Monthly Archives: February 2015

Reverse Ring Report 2015


It was an optimistic group of 13 runners that finally jumped out of warm vehicles in the Signal Knob parking lot with starting temperatures of 4F and the promise of a impending snow storm swooping down upon them shortly.

Starters Reverse Ring 2015

Starting, there was a glimmer of a pink sunrise as we started over the Massanutten rocks

Signal Knob Climb

Signal Knob Climb

On the top of Signal Knob, it had already clouded over; no views of the valley from anywhere today!
Signal Knob Overlook

DSCN3622 The run down the road off Signal Knob was the most running I would do all day. The snow started somewhere on the descent.

There was a frozen dead snake in the road. You do see some strange things at The Ring. Of course I took a picture of him/her.



DSCN3624 It was amazing how fast the snow was falling. I stopped at the spring at Powells Fort to replenish my water supply. I took my gloves off and tossed them to the ground. In the two minutes or so that I stopped, the gloves were completely covered in snow that fast.


Even climbing out of Powells Fort, it was apparent it was going to be a slow footing day. There was already several inches of snow on the ground, and inches were rapidly DSCN3635ll

I caught up with Ed thru this section, and Diane and Larry were seen in the distance. Once we got to the top of the ridge on our way to Woodstock, we started to encounter the wind. This section of trail is usually very runnable, being almost flat. In fact, there was so much snow the rocks were not the issue here. But the slogging thru 4-6 inches of powder was.

It was a relief to get to the Woodstock Aid Station and see a full set up with a table, fire, and breakfast tacos!

Woodstock Aid Station

I asked Q the time. 1045 am.

REALLY? My projected time, time on normal orange trail, at Woodstock was 920 am. Wow.


The snow was still falling rapidly. I got a breakfast taco, some Butterfinger bites, a little more food, thanked the volunteers and climbed the slick slope off the road back to Orange.  Ed, Larry, and Diane were just in front of me.


I took a pull off my water tube and found it was frozen. Dang it. Taking off the pack, I noted the tube was frozen right where it connected with the bladder.  This was a part that I could not get under my shirt. (I had most of the tube down my bra from the run start to keep it from freezing.) Now what?  I couldn’t go without water for 8 miles.

 I removed the water bladder from the hydration pack, and placed it inside my jacket, on my chest, and stuck the whole bladder tube down my bra to thaw out.

Wardrobe Malfunction

Now I couldn’t get the zipper to zip on my nylon wind jacket. Snow and ice had frozen into the teeth. I did the best I could and stomped on. There really was no choice.

 With this stop, the trio of runners were now long gone in front of me. Now I was along, with my malfunctioning wardrobe and gear. I wondered if Paul (who was the last runner behind me) had stopped at Woodstock. I thought about returning to Woodstock, but realized the Aid Station crew would be long gone.




“There will be snow coming down. 5-8 inches of snow. Then it will turn to rain. It will be cold, very cold. There will be wind”.

Oh come on. I’m from Ohio. It was -15F on Friday. I’ve been running in snow, ice and wind for two months now. How could this be any different? Ha! Lesson learned, lesson learned! Don’t underestimate the mountain.

 It was very very slow going. The Ring Runner footprints in front of me were sometimes missing,  completely covered over with snow.  I tried to hurry along in parts. I took a couple of headers into the snow and got covered in snow.

I ate all my calories. Another lesson learned. Carry more calories than you think you will need.  Although I was out of calories, being so early in the run, I wasn’t depleted by any account, although I was hungry and more calories could have perked me up a bit.

 I got to the top of the ridge, and the wind was very strong and fierce.  I tried to just ignore it and focused on trying to fit my stride into the others footprints when I could.  “Step in the footprints footprints footprints” was pretty much my mantra through here.

 My back hurt. My upper back was just  so stiff from fighting the wind and being hunched over a bit just looking at the trail footprints. I had Tylenol in my pack, but I didn’t want to stop and take the time to get it out.  With the wind and the cold, it was not a good idea to stop, at all.  Did I  mention it was still snowing?

I pass the intersection of Lupton Trail and see the signage for Bear Trap Trail is 3 miles. I ponder where that intersection is.  Hmm.  I seem to remember that is almost to Edinburg Road. All right. About three miles to go.

