Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Trail Run Today


It’s been a long time since I got a trail run done here in Ohio. Since I didn’t want to run long, I decided to run the orange bridle loop over by Hosak’s Cave at Salt Fork.

Bridle Trail

I couldn’t remember how long this loop is. It’s definitely not ten miles unless horse miles are somehow longer than two legged miles.

It was good to be back out in the woods.


It had rained overnight, the woods were a bit humid, but nowhere near the normal Ohioan summer humidity.


The trail does get a little overgrown right by the lake, but all the briars have been cut back.  I was not getting sliced to pieces.


The trail spills you out right by the lake.


I have to remember this loop, as it is a bit challenging. There’s about six small climbs up to a ridge, then you are back again almost to the water.

trail climb

I also need to remember this trail is awful once it is wet and full of mud.  It’s shaded almost the entire way. This is the one spot of open space, about twenty feet.


Right after this, you turn left.  If you turn right, the trail will end at the water in a few hundred feet.  This actually was an asphalt road long ago.  There’s still asphalt under this.

asphalttrail moreasphalttrail

With this being right beside the lake you can actually run here.


It was a pretty slow run for me. I didn’t feel that great or warmed up until about halfway through it.  I was happy to have no knee pain until the run was almost over, and I can barely feel the knee now, several hours later.

Ten miles?


I got 6.58!

My New Hobby: 30 Days of Lists

30 days of lists


I’ve entered a creative journalling excercise for September. This is just 30 days of lists! Each day I will get a prompt, and create a list. Short and sweet!


I’ve also gotten all crafty and created my little journal. The notebook was on clearance at Joann for 2.97. I did buy some card stock, and two Elmer Glue Sticks for 50 cents, but other than that I’ve sourced and scrounged all my pasting material. It’s been kind of fun. It’s something more quiet and mental than working out.  Yes, I have been doing that also, but it’s amazing what FREE TIME is like when you are not actively training for something!

Old Elmers Glue Bottle



An update

I haven’t been blogging lately because I really don’t have anything of any cheery nature to write about.

Condi-my oldest German Shepherd is in Stage III Renal Failure. I don’t think she will last out the week. As of today, she’s eating very little.

ME-1) wonky knee. I thought it was getting better, but I ran 10 miles on Sunday, after 13 miles on Saturday, and it’s still sore and swollen. I did not run Monday, I am not running today, and Wednesday I have appointments, so I will rest it until Thursday and see how it goes.

Due to both dog and knee I’m going to pass on the Greek Run this coming weekend, although it would be lots of fun.

2) Alpha One Antripsin Deficiency-I may have a disorder called “Alpha One antrypsin deficiency”. My sister had this. It’s genetic. I had bloodwork drawn and my level of antrypsin is low. Not really low, but low.  There are also genetic tests that can be done.  I’m still waiting (a week now) for a phone call for a pulmonologist that specializes in this deficiency.

Alpha-1 occurs when there is a lack of a protein in the blood called alpha-1 antitrypsin, or AAT. AAT, the alpha-1 protein, is mainly produced by the liver. The main function of AAT is to protect the lungs from inflammation caused by infection and inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke.

The low level of AAT in the blood occurs because the AAT is abnormal and cannot be released from the liver at the normal rate. This leads to a build-up of abnormal AAT in the liver that can cause liver disease and a decrease of AAT in the blood that can lead to lung disease.

Symptoms related to the lungs-bold is what I have

  • Shortness of breath (no)
  • Wheezing  (yes while running)
  • Chronic bronchitis, which is cough and sputum (phlegm) production that lasts for a long time  (no)
  • Recurring chest colds (no)
  • Less exercise tolerance (yes)
  • Asthma that can’t be completely reversed with aggressive medical treatment (?? never had aggressive treatment of asthma)
  • Year-round allergies (not really)

So maybe my asthma is a manifestation of AATD? Who knows? There is that uncertainty.

On the positive side

I have almost all of my sister’s assets/monies in the estate account.  It’s been unbelievable how freaking long this has taken. Maybe it was my choice of lawyer. (Again an area of stress for me.) So soon, we can submit the list of debts and get the estate monies over to the beneficiary.

and The Ring is approaching! I am hoping the knee will be good to go by then.

I think, by publishing this, I can get some more writing down instead of stewing on all my issues.

How to Run “The Ring”


The time is soon for The Ring, the little adventure around the 71 mile Massanutten Trail in Virginia.

