Monday, June 21, 2010

Mohican race report

I can't believe it's over! My first 50 miler was an amazing experience, one I won't soon forget. I'm going to try and recall everything, so bear with me as this may be a long report!

Final Stats: 2nd place female overall, (Top ten male and female combined, I think maybe eighth?)
9 hours, 53 minutes


Worried about the weather conditions on race day, I called Ray. He wasn't there and I left a message - he called me back about 10 minutes before he was about to go speak in Vancouver. Even though he was so close to speaking he took the time to talk to me and tell me what to do to help with the heat and humidity we were expecting Saturday. Along with that info, he told me a little something about an amazing campaign he is involved with in Canada. He is assisting a man up there in his efforts to quit smoking. Due to certain life issues (if you ever have tried to quit smoking, you know how one bad event can just cause you to light up again) this man was in danger of lighting up again. Ray jumped on a plane, took this man on a tremendously long hike to show him what he is capable of when he is not smoking! AMAZING! To just hop on a plane like that to help someone - this is the kind of guy Ray is! Incredible!


We got to our hotel early. The people who ran the hotel were very nice, however the hotel itself wasn't the greatest. It was basically a place to sleep, that's it. You sure don't want to spend more time there than you need to. It smelled. Nasty. I'd rather camp! There was no land line phone. On top of that, the whole time we were in Loudonville we had ZERO cell service. No bars. Period. Anywhere. UGH!!! I had to call Ray in the evening, and that didn't happen. I felt so bad about that! Sure enough when I got home Saturday evening, he had sent me an email a couple hours after we were supposed to chat on Friday, asking how I was. Man, as soon as my contract is up we are SO switching to Verizon. Darn TMOBILE!!
All cell phone business aside, the rest of the day was pretty awesome! My husband, son, and I hung out at the Mohican Adventure Center, did some putt putt golf and go-carts. We picked up my race packet and then headed to the Library. Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco) spoke about the Tarahumara Indians(Raramuri), The Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon (on my to do list now!), and Born To Run. It was a truly inspiring speech, and I'm glad we went to hear everything! On that note, The organization Norawas De Raramuri (Friends of Running People) is one you should definitely check out. Go to or for more info!
After the speech we headed down to the pasta dinner and pre race meeting. Everyone was there! It was so nice seeing so many familiar faces. Joe, Terri, Kim, Bill, Bob, Sandi, Rachel, Daniel, Tanya, Mike, Lisa, to name a few. I got great last minute advice that I very much appreciate. We filled our bellies and listened to the final race instructions. Afterwards we headed outside, took some pics and headed to the hotel for a few hours of sleep. Sleep came easy to me as I had an enormous headache. I was so worried it would not go away for Saturday!

Sandi and I after dinner - Sandi rocked the 100 miler and took 1st place/females! AMAZING!

Saturday - RACE DAY!

We left the hotel around 4 a.m. - along with many other runners who were there. Everyone looked horrified, nervous, scared, you name it! We got to the start and the first person we saw was Joe Jurzyck and Daniel Bellinger. We picked a table and sat until it was time to start. I was trying my best not to be nervous!

