Monthly Archives: January 2015

16 Mile Run


Today’s schedule called for a 16 mile run. After the snow of the last few days, I knew going to the woods would be a huge slow slog. With the snow on the roads-meaning no berm, or place of safety to jump off to, I decided to just stay on my township backroads.

But how to get a 16 miler in? I consulted my old standby, gmap-pedometer, to piece together a route. I decided on my usual “bread and butter” route, which, with a few out and backs, I can turn into about 8 miles.

Instead of turning left, toward home, on the state route, I turned and ran right, to “Horseshoe Bend Road West”. This then links me up with my usual route, and I ran this in reverse.

So basically, lollipop on a stick route.


No real great views. Overcast day.  It started drizzling on me early. I had the Zune in a plastic baggie.

The road, which is mud/gravel was totally snowed and iced over. I was picking my route carefully. I would either run in snow at the side, look for gravel or ruts to run in.

As I continued, the roads got worse. Even with screwed shoes I was slipping. The mail-person stopped to chat with me, asked me how the road was. I told her it was a sheet of ice past the Amish farm, and she turned around. (She then took a different route in, as I saw her on Horseshoe Bend Road West, so the mail did get delivered!)

Even so, I had a good run. I love the long run on my day off work, it’s guilt free and I don’t (sometimes) have time constraints.  My gloves got soaked in the last two miles, and I got a little chilled, but it still wasn’t so bad.   32 F and rain is far better than 13 F and high winds.

I should have taken a picture at the end of the run, I did look like a little bedraggled mouse.

Another mental training day, although an “easy” one for me. For some reason, I was just stoked about the run in adverse conditions, so it didn’t even bother me when it started raining even before I donned my running clothes.

“Mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

Cross Training

Cross Training



Weight Training

I have started weight training again. For a female almost fifty years old, this is important.  It should be important for everyone! But especially for aging females, as we are suspect to bone loss.

Women tend to experience minimal change in total bone mass between age 30 and menopause. But in the first few years after menopause, most women go through rapid bone loss, a “withdrawal” from the bone bank account, which then slows but continues throughout the postmenopausal years. -from the National Institutes of Health

Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss — and may even help build new bone.


Smart Girls Do Dumbells

I cracked open my book from 2004. Surprise, weight training hasn’t changed that much in 11 years. What I like about this book is the simple routines in the back.  Each exercise links back to the page #; I just check back in the book and re-read the movement and look at the picture to make sure I am doing it correctly.

I am following the “beginner” routine for now, one set or maybe two sets of each exercise. sample I have already seen results when using my hiking poles on the Laurel Highland Trail. My upper arms were not sore after using the poles for six hours.



Yes, that’s a bike on a trainer. I got the trainer from Slim, and months later, got the bike on it.

I don’t plan on using the bike for any extended workouts. It’s mainly there to spin out my legs from running tightness.

I’ve been doing well with motivation with both cross training and keeping up with my running through the long month of January.  It’s consistency that matters. One workout  may not mean much, but workouts after workouts after workouts build the body to get across the finish line.


Run at Mohican State Park



This will be State Park #2 I have ran at  in 2015!

Mohican State Park

contains 1,110-acres and Mohican State Forest is adjacent  with 4,525 acres.

With about eighteen miles on the schedule I headed off to Mohican. I meant to park at the Covered Bridge, but the road to the bridge was gated closed. Undaunted, I parked at the Fire Tower. I wasn’t quite sure what route I was going to run, but the parking location helped me decide.

I headed down on the bridle trails south of Rt 97. I decided to start down the “red” bridle trail, which I had  not been on before.

Bridle trail sign After a nice long downhill, I was a bit disappointed that the red bridle trail spun me right out on the “old” Mohican 100 course.  I kept going, knowing I had a stream crossing.pine trail

I had to bushwhack upstream about a 1/4 mile, until I found a spot “almost” covered in ice, but shallow enough to cross safely.

winter scene

The bridle trails were snow covered, so it was a bit like running in loose sand. I was happy to be in the woods, on a nice mid-winter day!

