Monthly Archives: June 2013

Prednisone: It’s Whats for Breakfast

Well, I woke up this morning, and the rash seemed to spread a bit.  Then the husband got adamant about finding an urgent care.  So we drove back down south to Rapid City, consulted an Urgent Care, got the prednisone prescription.  Luckily, t his all happened early in the morning, so we were able to still go to Deadwood for lunch and chill back out at the hotel before the pre-race briefing.

I’ve got my clothing and gear ready for the morning.  I just have the pre-race briefing to go to. Then the husband and I are going to bail on the race dinner and find some more protein for the husband for dinner.  I still need to also find a souvenir shirt  for my sister and nephew (not a problem to find in Sturgis.)

So next report should be post race!!

Karma being a bitch?

There was a huge storm in central  Ohio, that I drove home through Tuesday evening.  A bunch of tree branches down on our state route.

One big branch was just up the hill from our house.  I was able to drive around it.  Then the rain stopped quickly, and I grabbed my gardening gloves, and walked up the hill to see if I could pull the branch out of the way.

On first tug-oh no way.  But then, this big trunk moved, and since I had my low center of gravity, I was able to move this BIG tree trunk off the side of the road.

Wednesday we fly to South Dakota.

Fast forward to Thursday morning-I wake up to big splotches of itchiness on various places on my body-legs, one spot on my torso, itching behind my ear.

My first thought is bed bugs!  My husband and I both freak out.  But he has no rash, no bites.

I’ve brought hydrocortisone cream with me, but the tube is almost empty.  As the day goes on, more little rash areas manifest.  We pause among our tourism to buy more hydrocortisone cream and Bactine, as I am pretty uncomfortable with the itching.

*I still have not figured out how the hell I have gotten this.  I did jump into the woods for my emergency bathroom stop on Monday. 
And I haven’t been to the woods since last week! *

I did some googling, and when one blog post mentioned “gardening gloves” I realized exactly how I had got this.  I put my gardening gloves on, and went out and wrestled with that stupid tree trunk.  I had wandered right into the greenery, got my hands on a good “vine” and managed to pull it to the side. Why yes, that “vine” was probably poison ivy/sumac/oak.  ( I would say poison oak or sumac, as our property is coated in poison ivy that doesn’t bother me). 

And that is WHY, on Thursday,  about 30 hours later, my allergy surfaced.

Sometimes karma just bites you in the ass. I was being a good citizen and removing a tree trunk out of the road, so no one would get hurt. I got a good case of poison something for my pains.

My husband is all concerned about my running my race on Saturday, as he thinks my sweating is going to exacerbate this; but I am going to run with or without spousal support.  (This is why bringing a spouse to a race sometimes is not a good thing.)

It’s just poison something folks.  Yes, I am a bit uncomfortable, but now I have figured out where this has come from, and know it’s just an allergic reaction.

Okay, today will be laying low, T-shirt shopping in Sturgis, race meeting and going to bed early!

Black Hills Tour The Iron Mountain Road

We arrived in South Dakota on Wednesday afternoon.  I had asked Google for Directons from the airport to our hotel, the President’s View Resort in Keystone.  Google was sending us on some curvy backroads, and then I noticed we were turning onto Iron Mountain Road.

I had done a little bit of research on the roads around Custer State Park.  One of the drives was “Iron Mountain Road”.  This is Highway 16A, designed by Peter Norbeck.  This road boasts of 17 miles, which takes 45-60 minutes to drive.

There are:

  • 17 MILES
  • 314 CURVES
  • 2 SPLITS

I had broached this to my husband and he emphatically said NO, he did not want to be on this road.

But this was the way my Google Directions had sent us, so off Iron Mountain Road we went.

It was awesome!!!  I was the driver.  It was a bit nerve wracking, I will give you that.  The one laned tunnels had kind of freaked me out, with the You Tube Video I had viewed about the road:

We got through the first tunnel, and even though I am driving, I can glance up from the road, to see Mt.. Rushmore framed (as Norbeck) had planned in the square of the tunnel:

Not my picture, but a representation of the experience!

My next experience I got excited about was the pigtail bridges.   These are spiral bridges, where this corkscrew takes you around and under the bridge.  These bridges were made out of huge timbers.

 There were also two spots in the road, where the two lane road splits into half! And you drive down a very narrow single lane road.  This was designed to impact the landscape as little as possible.
There was so much thought put into this road.  I was really taken with the beauty and scenery (although I was the driver).  And, I am happy to say, South Dakota uses GUARD RAILS!! (Unlike Colorado, I was not concerned about the switchbacks over some steep precipes.)