The time had come and we lined up. I took my place mid pack. It was 5 a.m. and we were off! Some runners running the 50 miler like me, and some runners were running the 100 mile. We had quite a way to go! I was wondering what passing cars were thinking when they saw us runners out there in the dark. (Probably think what most everyone else thinks-that we are crazy people!)
It took me quite a few miles to get to a point where passing people was possible. (That may have been a good thing-I didn't start out too fast) There were a couple guys who acted a little funny about me passing them though. Kind of p'd me off and made me run faster. HA. As I passed one male runner, he yelled out "There goes a 5k runner". 5k my ass. HA! As I passed another man I said "Good morning and good job" to him. His response: A HUGE fart. Not a "Hello, thanks" but one of the biggest farts I have ever heard in my entire life. Hey lets face it, everyone farts. But when it's your response to someone telling you good job that kind of sucks. I ran ahead and tried so hard to contain my laughter. It actually hurt not laughing! All the other runners were so so nice though. Ultra runners are amazing people! Except fart dude and 5k dude.
I'm not sure which mile I saw Daniel Bellinger at, (I think it was the second pass at the covered bridge) but when he told me I was the second female I was completely floored. It was dark when we started and I had no idea! I thought there would be tons of women ahead of me. But there was only one! I didn't have to ask who was ahead of me. I already knew.
At mile 18.9, the Rock Point Aid Station I saw her. My running bud Kim Boner! I felt my eyes get so big when I noticed her, I just yelled HI! She was changing her shoes and this was my chance! I was not planning on changing my shoes at all(while I did bring extras). Despite the stream crossings my feet usually can hold up when wet - for at least 30 miles that I knew of anyway! I grabbed my power bar, gu chomps, refilled on water and left. We wound up running together for awhile which was nice because we got to chat (Yes chat in a race!) Along the road portion I started to pull ahead, and it stayed like that until mile 39.67 - the Covered Bridge Aid Station. (More on that later)
*Running back from the turn around point I saw her! Sandi was in first place out of the 100 mile women! That was the most amazing thing I had seen so far, she was looking really well! I just thought about the message I sent her awhile back, jokingly, that she should win the 100 and I the 50. Seriously I was just joking, but there we both were and it gave me a little bit of a boost!I pushed on. Along the road, I saw Micah True, the speaker from the night before (he was also doing the 50). I yelled to him "Great job White Horse!" He gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen in my life, a friendly wave, and that gave me another boost that man has an incredible amount of positive energy! I was good to go until mile 39.
All along the run I had been downing power bars and gu chomps. I wasn't physically sick, nauseauted or anything like that, but I was disgusted with them at this point and didn't want to eat anymore. I strayed from my planned routine and did not eat everything I had set out to. Mistake. Kim wound up catching me and we ran into the covered bridge aid station together at mile 39.67. That being said, it was an awesome moment. We were both smiling, cheering, and clasped hands. We both want a pic - so if there's anyone out there, PLEASE!! THANK YOU!! It was discussed that if there were anyone that would be in the top two - it was going to be us! And who cares which one it is, because we both would be so happy for the other! It was so funny that there we both were reliving YUTC!!! Only this time we KNEW each other!

I stopped at the aid station, my family and friends were there - it was the NERC aid station WOOT WOOT! I'm not sure if Kim stopped, but this is where I lost her. My NERC bud Mark was there and I remembering looking at him and telling him "I just want to be done." Mentally I was done. I was starting to give up. I had already gone farther than I ever had in my life I was not prepared to battle it out for top spot with a friend! It was pretty emotional for me! I can't even explain it but it was overwhelming. And then came the hardest part. I said my goodbyes to my friends, hubby and son and was off again. Tanya (NERC) was yelling - "Be smart - this part is hilly! And hilly it was. GOOD GOD.

My new friend George was trying to keep me going. We had been running together for awhile, and he could tell I was falling apart. He asked me if I wanted him to pace me, but I didn't want to hold him back, and said no thanks. My mood was LOUSY. I was tired. I kept thinking "My god - Sandi has to do this ALL OVER AGAIN." I was worried for her, worried about catching Kim, worried on how close another female was behind me, etc, etc,. I don't worry on races usually, I just have fun! I had to shake this. Problem is I didn't know how. I wanted to grab my music but didn't want to take the time to get my player out of my Camelbak. So on I went. George and I arrived at the last aid station, and I had problems with my Camelbak. The bladder came out of my pack, I was tired, I couldn't get it back in. All I needed was water. Upset I put it down and went to the bathroom, came back and tried again. After what seemed like forever I finally got it. That was SO FRUSTRATING. I filled my pack with water and looked at the coke sitting there. I hate pop and have never tried it during a race before, but I thought - what the heck. There's not that many miles left and I grabbed some. I wasted far too much time at that aid station. Off I ran. Soon I felt this surge of energy - AMAZING is all I could think of. I told George about it and he was so surprised. "You mean you haven't had any all this time?" he said. NO! But now I feel like I really can do this thing! Amazing how my mood just perked up. So incredible. Now George seemed a little tired, and I tried to be more upbeat. Each new mile marker brought less mileage. "Only 4 more" I'd say, "3", "2" It was great seeing those mile markers, realizing the end was almost near. I saw two male 50 milers running. They kept looking back at me - turns out they were trying to stay ahead of me! (They did a very good job at staying ahead by the way!) They didn't want to lose their spot. Soon I saw George's wife waiting for him, and she ran alongside him and I ran ahead. I was almost there! I saw Kim waiting for me, she had finished and came to the trail entrance by the parking lot after she finished!

