Monthly Archives: February 2014

Race Plans for 2014

Instead of running around the beautiful mountains of Virginia, I’ve been cleaning house, decluttering, painting my nails (really!!! I did!!!!) and thinking about future race plans.

Already signed up/paid for:

Buzzard Day 50K March 15 Medina Ohio
Zion 100 Mile Race April 4 Virgin, Utah
Medina 1/2 Marathon (Road Race) May 31
The Barkley Fall Classic 50K   September 20 Wartburg, TN 

I have to admit that the BFC was a total impulse. I was a bit drunk, the Monday night after returning home from TWOT (or maybe it was Sunday night..) I saw an email announcing the race.  The race is on my four day weekend.  I had been contemplating the IMTUF 100 in Idaho for that weekend.  But I instantly decided it was far easier (logistically) to stay on this side of the Mississippi and run Laz’ brand new race.  I can also just drive (albeit a long drive) to Wartburg, TN.

Volunteer Committments

I have a bit of volunteering weekends mixed in there-Forget the PR 50K and 1/2 marathon the weekend of April 12;  probably Laurel Highlands June 14, and volunteering at Hardrock in July! I will also be working our NEO TC Club Race, YUTC, September 15.

On the almost certain list- The Ring, August 30.  Since missing Reverse Ring, it appears I need to go back in the heat and complete this again.

I would not mind finding a long run in the East for October, November, December.  But if it a race I have to travel a long distance to, it has to engage me.  It has to be…hard…or a beautiful course, and not an out and back.  I still have not figured this one out yet! But hey, there is still all day Sunday!!

Change of Plans


I am not attending Reverse Ring in Virginia this weekend.  I had a dog that had to go to the specialty vet in Columbus (she’s fine, it’s her paw) and I had to drive her there, as the husband is also under the weather!

So, no Reverse Ring.

It’s time to make lemonade out of those random lemons thrown my way!!

 Image courtesy master isolated image/freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of dusky/freedigitalphotos.net

It’s very strange to go from the mindset of “race/run ready” to “NOPE”. I sulked around a bit last night, doing the “right now I should be at Portobello” but I think I am over it.  I have a bit of a “loser” mentality going on, but honestly, it’s not like I started the run and then dropped out, I was just a DNS-did not show, not a DNF-did not finish.

Weekend Plans-now I have a whole weekend to the family, here in Ohio, what to do?

Back to Weight Watchers-this is  Numero Uno.  I didn’t track points the five days or so prior to TWOT and have not since TWOT.  I did manage to lose 3 pounds

Which is good, but it was just part of that seven pounds gained right after TWOT:

Perhaps this week I can get my body back to an even keel, get more fruits and vegetables back into my diet.
Running-I’m going to start running again! I had emailed my Coach yesterday and told him of my change of plans, so I should have a training schedule coming soon.  My plans for Saturday is my 11 mile loop around the area, all road. I’m looking forward to it, I haven’t been in this area in a month or two. The weather should even be the 40’s or so here in Ohio, that is still much better than the 13’s and 19 degrees of my last outside runs!
Home work-Do I declutter more, paint the last wall in the basement?  Maybe all of the above?
Okay, time to go make a WW Friendly breakfast, have a good weekend and don’t fret over what you cannot control!

Throwback Thursday: My first ultra Race Report

For your reading pleasure, my HUFF Race Report, from 2005:


Short version: I did it!! Official time 7 hours 38 minutes, my watch said 7 hours 22 minutes (what’s 10 minutes after seven hours running….)

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 probably 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 meant 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, still am on Sunday. This seemed, afterwards, so much harder than running my first marathon. I guess because I spent 2 more hours than my longest run had been. I’m so glad I had some 24 and 26 miler runs in though, because for me at less, 20 mile training runs would not have done this for me.

Recovery and Taper

It’s all wound up the same week!

I can’t help it TWOT and Reverse Ring are two weeks apart.

I’ve run..4 days since TWOT.  All on the treadmill.  I just could not face the cold outside world.  Besides, I was recovering.

I ran on Monday, prior to work, and was really tired all day from work.  So I just down the running, and have been concentrating on getting to bed early.  I won’t run again until I am in Virginia.

I’m packed now. Just one drop bag, that will be  courtesy-shuttled around Fort Valley in front of me.

Snazzy drop bag, eh? Easy to identify!

Contents of the bag?

Fuel for each section
A fresh headband for each section
Spare shoes, socks, long sleeved shirt, gloves

Full change of clothing for Camp Roosevelt.  If I start the run in shorts, I will switch to tights at Camp Roo.  I will also swap out bra and top. I have learned the wisdom of getting rid of wet top covers, you feel so much warmer without damp or wet clothing.  I will also pick up a toboggan hat, gloves.

I also have a spare set of shoes. I learned my lesson after last year’s RR. 

Beta from Fort Valley says the snow should be gone, but the trails will be wet.  The MMT drains fairly well, but I know certain points will be wet-the road off Signal Knob, the climb up to Powell’s Fort, Duncan Hollow Trail, etc.  I do not expect to have dry feet at all, but I would rather have the option of changing to dry socks and shoes if needed.

Goals for Reverse Ring?

