Monthly Archives: May 2014

Race Prep Time!

I have a race this weekend!  The Medina Half Marathon!

The “Bee Theme” is because Medina is the home place of  A.I. Root, a prominent bee-keeper and candle maker.  The candle factory is still in business today, and his book on bee-keeping is still the industry standard.  The local high school are the “Medina Bees” and there is a middle school called “A.I Root”.   (I know all this because I grew up in the next town over.)

Race Goals

C Goal-finish the race of course! Always my goal! Also first goal is to beat my 2011 AND 2013 half-marathon times of 2.10!!!!

I think Medina might be a better place to better my 1/2 marathon times.  My last two half-marathon profiles:

The Medina Half Marathon Course Profile:

B Goal-run under 2.10.  I would be very happy to run a 2.05 to 2.01

A Goal-run a sub 2 hour 1/2  marathon! Can I do this?  My little secret:  I have not run under a sub two half marathon since my first one in 2004!

My first half marathon was in Athens, Ohio. I think I ran a 1.59 or 1.58 (can’t remember!!)  in April 2004.
Then I ran the Presque Island Half in July 2004 and was very disappointed to run a 2.03!
I tried again at the Parkersburg Half in August-a 2.01.20!!

In 2005, I believe I ran about six 1/2 marathons, still chasing the elusive sub two.  (This was before I discovered trail running.)  Of course, I can’t speak for my training methods at the time, I’m pretty sure I just got out there and ran.

I have been prepping for this race. I’ve been doing speedwork every week.  My “free speed” mission had a bit of success: I’ve lost 2 of the 10 pounds that I wanted to lose!

They will have pace groups at this race. A pace group is a runner, the leader of the group, who is going to maintain their pace consistently to deliver the runners across the finish line in their target time, such  as a 1.30 finish time, a 2 hour finish time, a 3 hour finish time.  There is a 2.10 pacer, and a 2.00 pacer.  I am going to line up behind the 2.00 pacer, and see how that feels.

I’ve learned a little bit about pacing the last few years, even in ultras.  You can expend less energy following someone in a race. If someone is running at your targeted pace, you can simply tuck in behind and concentrate on the running.

I will carry a hand held water bottle. The course seems like it will be well stocked with water stations, but I find it easier to carry my bottle half-full and drink on my own schedule.  I can also get the water down my throat while still running, without having to stop.

I will carry one or two gels with me. I won’t eat much breakfast day of race, as I do not want to make any bathroom stops.  I will probably eat a York Peppermint  Patty at the start of the race, and one gel around mile 4 (the Hill is  at mile 5) and maybe one a bit later.

So that’s the plan! Sub Two hour!!   Bee seeing you!!!!

Bee Ideas

Planning my Ignite Fitness Talk

I was selected to give an Ignite Talk at Fitbloggin 14 this year!

When I first heard of these Ignite Talks, I had no idea what these were. I live way out in the country. I like to think I am social media savvy, but apparently I am not.  I also had never heard of Peca Kucha talks either.

What are Ignite Talks?   “Ignite is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.”

Doing a little reading and watching a few Ignite Talks, I was interested to give my own.  I threw my pitch, and my Ignite Talk was selected for Fit Bloggin.

Now the fun part, research what others have done to prepare for their Ignite Talks-and watch assorted presentations of Ignite Talks! What is fun about this, they are only five minute long, you can really view many in spare time.

My speech is informative- “How to Screw Your Shoes”  so it is pretty easy to develop.

First I wrote a brief bare bones speech.  I read it out loud in the car with the husband. Good, it was about 3 1/2 minutes long.  The husband gave me some good feed back.  I added more explanation and words.

I experimented with the speech again a week or so later.  I had my phone app stopwatch out, and I tried to read and watch the time, to see where to mark off on the written words where fifteen seconds took me.

I found more places in the speech where I needed to explain more, and that is fine, as the speech was still coming  up about 3 1/2 minutes..but I was also just reading text.

I spent a little bit of time finding pictures and creating a few for my slides. I was careful to try and use  royalty free images.  Some of my slides I simply created myself.

I was a bit concerned that in the middle of the speech I’d freeze up and forget what I was meant to say. Don’t get me wrong, I practiced my presentation over and over, and I’m pretty confident with delivering speeches, but you never know what will happen on the day! I considered using a notepad or book to help me along in case I got stuck, but I didn’t want to look unprofessional. However, I did stumble across this custom wire o bound book printing service; I thought about putting the Ignite Talks logo on the front for some professionality and a sleek look while delivering my speech. However, in the end, I decided against it and told myself to go without, despite my uncertainty!

