Monthly Archives: September 2012

Home From YUTC

I will write an “Aid Station Report” probably  Monday (as I work tomorrow) but my YUTC weekend thoughts:

I had the usual post YUTC depression, where I have to leave my friends and re-enter Real Life. Sigh.

We had GREAT weather!

We trail marked Friday.  Kelli, a new member of the NEO TC, came down from up north just to see the trails and help trail mark:

Kelli and the Bunny Monkey on the Monkey Trail

For our trail marking duties, we got quite the lunch treatment, grilled steak, potatoes, mushrooms, all grilled up by Moose.

A rain fell, as we finished up marking.  This was in our favor, as the Friday night vandals were not out and it appeared that our trail markings were not touched.
Mike Dobies, in search of volunteer hours, came down from Michigan and brought beer.  We stayed up  a bit too long Friday night-wake up calls at 4 and almost 5 am a bit early, but we want to always proof (meaning check) the course for our markings, make sure nobody has messed with them.
Runners always go off course.  And I don’t know how. But they do. 
A long day, working the Aid Station. I was quite hoarse and a bit stiff getting out of the vehicle. Huh? I only hiked/jogged 4 miles this morning. But  I think I sat down for about 5 minutes of the last 8 hours.
Excellent time on my feet. I saw runners finishing their first ultra. Many of them it seemed.  Some were in what looked like serious pain, others almost in tears.  One man ran across our finish line hand in hand with his cute grandchildren, so neat to see.  While it is always awesome to see the “old timers” or the folks with multiple finishes, it is a little special to see the folks break the *barrier* and finish their first ultra.  
And although maybe they were hurting (and this is an ultra, if it was easy, everyone would do it!) it seemed like everyone was coming away with a positive experience from YUTC.
And that is pretty much all we want to do with YUTC.  Have people share the trails, enjoy them, and get a good run in.  Our job is to merely support them.

It IS YUTC Eve!!

It’s been a tough day so far.  I am sitting in my camp chair, waiting for Slim, at MCP, looking at Lake Glacier. We marked trail this morning, and then Moose cooked us a very tasty steak lunch.

Kelli and I then got the Monkeys on the Monkey Trail, and now I sit,  finishing my IPA, waiting for Slim to finish marking his section of trail.

I think we have quite a few more tasks to finish before we get into any serious drinking.

It’s Almost YUTC Eve

It’s the eve before YUTC eve.   My vehicle is packed. I have my spare popup canopy, my Aid Station supplies, my gym bag full of assorted clothes, from warm weather conditions to cool weather conditions; the Monkey Hill Mascots are in the front seat, waiting to be safely seat-belted in.

For this weekend, it’s the YUTC!!  (Pronounced YUT-SEE)

This is the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic, the 50K that my club NEO Trail,  runs every September.  This is the 8th running of the race.

I have missed two years of the event, the first year, and then in 2009, due to a work schedule conflict.
Last year and this year I have graduated to club management and Aid Station duties during the race.  No worries, I get to tour the park during our volunteer run. (And there is also URINEO in December!)

Our race is a pretty old school ultra.  It is in a great location, Mill Creek Park, right in Youngstown Ohio.  This is a gem of a park right in the middle of a city.

The course is a figure eight, so it makes it easy for aid and aid station.  Aid is available about every 4 miles, and there are only two Aid Stations, at the Log Cabin and the Covered Bridge.

Friday we will mark the course, meaning we’ll run the trails,  hanging colored ribbons for the runners to follow.  We have a few people to mark trail this year, so this activity should be done fairly quickly.
Then a picnic lunch of sorts, and then on to buying the rest of the foodstuffs needed for the aid station, like the fresh fruit.  Evening to be spent drinking IPA and Knob and finishing up whatever last minute details that need to be done.

This year Gombu and Shubi will not be here. They have, like the Elves, moved into the West.  They will (and I am already) be missed at this  year’s race. I love you guys!!

