Ran a seriously crazy 5k in Windham, NY this past weekend – the Warrior Dash – with running buddy, Krumy. Definitely, the wildest race I’ve ever run. Some of the obstacles included speed-stepping through tires, climbing a cargo net, scooching through tunnels, jumping over fire, a mudpit, a banana slide, and the fording an ice cold pond. Brrr. Can’t wait till the Quarryville Warrior Dash.

Here’s Krumy’s more detailed rendition of the race.

Had a blast running the Down and Dirty Mud Run in Philly last weekend. It was a 10k that I grew increasingly disappointed in during the first 6 miles. There were a few obstacles, yeah, but nothing crazy or overly difficult. Then we reached the last .2 miles. OMG. A mud pit. An up-to-your-neck-in-mud mudpit. That took the cake. It took longer to clean the mud out of every orifice than it did to run the 10k. Awesome race!!!

I thought I was finished.  Then I saw the mudpit just ahead.

I thought I was finished. Then I saw the mudpit just ahead.

In the mudpit

In the mudpit

Sandy finishing mile 6

Sandy finishing mile 6

Ann entering the mudpit

Ann entering the mudpit

Sandy, me, and Ann

Sandy, me, and Ann

Way back in January I committed to running the God’s Country Marathon in Coudersport, PA on June 5 along with a few others from our HARD group. Well, we did it. We made it through the training in the cold, snow, rain, wind, and a few hot ones….despite injuries, lack of motivation, and getting a bit sidetracked when Kathy J wasn’t there cracking the whip. We had some awesome road trips to the beach and upstate PA for our long runs. We had some great evenings joking at the Batdorf, a cool movie night, birthday celebrations and…well, you’ll have to wait for the video to be released for the rest of the details. :-)

Krumy, Me, Kathy J (KJ), Michelle-Blue Eyes (BE)

Krumy, Me, Kathy J (KJ), Michelle-Blue Eyes (BE)

H.A.R.D., you rock my world! Thanks for the great memories and the incredible friendships. Can’t wait for Steamtown marathon in the fall. Who’s in? [snicker]

Video by the Krumster.

Awesome video!!! Chilly Cheeks 2010 – Blue Eyes, Krumy, Leslie, and Mick

Colorado Adventure #1 – (1 of 3 in summer 2009)

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Sunday, June 7

Made it to Colorado on Saturday early afternoon after a LONG but uneventful drive across country. And realized too late (forget who jokingly mentioned it) that I could have totally broadcast the entire drive live over the internet, complete with webcam and chat. I had all the equipment to do it but nothing set up in advanced. That would have definately taken some of the boredom out of the drive.

Set up camp Sunday afternoon. And to those of you who think I’m roughing it…hah…I’m living it up compared to backpacking. Take a look at my home sweet home:

Home Sweet Home
view from campsite

Charlie’s been really good in the car and at the campground. Didn’t find out till I got here though that dogs aren’t allowed on trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park. :-(

So far I’ve spent most of my time sleeping, reading, and eating. I’m hoping to get some hiking in once I can start breathing again. Tomorrow morning if the weather’s good. Just took a drive through the Rocky Mountain National Park today:

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Monday, June 8

Took a 6.5 mile hike this morning that turned into a 10 mile hike….missed a crucial turn. It rained most of the time but that’s cool for a trail hike. Running in the rain sucks and backpacking in the rain sucks but a short hike in rain…woohoo…bring on the mud. Here are some pictures:

Elk-chewed Aspen trees
Elk-chewed Aspen trees
Roaring creek. Fortunately, I didn’t have to cross it.
A fort in the middle of nowhere?
Which way do I go?
My wrong turn took me another 1000 ft up in altitude and into the snow. What I wouldn’t have done for a topo map!
There are some nice peaks in the background.

Alternated between reading and napping all afternoon. And discovered something interesting. There is no cell phone reception up here at the campground. In fact, I have to drive 5 miles into town before I get reception. HOWEVER, there is literally a 2X2 foot square in the center of my tent where I get 1 or 2 bars. No joke. That’s not enough to hold a phone conversation but it lets me get email and chat on the Blackberry instant messenger. Oh and I can also tether my Blackberry to my laptop and get internet access for it. Blackberries ROCK!