I Have a Race Saturday!


I’ve  had numerous, disjointed blog posts started. Most I realize I am just blathering on and just end up deleting them.

I’m running the Black Hills 100K this Saturday, in Sturgis, South Dakota.  This is the Blue Train, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, destination race of the summer.  It fell on my four day weekend off, and I was able to add one more day to that, to have a little mini-vacay and a bit of tourist activity before the race.

There are three races occurring at the Black Hills Ultra, the 100 mile run is the main event, with both a 50 mile and 100K options.

When I first signed up for the race, I didn’t know how recovery would have gone after MMT and didn’t want to chance another 100 miler that close. I was pretty sure a 100K would be a good distance to run.

The course is an out and back.  It also appears to be rather hilly, from the elevation profile.

The weather-it looks like it will be warm one, high about 80 from last I checked.  I believe we will have a bunch of creek crossings, so that will be good, a chance to cool off if it does get pretty warm.

Flying to a race always brings a different set of challenges.  One, it does force you to pare down on the gear and options that ultra runners drag with them to a race.

It’s very helpful to read the race website info and directions! I’m always amazed by the amount of runners who DON’T.

For example, when I was reading the info through-for the second time! I came across the statement that “drop bags will all be returned by 11am” or some time like that.  Aha!  I am running the 100K, and I will be long gone on a flight by 11am Sunday morning!  So I am going with disposable drop bags-clear two gallon bags that can just be tossed after I use them.

The 100K runners only have 2 drop bag locations (which we can access twice, due to the out and back).  My only items in these bags will drop be some baby wipes; gels/Cliff Bloks; and in the drop bag around the 42 mile mark (I don’t have the distances memorized) will be my headlamp.

I am not doing malto mainly for the flying reason.  I will use it again on some long runs, but I will be diluting it far more than I did for MMT!!

I dithered on and on about hydration.  I wore my Ultraspire two bottle vest on my long Mohican run-and I just don’t  like it.  It’s too big for my short torso.  I also practiced with the one bottle waist pack and one handheld; but that Ultraspire model doesn’t give me enough room to pack my gels and assorted stuff.

I noticed, working aid at two different races in June, that ultra runners carry far too much stuff. I’ve been guilty of this also.  I did go pretty minimal at MMT; but I also knew the course.  Since I don’t know the Black Hills course at all, I want to make sure I have enough calories, and other “comfort items” to get through the race.

So I am going to carry my old Nathan Vest, with the bladder.  I did a run around the block, just to make sure I was still comfortable with it.  It worked well, It also has enough storage room for: my assorted gels; inhaler; drugs; camera; small Fenix light, emergency whistle.

Clothing and shoes were just pretty standard, my La Sportiva Ultra Raptors, and will be sporting the blue “away” VHTRC shirt.

Now I did pack ALL that stuff in the suitcase, and checked it. So I am being optimistic that the suitcase will also arrive in Rapid City when I do!

Finally a good run!

Okay I say finally like I have been struggling for the last month to get a decent run in.

Sorry, I think this only covers from Sunday through Today.

But most of my runs *are* good runs.  So when bad runs happens (it’s kind of like insomnia with me, this just does not happen, but when it does, it’s monumental!) I struggle to cope with them.

I ran Monday and Tuesday, like today, after work. After a 10 hour work day.

Monday’s run was kind of awful. I went running, about 6pm, at Salt Fork. Just on some dirt back roads, downhill to the lake bottom, and back up again. Bleh. No energy on any climb. Just felt awful.

Tuesday-I decided to run trails-that should be the trick, right?  Bridle trail at Salt Fork, I chose the White Trail downhill to start with, so to wake up my quads. Not so much. Lots of mud on the bridle trail, and I still struggled with all the ups.

Wednesday I decided to just run my loop, make it a 7 miler, around the block at home. OR not run at all, depending on how I felt after work.  Sometimes it’s good to just bag a work out if need be.

Work went better than expected; weather was less humid that expected; and I got out of work minutes before expected. Oh whew, thankee trail spirits, I need a good run!

About a 1/4 mile into the run, I realize I have forgotten to use my inhaler. And I could kind of feel it, on every hill, where I could use a little more lung capacity.  But at least it was a bit cooler. No less humid, but a bit cooler.

I felt rather warmed up around mile four. The climbs went better.

