Monthly Archives: November 2013

Berlin Amish Country 1/2 Marathon Race Report

I ran a race! An actual race! It’s been quite a while..

And it was a road race!

 First things first. It’s pronounced BUR lin. BUR lin. Not Ber LYNN.

I finished in exactly the same time as my last half road marathon, the Ashland race, in 2011. Ha! At least this course was hillier.  I know the upper topo looks hillier, but the elevation on it, the bottom number is 1025 feet, it crests at 1275 feet, so don’t let that fool you.

25 degrees at race start, I was happy to have my eVent jacket and my face mask with me.  I started waay in the back of the pack.  Maybe a bit too far back, behind the 2.20 pace guy (they had pacers this year.)

Nobody passed me. At all.  So I guess I should have started farther up.  But WTF, I know nothing about running races anymore, I just do my own thing at trail 50K’s and 100 milers.

This was in “Amish Country” aka where all the tourist shops are located, and yes, Berlin is heavily Amish.  I live in “Amish Country” also, but the Amish “up north” are a bit wealthier and have far bigger farms than the Amish down in Tusc county.  Of course, they have much better land for planting crops up that way too. 

Around mile two, there was a water stop.  Manned by a group of Amish.  There was no garbage can to throw down your cup into, and I felt very guilty about dropping a cup onto the ground.  I bet that Amish family will pick up every one of the those cups that were not crushed and use them to drink out of–just a fact of how they live.

The course was pretty similiar to what I run on daily, except today my goal was to “not walk” at all.  I actually did better on the hills and descents than the flattish miles I enccountered kind of miles 8-10.  Through this section, I just focused in on the runner in front of me, and reeled them in.

Got a bit tired toward the end, with a hill right before you turned off the state route back to the high school to finish on the track.  Just kept motorvating up the hill, but the runners I wanted to pick off were slogging just a bit faster than me.

The last 1/10 mile maybe was the most treacherous, the high school track was covered with snow and ice.  I was amused to see 2.10 on the clock as I passed over.

Finishing award was a block of cheese! And the finishing medal is a bottle opener!

A nice finishing tent had Subway sandwiches, water, chips, apples, bananas, and homemade buttered noodles!!  I got a cup of the noodles, my that was good.

Race organization: this was excellent. There were Port-o-Potties on the course! For a half-marathon! Around mile 3 and 8.  Although I did not need them, I thought that was great.

I think there were five or so water stops?  I carried a bottle, so I did not pay much attention to them.  Gu’s were handed out around mile 8 and I took one.

Excellent post race food.  We started and finished at Hiland High School, so there was a heated area to start and finish in.

No complaints about this race at all, other than it was really c-c-cold!  Oh well, it could have been colder!

Time for Reverb 2013!

December is a time for Reverb.  What is reverb?

This is a good definition as any:

 “#reverb11 is a daily reflective prompt that runs every day through the month of December. It is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and manifest what the new year may hold. It was started by Gwen Bell in 2009 and has been passed on to individuals to host in 2011″…

In 2009 and 2010, I believe there still was daily email prompts sent out to the group participating, then it has become a free-form entity.  I have many prompts already stored on my computer, and I started working on some of the prompts in October, in order to spend a little time thinking about them.

In addition, Carolyn Rubinstein wrote a nice piece called “Reverb Remix” which separates the process into two sections, Reverb, and Manifest.  This is available as a PDF document, and I also found it valuable to read and muse over.

For the month of December, I will have a blog post up titlted “Reverb” that I (hopefully) have taken a little bit of time to reflect on. 

Now you can host your own Reverb, if you wish. To paraphrase her guidelines:

  • Create 31 prompts for the month of December.
  • Post those prompts to your blog.
  • Invite other people to join you!
  • Publish on the topics each day.
  • Use a hash tag to connect via Twitter (we used #reverb10 last year).
  • Support one another by sharing links, commenting, etc.
  • Create buttons to show that you’re hosting your own Reverb.

It’s time for Reverb13!