Went into town in the evening and t-shirt shopped. Found some great ones. Then went to dinner and got this awesome vegetarian pasta meal. I’m not a vegetarian. (The best I could do is be an aspiring vegetarian. I’m just not committed in that area.) But this dish was incredible. I think it’s going to be my pre-race meal on Saturday night. The restaurant was fairly empty, thankfully, because I was chatting with Kathy J. and had a few LOL’s. I’m sure people were wondering.

Oh and BTW, Chuck, the shop is all yours and Kris, you get my house. Sell it or make the payments on it. I’m staying in Colorado.

Tuesday, June 9

Went for a trail run this morning…on the trail I hiked yesterday. I’m definitely making some progress in the acclimating area. Saturday and Sunday I was lightheaded and I felt like I was constantly breathing stale air. Monday was ok during normal activity, but I was sucking some serious air on a fairly easy hike. Today’s run was pretty good except for the uphills. At home I could have run the moderate uphills but here, I was huffing and puffing just hiking them. Level ground was doable and downhill was good. So I guess if the race were tomorrow, I’d kick butt on the level and downhills but die on the uphills. That means I’d have roughly half of the marathon licked. Thank goodness I still have 4 more days to acclimate.

I think my sleeping has finally leveled off (hopefully). I’d been sleeping 10-12 hours a night every night since Friday night plus a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Only got 8 hours last night though. And didn’t nap today despite reading all day long. Maybe it was my body’s rebelling at the lack of oxygen.

Went on a very short hike into Bear Lake. Views sucked because all the peaks were behind rain clouds. And then there was the couple that insisted on making out two feet from me. Get a room!

Charlie’s been a real gentleman. I didn’t know he had it in him. He’s been friendly and QUIET! I can leave him in the tent or tied outside and walk away and he doesn’t wine or bark. Just waits for me to come back. And he’s been friendly…ok, maybe just tolerant… with other dogs. And best of all, he’s gotten some serious snuggling in.

And lastly, finished reading one of the many Drupal books I brought along. Drupal (or Gerbil as they call it at work) is a framework that I build websites on. I’m on a quest to become an absolute expert in the framework and have bought every book on the market for it. See?

Drupal books

I just finished one of the more important ones on Drupal security. While I knew of many of the security aspects of coding, I learned a lot about ways to find bugs from contributed modules. Guess what I’ll be doing first thing next Wednesday morning when I get back to work. Oh, and my favorite quote from the book, “A big part of finding bugs is simply being paranoid…”. LOL. Love it!

I’ve also decided on next year’s adventure. I’m really digging Colorado but the amount of hiking and exploring I’m able to do is limited by the marathon on Sunday. I’d like to actually survive it so I’m holding back and not doing some of the longer hikes I’d really like to do. So next year…screw the running…I’m going to do a 2 week backpacking trip either on the Colorado Trail or the Continental Divide Trail.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to include a house picture…it’s a very important piece:

The furnace

Wednesday, June 10

Slow news day here at Micksville. It rained most of the night and rained on and off all morning. Not gonna be getting any great views today. So I stayed in and vegged out, read, and spent some time in my “happy place”. That’s what Kathy J calls my 2 square feet of Blackberry reception I get in my tent:

My Happy Place

Also finished the Drupal Multimedia book and started the Drupal Social Networking book. Then watched a Netflix video I brought along. Real party animal, I know. Sorry to disappoint.

