Get right back up again

Got up early and headed to Pepper Pike despite the looming storms. Got in a very nice run with my gals. 8 miles in the rain worrying whether or not we would get struck by lightning. These are the runs you remember! Thankfully it wasn't raining at the start or I probably would have had to run solo. Even the craziest of runners struggles to start when it's raining buckets I think.

I woke up late so despite having two days off my legs didn't feel shockingly fresh or anything with no fuel before the run. I've been pretty good about eating breakfast before my morning runs lately. This morning it was just half a glass of juice and water on the run.

I feel refreshed though and ready to tackle the day. I think I needed a good long run in the rain.

Falling Off the Wagon

Working late really blows. Especially when it cuts into your running! Just finished up here about an hour and a half later than planned and I am starving and don't feel like running at all. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but this happened last night too. So now it's 2 days in a row when I won't run and oh yeah I am supposed to be aiming for 53 miles this week. Uggh. So I guess I will have to settle for two back off weeks in a row. Next week will be tough to hit all the miles with Burning River. I'm manning an overnight aid station so weekend running may be in short supply. I guess this is why I had a quick build up plan and a slow one, in case of unforeseen occurrences!

So what is my master plan you ask? Don't really have one right now other than upping mileage. I have been running a track workout once a week and the rest of my miles have been either long runs or easy runs with as much on trails as I can get in. I am kind of enjoying the lack of a formal plan where I just throw up a bunch of numbers to hit my weekly mileage.

Tuesday's track workout went well. 3 sets of 4*400 all at 1:31 or under. I was happy with it and got in 8 miles to boot.

Races on tap are:

Thursday the 2nd Twilight Trail 8K. Pairing up with Solar Squirrel as a team, MT and Daisy are doing it too. Should be fun!

August 7th XC 5K first try for sub 20
August 14th XC 5K Second attempt for sub 20
August 21st XC 5K third attempt for sub 20

All those races are $3, you can't beat that!

I think I'm bagging any tri's this year which means Great Lakes Escape is most likely out . I haven't swam at all and my cycling is nonexistent except for the occasional commute into work. We'll see, this is tentative but if I do it I will only race the run portion.

After that it's North Country Trail Marathon in September with Solar Squirrel and possibly Mouse and Dice. I'm tempted to do 50 there but will contain myself and just do 26.

In October I'm hoping to run the Akron marathon as a relay again, this time as a kick ass female team.

After that there's the possibility of pacing Detroit Marathon and racing Towpath Marathon.

Then it's back to Maryland for another go at 50 miles at JFK. MT, GK, and I are signed up and I reserved the hotel.

In other words there's really no time for this missing two runs in a row nonsense. Let's hope next weeks better!

Another PR

Well so far this year has been a pretty good one running wise for me. Saturday night I added another PR race to the year.

A few years back I did the Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark 4 mile run as my first road race back after not running seriously for a few years during college and post college. That night I ran a 31:21 a 7:50 pace and was pretty pleased but knew I had a lot of work to get where I would like to be.

This past Saturday I was pretty confident I would PR I just wasn't sure by how much. My previous 4 mile PR was from this same race in 2005, 28:14 a 7:04 pace. As my new 5 mile pace is faster than that I assumed I could beat it.

Saturday was also the day I have been waiting what seems like an eternity for, it was the release of the 7th and final Harry Potter book. WooHoo. David had ordered it from Amazon for me so I woke up early and started into the yard work with anticipation of the book coming and having a bit of time to read before the race. Well before too long I had been digging in the yard for 4.5 hours and then done a half hour of mowing and pulling weeds etc. I cleaned up and ate lunch and the book finally arrived at 3 PM leaving me an hour to read before heading off to the race.

I weighed myself on the way out and realized all the yard work had left me dehydrated so I drank some water and hoped for the best.

My plan was to run even or negative splits. I had practiced the pace I wanted to run Tuesday on the track so I just kept repeating in my mind 6:50 pace, just like on the track.

I got in a short warm up that I thankfully started early. It was hot so I wasn't too worried about a big warm up. Good thing as I arrived back at the start where they were starting the 2 mile race and announced the 4 miler would start in 5 minutes as opposed to the 10 minutes I was supposed to have. I grabbed a water bottle and took a few sips then lined up towards the front. This race attracts a ton of people but you never know if any of them are going to be good until you get going.

