Punxsy Video

Thank you to all the friends who expressed their concern about Milford. I'm doing better today. I know we did the right thing and that Milford is in a better place now. I'm still very sad of course but I know it will get better.

I am not sure if these videos will lighten the mood or not. The race director sent me video and photos from the race (per my request). I had thought they were taking photos at the bottom of Two Beer Hill but they were actually taking video and they caught me on tape. In the same clip just after I go down they caught one of my friends taking a bad spill. If you are squeamish you probably just want to stop the clip after I run by the cameraman.

The next video is right after my friend finished. You can see what rolling downhill through dirt will do to you. I am only posting because I never got a picture of me in my top hat after the race. If there is one thing I know how to do after an ultra it is party. Note the beer and pizza in my hand. Let's all just ignore my horrible posture.


This morning David and I had to let go of our cat Milford. He got very sick very fast and after spending the weekend at the Vet we were told that he wasn't going to be getting better.

I am not taking it very well and have been upset all weekend worrying about him. It is so hard to lose a loved one. I thought it would make me feel better to post some pictures of him and remember what a wonderful cat he was and hope that the life we offered him in our family was a good one.

Just a few pictures to remember our kitty by.

NCTM Pictures

Our whirlwind trip to Manistee for the weekend is over. The weather was brisk and the forest was beautiful. I had a great time and my legs actually feel better than they did before and during the marathon. This week will be a serious back off week for me, I think my legs are due for some pampering. I'll have a recap up once I get caught up with my real work at the office and in the home! (It may be awhile ;))

From our "Mushroom Walk" Friday Night

Post Race with our goodies

Note: The beer is mine! Solar apparently thought a regular coke was too many calories right after the marathon and had a diet cola ;)

Back to Normal

Finally back up and running again :) I know a whole 3 days off and it's the end of the world ;)

Went to NC last night and did my usual loop. Took me 50 minutes instead of the usual 42 minutes. I had to walk all the downhills but I was moving forward and remembering how to run and walk again. Finished up and put my legs up and did some crunches then Salty swung by. I decided to try to keep up with her for a little bit and ended up getting in another 50 minutes. Girl is fast even when she's slow! I hope I didn't embarrass myself or make her hang back too much. I was glad I was able to pick up the pace and not elevate the quad pain levels, apparently I just needed some company to urge me along.

That run was just what the doctor ordered. Woke up this morning and the legs feel great. A little sore going down the stairs, but at least I'm not crawling down or walking down them backwards!

What a relief since I have a marathon to run Saturday!

The Aftermath

Holy Hell were my quads a wreck! It's amusing to me that after the Buckeye 50k I came home and ran upstairs to greet my hubby. There was no running up the stairs after Punxsy! (Apologies for the novel, when I write a race report it's like I am re-running the race again and it is so hard for me to condense it, especially when it's 31 miles! Plus I like to be able to go back and read these reports and relive my adventures so for me the details bring back all the fun trail memories)

I went out Sunday to try and get in a recovery jog. The day after Buckeye I went out and ran 6 fast pavement miles. This time, not so much. I attempted to jog but failed, tried to speed walk and failed, suffered through 2 miles of something that certainly couldn't be called walking and called it a day. It was pretty amusing hobbling down the sidewalk this middle school kid on a bike kept passing me and looking at me like I was the strangest thing she's ever seen! You feel like you need a sign saying I ran 31 miles harder than I have ever run in my life and that's why I am walking so strange, not because I'm crazy, oh wait...

Monday I didn't even try and just relaxed after work with a glass off red wine and watched a movie, "All about Eve." David and I have been renting old Oscar winners, this one was definitely good!

Last night I headed to the track hoping I could eek out some light jogging. I started with a 400 walk and calibrated my new Nike+. Then I "ran" 400 to recalibrate the running option. (It had been giving me credit for a mile when I still had 200 meters to go despite calibrating and on my 2 mile "walk" Sunday had given me credit for almost 2 and a half, I need to get the thing working properly before San Fran!) Most painful 400 ever. My quads were still a wreck. So I proceeded to walk two and a half miles and call it a night. My quads were feeling better while walking than they did Sunday and Monday but it's funny how after you beat them so an activity as every day as walking seems so foreign. I didn't feel like walking was painful but I couldn't make my legs walk normally. Instead it was like I had no knee joints and couldn't bend my knees. Then I would try to force myself to walk normally, but couldn't figure out what normal should be. I'm sure Solar and my hubby got a kick out of this.