Running Partner Wanted

Wanted: running partner, for six to ten mile runs weekly.  Would be nice to extend to 13 or 20 miles over time. Must be within 1 hour radius of my home.  Must be able to maintain my pace OR (preferably) be a slightly faster runner.

I have a four week work schedule, and my days working-and days off-differ week to week on the schedule.  This makes it rather difficult to schedule things, unless I have my little date-book in hand.

Hence part of my problem with speedwork. No, I have not abandoned it.  But I ran the 50 mile race August 25, then  I ran the Groundhog 50K Sept 8, and I haven’t been able to schedule the speedwork in, amidst recovery.

At first I thought I would get my track workout in Thursday, Sept 13.  But my legs and quads are still a bit heavy from Punxy. So I think I will get back to the track Monday, September 17, my next day off from work.

When I ran the Groundhog 50K, I did not get *tired* until about mile 29 or 30.  I still had energy.  This tells me I was not exerting myself as much as I could.

I have told Mongold the same in the past month, I physically have the means to motor on, but I do not have the mental push. I could run faster,  but I don’t have any little voices in my head exhorting me on.  My body can do it.  I just have to get the mind to sign on and tell the body to speed it up.

Hence, the idea of running partners. Of maybe people just running slightly faster than me.  We will see. There is a group in a town; one town over from me, that seems to do a group run on Wednesday evenings.  I think I will explore that option and see if anyone is near my pace-or slightly faster.  Even on roads.  Couldn’t hurt!

I am going to see if “tomorrow” is a good day to try and speed up my 10K (which is really 10.64) around the block.  It seems like the weather may cooperate and be a bit cool.  Which may almost be *cold* in our normal, late summer context.

Alternative workouts

I would have titled this “Mountain Biking” but I don’t think I generated enough time on the bike to make it a proper post of its own.

I got to sleep in this morning, after an interrupted sleep of hearing the coyotes howl and yip outside; which caused my GS pup to do her own howling.

If you don’t know what coyotes wailing and yipping sound it, try to imagine a high school gym of girls, where someone throws a snake into the floor.  It’s a high pitch squeal almost.  The first time I heard coyotes yip, I thought there was a gang of teenagers out in my field somewhere.  There was also howling last night, along with yipping, so it was quite entertaining..unless you were trying to sleep at 2 am.

I had a nice mellow morning, got the dogs out on their hike, yanked out some thyme plants from the garden and repotted for the winter months for the house; cleaned up my AS gear and packed it for the upcoming YUTC weekend race.

Then I decided to hop on the mountain bike and ride the gravel private road on our property, and try to spin out some of the lactic acid in my legs.  Traditionally, for me, DOMS hits my legs on the second day, so since I felt pretty good, I thought a little elevated heart rate and leg excercise would be good after the Groundhog 50K.

I got off the gravel road, onto our “trail” around the estate, which included some of the pasture.

I hastily concluded I should do some brush-hogging through these fields, if I want to bike through them; the briars were tearing up my legs.

Last stop was my slack line.  The hipster has a slack line; and I was really interested in it.  It’s a great work out of your core.   Since installing the slack line, I think I have been on it two or three times. One of my future podcasts shall be entitled : “Waiting for my slack line to dry”.  It suffices to say, Ohio has a different dewpoint than Colorado.  
I still suck at it. I can barely get both feet on it, with a step or two before falling off.
But at least, I got my HR elevated with a little biking, got a sweat going, felt the quad muscles, so I hope to have a little less muscle soreness on Monday.
Due to work schedules, I do only have a three day work week this week, I AM looking forward to that!

Groundhog 50K Race Report

A return to one of  my favorite races, the Groundhog 50K.  I ran it last in 2009. Since then, the race director has changed over to Bob Lott and it is sponsored by the VFW.  I was happy to say the Groundhog 50K has remained a nicely organized, friendly race that I remembered.

The hills (and the course) have not changed!  The course is a “lollipop” you run out on the stick, run the circle loop (twice) and then finish run back along the way you came out.

