Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nite-Owl run report

I wanted to complete a 50-mile run as part of my Burning River 100 training. I looked at our family schedule and determined that this weekend would be the time. I also decided to do this at night. I did not want to run this alone so I posted a note on the Burning river news group about the Nite Owl 50 mile FA run. All I wanted/needed was one other crazy person to join me. Thankfully, 7 other people decided to join me for part and 3 of them joined me for the entire distance.

We departed Happy Days parking lot with a simple route: Follow the BR100 course until ONeil Woods. Then turn around and run back. The early pace was fast, too fast. But it felt good. The trails were in good condition and the sun started to set. Headlamps were turn on and we continued onto the Salt Run trail. When we exited the woods again at Pine Hollow, the full moon was just rising over the trees, providing an incredible view. Onto the Wetmore trail.

Yes, it was muddy, yes it was technical, and yes, we were still running too fast, but boy oh boy was it fun! We listened to the owls hooting back and forth to each other and as we passed by the goat farm, a "Baaaa" sound joined the owls! Pretty funny.

3 members of our group decided to call it a night at the Covered Bridge while the rest of us ventured onto the Perkins Trail. Again, muddy, technical, however the pace finally slowed down. The 'fun factor' dropped a bit too... Back to Covered Bridge where 3 more of our group called it a night.

Greg, JP, Kurt, and I then headed down Ira Road to ONeil Woods. We listened to the chorus of bull frogs at the pond near Hale Farm. They were very loud had quite the songs going. As we climbed the hill into ONeil Woods, the coyotes joined in with the night chorus. Pretty cool. We stopped at the top of the hill before we entered the 'real' park. We did not want to risk the wrath of the park ranger since the park closes at 11pm.

We decided to do an out and back on the tow path instead of another lap around the Perkins Trail. JP's wife, Maria, met us at the Covered Bridge with pizza! It was a great break and treat and really hit the spot. We were starting to feel the effects of our poor pacing choice earlier but continued on. Before we knew it, we were back at Pine Hollow and the sun was up! Greg was chomping at the bit and took off at his faster pace since the sun was up. JP, Kurt, and I continued to complete Salt Run again and headed back.

I arrived back at my car after 12 hours and 21 minutes of moving through the night. I felt good most of the night. My nutrition worked and I was happy that the Chia seed gel worked really well. I will certainly use this for the race in July. I only have two small blisters on my left heel. This is mainly due, I think, to my old socks that I wore. I had a small rock embed itself in my sock and I have a sore spot on my right heel. Gaiters are on order...

Great night, great trails, great friends! It does not get much better than this! Thanks JP, Kurt, and Greg for the company and support. Andy and Mike, get ready to rock on July 31st!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pre-Nite-Owl thoughts (and fears)

Oh boy...

This sounded like such a good idea a few weeks ago: Start running friday evening after work and stop when you complete 50 miles. Well, tonight is the night! Myself and a few friends are leaving from Happy Days parking lot and following the Burning River 100 course to just outside of ONeil Woods metro park. Then we will return. The moon is nearly full and the sky will be clear. Should be a near-perfect evening with temps in the mid 60s.

Fears: The ever-present "Can I make the distance?" Will my food choices be correct and sufficient? Will my legs and feet hold up? Answers: To be discovered tonight...

This is why we do these training runs. To build up confidence, experiment with food and equipment choices, and to just have an excuse to get outside and move! Yes, mistakes will be made, but better to make them now than to make them on race day.

Being able to share this experience with others will be an added bonus...

Run report later...(Tomorrow after I wake up)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Paul Simon...

More mud... :)

Yesterday morning was spent 'slip-slidin' away' again on the muddy trails in the valley. I started at Boston store for an out-and-back on the Buckeye Trail to Snowville road. Then I followed the Brandywine Falls section of the BR100 course. The falls had lots and lots of water flowing over due to the rainfall this past week! I have never been there with so much water flowing and it was very nice to see (and hear!)

