Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Towpath Marathon Race Report/Oil Creek Race Report

Ok yes, I'm backed up a bit on the blogging. Funny how a little thing like life can get in the way! Things have been busier than expected this month and will get even busier since I'll now be doing the WRTR newsletter - so I'm writing this fast to get it done and will try and remember all the details!

TOWPATH MARATHON: My husband's first marathon!

Can I just say how extremely proud of my husband I am? He has battled through some very personal issues and has completed his first marathon. Yep that's right. 26.2 miles. With a bum knee. He refused to let things stand in his way, he refused to give up, he did not back down from a good fight. What's more - he completed his first marathon in 3 hours and 37 minutes. What can I even say about that? INCREDIBLE! He's my biggest inspiration! I do feel for him though. He did this incredible thing and not one family member on his side asked how it went. This is his life. He says he is used to it. Bullshit. Not one phone call. Not one congratulations. It's a shame really, but I truly thank my dad for calling to see how everything went. It's little things like that - just one phone call that can let someone know that you really care.

Wake up!
Race day came and my husband was looking a little nervous. He had me wake him up super early so he could spend even MORE time being nervous! Our friend Stan was up here from Vancouver, Canada - he woke up, we all got ready and off we went to pick up the INCREDIBLE Jean Toth. 74 years old, running marathon #51 - what more can I say?

We arrived at Boston Mills Ski Resort an hour ahead of time, took the obligatory pics and went about our merry way. My plan was to run with my hubby for the full marathon, carry all his gel, endurolytes, etc. and then turn around and run back for Jean Toth after my guy finished. To make a long story short, and to not talk about me so much - that did not go as planned. I tried to register for the marathon the day before. However - as I was filling out the registration form - the two ladies working that table looked at me and walked away without a word. I turned around and saw one of my runner friends who told me the full marathon was sold out. Hmpf. Well, it's a public trail - so I shouldn't have a problem - that was my manner of thinking. I started with my guy without a problem. Mile 13 - a race official pulled me out. I did not see any "trail closed" signs, but I guess others did. I really wasn't looking for them, honestly. I was just trying to keep up with my super fast husband. The race official then took me to a police officer who checked me out. I tried to explain I was carrying my own fuel, pacing my husband and then a 74 year old woman. Didn't matter. When my info checked out and she saw I was not giving her problems she said she was not going to arrest me. YAY. If I got on back on the trail though - different story. Oh - and getting back to the finish line: I was on my own. How to get back to the finish line: I was on my own. Awesome. I actually did see 3 guys after me get into a squad car. I then considered myself lucky, but really thought people at the Towpath Marathon went too far overboard. I called my son and had him look up all the NERC members names and phone #'s so I could try to call the people who I knew were down at the race. He had looked up a couple people but no cells! I waited for a couple hours for Jean Toth to come by to let her know I was not able to meet her. I then wandered around in tears, wanting to get to the finish to see my husband finish his first marathon. Finally I saw a friend who was on his bike, Stephe - who explained how to get back. Seriously it was only 2/3 miles at most! I ran as fast as I could, but missed my husband's finish by maybe five minutes - something I'll never forgive myself for.

My husband's race

After my incident my husband was left with no fuel. I was carrying all his stuff, so now he had to rely on the aid stations. Hammer gel - something that does not agree with him. He stopped one time to vomit in a port-a-potty. (Just the thought makes me want to vomit!) He saw some friends, one the most awesome Charlie Bolek, whose plan was to run the last 6 miles with him. (Charlie was denied with a big fat D!) My husband saw good friend Mark Anson - and was wondering where the hell I was. In the end he told me he was confused and totally ticked off - he didn't understand what was going on, was having issues and told Mark if he saw me that he really needed me. (Truly he didn't. He was doing awesome all on his own) Mile 24 is when he hit the wall - but he still kept running! My man is unbelievable! Minutes after he crossed the finish line I saw him - and like huge babies we both hugged each other and completely broke out in tears. Not the wimpy tears, but mega tears. People were looking, but neither one of us cared. What an incredible experience for him (and of course now he has the running bug more than ever, with talk of "When's the next....!")

