  Can’t wait to feel that difference.

Can’t wait!



After about a year of discussion, we moved our garden beds.  This actually happened today.
My DIRT was moved, from the old raised beds (two feet deep) to new cinder block beds..not two feet deep.

I have great dirt. My old garden beds consisted of eight raised beds. One bed, at all times, was the “compost bed”.   This rotated yearly.  Into this bed, we threw all our compostables: leftover/wilting veg, coffee grounds, coffee filters, clippings, really anything that can be composted.  Our first grass amur casulty, “Moe” joined the compost pile. I also shovelled and haulled wheelbarrows of dried horse manure from our barn across the road.

So, as a result, I’ve got great dirt.  Soil so good it needs to be moved.

And the Move happened. And garden beds were created.  And I did not have to lift a finger for this.


Some of my Thai hot pepper plants growing inside.

I am so happy about this.

I can now get out and sow the turnip seed.  I’ve got a bunch of plants growing under the lights, but some plants need to be started in the garden.

Evening Run

On somewhat short notice, I got together with Slim and Cam, and Kate for a little tour of Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania.  This is just outside of the Pittsburgh area, and just a few miles inside the state line from WV/OH.

It would get dark on us for the loop, and I brought along two new lights, a Fenix handheld and a Petzl.  I also wore my gear that I believe I will start MMT in.

This was a nice little loop in the park, very runnable conditions. Of course, once the sun went down, your world gets reduced to the 3 feet circle you live in.  So I can’t say I saw alot of the park.

I fell twice.  The first time was in the first two miles of our run.  I hit something unknown and boom, went down hard, on the same side and spot as I fell during the marathon on Saturday, adding yet more filth to my  already dirty hydration pack.  Kate remarked about not getting hurt (this close to MMT) and I agreed!

The second time I fell, we were walking uphill in a marshy bridle trail; I caught my foot under a root and had a controlled fall to the mud. Wow, two falls on the same night, kind of alot for me.  All with my right foot. I wonder if I have an imbalance going on.

I took it carefully once the lights came on. I really do not want to risk an injury this close to MMT.

It was very good to get a night run in.  I haven’t done this since February, and had kind of forgotten that sensation of your small circle of trail.  Your world gets reduced to a very small spot, and you run for hours within that spot.  It’s a very different sensation. If you haven’t run at night, on a trail, (and your race requires some night time) I would highly recommend getting out there.  The best training for a night run is a night run!


No Five for Friday today. Heck, too busy to collect enough thoughts for that.

I did only work 40 hours this week, and my Thursday off was full of errands, chores, and FUN!

I managed to take my body measurements on Thursday.  To my surprise, flipping back through my notebook of assorted jottings, I haven’t bothered to take measurements since November 2011.

I haven’t lost any weight in a month, I keep jumping around the same number (sigh, clean eating Kim, clean eating) but I’ve gone down a pants size.

About the only big difference was about a 1/2 inch off my hips.  That must have been enough to make the size 8 fit comfortably.

I do still need to get 10 lbs off.  Clean eating clean eating clean eating.

It’s tougher than it sounds. I am constantly hungry. And I crave salt. Therefore,  I want to eat chips.  I try and compensate by eating crackers and jerky.  Maybe I should just salt my food more.

Race Report: On My Own Two Feet Marathon

This was the inaugural marathon directed by ultrarunner Melissa Cairns.

ALL proceeds benefit local shelters including Cleveland’s Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center and Portage County’s Safer Futures.

 Melissa has been working on this very hard for the last year. About one week ago, she had to change her entire marathon course! The final course was hike a bike and trail; so I thought this would good long run material for my last long run before MMT.

I got out for about 3.7 miles before the marathon and 1/2 marathon started; my plan was to get at least 50K in. The course was nicely split up. We went 5K up on the hike a bike trail, then returned to the start/finish line. Then we went the opposite direction on a crushed limestone trail (towpath?), then entered Towner’s Woods for about two miles. We then exited the woods, ran up to mile 8 on the limestone trail, then ran the woods trail loop again, and back to the finish line for exactly 13.1 miles. The marathoners then repeated the loop.

 It was drizzling rain as we set out. I alternated between being a little hot in my green windbreaker and out right cold. I got to share trail with NEO TC member Elizabeth for a bit in her trim black and pink ensemble; then I slowed down a bit as the half-marathon pace was a bit fast for me.