So I was happy this morning to find I could make it down the stairs without too much trouble and that my walk into work I was able to actually walk at close to my normal pace almost pain free. Looks like my neurons are back on straight again! Tonight I'll try for a 4 mile trail run, we'll see how it goes!

It's all worth it. It is fun to push yourself and run harder than you've ever run before even if you do have to relearn how to walk the week following ;)

Punxsy 50K

This weekend I traveled to Punxsutawney, PA with JA, RH, and TC for the Punxsy 50K. TC had mentioned the race and asked if I would like to do it and I decided it would be nice to get in another 50K before JFK so I signed up. After looking at the splits from last years race I got it in my head that I should be able to break 5 hours here. The times looked wicked fast compared to Buckeye and I have definitely been running faster so I was looking forward to a good race. Wild Bill warned me that the hills at Punxsy were vertical but looking at the finishing times I didn't think it could be too bad. I definitely underestimated what I was getting myself into.

TC and RH have been doing this race year after year and know the RD so he let us crash at his place. There were about 9 runners sleeping at the RDs house. As I waited for MT to get there I organized my race outfit. I guess I made quite a show of it so then all the girls discussed their race outfit plans. I think we may have shocked the heck out of young GR who is only 19 and has finished two 100 milers this year discussing our bra and underwear choices for the next day. Regardless I still stand by my statement that if you look good you will run well so race outfit choice is important!

At the start of the race it was a bit warmer than I had hoped for, but I had several things going for me: Since the race director had kindly let us crash at his place Friday night I had gotten a good nights sleep, I was topped off between two company paid for meals this week and the races pasta dinner, I felt anxious and eager to run.

MT, RH and I walked over to the race site at 6:20 and made a few trips to the girls room before moseying to the start. There were a lot of Cleveland runners at the race since it is only about 3 hours from us. We decided to form a Vertical Runner team and they let me join. I was saying hi to DP when he recommended I run with KM. Before the race I had pondered just following her lead so I went ahead and asked her if I could tag along with her for as long as I could hold on to her and she seemed amicable. I wanted to run a good race and figured staying with the top lady for as long as I could hold on would be a fun way to do it.

Saw a few other locals. Kim and Rob were there as well as Leo and Art. These guys are in their 70s and still going strong! I saw RH and knew he was a good pace for me since we had run similar marathons in the spring. There seemed to be quite a few fast looking ladies. WB who I ran with at the winter Buckeye 50K was there and looked strong. We all lined up at the start and got ready to run.

I lined up by KM and took off at what felt like a quick pace right away. We watched as Mark Godale flew to the front and I got ready to enjoy my long day on the trail. (As soon as we got past two or so miles of uphill pavement.) It was fun to run towards the front and I noted a ponytail ahead of KM and I and figured she must be ready to rock it cuz we were cruising. I wanted to have fun but push my limits so I just honed in on my group and started chatting them up. I guess I am a bit talkative for these fast runners! They all looked at me very strangely as I launched into a story about our company dinner at Brasa Grill Thursday night where we were fed large quantities of meat on sticks (They just keep on bringing out 15 different types of meat and slice off pieces for you until you say you are done) as we climbed the first hill.

We were off the pavement pretty quickly and I started to look for the huge downhill TC had warned me about. I had hoped to run with a Punxsy veteran but it seemed all those around me were new to this race. I pulled ahead of KM and the ponytail after the first steep descent. I felt good and had fun flying down the hill. Then it was time for a steep climb. I ran the runnable parts and trudged up the verticals. It wasn't long before we were running down Two Beer Hill and I felt like maybe this downhill was not so much fun. It was a bit scary and I had to really focus to keep gravity from pulling me down face first. There were men with cameras at the bottom and as I passed them I heard mutters of shock and awe which I knew meant someone had bit it and from the sound of it had bit it hard. I didn't want to turn back for fear it was my friend RH and just focused on getting the rest of the way down the hill and into the first aid station.

