What happened to March…?

It’s recently been brought to my attention that my posts have been lacking…not just once, but twice in the last 2 weeks. All right already. I had no idea my updates were in such high demand!

But seriously…it’s been since the beginning of March, and I’ve been busy nearly every weekend. So here’s the short of it…no time for the long version.
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March 9th was the Race Director’s Race for Forget the PR at Mohican. I ran the 50k option with my friend Amy, and her husband Scott. I love Mohican, and only slightly less after this weekend…kidding! Recent snow and ice had caused some of the trails to be closed this early in the season…no Little Lyons Falls, and no hand over hand climb.

Whomp, whomp.

The sadist awesome Race Director Rob Powell had a better plan for us. We would run two 25k loops, and ascend Big Ass Hill twice. Thanks Rob! My first BA Hill experience, and I’d get to do it twice in one day. What a blessing. He’s so thoughtful, isn’t he?

The additional 4 inches of snow that fell overnight actually prevented the trails from getting too muddy…on the first loop anyway. It was cold, so we kept moving the best we could. Amy was training for Umstead (her first 100mi…congrats by the way!) so we kept the pace slow and easy. I didn’t mind at all. Most of my training had been on the treadmill, and I was still having nightmares about my last run at Mohican (remember the hulk hand?). No falling allowed!
Plus, Amy knew the course…and although getting lost in the woods is appealing to me, this was not the day for it. We followed the footprints for the most part, until the snow had melted and we were on our own, save a few flags. We only had one issue…the snow covered a creek bed on loop one, and it looked completely different on loop two. But we made it! All 50k and the three of us earned this sweet buckle. (Congrats to Scott on his impromptu first 50k!)

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My Skora Forms worked out just fine in both the snow and mud…but I barely had the time to dust them off before my next event:
Seamus O’Possum 30km Footrace at Delaware State Park. Stay tuned!

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Race Week!

Is it Spring yet? Nope! It snowed this past weekend (AGAIN!), and I’m thoroughly over Winter.
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I’ve spent countless hours on the treadmill over the last two months, and it’s about time for an update now that I’m headed into race season. Race season? THAT’S going to be ugly! This winter has been rough for much of the country, and Ohio was no exception. I used to not-so-lovingly call that torture device in my basement a dreadmill. No more! I love that thing. Without it, I’d be in trouble! My job is also keeping me pretty busy and active. So much to be thankful for!

As you may (or may not) recall, I’m keeping a paper log this year. No fancy online records, though I have been using my watch or phone to record some of these. I’ve really cut down on how much I talk about running online as well, save an occasional post when I think it might motivate others and myself! It’s been long enough…so here it comes…stop reading now if you don’t care, or don’t want to know just how boring my life really is. 20140303-191258.jpg
By the numbers (for the nerds):
January 2014
Running: 130.44mi
Walking: 65.3mi
Total: 195.74mi

February 2014
Running: 134.66mi
Walking: 63mi
Total: 197.66mi

To some, that might not look like much. To others, it’s a lot! I wasn’t sure either way, so I looked up the numbers for January and February 2013. 137.96 and 108.97 respectively, running and walking combined. Sounds good!

This weekend I’m running my first “race” of 2014. A 50k at Mohican. It’s not a timed race, so I’m not nervous at all. Maybe I should be? Nah!

On April 12th, I will have the pleasure of volunteering at a great race…Forget the PR 25k & 50k. You can find the link on my Need a place to race? page. 20140303-191457.jpg
As a favor to his volunteers, the RD holds a Volunteers’ Race before the event, so we can all run the course, earn our shirts and get a buckle. It helps him out as well…to point out any potential issues the trail may have encountered over the harsh winter. Plus, we get lost so on race day you won’t have to! Isn’t that nice!

I plan to run that day with another friend I’ve really missed seeing this winter. I don’t think we’ve run together at all since October. Good thing we’ll have a lot of time to catch up.

I only have one concern: Big Ass Hill…x2! Where is the setting on the treadmill for this? 20140303-191504.jpg

Oh well…Sunday is fast approaching, and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Happy trails!

Preview the Playin’ Possum 50k

As I alluded to yesterday, I’d like to talk about the next ultra on my schedule.
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The Playin’ Possum 50k will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Delaware State Park, located in Delaware, Ohio. This will be the first year for the event…and the first of its kind in the area.

Sure…you can find a couple of “Fat Ass” (FA) runs around Central Ohio, and a local running store offered a 50k option on a trail series they hosted a few months ago. (A FA is a free, no frills event, generally without support, shirts, medals, finish lines or publicity. You hear about the event via word of mouth…or Facebook…show up, and run. It’s fun. Or crazy. Likely both.) I participated in both of these in the last 6 months, and they were fun in their own way. But in order to find a true “ultra,” you’d have to travel to Mohican or Hocking Hills. Although those places are beautiful, they are quite a drive for most of us from Columbus. Out of that need, the Possum race was born.

Directed by Mark Carroll and Chad Heald, two great (and experienced) guys, the course traverses varied terrain: grass-covered levy walls, dirt and gravel roads, single track, and hopefully, a trip across the damn dam.
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The race is open to everyone. It’s just fine if you’ve never done anything like this. In fact, it’s strongly encouraged. There will be some very experienced folks out for the inaugural event. But with more than a third of the field as first-time ultramarathoners, the passel is more than excited to show a few runners what an ultra is all about. They want you to fall in love with ultra…like they did…like I did…and come back for more!

First, and maybe most important, there are cookies…and chips…and candy…and all manner of junk food that most people would not associate with “running.” At the official training run last week…they had these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that were amazing…I digress.