We started and I fell into what I felt was 6:50 pace and kept repeating that it needed to feel like the track. The course had changed since I last ran it and we headed out over the Carnegie bridge. My breathing felt easy but I noticed the girls next to mine was labored. Apparently hills are coming along for me again. I crossed the first mile in 6:58. Considering the uphill I was happy with it. I just tried to hold that effort and assumed I would get back to 6:50 with the downhill and flat to follow.

During the next mile I got passed by one lady. I didn't feel like I was slowing down so I assumed she got a late start and was just faster than me so I let her go. I told myself this wasn't a race to race others in. I was striving for a consistent pace and didn't want to blow up. The second mile was 6:56. Not what I was hoping for but I knew if I could hold it I would PR.

We started to head back towards downtown and I got passed by two women in the 3rd mile who looked awfully close to my age. I knew I hadn't slowed much and that I wasn't about to start my kick with more than a mile to go. I let them go. As we started to come up the hill that is the Detroit Bridge I saw the 3 mile marker. This mile was slower than I would have liked at 7:04. I decided to push it a bit on the downhill. I knew there was less than a mile to go and I felt like I could pick up the pace. I conveniently forgot that Huron is slightly uphill but I pushed through it and managed to run down a few men but not any women. I didn't get passed at all during the last mile though and that felt good. As I rounded the finishing corner I watched EM finish and looked at the clock. I was happy to see I would break 28. A spectator to my right mentioned 8th woman. I was pretty happy about that and did my best to hammer in. Finishing the last mile in 6:47 for a 29 second PR.

I don't think I raced to my full potential here but I was very pleased that all my miles were pretty close and I even split the race. I'd like to see my 3rd mile closer to the others next time. I was probably a bit dehydrated and I am sure jumping up and down on a spade for 4.5 hours isn't the best pre race warm up.

I went out for a cool down and ran Solar Squirrels sister in. Then we went to get some grub and wait for the awards. And wait, and wait, and wait. As we waited we did our best to get the free t-shirt throwers on the roof to throw one in our direction. Well their aim isn't very good and I was hooting and hollering the best I could. Finally one came close and I batted my eyelashes to the gentleman that caught it and asked him if he really wanted that shirt. He replied that it was mine if I'd just be quiet. Sounded like a deal to me. I was able to trade down the 2XL to finally get a medium that might not be too baggy on me. Man it's amazing what people will do for a free t-shirt ;)

Eventually the awards started. I knew I had a good chance at an award if I was really 8th woman overall so we figured it was worth waiting around. Solar Squirrel had received an award last year but didn't stay for the awards and it was never sent to her so we wanted to make sure we stayed to actually get the awards if we won them. Well I ended up with third in my age group and the results online say 11th woman but we are pretty sure the two 50 year-olds that ran under 27 minutes were actually in the 2 mile. Not that I don't think they could run that pace, just that I didn't see any 50 year old women on the line at the start and their times from last year were closer to an hour. We waited around to hear most of the rest of the results and I picked up EMs award for her as I would see her the next morning. The awards were kind of neat. Little plaques with removable shot glasses. If I liked making mixed drinks or still drank tequila shots it would be up there as one of the great awards you can use, but as I don't it will probably just get stashed away in the cupboard.

I spent the rest of the night reading Harry Potter. The next morning I woke up and my hamstrings were not happy with me. I couldn't believe it, I had run a 50K the previous week and felt like a million bucks the next morning, how could a little 4 mile race do this to me. Then I realized it was probably the digging that had done it, not the 4 miler :)

Did an easy paced 12 miler with Solar Squirrel that morning then went shopping and then it was time to celebrate David's grandfathers 93rd birthday. We had a great time but my hamstrings were shot and playing with the kids definitely wore me out. Eventually I made my way home and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish Harry Potter. It was great. I am glad I read the whole thing before anyone could spoil it for me!

My legs were still beat yesterday but they don't feel too bad this morning so I am hoping for a good track workout tonight.