Jean Toth

Jean Toth was running a great race! She had 6 hours to finish Towpath, and completed her 51st marathon in a time of 6 hours and 49 seconds. She just made it!! It's truly inspiring to see her cross that finish line. My husband, Stan, and myself were standing near the finish line just staring off into the path - waiting. I was nervous beyond belief, and was really hoping she would finish in time. Eventually - we saw the little pink fireball called Jean come through the woods and into the light! AMAZING! WOOOO! We all screamed, me as much as I could through tears. (yes again) After she crossed we realized that the Towpath people ran out of medals. My husband gave his medal, his very first marathon medal to Jean! He should be getting his in the mail, although he has not received it yet. I made sure she got her first place age group award, since the people she came with last year were in a rush to leave and she never received her award. (I also made sure the Towpath people were going to send her that award from last year too, she deserves it!)

In closing the Towpath Marathon was a pretty good little marathon. Lots of friends gave my husband a tremendous amount of support and it is much appreciated! Thanks to Crystal, Mark, Charlie, Daniel and many others! Thanks all!

Oil Creek 100 Mile - From a Pacer's Point of View

My friend Rachel ran her first 100 miler this weekend (and killed the course by the way!) I paced her for the last 25 miles of her run. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to participate in her incredible run. She was phenomenal every step of the way!

The Drive:

So of course driving out there my directionally challenged self got a little lost. Once I got on the right track and came close to the Oil Creek area I forgot about getting lost and started having mini heart attacks. HILLS! Look at the hills! I was a little nervous about my pacing duties then. (I was already nervous that I would not be able to keep up just because I had run 20 miles on Friday - but now seeing the hills really made me scared!)

I eventually arrived and saw Kathleen Dickson (Mark Anson's pacer)and chatted for a bit. I hung out watching other runners, saw Sandi - Rachel's sister and eventually Chris Wagner came running through the aid station (AS 4 - the middle school). Soon after Rachel appeared and was looking good! I had lots of time to kill before my pacing duties, so I hung out at the 50k finish line hoping to see my friend Daniel Bellinger cross. I sat, and sat, and sat forever!!! And missed him. I don't know how! The only thing I figure is I missed him when I ran to go tell a 50k finsiher she was going the wrong way. He HAD to have slipped by then! I realized he had come through already when I walked into the Middle School to use the bathroom, and there sits Daniel! SHUCKS! My friend produced an excellent time however, and I'm so glad for him! (Still wish I could've seen him cross that line though!)

Again with more time to kill I hung out, talking with Frederick Davis, III who unfortunately had to drop from the race. We chatted for the longest time with an amazing adventure racer - Andrea (didn't catch her last name) who gave me some great tips on cold weather racing. Then - it was go time for Sandi! (Sandi paced Rachel for around 14 miles before me) Rachel came through still looking great and then they were off! I talked with Frederick a few more minutes and then left - I headed straight to Aid Station #2 where I was to meet Rachel for my pacing duties. My plan was to just sit tight until she came through.

Aid Station 2

I soon realized that you get pretty cold when you're not running! I picked up a spot by the fire after a little while and that's where I stayed until Chris Wagner ran through. I started to help him out, gave him batteries - started to get fuel and then heard "Runners PLEASE get out of the pavilion!" I could feel my face getting red - all I could think was this man just ran 75 miles! He needs fuel!! I was about to say something when I looked up and realized we were the only two people in the pavilion. I then heard two words. Fire and petroleum tank. NUFF SAID.

We hurried out of the pavilion - and then BAM!!! A grill sized petroleum tank exploded right by where I had been sitting. I still don't know what happened really - but it was interesting to say the least. Chris then finished getting himself organized and was off to finish his race. I ho-hummed around for a minute, figuring that it would take Rachel a bit longer to get to the Aid Station - but there she was! 5 minutes behind Chris! She ran up and all I said was "WHOA!!!" I grabbed my gear, Rachel got situated and Sandi helped her get all the fuel she needed and we were off. It was a pretty smooth transition. I told her how incredibly close she was to Chris - and that we may be able to catch up with him. We eventually did, I'm not sure what aid station it was but we got him! For a minute :D

Aid Station # ??