After a second water crossing, I finished that loop and then took the mountain bike trail down to the Covered Bridge.  I then took the tourist trail over to Big Lyons Fall, which was icy and treacherous.

Big Lyons Fall   The ice stalagmites and stalagtites are growing!  After climbing the new wooden stairs, I climbed up past Little Lyons Fall and to the dam. Back to the Covered Bridge, then I climbed up the mountain bike trail for a mile or so, then back to Covered Bridge.

I  headed up the Hog Hollow Trail, back to the Fire Tower. I felt a little tired toward the end of my run/hike, as I had underfueled for my trek.

The sun even came out briefly as I climbed up Hog Hollow Trail. It was a good couple of hours spent in the woods!



Training on the Laurel Highlands Trail


Laurel Highlands Trail

Running on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a favorite training grounds for Neo Trail Club in any season. We’ve done variations on it; running the whole distance, segments, out and backs.

Our favorite is the Ohiopyle 50K, or “Gate to 8 x 2”.  Run out to mile marker 8, back to town, to “zero”, and then another lap.  This is the most hilly part of the LH trail, some good elevation for flat land Buckeyes to train on.

This was a low key effort on Sunday; only Slim and I were running it.

I took NO PICTURES.  Did the run really happen?

Slim can attest that we were there. I forgot my wee camera, and didn’t feel like taking the phone, as bad weather was in the forecast. Slim and I were staying together, so there was that safety factor.

Safety factor point: Now that I am wearing my UD hydration pack for any long runs, I have tucked my waterproof matches, twenty dollar bill (in a baggie), safety whistle into the pack where it will stay.  I need to add a garbage bag, and just keep my tiny Fenix light in there also.

Never fear, I have stock photos of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail!

It was much warmer than anticipated when we finally got on trail about 730am, about 34 degrees F.  Slim, who had run some miles Saturday night, had warned me about the trail conditions, a mixture of ice, snow, mud.

Beginning of the Trail

Beginning of the Trail

My first 16 miles were the harder ones. I had a headache to start, I believe it was more sinus pressure related, with the impending storm front.  I had not thought about the trail being in less than stellar shape, so we were travelling slower than I anticipated.

Overlook Right above Mile 2 2013

Overlook Right above Mile 2 2013

Usually I love to bound down the mile 3 and 5 hills. It was harder to move downhill than uphill with the snow. Even with screwed shoes, you had to be careful with the ice on the downhills.  I found myself “braking” with my legs far more than I like to.

We made the turn at mile 8, and it was a pleasant surprise that the bad weather had not started yet.  We did get hit with a little hail, frozen rain, but not enough to even don the rain jackets.


The sun even made a surprise appearance when we arrived back at the vehicles for a quick aid station stop. Then it was back on trail for second lap.

It was just a nice low key effort on the trail. I picked up my hiking poles for the second lap, and that really helped with stability. My caffeine and Tylenol kicked in, and I felt better on the second lap. I felt warmed up on the trail.

We made the mile 8 turn and still had not gotten into the bad weather! We had a bit of rain/hail start on us, but it subsided. Since  I had thought from early morning that the second loop was going to be in miserable cold wet rain, this was a great surprise.

Cold, calm, quiet day on trail.  I was well pleased with my effort and how my legs felt.  I could feel my quads as we stepped to the Gate, but they felt less tanked than I remembered from previous Gate28x2 efforts.

Thanks Slim for sharing trail time with me! A good day on trail for HR training.


Winter Trail Time



It’s winter trail time. Winter has arrived with quite a statement here in Ohio. Yesterday the temperature rose to a high of 18.  It was -3 F when I ran yesterday.

On the treadmill. Ten miles. It wasn’t “that bad” actually. I first ran 4 miles, then stepped off, refilled my water bottle, and reset the treadmill to zero. Then I ran a programmed interval session, resulting in 2.79 miles. I again stepped off and reset, now having just about a 5K to run. This method, along with “The Property Brothers”, “Top Chef” and part of a “Love It or List It” episode got me through ten miles.