Big congratulations to my buddy Jen on finishing her first Ironman this weekend! I'm so excited for her!

BT 50K Photos

Here's some fun photos curtesy of the friendly BT50K photographers

Making our way up the stairs after Snowville Rd. aka "There's photographers in them there trees" shots

Cool Picture of Kam near Pine Lane

Not quite as cool photo of MT near Pine Lane

Heading Back from Pine Lane (hey it actually looks like I'm not slouching in this one!)

And one from my friend GH

Buckeye 50K

MT and I before the start

What a day!

Here's the quick and dirty (but still long!) report. (No time for editing as we are heading out, maybe I'll go back and revise later)

Started this one off early with a 4:20 AM wake up call and a trip to the gas station for ice and choc milk then to Walgreen's for bug spray and a snickers energy bar before heading down to Brecksville. Plenty of energy before the race and the weather was nippy. A perfect day for a 50k.

This was my 3rd 50K attempt and MT's first ultra. We have been hitting the trails hard the past 4 or 5 weeks in preparation. We know that trail backwards and forwards so I had a good idea of what I thought was a reasonable finish time for us. Our "A" goal was a conservative 6:15. My secret goal was sub 6 and I had hopes if we went out well we could do it. If I was running it on my own I would have aimed for 5:45 which I thought was a pretty good prediction for my current fitness.

Buckeye 50K is basically broken into 6 sections. Each section takes around 1 hour give or take. The first 6 miles are out from Brecksville to Snowville Road. Then you go about 5 miles from Snowville to the Boston Store in Peninsula on the towpath. Then it's out another 4 or so miles to Pine Lane. Then you turn around and go back. The sections from Boston to Pine Lane and Snowville to Boston are pretty even out and back but the first section from Brecksville to Snowville is a bit tougher on the way back. For us to the tune of 15 minutes in training. Each section has it's own challenges whether it is 88 stairs, multiple hills, or 1/2 mile of constant roots.

With all that in mind we set out at 7 AM to run 31 miles. We got out pretty quick and were running with my friend DM who I knew was ready to rock this course. We were behind WV so I figured our pace was okay. I was chatty Kathy for the first 20 miles or so, so the miles breezed by. The first 6 were comfortable and we didn't have to do much jockeying for position on the trail. I was pretty sure there were at least 4 women in front of us but wasn't sure if there were any unknowns out there we didn't know about. My other secret goal was for us to be top 5. At the start line I realized there were at least 4 potentials to beat us. But 50 K is a long race and MT and I have been running so well I kept this goal the entire race.

DM bit it early on the trail and I felt awful. I talk so much I just assume that everyone can stay upright and talk. After that she let us run ahead and we moved up to run with a small group of guys. We debated passing on a more technical section that we felt we were holding back on but we decided to stay put and start chatting this group up. Before you knew it we were coming to Snowville and I was shocked to see WV at the aid station. I told MT he was sure to be gunning for us as we headed up the stairs back onto the trail.

We huffed it up as I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich quarter. Only to look up and see a photographer in the trees above us. I am sure that was a flattering photo ;)

We moved well through here chatting it up with a runner from Columbus doing his first 50k. He plans to do the 50 miler at North Country Trail Marathon in September. It will be fun to see him again and see how he does there. This was his first ultra and first real trail run. He did great. Suffered a bit at the end but managed to squeak out the sub 6!

I had to pee as we were nearing Boston Store so I told MT I would wait for her outside the johns and let my legs fly down the last downhill stretch before Boston. It felt nice to let go and really cruise. The aid station was actually before the restroom and the restroom was actually a bit off the trail so we lost some time there but got excited as we realized two female runners were in there and not too far ahead of us. I saw WV heading out to Pine Lane as I waited for MT.

We caught up to WV on one of the many uphills to Pine Lane. He warned us of the danger of going out too quick. We felt good though and we got him to tag along with us. I assured him we have been running really well on the trails and the pace was a good one for us. Shortly after I was sprawled out flat across my stomach. I was actually shocked how far I skidded. Other than some scratches I was fine. A bit shocked when I went to take a sip of my water and instead got dirt, but otherwise fine.