We arrived at the next aid station and while Rachel was getting everything she needed I went to the bathroom. Before I went I told her to start without me, that I would catch up if I wasn't out before she was done. She left and I came out - it wasn't that long at all - and I went to the aid station to make sure Rachel really did leave. She did, and I ran as fast as I could to catch her. She got so far in such a tiny amount of time that I thought I lost her!! Eventually I started calling her name and saw her going up a pretty nasty hill. I caught her, but was so out of breath. I'm still amazed she went so far so stinking fast! Chris wound up catching us as well. What was at that aid station anyway?!

Pacing duties
Before the race I researched as much as I could about pacing. (Really there's not much out there, you just run - you know!) Anyway I did find some tips - carrying extra batteries for you runner (headlamp), ask if they would like you to run in front of or behind them, etc., etc. So I did all of the above. I also stuffed some energy bars and gels in my pack for the both of us. I seriously felt like an overprotective mother as my pack was stuffed! (Think Christmas Story!) Throughout the run I just tried to be 100% positive. I've heard of pacers being tough with their runners, trying to lay the smack down on them so they'd finish - but I don't really agree with that method. I mean, personally - if I had just ran 75 miles I really wouldn't want someone talking down to me, telling me to suck it up. So - positivity was the name of the game for the rest of the run. I almost blew it when I saw what appeared to be a large pool of blood on the trail, however I caught myself before I opened my mouth thank goodness! I really wasn't sure how seeing something like that would go so I just put my head down and kept quiet.

An amazing runner
I think I really had an easy pacing job. I mean, Rachel was amazing! She didn't complain - I could tell things were hurting (well obviously!) because when she would run she made the same noises I was making at North Coast (lol!) But she never said a word. I kept wondering - when she was going to say how much she was in pain, how horrible it was - but she never did. It was so impressive - I can't even say enough. The only thing that we really talked negatively about was the sound of that STUPID well. Earlier on Rachel had mentioned it was pretty annoying, and she wasn't lying. By the end of the race I wanted to take a bulldozer to that well.

Rachel's Finish
We were on the home stretch and Rachel was still in first place. We got turned around unfortunately. There was someone stationed there but we didn't get stopped and told we were going the wrong way. We wound up doing an extra loop around the well and within that time frame a runner (female) wound up going the correct direction and came across the finish line first. Rachel crossed the finish line and we celebrated with her sister and Chris. We then walked into the school and my heart sank. There was this incredible woman sitting there, celebrating her finish. She had chased Rachel all day. In the end - she turned out to be even more incredible than anyone could have ever imagined. She heard what happened, and gave the win to Rachel. Neither one of them wanted to accept first - but this is how it went. Both women are fantastic runners who fought hard all day and night. (Rachel fought so hard it even earned her a trip to the ER, which wound up being an overnight stay at the hospital!) In my opinion both ladies should have been allowed to tie for first, but the RD said NO DICE. I'm not sure why really, but that's how it went. He did admit that he'll have to work on marking the course for next year. The end of the course was not the only problem spot on the course, but hopefully next year will be better. (If only they could use Mohican's excellent course markings for an example!)

Other notable Oil Creek happenings:

Chris Wagner passed out after his race - and I almost dropped him on his head!!

Shaun Pope dropped a little ways into his race - he had been sick the last couple weeks and not feeling well. After a bit he decided to give it another go, picked up where he left off earlier. HOW INCREDIBLE! Unfortunately the sickness was too much - but this was definitely an inspiring act!

Mark Anson finished his 100k in 15 hours and 49 minutes

Daniel Bellinger finished the 50k in 5 hours and 59 minutes

Lloyd Thomas finished the 50k in 5 hours and 3 minutes

Lee Conner, third overall female finished the 50k in 5 hours and 43 minutes

Gale Conner finished the 50k in 10 hours and 27 minutes

Kimberly Boner finished 1st female for the 100k, 13 hours and 02 minutes

Terri Lemke finished the 100 miler in 29 hours and 16 minutes

Brian Musick finished the 100 miler in 31 hours and 35 minutes

Bob Baldwin finished the 100k in 15 hours and 48 minutes

Roy Heger finished the 100k in 15 hours and 20 minutes

Congratulations to Rachel and all Oil Creek runners who ran an excellent race - the weather was good and Oil Creek is a beautiful area. Rest up, heal well - and get ready to run it again next year!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

XC invitational- Jeannette's first 30k - Boston marathon Cancels deferment policy-Sandi places 1st/female at Grindstone!