The only other news…and this is actually BIG news…
I found a cap!!! HARD, you no longer have to listen to me whine about my favorite 8-year old Yamaha baseball cap that fell apart on that cold, WINDY 11-mile Mt. Pleasant-322 loop. Take a look:

Life is Good hat

Back to reading. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow. I have a hike planned that should give me the mother of all views. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, June 11

Wow, if yesterday was a slow news day, I’m not sure what to call today. It rained all day so I stayed in the tent and read. I think the boredom may have gotten to me. Or could I possibly still blame it on the altitude? You decide:

charlie-hat.jpg charlie-shoes.jpg

Friday, June 12

It FINALLY cleared up this morning (after torrential downpours half the night. Holy cow. There were several tents at the campground that were demolished. My Walmart tent stood the test with only a few minor leaks. All excited about the clear skies, I got up at 5:30 and headed over to the Rocky Mountain National Park to take in the views. I got about 1/4 of the way through the park and was stopped by a gate. Road closed. Ugh. Apparently all that rain that we got at 8,000 feet was snow up at the 11,000 and 12,000 feet. *sigh* Back down to the teenage brats that have taken up residence across from my site. They bicker constantly…and loudly. Fortunately, they are leaving tomorrow morning. I can stand to continue to wear my headphones till then.

So I read and played on the computer all morning. Got a good start on a video I’m making of this trip. Just need some footage from the marathon and the way home and I’m set. About 1pm I couldn’t take the brats anymore. I packed Charlie in his crate and headed back to the park to see if the road was open yet. Yup! Headed on up….straight for the Alpine visitor center, the high point on the road. You park at the visitor’s center and then hike up some steps for a few more hundred feet of elevation, topping out at over 12,000 feet. There were two buses of German speaking people there. Really cool! I felt like I was back in the Swiss Alps again. I even tested out my German with some woman when I asked her to take a picture for me. Boy am I rusty speaking it! But I can still understand most of it. Here some pics of the journey:

dsc02744.jpg dsc02743.jpg dsc02741.jpg dsc02739.jpg dsc02738.jpg dsc02734.jpg dsc027351.jpg dsc02736.jpg

Saturday, June 13

Preparations for tomorrow’s marathon are complete:

Pick up race packet checkmark.gif
Painstakingly pin bib number
on shirt (Al would be so proud)
Configure Blackberry for easy
texting and video taping
while running
Headphones to listen to the
same 13 songs for 4+ hours
Gatorade checkmark.gif
Electrolyte gummies checkmark.gif
Lay clothes out checkmark.gif
Clip toenails checkmark.gif
Hydrate checkmark.gif
Carb up checkmark.gif
Set alarm checkmark.gif
Acclimate to elevation checkmark.gif
Confirm insanity checkmark.gif

Tomorrow’s the big day. I’m as ready for it as I’m going to get. I feel better prepared physically than for the last marathon although the altitude may cure that. Mentally, I’m not sure what to expect. The last marathon was an absolute life-changing experience. I spent 3 days afterwards on a euphoric endorphin high and then the next 3 weeks bawling followed by a couple months of a roller coaster ride. Hopefully this marathon isn’t quite so…uh…eventful. We’ll see.

Sunday, June 14 – A Good Butt-Kickin’

A marathon at high altitude? No problem. I’ll just get there a week early and acclimate. Hah. Showed up at the start along with about 75 others. Beside me are Grandma and Grandpa. So cute:

Grandpa and Grandma
Grandpa and Grandma

An account of the marathon, Sandy-style:

Mile 1-3: Hey, this isn’t TOOO bad. Could be worse. I feel the altitude but I’ll just take it easy here on the inclines.

Miles 3-6: Hmmm…this 3 mile hill didn’t seem this steep when I drove it. Reduced to run/walk till the top of the hill.

Miles 6-9: Woohoo! What goes up must come down. Flying along losing the altitude we just gained.

View from the top of the hill

Mile 10: Oh…not feeling so great. I’ll lay off the Gatorade and grab water at the next aid station

Mile 12: Lookin’ at a 5:20 finish. I’ll take it.

