Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Biggest little run ever....

  For a couple of years now I have been wanting to run Ancient Oaks as my first 100 miler.  It was originally Stu Gleman's race and I adore Stu and it was a way to honor him to run it.  After speaking with Mike Melton at the Jim, I learned that the date for it had been changed this year and it didn't look like it would be doable again.  I was little bummed, but oh well, there was always next year.
  The day after the Jim I was chatting with Ray and after discussing my Jim efforts, he brought up a 100 miler that he and Stu was running.  Stu had already mentioned it to me a week or so earlier, but I put it out of my head.  It was in June.  I was not trained for a 100 miler and could not get trained in one month!
I ran hard through 20, then jogged it in. I was the weenie. I think I'll run Shane Sampsons little 100 in ohio next month (with stu)
He tried to get me to do that one. Don't think I am ready for it. I was shooting for Ancient Oaks, but after talking to Mike this weekend, not sure now. Someone said you were thinking of vol state?? I figured you were joshing them, or did you change your mind?
You get 34 hours at the 100. I never change my mind, I just make it up slowly
When and where in Ohio?
June 15-16 Shane farm sw ohio
How close (or far) from Cincinnati?
I don't know exactly, but fairly close going north.
Wait...don;t tell me. I am nowhere near prepared for that.
Shoot...done spoke. Get thee out of my head!

  I discussed it with Pat, and even though he always thinks I get in over my head with some of my ideas, he is super supportive.  He knows that I will be smart and wont injure myself (hopefully), especially with several races on my calendar for the rest of the year that are important to me.  I also reasoned that after Mother's Day (and I don't mean to be selfish) but I didn't want to be at church/family stuff for Father's Day.  Not being a mother, it was a hard day for me- even though I adore my mother to no end (she even understood it was a tough day).  I lost my dad last January and I decided there was no better place to be for that weekend than spending time with Ray and Stu (2 of my self appointed mentors).  Besides Pat was ecstatic to be able to spend Father's Day weekend watching the Open.  Win win for us both.  After a few more days of back and forth with Ray and asking Stu and Shane (RD for the little 100) some questions, I sent in my entry form for the Little 100 on May 12th.  Gulp....  I did not tell anyone other than Pat, Ray, Stu, and eventually Dusty of my intentions to run until RUTS weekend.  At Ruts I told a few of my buds and Naresh.  I did not tell any of my co workers or family.  I did not want the pressure or any negativity for my weekend.  I also did not want my mom to be worried all weekend.  Your welcome mother!  
  I had intended to increase my training by ten miles each week to top out at 70, but it is always easier on paper.  I made it to a 50 mile training week, then our trail marathon came up and I had to deal with getting ready for it.  The following week I spent trying to tie up the loose ends after our race was over and preparing for RUTS.  
6/3/2013 – 6/9/2013:56.3 mi13:58:47
5/27/2013 – 6/2/2013:38.3 mi8:15:50
5/20/2013 – 5/26/2013:50.0 mi10:01:40
5/13/2013 – 5/19/2013:40.6 mi8:18:36
 I was a little disheartened, but I was going to just do the best I could do and use it as a really good training run for vol state (even though I was worried about recovering from the race if I did indeed finish it). Other than being disappointed that I did not get more training in, I was super excited. I didn't know what to expect. Stu had said yes to trail shoes and I knew it was on Shane's farm. It was a 2.97 mile loop that you repeated for 34 loops. I really had no idea what to expect. I packed the  bus and headed toward Greenville, Ohio on Friday afternoon. I stopped at Crack and had dinner before heading on to the farm. 
The start of the little
texting Pat & Dusty