The course can be broken down into a few segments. It's basically an out and back lasso. Running out 3.5 miles to the first station then another 3.5 before you start the loop, run the loop twice then head back towards the start taking a detour up water tower hill. As I headed towards the loop and through mile 11.2 I tried to keep the status quo and stick with the guys I was with. We eased off the pace a bit as we started to gradually climb and finally headed into the woods. At the aid station at Buck Run (mile 7) I must have taken my time because the couple of guys I was with pulled ahead. I did my best to catch up to them as we headed towards Yellow Bus. I ran the bottom of the hill and the runner next to me asked if I planned to run the entire way up yellow bus. I certainly didn't but figured I better run the runnable portion because I am definitely not a billy goat. I was still following a line of three men and did my best to scramble up yellow bus efficiently. I did stop at the top to look back at the view and it was gorgeous. I imagine in fall it would be more worth the effort of the climb. I also noticed GR closing in on us and was amazed at his climbing abilities. He got up the verticals fast!

We ran a ways before climbing another steep but shorter hill, Cry Baby. GR finally caught me and we talked about the course and how there seemed to be a lot of downhill. That's definitely what makes the course fast but those ups are a doozy!

As we ran into the seven springs aid station I got my water bottle filled took a salt tablet and ate an orange and banana. Grabbed a Gatorade cup and did my best to keep up with GR. All of a sudden we were off the dirt road and running through a mess. I think it was old compost or something. There were just piles of grass and dead leaves and that led into a mud mess which I was glad to keep my shoes through. I think I went in shin deep here. It reminded me of the swamps in Never Ending Story.

I exited this swampy mix and all of a sudden I was by myself. The temperatures dropped here as we ran by a stream and the path got pretty rocky. It seemed like it was all slightly up and I kept myself running the small inclines by telling myself that KM and MT wouldn't be walking these, they'd be running them. As I climbed a larger hill we exited onto the road. I could see a man in a red shirt ahead who I thought was the RD who was running in the 2 man relay. I did my best to keep him in sights as we started to make the climb up Buck Run. This was all road and it was starting to take a toll on my quads. They started to sear with pain and the downhills were miserable. I kept pushing on. I glanced back to see a girl moving up on me quick. I picked up my pace and started to run hills I would have rather walked before I finally heard someone talking to her and heard her mention she was just out on a run and not in the race. She caught me and we chatted. Her fiancee was running the race and they were both training for fall marathons so she was out running while she watched his race. She let me know the next girl was about a quarter mile back. Definitely too close for comfort :)

The last uphill on Buck Run was steep but you could see the aid station at the top of the hill. I had my water filled but this time grabbed a P&B to eat on my way up yellow bus, I also downed a half cup of cola to try and get a little boost. As you went back in the woods you could see those behind you and I saw the pony tail from PA and then MT! I yelled at MT and picked up my pace. I wanted to hold them off as long as I could. The course was pretty lonely here and my quads were not happy but I kept pushing. I trudged up Yellow Bus for the second time, not quite as sprightly as before. Huffing and puffing as I ate my pb&j quarter. Somehow the pb had got on my arm and I debated licking it off but then thought better of it, pb & sunscreen & bug spray didn't sound too appetizing.

It seemed farther to cry baby the second time around and the smaller hills were starting to look like actual hills but I was determined not to drop off too much. Then it finally happened the ponytail from PA caught me. We chatted a bit and I found out this was her first endurance endeavor. She'd never raced a marathon or ultra, but said she had run 26 miles, just not in a race. She's training for JFK and said she wanted to qualify for Boston. I don't think she's going to have any trouble ;) She said she never wore a watch but wore one for punxsy to remind herself to take an electrolyte tab every half hour. That seemed like a lot of electrolytes to me but she certainly looked better than me and the guys at the aid station confirmed as we came into 19.3 together that I should also be taking that many. I decided not to get too carried away though and instead took one there and grabbed one for the road. The aid station workers encouraged us to move along, but I took my time a bit here and knew I needed to regroup if I wanted to still finish close to 5 hours. My quads were shot and I needed more fuel.