It’s Chilly Running Weather Time

 Yes, blah blah blah, blah blah blah.  I keep telling myself that these cold November runs are training me for a cold 100 plus mile run in February.  Now that is true; but it doesn’t make it any easier to get out the door.
 At least the views were good.

The famous Gump dogs

I don’t even slow down for them anymore. They just don’t care either.

 The mask is helping both with my breathing and keeping the lower half of my face from freezing.

OKAY by a couple miles into the run, all was pretty good.  The climbs out on the ridge, into the wind, were really cold, but my face mask helped quite a bit.

Slim Pickins #8 in the Bag Report!

I am way behind on the blog posts.

This was Year # 8 of Slim Pickins.  Check this out for the historical details.

As this was my four day weekend, I headed over to Ohiopyle early on Friday, to get most of my mileage in.

My plan was a straight out and back on the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail, just to mile marker 10 and back, no epic “Gate to 8 x 2” Challenge.

Weather was looking good, there was still plenty of snow in the Laurel Highlands from a late fall dusting.

This was another run without headphones.  I don’t listen to music so much, but podcasts.  But some of my runs I have been doing sans device.  I have been enjoying it.  It allows me to focus more on the running, on my particular run of the day.  Sometimes I think the podcasts are my little reward for running by myself, in particular non-pleasant running conditions.  It makes me feel like “someone” is accompanying me on my run.

But these solitary runs have been nice.  The woods, once I turned away from the river (with the active railroad lines) were silent.  There were a few chipmunks about, but that was the only wild life I saw.

I stopped at the Mile Six Shelters, to see whether there was a water source, in able to advise the 50K runners for the  next day.  (The water pump was functioning.)

Then up the mile six hill!  1.5 miles!  Ugh.  Wow, I felt out of shape.  I felt like I had not gotten much elevation in for quite a while.  (I think that is true..)

Much more snow up on the ridgeline, at Mile 8.  I had stripped off my jacket, in anticipation of the sweat fest on the climb, but once I hit the ridge and the wind, I tried to hold off putting the jacket back on until I stopped sweating, but got a chill and recovered.

I enjoyed going further down the trail past mile 8..we’ve been doing the “Gate 2 8” for a few years and have been focused on that.

 I was solitary on the trail going back until I passed the Mile Six Shelters.  I passed three couples hiking, on their way to the Mile Six shelters.
I spotted the elusive Mile One Marker.  Usually this is missed, as runners are talking, and looking around, and are not counting mile markers that early.
My legs felt really good after the run, and I was a good runner and iced my knee and drank my Ultragen after I checked into our luxury suite at the Yough Motel.
I love my Ultragen.  I use it after almost every run.  I did an experiment this week and did not consume my serving of Ultragen after my 8 mile run.  Sure enough, my legs were stiff and a bit sore.  When I use the Ultragen, I do not have these issues!!
Allison, Bob, Paul, and Jeff showed up in the early evening, as Slim was going to join us in the morning.  Surprisingly, it was an early to bed for us.
My plan for Saturday was to drop the 50K runners-Allison, Gombu, and Paul at mile marker 31, and then go back to OP and do another out and back.  But I decided to join the trio through Seven Springs Ski Resort, and double back-that would give me ten miles.

The 3 Amigos, aka the 50K runners, starting south
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail goes straight thru Seven Springs Ski Resort


You gotta look for markers through the ski resort!

The King and Kimba

The King and Allison
After I left the 3 amigos, I headed back north on the LH Trail.  As I crossed the road, I noticed a wide trail intersecting the path. I looked to my right, and saw a building.  A shelter? I did not recollect any shelter just one mile south of Seven Springs, so I walked over to it.
It was an old spring house.  Still producing, quite well!

  Wow, I consider myself “remotely familiar” with the LH, and  I didn’t know of this springhouse.  Probably not, because there are at least three spots on Seven Springs where one can get water at.
Too bad this spot is not at a different location on the LH Trail!