I arrived and Robin, a college friend of Shane's, was setting up. She helped me get the bus parked to leave room for others and we chatted while waiting for Shane to come in from marking the course. I tried to help with setting up some tables and before long Ray, Stu, and Scott Maxwell arrived. Shane fixed a spaghetti dinner, and although I had already had a nice pot roast dinner, it looked to good not to have a small plate. It was de-lish....
I eventually said night nite and headed out to the bus for some shut eye. I set my alarm for 5, called Pat, and fell fast asleep. The alarm came too quickly and I almost re set it, but I decided to get up and get ready. I tried to eat some mini chocolate chip muffins I had but I managed to get only 2 or 3 down. I carried my chair, cooler, and bin over to the set up area.
All to soon, I heard Shane say something to the effect of, well it's 6:00 so the race has started. And like that, we were off. I did not see Ray but I chatted with Stu
for a few minutes before I headed on. I was running by myself for a while, but Ray eventually caught up to me (he started late).
I broke the loop down into three sections. You passed thru the Aid Station/Start/Finish area twice. We ran a small loop of about 1 mile, then through the Aid Station into the second loop. I broke the second loop into two parts (wood section and field section). I was mostly always happy when I got to the field section- it meant you were close to finishing a loop.
Ray and I ran 7 or 8 loops before I stopped to change my socks. I had brought several pairs and planned to change them every 25 miles. I was feeling a slight hot spot on my heel, so I was glad when I reached that point. Ray went on while I stopped and taped my heel that was blistering and changed my socks. The dew from the morning on the grassy sections had soaked my socks. It felt like heaven to have dry socks on again. I tried to be efficient and not loose time in the time suck station and did well early on, but later on that would become futile. I also texted Pat and Dusty (a group text to save time) to let them know I had made it to 25 miles. One fourth of the way done.
I headed back out before Ray made it around again. I felt pretty good and only had a few down spots but felt like I was moving pretty good. I grabbed a small piece of PB&J, but the bread was pretty crusty and it was hard to swallow. Just as I was getting ready to head out though, one of the guys helping out brought out some grilled cheese sandwiches. I grabbed a small corner of one and took off.
It would take Ray several loops before he caught up to me again. It was nice to run along with Ray and listen to him. I didn't have time to think of how bad I felt or if I was going to make it or not. I just listened to him...thankfully, not much of his singing though (sorry Ray). At one point Ray told me I was in third place and he had moved up to first. We weren't sure what Chris was planning but he had been leading earlier in the day. It was pretty cool to know that I would have a top 5 finish and first female (even if by default). We saw Stu and Scott several times and before long we reached the 50 mile mark. I stopped again to change my socks, re tape, and text Pat and Dusty of where I was.
When I went to text them, I noticed there were a flurry of texts between the two. Apparently, they were virtual beer drinking together. Nice! That brought a huge smile as I read quickly through the texts. I texted as I was at the 50 mile mark and headed out. I came in at 6:09 at lap 17 (50.27 miles). I was pretty pleased with that. the longest I have ever done in one stint is 42 miles. I have 3 50 miles DNF's. So it was nice to know that I could actually do the distance. Everything after 42 miles was kind of unknown for me.
*Sidebar- Yes I have finished vol state, but I slept in a hotel for 7-9 hours each night. I took a shower, had a nice meal, and then slept in a bed. I don't know of many 50 or 100 milers that you do that and still finish within the time allotment. So I just haven't counted it that way for me. Personal preference. :)
Looking at my times from lap 17-20, I stayed fairly consistent. Even making it past my bedtime, but at laps 21 and 22 I really began to slow. I was told that Stu was going to lie down and I assured him that I would be fine. Then we came through at lap 21 and Robin said that Stu was out there looking for us. After discussing with Ray my fatigue and also feeling like Stu needed to get some rest, I decided also to get some rest. Ray suggested to get some food in me and then lay down for two hours. Sounded good to me. I came in from the 22nd lap and Ray continued on. Robin fixed me a bowl of ramen noodles and Stu came in while I was eating. He headed in for bed and after eating I did the same. I set my alarm and before my head hit the pillow I think I was out. I slept lightly and awoke a few times at first, but then I fell asleep really good. Then my dang alarm went off! Shoot....my head was foggy and I felt like I was in quicksand. I re set my alarm for another hour and turned over and went back to sleep.
Right before 3:00am and before my alarm went off, I woke up. I laid there debating whether to get up or not. Then my phone rang. I looked at the number but did not recognize it, so I turned it off. I continue to lay there and tried to decide whether I was going to get up or not. The thought of putting my trail shoes back on made me physically ill. There was no way I could put those shoes back on. So I went through my options. I had my road shoes but they are tight in the toe box and are not my favorite. I did not bring my favorite worn road shoes. I brought my Hokas to wear home because they are so cushiony but I quit running in them because I felt like they had given me PF last year. I just wore them around casually. Shoot....what to do???
I finally decided that if I was going to be able to finish the race then I was going to have to get my clean, pretty Hokas muddy. I sat up and noticed Ray's light coming through the trail. He would be passing the bus shortly. I turned my flashlight on so he would see that I was stirring. I started grabbing my stuff and looked at my phone. There was a message on it. I listened to the voice mail as I was putting my clothes on. It was Robin wanting to know if I was coming back out. Ray was concerned if I didn't get up, then I wouldn't finish. I deleted the message and grabbed my stuff and practically fell out of the bus.