View of mountains from park in Estes Park

Mile 13: Mmmm…really not feelin’ so good. Better walk before I barf. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 14: Try to run the downhill….ohhh…lightheaded….better walk or I’ll pass out. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 15: Trying to decide whether to barf or pass out. Not sure I’ll have a choice in the matter. Emotions getting raw. I’m seeing months of preparation going down the drain. If I have to finish this at this speed, I may not make the cutoff. Tears well up and spill over. Quick, wipe tears, there’s an aid station. Don’t want to be pulled for what is clearly altitude sickness. And more importantly, don’t want to look like a wuss. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 16: SOS to friends on chat…thinking of dropping out… can’t continue another 10 miles feeling like this. HELP! Friends text back, getting my mind off feeling green. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 17: I really should just barf and get it over with. NO! I have this rule about barfing. It goes something like this: Avoid barfing at all cost. I went for over 20 years without barfing (except for once because of anesthesia). That’s my claim to fame. No barfing if I can prevent it. Carry on. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 18: Still walking and holding chat conversations up long 3 mile hill. This one didn’t seem as steep in the car either. Rethinking next year’s backpacking trip. Why do I need to backpack in Colorado. I think Indiana or Illinois or Iowa would be great places to backpack. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 19: Ahhh…aid station and porta-potty. I really should try to go. Ohhh….watch it…almost lost car keys in porta-potty slurry. That was close. Aid station volunteers were the local high school track team all decked out with costumes and a nice spread of fruits and beverages. Don’t barf on them. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.


Mile 20: Try to run a downhill. Stomach sends warning. Forgive me HARD for I have sinned. I am wasting a downhill. Don’t barf. Don’t pass out. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 21: Haven’t been able to get anything in my stomach since mile 13. Chewed some ice earlier but had to spit it out. Wouldn’t go down. I’m getting dehydrated. Take orange slice at aid station. Either the orange juice is going down or everything’s coming up. Juice goes down. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 22: Inhibitions gone. Start singing aloud to The Climb by Miley Cyrus. Chat on Blackberry.

Mile 23: Feeling a little better. Starting to run/walk again on the downhills. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 23.5: Grandma passes me. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 24: I go off course. Apparently missed a turn. End up in downtown Estes with all the tourists. I am clearly lost. I tell them, “I’m the first, the rest are coming soon.” Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 24.5: Police officers stop traffic for me to cross busy highway. Back on course. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 25: Run/Walk. Chat on Blackberry. Listen to The Climb by Miley Cyrus on Blackberry.

Mile 25.5: Donna posts on Facebook, asking how Colorado is and if I’ve run the race yet. I tell her .5 to go.

Mile 26.2: DONE! Get finishers medal. Talk with Grandma. This is her 40th marathon. She and her husband are doing a marathon in all 50 states. Her husband is on round 2 of this. All the marathons of round 2 have been completed since he turned 70.

Head back to campground. I wasn’t sure what shape I would be in after the marathon…didn’t know if I’d be up to driving. So I made tentative arrangements for another night at the campsite. Felt fine though. Actually, my legs were good. I could have run another 5 or 8 miles no problem if it weren’t for the altitude. So I started packing up…but none too quickly. Still lightheaded from the race. Bending over and standing up again had some negative effects. Took a couple breaks but finally got the tent down and everything packed into the car. Took Charlie for a short walk and headed downtown to grab a pizza before I left. It was almost 5:00, I had run a marathon in the morning, and I STILL hadn’t eaten anything all day. I was famished. But my stomach said “fat chance”. Nibbled on a couple slices of pizza for a few hundred miles until I got to Colby, Kansas and turned in for the night.

So…moral of the story: No more races at altitude until I’m LIVING at altitude. Made for a great story though, didn’t it? :-D

Monday-Tuesday, June 15-16 – The Perfect Ending to the Perfect Vacation

My Rescuers!

