Friday, November 20, 2009
This will definitely be a learning experience. Now the hard part.... practice, practice, practice.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The bon spiel is called the "Funnenspiel" and encourages costumes and not taking things too seriously. To emphasize that point, we started with two 6-end games and every person on the 6-person team rotated each end to a new position (so 2 people were sitting out each end). There was definitely some strategy to putting together the right rotation. We all were a little rusty the first game and got creamed by one of the host club teams.
Being the only U.S. team, we kicked it into a higher gear for the remaining two games and managed to win, I think to the Canadians' surprise. We ended with a 4th place finish and more importantly got our fill of delicious Brick Beer, one of the sponsors of the spiel. This was our second year attending this spiel and it is one worth returning to again and again... just for the Brick Beer!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Luci and me (my friend's daughter - who has epilepsy)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I was very proud this past weekend to be a part of the inaugural Cleveland North Coast 24 hour race. What a fantastic event. The race course was in excellent shape and miraculously the weather cooperated. Volunteers and race organizers were first class. Thank you all! In addition to trying to make the U.S. National Team, I was also racking up miles for a charity event I'm involved in for the Epilepsy Association called the Virtual Runner (check out the t-shirt I have on)!
The race was just part of a whirlwind weekend for me. First the race on Saturday and Sunday and then off to St. Louis on Sunday to attend the FarmAid concert (Roger and I have gone for 5 straight years). We had it calculated out to just barely make our plane if I left the race immediately at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.
I had two goals for the race initially. I first wanted to try to break my age group American Record for 12 hours. This has been held by Sue Ellen Trapp since1996 with mileage of 117.401 kilometers or 72.9496 miles. I had planned to try for this record at the Delano Park 12-hour race in March but a severe case of bronchitis derailed me. My secondary goal was to hit 130 miles.
Before the race, I had calculated in precise detail what pace I needed to run in four 3-hour segments to break the record. Based on that plan, I started the race at a 9:15 minute per mile pace for 3 hours, then 9:30 pace for 3 hours; then 9:45 pace for 3 hours and finally 10:00 pace for 3 hours. If I hit those splits, I would hit 82 laps or about 73.8 miles. Since it was not a 12-hour race, I couldn’t plan on getting credit for a partial lap. I gave these splits to my fabulous crew and told them to let me know if I was falling behind. I forgot to tell them though that if I hit 81 laps, I would still break the record (but just barely).
The race started under threatening skies. Weather predictions all week called for rain but none developed. There was a bit of a breeze coming from the south that hit runners on one side of the course but it did keep everything cool. The first hours of the race all blurred together. My boyfriend, Roger, had put out the word on the race and friends kept popping up all day to cheer me on. It was really fun running by our aid tent every lap and seeing new faces. I wanted to stop and chat but knew I was on a mission. As the race progressed, I realized that my careful calculations did not take into account that I might need time to stretch and go to the bathroom. Oops! So, during the first 12 hours, I stopped only once to stretch and once to go to the bathroom. I just didn’t have more time!
At the 11-hour mark, my crew appeared to be concerned. They finally confessed to me that they feared I would not make 82 laps. I then confessed that I had a one lap cushion. They were elated. Yes, I now had plenty of time! By then, I was having major cramps in my calf muscles. Dr. Andy had given me a potassium pill earlier to help alleviate the cramps but my legs kept seizing and I thought I was going to fall over a number of times. On my 80th lap, Byron Lane ran by and I commented that I needed one more lap for the record. He was kind enough to run ahead to tell the race organizers and so a race official came with us to mark my partial lap when I hit the actual 12-hour mark. Thanks Byron!! At the actual 12 hour mark, I ended up with about an extra one-half lap but I am not sure yet whether it will be counted. But even without that extra half lap, I did squeak by with 81 laps or 72.96075 miles. PHEW!