I hobbled over to the start/finish/AS area and Robin was sitting out wrapped in a blanket. I told her to tell Ray I had died. She laughed and whooped and hollered. I went and sat down and starting taping my feet and trying to get together. I texted Pat and Dusty again to let them know the dead had arose. I was in the port o pot when Ray passed through and he yelled that he would go slow so that I would catch up. Dag nab em dumb biscuits! I didn't even have my shoes on yet. So I tried to hurry and I grabbed my ipod out to block out the sounds of the night. The wind was really kicking up and it made it more eerie for me. Everyone knows I am afraid of things that go bump in the night. Hence, the reason Stu was staying up for me I believe.
I headed out with my ipod and Hokas on and amazingly enough, felt pretty good. I was moving very fast because I was having trouble seeing and at times the wind was blowing all the little petals off the tree and it looked like snow. I don't remember if it took me a lap or two before I finally caught Ray, but he scared the crap out of me when I did. I was singing and heading up the gravel road on the field section when all of a sudden I come upon him laying in the middle of the gravel road. I yelped and I am sure he got a good laugh out of spooking me. Darn him!
I was feeling pretty good and although I felt bad, I knew I needed to run my race. I think I apologized to Ray later on, but I knew he would understand and if anything he would have choked me if I didn't run my own race. Thank you Ray!
I came in after lap 25 and Robin told me that Ray was down for a nap. I wrote my time down and then counted the squares. 8 laps to go! I told Robin that I must have been doing better than I thought. I only had 8 not 9 laps to go! I texted Dusty and Pat that I had less than a marathon. I was ecstatic! My text said, "Less than a marathon. 8 laps to go. Ray is down for his nap. Just me singing in the rain. TTYL." Yep, the rain had finally came and I was feeling great when I headed out after getting 73.93 miles.
Did you do the math? 8 laps...2.97 miles...73.93 miles finished. Math doesn't quite add up does it? I started thinking the same thing while I was on lap 26. I started calculating in my head trying to figure out what I had done. I knew for sure that I must have wrote my time down when I passed through the first loop of the AS. I was so embarrassed. Surely, I didn't do that, did I. I kept running it all through my head trying to hurry and get back in and check and have Robin fix whatever I screwed up if she could. Sheesh...how dumb of me!
I finally made it around and checked the time sheet. Nope my times looked right. I counted the empty squares again. Then I looked up at the top of the poster board at the mileages and that is when I noticed it. The last square had loops 33 and 34 in it. So I had 9 laps not 8 on the last loop. Now I really did have 8 laps left. I just went from a high flying balloon to being popped with a pin. I headed back out on the loop utterly defeated. I was so upset with myself for miscalculating. I also had told Pat and Dusty incorrectly. I felt horrible. I then started thinking of my dad. Then the tears fell. I let them fall briefly and then knew I had to get over it. I still only had a marathon left. I still was going to finish. You screwed up, but now you've had your cry get over it and get on with it. I came in off that loop and told Robin I had screwed up. She offered to have some noodles for me when I came back in. So I headed out with the promise of noodles dancing in my head.
I came in from loop 27 and ate my noodles sitting under the tent while it sprinkled around us. I re taped my feet and changed my socks. I felt much better after getting some food in me. I was wishing for waffles but noodles hit the spot! Thank you Robin!!!
I finally caught up to Ray while he was doing his bell lap and I walked in with him. It was a honor to watch him finish and win the race. Then Stu chased me out onto the course. I was glad to see Chris and Sarah out on the course getting some more miles this morning. It made me not feel too bad for keeping everyone waiting on me, but it was still hard to keep going when I was the one holding everyone up. The other thing I noticed was becoming hard on the last 2-3 laps, bending over to get something out of my shoe/sock. I was getting dizzy. I would bend over, get grass or whatever out of my shoe/sock, stand up, and weeble wobble from dizziness. What is worse than that, I kept bending over instead of stopping next to a tree or something and lift my foot up to clean whatever out. Duh!
I was having ups and downs and everyone was giving advice on nutrition. Nothing sounded good to me. I had the same problem at vol state- food does not sound good. I knew I had PB cookies in my truck and they were soft so I told them that I would grab some of those out of the bus when I came around on the first section past the bus. I was getting some cookies out when Shane came over and suggested that I take several with me and just munch on them. Don't eat them all at once, just nibble. So I stuck them in my coat pocket and headed off. I tried to nibble at times, but it was tough. I also asked Robin to please get in the bus and have me a yoo hoo cooling. Thanks again Robin!
walking & talking on the phone to Pat
I finally made it through lap 33. I grabbed my phone and a ziplock bag out of my bin and told them my bell lap would be a little slow. I wanted to take some pics of the trail (and I wanted to savor the finish). I took plenty of pics and when I reached the field section, I called Pat and let him know I was almost done. I could see Stu and Scott across the field while I finished talking to Pat. I got up to the Mulberry tree at the top edge of the field and I stopped and pulled out the ziplock bag that I tucked in my sports bra. I thanked the Lord for my finish and spoke to my dad for a moment as a scattered a little of his ashes under the mulberry tree. I had picked some berries throughout the race and it reminded me of being young because that is what I did when I was growing up. I picked a couple more and then I ran. I ran down the field and turned the corner. I turned again and headed to the finish line. I saw that they had a finish line tape and several thoughts went through my head- "what do I do? Do I run through it? Will it break or will I bounce off it? Will it snap and hit them while holding it? Will it tear if I just grab it and rip?" Thankfully, I believe they let it go and took the decision out of my hands. I had finished in 32:38!