The drive back slowly went downhill. Literally and figuratively. Got down to a lower elevation and the lightheadedness disappeared. Stomach queasiness persisted though. Plus a couple other things cropped up. Made it through travel day 2 to just inside Illinois. Exhausted, I stopped for the night and slept 10 hours which should have rejuvenated me but didn’t. I was just drained. But I continued on, chatting occasionally with friends to keep me focused. When I talked with Carol and Sally they suggested they come meet me and drive me in. I brushed it off jokingly. No person in their right mind would consider doing that. I was barely in Ohio. They’d be driving a good 250 miles till we met. I was right. They weren’t in their right minds. They were completely insane! They called me back half an hour later and said they were on their way. OMG!!! This was too good to be true. I stopped at a gas station to walk Charlie and grab some high test caffeine for the last push of the day – to meet Carol and Sally on the eastern border of Ohio. What a wonderful sight for my sore, blurry, tired eyes. We met in the pouring down rain, grabbed some soup at Bob Evans and then headed back with Carol at the wheel of my car, following Sally in hers. What an absolute relief! I was really dragging and I don’t mess around with driving tired so probably would have had another night out on the road if it weren’t for their rescue mission. Carol and I talked and laughed our heads off the rest of the way back. Got home around 1:30am till I went and picked up my other dog. Whew! What an adventure every second of the past week and a half has been – even more than I bargained for. You two rock, Carol and Sally!!! Thanks for making my trip that much more special!

Ran a half marathon today – 13.1 miles in Allentown, PA. If I had run it alone, it would be chalked up as just another race, despite having PR’d (set a personal record). But any race with the HARD runners is special. I attempted to describe the experience but words are failing me. I can’t convey how awesome this group is. Everything I’ve attempted to write falls short of how much I appreciate them and how thankful I am to be a part of the group. So I’ve posted Krumy’s humorous account of the race instead. (Sandy Krum – in the yellow on the left) Enjoy!

Some of the group….looking like a bunch of colorful Easter eggs!

Lehigh Valley Half Marathon thoughts…

by Sandy Krum

Mile 1 – This is further away than it was last year.

Mile 2 – OK, I made it two, 11.1 to go.

Mile 3 – Still have feeling in the toes, right foot getting a little tender.

Mile 4 – Aren’t we ever going to turn around?!

Mile 5 – Ugh, left foot toes getting numb… happy thoughts… happy thoughts…

Mile 6 – Still running, one step closer than the last one…

Mile 7 – Just passed the halfway, only another hour or so and you can stop

Mile 8 – Crap!!! Both my feet hurt, thoughts of chopping off toes run rampant through my mind. Nicole speaks offering distraction and speaks of condition of the porta potty she stopped at… let’s just leave that to your imagination!

Mile 8.? – Runner down, thinking of laying on the ground beside her to console her – hey we’re all in this together right??? No need, two guys stop and one has cell phone.

Mile 8. ?? – Gotta stop, someone just dropped an anchor on my back, can’t do the hill – are my legs moving backwards?

Mile 9 – Run a little, walk a little….

Mile 10 – Run very little, walk a LOT more.. Nicole says we’re going to finish at 2:30… my thoughts – you’re out of your mind, not in this body, bad words, bad words… Lord, I apologize….

Mile 11 – Why do they put those little annoying hills at the end of the race, don’t they know I’m tired??? Good grief, will the run through the park ever end… Oh, look at the guys playing Frisbee golf, I need to take up Frisbee golf and give up this running stuff.

Mile 12 – OK feet, don’t give up on me now. Back through the next park, lady singing 50’s songs… I can’t sing, maybe I’ll take up singing and give up this running stuff.

Mile 12.?? – Making the turn out of the park, yay, I hear the drums… or is that the sound of my throbbing feet??

Mile 12.??? – It is the drums!!! There is the turn to the stadium, oh wonderful – another hill, who is that wild woman jumping around up there? Oh – it’s the village idiot and her friends

Mile 13.? – We’re on the track, thank you God! Nicole asks if I’m going to sprint the last 100 yards – only if sprinting is down on my knees and hands!!! I’ve worn my feet off, there is no feeling.

Mile 13.Last Curve – Nicole says we’re going to cross the finish line with a smile. Dear God, please help this woman, she has totally lost her mind… feet are trying to go a little faster… time on clock 2:38… that’s 10 minutes better than last year… there’s the camera… smile!!! I think I did, it’s either me clenching my teeth or it’s a smile…it’s better to smile than to let the world see your tears…. Get the finishers medal, take a foil blankie… water… walk to the end… try to step down – hey! who stole the bones out of my legs?!

