Monthly Archives: November 2015

Amish Half Marathon Race Report- I conquered the hills!

Amish Half Marathon Race Report 2015

This was my race report on the third running of the Amish Half Marathon. It is held in Berlin, Ohio, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It has been cold in 2013


and colder in 2014.


Amish half Marathon 2014


It is credible to say I conquered the hills. It’s a tough hilly course!

Amish half marathon course profile

I had high hopes for 2015 with the forecast of 40 degrees and rain.  The weather gods were spot on!

Due to standing in the bathroom line, I got outside with five minutes to spare. It was misting rain and cold. I had a Buff under my ball cap, I was very glad to have that on.

Within two miles the ball cap was off and my windbreaker was zipped down. As you can see from the profile, there are sharp little hills to go up and I was quite warm even with the cool temps and the rain!

My secret fueling weapon for the half marathon was my junior mint peppermint crunch

Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch Candies. I started snacking on them around mile three for a sustained little sugar energy for the race. I was happy to have a consistent pace throughout the race.  Even when I hit the flats from mile 7 to 10, I focused on the road and didn’t look that far ahead of me.

My only constructive comment about the race was it really wasn’t marked. The only reason I mention this is there is a sharp left hand turn around mile 9.  We were spread out by this time. There was a car parked nearby, along the road, which I would guess held a course marshal. Runners were almost out of sight around a bend in the road. If you were really at the back of pack, with no runners to follow, this could be a bit of a difficult situation.

This was not a closed course. There were vehicles and Amish buggies trying to go around us in both directions. I could not figure out why some runners in front of me kept trying to run in the middle of the road! The road was not cantered either, at least to my feel on running it.

Despite the cold weather and drizzle, there were many Amish folks out along the road. They don’t cheer you on for the most part. Sometimes it’s even hard to get a wave from the little kids.  I had fun looking at the houses and seeing faces peeking out-I would wave enthusiastically, and the folks inside the houses were happy to wave back!

This was my third running of the Amish half marathon which meant  I was prepared for the final hill at the very end!  I almost caught the gentleman in front of me, but he kicked in the final end on the track, and I finished in 2.25.29!  I had guessed I would run a 2.20, so I was pleased with the finish, as I am currently carrying fifteen more pounds around than last years finish.

There is a good spread of food at the finish of the race. Homemade hot buttered noodles, chips, cookies, apples, sandwiches.  The first activity I did after finishing was change my wet clothes.  Running in 40 degree rain is fine, but the chill factor settles in very quickly once finishing.

I have a feeling I will be back again next  year after Thanksgiving for another half marathon!

Did you run a race this weekend? Did you get homemade hot buttered noodles at the finish?

Slim Pickins Coopers Rock State Forest

The annual Slim Pickins Weekend was held in West Virginia, at Coopers Rock State Forest. Coopers Rock is 13 miles east of Morgantown.

Our base of operations was at the Chestnut Ridge Park Campground, on the north side of I-68.

pine cabin home

Athena and Greg St Clair joined us for our run around Coopers Rock. We started at the day use parking lot. Since we had a *really good* map for a change,it was not needed. There are great, sturdy signs posted at all the trail heads and along the trails. This is a great improvement!

We pass the Henry Clay Iron Furnace on our way to Cheat Lake via the Mont Chateau trail.


Henry Clay Furnace

Without the foliage, we see this great little waterfall with a skinny dipping pool. We run downhill to Cheat Lake.

cheat lake

Sunny Cheat Lake

The Professor mentions he wants to hike up the stream to the waterfall, so off piste we go.

Up Creek Bed


Despite some slick rocks, we make it to the waterfall.


After our trek down the Mont Chateau trail, we headed to the Overlook via Rock City. Rock City did not disappoint!

rock city

SP2015 St Clairs down low

SP2105 Greg and Athena

FINALLY we made it to the Overlook!

Rich overlook

Coopers Rock Overlook

SP2015 Athena




The gentle giant is gone, as it was an eco-statue. The turtle has taken his place.


After a stop for our stashed water, we headed down to Ravens Rock Trail and the next overlook. The St Clairs turned here, and we thank them for their companionship on trail this morning!

SP2015 east to Ravens Rock

Kimba Ravens Rock

Jim View Ravens Rock

Rich Jim Ravens Rock Overlook

Meanwhile, back at the Pine Cabin, the boyz were busy chopping wood for the wood stove to keep us warm and cozy.