Once I had finally cobbled together 18 slides-I was told I could use the first and last slides as intro and outro slides, it was time to really rehearse the presentation!

Stay tuned for the next installment, of my practicing my five minute speech!

Sources: Where I found stuff

From Sacha Chua:
How to deliberately practice timing (very handy!): Print out your script, notes, or slides. Set up a 15-second looping countdown presentation. While this is counting down from 15 to 1, practice “scenes” from your presentation. You don’t have to do them in order, and you don’t have to do them all the way through, although that helps. I find it useful to repeat one scene until it feels okay, and then move on to the next one. It’s also helpful to run through the entire thing at least once.

A few good links here:

  • Deanna Zandt: 

Blogging Selfiebration: The past 8 years for me

Blogher is hosting the Selfiebration, The Good Old Days of Blogging, What has Changed in the last 10 years?

This is kind of fun, as I started my first blog post in 2006.

“April 23 2006

Joining Blogland

Well, well, well, I have finally joined blogland. But first I have to go for a run before I can work on this anymore.”

I had my free website via Blogger. I was a very new ultra runner at the time, hence the title!

How long have you been blogging? What do you think the biggest changes have been since then? And how is blogging still the same? Add your thoughts in the comments-or write a post and link up to this one below!

What have the biggest changes been? I’ve been a pretty static blogger with respect to design. I finally got my own domain in 2011, just prior to the MMT100 race, figuring I was not really an ultra newbie any longer. Blog designs have really improved since 2006! Tons of my blogger friends now use a custom blog design in Florida
so that they can keep up with the current designs. I’m quite relaxed about my design, I’d rather focus on the content. Alongside getting my own domain, I also changed the platform where my blog was originally hosted, so this meant that I had to find another provider. I was recommended to look into a site like to find the right services for me and my blog. This is an essential for anyone who is thinking of running a blog or a website and if you’re unsure which provider to go for, check out this great blog post on SiteGround Vs Bluehost and see if that helps. There are lots of things you can do to ensure your blog is working correctly and is as appealing to readers as possible, but it all depends how much you want to put into it. As I said, I am quite relaxed with it all. But I know a lot of bloggers who use website monitoring and things like that to ensure their pages have no performance issues and such.

There was no social media in 2006. I believe I joined Facebook in 2009, because other runners told me I needed to, cuz that was where all the runners hung out. Facebook did turn out useful to meet and link up with other runners.

January 2007 ” I think the funniest ‘sighting’ was when a runner ran past me, then yelled out “hey do you have a running blog?” And I said yes, and he said he thought he recognized me! LOL. I’m famous. “

My niche of reading blogs is running and fitness. Maybe it is due to a wider encompassing of reading, but it seems like many more of the fitness blogs I read are sponsored posts. I get that, some of the bloggers are making a living off this. Some bloggers do well with sponsored posts, but others..not so much. I will be reading a post about a run the blogger went on, and then all of a sudden they are saying.. “and did you know Acme Acne cream is the best acne product, according to the AAF can clean up any post run pimples that you might encounter..” I did unfollow a few bloggers in the past two years, as it seemed all of their posts were some positive reviews of products that had been sent their way, it just felt like each post was just a commercial.

I remember reading my first blog! It was Scott Wolfe’s blog, he lived in North Carolina, and is a runner. He also wrote well. I would look up his blog daily..and I felt really weird about it, being a lurker-almost felt like a stalker out there! I think it was his blog that led to me creating a blog for myself mainly about running.

What has changed? At least with the runner blogs that I follow, no one writes too much any more.

Did Facebook and Twitter take that all away? I still love to read about running. I absolutely LOVE to read people’s race reports, from the 5K to the 100 mile ultra marathon. Maybe I need to add more folks to my Feedly feed, but the runners are much quieter than the Fitness bloggers.

Followers? Visitors? I barely know what these are now, I sure didn’t in 2006 or 2007. One of the reasons I am attending Fitbloggin is to learn how to expand my blogger audience.

Visuals-there sure has been an explosion of images in posts these days. I have not got around to the rather annoying “Pin it” button on my blog images yet, but it may happen. Or not. I have become more cognizant of not using other people’s images without credit.

There is just many ways to share content out there these days. I’m slowly exploring some of these, as time permits, like Pinterest and SlideShare. Some of the platforms I just don’t understand, like Tumblr or Instagram. Instragram seems like a huge time suck that I don’t even want to establish an account there right now!