Kim's first place finish!

YAY!! We screamed, and I ran on. In the parking lot I turned around just to make sure there were no other females behind me so I could take my time. I saw a flash of white running towards me and nearly died. Thinking I have NOT come this far and worked so hard to now be third!!! I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could. Cars were honking at me in the parking lot and the people inside were screaming my name (one of which was awesome running bud Mike Keller! THANKS!) I could barely lift my arm to wave as I was now trying to stop myself from vomiting. Seriously. I still kept running, trying to get away from this girlish white figure running towards the finish line. Finally, I turned the corner smiling as I saw the finish and it was all over!

Instead of celebrating I nearly puked on my husband's shoes. Thank god I didn't, It would've been a long car ride home! Relieved it was over, I came to my senses. HA - that white figure I saw was George's wife. DOH!!! My god.
Afterwards we all piled into the conference center (the thankfully air conditioned conference center) and chatted (the best I could still feeling nasty!)


I had to explain to the RD why I wouldn't be standing on the podium Sunday morning, I had to drop my son off for a week at Musicial Theatre camp - the camp was in Berea and we had to be there by 11, the awards were held at 10:30. Seeing my son off was definitely way more important! So I would have to wait for my awards, but that was fine by me. I came expecting not to leave with anything anyway! I would have definitely liked to see Sandi come across that finish line though - that would've been an amazing sight!
In closing, I have to say what an amazing experience this was. That being said I couldn't do any of this stuff without my husband and son by my side. I'm so grateful for all their support, and for seeing them cheer me on race after race. I'm grateful to my friends, friends who were there for support, friends who were there volunteering and cheering everyone one. I'm also grateful for my training - Ray Zahab is the greatest! Please remember, Impossible2Possible has a new expedition that they are planning, and really could use your donations! It's not easy providing a free learning program to hundreds, thousands of students worldwide!

Please donate to I2P at:


Monday, June 7, 2010

Lake Health 1/2 Marathon Report , Mo Training week in Review: Week 17, and Impossible2Possible updates!

What a busy running weekend it was! The weekend started off Friday evening at the "Lake Health Goodie Bag Party". Basically, a bunch of running friends putting all the 1/2 marathon goodie bags together. There were tons of boxes but soon Jeannie Rice took charge! The goodie bags were done in no time, and there was a lot of tasty food to eat. It was pretty neat seeing some behind the scenes race activity.

Training was kicked into high gear this week - and after the previous weekend's 30 miles Saturday and 1/2 distance Sunday my legs were heavy from the start. I simply dealt with it Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday and was pretty miserable. My legs weren't hurting at all, just felt like bricks. Feeling frustrated, on Friday I finally asked Ray for advice. He told me "Seriously, potatoes. Eat potatoes." Seriously?! I thought. Can that be it? That's all it takes? So I ate. And ate. And ate. Potatoes. I was hoping that it would work before my running weekend which would consist of 24 miles Saturday, 11 miles Sunday before the Concord 1/2 Marathon, and then running the 13.1 miles of the Lake Health 1/2 marathon. Friday when I came home the first thing I did was eat potatoes. It worked!!! How awesome is that! I had a good trail run Saturday - 24 miles at 4 hours and 4 minutes. I was completely pumped about potatoes (tee hee!) I was really hoping that my legs would still be ok for my 24 miles the following day, and most importantly for the last half Lake Health Distance Classic 1/2 marathon, put on by one of my Saturday running buds and fellow NERC board member Geoff Weber. Needless to say, I LOVE potatoes now - they are my best friend :) wink wink!!

LakeHealth 1/2 Marathon Distance Classic Race Report

3 a.m.