There was a female right on our tail for quite a ways through here. As we hit the rooty section Pine Lane is named for we were in awe to see Mark Godale come barreling through. He was absolutely cruising. Shortly after a runner I didn't know came through and then Kam Lee came through asking how far back he was. Kam has won this race many times but Mark held the current course record. They all looked great to me and we now had the pleasure of cheering for the lead runners as they made their way back out and we kept on our way to the Pine Lane aid station. Each time we would cheer I would realize how close the girl was behind us. We caught another female runner through here who apparently has a twin. Her twin was still ahead of us and WV informed us he thought we probably had 8 girls ahead of us. I was dismayed to hear this but it just spurred me on (This may have been his intention). As we neared Pine Lane WV pulled away from us and beat us into the aid station.

I had my water bottle filled tossed my shirt to Wild Bill's wife and grabbed a P&B quarter and a few chips then we headed back out. We were well ahead of the time I thought we would get to Pine Lane. I was starting to get excited. We still felt great and I still had at least 20 minutes before I would be in danger of hitting my usual downtime in a run. I didn't get a chance to eat my food for quite a ways as MT tackled any small hills with ease but I finally scarfed it all down. It felt like our pace was a bit slower but we held onto WV and made our way to Pine Lane. We started seeing all the runners behind us and I got a huge boost cheering everyone on. It is so exciting to see all your friends out there. And even better when you are doing so well and they all tell you that you are looking great :)

We saw Brett, Chef Bill, Sensationally Red, and Maria as well as Wild Bill and tons of my other ultra buddies from JFK and other runs. At this point we knew we were actually the 4th and 5th women. With just Connie Gardner, Kim Martin, and the twin ahead of us. I was super stoked and thought as long as we kept moving forward we could hold our place for the day.

I high tailed it down the hill into Boston ready to hit the restroom again. I didn't have to go but figured this was the last chance for a long while. We ran into the restroom and found the twin who was ahead of us. The stalls were full and a woman stated very loudly she was in line. It just kills me waiting in line for the restroom in the middle of a race. We lost 3 minutes here. It could have been worse but in the meantime WV had blown by us and the twin was out the course ahead of us.

We headed out to the aid station. As we neared the road we went to turn left into the aid station. I watched ahead of me as an older male cyclist headed towards the middle of the towpath and a pole placed in the middle of the path. He reached out to grab the pole that went head over heels over his bike cracking the back of his helmet hard on the trail. I was so stunned. I leaned down to ask if he was all right as a volunteer shouted at me to get moving they would handle this. We filled our bottles and grabbed some gummy bears as we listened for the man to confirm he was okay. (I found out later that after resting he was off and biking again. So thankfully we did not kill an old man on a bike during our race today) With the 3 minutes lost we still came through here only 3 minutes slower than what we had run on the way out.

MT was looking strong and she pulled me up the hills through here as we passed our friend Tom who was having some cramping issues. MT just does a great job on the uphills and definitely had me running more hills that I would have on my own accord. We made it safely over the creek crossing and headed up to a section of road. It was then we realized how windy it was today! We were heading uphill and for the first time of the day I pulled MT up the hill straight into a fierce headwind. We saw a male runner ahead who looked back. In my mind I thought "we've got him." Once they look back their yours as Roy likes to say. Sure enough we passed him not too much later. As we neared the trail for Blue Hen Falls a friendly hiker told us we were just behind the 3rd female and if we looked up the hill we would be able to see her. And sure enough there she was.

We made our way uphill as a young male runner came by us. This was a training run for him to set him up for the Burning River 100 miler. He looked strong and passed us with ease as we caught up to the third female. We chatted with her a bit. She had come in 3rd last year here but she was having a rough day. Stomach troubles and IT band issues. We wished her luck as we pushed forward.

I couldn't believe how well we were doing. I started to feel a bit tired here. My lower back was killing me and my stomach was sour. But I told myself it could be much worse and I had less than 2 hours to go. 2 hours on the trails is nothing for me so I knew I would endure. I needed to stay tough for MT. I knew I was her pacer and I didn't want to let her down for her first 50K. We caught our friend from Columbus and pulled him along a short way before he hit a root and had to pull back.