This will be my fifth  running of The Ring. Yes, I am not that bright. I keep coming back, year after year. With that in mind, I remember last year lots of people asking me if I had “done this” before.

There is a record fifty starters signed up, with another eighteen on a WAIT LIST for The Ring. Wow. A wait list for The Ring. Ultra running has become amazing.


My notes on “How to Run The Ring”

Elevation profile courtesy of Keith Knipling and VHTRC

Elevation profile courtesy of Keith Knipling and VHTRC


The run will start-more or less around 7 am. Do not follow the 5-10 eager beavers out of the parking lot as they run toward Signal Knob.

Take your time

Take your time

We’re going in the other direction.

Big climbs here, but  you are fresh.

You might want to throw your bandana in the creek or splash water on your pulse points when you hit Veach Gap about mile 6.   Veach GapThis is the last water you are going to see in a long time. (That is also if this stream is still producing.)

Climb out of Veach Gap

Climb out of Veach Gap

I’m a slow Ring finisher, I start The Ring with  three bottles. There will be water and some aid at Mile 13, at Milford Gap, and I  will have all these bottles drained by the time we get to Milford Gap.

Coach Hanks, myself, and Allison at Milford Gap 2013

You leave Milford Gap and now you are on the ridge. Very runnable sections through here.

top of ridge


Like Keith says, beware of Stephens Trail (yellow blazes) on your right. If you were running the Massanutten 100, you would take Stephens Trail. However, you are running The Ring and you stay on orange.

Wall at switchback. Don't climb over it!
Don’t climb over this pile of rocks and follow the deer path beyond it.  Stay on orange!

You will pop out of the woods at Edith Gap. When you get to the road, look to your RIGHT to find  the orange blazes on the trail. edith gap Do NOT run down the road to Camp Roosevelt, you will be DQ’d!

 Camp Roosevelt


This is the first time you will see your drop bag.  You will also see various runners in states of distress. You may also be in distress. There will be many happy aid station workers there. Some may be drinking. You may wish you were joining them. Many do, at this aid station.


Now we’re going up Duncan Hollow.  We’re going to pass the blue blazed trail that the MMT 100 follows, for an even bigger climb before this section ends.

See this water? If these small creeks are available, I would recommend dunking my bandana/hat and splashing water on myself. It will be a long hike to the next free moving water.

Duncan Hollow


You may also want to purchase mosquito/bug netting for this section. The last two years this area has been BAD. You could spot the veterans versus the noobs when the netting was donned.


Yes I look ridiculous but there were no gnats/bugs/mosquitos in my eyes/nose/mouth!

You can buy mosquito netting on Amazon: 

When you get to the top, you descend down Big Run/Dry Run.  dry runThere may be water in the creek. Or it may look like the picture above. Splash that water over your head/neck/wrists! This is what your bandana is for!

So what’s next? Oh yeah. Waterfall Mountain.


Waterfall Mountain is a very steep STEEP climb. I usually time myself. waterfallIt takes me 25 minutes from the sign at the bottom to where the trail levels off at the top. 25 minutes for a 1/2 mile. And there is oxygen! It’s not Colorado!

almost to top of waterfall

Crisman Hollow


Your reward for ascending Waterfall Mountain? An aid station! Yippee!!

Unfortunately, that now means you now will encounter Kerns Mountain.  Rocky, technical. It’s only 6 miles? It will feel much longer.


What to say about Kerns? Well, there is Q’s view, almost within one mile of starting this section.

Won't need gloves or long sleeves

Won’t need gloves or long sleeves


Then it’s back to relentless rocks.


Some rocks


I always fall on Kerns. bloodonkerns Then, Kerns gets its blood tribute and I move on.

Moreland Gap


You cross the road to the Aid Station. If you have run MMT 100, you might maybe recognize (it was dark) that this is the beginning of the trail section, it’s Short Mountain!  And it is probably now dark for you on this.

Short Mountain at Reverse Ring 2012

Short Mountain at Reverse Ring 2012

Lots of PUDS on short. You’ll be on one side of the mountain for a long time. towardwoodstock Then you will cross over, and have about 2-3 miles on the other side.   When you hit the big open space, you know you are almost to the road, and the Woodstock Aid Station!



When you leave Woodstock AS, you are hitting “pretty runnable” trails.