What has stayed the same with blogging?

Blogging is about sharing. People sharing their experiences about a run, a weight loss-or gain, some cool food item that they have cooked up. I love reading random blogs about people going on an around the world trip or Chipmunk’s Appalachian Trail Thru Hike.

Got any runner or hiking blogs to share with me? I love a good read!

Massanutten Rocks!

Coach Karl way back there..

What a great weekend in Virginia!  I was too antsy to sleep in. Saturday morning I drove over to Elizabeth Furnace to get in a few miles-it’s at the north end of Fort Valley, easily accessible.  Their aid station was just opening, and here came Coach Karl, in the lead!  Jim Blandford was not more than two minutes behind him at this point.

I hiked up the trail a bit, stepping off any time one of the runners approached.  With this out and back, I got to see the top 20 runners of the race.  Eva even stopped and gave me a hug!

After hanging out at the aid station talking to runners and pacers and crew, I drove all the way south to meet Allison for a hike up Bird Knob.  I haven’t seen Bird Knob too much in the daytime the past couple of  years!

Just another reason why Massanutten rocks. That is the trail there!

It is nice to get out on the trails and have TIME to just enjoy them.

We got to the end of Ant Hill Road to find Tom getting started setting up his aid station. He advised us to go down the road and take the white blazed trail, which then loops back to MMT Orange, so we were able to make a nice loop out on BK.

After a nice dinner-fried chicken, YUM! We drove over to our new home, Picnic Area, to  help set up the aid station.  Lots to do, we had an estimate on when Karl Meltzer would be coming through.  We didn’t know if he had crew or not, so I got this drop bag out, and a cup of coke and ice water ready.

Want to know what elite runners pack in their drop bag?  There were six gels in his bag. That’s it!

So Karl pulls in, and he wants…SOUP!!

And we have NONE ready!!!!!! FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I felt so bad….we just weren’t set up completely yet for the race winners!!

Well, Karl took some water and Coke, and he really perked up when he heard he had a thirty minute lead at the Visitor Center, it was pretty funny, his head came up, and he was just instantly “game back on” and ZOOM, ran out of the Aid Station.  Karl went on to win the race in 18.40, his 6th MMT finish and fourth win.  This win continues his streak of at least 1 100 mile win for 14 years straight, and his 36th 100 mile win.  Pretty impressive!!!

It was at least thirty minutes until the next two top runners came in, Brian and Jim, and then a little later for the next few.  We were fully stocked up and ready to go.

I have to give a shout out to our three young guys, Brett, Jordan, and Matthew. I don’t believe they had ever worked an aid station, or a ultra aid station late in the race.  At first, they were a bit hesitant, but they picked up on their job duties, and were great!

The boys were more “front of the house” and Stephanie and I were the cooks in the back, so I didn’t see lots of runner interaction. But it was funny as the night wore on, Brett, Jordan and Matt just started barking back orders for soup, or eggs.  It was great how they just “owned it” up front and took care of the runners.

Here is a great video of the race:

2014 Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run! from on Vimeo.

Trail Gossip

I saw some of my friends and missed others..was able to come out and give a little TLC to Jason Lantz, Eva, Kathleen,  Slim, Paul, Greg.  Paul Crickard got a special “gashouse egg” (toasted bread, with a fried egg in the middle, with melted cheese on it)-well, Paul was standing in the right  space at the right time!  I played medic and taped up a gnarly looking blistered toe to an unknown runner..

It was kind of cool when the folks who run around “my time” showed up, as many MMT runners, (as Slim would say) are “not that bright” and are repeat offenders.

Roy Heger finally showed up! (as I knew he would) on his way to MMT finish # 15! and I was able to give him some freshly scrambled eggs and a hug.  Roy is one of my first mentors and he continues to be an inspiration to runners.

Nicklaus finally showed up! My hippie vegan potato-butternut squash soup was running low! But I had promised him this soup, so he literally got the last cupful out of the thermos.   I like to make a potato soup; we make it vegan-no milk-so it satisfies the vegan/vegetarian crowd and also the gluten free bunch.  (Note: we were also frying bacon like there was no tomorrow!!)

I missed Gary Knipling at the AS! I think I was scouring pots, like Cinderella, when he came through.

I also missed Shelly! I was crazy cooking eggs when she came through. I did actually see her leaving the AS, and was so happy to see her through there.

Some other pals came through-some running, some pacing.  Diane said “never again” as she came through; I paid her comment no attention LOL!  Katie came through, happy as ever, same with KC, and General Bob Gaylord came through with Cherry, who, even at mile 86.9 still looked chipper!