I got back to OP about 11 am and wandered into the General Store, where the chili caught my eye.  As I wolfed it down, I thought perhaps chili wasn’t the best food as a refuel for an afternoon run, but it sure tasted good going down!
I went back to the suite and took some Ultragen and again iced my knee.  I figured both could not hurt and needed to let my stomach settle.  Jeff returned from his morning run, and we chatted a bit. Then I decided I was getting real comfortable on the couch, and if I was going to run, I needed to leave sooner than later!

The training schedule was supposed to be longer on Friday, and then “ten” miles on Saturday, but I figured some extra mileage-especially at a hiking pace, with a full stomach-would be okay.

I took a leisurely walk up to the mile 2 overlook.  I sat on the rock overlook there, just basked in the sun.  I stretched.

I took pictures of moths-I believe there were mating.

After about a half hour, I could tell my legs were tightening up, so I resolved to go north on the trail until I ran into one of my NEO TC runners.  At this point, there was no way I was going up the Mile Six hill again!  I figured I could camp out at the Shelter Sign until someone came along.

And happily, Gombu came along as I was climbing up the mile 5 hill.  Oh yeah!  Now I can turn around!  Gombu and I ran back to OP.  So I got eight miles in for the afternoon run/hike, so I got 38 miles in on the LH Trail for the weekend.

After showering, we headed over to the Falls City Pub.  It is the best pleasure in the world, to have a pub at the trail head!

Allison had texted me when she got to the mile 8 marker, so we were guestimating when she would finish.  I gave her a 630 pm appearance at the pub, and she arrived at 6.27!!

Allison was the only one who went out of her comfort zone for Slim Pickins.  This was an unsupported effort, with one water/food cache at Slim’s vehicle at mile 11.  She was also running in the dark in the last hour or so of her 50K-on a very technical trail.  She was alone for almost all of her run, and had a very successful time!  Very proud of her effort on going it alone out there.

I think she looks pretty good after finishing a 50K

Sunday morning was relaxed…as most Slim Pickins are. Gombu mentioned wanting to get in some run in. I agreed, Allison agreed, and Slim was in.

I also knew what happens when you accompany Slim and Gombu on a casual, off piste run.
The key word is “off piste”. 

After a stroll through Ohio Pyle, we walked up the road, and then disappared into the laurel, looking for the Yough.  After some straight down hill bush whacking, we found the River.

I don’t have any pictures of us on all fours, but we were.  This wasn’t the best place to fall into the Yough.  The current was pretty swift, and the Yough, in November, really isn’t the time to body slide.

But the quatro was able to ford the river-and back again-for our casual mileage for the morning.


The ten miler before work on Sunday?

I did it!  I was pretty happy.  I wanted to go into work, chest all swelled up, and say “hey, guess what I did before work this morning?  I ran 10 miles..”  but of course I didn’t, because they all think I am crazy anyways.
I know there are many other people who also get 10 mile runs in before work (and probably much faster than me!).  I was very happy to get both my seven and ten mile runs in on my work weekend.
Last winter, the coach had sent me a week schedule, with either an 8 or 10 mile run scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday, also on a work weekend.  I had emailed him back that I could not do that. I could not see how I could fit the run in, time wise, and then also have the energy to get through a work day.
The coach was fine with that, he said then run 6 or 7 miles, whatever.
Faced with this past weekend with the 7 and 10 miler, I am very pleased I got past the mental mindset that ” I can’t do that”. After becoming a very consistent runner, and even better time management planner on running/working long days, I did not view the 7/10 weekend as a huge hurdle; it was more the mindset to have my lunch packed, my clothes ready, and to figure out what time I need to wake up in the morning.
Most of the ten mile run was in the valley, then I have to climb out of the valley back up to the ridge line.  I was wet from sweat, so when the wind gusts hit me on the top of the hill I got chilled immediately.  I glanced at my watch as I passed the neighbor’s mailbox: 9.97 miles 1.58 hour.
You better believe I sprinted that last distance!
10.01 in 1.59.08

I am Doing This

This is nothing new. I did this back last fall/winter too. 

I am gearing up for a 7 mile run before a ten hour work shift.