 I know this section of trail. I know when I hit the rhododenrons I will almost be on the climb to the top of Waonaze Peak.  But meanwhile, I wander on, ignoring the wind and just following footsteps. Where the heck are the rhododendrons?

 FINALLY I start the climb.  It seems much longer than I remember. Even moving at my 30 minute mile, I stop briefly-like 30 seconds-to rest a few times. I’m panting into my face mask.

 I get to the top. Awesome, it is literally is “all downhill” from here.

Then the wind hits. I remember the  wind on this section from previous Reverse Rings, it has always been very strong. But this is freaking killer wind gusts.  I take off stumbling down hill as fast as I can. It is such a good thing I am going downhill and not trying to climb, this could have been a very unsafe place to be.

 Just about a mile Kimba, get through the ‘rock field’ and then it will be that nice runnable singletrack, all downhill, and you’ll be at Edinburg.

The “rock field” is pretty much filled in with snow, it’s a bit dangerous because these are big rocks here to stumble and trip over. I get through this section. Now it’s just the nice “runnable” switchback sections to run-which means slogging through.

I was never so happy to spot the road!!


I tell Q that I quit;  he tells me he’s pulling me anyways. I’m at Edinburg at 230 pm-my planned time was 1120 am.  Moreland Gap cut off is 4 pm-there is no way that is happening, 1.5 hours over Short Mountain in good weather would not be happening for me!


My water bladder inside my jacket, and the jacket stuck open

Here are a comparison photo of Reverse Ring 2015


and RevRing 2013:

Sometimes the Orange Trail wins!

Note: Second Year with no finishers. Cam Baker made it to Camp Roosevelt, where he finally bailed.


Reverse Ring Time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Reverse Ring!!

VHTRC Reverse Ring

Elevation Chart by Keith Knipling


My times from the last three RR I attended:

2011 26.12

2012 26.32 (a few miles off course)

2013 26.35 (a few MORE miles off course)

2013 was going so well for me until I made that fatal mistake..stay on orange.  That whole tale is here if anyone wants the down-low on that.

Reverse Ring Goals 2015

Stay on orange

Finish sub 26 hours.

Winter Running

waterfall frozen



winter sceneToday’s weather forecast called for a high temp at 11am of 24 degrees and then it would just be dipping down down down after that. It was important to get my butt out the door to get a run in before noon.

The training schedule said “12 miles or less” so I decided to do the loop at Hosak’s Cave at Salt Fork. I vaguely remembered it being about 7 miles. More importantly, the trail led inward, away from the lake, with less wind.


Frozen Lake

Once I got past my first climb, I was away from the lake with very little wind. A very nice day to be in the woods.


As I drove home, the wind picked up, the snow is swirling around. The temperature is dropping. We are going NOWHERE for our Valentine’s Day Dinner; steak and lobster are planned here at home, so I am hungrily awaiting dinner!

6 Key Race Goals

6 Key Race Goals


I have been enjoying a reread of  “The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training“, which is applicable to runners, not just triathletes.  These race goals are the authors from the chapter on “Goal Setting and Mental Training”.

They have listed 6 Key Race Goals you should have:

1. Race Goal #1: Get to the start

This should be a no-brainer.  Getting to the starting line healthy and injury free is a very important Number One Goal!

2. Race Goal #2: Be totally prepared-do everything that you can to prepare for your race. From the mental preparedness side: Read the race website and rules of the race. Can you have a pacer? Where can you have a drop bag?  Look at the course profile. Read old race reports.

From the physical side: Are you ready? Did you consistently train for your event? You got your long runs in, your cross training, your core work?

3. Race Goal #3: Race Smart-Run a smart tactical race. Know what your pace is. Don’t get sucked into ‘someone else’ race plan

4. Race Goal #4: Finish Strong-have a race plan that you can get to the finish line strong, pacing people along the way. That also refers back to #3, race smart. Don’t push it at the start, trying to bank time (I’m referring to ultra races in this post)

5. Race Goal #5: Enjoy the race-enjoy yourself. That’s the whole purpose of our sport.  Make sure to look around you and enjoy the surroundings and possibly other runners in the race.