One runner I was looking for special was Kathy, another Buckeye runner:

Photo: Kathy Wolf at Picnic Area AS. photo bomb by AS Quatro Hubbard.;;

She came through in fine spirits.  Kathy is a good strong runner; hard-headed and determined like me; I knew she would finish the MMT!

The other runner I was looking for?  Kathy’s sister, Karen.  This was Karen’s 100 attempt.  MMT is a big race to tackle for your firtst (or 40th) 100 miler.  I don’t know Karen very well, but I know she had been training for this race.

MMT had pretty good on-line tracking, and we actually had a cell signal at our AS! (It doesn’t happen at all the AS) so we were able to track and follow “our runners” through out the day.

Karen, after the first few AS, started to lose a bunch of time at the AS cut offs. Several that we saw, it looked like she was in with less than 10 or 12 minutes to the cut off times!

I thought she was time out at Camp Roosevelt..but she didn’t. She kept making her cut offs, and KEPT GOING.  This was the advice I had given to her, just keep going, the cut offs do open up later in the race, so KEEP GOING.

I got the update on Karen from the Visitor Center-2 AS away from us-and these are tough miles in between.

Our AS cutoff was 11 am.  At 1050 I stalked up the road to where her crew sat, waiting. Sharon was on the phone, but I told (her husband?? I don’t know) some guy, “if she comes thru here, she cannot stop, she needs to go to the AS to check in”.

After I said that, I thought “screw it” I’m going up trail in search of Karen. I was really hoping I would find her a few 100 feet up the trail, and I could yell at her to not stop at her crew location, but get to the time keepers at the Picnic Area.

But as I kept walking, no Karen. I kept checking my watch, now 10.58, no runner.  I got a little verklempt. It clicked over to past 11.  Okay. No race past Picnic Area now..

I came upon the course sweep and said, hey there’s still a runner out there! And he reassured me, he knew, they had stopped for a bathroom break.  I continued to walk down the trail, till I met Karen and her pacer, Amy.  Karen looked a little down, as expected.  I chatted on about how tough the MMT trails are,  how most of us Buckeyes are startled by the size of the Virginia mountains, my first DNF in Virginia, at Mountain Masochist way back in 2007. I just wanted to fill the air and occupy the last few steps until we rounded the corner to the aid station.

I left Karen with her crew and told Quatro that Karen was back. I hung around for a bit more, talked to Brad from NJ who was picking up his drop bag, then I decided I needed to get out of Dodge.  I didn’t go to the finish line because I knew if I did, I wouldn’t leave for hours!

I made the journey home safely. It was not hard for me to be on the other side of the aid station table, but I will be back next year with a bib on again, on those lovely Massanutten rocks!!

Massanutten Eve

It’s Massanutten Eve, and I’m not at camp, I’m in a hotel room! How strange!

I am NOT running MMT this year, I will be volunteering at the Picnic Area AS, mile 89.6..or 86.9..well whatever.

It’s 10 pm now. If I was at the Lutheran Camp (race headquarters) I would be snuggled down in my sleeping bag, ready for that 230 or 300 am wake up call.  In the last three years, all I would be snuggled down in would be a sheet over me, as it’s traditionally a hot and muggy race.

Strange weather this spring, it’s been torrential downpours all week.  Tomorrow, race day, should be a high of 68 and a low of 48.  As a volunteer at an overnight aid station, I’m pretty happy I brought my down jacket, hat, gloves, and spares!

Pre-Race Ritual

Driving down, I was musing on what I would be doing, if running a race. This is kind of a synopsis of my pre-race day prep:


My clothes will decided and ready a week before the race. The only time I would make a last minute change if there was some last minute change in the weather-like a snowstorm.  I would have selected a pair of socks that did not have any thin or weak spots in them.  The shorts and shirt would be something usually well tested and favored.


Gear is also decided on.  Before-or at least the night before-I will get my hydration pack ready. I will fill my water bottles or bladder at the hotel or where ever.  I am not going to count on Race Headquarters supplying me with water!  I will tuck my first round of gels into my pockets. I will have my wetwipes in the pack.  I will have the race map with me if needed!

I tape my feet the night before.  I have had big blister issues in the past. I now tape the entire bottoms of my feet, and also my heels with Elastikon tape.  I should probably write a post with photos on this alone soon.  This takes about a 1/2 hour-you don’t want any wrinkles in the tape-so I make sure I allow for enough time.  After I tape the feet, I don the race day socks.  No, I do not shower the morning of a race-that’s valuable sleep time, and I am going to stink anyways!