Half Marathon aftermath….

1st hour – the feeling is back in my toes… please go away, please go away, hurts, hurts!!!! Time to walk back and get food… Look at that line – I do not want food that bad. Offerings from Nicole and Bonnie – food – no thanks, no enegy left to peel a banana. Going to start walking to the car – you guys catch up. Walking down hill, thoughts of laying down and rolling down to the bottom – probably faster than walking and can’t be this painful. Make it to about 30 feet of car, shoot, there is a curb I have to step down…. Maybe they will come and pick me up… OK, made it down the 1st curb, ugh, now I have to step up… you know, this isn’t a very handicap friendly curb – where is the wheelchair access??? Finally reach the car, crawl in. Shoes… must … come off… Drive away from race… Is there a way out of this town??? I am calling off dead tomorrow. They blocked off every street… they don’t want us to leave. .. hey that’s where we started the race… drive more … 15 minutes later … hey, that’s where we started the race…. Drive another ten minutes… ask police officer for directions… hey that’s where we were parked… Mickey finally gets mapquest going on the blackberry, There is a way out of this town…. Where’s the restraunt??? Finally find Carraba’s… we’re 15 minutes early, wait in car…

2nd Hour – The restraunt is open, we have 7, your bathrooms are where??? Thanks, you do have showers right? OK, hostess does not have sense of humor. Bathroom, only 3 stalls, offers to share a stall – thanks but I know you well enough!! Stall available… good grief – does anyone have scissors? I can’t get my bra off.

Voice from next stall – “crap!!! Where are my clothes?? Oh, they are out in the van in my other bag”

My stall – “go get them”

Next stall – “yeah right!”

Mother Bonnie – “I’ll get them for you”

Next stall – Thank you!!!

My stall – “arrrgggghhhhh!”

Next stall – “You OK?”

My stall – “I just sat down, that was soooooo painful”

Next stall – “wait till you get up”

My stall – “I’m not getting up, tell them to bring my food in here!”

The group at the restaurant

Next scene at the table: Menu, has writing on it…. I know I used to be able to read… eyes are as tired as the rest of the body. Must read slowly…

Bread is here!!! Oh, it’s warm… this would feel so good as a pillow… Eat 3 loaves of bread, drink beer. Mmmmmmmm Beer, the nectar of goodness. Some food comes – Nicole is that a swimming pool? Wow, I’ve never seen a bowl of soup that big…. Pizza is here… mmmm. Food vanished.

Nicole and her bucket of soup!

Time to go, what’s that shrieking noise? Oh, it’s me – I just stood up. Move toward doors, push open door – turn to the left, c’mon feet turn. Bonnie “yes Sandy, that is a wall” Me – “just be happy you don’t have to carry me to the car” Why did we park so far away?

Back in the car – hey did we pass that on the way up??? I don’t know. Everything was blurry going 80 miles an hour down route 78. The throbbing in my feet has begun to diminish. Continue down 78, think about driving from Annville to Palmyra… why did I drive my mustang this morning??? What was I thinking? It’s stick, I’ll have to move my legs to shift… maybe I can just drive in first the whole way…

Hour 3 – Home – I’m home!!! Greet family, greet Cooper – why is the dog the only one who is REALLY Happy I’m home? Show off medal, lay down on couch – close eyes.. two hours later I’m able to roll off the couch and hobble to the bathroom. The throbbing in my feet has now spread to the ankles and calves… take 2 advil… say goodbye to daughter and boyfriend. Need to go down for laundry, why did they put the washer and dryer downstairs? Turn on computer, check HARD posts, begin reflecting on marathon.

7 PM – bed, need bed… lay down, find position that doesn’t hurt – doesn’t exist. Lay on side, when I need to move I can lean far enough to fall on the stomach or back. Rolling over is not an option! Watch tv – I saw the Simpson’s start, never saw it end.