Not food motivated? Have you seen these views? Sure…it’s a little muddy now. By May, it’s going to be gorgeous…and maybe still a little muddy. You’re not afraid of a little dirt are you?

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Alright. Let’s get serious for a moment.

For me, it’s about the people. Building a great community of trail and ultrarunners in the Columbus area.

Remember those people I talked about yesterday?

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Here’s your chance to meet them. Run with them. And raise a glass…of Coke (No alcohol in the park please.)!

There are still two Official Training Runs before race day. They are open to everyone…even if you haven’t taken the plunge yet. And I mean that quite literally…I was lucky enough to find a few places with knee-deep water last week!

Join us this Sunday, April 21st at 8am. We’ll be running about 10 miles of the course, including the single track portion! You can find out all the details on the community Facebook page. The final training run will be on May 5th, and will cover about 30k of the course, weather and construction permitting. We are in Ohio…and even the Dam isn’t safe from the orange barrel. There will be some aid provided at the training runs (water and snacks), but please bring anything you might need including your own hydration bottle or pack. No paper cups in the woods!

Don’t have Facebook? Send me a message and I’ll make sure you get all the details.

And don’t forget to follow Playin Possum 50k on Twitter as well.

What? You’re still not registered?

The Playin’ Possum 50k is over 75% sold out…if you’re considering joining us, register soon. Registration will close on May 15th, but the race could easily sell out before that date. Remember that all proceeds go to the Special Olympics. You’ll still get a shirt, and they’re promising a unique item in place of a finisher’s medal. I’m curious enough…are you?

Don’t miss out on this one!

Photos in this post are used with permission from Stuart Kirk and the Possum Races website.

Beyond the Marathon

I am horrified by the events which occurred in Boston yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with those that were killed and injured in the explosions and their families. Please know this was written before the tragic events occurred, and is, in no way, meant to be offensive or insensitive. I share it because, through writing, I grow as a person. And, without sharing my words, they are left meaningless. I haven’t forgotten. But the worst thing we can all do is give up…and let evil win. Yesterday I prayed for Boston, and the rest of our world. That won’t stop because it’s a new day. I’m not moving on, I’m just moving forward.
Relentless forward momentum.

I’ll admit it. I didn’t watch any of the Boston Marathon. I didn’t check the updates. I didn’t look at the elite finish times. I briefly looked at a few pictures posted by friend on Facebook, but even then, it was just to admire the happy faces if friends, and to wish them good luck.

It really doesn’t interest me. Not anymore. I’ve heard a few people say that recently, but I could hear the hesitation in their voice…they think it’s unattainable for them (and maybe it is), so they express disinterest as a defense mechanism. They don’t want to talk about it. They feel like a loser because they can’t or won’t do the work required to BQ.

That’s not me. Not at all. I don’t want to run Boston. It doesn’t hold my interest. I want something bigger.

Bigger? What’s bigger than Boston?

Now before you go jumping down my throat that Boston is the most important event for the running world, let me agree, with one very specific clarification.

The Boston Marathon is the most elite marathon in the world.

Marathon.

And that’s why it doesn’t interest me.

What’s my bigger goal? Western States 100. Yup. I said it.
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That’s a bit far off. I’m nowhere near reaching that goal…especially as I sit here icing my knee from a spill I took Sunday on a trail run. The good news is I have plenty of time.

Now I promised to talk about a race I have coming up, and I will. Tomorrow’s blog will be all about the Playin’ Possum 50k, and why you should be running with us. The course is diverse…a little something for everyone. At least 1/3 of the field are first-time ultra runners and the others have plenty of experience to spread around. And all the proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics.

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I do want to take a moment to talk about the wonderful people I’ve met while training for this event. I have run with the race directors and the passel (a group of possum…go figure) on several occasions, both as a large organized training run, and a more casual midweek run. Shoot…the race director showed up to a Saturday morning training run I scheduled with friends, just because he knew we would be there.

I have found this community to be so much more passionate and compassionate than any group of people I have ever met. I wish you could meet them. I have never felt more welcome and appreciated, and that was before I brought them all pie for a post-run treat. They have taken a special piece of my heart, and I look forward to the next time I get to run with any one of them. Every time.

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Check back tomorrow for more information regarding the race, where you can sign up before it sells out, and how you can join us for the next training run open to the public.

Back on Track…literally

It’s been two weeks since Goofy.

It’s time to make some decisions, and focus on what’s next. I’m feeling 100% after taking two “easier” weeks…so much so, that I thought a half marathon on a treadmill was a good idea yesterday.

What was I thinking?

I was thinking I had signed up for a virtual half organized on by Moms Run This Town: the Winter Runnerland 5K/10K/Half.
This was a great idea before I looked at my schedule. I already had one of each of those planned in January, plus a marathon. What’s one more race? I had others tell me to just use my time from the WDW Half Marathon to cover this race, but I don’t work that way. So yesterday was my only choice.
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A handful of ENERGYbits, a banana, and 2 bottles of water later…done.

The nice thing about the TM is that your banana is still intact at mile 8!
So now I’m back on track to hit my 125mi this month…and to start training for the Xenia Half Marathon on April 7th. I’m shooting for an ambitious PR at this event. I haven’t “raced” a half since 2009, as I use most of them for training runs or pacing opportunities.
I still have a potential 50k on February 17th, but I’m debating on attempting that distance. I know I can do as little as 10K at that event, and I’ll have to see how the old body is holding up around that time.
And now…the track. It’s time to start adding speed work. And for me that means Yasso 800s. Although I’ve heard people use that phrase with disdain, I actually like them. Maybe it has something to do with the namesake.

Anyway…this week I have 4×800. Woot! Can’t wait.

How’s your training going? Any track workouts planned?

Tomorrow’s news: Rain, rain, go AWAY!