I woke up to get my first 11 miles of 24 for the day in before the 1/2 marathon started. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed, and I settled for doing the 11 miles on the treadmill, completely bummed about that. The plan was for my son and I (hubby was at work) to go to the start of the 1/2 so I could do my 11 miles and he could bike alongside me until it was time to drop him off for his volunteer duties at the race. I thought my son would be pleased that he could sleep a couple hours longer, but he was actually bummed about that! He woke up and saw me on the treadmill, said "HEY! What the heck!" I didn't need to tell him to look outside obviously, but he did say he was looking forward to the bike ride. Surprised the heck out of me! A 13 yr old looking forward to a 5:30 a.m. Sunday bike ride? Strange! Nothing much I could do about the weather though.

By the time we got to the 1/2's starting location the rain had stopped, and all was well! Well...almost. Poor Geoff had to deal with delaying the race, due to the fact that there was standing water in some low lying areas, and drainage systems just needed some time to catch up to make for a clear course (Colburn Rd was completely under water). I'm sure everyone understood - like I said earlier there's not really much you can do about the weather! And better for the runners to wait just a few minutes so they aren't miserable for the entire race! Good call Geoff! Not too soon after my son and I arrived we saw Jeanette and her boys and hung with them for a good while - 2 of her boys and my son were volunteering - her other son, Mr. speed demon himself was running the 5k! I saw many people here and there and was also trying to keep an eye out for my hubby, who was coming straight from 3rd shift to run the half! YIKES! I was also trying to keep an eye out for Geoff so I could hand over my son! We saw many people before the start: Jean, Guy, Jeannie, Nick, Diane, Ernie, Charlie, Niall, Mark (ultra guru who ran 30 miles the day before the race), Rick, and Eric - to name a few. I wish I would've had more time to chat with everyone as I haven't been on a a Saturday group run in awhile. I swear after Mohican I will be a regular again! I will have to be on roads alot for Northcoast 24 hr. training so it will be perfect!

Anyway, back to the race...

We all lined up at the start and we were off! As I was running I noticed something different. Hey my hubby was RIGHT THERE next to me for a long time! I tried to shake him but couldn't! WOW he started out fast! As we ran through the neighborhood we passed the 5k runners - and I really liked that. I was calling out to people I know, cheering them on and gave Nick a big ol' high five when I saw him. Seeing the 5k people run by was one of my favorite things about the whole race.

Hubby still there....

Whoa! My hubby lasted a long time at a good speed! I thought he might even pass me! ACK! Unfortunately he had a harder time with the hills, due to his knees. He still really hung in there though, and only finished ONE MINUTE behind me! WHOA!! I have to start to do some serious speed work!


I ran with my camelbak fully loaded. This is something I would not usually do for a 1/2, but I did it so I could get used to it for Mo. I got many questions about it while I was running. How does it feel? Does the water slosh around? Do you like it? Does it bother you? Etc., etc. That being said it was nice just blowing through the waterstops, and having water whenever I wanted it. (Once again I had Smartwater in my pack) I may have to consider running marathons and 1/2's with my pack!

The spectators...

There were a few spectators along the race course, which I was pretty surprised about. Once family even set up their own water stop. How awesome is that! My favorite spectators were 2 little kids watching the race from their living room window. I waved to them and they waved to me, and it was the cutest thing ever!


Once we hit the hills I spent the rest of the time running close to a group of 4 cross country runners. One of which was puking along the race and had a pacer of sorts. I didn't see her get water at any point, but I may have not been paying attention 100% as I was really trying to maintain a consistent pace. In the end, the runner finished about 7 seconds ahead of me and left on a stretcher. After we crossed the finish line I had not realized how ill she really felt. I shook her hand, congratulated her and told her how amazing she did, then walked away. I didn't hear that she left on a stretcher until yesterday's NERC board meeting. I feel so bad I didn't realize how she felt at the end of the race.

The other 3 girls maintained a pretty steady pace the whole race and seemed to feel fine. Once we hit the 11 mile mark I let them know that we had only 2 miles and it was all flat, hinting to them that they could pick up their pace a bit. We all seemed to kick it up a notch. After those hills, this stretch was a piece of cake!

The Finish...

The finish line was back at the plaza where there was ice cream and other goodies waiting for everyone. There were free massages as well! I stood in line for what would be only my 2nd massage of my life. When I got to the table the woman working recognized me! We had volunteered at Green Jewel together! Small world! I got settled and she started to try to get the knots out. Unfortunately she said she couldn't get them. She told me she was so sorry that she had to stop, and that she could work on just my one leg/hamstring for 20 minutes and still not get it. Of course I understood though - there was a pretty big line forming! It was good chatting with her for a bit though.