We reached Snowville quickly, I was surprised to see, despite not feeling so hot, that we had actually come pretty close to our earlier time. I was stoked as I grabbed some more gummy bears and got my water bottle filled. I got ready to head out and turned to check on MT only to see DM cruising into the aid station. Shit! She looked good! I knew this might happen. So I got my ass in gear and started moving. The gummy bears and cold water gave me my second wind and I pushed MT and I forward as we caught up to WV and let him know DM was on our tails. DM caught us and proceeded to blow by us going uphill. She looked great and I knew MT wasn't in the mood to go after her. We marched up the hill and watched as DM cruised away.

I started to feel really good here. My back was still incredibly sore but my legs felt awesome. I did my best to keep our group moving but held back on the pace as I could tell MT wasn't feeling it. She hadn't complained once all morning but she said she couldn't move much faster and I believed her. For the first time all day her face had pain in it and not contentment. I would run ahead and try to will WV and MT forward. Figuring I would be a tempting bunny to chase! I would ease the pace at the bottom of hills to let them catch up. As we made our way to the final stretch from Ottawa Point in I even ran uphill to encourage MT along. After that MT got her legs back and we pulled away from WV. We knew we had less than 30 minutes to go and the trail widens to bridle path here so we could move. We got passed by one male runner here. He must have been feeling pretty good because I thought our pace was really strong.

I couldn't calculate exactly how much time we had left so I kept telling MT less than 20 minutes. Once I started to recognize landmarks like the short stairs and the little bridge near Brecksville I got excited. We were far ahead of pace. MG was back out on the trail and I asked if he had won. He had come in 2nd one minute behind Kam. We trucked forward and saw SH who had informed me at the bagel shop last week that he didn't think MT and I could break 6:15 for her first 50K. At this point 6:15 was laughable. I commented to him something around the lines of "Take your 6:15 and shove it" :) I had used his comments to help MT spur herself on at the end. As we came to the final paved stretch we both found our legs and hammered in to tie for 4th women overall. (SH had a great race at 4:50 ish)

Final time 5:26. 49 minutes ahead of our "A" goal. And 19 minutes ahead of what would have been my personal "A" goal. In short we rocked it.

As soon as we finished my legs and back revolted. It was so painful. I thought shit what have I done? But luckily after some cold chocolate milk, a frappacino, and some cheering and lounging around, the soreness subsided.

I actually feel perky. I ran up the stairs when I got home to see my husband. I am so excited! Now if this energy can just last through our late night dinner! I scarfed down some ribs and chicken noodle soup after a soak in the cold tub (Kim guilted me into it!) and a nice shower.

It was so great to see all our friends out on the course today. Everyone did so well. For those of you that had to pull out. You'll get your redemption soon! You were smart and I am very proud of you. Thank you so much to all that volunteered today! The race wouldn't be half as good without you.

I am so proud of MT! Now if I can just keep her thinking that I am better than her that would be nice so she doesn't kick my ass next race. ;) 5:26 as her 50 k debut, at Buckeye nonetheless, about 4 weeks after deciding to do the race, that's just damn impressive.


Brecksville to Snowville ~6 miles: 58:11
Snowville to Boston ~5-5.5 miles: 53:10
Boston to Pine Lane ~4 miles: 42:46
Pine Lane to Boston: 45:04 (42 without the restroom stop)
Boston to Snowville: 57:04
Snowville to Brecksville: 1:10

Unofficial (Watch) Time: 5:26:58

Unofficial Results. Thanks Lloyd!

We did it! Post 50 K.

Other Blogs you should check out for Buckeye Fun: Brett, Red, Maria, Josh, Kim, Bill, Rob

Kenny and Willie

Awwe these big guys tug at my heart. My attempt to post this via you tube yesterday doesn't seem to have worked so I am trying again!

Kenny is my fave tiger at Turpentine Creek. Idiot breeders bred white tiger siblings resulting in Kenny's deformities and in Willie having crossed eyes. I still think they're cute though!

This video got me so excited. It's so nice to see these big guys out in an open area with grass to play in.

Makes me think I definitely need to take a trip down to Eureka Springs Arkansas soon.