Followed up today with a nice run with Abby on the Boston Run trail from happy days. I needed to get a new pair of shoes since my Saucony's ripped out AGAIN! This is the second pair that have failed this way. I like the fit and feel of these shoes but the quality stinks! My new Columbia shoes felt great today. I will take them out for a couple of 4 mile runs this week before the Nite Owl 50-miler this friday. That should break them in... :)

This is the last week of school and then the summer frenzy begins. A nice trip the ADK will start things off well. While there I am going for a little 8 mile run up Whiteface mountain. Details can be found here if you are interested. It should be an interesting experience. We have driven up to the summit two times and I would really like to hike to the summit too. I guess I will run there first...

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Up at 5am, left the house at 5:35am, heading towards Cleveland where Denise was going to run the 1/2 Marathon. We managed to find our way to the Muni parking lot after navigating around the road closures. As we were walking towards the starting area, Gina and Abby squealed, "Spider!" I looked up and there was a HUGE spider (ok, about the size of a nickle) hanging in front of us about 2 feet off of the ground. I moved the sign that I was holding towards the spider to knock it out of the way and of course, the web filament that the spider was hanging from, stuck to the sign! Then to my horror, the spider starting swinging towards me!

Now there are very few things that scare me. Spiders, however, are one of those things! I jumped, trying to get out of the way, scraped my hand against a light post as I tried to keep from falling, providing much amusement for my family and several others walking near us! The spider was now on the ground, still attached to the sign, following me! Gina, thankfully, stepped on the creature and spared me the additional trauma...

Thankfully, that was the worst thing that happened today....

Denise ran well and surprised herself with a great time of 1:51:13. We met her at the finish line and we then walked towards mile 25 on the course to cheer in the marathon finishers. It was great to see the runners at that point of the marathon. We have all been there, sometimes you feel good, other times you wish you were dead. Today was no different for the runners. But, the best part is that once you cross the finish line, the pain evaporates! All of the training and the emotions of the day provide a wealth of experience to draw from later in life.

We had invited one of Gina's swim-team friends to join us today so she could experience a larger running event that was not High School track or Cross-country related. I think she liked it. I hope that the shock of spending a morning with us does not scar her too badly.

I completed a solid week of 53 miles. I had a 21 mile "Paul Simon" run yesterday on the muddy trails. (Slip-slidin'-away) I ran from Snowville Road to Station Road, following the new BR100 section. I was only 'navigationally-challenged' a couple of times and I think that I went on the wrong bridle trail for a while, but it was a good run never the less. Followed up with 10 miles today. My feet were wet/muddy for most of the day yesterday and I have a small blister. This is my first blister in a long while so I am not too concerned. I will use a different pair of socks for the race if wet weather is in the forecast. I was experimenting with some hiking socks yesterday. They are great for dry conditions, not so great for wet. "Note to self"...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Sorry about the "blog-slacking"... It has been crazy around here!

All that Denise ever wants for Mother's Day is to not have to do anything in the kitchen. Gina, Abby, and I enjoy planning the menu and preparing the meals for the day. This year we had french toast with a fresh fruit salad for breakfast. Lunch was peanut-butter with home-made strawberry jam sandwiches that we ate during our hike in the valley. Dinner was Thai vegetable stir fry with chocolate lava cake for dessert! It was another great day!

I was really really tired this week! I think that last week's 56.5 miles took their toll and I needed to regroup and recover. I caught myself in the 'numbers game' where the 'scheduled' amount of miles is all that matters. No it is not! You cannot train a tired body. My primary goals for Burning River this year are (1) Get to the starting line healthy and (2) to finish the distance. Although this week's miles were not huge, standing last night on the concrete floor at the House of Blues for 6 hours counts for something. Also, today's hike from the Wetmore Trailhead to the Goat farm and back was a great active recovery session.

The "Nite-Owl" 50-mile training run is scheduled and planned. Should be a great time with my pacers and trail running friends. All we can ask for will be clear skies. Even if the weather is bad, it is a training run. It could rain on race day, right? These long events require just as much mental endurance as physical...