I was determined to go to the trails on Friday. I awoke to a whiteout-the winds looked much higher than Thursday! But it was 17 degrees F, so I kept my plans.

I was super careful packing. I wore my Drymax winter socks; silk long johns under my wind/rain pants; two long sleeve wicking shirts with my eVent Jacket; fluffy North Face fleece hat; Nike running gloves.  I carried a spare hat, my wind-shielding Sugoi mittens, and a spare merino wool shirt. I also had a bunch of chemical hand warmers with me. I didn’t want to make a mistake in the woods and end up in trouble. I also carried some food, my emergency whistle, and my waterproof matches.

For Christmas I got a brand new Ultimate Direction Wink pack to use for Hardrock. I took the new bladder out and replaced with a 70 oz Camelback bladder. I also filled the bladder with almost hot water and two scoops of EFS to keep it from freezing.

Why so careful? Because the temperature was 16F, with the wind chill it was around zero. Not the time for forgetting a piece of gear.

I parked at the Lodge, thinking about doing the Bigfoot Loop backwards-exactly where and what I had told my husband I was doing. This would get me away from the lake quickly where the hills would block more of the wind.

winter trail  The Salt Fork area had received a bit more snow than at my house.  I was doing more hiking than running, having to break through the snow. I decided after the first two miles just to run an out and back so I could run back in the broken trail I had created.

winter trail

The clothing choices went well. Once I got away from the lake the wind died down. I wore my mask almost the entire run-well this was much more of a hike than a run.

It was very good to be back out on the trails. I would have preferred a few degrees warmer, but it was a pretty day in the woods.

winter trail

Book Review: The Tower Cerro Torre

Book Review Cerro Torre

Book Review:

The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre


This book would seem like it is mainly targeting a niche audience, the climbing world, but I am not a climber.  I don’t aspire to be a climber (although it would be cool to try some day) but I got sucked into a podcast called The Enormocast  which is all about climbing.

This isn’t unusual for me. I’m also a big triathlon fan; I listen to several triathlon podcasts and could rattle off top pros and races for that genre.

I guess this isn’t that strange after all; how many millions of golf and NASCAR fans are out there that never pick up a club or climb into a car?

I started listening to The Enormocast in 2012, just after Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk climbed the south wall of Cerro Torree by fair means.  They then removed 120 bolts of the infamous Compressor Route.  Chris Kalous, the host of  The Enormocast interviewed Hayden not too long after this.

Cerro Torre is a big mountain in Patagonia, unclimbed until 1959. it was climbed in 1959, which was a feat was light years ahead of anyone else.  It remained unclimbed until 2005.  The persons that climbed it were Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger. Egger died on the descent.


This book, by Kelly Cordes, a climber and also a voice known on podcasts (The Dirtbag Diaries) is an interesting piece on the history entwining Cerro Torre.  It started with Cesare Maestri, a famous Italian climber, who along with Toni Egger, ascended the north-east ridge of the unclimbed Cerro Torre in 1959.  On the descent, an avalanche claimed the life of Toni Egger and the only camera with documentation of the summit.

Over time, doubt crept in whether or not Maestri ever reached the summit.

It seemed like Maestri was pretty miffed about people not believing he summited Cerro Torre. 

Maestri returned in 1970 to Patagonia, this time armed with an air compressor and bolts. He climbed a new route on the south-east side of the mountain. Over two seasons Maestri used a petrol-driven compressor, weighing approximately 300 pounds, and thousands of feet of fixed ropes to drill bolts into the rock, some 400 in all. The resulting route became known as the “Compressor Route.”  It made it much  “easier”for a climber to reach the summit of Cerro Torre.

On January 16, 2012 the climbers Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk made the first “fair-means” ascent of the south-east ridge of Cerro Torre. On their descent Kennedy and Kruk chopped about 120 bolts from the “Compressor Route,” effectively removing it from the mountain. Days later, on January 21, 2012 the climber David Lama made the first free ascent of the south-east ridge.