Less Heat, More Trails

That's what I would like to see this week :) Not looking forward to another 90+ track workout tonight. I need to come up with a workout that is fun and won't kill us like the mile repeats did a few weeks ago. Any suggestions?

Another build up week is in the bag and I feel good. No nagging pains other than a sore shoulder from double digging my way to an 80*2 ft flowerbed (And I'm only half way done!) What was I thinking?


Tues- Track: 6.25
Wed- Buckeye Trail (Pine Lane) with Solar Squirrel: 8
Thur- yoga
Fri- Early morning rolling roads with SERC Gals: 8
Saturday- Buckeye Trail with MT and Wild Bill's Crew. Fastest we've run Boston to Snowville yet: 18-19
Sunday- Solon Morning Run: 10

Total 50

I was aiming for 48 but the girls were doing ten Sunday and ten with company sounded better than 8 without.

Sometime in the past few weeks I found my trail feet. A few of the runners the first time we went out on the Buckeye Trail to get ready for the 50 K made a comment about how I was too fast to be running that pace. It got me thinking about it and I knew I really slowed down on the trails. I just blamed it on the terrain. Buckeye Trail is no walk in the park for sure. But that statement got into my subconscious and two weekends ago on the 23 miler I decided to push the pace a bit. And it felt wonderful! All of a sudden I was hammering down hills I used to tip toe down. I don't know if it was just that I finally spent enough time on the trail or what but I feel more aggressive, faster, and stronger on the trails than I ever have and I am really looking forward to the Buckeye 50K this weekend.

I am not really doing a taper as I am still focused on getting my mileage up (which shouldn't be too hard with 31 miles on Saturday). This will be MT's first 50k and I promised her we would stick together. I have a feeling I won't have to slow down much though, she's been rocking the trails and only seems to get better with distance. In a few years if the two of us decide to stay on the 50k scene I wouldn't doubt we could be duking it out for top honors at smaller races like this one. But for this weekend our goal is 6:15. I've added up all the times we have run all the legs of the race and that seems like a reasonable goal even if we do some heavy walking on the last 6. That will be a slight PR for me and a respectable debut for MT so we would be very happy with that. And if the weather gets us down or we have dead legs our back up goal is sub 7 and our it's freaking horrible out here goal is to finish sub 8.

More running, less blogging

I had an amazing run this morning. One of those runs you definitely should blog about. But I have been lacking in the blog writing department the past few weeks.

I'm here and I am chugging along and have gotten in some great runs while slowly upping my mileage. My body feels good and despite a horrible track workout Tuesday I am still feeling super positive about my running.

I just haven't had the creative bug and am totally lacking for words to do these runs justice.

So if I am a bit quiet around here that's why. Not because I have given up on running, or on blogging. Just because I am at a loss for words right now.

So here's some fun photos from the past few weeks to make up for my silence!

Serious Calfage

Taylor and I in a windy cab

Jayhawk and I post GMR

Eostre and I post GMR

And some stats for the past few weeks. (Since I made a conscious decision to slowly boost my weekly average from 30 mpw to 60 mpw)

June 4-10

Tues- Track 5.75
Thurs- 2 miles easy with Jayhawk
Friday- ~7 miles 1st leg of GMR and warm up
Saturday- ~16.5 miles legs 2 and 3 and running with Jayhawk on her second leg of GMR


June 11-17

Tues- 4.75 track
Wed- Flag Day 5K and warm up 1.5 miles
Thurs- 4 miles easy and yoga
Friday- 7 miles roads
Sunday- 17 Buckeye Trail Training Run

Total- 37

June 18-24

Tues- 6.5 Track
Wed- 5.5 Trails
Friday- 8 miles roads. Bike into and from work total 25 miles
Saturday- 4.5 miles ez
Sunday- 15.5 Buckeye Trail Training Run

Total- 40

June 25- July 1

Tues- 6.5 Track (Miserable! About 90 Degrees)
Wed- 6.5 ez roads
Friday- 7 roads
Sunday- 23 Buckeye Trail Training Run

Total- 43

I am getting excited about the Buckeye 50K. MT and I ran really well this morning so pacing her through her first will be a lot of fun. I am also feeling like if I can keep up this higher mileage a 50 miler may be in my near future!