I am soooooo glad that Ray and Stu talked me in to attempting this race. It was the best first hundred experience I believe I could have ever have had. I'm sure when I sent my entry to Shane and it didn't have a finished 50 or 100 mile race completed checked off of it, that he was wondering who in the heck he had just let in. Thank you Shane for allowing me to run your race. I hope the invite is there for next year and I will try to better my time and not have you guys out there so long!

 Robin was an absolute angel the entire event and makes the best ramen noodles eva. I don't believe I could have finished the race without her help and fixing of said noodles. I was starving and nothing else sounded good. Thank you Robin for taking such good care of me and all others.

Ray and Stu, I adore you guys and thank you again for encouraging me to run the little. Thank you also for your kindness, wisdom sharing, and kicking me out of the aid station on Sunday!

I feel so very blessed to have had this experience and it made for one heck of a weekend and a Father's Day I will treasure always.
Jumping jacks because I was going to get my ice cold Yoo-hoo finally

When jumping jacks weren't enough
Special love and hugs to Robin- could not have done it without your time and help  the entire race!!!
Robin~ultra volunteer extraordinaire

Finally get to crack open my ice cold yoo-hoo

I believe this pic says it all!

Shane, RD exceptional, giving me my first 100 mile buckle
I don't wear belt, but I'm gonna learn how now!
time sheet
woo hoo

My self appointed mentors- totally adore them!!!!
Thank you Ray K and Stu!!!!!