Trail Right out of Woodstock, Reverse Ring 2012

Trail Right out of Woodstock, Reverse Ring 2012

Well, after Kerns and Short, it will seem really runnable.  RUN this!  After about five miles or so, the BLUE Tuscarora Trail will intersect and run a bit with ORANGE.

Be careful. Watch yourself, follow orange. You’re going to be looking for a big downhill section, where you will spill out on the road. Turn left. The aid station will be down here, somewhere.

I say “somewhere” because the AS had changed positions depending on who’s running it and where they set up. Don’t worry, the awesome volunteers will be there somewhere before the gated road.

Powell’s Fort


After you leave the aid station, look for the spring on the left side of the road. It is right by the gate, which may or may not be open. Nice COLD water there!

Now you are running up the road. Ignore the blue blazes. Stay on orange!  When you get to the reservoir sign, go left on single track, do not take the road around the reservoir!

Reverse Ring Pic 2012. Ignore the panties and snow, they won't be there.

Reverse Ring Pic 2012. Ignore the panties and snow, they won’t be there.


Eventually you will start the big climb up to Signal Knob. It probably will be in the dark for you here.



Here are some pictures of what you won’t be seeing in the dark.




DSCN2644  signalknoboverlook

Congrats you’ve made it to the top, and now it’s just a gentle jog downhill, right?


This is usually the part where “Signal Knob” sucks pops into your mind.  First the trail is full of sharp pointy rocks. All pointing up. Your poor little feet are mush at this point. But you decide you might as well run.

Then the rocks turn into loose boulder fields. You can no longer run, you are hopping and jumping from rock to rock. Some of the rocks are loose. You are very tired and now do not want to die in the last three miles of your orange journey.

Then the switchbacks begin. The switchbacks take..well, forever. You will feel you will never get off this mountain. When you see the house on the right, when you have descended to the bottom of the trees, you will be in the parking lot in just a few minutes!

Congratulations, you have run The Ring!!

The Ring Reports from me over the Years

2010: Fellowship of the Ring

2011 Report

2013: Part One

2013: Part Two

2013: Part Three (it was a wordy year!)

2014 Ring Report

It’s List Time!

Fifty at Age Fifty

I will be turning fifty years old in less than four months. I have started my “Fifty at Fifty” list. I’ve done a lot of research and had so many suggestions of what to do and where to go. I feel like there are so many things I must do before hitting this major milestone. I’ve been looking at some great places to take some cool trips but also some things I can do a little closer to home. One thing I have found fascinating is all of the Paintball reviews I’ve found. Paintballing never really crossed my mind until now, but considering so many people have said it’s a must-do activity, I think I’m going to have to see what all the fuss is about. I love being active and I can be quite competitive so I think I’ll enjoy it!

I have been googling the interwebs for bucket list ideas. It’s kind of fun for me, it seems I have complete some of the popular items out there:

go on a trip alone

run a marathon

go camping

have an epic adventure

My list so far:

Celebrate my birthday in Grenada
I want a cake for my birthday
Go snorkelling
Go ziplining
go kayaking
Break 24 hours at Umstead
take my bike on a mtn bike trail
start a podast
snowboard or ski again
Learn a new skill (??)
go on a woods adventure on my own. hmm, maybe I have done this? maybe hike the LH by myself?
take a 30 day challenge-photo a day?
paint a picture
put yourself out there (??)
run an obstacle course race
visit a new museum
be able to do a pull up
get my CCW
Declutter my house
Put photos in photo album/scrapbook. Start with the dogs
Visit Falling Water. and Kentuck Knob. Seriously. Oh, and stay overnight somewhere swanky-ie not the back of my vehicle or the Yough Motel.
Do the Whole 30 or vegetarian for 30 days.
White water rafting on the Yough in Ohiopyle
build a gingerbread house
Monetize my blog
Work on family genealogy (I’m looking into using sites like Genealogy Bank for this)
Attend a blogging/social media conference
Go to a festival, like the Pumpkin Festival (or Ramp Festival)
Go fishing
Eat a fruit I’ve never eaten before
make and bury a time capsule
take a jumping pic like Fast Cory
Fast Cory
Any ideas for me? This really is not a “bucket list”, like all the activities you would want to do before dying. I’m also being realistic about what type of travel I’ll be doing in 2016. This is why “Run the Grand Canyon” isn’t on the list, as I don’t think a trip out west is in the cards this year.
What do you want to do, when you hit age fifty?