The Professor learned a new word this weekend “lumbersexual” which he instantly took to heart.


The little lady was confined to cooking dinner for the he-men. She probably was barefoot too.

Little Lady Cooking


We decided to tour the trails on the north side of the interstate. We started down Ken’s Trail, to the Hemlock Trail, and then decided to jog up the road a bit to the Lick Run Trail.

bug hemlocktrail hemlocktrail1 DSCN4273

Partway up the road, we think we found the trail but then it ended. BUT we had the map! The Professor and Slim consulted it once or twice, and BAM! we ended right up on the trail we’d been looking for.

Soon our Slim Pickins weekend was over. This location may be a repeat for next year’s Slim Pickins, as there are more trails and streams to climb up and through!

Trail running Note: There is a new trail race at Coopers Rock on April 16, 2016. This would be a challenging race! Details are here: Coopers Rock 50K and Half Marathon
50K: Celebrate Spring time in West Virginia at 7:00 a.m. by running the beautiful trails of Coopers Rock State Forest! This rocky and rugged 50 km course will take you through awe inspiring rock formations and dazzling views of the Cheat Canyon! You will run nearly every trail in the forest, including an out-and-back to Cheat Lake and an out-and-back to the Raven Rock overlook. This is a scenic, but difficult course over rough trails with plenty of elevation gain and loss. Carrying a water bottle is mandatory.

Tip a glass of Beaujolais Noveau in solidarity for France

Viva la France! It’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Beaujolais Nouveau

It’s the third Thursday of November. That means the Beaujolais Nouveau has been released, a vintage of grapes from this year. It is released for sale on the stroke of midnight, marked by parties, fireworks, and other festivities. It’s a good marketing campaign.


The wine is made from the Gamay grapes, from the Beaujolais region.  Most wines are not made to be drunk in the same year they are harvested.  Beaujolais Noveau belongs to a category of wines called vins primeurs, meaning any wine sold in the same year it is harvested, not long after completing fermentation.


This wine is about celebrating the harvest and the work that went into the harvest. It’s also a good excuse to crack open a bottle of wine on a Thursday.  The Beaujolais Nouveau is a good wine for an all-white wine drinker to try a red. It is a very young, fruity wine.


The Beaujolais Noveau is meant to be drunk-right away. This is not a wine to save. Buy and open that wine, and toast our allies, the  French. Viva la France!


Do You Have a Medal for Mettle?

It’s Time for Medals to Mettle Again


Do you have Medals for Mettle?


Everyone loves their bling. After successfully completing your race, you are awarded a token of your achievement, usually a carefully crafted finisher’s medal.

Some people hang these up carefully on a cool board, or take to the work cubicle to show others, or casually hang on their doorknobs. But sometimes medals get tucked into drawers, and forgotten about.

Did you know there is a group of people that you can forward your medal of achievement to honor THEIR achievement?

It’s called Medal4Mettle. It’s a non-profit organization that takes your medal of achievement, attaches a new ribbon, and awards it to people who are battling life-threatening diseases and disabilities. These are the people who demonstrate mettle every day.  They don’t have one finish line to cross over, they have a never end daily battle to make it to the next finish line-maybe a successful round of chemotherapy, or to achieve five steps in physical therapy today.

How can you donate?  Medal4Mettle accepts ½ marathon, marathon and triathlon medals.  If your child has a medal that they would like to give to another child, they will accept those also.  Place your medal(s) in a box or envelope with bubble wrap to protect your medals and send to your nearest chapter

You can donate money! It takes sixty dollars to deliver one medal to one patient.  This helps with the cost of manufacturing the Medal4Mettle ribbon,distributing and awarding medals to recipients, promotional materials, and administration costs.

In the spirit of this giving season, consider giving something of a different twist, your hard fought medals to someone in a tougher race than you right now.

10 Tips to Finish Christmas Shopping Early

10 Tips to Finish Christmas Shopping Early

10 Tips to Finish Christmas Shopping Early

Don’t hate me, but I am DONE with Christmas shopping. Okay, I need to confer with a SIL about a present for the young niece & nephew, but that is easy-peasy. My Christmas shopping was aided massively by the fact I had been taking advantage of many ecommerce platfroms that make it super easy to find the right products. The user centric experience offered online is a massive part of why I prefer to shop on a website rather than instore. Salesforce is really helpful for anyone interested in learning more about the features of ecommerce.