Whew! Okay, that’s the bones of the story, there is much more to it, and Kelly spins a very good tale of history of the mountain, the climbers, how technology has changed for climbers over the years.  I really enjoyed reading this, as I had also forgotten the second backstory, David Lama’s free ascent after the bolts were gone. Also, the death of a climber in the same mountains, and the climbers (Kruk and Kennedy) reactions to their friend’s death.

A good and interesting read. Cordes goes into the history of climbing in the various eras; the personalities involved, and the history of Cerro Torre and the mystery of that first ascent and unanswered questions.

I wrote the bones of this on January 5, and was happy to see Chris dropped his interview with Kelly Cordes on Jan 6, on The Enormocast.  I found it a bit interesting as Chris and Kelly spoke; Maestri had, as Kelly said, ‘free soloed many routes; but maybe, looking at it as most disbelieve his Cerro Torre summit, how many other first ascents could have been made up also?

Cordes says in his interview with Chris, that Maestri is a tragic figure in this; I agree.  Once the (alleged) lie begins, and all celebrate his success, how does one back this off? How could you turn and say “hey, this actually did not happen”.  How hard is it, to live your life as a lie? Is it a lie? Did Maestri actually summit Cerro Torre?


Really, this is a fascinating subject. From Maestri’s 1959 and 1970 visit to Cerro Torre, to Kruk and Kennedy’s free ascent-and subsequent internet shitstorm brou-ha.
Go listen to The Enormocast interview with Hayden Kennedy Part One and Two; and then  listen to the Kelly Cordes interview.  And oh yeah! Go buy the book!

Disclaimer: nobody gave me anything to write this review; I just really enjoyed the story and the podcasts!

Review: Mamma Chia Energy Drink

Review: Mamma Chia Energy Drink

I was given some samples of Mamma Chia Energy Drink, and here is my review of them: Mamma Chia Energy Drinks


Drink One-I drank this one during my 50K at URINEO. The taste was good. BUT just so you know, if you are not familiar with the gelatinous nature of chia seeds it might be a turn off and you might prefer something like RED Elixir instead. I drank this in the middle of the ultra, hoping to not have any untoward gi side effects. It did not!

Drink Two: I took the grape flavor to work,

Grape Mamma Chia Energy Drink

Grape Mamma Chia Energy Drink

and drank it about hour eight into my ten hour shift. I was going running after work. Running right after work is my hardest time to work out-I’m usually tired from work, the late afternoon is my low spot of energy.

So I sampled my grape drink. Wow, it was tasty! A nice grape flavor, and the gelatinous matter of the drink did not bother me so much. I felt pretty good getting out of work to get my run on! As the website says “A super-healthy way to start the day as well as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!”

Mamma Chia Energy drink has natural caffeine from guayusa. Guayusa is found in the leaves of the holly berry tree native to the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador. As I drank it, I did feel a bit refreshed and more perky! The drink went down easily and I felt refreshed, with a bit more energy than I would have gotten from a Diet Coke. Mama Chia energy drink also has:

  • More than an entire day’s worth of Omega-3s (2500 mg)
  • 25 percent of one’s daily fiber (6 grams)
  • 4 grams of complete protein
  • 90 mg of natural caffeine (about as much in an 8 oz. cup of coffee)
  • Twice the antioxidants of a cup of green tea
  • Calcium, powerful antioxidants and valuable minerals
  • 120 calories

I drank the raspberry Clean Energy the next day, also before a run, and enjoyed the little perk of energy I got from the beverage.

Having another run to complete on New Years Eve Day, I drank my remaining drink before my 13 mile run. I didn’t really notice the same “pick me up” that I got drinking the beverage at work versus just before a run, but I still enjoyed the beverage.

Retailing for $2.99, the Clean Energy organic beverages are available in four flavors and will be available at select retailers, including Whole Foods, Safeway and Target, starting in January.

Verdict: I enjoyed the taste of the Clean Energy Drink. My only con with the product that it has to be refrigerated, as I wouldn’t mind taking these on an ultra. But if I came across these in the grocery store, I would buy one or two for a mid-afternoon pick me up!

Mamma Chia provided the Clean Energy drinks for my review. My thoughts on the product are my own opinion.