Monday, April 20, 2009

Forget the PR50k Race Report (Oh Deer, what a day!)

Executive Summary:

I finished! 6:33:45

No blisters; just tired legs and a huge smile on my face!

Paul arrived at my house at 4:55 am and Kirk pulled in at 5am to pick us up. We headed towards Mohican, looking forward to a great day. It was fun to catch up with each other’s training, or lack there-of, and to share plans for the summer.

We turned off of the interstate and started the trek down the State highways toward the park. We were passing through some nice farmland when all of a sudden, Paul shouts “Deer!” and then that sickening “thud” of something striking the van. All I saw from the back seat was I think a deer leg fly across/over the windshield!

We pulled over into a barnyard and assessed the damage. The left front of the van, hood, fender, and driver’s door was damaged. The radiator was hissing and steam was coming out from under the hood. Kirk said “Let’s at least see if we can get to the park before it overheats” and away we drove.

Less than 2 miles later, we hit another deer, this time on the passenger side of the van. Kirk doesn’t even stop for this one… His only comment was “Maybe I’ll run into a turkey on the trail and make it a hat-trick for the day!” Nothing like some humor to help the day…

We arrive at the park and get ourselves checked-in. Great swag was included with a nice race shirt! Before we knew it, Rob was making the pre-race announcements and away we went!

After a short run through the parking lot with the Galion Girls Softball teams cheering us on, we started the first climb of the day. (Only 2 miles!) I had never been down to Mohican before and the views and scenery were stunning! No wonder people like this park so much!

I had to stop and adjust my shoelaces and I lost touch with Kirk and Paul. I would see them a couple of times later in the day on some switch backs, but never managed to bridge the gap back up to run with them.

One of the many highlights of the day was the trek to Little Lyons Falls. Roy Heger caught up to me as we were nearing the falls. He stated that this is his favorite part of the Mohican 100 course and I understand why. It was so green and lush, almost Jurassic Park-like. Then, we hit the root ladder. The trail ascends a rock face via several tree roots that have formed a natural ladder. Very, very cool… Oh yeah, Roy was long gone by the time I made the climb up the falls. He is a machine!

The trails were in very good condition except for a section near the lodge where we had to slog through 3-4” of mud. I started off trying to pick a clean line through but quickly realized that it was faster and easier to just blast down the middle. It was only mud.

The weatherman had forecasted overcast skies with a chance of showers. We had overcast sky, peeks of sunshine, and about 60 degrees. Almost perfect conditions. The bugs were also taking advantage of the weather to stretch their wings and to feast on the moving buffet of ultra runners! It seemed as if I always had a swarm of them flying around me as I climbed up the endless supply of hills.

The steep downhills were taking their toll on my legs. I was really looking forward to the last segment of the course, which followed the river back to the start/finish line. Rivers are flat right? Well, not here…Rob threw in one last HUGE hill at the end. Just when we could almost see the finish line, we turned left and up-and-over one last hill. This one hurt…

Finally, the last downhill, back through the parking lot and I crossed the finish line. The race director was there to shake everyone’s hand as we finished! Paul had finished 2 minutes ahead of me, and Kirk, 20.

We changed clothes and piled into the van. Kirk had checked the van and it appeared that there were no leaks of important engine fluids. After a stop at the Highway Patrol station in Ashland to get an accident report, we made it home.

Great venue, great Volunteers, great aid stations (Thanks Kim!), very challenging course, great day! Regardless of the race title, I did set a PR since this was the first time I ran the course. Now, I’ll have to see about beating my PR next year!

Photo: Right to Left, Paul, Kirk, Jerry (and Forrest licking his lips thinking about all of that venison!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009


My taper for the "Mohican Forget the PR50K" is complete, and I guess that I have tapered from blogging also... Time has just gotten away from me.

I feel good about tomorrow's event. The only blemish is that there is a good chance for rain. I don't mind rain, but the temperatures are supposed to be near 50. That is not a good combination for me. I am struggling with the clothing decision: wind pants or shorts, long sleeves or short sleeves with a rain jacket, gloves or no gloves? Actually, the gloves decision is the easiest one.

My goal for tomorrow is simple: Finish and have fun! I hope for a sub-7-hour finish time and really don't know what to expect since I have not ever seen the area/course before. I am riding down with Paul and Vince and I will just run my race. They can wait for me at the finish line; at least I hope that they wait for me.... it would be a long run home!

Denise, Gina, and Abby returned yesterday after a short visit to her parent's in NY. I miss them when they are not home. It is just too quiet around here to be comfortable. Yes, the dogs and cat are still here, but they pretty much are just floor-mats most of the time until they are hungry, then they seem to want attention.

Today is supposed to be sunny and 70! Time for some car cleaning and mow the lawn. An early night is in order before our 5am departure tomorrow!

It will be a great day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Chicked" at the finish

Yesterday was the "Run for the Orphans" 4 mile trail race in Hudson. We all signed up for the 2-person relay: Denise and I for one team, Abby and Gina the other. The "Kids vs the Old folks"! The duel was on...

Actually, there was not much of a duel. This was Abby's first race and the plan was for Denise to run w/her for the first leg of 2 miles. Abby has been run/walking for 2 miles and this 2 mile leg would be a stretch for her, especially since she was sick in bed two days before the race! Before you call Social Services on us, we did give her the option to bag the race but Abby really wanted to run it... She is as stubborn as her father...

She did very very well! Denise and her ran the first mile and then took a short walk break. Then they ran again. This cycle continued for the second mile and as they started down the hill before the exchange point I shouted out to them "Go Denise and Abby!" We high-fived each other and Gina and I took off.

I planned to run with or just ahead of Gina to help push her a bit. I was having a blast running with her and she was telling me about how the Cross-country course meandered through the park. Her talking stopped when we hit the hills. I would pull away from her a bit as we went up hill and then I would let her catch back up during the down-hill section. As we neared the finish line Denise and Abby were there cheering us on. I was just running my pace when all of a sudden this white flash passed me! Gina had kicked in the after-burners and passed me just before the finish chute. I kicked it in a was just on her shoulder when we entered the chute...

I was "chicked" by my 13-year-old daughter! For those of you that don't know, being 'chicked' is when a girl passed you at the end of a race... Pretty funny term, and some guys take it much harder than others. Gina had this HUGE grin on her face as we walked through the finish area together. She said, "Of course I had to pass you at the end!" I honestly did not even think about it... I just know that it was a great morning and I would not have wanted it any other way!

Denise and Gina went to the swim team awards banquet where Gina once again won "Most Improved Swimmer". I am pretty proud of her and how hard she works in practice. She does what she is told and always seems to peak at the right time.

I then went out for 20 miles of trails. I took the first part way too fast and paid for it the last 2 miles. Good run, I am bored with the Twinsburg trails, but a good run nonetheless. I saw a wild turkey running through the woods, several deer of course, and a kamakazi squirrel. He was about head-level on the back-side of a tree as I ran by. I reached out my hand to steady myself as I slipped in the mud and almost grabbed the squirrel. I think I scared him as much as he scared me. As he tried to scurry away, it appeared that he was going to jump on me. He was just trying to get himself turned around as fast as he could. I chuckled for a while after that....

Denise and I went back out today for a 10 mile run together. I had some tired legs, but it is a good tired. This was the last big weekend before Mohican. Am I ready? We'll see. It is taper time and all I can do now is mess it up...