Looking over my 2017 weekends, I have discovered it is my year to embrace volunteerism. I am volunteering six months this year!
Forget the PR 50K Loudonville Ohio April 17-Covered Bridge Aid Station Captain
Massanutten Trail Run May 6 Massanutten Mountains, Virginia
Laurel Highlands 50K & 70 Mile June 10 Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle, PA-working the Mile 12 Aid Station
Canal Corridor 100 Mile Race July 8 Akron Ohio-Working the Lock 3 Aid Station
Camp Tuscazoar Adventure Race August 16
Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic Sept 16-Captain of the Start/Finish Line Aid Station
Whew! I think that it is for now. I don’t know my specific duties for Massanutten or the Adventure Race yet. The other races I will be working an aid station. We can always use more help at each of these events! Give me a shout out if you have a few hours to volunteer. It is always fun to be on the other side of the table to help the runners out!
Volunteering this year at a running event?
This usually, if I write one, starts out as “what races I am running” for the year.
This is going to be a different year, maybe the start of new me, or Kimba 2.0 as I call her.
I may not be running much. I have Grade 4 Arthritis on my right knee. I’ve seen the XRays (went to the doctor in December) where there is not a gap between my bones.
Hence the pain on my knee. Running is the worst thing you can do for this. Walking is good. Swimming, biking, hiking is good. Virtually every other sport under the sun is good-except for running.
It’s going to be a very flexible year that I will embrace. (Embrace is my word of the year!)
Hiking: I’ve become interested in the Buckeye Trail. I received several map sections of the BT for Christmas and I would like to cover these in 2017. I would also like to do some overnight camping.
Biking: I’m going to ride my bike this year. I need to find trails or roads without lots of traffic. One of my goals will be to ride a century, or 100 miles.
Swimming: I am learning to swim with my face in the water. I think it will be fun and out of my comfort zone to “try a tri” which is a swim, followed by a bike, followed by a run.
Volunteer: this is definitely on the calendar. I will be working at the following races Forget the PR 50K in April and Massanutten 100 in May. I will be recruiting volunteers for a new adventure race here in southern Ohio, at Camp Tuscazoar in August.
What’s on your adventure/recreation/racing calendar for 2017?
TWO of Ann Trason records were broken this past weekend.
Ann Trason is the best female ultra runner. She won Western States 14 times, Comrades marathon twice, Leadville 100 four times, 100K World Championship twice; and set 20 world records. Check out her results on Ultrasignup: all you are going to see are first (and a few second) place finishes. No runner will even get close to the amount of wins that Trason holds.
Gina Slaby breaks Ann Trason’s world record for 100 miles-13:45:49 at the Desert Solstice.
Slaby is from New York and never ran in high school or college. She took the sport us prior to enlisting in the Navy to handle the training standards.
Slaby ran in the Olympic Trials in both 2012 and 2016. From her Ultrasignupprofile, every ultra she has entered-she has won. Some of her 100 mile race wins were Vermont 100 in July 2016, Lumberjack 100, Capital Reef Ultras, HURT 100. That shows quite a contrast, from rooty technical HURT to the more gentle surfaces of Vermont and now the track Desert Solstice.
Caroline Boller smashes American 50 mile trail record in 5:48:01 at Brazos Bend 50, the previous record was 6:14 by Ann Trason. She also won the race outright (meaning she beat the men and the women) AND set the course record at Brazos Bend.
This was just a short time interval from her new Masters Course Record, 6.32.36 at the JFK 50 Mile in November. Which was just seven days out from her performance at the IAU 50K R oad World Championships , Doha, Qatar, where she finished 16th. It’s been two fast months for her!
Boller has had a very busy productive year, 2016 Olympic Trials, finished 12th at Western States, 1st place at the Mokelumne River 50K, Annadel Half Marathon, Caumsett 50K USATF National Road Championships. She set course records at Mokelumne, and Masters American Record at Caumsett.
Boller (per her website) did not take up running regularly until she was 38! Boller writes great race recaps, I can’t wait to hear her Brazos Bend Record Breaker Report.
This was a great weekend of racing for the women!
#girlpower #worldrecord #ultrarunning #ultrachat
I re-discovered this essay of mine. has always been a favorite training ground for me. Perhaps it’s time to go north and renew my soul. Enjoy!