Any more, these don’t cause more than an eyelash blink.

I got seven on the schedule, and then ten miles before work on Sunday.

It is a matter of being organized, having my lunch for work packed, and being set to get out the door in the morning.

Of course, I am hitting the first “cold weather” of my fall running tomorrow, ( it should be about 29 F)  so  I bet I start out in a toboggan hat, and sweat my way through that.

Western States lottery applicant pool opens tomorrow. I am still thinking about it.

My worse case scenario?  I get into both Western States and Hardrock.  (LOL.  I am sure that would be someone else dream summer!)

What would I choose?  Hardrock, without a blink. BUT, the odds of that are pretty small.  I am no mathmethican or physicist, like some of those Hardrock smart guys, but I bet those would be wee small odds.

Western States happens to fall on my four day weekend, which makes the idea of a west coast 100 attractive.  And it is Western States, an iconic race.

Do I really want to run WS? Yes, I guess I  do, from a  historical ultra running background. I know all about the race, I could even rattle off a few of the AS names just from memory. So I believe I will put “register for the lottery” on my To Do List for Monday.  I’ve got nothing to lose.  I won’t be surprised or disappointed if I do not get into the race.

Off to get my running clothes organized for the morning run!

Grenada Day Seven: Peak Bagging Mt Qua Qua

We did not have any particular plans for our last day in Grenada, so I decided to go off on another hike.  This was up Mt Qua Qua, in the Grand Etang Forest Preserve.

The hike is a “Candy Ass Trail” well kept and quite wide for the most part.  However, due to the recent rains it was quite muddy and slick.
DSCN1145Vaughn had brought along a hiking stick for each of us and it was a great idea, I needed it for another point of stability, and with some of the downhills, it was an  item used as self arrest also.
DSCN1150Some of the trail involved following the trail around Crater Lake.   Crater Lake is just that, the crater of an extinct volcano.
DSCN1155Despite this being a candy ass trail, there were a few sections which were a bit precarious, with steep drop offs on either side.   It made me take each step carefully, as I did not to slide off the mountain.
DSCN1162 Mt Qua Qua trail is an easy trail for a tourist to take without a guide, as the trail is well defined, and there is even signage along the way.   You can take Mt Qua Qua Trail and then veer off to visit Concorde Falls and  Annandale Falls down separate trails.
DSCN1164Before long, Vaughn announced we had reached the summit!  2300 feet for Mt Qua Qua.  The rock I  have scrambled upon is the highest point.  The cloud cover was too heavy to show the scenery behind me.  There was also nothing behind me but the drop off!  I was a bit scared here,  I will admit, and happy to off the rock.
DSCN1167 The trail ends just a few feet further on, but  it is not the high point. 
DSCN1169Vaughn wanted to know if I wanted to climb on top of this rock for a photo op and I said Hell NO!  I was fine posing right in front of it.
DSCN1174 It was about a 3.8 mile round trip hike.  As we descended, the strong winds had dried out the trail that was exposed so the footing was better than expected  We stopped at Crater Lake to scrub some of the mud off our legs.
The rest of the day was spent with a swim, then drinks on balcony.  I walked next door to visit Kalinago, which is also owned by the same family that owns Gem Holiday Resort.  It was very nice, we may have to think about a stay here next time.

We had dinner with Jude at Savvy’s, which is located in the Mount Cinnamon Hotel.  Last time we were here the restaurant was named Rudoph’s, which was where Rudolph’s ended up after its demise on the Carenage due to fire..

We then hit a party over in Woburn, but only stayed for one beer as we had the early morning flight. 

One lovely local colloquialism we noticed, as people arrived at the party, everyone greeted each other saying “Good night”.   Another favorite local saying I love, as you depart, many people say “all the best”.  The Grenadians are such a kind and friendly group of people to be around!

I am already scheming for a shorter return trip to Grenada before five years are up.  I turn fifty in two years, and Dennis has already said “heck yeah” for a trip to Grenada for my fiftieth birthday-which works out to a nice winter vacation, as my birthday is in early January!