Robin- still taking care of me after  the race had finished and she had left!
After I took my shower (thank you again Shane), I drove the four hours home with a short 25 minute nap at a truck stop. Then I was able to sleep in on Monday, since I had taken the day off because I thought I would have to get a room on Sunday night. woo hoo

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rough going at RUTS 2013

  One of my favorite races of the year- Run Under the Stars (RUTS).  I don't know if it is because it is the only race that Pat makes sure is on his calendar or all of the extended family I get to see throughout the weekend.  Whatever the reason, I love this race!
OHC reunion!
  Pat and I made the drive down, picked up our packet, set up our tent, went to eat at O Chuck's, and then to the hotel to rest before the start of the race.  I never really have a goal at this race other than try to beat my previous year's total mileage.  Pat was hoping for 26 miles this year.  As he gets more miles, the harder it is for me to maintain or better my miles.  This is Pat's race and I want for him to enjoy it.  So we run/walk together until he has had enough, then I try to pile on some extra miles.
  We got back to the track and met up with Tim and Kathey and prepared to start.  Steve, the RD, gave pre race instructions and then we were off.  Pat, Kathey, and I started around the track.  As we got back around close to the starting line, we heard phrases of re start.  We came up to the starting line and sure enough, they had to do a restart since the timing equipment did not work.  It didn't take long before they had us off again.  We headed around again, chatting happily, the three of us.  We had three laps in when the timing equipment malfunctioned again.  (poor Steve- after RDing races this past year, I felt really bad for him and his crew)  They told us that we would start again at 9.  So we headed back over to our cars to wait for the appointed time.  It looked like it would be a 9 hour run, instead of 10 hours.
  At 9, we headed back to the starting line for our third start.  Three times is a charm, right?  And it was...no more timing snafus the rest of the evening.  Kudos to Steve and John for getting the problem resolved and ensuring that everyone still had a great time/run!
  Pat has been having some issues with his knee recently and his new carpet business wasn't helping.  We'd been doing some hill training and wearing a brace had helped, but I wasn't sure how he felt.  I knew he was excited about having Hokas this year (anniversary gift in September) but I didn't try to push him to run.  I figured he was fine.  Finally though, he looked at me and asked to run.  Said the walking was beating his feet up pretty good and he needed to change up his pace.  So we did, but it was a little too late.  His feet were already beat up.  Five hours into it and 14.5 miles (16.5 with restarts) he was done.  I felt so bad for him because I knew he was looking forward to beating his goal, but I also knew he was trying to be smart and stay healthy for his two jobs.
  I was a little bummed to look into my bag to see I had brought my ipod but no earbuds.  Bummer....  No zoning with music for me.  I started jogging around the track but not really pushing too hard.  I knew I had a race coming up next weekend and I didn't want to beat myself up too bad.  If I saw Stu or laz, then I would stop and chat with them.  Of course, I couldn't keep up with Stu's long legs, so it was always just a brief chat with him.  I do remember coming through the starting line with Stu and I told him I was going to see which lap I was on and he told me I was on lap 36 and he was on 42.  I checked the monitor and he was spot on!  He knew his laps and mine!  Amazing! 
  Laz was pretty fun to stop and chat with because of his adventures just to make it to the race were  astounding (dental surgery, wrecks, flat tires).  
  I would say my only real beef the whole night was as the evening wore on and more people began walking, they would hug the corners.  Now when I was walking earlier in the evening with Pat, we stayed on the outer edges and made sure to leave plenty of room for the runners.  So we were actually covering more distance, but it was the right thing to do.  Now that I was trying to run, people were walking , hugging the corners, and not leaving a running lane open.  It was pretty freaking frustrating to be courteous early on for others and not have the same respect given to you.  It was also disheartening to see people cutting the corners.  Just because they felt that the grass may have been softer on their feet, that was not a reason to cut the course.  And no running lane and walking 3 and 4 deep caused me to cut the course a couple of times or run way out around them.  I told laz I was gonna start throwing some elbows, but I just mumbled under my breath instead.  
As time wound down, I really tried to catch Stu.  He was 6 laps ahead of me and I dwindled it down to 1 lap before time ran out.  31.5 miles (33.5 unofficial miles)  Not my best, but certainly not my worst.  The best thing is I felt fine.  No blisters, legs felt fine, and no breathing issues.  We collected our medals, said bye, and headed to the hotel for a shower and nap before heading home.  Another great family reunion in Paducah!