I was so happy at that point that I went by my aid station, hugged Roger and my crew and then walked a lap before heading in the medical tent to get some major stretching done on my body. It will be interesting to see the splits to see how long I was in the medical tent because it seemed like a long time but I definitely needed it. Dr. Andy and his medical students were miracle workers. They eventually worked out the kinks, wrapped me in a blanket and pointed me back out on the race course, I was seriously thinking of quitting at that time but some friends had just shown up to watch me run so it would have been pretty lame to stop before they even saw me…. So, I started walking a lap and before I knew it I was running again.
Everything seemed to be working pretty good until hour 15 when all of a sudden something popped in my hamstring and then pain. I immediately stopped running and once again hobbled into the medical tent. Dr. Andy again set me straight. Given that I still could walk, I didn’t actually pull my hamstring but he thought I had something out of whack in my back. He did some manipulations of my back, told me to change into tights to warm up my legs and to get back on the race course. I have to admit that I was very skeptical. I was in some pain and really didn’t believe I would be running again in the race. I walked a lap and still felt pain so I took 2 Advil, and then slowly started running again. Before I knew it I was feeling good.
Hours flew by. A full moon popped out of the clouds and the lights from downtown Cleveland and passing boats twinkled. It was a magical night. As the dawn approached, I found out I was the 4th place woman. I started focusing on how I could catch the 3rd place woman Anna Piskorska. I was making some headway when Connie Gardner, having major stomach issues, had to drop out. Now I was in 3rd place. Again, I kept trying to make a dent in the lead built by Anna. I think at one time I came within 2 miles. But every time I made more headway, she would revive and speed by me. With 2 hours to go, I was losing steam and I didn’t think I would catch her unless she totally fell apart and she was one tough runner. But the fourth place woman, Kim Martin, who had also been plagued by stomach problems earlier in the race, was now running very strong. She was motoring. I was about 5 miles ahead of her so I just needed to keep moving to maintain my place. But in the last two hours, Kim and I did talk a little bit and it was good to have something to focus on.
With three minutes to go, I was close to my boyfriend’s car and I decided to stop a tad early. We had to catch a plane to the FarmAid concert in St. Louis and had to make a dash for the airport! I ended up with a new PR (barely) of 128.933 but still shy of 130 miles. This race, however, gave me confidence that I can definitely make the 130-mile mark. Can’t wait for the next race.
Congratulations to all runners but especially top winners Phil McCarthy (151.515); John Geesler (139.408), Dan Rose (139.282), Jill Perry (136.328) and Anna Piskorska (132.265).
I got to chat during the race with a lot of very nice and inspiring runners, many of whom I’ve heard of but had not actually met in person, including Newton Baker, Suzanne Pokorney, Liz Bauer, Dan Rose, Mike Henze, Ladd Clifford, Chisholm Deupree, Ray Krolewicz, Kim Martin and Jill Perry to name a few! One of the best parts of running 24-hour races is that you actually do get to see and talk with a lot of runners who are all such wonderful and interesting people.
Kudos to Leo Lightner for breaking the American Record for his 80-84 age group for 24 hours. He was on the course the entire time and looked really strong. A true inspiration for us all!
Also, a special THANKS to my socks sponsor, DryMax socks. I only changed my DryMax socks once during the race and had no problems with blisters. DryMax also supported the Race by providing FREE socks to all participants. That was awesome!!
And yes, Roger and I did make our plane and the FarmAid concert was fabulous and yes I did stay awake until the end!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Right before the race, the temperature was in the mid-50s. I was trying to decide what to do - a hard effort or an easy pace? Before I made up my mind, the gun sounded and we were OFF! The half-marathoners started with the marathoners - the race was 2 loops around Presque Isle for the marathon, only 1 loop for the half. The field was quite crowded in the first mile. There were about 600 marathoners and 700 half-marathoners. My first mile was about 8:30 pace. That seemed ok. But as I kept checking my mile splits, the next several were all under 8:00 minute pace. I kept thinking I should slow down but I was feeling good. At the half I was still hitting 8:00 minute pace and so thought I would see how long I could maintain that pace.
The couse is pretty flat and then weather continued to be fairly cool. The sun only poked out sporadically, the race had water stops every mile (with HEED - YES!) and even a shower to run through around mile 25. I slowly kept picking off women runners until there were only 3 women ahead of me....