Finish it. The trite answer, I know.  But really, that is it.  Barring that, I still have Gombu’s splits on my hand-laminated turn sheet.  If I can run about what I did last year (without going on YELLOW) I would be well pleased with that.  (You betcha I will remember that right hand turn this year!!)

Reverse Ring Plans

I am cautiously optimistic about participating in Reverse Ring 2014.

Barring household problems,  I will run RR this year.  If there are no travelling barriers, the next issue could be aid on the course.

I don’t expect any aid at Powell’s Fort. The road is closed in the winter-but there is water, from a spring there.

Last year, the road to Woodstock Tower was also closed. A few volunteers hiked up water and a few snacks.  It would be a good idea to expect the same this year-make sure you are carrying enough calories until Edinburg Gap.

There will be aid at Edinburg and Moreland Gap, easily accessible road sections. Crisman Hollow could also be “iffy”.  Stephanie Wilson has hiked aid in the last two years, but it would also behoove a runner  to go from mile 29 to 46 without aid.

Camp Roo will be the full blown aid station and the last guaranteed aid before Signal Knob parking lot.  There could be aid hiked in, also at the Veach Gap Motel.  I’ve always been out of water and grateful for a new snack by the time I’ve hit Veach Gap, with ten miles to go.

I’m debating “packs” again. I may wear my Ultraspire pack, with the two bottles, and carry a handheld. It could be in the 40’s and 50’s in Virginia this weekend, and that is way above normal temperatures for me. I don’t want to get dehydrated!

I am then thinking of changing packs at Camp Roosevelt-switch to a bladder system, and pick up  my hiking poles for the last 25 miles of trail.

I will get my gear/clothes/snacks organized on Wednesday. It will be much less difficult than four unsupported loops by myself!  All I have to pack is one drop bag, plan out snacks, and clothes.

It is also time to start watching the weather reports again!

Ignite Talk at Fitbloggin 14!

In keeping with my Word for 2014 “Reach” I had decided to attend Fitbloggin 14, in Savannah Georgia in June.

Fitbloggin also offered a chance to present an Ignite Talk, at the Keynote Address at the conference.

Since I live way off the social media bus line, I had no idea what an “Ignite Talk” was.  I quickly educated myself.  I offered up a topic as my Ignite Talk, and it was accepted!

I will be giving a Ignite Fitness Talk at Fitbloggin 14!

It does not bother me to speak in public or give a speech, I have done this plenty of times over my career. What is interesting is the presentation of an Ignite Talk.

“Enlighten us, but make it quick”.

The rules of an Ignite Talk is a five minute presentation, with 20 slides.  These slides auto advance every 15 seconds.

Scott Berkun’s Ignite Talk, on how give a great Ignite Talk:

I am incredibly stoked with the idea of this presentation.  I’ve started to watch a bunch of videos to see how others have done with the five minute format.

I’ve been surfing the web looking for ideas on how to write and present. I think I will do several blog posts on my progress with my presentation. 

My topic?  I pondered this a bit. I wanted it to do with running or trail running.  How to get someone out on the trails. But how to do that in five minutes?

There are many successful Ignite Talks on a bunch of somewhat strange topics, like “How to Use a Semi Colon” “Secret World of Lego” “Hacking Chocolate” “Flash Mob Gone Very Very Wrong”.

My topic will be “Screw Your Shoes”.  A good, useful, informative topic.  I can easily educate Fitbloggin on how to screw their shoes in five minutes!

Are tech gadgets more help or hindrance on the trails?

This is the February topic from the Trail Runner Blog Symposium.

Are tech gadgets more help or hindrance on the trails?

 For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to eliminate the tech item of music-headphones.  Under consideration would be watches/smart phones with all their little gadgets available on them.

I think it is up to the user, and how the user perceives the gadgets, and how the user reacts when the technology stops working!

I use a Garmin 910 to run with.  It lasts much longer than the 305, but I can still outlast the battery.  But that is cool, I am used to it.

What I do find the Garmin useful for is a guesstimate for unfamiliar routes/races. For example, you are running a 50 mile race that is new to you.  Aid stations are eight miles apart. That gives you an opportunity to glance at your Garmin and see that you have about two miles to the aid station, you can finish drinking your water or eating your last snack you have on you.

I also have used a Suunto watch with an altimeter.  If you know what elevation you are going to peak out on, that could help you on a long lonely climb in the middle of the night to know you have another 2000 feet to go, since you can’t see outside of your little globe of light!

Smart phones-again, a phone can be a help until it goes dead and becomes a hindrance!  I had a friend who went off course during a 50K last summer. She utilized her phone as both a map-to locate what road she was on, and as an actual communication device with the Race Director, who was able to get her back to the proper route.

I ran an event last week;  I had several people lined up to pace me.  I used both text messages and a Facebook update to let my pacers know where I was, and the time I would be through certain checkpoints.  Could we have synced up otherwise? Sure, but not as convenient. 

A little aside with the smart phone-it will not do you any good at all, to have the Race Director or run organizer’s phone number programmed into the phone if your phone is dead.  You are far smarter to have that phone number written down, on paper, in your pocket, so you can borrow a working phone to make that phone call!

In conclusion, I would call tech gadgets a help.  As long as your safety is not rolled up 100% in the gadget, and you are not going to have a negative reaction if the gadget stops working.