This week ended my easy running! I had to do a few 5k tempos during the week and now it's back on! Back to back long runs were the story for this weekend and this coming week speed work starts back up. My tempo runs were good, and one was on trail (LOVE) with the RHS teacher's runnning group. I was a bit bummed as they were doing 8 miles and I only had the 5k on my schedule! Super fast running friend Crystal Basich was there as well - and I pretty much just spent my whole time trying to stick with her! Such a fast smart runner, Crystal knows her stuff! By the end of my run I was in near vomit mode. Probably a combo of running with Crystal and eating that Falafel right before the run! (Smooth move!) Not too bright. I'm now ready to get back to my pre race food plan. I'm pretty much just sick of food. YES I SAID IT!! Ask me again in 2 weeks if I feel that same way though - I'm sure I'll feel differently by then!

Saturday's 30k - Jeannette's longest distance!
Saturday's run was spent on trails (LOVE) with Jeannette Spada and Charlie Bolek. Jeannette was coming out for her longest run to date, and she rocked it! Girdled Road Reservation is not an easy place to run at for a lot of people - and to see Jeannette tackle a new distance there was amazing! We started running at 6 a.m. and it was pitch black outside. Raining. Cold. BRING IT! Not too long into our run I was shining my light into the woods and there they were. Two sets of glowing eyes staring straight back at us! It wound up to be some deer, but it was the most interesting thing seeing these beady little eyes staring at you! Later we saw another deer hanging out in the creek. Beautiful! I introduced my friends to the hill I do my hill work on. (I have named it, but will not divulge that info. Just think....bleep! bleep! bleep!) Charlie left after 12-ish miles and Jeannette and I continued on, with her kicking butt every step! We both were wearing new shoes so of course we had to christen them - we went down the single track and met some mud. BOOYAH! Congrats to Jeannette on her amazing run! And thanks Charlie & Jeannette for running with my chatterbox self!

Great Lakes Brewery
Charlie and I thought up a plan a while back during a trail run. We both had an ultra the same day, me with NC and Charlie with YUTC. So we thought - we'll celebrate! It was really supposed to be last week, but my husband's work plans changed (as our entire summer has gone). Once again my husband's work plans changed as his company shipped him off to Chicago for a few days and tacked on an extra day (Saturday). He made it just in time for Great Lakes, and my sis followed right behind him. Jeannette came as well, with us spending time at the West Side Market before heading to Great Lakes. While waiting for a table we headed outside. Our kids ran over to a small park right across the street while we watched. The kids were treated to something really incredible. There were some homeless people being helped out by a few people. Whoever these people they are incredible! They had tons of food for the homeless, set up shop in the bus shelter and feed everyone. A couple of people even asked the kids if they wanted something to eat as well. I'm hoping my son realized what happened. I tried to get him to think about it for a minute, so hopefully it sunk in. On one side you have these people with absolutely nothing, no home, no food, no clothes. On the other side there's us - waiting to get into an expensive restraunt, able to get out of the cold, out of the rain. Yet these people still offered whatever they had to the kids. It was SO incredible. How can you put something like that into words? I wish I knew where the people who were helping were from - a company? A nonprofit? I'm kicking myself now for not asking, and I'm sitting here wishing I would've done something, too. The helpers loaded up their unmarked white van after everyone had their fill and drove away. AMAZING is the best word I can come up with, and it's really not good enough.

Sunday's run
Sunday's run was a bit shorter than Saturday's and my husband ran it with me. He's in taper mode, and he's fighting the urge to run long. He'll have his chance soon enough! Again, the run was on trails. Again - it was cold! It rained a little, but we still saw tons of people out on the trails. We ran into an ultra runner who was hiking at the time - a very nice guy who I'm sure we'll see again. He actually wound up running with us for a bit so we could chat for some more. Great guy! We discovered some new to us trails at North Chagrin (and that meant new to us hills as well!) Now it's time for my husband to spend the week going crazy due to tapering! I'm completely pumped and ready to see him cross that finish line next week!