Race morning was warm. 75 degrees. But the weather forecast was for 100% rain and a drop in temps that I was looking forward to.

It was funny, in perusing the entrants list, how few Buckeyes were over for the race.Back in the day, like in 2009, it seemed at least 1/2 the entrants were from Ohio and I knew most of them.  I did run into Lew, from WVMTR before the race, and also Scott and Rick.

My legs were extremely tight on the first few miles, both hamstrings, and shins.  I carefully ran down ESPN Hill, since I didn’t feel warmed up yet.

The rain began about mile 2. This made the descent of “Two Beers Hill” a little slick, and I took it more easy than I usually do.  But these climbs and descents did warm up my legs finally.

I got over to the Buck Run AS, and I got a shout out from ultra runner Brian Krogman, who was working the AS. This energized me to get down the trail, to face “Yellowbus Hill” and then “Crybaby Hill”.

In past Groundhog 50K races, the male winners have always managed to pass me on my first loop (which is their second loop.)  I was happy to see this year, the winner did not manage to lap me.

I enjoyed revisiting the named hills again.  We were running in a light rain, and once past these hills, the skies opened and the rain really came down.

The second loop is in the rain, and Rick and I share some trail time after the hills.  We start down the short road section, before we encounter the Buck Run AS, and are astounded to see two downed trees in the road.  These trees were not here on the first loop through!  Must have had some severe weather on the course, but not where I was.

Last time through the Buck Run AS.  I got alot of positive energy from the Krogman, and was really energized leaving the AS.  I was still feeling very good, and really not out of energy.

But now I had the Water Tower Hill (really not that bad) and the few miles of reclaimed strip mine to get through.  The rain had almost stopped, but the temp was still a bit cool.

I had run this whole race without a watch.  The Garmin beeped “low battery”  so I turned it off and chucked it back into my vehicle before the race. So I was just….running.  I didn’t  know how fast, or slow.  I was just running.

The problem with the Groundhog course is you might be running very well, on course for a PR..but you still have to go up both Two Beers Hill and ESPN Tower Hill.

My climbing skills have improved dramatically since 2009. Two Beers is done, no stopping, and  then  I am running down the backside of TB.  I cross the road and then climb the ESPN Tower Hill.  I don’t catch anyone on the climb, but I pass three people on the way back to the finish.

One guy catches me at the high school and re passes me. It is all downhill here now, but he’s on fire, I can’t catch him.

It’s all downhill but it’s on a town road, so there is car traffic.  I put my head down and run.  I am almost to the hardware store when a car stops on the side street next to it.  Oh no, dude,  I do not want to stop for  you.  He waves me on, and I tear around the corner of the hardware store to the finish line.

There is no finish line clock or really any finish line;  I stop running by the timing tent.  Some guy says good job and hands  me a little box, and I ask “what’s my finishing time?”


6.41.  I ask them to repeat them that.  Awesome.  I ran without a watch, running to feel, and I PR’d my Groundhog 50K time-from 2006.  

So, nice race, nice to see the Groundhog 50K course again, and a PR.  A good day for me!


Since I am an ultra runner, I am tapering for my 50K.

This means, I am not running Thursday and Friday, before the event.

I am working too many days lately.  I read a post on FB, about how the weather for the Groundhog 50K. 

“Oh pshaw, ”  I thought. “It’s too soon to be thinking about the weather, it will change by next weekend..”

Hey there!  Ooops, I remembered, wow, the race is actually this Saturday.  So the weather forecast-now a high of 70 degrees, and maybe 70% percent chance of rain-has me all giddy.  That’s what 95% humidity and 90 degrees does to an East Coast runner.  I will love it if the temperature drops AND it rains all day. That would suit me fine.  (It would suck for the volunteers though  🙁  )

So I am leaving for “The Weather Capital of the World” after work tomorrow.  I will miss the spaghetti dinner where Phil makes a special guest appearance.   I am pretty stoked about my return trip to the Groundhog 50K course, it’s been a few years!