Strolling at the Jim 2013

  One week after my weekend of doubling down, was the Strolling Jim 40 miler.  I always struggle with this race because it is on Derby Day and I spend Oaks day (the day before) at Churchill Downs.  I try to get in bed as early as possible on Friday night to get up early and make the drive down to Wartrace Saturday morning.  This year there was rain again but not as hard as last year (had hail last year also).  I got there early and pulled into the parking lot and crawled in the back of the bus to try to rest a little bit more before the race.
  Too soon it was time to get my packet and get ready for the race.  It was raining again and a little cooler.  I opted to wear my rain jacket that I got when I rappelled for Special Olympics.  I was hoping it would keep me dry (it did not).  I put my old shoes and a pair of dry socks in a drop bag just in case (did not use).  I had my new shoes on and still was not quite happy with them.  I also put a pair of dry socks in my hydration pack.  I headed over to the start line and congregated under the awning with everyone else trying to stay dry for as long as possible.
  Mike Melton, the RD, gave some instructions that I couldn't hear and then we were off.  I settled in with Jim Ball, Terri Preast, and Steve Durbin.  It was great to start the run with those guys.  We were all moving well and chatting.  We were keeping a sub 7 pace for 10 miles.  We eventually separated when they stopped for refills and I kept moving.  I knew I needed to keep moving.  I would not be able to maintain that pace for the entire race but I had a goal to try to beat.  Stu and Ray K had put the sub 8 in my head- so I made that my goal.  My best time was a 9:28 here though- so a big jump for me!
  The three of them eventually passed me as I slowed some.  I enjoy running in the rain, but not cold rain.  I was starting to feel the breakdown.  I wanted to quit several times from miles 13-20.  I knew Jim was way ahead of me but I passed Terri and Steve again.  I think Terri was hating the cold weather as much as I.  Steve eventually passed me again.
  I finally stopped at a church and dug out my dry socks to put over my freezing fingers.  They were cold and cramping so bad, but the socks really helped.  I didn't care how dumb I looked.  And the rain jacket- did not protect me from rain, just gave me a little warmth probably.
  I eventually made it to the 20 mile mark and even though I still had half of the race to go, that was my turning point.  I knew I would finish no matter how long it took me.  I just had to keep moving.  Of course, I really needed to go potty though.  I knew there was an auction house ahead with port o pots, but I wasn't sure how far ahead.  I had asked Steve before he left me for good and he thought it was only a few more miles up.  He was right.  I finally saw the beacon of port o pots calling to me.  I almost did not come out.  To be warm and dry for a few minutes was great, but this is also the nicest port o pot I have been in.  It is for women and there are even flowers in there.  Very nice touch.  As I sat there, I wondered where I was on my goal time.  I had forgotten to put my watch on that morning and I was running without any clue as to my pace or even what time it was since Jim and the others had went on.  I finally dragged myself out of the potty and headed on down the road.
  One of the rolling aid stations gave me a small cup of coke and that helped me tremendously.  The cold rain was keeping me awake but I was still feeling tired somewhat from the lack of sleep and the drive to the race.  I stopped at the aid station before the walls and got a cookie or tried too.  Thank goodness for the volunteer.  I could not open the package with my frozen fingers to grab a cookie out.  I thanked him and headed for the walls.  There were 4 or 5 people at the aid station and as I turned into the walls I could hear them coming up from behind me.  My goal was to not let them pass me in the walls and too see if I could pass anyone while in there (thanks Carl Laniak!).  I trotted along and powered up the hills (thank you barkley training!).  I could hear voices up ahead and focused on trying to catch them.  It took awhile but I finally did.  I passed three guys total and kept moving on.
  Unfortunately, two of them caught back up to me.  Jonathan, Joseph, and I ran along together.  It was nice to have company again, but even more so, Joseph informed me that we were on pace for a sub-8.  I was ecstatic.
  Stu and Terri stopped and chatted with us as they were driving the course.  I was glad to know that Stu was not out in the elements.  Was not good weather for him to be out in!
  With about 5K to go, I told them to go on and not worry about me.  I was having a little trouble breathing and I was getting spasms in my back.  I walked and tried to take deep breaths as I stretched to the side to try to get the kink out as I watched the guys getting farther away from me.  I was a little bummed to have passed them in the walls to only have them pass me back this close at the end.  Dag nab em dumb biscuits!
  I finally reached the the turn and the long stretch home.  I caught up to and passed Ray K (thanks Ray for cheering me on to my new PR).  I kept trying to catch the fellars right up until I crossed the line.  No go though...oh well.
  I finished in 7:52:14.  About 90 minutes knocked off of my best time.  New PR for me!  I was thrilled and could not wait to say thanks to Stu and Ray for putting the goal in my head.  I headed to the bus to grab some clothes and finally change in the port o pot into some warm clothes.  Yay!
  Now I got to enjoy my absolute favorite part of the race- the food and people.  I finally got to meet Pat and Tim from the u-list.  Chat with Mike, laz, Juli, Sandra, Ray, Stu, Joshua, Diane, and several others.  I was a happy lil' camper as I finished eating, said my good byes, and drove back home.  Three Pr's in the past three races in two weekends.  Feels good....
Joseph, me, and Jonathan