I will have my pre-race breakfast ready.  I don’t rely on food from race HQ, or the hotel buffet being open when I need it.  Last year, at  MMT, I took my Jet Boil out on the porch, had boiling water for my oatmeal and  instant coffee in minutes.  Incidentally, the peanut butter GU gel is very good to throw into your oatmeal for a big extra calories..

I will also drink down a cranberry juice drink.  Orange juice gives me heartburn before a race, but cranberry juice is the bomb for me.   I also tuck a few cranberry juice drinks in my drop bags.  The tartness is a great contrast to most of the sweetness of foods ingested at an ultra.

I need about one hour before race just to wake up, acclimate, get enough moisture in my eyes to pop my contacts in; start getting food in; remember to apply sunscreen and bug spray, and hopefully need to go to the bathroom.  With all my clothing and gear laid out, everything is organized.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, because it was all planned out the night before.

When the alarm goes off, I always have the same thought ” ..And so it begins”..  I lay in bed for another 30 seconds, just savoring the last time I will be horizontal, for the next thirty hours or so..

I am super stoke for the Massanutten runners! I think I will drive down to the race, and maybe hang out at the Elizabeth Furnace AS for a bit and get the gossip on how the first 50K of the race is going!

Another Track Workout and AS Tips

There’s been more track than trails here lately!

I can’t  help it.  It has been raining here almost every day. The ground is saturated, the local trails are just mud pits.  It’s a good thing I was not planning on getting my plants into the garden until the end of the month.  I have not even got the weeds roto-tilled out of the garden beds yet, and it will be at least next week before t hat occurs, it’s just too wet.

Coach changed up the speed work, this time I was doing 400 meters. I have to say I rather enjoyed it-so maybe I am not pushing it enough? I am doing it in the prescribed time.  I guess I enjoy it because I know how limited each interval is. 

The countdown to MMT is on!  I leave Friday after work.  I am not running in the race. I will be working the Picnic Area Aid Station, which is mile 86.9 in the race. Our aid station is open for sixteen hours, from 7pm to 11 am.  Being so late in a 100 miler, the runners will be far “over” the usual aid station food of chips, cookies, PB&J.  We are going to offer much more real food, in several soups, wraps.

My food contribution will be a vegan potato butternut squash soup.  It works for the vegan-vegetarian crowd, and also the gluten-free bunch. It’s simply onions, garlic, vegetable stock.  Throw the potatoes in, roasted butternut squash, simmer it till everything is soft, then blend it all up with the immersion blender.    What’s nice about the soup is I can make it very thick, then dilute it down at the AS table.  I also bring a few thermos so I can warm up a batch, then keep it warm in the thermos until runners come through, rather than trying to continuously heat up a pot on a cook stove.

A 100 mile aid station, especially late in a race, is quite different than an AS at a 50K.  Many runners will need more time to fuel, drink, and regroup.  Mile 86 is not quite “smelling the barn” distance either. Veteran runners will know they have the two mile-which feels like five miles-to cross Rt 211, then the climb up  Dry Run (which won’t be dry this year) for a total of 8.9 miles to the last aid station, Gap II.
I have got most of my gear ready for the trip, I will get the vehicle packed today just so I don’t have to do it on Thursday, my next work day.

I am looking forward to a short weekend in the mountains. especially surrounded by my friends that I do not get to see enough of!

A Hike Not a Run

It was a slogfest today in the woods.  I should have taken the time to drive up to Mohican to run, but I just didn’t want to spend the three hours of my Sunday just driving.

I went to Salt Fork, expecting lots of mud.  There was!

 I tried a different trail, the White Blazed bridle trail. While no horses had been on he trail lately, it was still just a muddy mess.

 It was very green and beautiful out in the woods today!  Since I was hiking and not really running, there was plenty of time to look about.

This tree was huge! Isn’t it magnificent?

 This was a little uphill…that I kept sliding back down, the mud was that slippery.

 Got in some weight training with the extra pound of mud on each shoe..

 While I was enjoying my time in nature, I had pretty low energy levels.  The slow going through the mud wasn’t helping either.  After two hours-and only going eight miles-I called it a trail running day. I had many items on the “To Do” list to work on-effectively guilting me out.

One item I was glad I had taken-the allergy medicine! Salt Fork is in full bloom with dogwoods and forsythia-you can taste the pollen in your throat!