After grabbing a cup of cola to go and some potato chips I made my way back into the swamp. I just kept moving forward, a bit more walking this time around than the first loop. I kept trying to encourage myself up the small inclines knowing that others behind me would be running them, but I gave myself a break and when I needed to walk would. In retrospect I should have ran the ups and walked the downs but it seems like such a waste of gravity to walk the downs, but that was what was killing my quads. That and the pavement that I was about to run on again. As we neared the Buck Run road another lady caught me. She was in bright yellow and I think she had music going but chatted with me. I told her there was one ahead of us and for her to 'go get her.' I got to chat a bit with Leo here who was on his first loop. Since the hills were rolling you could see quite a few runners behind you and I looked back to see MT and a girl in blue. I yelled at her to get her butt up with me and she said something like "no way".

I decided to get my ass in gear here and ran up the majority of Buck Run to the next aid station.
After that aid station I knew that it would be at least an hour before I saw the finish, probably more like 80 minutes. I was still holding on to the sub 5 dream and thought I might be able to pull it off. On the way out it had taken me just over an hour but I couldn't remember how much longer it was on the way back with the Water Tower Hill detour. My bet was on a mile so I knew it would be close.

I attacked all the small climbs and the flats and did my best not to be too gingerly on the downs, but man did they hurt! One gentleman came flying by me here. I wish I had felt that good. I kept waiting for MT and the blue shirted girl to pass me and knew not to count KM out either. I climbed Water Tower Hill and made my way past two trekkers on the down hill. We headed out into the open sun. I think this area must have been strip mined because there were no trees or ferns, just grass everywhere. I finally had to stop for a quick pee break. Squatting sure didn't feel good on my quads but I think that was my fastest pee break ever! Plus it was 4 hours and 15 minutes into the race. I had been drinking tons of water so I know I was hydrated, it was just nice not to have to pee before the race had really even begun for once. I didn't want a repeat of Buckeye 50K wasting 3 minutes in the bathroom and I'm known for having to pee before 5k is even over. (I know it's the little things that make me happy!)

I was gaining on the woman who had passed me in yellow. You could see quite a ways through this section and I would keep spotting her but she didn't appear to be getting much closer. This section was tough. It was just long and boring and I kept hoping the aid station would arrive soon. It finally did show and I looked at my watch. I had less than 35 minutes to get to the finish under 5. I knew it would be close. The yellow runner was heading out of the aid station as I came in. This was the only stop where the volunteers weren't johnny on the spot. I tried to hand them my water bottle and asked for water and they handed me a cup. I had to explain that I didn't need a cup I needed my handheld filled :) I took another electrolyte tab, an orange and banana and grabbed some chips. The chips were nasty! I don't know why but my palette was not amused.

I trucked up the road knowing that Two Beers was waiting for me. I could see the yellow runner about halfway up and a trekker behind her. There was also a guy I had run behind earlier the first time through the outer loop. Throughout the last section I had conned myself into running most of the rolling hills by telling myself I would "get" to walk when I got to Two Beers. Hah. That hill was damn near straight up. You could not call what I was doing walking. I couldn't believe I had actually run down this thing. You literally could reach your hand out in front of you and touch the hill without bending over. It took me over 5 minutes to climb this hill. Like I said, I'm no billy goat. Right after Two Beers you went back downhill and then up another doozy of a hill. The downhill was torture and the up wasn't much better. If my quads hadn't been a wreck I would have been looking forward to what was to come after this section but I knew the paved downhills were not going to be kind to me.

As I came down the last steep descent I finally took a spill landing with my left foot behind me. Thank goodness I do yoga! The man in blue asked if I was all right and I told him I was fine, I'd be able to walk if nothing else. It was more of a shock to the system than anything else. I got up and ran across my last stream crossing. I ran straight through not worrying about wet feet. My toes were burning from all the downhill and the cold water felt great.

We finally got to the road and I ran as hard as my quads could swallow. I could see the lady in yellow running ahead of me as I crested each small roller. I really wanted to hold onto third and I knew if KM or MT came up on me in this section and their quads felt good they could take me easily.

As we reached a flat spot of newly paved black top the man in blue slowed to a walk. I looked at my watch to see it change from 4:59 to 5. I assumed he must have decided to give it a rest since he knew he wouldn't be breaking 5, but I had 3rd to hold onto so I kept moving.

