January 2009

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.

Got to take a break from websites and computer stuff to spend an afternoon with my co-workers at Ski Roundtop where we snow tubed along with doing some other fun activities, including playing Scrabble and Taboo, eating, joking around, making marshmallow beings, bidding at a silent auction, etc. I’ll let the pictures tell the story. Congrats to the winter party crew for putting together a fun afternoon.

By the way….anyone else wake up with REALLY sore upper arms on Saturday morning? Sheesh!

Me, Katie, Harold, Babs, Jill, Diane waiting for the buffet to open

Snow tubing – let the fun begin!

The slopes are a-calling

Donna gives it the thumbs up.

Hang on there Andrea!

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Holy cow! Sally really gets into it!

Heather, Tina, Lucia, and Adam ride as a train

Kelly, Diane, and Kelly make their own train

Emily, Jen, and Jessica


Wild ride there Karen?

Soaring down the hill

Please don’t tell me someone peed in the snow. Really now.

Cut-throat game of speed Scrabble

Don the ultrarunnerMeet Don. Don’s a runner. More accurately, Don’s an ultrarunner, a runner who runs races longer than marathon length. In fact, he often does 100 mile races. Yes, you read that right. 100 miles…of running (with walking sprinkled in). Yes, crazy. He’s got me hooked on the concept of running distances greater than the marathon, although I still can’t fathom 100 milers. I just can’t imagine being 18 miles in and thinking, “Oh good. Only 82 more to go.”

Don’s not just a crazy runner though….he’s just plain crazy. We (Don, me, Sharon, Carol, and Carl) just did a 15 mile trail run this morning. There is a 3 mile hill in the beginning of the run, much of it steep. Don entertained us with snippets from the Sound of Music, particularly, “The hills are alive…with the sound of music…” on the way up. He didn’t let the fact that he can’t sing stop him either. You’ve really got to meet him to really appreciate him…his boundless energy, his stories, his humor.

I’ll be crewing and pacing him in the Leadville, Colorado Trail 100 Miler this summer. I’m psyched. Colorado. Trails. Running. Mountains. Views. Woot!!! Is it August yet?

Ohh…and the outfit…clearly, he’s very secure in his masculinity.

Went down to Maryland today with some friends of one of the members of our running group to run a trail race. The website said that there were two choices for race distance – a 30K and a 50K. I was planning to run the 30K with secret intentions of doing the 50K if I was still feeling good. Somehow I got the wrong info and there were actually 4 distances – 11K, 20K, 42K, and 50K. Darn. The first two were too short to determine whether I’d want to run one of the 2 longer distances. So I decided on the 20K since I hadn’t eaten hardly anything the day before and would be running on 2 really crappy nights of sleep.

Turned out to be a really awesome run – one of those rare runs where it’s just effortless, you forget you’re running, and feel like you could go forever. The trail was excellent – very tame as far as elevation, much less rocky than the PA trails, and with lots of open meadow running with some great views. And while I wasn’t feeling top notch physically, mentally I desperately needed a long run – a run where I could completely zone out and think. I got it.

We started off to someone yelling “Get ready, get set, go!”. No air horn, no music, nothing. It was a “Fat-ass” race – a no-frills race format where there’s no registration fee, no finish medals, no awards, and no t-shirt. Just get your fat ass off the couch and go run. It was an organized training run, really.

So we headed out and I quickly got into the groove, running alone and setting my own pace. I wasn’t trying to keep up with anyone and wasn’t holding back either. It was wonderful. As soon as my toes thawed out by mile 3, I was deep in thought and oblivious to everything around me except for an occasional view and the pink ribbons that marked our route. About 15 minutes later I reached the turn-off point for the 20K. OK, maybe it was more like 2 hours. But it felt like 15 minutes. I contemplated continuing on for the 42K. I still had plenty to think about but I was still having trouble getting food down from a nervous stomach the day before and so was barely staving off hunger by nibbling on electrolyte gummy fish. I knew it wouldn’t be long before my body rebelled at the lack of fuel and I started bonking. Plus I really didn’t want to have a long recovery time from the run because there are 2 races in January that I’d like to PR on (set a personal record). So I headed back to the start. Got to the parking lot and there were 3 people there making some soup for the finishers. They clapped and I did a happy dance. Quite the opposite of the big Philly marathon, but it fit my mood. I thanked them and continued to the car to get my coat, stretch, change, and nap until the other 3 finished.

With the other 3 finished and changed, we headed home. I was still very much distracted by my thoughts so I was in and out of their conversations rehashing the race. I did pick up a few funny stories though. Despite my more subdued participation in the group, I did have a great day of running. Thanks a bunch Don, Carol, and Lauren. I’m looking forward to more runs at Stoney and especially the Buzzard run.