Monthly Archives: April 2015

Trails Day One

This is my four day weekend off, hence a good block of training and I am planning on it being on all trails!

Salt Fork State Park Run

Today was 17 miles. I kept it simple and just went to Salt Fork State Park, the park in my backyard. The vague plan was to follow the Bigfoot Loop, which is about a 10 mile route blazed pink.

Big Foot Course

It’s a late spring here. I started out wearing gloves. I wore capris, a short sleeved shirt, my Moeben sleeves, and the gloves.  It did warm up eventually to remove the Moeben sleeves and gloves.

May Apples

I was concerned about the shape of the trail, as much of the Bigfoot Route is bridle trail. To my amazement (and joy) it was pretty dried out.

Late Spring

It was a pretty uneventful run. I hopped onto a hiking trail, and then crossed the road and revisited the Blue Bridle Trail, which was also not very muddy.  On a Thursday, I saw one fisherman and one other person out in the woods, that was all.

I developed a hot spot on my heel in my LaSportiva UltraRaptors, which is annoying, because I was wearing two pairs of socks. I hope the Ultra Raptors hold up because I am banking on wearing them at both Massanutten Weekend Run and Hardrock.

Next up, tomorrow, a “new trail” (to me) Blue Rock State Forest Trails.

Night Time Running Tips

Night Time Running Tips


If you run long enough, or far enough, you will encounter a need to run at night.

Have you run in your race the dark before? If you are planning on a race that will take you into the darkness, there are a few tips to discover:

You will slow down in the dark. Your pace won’t be the same as it was during the daylight hours.  Consider that in your racing planning segments.

Your world just got reduced to a very small circle around you.  Gone are the views, the other runners around you, the ability to see what’s ahead.  There is a decided lack of stimulation that occurs.  This is called optic flow.

Optic flow is how you perceive your environment while moving through it. As you run through the forest and pass scenery, how you see it while moving past is the optic flow. It’s important for helping you understand the size and shape of objects around you and how quickly, if at all, they are moving. It’s important for hand eye coordination and making decisions on how you can interact with the world around you. The new research suggests it might also play a role in how difficult you perceive yourself to be working. So, why you think you are just moving down the trail, you might be disheartened/disappointed/devastated to see you’ve only gone a ½ mile when you think you’ve covered two miles!

Lights-everyone needs a light. I suggest you carry two lights. When the first light dies-just because-you’ve got a back up.  I also suggest your back up light be just as good as your primary light.  Johan Steele, one of the 2015 Barkley Runners, had to hunker down overnight on his third loop because his light gave out-and didn’t finish Loop 3 in time.

Batteries? I suggest carrying batteries. It all depends on your distance and time you will take between aid stations. Also the temperature. Batteries will drain much quicker in the colder temperature.  I’ve tucked batteries right up against my body during night runs, in order to keep them warm and working.

Feel like you are falling asleep, can’t see very well? What setting is your headlamp on, how long have you been using those batteries? Were these new batteries when you started the race?  Time to swap out batteries.

I always buy new batteries for each run. Yes, that means I have plenty of old batteries laying around at home. I used these batteries in my lamps for runs around the block, where it’s less of a big deal if the light goes out.

What lamp to buy? My go to lamp is my ten year old Myo Petzl headlamp. I have no idea of the lumens of this old boy.

I did just purchase two new lights. One is a headlamp and one is a handheld.

My preference for night time running is a head lamp. In fact, when actually “running” at night, the swinging movement of a flashlight kind of nauseates me. But sometimes a handheld is needed when you are searching for blazes on trees or rocks, or small little metal tags on a cross country course.

Hardrock Course Marker

My headlamp that I purchased: Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp

The biggest and brightest headlamp in the Princeton Tec professional series, the Apex® LED headlamp stands up to harsh weather and throws 275 lumens up to 116m on high.

  • Features a high-output Maxbright LED for intense, long-range spot lighting; four Ultrabright 5mm LEDs combine to provide wide-angle, close-in lighting
  • Includes four brightness levels and an emergency strobe; dual switch design allows easy access to all five modes
  • Headlamp outputs 275 lumens and throws light up to 116m on high to light up the trail ahead
  • Power-regulated circuit board ensures consistent lighting levels; Apex provides 1.5 hrs. of regulated light and 90 hrs. of total burn time with the Maxbright LED on high
  • Switch to the 5mm LEDs on low and get up to 14 hrs. of regulated output and 150 hrs. of total burn time

The handheld I purchased: Fenix E35 Ultimate Edition Flashlight

Featuring 4 different wide-beam settings, the E35 bursts up to 900 lumens and over 500-ft. of light-shedding power with the push of a button in any mode, providing powerful visibility in any setting.

I had just received my REI dividend check and the REI 20% coupon so I went for it and bought both lights. I want to make sure and experiment and use both of these before heading out west.