“Run at Mohican. Meet at the Covered Bridge.”
This was a Facebook post from Don Baun. Although I can’t join in this weekend, for this run, it just stimulated my Mohican yearnings, and our runs from Mohican.
My first introduction to running at Mohican was via Regis Shivers. I was an ultra-newby. I had just stopped by his house, to meet him, and his friend Jerry, another Mohican veteran, when I got the invite: “We’re running Mohican tomorrow, wanna come along?” Folks, I was just off my first ultra (50K) finish and IT-Band injury. My long run before the injury was 7 miles. Now I was planning on 13+ miles at Mohican! I happily joined up.
This was where I met Tanya Cady and Roy Heger, two very experienced ultra runners. This is where I was running with Regis, who kept falling with a lot of alarming regularity (it turned out to be new bifocals) on these beautiful trails. My most favorite memory is running on the Orange Loop (the mountain bike trail) above the campground, thinking “oh there is no way I could run this at night” –which is now, such a happy memory, whenever I run this section at night. On the same “Orange Loop” (mountain bike) section I’ve remarked to Cheryl Splain on numerous occasions, we must hit and activate the secret “biker sounds” on this section. I cannot ever remember running this section, without hearing a Harley cycle down on the road. Spring, summer, fall, winter, I seem to always hear a Harley through here.
The Covered Bridge is where we stage many training runs out of. It’s usually a simple post on the Yahoo! Mohican Group Page: Hey, running at Mo, run the Orange/Purple/Red-Green Sections, meet at the CB at 8 am… Experienced and late arriving runners can figure out where we are, and meet up. The Covered Bridge is the little epicenter of the previous Mohican 100 race Courses. Meeting at the CB means you can cover as little as 4 miles, and run as many as 50+ miles, meeting back up at your vehicle for refueling.
The Covered Bridge, and the little hike to Lyons Falls, is a big tourist attraction. There is limited space at the CB for parking, and I’m sure sometimes us runners hogged it all. In 2008, a person found out what it meant for the “no parking” sign. A tree fell, right on a car in the “NO PARKING” zone. I guess the Park meant it about the no parking there!
Many shivering pictures taken in front of the bridge as the last late comer arrives, quickly snapped so we can head out on the trails. New runners to Mo arrives, are welcomed into the family. New friendships are built as folks find others with similar paces. No one gets left behind, because there are usually plenty of seasoned Mohican runners who can find shortcuts and trails-or not-to add or cut off miles.
Running at Mohican seems to be both preventative and curative medication for many a tired soul. There is something about the beauty of the pine groves, the single track through the woods; the water crossings are there to wash away our troubles. Even that last mile back to the Covered Bridge-whether it’s splashing through water filled trail next to the river, or the 12 bridges on the Hog Hollow Trail (Green Loop) is beautiful.
Even though it’s usually a huge relief to see that Covered Bridge again after covering 10/15/32 miles, it’s a bit sad to know that it’s almost time to leave.
Soaking the legs in the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River, in the shadow of the Covered Bridge, has also become part of the tradition. But usually after the soak, it’s time to get the smelly runner body in the vehicle, to wait for the next email: “Run at Mohican. Meet at the Covered Bridge.”
I decided to write a post on my knee. I tore my meniscus in 2015, and had surgery to remove the tear in April 2016. The doctors discovered at the same type I have arthritis-I guess quite bad, on my knee.
I followed my rehab directions perfectly, did all my PT. I tried to run again in June. It did not go well. I did not run like I did prior to surgery. All of a sudden, I can feel the aging in both knees.
I backed off running. I did not enter many races. When I did run, it was horribly slow. As in 15 minute to (on trails) 20 minute miles. I would run around my 11 mile block, doing much more walking than running.
The knee pain comes and goes. Sometimes I don’t feel any pain. Sometimes I really feel pain on the lower inside of my knee, maybe that’s where the torn cartilage was removed.
I’ve also been considering using a knee brace to protect my knee from further damage. When it comes to knee sleeves amazon have a wide range of different products, so take a look if you’re going through something similar to me.
That being said, I’ve been on my bike much more. I’ve gotten much more confident on it, although I don’t like riding on all the hills around me. It doesn’t help that I’ve gained twenty five pounds over the summer.