I pushed down the last hill with searing quads. A runner going back out on the course said good job, I asked him how far but he didn't hear me and commented "Great Pace." I thanked him and kept moving. I was wishing I hadn't been so busy talking at the start and had paid attention to the scenery so I would know what I had left to do. As I neared a set of railroad tracks I knew that meant I was almost done. The guy in blue caught me and encouraged me in to the finish. We crossed in 5:05. I was very happy as DP walked up to congratulate me and let me know I had been 5th on our team and that we had won the team competition.

I wandered around the finish area, congratulated the two women who had finished ahead of me. The first gal came in at 4:55 and the runner ahead of me something like 5:03, she said she saw me coming and that gave her a boost, good for her, they both ran great races. I grabbed some pizza and some beer and watched finishers coming in. I was afraid if I sat down I would never get up again. KM cruised in for 4th gal and MT wasn't too far behind with WB following her. Us Ohio women are tough obviously! I found out from MT that the girl in blue was actually a relay runner, I wonder if that man that flew by me was on her team.

I wanted to see all my friends finish so I held off on showering. RH had a great run and won a masters award. JA came in great, I hope this helps her continue on to grab that BQ! TC struggled out there but she gutted it out and also came away with an award. Her garden is what inspired me to do this race, in the past the race gave out these garden stones for winners and TC had quite a few in her garden, I decided I needed one of those for my new flower bed :) I didn't really think I would come away with a top 3 performance, but you never know so I went for it. Of course this year they decided not to do the stones and instead awards were framed photos of the course. Still very nice awards, just not as cool as the stones ;)

I got to have my picture taken for the paper. Both the number 1 and 2 gals had showered and I was still all sweaty and muddy and gross, oh well. We got certificates for a free pair of montrail shoes for winning the team competition. I was pretty excited about that :) We took a few pictures with the groundhog statues. Vince from Vertical runner posed with us. He ran a fantastic race and a PR for him 4:04, 2nd overall. MT PRed too by 7 minutes despite having some tightness in her chest and arms.

The race director does an awesome job with this event, despite it being incredibly difficult I will go back again. The race goodies included a Punxsutawney Phil Beanie Baby, some Groundhog Brew, and a great technical T. Finishers received a bright hat and the pride of knowing they just covered 31 miles of some serious terrain. This course was fast but I think the downhills that made it so fast were also part of what made it so hard for me. So much of the course was runnable that you could just shred yourself out there. Then instead of the usual respite of a big hill it was more like climbing which was physically and mentally tough.

This race was the hardest thing I've ever done. It beat the snot out of me. My quads are a mess. My recovery jog yesterday ended up being a recovery walk, if you could even call it that. For the first time ever I counted the stairs in my house. 14! 14 of the most painful stairs ever. I ran harder this weekend than I have ever run in my life. I may not have run the smartest race but I gave it my all. I'm glad I ran hard. I realized shortly into the race that this was really my only opportunity for an "A" race this fall. Next time I'll try to realize that beforehand and taper properly. Now I'm ready to slow down a bit and enjoy some fun runs starting with North Country Trail Marathon this weekend where I may be walking the downhills :)

Here's some pics I got before my camera died. Hopefully MT will get her internet going and send me some of the ones she took this weekend too.

Race by the Numbers for the junkies like me:

3.5 miles: 30:44
7: 1:03
11.2: 1:42
15.1: 2:20
19.3: 3:02
23.2: 3:44
27.3: 4:26
31.1: 5:05

Fantastic job to everyone that raced this weekend! It was a big weekend with several local races and some big races out of town. Hopefully AP had a good half at River run and was able to tackle the course backwards and forwards (he was planning to do the point to point race then turn around and run back!) Congrats to Daisy on top 5 at Potato Stomp, to BB on her excellent half at Buckeye, to Jen and Matt on their great performances at DWD, and to all the locals and bloggers who raced Ironman Wisconsin this weekend!


Our trip to see one of my college friends Hoebag, his wife, and kids was a blast. It was nice to just get away from the "real world" for a week and lounge around. We got in a fun side trip to the Great Escape for roller coasters and water slides. That was the first time (in 7 years) that David and I have ever been to an amusement park together. A far cry from my youth when I went to Cedar Point every year. I learned that I can no longer tolerate circular rides, even the swings which I thought would be fine. I still love the water slides and coasters though.