In the last mile, I could not muster any more energy and came through the finish with a 3:30:10 and 4th place woman (1st place masters). I was somewhat in shock over this time as it is a PR for me by 4 minutes, not just an age group PR but a PR for my entire running career. My chip time put me at 3:29:50.
I am now in serious taper mode. Since I've had good luck on Lake Erie, I'm hoping my luck holds out for the "other" Lake Erie race, the North Coast 24-hour. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
No one can control the weather and it was a warm and very humid day in Titusville, PA for the inaugural Drake Well marathon on Sunday, August 9th. The day before was downright cool in Cleveland, but overnight with thunderstorms rolling in, the humidity index was in the 90s in PA for the 7:00 a.m. start of the marathon.
Once we finished running the "mountains," we turned off of the gravel road and did a tour through the town of Titusville. It looked like a very pretty town and it was nice to get in some sight-seeing. After about mile 10, we hit the bike path, which is where the half-marathoners had started. The bike path was heavily shaded and somewhat cool given the conditions. We continued on the bike path to the 17 1/2 mile mark before turning around. The path had a slight downhill to it going out which became tough on the return.
It was a small race, with about 120 marathoners. I plodded along for most of the race. The temps only hit about 75 degrees but the humidity was in the 90-plus range. The trees were actually dripping with water it was so humid. For parts of the bike path, it was kind of neat because it was foggy and very beautiful since we were running right next to the Oil Creek. It though was kind of lonely as there were not too many runners that you encountered.
Despite my slow pace, I apparently overtook the 3rd place woman (a young 21-year-old) at the 23 mile marker. I managed to hang on to that spot and came in as the 3rd place woman. This was a bit of a surprise but for my slow 3:56 (!!) time, I got a certificate for a runningskirts.com skirt. I'm mailing it in today so that's a pretty good prize (much better than a trophy!!)
After the race, unfortunately, there were no places open in Titusville for beers so my friends and I drove back to Erie for a celebratory drink before I headed home to Cleveland.
This was a well-organized inaugural race and has a lot of potential. There are not too many August races in this area of the country so it's good to have this one as an option. Even though the day was cloudy and we didn't need the shade, on a sunny day the bike path would definitely provide a cool cover for racers.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
With two and one-half months to go, I've decided to run a few marathons to get in shape. Marathons are much more interesting than running around my neighborhood for 4 or more hours. As luck would have it, I was able to locate 2 marathons that are within driving distance of Cleveland, both in Pennsylvania.
The first one is August 9th in Titusville, PA. It is called the Drake Well Marathon, named after the 1st oil well in the world. It may be a hot run so I will have to play it by ear as to whether I try to run a fast pace or just run a leisurely run. The other marathon is September 13th in Erie, PA, in Presque Isle. I ran this one last year and it was incredibly hot.
Other than those 2 races, I'll try to get out for a 5-6 hour run one of these weekends (probably Labor Day weekend). If past experience is any guide, this should be enough for a solid effort in October.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Here's a link on my favorite Badwater Champion, Jamie Donaldson from The Denver Post:
As an update, Jamie takes 1st place woman, 5th overall. Great job!!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Lucy, my friend and running partner’s daughter, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was two-years-old. Lucy and her family struggled for over a year, with Lucy averaging 70 seizures in a single day. Today, through a combination of medication and diet, Lucy has been seizure-free for the last year.
After experiencing epilepsy first-hand, my friend and I are helping kick off a new running event called the “Virtual Runner.” All monies raised go to the Epilepsy Association to provide needed services to affected individuals and their families.
Anyone reading this Blog can sign up online NOW as a Virtual Runner. Then, beginning August 1st through November 8th, Virtual Runners log their race miles online. Races can be any distance and can be run anywhere in the world. At the end of the period, prizes will be awarded to the Virtual Runner with the highest mileage logged and with the highest dollar amount raised.