I’ve been struggling to get into a workout groove. I’ve been logging my workouts so I can go back and see exactly what I did do in the previous week to not feel like such a loser.
I’m at phase one of learning how to swim. I am trying to adapt and overcome. It’s not easy. I’m trying to do this as gracefully as possible.
There will a separate post on this for Sunday, but this is the bare bones about the knee situation.
The History of Slim Pickins
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were not that many ultra running events.
One of the oldest running events is the JFK 50 Mile Race.
The JFK 50 Mile was first held in the spring of 1963. It was one of numerous 50 mile events held around the country as part of President John F. Kennedy’s push to bring the country back to physical fitness. The JFK 50 Mile in Washington County, MD is the only original JFK 50 Mile Challenge event. The race is held the weekend before Thanksgiving.
While many, many, many runners have run the JFK for years and years, others were not that enthralled at the course/race. For years and years, if you didn’t run the JFK, there was no other choices.
Hence, “Slim Pickins” for the weekend before Thanksgiving.
That was before NEO TC. This weekend became Slim Pickins, where runners assembled over a loosely organized plan to run miles somewhere on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
The first year was 2006.
First year of SP was a target of a FA 100.
Following were present:
Mike Dobies (did not run as he was sick)
Brad Compton from Indiana (who hit a deer on his way home and caused considerable damage to his vehicle)
We started at Seven Springs and went to mile marker 1, and then turned around to head back to Seven Springs for the first 50.
We all quit at that point except for John Dewalt, who was pissed that we all quit.
(Johnnie D quit too.)
Target was was a backwards run on the Laurel Highlands Trail, starting at mile 71 and running to Ohiopyle.
It was one of the good “snow years” on the LH:
Four completed the entire LHHT: Roy Heger, Tanya Cady, Jim Harris, and Brian Musick.
2008 was another snow year:
2008 was the double marathon from Ohiopyle to Seven Springs and back, which no one completed. We all bailed at the 50K.
Global warming occurred in the late 00’s, leaving us with much less epic weather for the 2009 Slim Pickins.
2009 was the 100K from Route 31 down to Ohiopyle and back. Several made the round trip: Jim Harris, Bob Combs, Cam Baker, Mike Dobies, and Brian Musick. Cam, Mike, and Brian also added some extra miles, proving you can get lost on the LHHT.
The LHHT bridge was removed in 2009, prompting a change in our Slim Pickins plan for 2010. We elected to run on the north side of the LHHT for 2010.
We had the best staging area for the 2010 Slim Pickins. This year, cabins were rented in Linn Run State Park, just a few miles from Donegal, PA. This is on the north side of the PA Turnpike.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission neglected to consult with NEO TC before they changed their hunting dates for 2010. We found ourselves in the woods on opening day of Bear Season in Pennsylvania in 2010:
All turned out well, no casualties were noted.
This year’s Slim Pickins was staged out of Ohiopyle. This is the epic Ohiopyle 50K.
The double out and back. 7400 feet of elevation gain. Sounds easy on paper, less so on those hills at mile 5 and 3.
This was the least epic weather ever for SP and also the most attendees at the starting line.
18 runners lined up at the Brown Gate in around 30 degree weather, with no snow and temperatures promised to be in the 50’s.
The mile marker three ended up being some of the runner’s turning point, since once you passed MM# 3, and went downhill, you were more of less committed. In other words, once you go down Mile 3 Hill, you might as well trudge on out to MM8 and make the turn.
We had 8 finishers of the OP50K, now known as the “Gate 2-8-X2” Challenge. All you have to do is follow the pretty simple rules: Start at the Brown Gate at the LH sign, go to mile 8, come back, and repeat. Do this in one 24 hour period. Time spent refueling in Ohiopyle counts, you can’t subtract that. Report results of time and date achieved.
Weather was good, there was still plenty of snow in the Laurel Highlands from a late fall dusting.
The training schedule was supposed to be longer on Friday, and then “ten” miles on Saturday, but I figured some extra mileage-especially at a hiking pace, with a full stomach-would be okay.
I took a leisurely walk up to the mile 2 overlook. I sat on the rock overlook there, just basked in the sun. I stretched.