I will be going through two nights on the Hardrock course. With it being a loop course, having more lights gives me better flexibility on packing drop bags. I could use one of my “A” Lights on the first night, and then pick up my second “A” light at a later aid station drop bag.  Note: I will be carrying a light, probably the Fenix handheld either from the beginning of the race or from the afternoon on. You never know where you might take a turn off the course and be miles and hours behind where you think you will be.

The next step is to actually use these lamps at night! Check your gear!


Spring Cleaning for Runners

Spring cleaning for Runners

Spring Cleaning

Is it Spring yet? It’s been a cold spring here in Ohio.

Is it time to swap the running clothes yet? Maybe it’s time to sort through your stuff. Do a little spring cleaning for runners.

I have summer running clothes and winter running clothes. I keep them separate because-well, I have a lot of them. In my defense, I do run almost every day. So that would be at least 7 days worth of clothing. In the winter time, to my husband’s dismay (and probably disgust) I have been known to wear the same smelly clothes a few days in a row. (Hey I run by myself, I’m the only one smelling me!!)

Running Clothes

Look at your clothes. Has it been more than one season or two since you wore that shirt? Time to pitch it. I usually get rid of 2-3 shirts per season. If I haven’t worn it in the last year or so, it’s not any sort of “favorite” shirt, so it’s time to go, and start looking for more clothing from workout apparel retailers like RyderWear or the likes.

Running bottoms tend to stay around longer. I have 7 pair of tights/capris. I have favorites among them, like my 10 year old Mountain Hardwear tights. But sometimes I get down to wearing the least favorite tights when everything else is wet/dirty. Shorts that ride up and are almost immediately eliminated.

Socks-go through the sock drawer. Inspect the bottom of the socks. Are there almost worn through spots? They are still good to wear, but you don’t want to pack them for that “A” race.


What about your gear? Finding out the day before your race that a zipper pocket doesn’t work isn’t the time to discover that. I recently trashed a hydration pack that I like very well. However, a metal holder on the back was rusting! Then, one of the zipper pockets refused to close. As I tugged on the zipper, I broke it. The hell with it. In the trash it went. If you walk dried mud into the house, make sure to get your Bissell vacuum cleaner out and clean up after yourself.

What about gels? They do have an expiration date. Are you going to eat that banana gel from 2010? Throw it out. That strawberry-banana gel I picked up from the aid station from my ½ marathon last year that is still hanging around? Pitch it. (Or pitch it to a fellow runner who will eat it.)

I go through my “food” bin also. I finally tossed that chocolate Whey protein powder that came in a swag bag. If it’s been there for a few months, I’m not going to eat it.

Runner Food

What are you waiting for? Go clean out that running closet!

It Happened to me I left the Cell Phone at Home!


Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at

That was a good digital lesson. Running a little behind departure time, I forgot my cell phone and my Zune. (A Zune is an ancient MP3 player from Microsoft.)

OMG. Could I survive the day without my phone? What if the Coach emails me back? What if I can’t check my email forty times a day? What if I won’t know what’s going on the cyberworld?

I found it a very good lesson. There is alot of white noise buzzing at you non stop from the cyber world. It felt curiously refreshing to step away from it, and hear absolutely…nothing. No FB updates, no news from the Boston Marathon, no new tips on how to write a blog post.

The only time it was a bit annoying was I did want to use the smart phone as an actual phone to make some calls on my lunch break. But these calls could be put off. In fact, when I came home from work and checked my phone, no voice mails!

I did find myself reaching for the phone several times in the day. Rather like reaching for mindless candy/snacks. Just about the same thing. I need to think about that.

Will I leave the phone home tomorrow? No. I do need to make a few phone calls during business hours. I have to be able to either play Slydris or read a book on my phone on my lunch break.  And maybe see how everyone is recovering from Boston..


Low Ceiling Foggy Morning Run

When you wake up at 5am and can’t get back to sleep, it’s easy to get out on your morning run early.

Geese on Road

Today was another 13 mile run. I decided to run an old route.  My only intrepidation was to get past the loose Great Danes at mile three.

It was not raining when I started this morning! But as you can see-or not see-the low ceiling. Yes it is spring, but kind of dreary.

Foggy valley

I heard the Great Danes at mile 3, but they were barking at me from inside the house. I was prepared. I had my pepper spray in one hand, a big long stick in the other.

Successfully past the dog house, I was happy to be able to “run” up the 1/2 mile hill. “Run” might not be the best term, but it was a running motion, not a walking leg turnover.


When I got to the ridgeline, it was hard to tell if it was lightly raining or just the low ceiling of clouds.


It was just a light mist, and ten degrees warmer than yesterday. I was wearing just short sleeves, but I did have my eVent jacket stashed in the pack, ready for the thunderstorm-that never appeared.