The awards ceremony was held at Panini's which was really nice. They had food available for the runners to eat while the awards were being called out. We were all chatting away when my age group was called. I half paid attention as I didn't expect to win any kind of award. I was shocked (to put it mildly) when they called my name for 1st place!!!! WOO HOO! I soooo did not see that one coming! I was 8th female overall, and pretty pumped about it after all those weekend miles! This was a great Mo' confidence builder. Shortly after I got my award a downpour hit, and many people hit the road at that point.

In closing....

The LakeHealth Distance Classic was a great event and one I'm sure we'll attend every year. Geoff handled the enormous growth of the race very well, and handled the weather situation as best as anyone could. I don't see much about this race that people can complain about! Everything was top notch! This race is a keeper!


Earlier this week Ray had an interview with CNNI's Backstory in Atlanta. The interview was where he announced his newest expedition, which will include 4 youth ambassadors application process to start IMMEDIATELY!)

The newest expedition will be held in October, and it will be in the Amazon! The education topic/resource for this expedition will be biodiversity, and the extraordinary act will be the construction of a school in the Amazon!

Stay tuned for more announcements, the youth team will most likely be announced in one month's time! As always, logisitics and funding are the hardest, so please take the time to donate to I2P at:

There will also be new I2P gear coming very soon, which will be similar to the shirts the youth ambassadors wore in Tunisia!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Frills, Just Hills Fat Ass Report and Mo training weeks 15 & 16

There are now 19 days until my first 50 miler and I'm starting to get pretty excited! The last two weeks were complete opposites (physically and mentally speaking). Week 15 just plain sucked and had me completely in the dumps, and week 16 was amazing and a great confidence builder! This coming week will be my hardest yet since Ray has been helping me. I talked with him last night for the first time in a couple weeks, since he has been busy being so extraordinary and trying to save the world! The weekday mileage isn't so bad, 9.4 miles Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - but the weekend mileage = YIKES!! I have to run 24 miles on Saturday and 24 miles on Sunday. And somehow I have to fit the Lake Health Distance Classic into my training! I'm not sure how I'll do that, but I'm leaning towards starting my run early Sunday before the Lake Health 1/2 marathon starts and running about 11 miles until the start of the race. I will then finish my big mileage weekend with the race. Which, well - obviously will not be a race for me. I'm a little bummed because I wanted to be competitive for this one, but not this time. I thought this week might start my taper, but no!!! ACK!! I'll just run this one and be everyone's cheerleader along the way. My husband is running this one as well, and my son will be volunteering. Friday we'll be going to the race director's house to put the goodie bags together. I was hoping to help with packet pick up on Saturday but I don't think I'll be able to fit that in now. On one hand I'm excited to finally have a high mileage week, but on the other hand it's not a good week to have it! There's not much I can do about this though as my ultimate goal is to finish Mo' and it is coming up so fast! I'll just have to wait until next year to rock it out at the Lake 1/2. That's ultra life I guess! Anyway I'm excited that I'll be able to see my NERC besties and celebrate with them at the awards ceremony which will be held at Panini's. P-A-R-T-Y!!!

Mo' Training Week In Review: Week 15

What a downer of a week this one was! Turns out what I was running with the weekend before was bronchitis! This called for bare bones running - 30 mins a day ez during the week. I did do back to back longer runs on the weekend and ended with a 16 miler on Sunday with my husband. I truly thought I would die! At only 16 miles! UGH!!! I was bummed and completely freaked out. Mo confidence was at an all time low. I felt like crap!

Mo' Training Week In Review: Week 16

After having Monday off from running I was starting to feel better. I decided it was time to redeem myself from my garbage week 15.

Tuesday = 3 runs. a.m. Treadmill 5k EZ - After work: fast 5k trail- p.m. hill work with family

Wednesday = 2 runs. a.m. 5k ez treadmill - p.m. 3 miles of speed work

Thursday = a.m. treadmill 6 miles

Friday = off

Saturday = No Frills, Just Hills F/A = 30+ miles Official laps = 14, and I ran 1 extra for a total of 15.