Doubling Down (again for 2013)

 I had ran the Backside Trail Marathon last year and enjoyed it.  So I signed up again this year.  There was a new race director (Troy Shellhammer) and the course would be run backwards (Seneca then Cherokee Park).  After setting my PR at the Derby the day before, I was unsure of how well I would be able to do.  My only goal was to try to beat my time from last year's race (and my secret goal of breaking 6 hours).  I arrived at the start to cloudy skies and picked my packet up.  I had arrived about an hour early because I am not familiar with the park and wanted to make sure I got to park close to the start and would not have to drive around looking for a parking spot.  After getting my packet, I headed back to the bus as the first rain drops began to fall.  I made it inside before the deluge came.  I sat back in the bus and rested my eyes as the rain fell.
  The rain passed as the start time neared and I got my bib and everything else ready as I headed to the starting line.  Troy gave some instructions and we were off.  I settled in fairly close to the back as we circled around the ball field to thin the herd.  We headed down the road to the loop in Seneca and turned onto it.  It was pretty  muddy and on the first hill, I tried to pass a few slower runners but my feet just kept sliding.  I tried to control them but it was hopeless, down I went.  I caught myself before I did a full on face plant but my hands were covered in mud.  I laughed as I used a tree to scrape most of the mud off of my hands.  At least the first fall is out of the way.  Thankfully I wouldn't fall anymore during the race, just some sliding out of control at times.  Felt a little like ice skating at times.  The first loop was a little tough as everyone tried to find their own pace but was shut down due to a slower runner in front of them.  I hate to say it, but a lot of times it was a girl being careful in the mud.
  I came to the first aid station and saw a fellow runner, Heath, helping out.  I grabbed a drink and then headed on out.  I ran for a little while with a group of 3 or 4, listening to them as we ran/slipped along.  I chatted with another guy about my trail shoes (Montrail Masochists).  He loves them except in mud where they seem to collect a lot of mud.  I had to agree with him.
  Somewhere along the loop I came upon Molly and we chatted and ran the rest of the loop together coming in under 3 hours.  I was hopeful for under 6, but as we headed back out, I had to stop at the port o pot.  I re lubed and pottied, then headed back out.  Molly was way on ahead by now.  As I finished the Seneca loop and started to head to the Cherokee loop, the rain came back with a vengeance.  The trail turned to a creek in some spots.  I was running by myself and slowing down but still enjoying myself.  I decided I was happy that the trail forced me to be slow and careful- I didn't want to get hurt before next weekend's race.  I made the loop around and finished in 6:35:56.  Not great but still bested my time from the previous year.  I grabbed an ice cold yoo hoo out of my cooler and headed home.
  Troy and his volunteers were outstanding and I did not have any problems finding the trail (although I had heard others missed a turn when a flag had blown away).  I thought the course was well marked and a great event and I will probably do it again next year.

pic by Josh Couture


Chasing a PR.....