How did I successfully complete Christmas shopping EARLY this year? My tips and tools for a successful early shopping season:

  1. Facebook-if you are friends with your relatives/friends on FB, look to see what they “like” or post to their feed. I got several good ideas for my nephew and his girlfriend just from what they showed or like on Facebook. I know I’ll be shopping for Hublot watches for sale for my best friend after looking through her feed.
  2. Pinterest-during the year, surf Pinterest. Use searches like “gifts for men” or interests that you know your MIL might enjoy “baking” “Dr Who” you might find some inspired or different ideas. Make a secret pinterest board for your items so you can pin anything. This can give you a good ideas for shopping later.
  3. ASK ask your SIL what her kids would like for Christmas. ASK them early. When out shopping, ASK them what they think of that scarf or popcorn in a can. Do they really like the smell of that one particular soap? Make a note of that to buy later.. but not too late!
  4. Etsy– is very cool to find homemade original items. Does your sister like sock monkeys? Would she love a Kindle cover with sock monkeys on it? I bet you can find that on Etsy!
  5. EARLY Buy early. This is obvious. If you come across a present idea in July, buy it. Found a good gift on Buy it in advance and store it somewhere you’ll remember. The key is to NOT forget about it!
  6. LIST -keep your presents together and make a list of what you have bought. I use Evernote. When you get brain fog later in the year, and panic because you think Dad didn’t get a present, consult your list-there it is, magazine subscription, boom, already done and paid for!
  7. LISTEN and pay attention-when you are having conversations with your loved ones, listen to them. My mom loves her Keurig. She likes hazelnut coffee flavor. One of her presents will be some hazelnut flavored coffee for her Keurig. I may get her a different machine too after reading through some reviews on My parents like to eat little snacks in the evening. I have bought a healthy snack subscription for them for a few months.
  8. Experiences Make an experiential purchase Purchases like trips, concerts, tend to trump material purchases because the person waiting for the experience elicits more happiness and excitement than a material good. What about an upcoming concert as a present? I bought my dad (and mom) for Father’s Day tickets for a bus safari at The Wilds. I didn’t think they would even use it, but they went the following weekend and had a great time! What about buying movie tickets? Zip lining? Water water rafting trip? Tickets to a local museum? Tickets to make a teddy bear in the mall?
  9. Hobbies Think about hobbies. My mom went to Hawaii last year, a Christmas present for her. For Christmas, I bought her a scrapbook and tons of decals/stickers/doodads related to vacation and Hawaii, something for her to do in the post Christmas months. Does a loved one knit or crochet? Buy them some yarn supplies. Or scrapbook supplies. Do they run? Go to a running store and buy some gels, or a light for night time running.
  10. Home made-Do you have a hobby? Are you crafty? You should be making your homemade wooden coasters in July to give away in December. You can work on hand crafted personal calendars any time during the year. Candles? Gifts in a jar? (gifts that are not food, you shouldn’t make food items in August.) Are you a gardener? You can work on fun topiary made from ivy all summer long. What about fresh herbs in a pot? Start them in the summer, bring them inside in the fall and give a pot or two or fresh herbs for cooking. What about buying paperwhites or amaryllis bulbs now, get them started soon, to time them to bloom around Christmas time?

Do you have any early Christmas shopping tips?

#Holiday Sweat Challenge

Holiday Sweat Challenge

holiday sweat challenge


I have twenty pounds to lose before April 1. I would love to lose at least ten of these pounds before I hit a Caribbean beach in January. When I saw this challenge come across my Twitter feed, and it’s free, I thought, why not?  New things can help with muscle confusion, leading to better results. It’s good to have a group to report back to for accountability.

This begins November 2 and I am ready to go! (Oops I am a few days late to the party.)

Training for Umstead has been going *okay*.  October was a month just to get back to running consistently.  My average mileage has been 30-40 miles per week.  I still have knee pain. I have been stretching consistently after running.  I did not wear my flexible knee brace on my 11 mile run around the neighborhood and the leg felt pretty good.

I still need to work on getting my weight training more consistent. I am going to work on a training schedule for that for November.

I am going to run the Amish Half Marathon the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Maybe this year it will be warm! (The last two years the race day temperature has been about twenty degrees F).  I don’t have any big time goals for this race, but it will be a good way to get consistent miles in.


Anyone else up for the #Holiday Sweat Challenge?