3 AM – war between bladder and legs. Bladder wins, trip to the bathroom. Sit down… I’m never going to get up again. Manage to get up without too many screams. Make it to the kitchen, two more advil… back to bed. Ache has moved from ankles and calves to the thighs and hips.

7 AM – woof! Just pee in the house – I can’t move! Slurp – OK OK!!! Take dog out, manage to get back in the house and get dishwasher unloaded, pot of coffee made. Walk to shower. Hot water… ahhh!!! Drag myself to the car, drive to work. The ache is now spread from the feet to the waist. Only thing that doesn’t hurt is my hair.

8 AM – work, time to rest. I’m so glad I have a job that I can sit. Think about next run… NOW I’ve lost my mind… I’ve become a village idiot

Went out for a trail run this morning. It was raining, cold, and miserable. Perfect conditions for the Mt. Penn Mudfest 15K Trail Run!!! Spent 2 hours romping in the woods hurdling over and limbo-ing under blowdowns, sliding in mud, skirting around deer carcasses – that was really disgusting! – climbing mudslides on hands and knees, rinsing off the accumulated mud in stream crossings, fueling up at beer, cheese ball, and marshmallow peeps stations, and just generally having a good time. Great way to end the Reading trail season. Can’t wait till next year.


April 4, 2009 – the birthday of all birthdays.

The HARD Runners group decided to run the 1st annual Garden Spot Village marathon in Lancaster, PA. We would be running it as a relay, divided into 3 teams of 4 runners each. We were the Hard Runners Team 1 (the serious group, i.e. the fast runners!), The Young (Nicole and I) and the Restless (Bonnie and Shawn), and The Bold and the Beautiful (we never settled who was who on that team!). Nicole and I would be officially running leg 3 of the marathon – 8 miles. Unofficially, I planned to also run leg 2 (4.x miles) with Kathy J and Shawn, and leg 4 (6.x miles) with Cindy and Michelle to get my scheduled long run in for the Colorado marathon I plan on doing in June.

The I.D. scramble
We met at Shawn’s at 6 a.m. for carpooling to Lancaster. First stop was .1 mile down the road for coffee. Second stop was .1 mile back to Shawn’s for people to get their driver’s licenses for the packet pickups. At 6:30 we were off.

Club Durango
Arrived, picked up our packets, and figured out how the shuttles worked for the relay starting points….not very well. They left at 8 and 8:30. Never mind that the people running the latter legs wouldn’t be running for 2, 3, or more hours. I had talked Nicole into running leg 2 with me in addition to our 3rd leg. So we rode out with Kathy J. and Shawn to the first drop off point – some farm field in the middle of nowhere….to wait an hour….in the cold…and wind. Wait, that should be


We stood around trying to keep warm. Wait, that should be “we stood around trying to keep from being miserable!!!” I hunkered down beside a car, trying to get out of the wind. Didn’t work very well, the wind just whipped around. I tried the door of the car to see if it would open. Low and behold, it did. With very little coaxing, we got Marc to go ask the water station volunteer if that Dodge Durango happened to belong to her. Yup! Could we sit in it? Yup! Woot! Major score!!! The 5 of us crawled in and life was good again. The miserable cold and wind turned into a fun hour of clowning around in Club Durango.

The Village Idiots
Life was good until the first leggers showed up. We saw them coming and jumped out of the car to meet them and get the race chip. We asked how it was with the wind. They both sloughed off the question and told us to get going. We did….running directly into a brick wall. The wind was fully in our face and was so strong that we were literally running in place with some of the stronger wind gusts. It took so much more effort than normal just to move forward, never mind thinking about making good time. This would be constant for the next 8 miles and then intermittent for the next 5. After a while we got smart and started running in single file, drafting off each other…so only one would get the full brunt of the wind. I’m not sure but this tactic may have resulted from trying to redeem ourselves from being called the “village idiots.” Apparently some people don’t understand not only why we would be attempting to run in such conditions but also why we would have PAID $50 EACH to do so. At that point, I was questioning it too. Village Idiot, indeed!