Sunday = 1/2 marathon (Lake Health course) with way cool runner chick Jeanette and hubby
*I'm so glad we decided to run the 1/2 course before the race! It is definitely a race you need to have some sort of strategy for. This course is no joke. Hills, hills, hills. 'Nuff said. That being said I'm so glad my husband and Jeanette ran with me. They were awesome company and we all suffered together!! LOL!!

No Frills, Just Hills Fat Ass Report
(pics taken by Dan, Beth, and Julie)

This even was put on by Brian Musick of the NEO trail club. The goal of this F/A (Fat Ass) run was to see how many loops you can run in 6 hrs. This was a 2 mile loop on trails: around and around and around (you get the point) for 6 hours. I'm not sure how I got to the point where I would call something like that FUN, but it was just that! I saw old friends and made new ones along the way. (We certainly had the time!) I can't wait until next year's No Frills!

The run started at 8 a.m. but Beth Tresaca, Brian Perusek, and myself all started at 7 a.m. so we could finish early.

We spent most of the time trying to figure out where to go as none of us knew the course. We started a bit past 7 and by 8 we only logged 3.85 miles, but it was so fun! Starting out first thing we saw a deer. Well, no - first thing we saw was the biggest hill EVER and THEN we saw the deer!

Next up, squish, squish, squish! our shoes and socks were so wet from running through the wet grass. Hey they dried out eventually! No biggie! Then we had fun getting a little lost. (I told you we would, Beth! My speciality!) Luckily we made it back to the start of the run a little before 8 and saw tons of familiar faces. There was Brian Musick, Dan DeRosha, Mark Anson, Mike Keller, Terri Lemke, Kimberly Boner, Jim Christ - should I go on? Just lots of people OK!

Soon we were all off on our mini adventure. Our socks dried out and the heat set in. I have never drank so much water in my entire life!

I drank at least 6 liters of water during the run, more water after, and still lost 6 lbs. Sections of the run were spent in the hot sun. Running in the woods was nice and refreshing, but as soon as we hit the open areas: BAM! It was like a brick wall! You could just feel the sun drain your energy. However, as soon as I would hit the trees that feeling disappeared just as quickly as it came. The shade felt so good and really renewed the energy levels.

Many times there were unusual noises in the woods (I know that was you Brian!) At times I answered back :) We were also entertained to some interesting dancing courtesy of Brian and Mike at the end. This is what makes ultras fun! The people! I absolutely love it and had a blast! While doing loop after loop after loop we would start to see the same hikers. After passing them 2, 3, 4 times they would start to ask questions. Everything from "What are you doing?", "What's going on here, some kind of race?", to "What mile are you on now?" One guy who asked me what mile I was on just stared at me when I gave him my answer. Mile 28! Almost done! Seriously just stared and didn't say another word!

Another amazing thing about this run is that once it was all said and done I was not sore. Not one bit! I was tired of course, but I had absolutely no aches and pains. It was amazing! I can't believe it! I ran the 1/2 distance the next day, and then went kayaking the day after and still have no sore muscles! I did switch my beverage for No Frills, and am wondering if that had something to do with it? The whole time I used SmartWater (which tastes amazing, by the way). I'll definitely be using this drink again. It's the only thing I changed, so it's got to be why! Right? I hope!

The only thing that was a minor bummer about Saturday was my own personal issues with my Garmin. For one, the elevation and pace are correct - but when you look at my map it is not a map of the course but a map of my house to Hudson!! WHAT! For 2, it shut off a couple times. I had the thing locked, but apparently it can still stop while locked? News to me! UGH! So at mile 30 I just turned the thing off. I know I did a little more than that, but I'm not sure how much more. Another thing I can't quite figure out is why it shows me doing 30 miles in 5 hrs. and 54 minutes. I thought I took longer than that. I'm not even going to try and figure that one out! Sometimes I think I'd be better off without that thing driving me crazy! I have a love-hate relationship with my Garmin, but I did not let it ruin my AWESOME day!

I highly recommend this F/A to everyone. It's so much fun and the people are amazing. Mark it on your calendars as SOON as the date is set for next year people! And the best thing is, F/A's are free!!! So much fun for nothing, what could be better!