 My hip flexors were really aching around the half-marathon point. I think it was because of the constant running forward I was doing. In trail running, you don’t do all that much repetitive constant forward motion; there’s obstacles to go over/around, grades to ascend and descend. I did stop and take some Tylenol. I also turned my music on here. The 1/2 marathoners were done and there were about 30 full marathon runners out here, so we were well spread out.

 On my third loop through the woods, I tripped on the same exact spot I had on the second loop, but this time I ate dirt. I found it extremely funny. I resolved to walk through this section on my last time through here.

Melissa had nice aid stations-more like an ultra than a marathon!-spaced out. I stopped to eat and drink at all of them. It was a very cold, pretty nasty day for volunteers out there. There were some young kids out volunteering, and I made sure to thank everyone.

 I managed to chick Mike Halkovich around mile 22.5, then a nice Live Motley Crue song came on my Zune, so I made short work of the woods trail loop. Then it was less than one mile to the finish, and I finished that strong.

Race Director Melissa Cairns and the Trail Goddess

 5.10 was my finish time, not bad for a one day taper, and a week of being tired. This race was more for my head than my body. With the amount of trail on this, I don’t think it stressed my body as much as a road marathon would have. I hope to get in maybe one more longish run in the next week, then it’s taper time.

Thanks Melissa, for a great race, and nice payback to the community!!!

Sometimes a Run is Just a Run

That’s what today’s run was.

I was bored with my 11 miler around the block.  So I mapped out a new location, it was about   9 miles, but I was hoping it would hit with a good descent in a valley.

A “Blah” run. I don’t have many of these. I drank some orange juice with my breakfast, right before my run.  It burned and irritated me on the entire run.

The back roads I chose weren’t that interesting or that epic.  A slow descent to a valley, a short climb up, and then, meh, boringness.

I didn’t have the energy either.  I haven’t gotten that much decent sleep since the Alice pup has arrived.  I believe my longest sleep has been about 7 hours.  I am hoping to improve on that in the 11 days before Massanutten.  And hopefully sooner than that.

So, sometimes a run is just a run.  I am running a marathon on Saturday, it may well turn into my last long run before Massanutten..  I meant to get more long runs in the month of April, but the new mantra I have found is true: ” Train as much as you can consistently train.”

Aid Station Report “Forget the PR” 25 & 50K Race

It was our 4th annual “Forget the PR” 25k and 50K….another successful race.

Unseasonable warm weather for the runners. It was hot and humid out there.

Rob paid me a high compliment by having me start the 50K race.  Of course, I had to first go set up my aid station, then rush back to the Starting Line to get there before the race started!
One of the signs I made and posted on the course as I  marked trail Saturday.
I captained the Fire Tower Aid Station again.   The 25k and 50K runners came through our Aid Station at mile 5.  It was astonishing how much FOOD they were eating at mile 5.   Apparently nobody ate breakfast that morning!
It was a warm day.  The runners were very sweaty but still energized at mile 5.
The 50K runners then returned to us at Mile 19.9.  It was a far different picture on most of the runners on the return.  It was pretty much the first “HOT” weather day of the year for everyone, so there were alot of heat issues with runners-upset stomachs, cramps, fatigue.  
It was a busy time at the Fire Tower.  We were repaid for our suffering at the FT this year. Last year, the weather was in the 50’s and windy for the race. Since the Fire Tower is on the highest point of land, we were in sustained winds.  It was cold and miserable.
This year, it was hot and windy.  That meant, although it was in the 70’s, it was pleasant and non-humid up on the Fire Tower plot.  It was nice to hang out in shorts and race shirts and be comfortable as we catered to the runners.
A troop of Boy Scout types hiked up to the Fire Tower and had lunch as my AS was winding down.  We were packing gear away, and I glanced over at the boys.  I grabbed my open bags of potato chips, pretzels,  and walked over to the troop.  I explained I was packing up my aid station, and would they like some leftover jelly beans-chips-pretzels-bananas?
In about a minute, my open containers of food were gone! The raccoons were unlucky as they got much less leftovers than is usually tossed into the woods.  The boys even ate up my PBJ and rehydrated themselves with water and even Heed, after I explained what it was. 
My last runner was through before 2pm and I rewarded myself by hanging out at the Finish Line a bit longer than usual.  But it was a beautiful day, and I felt like rewarding myself.
The weekend went by too quickly. Although I was glad to be home again, I wished the Mohican weekend could have been four days long.