This is a very easy thing to do with minimal effort. So, don't delay! Sign up online now, solicit donations, and start racing to help the Epilepsy Association turn your miles into money. To sign up as a Virtual Runner or for more information, click on http://www.epilepsyinfo.org/VirtualRunner.htm
Monday, June 22, 2009
The Dad's Day run is pretty cool. Lots of kids with their Dads. Before the race, there was a moment of silence for all of the Dads that couldn't be there. I thought about my Dad, who passed away in February of 2005. He was not a runner and scoffed at the idea of anyone who formally exercised. Of course, he was a farmer so, to him, if you just threw around a few hay bales, etc., why do you need to exercise? He was in great shape except for this little problem called emphysema, that finally got the best of him. As runners, functioning lungs is something we take for granted. You don't realize how precious they are until they are compromised.
I finished the race in no record speed. Every racer received a tie for Dad after crossing the finish line. A nice touch, even though I didn't have a Dad to give mine too.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I wanted to eyeball the course so I could be 100% sure that the course would be awesome for all the runners who will be competing in October. It was a gorgeous day at the Park. Sunny, blue sky, right next to the water....
The course is a .91 mile loop. All of the surface is the same - asphalt - no concrete, dirt, or grass. It is a fairly wide path in excellent condition. No ruts, potholes or cracks. There is also no cant or camber so you will be running on a totally flat (not slanted) surface. As far as the ups and downs go, there is a very slight uphill and a very slight downhill. Otherwise, it's a pretty flat course. We will be running clockwise. This is because there is a very short section where you'll be running very close to Lake Erie (very pretty, by the way) and the thought is that if there is any wind, it will be at your back on this stretch that is most exposed.
Both Connie and I gave it the stamp of approval. I am very excited to be running the course in October and I think (assuming no horrible weather) that there are real opportunities for the "fast" runners to do really well. I know that Connie will be attempting an American Record and the course will definitely give her a good shot at it!!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Now for the race report. I think I am jinxed. This is my second 12-hour race in a row where it has rained the ENTIRE race. The race started at 8:00 a.m. with temps at 50 degrees and light rain. I thought initially this was a good sign as everything felt comfortable. The light rain persisted for the next few hours but before long changed to heavier stuff. At that point I was soaked but I added a jacket. Everything seemed OK but the rain kept getting heavier. This would have been OK but the temperature never did rise but instead dropped. The rest of the 12-Hour race, the temperature hovered at 48 degrees. Add to that some wind that developed in the afternoon and everything just got very cold. I finally got wise about 7 hours into the race when I stopped, changed the wet shirt and arm sleeves I had on and put on a dry long-sleeved shirt. This was much better although I still had soaked gloves, shoes and socks. The rest of the race was more of the same. My hamstrings got very tight - not sure if this due to the cold or just not yet recovered from Italy - so I ended up stretching every loop to make sure I didn't pull anything. I was extremely happy when the 12-hours were up and I could run to my car, turn on the heat and drive to my sister's house (where blankets, hot tea and dinner were awaiting me)! I understand (although I was sleeping in a nice, dry bed) that the rain finally let up about 3 a.m. and was somewhat pleasant thereafter. A number of people during the race, though, stopped for long periods of time due to hypothermia.
Some things I learned (or were reinforced) from this race: (1) Sue Olsen had a good idea of wearing latex gloves over her regular gloves to keep her hands dry. I'm going to stick some in my race bag and give them a try next time it rains; (2) Bring tights to a race just in case. My shorts were pretty cold on the legs and I had no other options; (3) Think about alternate fuel sources when it's cold. I had planned on drinking most of my calories (with Perpetuem) but I wasn't sweating enough and I ended up in the port-o-potty every hour. By hour six, I decided on Plan B, which was to drink lots less water and eat more solid food. Fortunately, the aid station was well-stocked so I ate chicken noodle soup, potatoes, pretzels, and peanut butter sandwiches in addition to Hammer Gel. While I was lucky, I need to rethink how to better fuel myself in these conditions; (4) At the last minute, I threw in my suitcase a very thin headband. This was a lifesaver. When the wind picked up during the race, it was actually blowing the rain sideways into my ear (I did have a hat on). After I added the headband, I was definitely warmer; (5) Resist the urge to change socks when it's raining. At points in the race, my shoes were making squishing noises they were so wet. I kept thinking dry socks would feel so good but I talked myself out of wasting time changing them (and of course, they would just get wet again anyway). Eventually, I just forgot about it. When I finished the race without a socks change and took off my DryMax socks, no BLISTERS.