  I ran my first marathon in 2009 at the Derby Festival and had huge disagreements with Pat over even running it.  My longest training run was 8 miles.  I walked/slogged in the last 10 miles to finish under the cut off at 5:55:30.  Since then I improved some, but had not been able to break 5 hours.  I came close in 2011 with a 5:02:45.  Pat likes to tease me that if I had missed a few port o potties on the course, then I would've beat it.
  This year I had been training for barkley and not running as much.  I was worried that I would not be able to do it once again.  I had one month from running barkley to the marathon to get some miles in.  I was dubious that the hill training would roll over into running.  All I could do was try.
  I arrived at the start line just as the wheelchair races started and tried to make it back to my corral.  I saw the 4:30 pace group and got behind them, in front of the 5:00 hour pace group.  I did not want to see that group pass me again.  Not this year.  I also wanted to run the race- no walking.  And eliminate the excessive use of the port o pots calling my name.
  The race started, and as usual, it took about 10 minutes to get to the starting line and then we were off.  The weather was beautiful and I settled into a comfortable pace.  I watched the miles and noticed I was staying under 10 minute miles.  That was good for me, easy to calculate.  (Split time for 10K was 1:00:57 and 15K was 1:31:01.)  I was looking forward to the half marathoners splitting off.  For some reason, I thought it was around the 5 or 6 mile mark, but it wasn't until after the 8 mile mark.  I was never so glad to go thru Churchill Downs.  Although, that is one of my favorite parts of the race.  It is always fun to see the horses training out on the track and before we leave, there is a speaker blasting out the stretch calls from years past.
  Once we leave the track, we turn out onto Southern Parkway separating from the halfers (finally).  This is my other favorite part.  Heading to Iroquois Park on Southern Parkway you get to pass the front runners that have already did the hills of Iroquois and are heading in for the finish.  I love watching them!
  I hit the hills of Iroquois, slightly slowed, but still running.  I was determined not to walk any of them this year.  I came out of Iroquois Park and hit the 25K mark at 2:33:50.  Still staying under 10 minute miles and the 5 hour pace group had not went jollily past me.  My only problem was that I really needed to visit a port o pot.  I kept passing them, but going down Southern Parkway, I gave in and stopped.  I felt like a crewperson from the Nascar pit crew.  In and out as fast as I could.  Secretly hoping the 4:30 pace group didn't pass me while I was in there.  I was slowing a little, but not too much I felt.  Thus far, I had not walked any on the course except for a couple of aid stations that had plastic cups and I did not want to take the chance of drowning myself.  With the port o pot stop and slowing down some, I hit the 30K mark at 3:08:41.  At this point, the marathoners meet up with the halfer's again for a couple of miles before splitting off again for the desolate streets.  After the pick up from seeing people again, I was starting to slow but still running.
  I was having an issue with my right foot feeling numb and was moving up into my leg some.  I figured it was from my back.  My co worker usually adjusts me every time I get out of alignment (thank you Roger!).  I had passed one medical tent already.  I knew my work (Kort) had people volunteering and I thought if I could get one of them to give traction to my leg it would help some.  My quad was starting to cramp some by now.  At the next medical tent (around mile 22), I stopped and asked the volunteer if she would pull on my right leg.  She agreed while I laid down on my back.  She pulled, but not quite hard enough.  I did get relief for about 7 or 8 minutes before it came back.  It was just annoying, but the sharp pains in my quad was a little more.  I was getting a little discouraged.  Then the 4:30 pace group passed me.  A little dagger in the heart.  Although, I was just trying to break 5 hours, I secretly was hoping to break 4:30.  Oh well...
  I turned down main street trying to pick up my pace but with my quad screaming at me, I could not manage any type of finishing kick until I turned down Preston Street for the finish line.  I managed to pass 6 people then, using the downhill to its full advantage.  I crossed the finish line in 4:32:17.  My new PR finally breaking 5 hours!
Getting ready to turn to home!

My biggest fan

My niece, Jasmine, and mom coming to see me finish