6. Race Goal #6: “See results. Only then, after accomplishing all your other race goals, focus on your outcome goal for the race. Remember that your result occurs at the end of the race, so focusing on it during the race will only distract you from your other goals.” -taken from book



I woke up this morning, and wondered why it was so light outside at 402 AM…a quick trip out of bed to squint at the stove digital display read 656 much for my planned 6 am wake up call.

Instead of trying to fit my five mile run in this morning, I just cancelled it. I also did not have any food prepped for my day. Poor prior planning in the food department leads to poor food choices later in the day for me, and I’m really working on this!

What did I get accomplished this morning?

Weight training

Tried on merino wool shirt from Icebreaker. A bit too snug. Will mail back for a larger size

Took all my running gear that I dumped in the kitchen back down to the workout room

Prepped my veggie snacks for the next three work days

Called my mom!

Made my lunch: big salad, 3 oz pork on it

Wrote this blog post!

Training Day Four Done!

gas well

Training Block Day Four Done!

Wee! Day four of four done! This was my four day weekend off work, and I ran 50 of my 62 miles this week over the four day block!

Today I just planned to do my ten miler on dry roads around the block, with the intention of revisiting the gas well to take a few more pics of the Amish babies on the gas well.

The other week, I jumped behind the gas well for a bathroom break.  When I turned around, I saw this on the gas well:

stencil on gas well

This is the bizarro type of things I encounter. This is on the backside of a gas well:

Front of well

Front of well, as seen from the road

and the picture on the back turns out to be..a stencil?


closeup1 Even stranger. A stencil of what looks like Amish babies on the back of a gas well?

I’ve tried to Google this, but I can’t find any reference to stencils on gas wells, or stencils of babies on gas wells.  Anyone??

Training went well. I spent most of the runs close to home, and made sure I got recovery time in. Today’s run  was a big sluggish. I almost turned around, but the temperatures was almost fifty, so I did not want to “waste” a day out in decent weather.

I am looking forward to Monday, my recovery day off!


Training Day at Mohican


Training Day at Mohican

The running schedule called for 15 miles. The organized training run at Mohican was 16 miles, the 25K “new” route.  A run, with friends, at Mohican? I was in!

Training Group

There was also the lure of much better weather-temps into the high thirties, low forties for the day! Whee! Giddy weather!

This was a training run for “Forget the PR” 25K and 50K.  Rob, the race director, had changed the “Damn Loop” slightly, adding a bit more hill into this loop.

Race Course: We start at Mohican Adventures, hop onto the Mountain Bike Trail for about two miles, then ascend up “Big Ass”” Hill. Big Ass Hill Yes, that is it’s real name.


I  had stopped to take some pics and remove my jacket, but pick up the second group as we ascend up Gas Line Hill.


It is then over to the Fire Tower,Fire Tower then down to Covered Bridge via Hog Hollow Trail.  Trail was a little snow covered, meaning about six inches or so. Travelling in the back of the pack, the front runners had kindly trod down a  nice trail in the snow.

Rob and I discuss the traffic pattern at the Covered Bridge before we head out on the Damn Loop. All runners will come up from the Hog Hollow Trail, cross the Covered Bridge, and head out on the Damn Loop. At the completion of the Damn Loop, the runners return to the Covered Bridge, this time crossing the river, to the aid station. After the CB AS for the second time, they head for “home” through Campground B, via the Hemlock Gorge Trail and North Rim Trail  back to Mohican Adventures.



After we climb up to the Dam, we then hop on the Little Lyons Trail. Due to all the ice, we skipped the “hand over fist” section through Enchanted Valley up to Little Lyons Fall. We then went directly UPHILL, which seemed vaguely familiar to me. Yes, in past “FTPR” races, we used to run down this hill!  Still climbing, we kept  going uphill, past where I thought we would pick up the mountain bike trail.  There’s alot of climb in this 25k!! (My Garmin said 2304 elevation gain.)


Runners pick up the mountain bike trail and run downhill for about one mile or so before spilling out back to the Covered Bridge. In the race, runners will go into the river for their second time across the Clear Fork before running through Campground “B” and picking up the Hemlock Gorge Trail and the North Rim Trail on their way back to Mohican Adventures.

It warmed up into the forties along the river and there was enough snow on the Gorge Trail to make it actually runnable. Jen and Renee joined Terri and I through this section, this will be their first “Forget the PR” race!