Other Clubs
By the time Nicole and I finished our 2 legs, I was ready to be done. There would be no 4th leg for me! We handed off the time chips to Cindy and Michelle and waited for the shuttle…dreading how long it would be, when out pops Patty offering a ride to the finish. Woot! She had waited for us! You rock Patty!!!! We headed back and heard Patty’s account of the race…of hunkering down in Club Porta-Potty to stay warm!!! And of Michelle and Cindy hunkered down in the Club Ambulance to stay warm!!!! ROTFL!!! You do what you gotta do!

Party Time
We got back to the start/finish, got food and a nice massage. Shortly after, everyone else finished up and we headed to a pub for some serious partying. We rehashed the race, wished Patty luck at the Boston marathon, and chowed down, and worked our stomach muscles from laughter so they would be as sore as our leg muscles the next day!

Returned to Shawn’s from the race to find my car “decorated” for my birthday with balloons and window markers. It was graffitied with things like, “Happy Birthday,” “old fart,” and “Honk, it’s my day.” I’ve gotten 13 honks that I know of thus far.

Party Time, Round Two
I got home, took a long nap, and then got ready for round 2 of my birthday. Went out to a club with some friends from work and laughed like hyenas all evening.

Party Time, Round Three
Woke up a bit…uh…groggy…feeling a little…uh…under the weather. Took a little while to get going. But got ready and headed over to a couple of friends’ house for the day. They’d asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday – go kayaking? Go to a movie? Etc. I opted for some nice downtime of just sitting around, relaxing, talking, eating hot dogs and ice cream, and enjoying the beautiful, sunny, spring day with some really cool friends.

It was the best birthday weekend EVER!!!!!!! Thank you EVERYONE!!!

Marc always makes everyone feel so welcome.

On the shuttle – Waiting to be dropped off in the middle of some field somewhere

Ann at Club Ambulance

Marc saving a porta-potty from tipping….errr…more likely, causing it to tip.

Al, the only completely crazy one of the bunch, on the home stretch of running the entire marathon with encouragement from Sharon.

Massage time for Bonnie and Marc

Massage time for Kathy J.

All finished with the medals to show for it.

Kathy, Nicole, and Michelle hanging out at the post-race festivities

Patty and boyfriend replacing burned carbs.

Shawn and Cindy on the outside with Marc being typical Marc in the center.

For my birthday, Marc, being the thoughtful guy he is, went to the men’s room and bought me two condoms for the big evening I had planned with friends from work. Uh, thanks Marc. Ahem.

Jen, me, and Bonnie hanging out, waiting for food.

The group

Ran Chilly Cheeks this morning – a 7 mile trail run in the hills north of Reading, PA. I did it last year too but forgot how difficult it was – lots of ups and downs, bushwhacking up steep sections on all fours, slippery spots, rocky, etc. Definitely the most difficult of the 3 Reading trail races. Had fun though and…well, shoot. I thought I did a lot better than last year but I just looked up last year’s results and I was only a little over 1 minute faster. Oh well. Still had fun. And I didn’t wipe out at all. Saw a bunch of others wipe out but I stayed vertical for all 7 miles. But a mental note for next year:

Mile 5.5 to mile 6.5 is a BEAR!!! Steep ups and downs. Save some energy for it.

Not quite as cold as last year. It was in the low 20′s this year but I was still wishing I had a pair of Katie’s fancy-schmancy $55 gloves with the built-in snot absorbers. :-)

The stuffed animals and the scary looking clown along the one uphill stretch were a nice touch this year – along with the usual beer stations (gag!) and notes tied to trees reminding us to be careful so they don’t have to drag our sorry carcasses out.

One trail run down, 2 more to go – Ugly Mudder (7 miler) in February and Mt. Penn Mudfest (9 miler) in April. Then the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in May and off to Colorado in June for another full marathon. Woot!

Here’s the last bank we had to CRAWL up – about 50 yards from the finish line.

Oh yeah…no sightings of flailing-legs guy this time.

Next Page »