I ran by my house at mile 6. The pups were confused. I told them “I will be back in ten minutes!”

(I cannot come home, after work, and go run. So when I do this run, after work, I park in the church parking lot about one mile away. Then run my loop. Which involves actually running by my house. If the pups are out (in the winter, they are not) they get confused when I tell  them “I’ll be back in ten minutes!”)

I get home and spend some quality time outside with the husband and dogs in the yard after a quick shower.

FINALLY a good run. Where I don’t feel it’s overtraining/humidity/timeofday/general fitness it’s just a good run.

Wonderful day at Mohican

The schedule called for 18 hilly miles, and it was planned for a trip to Mohican State Park. Then I remembered the Mohican 100 Footrace was also that day. I first thought of running on the bridle trails (the old Red Green sections of the old Mo 100 course) but then I thought the horse people would rather have their trails all to themselves.  It turned out a good idea, as a big storm had come through several days ago; the mountain bike trail drains very well.

For my first section, I followed the “Forget the Pr” course over to the Fire Tower.  I started about 730 am, and it was a cool morning! Unbelievable cool weather for a Mohican race! My hands were rather cold until I climbed Big Ass Hill.

 Since the three races (100 mile, 50 mile, marathon) all started at different times, I was wondering if I would even see any runners, they all could be in front of me on the trail.

I got to the Covered Bridge, and found the Aid Station in a new location, down on the grass, on the other side of the river. This gave them lots of room to spread out tarps and have all the drop bags lined up-a good change in location.  Julie Bowen-Miller runs a great aid station. She even gave me a cookie!

I was then planning on taking the mountain bike trail-which is part of the Mo race course-back to the main campground where I was parked.  Ron Dukes and Kali Price were just arriving at the aid station, so when they left, I left also.  I got to share trail time with them.  I tried to keep them in front of me, as I did not want to get sucked into my pace.  I also ran with Paul Lefelhocz also.

I talked a whole bunch with my friends, as I know it can help the miles go by quicker, having someone else chitter chatter on. 

Kali finished 3rd place female!

Paul “The King” Lefelhocz

Ron Dukes

 Along the way, Mike from Cinti joined us. He was running his first 50 miler; he told us who else had come up from Cinti for the race, and one of them was my friend Marty Fritzhand!   I first met Marty a few days before Hardrock out on the trail; then we had dinner together after we had both DNF’d HR.  I was super excited to hopefully catch up with him.

Sure enough, out of the Hickory Ride Aid Station ( I wandered in here, but didn’t touch their aid; I filled up my water bottle at the Boy Scout Camp spigot)

 I caught up to Marty right after the Aid Station, and we travelled together for the next four miles. It was wonderful to catch up with him, traded HR stories, just chatted away!
Marty tried in vain to get me to come back out and pace him later in the race, but I told him I had  used up my good spouse credits.  It was very good to see him again!!!

Marty and I

I finished up my 18 miles, and still had some time to spare, so I wandered over to the Covered Bridge Aid Station to see runners and help out a bit.

The marathon runners were cute. I don’t know how else to describe them.  I had a feeling it was many of their either first marathon or trail event. One group spent about 10 or 15 minutes in the aid station.

Jay Smithberger getting all the attention

I hung out at the aid station for about 1 1/2 hours, grabbing drop bags for folks. Right before I left, Mike Bailey strolled in-I didn’t know he was running the 100 mile race! So helped get him situated before I headed home.

It was a great day on the trails seeing friends. I’m not that enamored of the current Mohican 100 course; but it has stoked my interest in doing a self-supported 100 mile out there, maybe sooner than later.

Back to Back Runs

I don’t like back to back runs.

No, not the glorious “weekend” long runs, where you get up early on Saturday, go meet friends in the woods for six or eight hours of glorious trail running, then go home, nap, have dinner, sleep eight hours, and then wake up and go run four or six or two hours on Sunday morning.

No, these are finish running at 7 pm on Thursday-after working-and then getting out the door the next morning at 6 am.

I did manage to pull off seven hours of sleep though. I did get invested in actually watching TV last night-I caught “Ride the Divide” on the Documentary Channel, and stayed up  until 9 40 pm to watch it all.  This is about the Bike Race that goes from Banff, BC across the US to end at the Mexican Border.  Jill Homer also wrote a very nice book about her 2009 Tour Divide too. 

Okay, I have ten minutes to drink this coffee, find runing clothes and go run around the block!

Happy Friday!