Lake Nokomis took on a very different feel this year since it was so deserted due to the weather. There was brief activity early in the morning because another charity hosted a 5K event. Once that was over around 10:00 a.m., however, there was absolutely no one at the Lake except the people associated with FANS. Usually, there are bikers, people walking dogs, fishermen, boaters, etc. Very eerie.
The volunteers at the race were fantastic, as usual. I felt very sorry for them. At least when I was running I looked warmer than them. So, in the end, what is better? Hot and humid or cold and rainy? Hmmm.... I guess cold and rainy wins. Next time, though, I WILL be better prepared.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
That's me behind the veil checking out my bees.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
On Friday, we took an uneventful 3-hour train ride to Bergamo before meeting up with the rest of Team USA. There, I was first introduced to teammates Annette Bednowsky and Jen Van Allen. Jen had just arrived a few hours earlier! We received our uniforms, chip, numbers (must wear front and back) and also received a cool jersey from the Bergamo running club. Next, we all changed into our official team uniforms and headed to the opening ceremony. This was quite a spectacle! The ceremony was held in a large auditorium and each country paraded on the stage where the country’s flag was projected and every runner was introduced. This was quite thrilling to see all of the runners and different flags and colors. After the ceremony, we headed to the pasta dinner. Mingled with runners from Great Britain and Australia and traded war stories. A number of us then walked the course. It appeared to be more up and down than was advertized. The race organizers were also busy laying carpeting and other materials down on some of the rougher areas of the course although not all of the cobblestone was covered up. I also noted that there was quite a bit of cant to the road and made a mental note to run on the inside of the road (i.e., the flatter part) as much as I could.
Part of the course - Trip hazard!
With Carilyn, taking it easy early on.
After awhile, Carilyn and I split and I was running by myself. The hours seemed to fly by (at least for the first 6 hours). The course started out fairly flat before taking a left turn that took the runners uphill past all of the country aid stations. Being alphabetical, USA was the last aid station (next to Sweden) which was pretty convenient for getting supplies quickly. After the aid stations, the course gradually turned right, leveled out, then went left again before going uphill over a canal. Then another left turn and the course had a nice long downhill section. This downhill section was shaded during the day and there was also a slight breeze blowing. After the downhill (and where the port-o-potties were located), a short steeper uphill followed by a left turn before arriving back where we started. The course would get ingrained in one’s memory – I looped it about 155 times (give or take a loop…)
Other than that, I had two longer stops (at about the 15 and 19 hour marks) to get stretched out by Dr. Andy. In between those stops, I also stopped every few hours to stretch my legs out. Due to the ups and downs on the course, I felt it wise to stretch both hamstrings and quads every now and then.
The race was a bit of a blur but one thing that became obvious was that the US men were not having a good day. They were all in varying amounts of distress and that was sad to see. It was just one of those days for these very talented runners.
Checking the Team standings with a few hours left in the race.
All of the US women put in a fantastic effort and ran really strong. We all had varying issues throughout the race but everyone dealt with them and hung in there for the team. I was very proud and excited to be on the podium accepting the silver medal with these wonderful athletes! I hope to see everyone again in Cleveland for the U.S. National 24-Hour Championship.
Jamie on her last lap looking fresh.
Annette on last lap running strong.
On the podium, USA (2nd), France (1st), Italy (3rd).
Thanks to our wonderful Aid Station workers, my SO Roger, David, Tim, George, Donna, Peter, Grant and Spencer. Very special thanks to Bill Allen who was forced to drop out of the race early due to an injry but put in long hours at the aid station helping the US runners. DryMax socks and Aruba sunglasses were a big help during the race. CW-X donated our uniforms so we could look good on the podium. THANKS!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
The competitors in the 24-Hour World Challenge have just been posted on the website of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). The race is getting more real as I can now focus on who will be running and what the competition will be like.