Boston Marathon cancels deferement policy
Running friend Kattya looked into deferring her registration for the 2011 until 2012which is what I had planned. This is the bad news she came up with!

Email from the BAA:
The BAA does not defer times for runners who qualified, but cannot participate during the year which they are qualified.
Also, our policy regarding deferments for runners entered in our marathon has changed. The BAA will not offer deferments of qualifying times to participants of the 2011 Boston Marathon or future races.

In past years, runners who knew that they would not be able to participate in the upcoming race registered to "save a spot" through our deferment policy, thus preventing fully qualified runners from registering. With the high demand for participation and early closings of registration, the BAA decided to eliminate deferments for the Boston Marathon.

If a runner registers for the 2011 Boston Marathon and then becomes unable to participate, they will need to re-qualify to enter the 2012 Boston Marathon. The qualifying window for the 2012 Boston Marathon will begin on September 25, 2010.

Please keep in mind that entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable to future races.

Good luck with your running endeavors and thank you for your interest in the Boston Marathon.


Boston Athletic Association
The Starting Line
One Ash Street
Hopkinton, MA 01748

Sandi Nypaver - 1st female overall at Grindstone!!
The course was 101.85 miles. Eleveation gain and loss of 23,200 feet. The time limit? 38 hours. Sandi finished her race in 23 hours and 05 minutes to place first overall/females! (Not only that, but she finished in the top ten OVERALL!) I don't think the people down at Grindstone knew what was coming: A tornado! Big congrats to Sandi on her awesome finish at Grindstone - she is truly an elite athlete! HUGS SANDI!!!!!!

XC invitational at Mentor
This past week my son went to a cross country invitational at Garfield Park in Mentor. The temps were good, the air was good - perfect running weather! Considering the circumstances I knew my mini would do well and most likely PR. He did just that! Yes the weather was good and he made good food choices that day, but the thing that REALLY fueled his fire was a couple of coaches from Mentor-Memorial Junior High School (unfortunately, my old school.) During his run he was running alongside a couple of Memorial boys. The coaches started yelling - (in regards to my son) "This kid's NOTHING! He's WEAK! He's NOBODY!" Well a younger Radames would've been really hurt by this. But, that has changed. He said he passed those kids up and felt amazing when he saw the look on both coaches faces! He refused to let those ADULTS talk down to him - refused to let them hurt him. BRAVO mini! I'm not really feelin' the love for my old alma mater right now. I'm pretty disgusted actually. They fail to realize what running really is about. They have NO CLUE. I hope it doesn't rub off on the kids, hope that the kids will realize for themselves what running is all about.

What exactly is running about?

RUNNING is about not giving up.
RUNNING is about thinking "No way can I POSSIBLY do that." Then DOING it.
RUNNING is about conquering those demons inside - the ones that tell you "STOP. You're not good enough. You'll never be able to do it."
RUNNING is about friendship.
RUNNING is about solitude.
RUNNING is about pushing yourself to your limits and then pushing some more.
RUNNING is about not backing down from a good fight.
RUNNING is about your own personal goals. Not coming in first, second, or third place - but it's simply about beating yourself. Getting that P.R., finally being able to run up that hill instead of walking, and going further than you've ever gone before.
RUNNING is realizing that despite the fact that you may not be as fast as before, you are STILL out there doing it.
RUNNING is about not meeting your goal, but still being proud of yourself. Knowing that you did everything in your power, used every bit of energy to try and get to where you wanted, but sometimes, just sometimes - shit happens.
RUNNING is about getting a DNF, then waking your ass up the next morning looking for a new race.
RUNNING is about getting first place and hanging out at the finish line to congratulations those that came after you.
RUNNING is about not winning a medal, but still hanging out at the awards ceremony to cheer on those who did.
RUNNING is about determination.
RUNNING is about realizing there are no limits, no boundaries, no borders.

Happy running everyone!