From the ridgeline, it was downhill on some back country roads, muddy and rocky. I was wearing back up (old) road shoes, some old Hokas, and slipped in a few spots with mud on the downhill. (Yesterday’s Bondis have not dried out yet.)

Pretty uneventful run. I had good energy and the legs felt good. Very few cars out and about on this Friday. These were the most amusing critters I saw on my run:


The one goose did hiss at me

The one goose did hiss at me


A nice long downhill that matches the 1/2 mile climb up the ridge, through the creek bottom and the climb back up my state route. The view had not improved much:


 This loop turned out to be twelve miles not thirteen, but I did run fourteen miles yesterday not thirteen. Another good effort for me. I came home, stretched, drank Ultragen, and readied my pack for tomorrow-17 miles at Mohican.

If it’s not Raining You Ain’t Training

if it isn't raining you ain't training

My four block days of training started on Thursday. I had a lawyer’s meeting at 9am, so I had sketched out a run back from town. (The busband drove into town to meeting with me.)

As I started the run it was a nice day out.


Crossing the Tuscarawas River and running the first two miles across the flat river bottom. I had to stop as I hit the first hill to take off the long sleeve top.


I even needed sunglasses the first two miles

I even needed sunglasses the first two miles

I climbed up the ridgeline and noticed the dark clouds rolling closer. Sure enough, 1/2 mile later, the rain drops began, as predicted. I pulled my wind breaker, from Sierra Designs out.

It was pouring. The pictures just don’t show the rain well enough. I ran my 16 miler last Thursday in pouring rain. The only difference is it is at least 15 degrees warmer today.


It wasn’t a bad run. Keeping the hood up on my jacket was about the only issue. Just steady miles in the rain. I realized although my Sierra jacket worked out well all winter long-I usually wore a wool shirt and the jacket, which trapped heat inside-it really was only a wind jacket, not a rain jacket. I was soaked through and had the same result last week.  I had been planning on this being my “light” jacket for Hardrock, but this was a good time to realize it was not substantial enough.

Wind breaker not rain jacket

What road am I on?

Looking at my Garmin, I realized I was going to come up a little short on mileage. About four miles from home, I took a right off the ridgeline, down a road I wasn’t sure I had run on before.

After a mile or so, I recognized some houses and barns. But I couldn’t remember how long the road went before it intersected a main road closer to home.

Gray barn Multi color barn

The next road intersected to the left, and I knew I had taken it before. “Trefoil Lane”. Hmm. I wasn’t sure about the name of the road, but I had remembered climbing out of the creek bottom before. Up I climbed. Nothing is looking real familiar.


Running on my back roads is a little like trail running, meaning many of these roads are dirt and gravel. When it rains all day, the dirt turns into mud, and then there are little rivers of muddy water to plow through. No worries. My feet were good and wet. It’s good Hardrock training, as my feet will be wet probably 98% of the run.

I finally intersected another road, which had a road sign (did I mention most of the road signs on the back roads are missing) and I finally figured out where I was! Okay, two miles to the main road, then 1/2 mile to my state route, and one mile to my house!


Two miles from home, the rain quit. The sky even became a bit blue. Not a bad run as I squished my way home.

Tick a Box for Organ Donation

April is Donate Life Month.


About 79 people receive an organ transplant every day.

18 men and women die, every day, in the U.S. waiting for a transplant.

My sister is now one of those numbers. She died needing a liver transplant. She was number 1-3 on the list, but her medical condition deteriorated and she was removed from the transplant list and died soon after.

My sister Carmen and I from a Christmas past

My sister Carmen and I from a Christmas past

There is an easy way to donate your organs. Just tick a box.

In Ohio, when you apply or renew your driver’s license, you are asked whether you would like to be an organ donor.

If it is not against your religion or personal preferences, please say yes.

If you don’t really have an opinion about organ donation after your death,  please say yes.

Age is not an obstacle. There was a 92 year old donating organs. Medical condition is no longer that great an issue. People with diabetes, people with poor eyesight, even people who have had cancer (but are cancer-free) can donate organs now.

Some people won’t tick the box because they think their family/estate will be charged for organ donation.  They will not be charged.

A donor’s family will not be charged for any medical costs associated with donation. All costs are incurred by the organ/tissue recovery agency.

In a 2010 study, 90 percent of Ohioans said they have a positive view of donation, and 80 percent said they would wish to donate to a patient in need – but only 54 percent of Ohioans had actually made the commitment of joining the Ohio Donor Registry.-From “”

Meanwhile, 3,400 Ohioans await a life-saving transplant. On average, one will die every 48 hours awaiting a transplant that doesn’t come in time. But you can help. Register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor today.  When you renewed your driver license, just tick the box to say yes.

And discuss your wishes with your family members, to just make it easier for others to receive your very needed organs!