This year, 65 women from 18 countries are on the list, which is 10 more women than last year. It is good to see the sport growing on the women's side. Also, in addition to more individuals competing, more country teams are also entered for women. This year 14 women's teams are represented compared to 11 teams in 2008. The countries bringing women's teams this year are: Austria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Sweden and United States.
I also noticed that there are 7 women who are older than me. So I have no excuses whining about being the "old lady" on the team :)
In 2008 at the World Challenge in Korea, the French women blew out the field, followed by Japan. Looks like this year Japan is only sending 2 women - since 3 individuals are necessary to compete for team placement, Japan will not eligible for team medals.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
My first objective started looking dim when, on my birthday, I reluctantly visited the UrgentCare as my lungs were just not working too well. Bronchitis was the official diagnosis. This was something new for me! The doctor, however, didn’t say I was forbidden to run, but only gave me the dire prediction that I would not do well (thanks, Doctor!) I kept thinking there would be a miracle cure by the 14th but that in fact did not happen.
After sandblasting our legs and feet to get all the grime off and attending the awards ceremony, the gang headed to Mama Blues buffet for more fried food!
Kudos to the race organizers for their Herculean efforts to drain the course of excessive water. Guys were out there in the rain with pumps, shovels and rakes all day long. We could have been running in a river but towards the later part of the race the course was actually pretty dry. Other than the water, the course was as advertised and a pleasant place to spend 12 hours.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
I woke up the morning of the race greeted by snow flurries. Since I was driving from Cleveland, I hoped the weather would warm up the further "south" I drove on I-71. By race time in Dublin, Ohio, I think the temperature had improved to a balmy 26 degrees. I was very happy that I had chosen to wear my CW-X tights and long-sleeved top as well as my cold weather Drymax socks. I was set for the chilly run.
As there was a 5K, 10k and half-marathon on the same course as the marathon, the marathon and 10K started a 10th of a mile behind the half-marathon and 5K to ease the congestion. The raced started promptly at 8:00 a.m. The loop course was laid out pretty well. There were no sharp turns. There was some crowding initially but people spread out quickly and as the 5K and 10K runners dropped off there was usually no problem getting the inside lane of the course. The only complaint I had were the lumpy timing mats that I crossed every mile. I kept thinking I would trip on the mat and slowed down crossing it to be extra careful.
With all the different races going on, people were constantly passing me. I think this helped to make me run faster too. By the half-way point, my time was 1:48. I was OK with that. I was just using this as a training run and was happy with any time under 4 hours.
As the laps added up, however, I realized that I would actually have a decent time. I was consistently hitting 8:15 splits and I wasn't getting tired. The temperature only climbed to about 32 degrees by the end of the race. The sun was out on one side of the course and was hidden by buildings on the other side of the course. I was always happy when I hit the sunny side!
I had been keeping track of my laps on my watch which was a good thing because there wasn't alot of information as to which lap you were on. The last time I received any information was when I had just finished lap 22. When I crossed the mat for what I believed was the 26th time (and the end of the race), I had to stop and verify this with the timers as I didn't want to stop unless I was really done. I was a little bit in disbelief as my finish time was 3:36.43, good for first place in the 40-49 age group and I was 5th woman overall. I haven't had this fast a time in probably the last ten years. Bottom line is that this course definitely give you the potential to run FAST!!
Monday, February 9, 2009
On Sunday, we played a Detroit team. Again, we had our hands full. We seemed to struggle with the swingy ice since Mayfield's ice runs so much straighter. The game came down to the last rock. I had to draw in to the button or else Detroit won. By some miracle, I was able to do that. The win put us in the First Event. Since it was a point spiel, however, for the final game, we again played Detroit! I think they were more up for the game than us as we definitely didn't have one of our better games. Detroit ended up handily winning and won the event. We took second place.
Mayfield teams again dominated as we also had Second and Third event MCC winners. Way to go MCC ladies!