After about a half hour, I could tell my legs were tightening up, so I resolved to go north on the trail until I ran into one of my NEO TC runners. At this point, there was no way I was going up the Mile Six hill again! I figured I could camp out at the Shelter Sign until someone came along.
Happily, Gombu came along as I was climbing up the mile 5 hill. Oh yeah! Now I can turn around! Gombu and I ran back to OP. So I got eight miles in for the afternoon run/hike, so I got 38 miles in on the LH Trail for the weekend.
After showering, we headed over to the Falls City Pub. It is the best pleasure in the world, to have a pub at the trail head!
Allison had texted me when she got to the mile 8 marker, so we were guestimating when she would finish. I gave her a 630 pm appearance at the pub, and she arrived at 6.27!!
Allison was the only one who went out of her comfort zone for Slim Pickins. This was an unsupported effort, with one water/food cache at Slim’s vehicle at mile 11. She was running in the dark in the last hour or so of her 50K-on a very technical trail. She was alone for almost all of her run, and had a very successful time! Very proud of her effort on going it alone out there.
|I think she looks pretty good after finishing a 50K|
This weekend was our 8th annual Slim Pickins weekend. This was the farthest NEO Trail had traveled for a weekend SP run which occurred since we had been thrown out¹ of Linn Run, our original destination. The Professor said he would like to visit Great Seal State Park, which is the park where the “Not Yo Momma’s” 100 Mile Race takes place in Ohio.
Rich and Kimba got 7 miles on the trails at Great Seal Park on Friday, to do a bit of a recon before the others arrived the next day. It was a bit of a challenge to follow the stellar cartographers that ODNR employs to make maps for state parks in Ohio.
Really, the map was not much better than this.
We did have a nice cozy cabin, over at Scioto Trail State Park, about fifteen miles away:
For the last few years, NEO Trail has been trying to get a cabin or a hotel suite where all can gather after the run, break bread, chat, and other “fairly normal” activities that we are known for.
None of the NEO Trailers had ever been to Great Seal State Park, which made it a bit difficult to try and describe anything about it. In fact, where we parked and started was where we thought the 100 mile race started. We were in the wrong place! Tim Smith, from Middleton, parked in the correct spot but still managed to find us down trail.
We then ran over to conquer Sugarloaf Mountain.
Whew! That was a good climb up Sugarloaf!
Top of Sugarloaf
The guys ponder a cairn. We were doing our best to follow Rob Carroll, the RD of the “Yo Momma’s” Race along with the ODNR map. henceforth known as the “sucky map”. There was much stopping and starting, not listening to the Professor’s navigation tips, and playing on rocks. We did run into Rob Carroll, who helped show us where we were on the map.
When we got to our water cache, where Aid Station Two is for the YM race, it was much more runnable, and hence we did much more running.
It was soon figured out, with all our screwing around, and compensating for the slowest runner’s pace (Kimba’s) it wasn’t going to look like a second complete loop was going to happen. Kimba stopped after one loop and drove The King, The Prof, and Slim over to the farthest point south to run some more miles. Tim went on to climb Sugarloaf Mountain and head home. It was nice to share trail with a new runner-thanks Tim!
The Yo Momma’s course: this is a tough loop. We knew it would be hilly, but there are a bunch of ups and downs and several big tough climbs and descents. With the course being multiple loops, this is indeed a challenging race. We agreed this race was much harder than Mohican or Burning River.
There was also a run on Sunday morning. We woke up to first snow! We again tried to follow a ODNR map, which didn’t quite pan out, but we spotted the fire tower anyways.
We ended running almost five miles on Sunday back to the cabin, a good way to shake out the kinks and muscles for the long drives home.
The best part about Slim Pickins is saying “see you in a couple of weeks” as URINEO, our club Fat Ass at Mill Creek Park, is December 20. Another good time had by all!
¹ we weren’t actually kicked out of Linn Run. We had reservations, but the park decided to close the cabins down for cleaning and renovation.
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.
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.
Without the foliage, we see this great little waterfall with a skinny dipping pool. We run downhill to Cheat Lake.
The Professor mentions he wants to hike up the stream to the waterfall, so off piste we go.
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!
FINALLY we made it to the Overlook!
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!
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.
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.
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.
As always, our Slim Pickins weekend was over too soon.