We got there Friday night and played some Wii. I almost took out the cat when a bowling swing hit a bottle on the table. I guess there's a reason they recommend you move all close objects :)

Saturday we chilled at the pool and I got in a 30 minute jog in the shallow end. It was in the 90s and my calves were really tight so I decided a pool run would suffice. That night I went out to run but 4 minutes in a huge storm came through darkening the sky to black and threatening to strike me with lighting so I headed back.

Sunday we just lounged around the house playing Wii and eventually made our way to the park where I got in an easy 40 minute run. My intentions were to run to the track and do a workout but the track was being re rubberized so I bailed on that and just ran to and from the park. It was a good run since it was uphill the entire way there, but my calves were still tight as could be. When we got back I broke out The Stick and Hoebag's kid helped me roll out my calves. Three year olds apparently want to do everything you are doing and this was something I figured he could handle. He held one end while I held the other and rolled my calf back and forth. I also had out the ice bottle to ice my feet which he loved and tried to do the same with his juice bottle. Well at least he won't get plantar fasciatis anytime soon ;) The massage must have done the trick as Monday my legs were fine all day at Great Escape.

Tuesday I woke up late but managed to squeeze in an hour and 20 minute run before we headed to the movies. I was trying to locate the Hudson River trail but never did find it.

Wednesday I finally got my ass out of bed early and got in my long run while the guys played golf. I went out along one of the Lock roads and found some old four wheeler trails which took me along the Hudson and to some awesome waterfalls (I think Cohoes Falls). Got in an hour and half then walked over to Peebles Island with LP and ran another hour and a half on the trails there. I'm calling it at least 20 miles with the walk there. That was my longest solo run ever. The trails were fun but very runnable, I think I kept a good pace the whole run.

I took Thursday and Friday off the running. Thursday we attempted to go to the beach for some swimming but on arrival we were informed they had just closed due to lack of lifeguards. Lovely. So we headed home and broke out the slip and slide. Luckily I managed to not break anything and still get in some slip and slide fun.

Friday was the long drive home so no running. But Saturday I woke up early and headed to the Valley to run with Wild Bill. Got in a bit over 2 hours and finally got to see the Ledges and Kendall Hills. I even joined the ranks of those who have climbed through the hole. Not too shabby of a morning, got in my long run, some spelunking, some climbing, and some sightseeing all in one trip! Arrived back to a flat on GKs car and fixed that with the help of one of the LBS guys. That's the second time I've changed a flat at lock 29 for someone else. Finally arrived home and mowed the lawn and weeded the new flower bed, now I just have to scrounge up some cash to actually plant flowers in it. David and I rented The Boondock Saints Saturday night. Very interesting. Lots of use of the "F" word. Definitely not for the squeamish.

Sunday I woke up early again to go running with my gals MT and Daisy. We did the 15 mile loop at Solon. Made pretty good time. Much different than the wet and cold 15 miler a few weeks ago. The weather was great yesterday with a light breeze. Despite it being a road run I felt pretty good and yesterdays run took me over my yearly mileage from last year and also handed me my highest mileage week ever at 55. Headed home and weeded the front flower beds while listening to NPR then moved my day lillies from one bed to the other. Then I headed to the basement for some pilates (Ab focus) I have lost all this weight but haven't been as consistent at getting to yoga the past few months so I think my core strength has gone downhill.

Decided to sleep in this morning and now I am trying to decide what to do with my last day of vacation. I don't need to run much this week as Saturday is the Punxy 50K. It's much easier to hit high mileage when you run 31 miles in one shot :) My Nike Shoes should hopefully be arriving tomorrow so I can test out and calibrate the nike+ system at the track tomorrow. Should be interesting. I'm so used to just using my watch, I'm not sure what I'll do with all this new information :)

I feel like I have fallen so far behind on blogging so I guess this longish recap will suffice. I'm off to plan my Punxy 50K race strategy. Hope everyone has a great Labor Day!

Some pics from vacation in Albany

Heading out to dinner

Pool Time (First day this summer I finally broke out the swim suit!) I'm sure you couldn't tell by the blinding white skin.

Chesire Cat at Great Escape (The park used to be a fairytale park)

Dave and CP

LP and Hoebag