Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Leaves 5 miler: From a volunteers perspective

This past weekend was the Northeast Running Club's Autumn Leaves 5 mile run. One of the best runs of the Grand Prix series, it's usually held the first Sunday of November. My husband and I attended this year not as runners but as volunteers, my son however did do the run. (Last year at Autumn Leaves was he was conquering his longest distance yet!)

The day before the run my son and I went to the Farmpark to help set things up. We wound up helping set things up inside - and the manly men went off to mark the trail. ;-)
Two awesome ladies were there to help out also, Edie and Carole.

Edie got to run, too!

I swear Carole's vounteered at every NERC race I've ever been to!

We got done in a fairly decent amount of time and just chatted away the rest of the time. Take that manly men! HA! Acutally, the men did have to be pretty manly out there marking the trail. The Northeast Ohio snow machine switch got flipped to "on" and it stayed like that the whole time they were out on the course.
They were met with mud, snow, cowpies - all of it. From time to time some of the guys would come in looking completely frazzled. They would warm up for a minute, then go right back outside. Thanks men!

Race day came and over 215 people had already registered. What happened next was quite unexpected. There were TONS of people who came in to register same day. The total number of people who finished on race day came out to be 281. WOW!
Our fearless race director Mark Anson took it pretty well! My husband and I helped inside for a bit and chatted with a few friends. Right before the race was set to begin we went outside for our outdoor volunteer duties.

Lining up at the start:

I hung out at the mile #2 calling out times as people ran by, and my husband was a flagger. It was neat being able to see my son in the middle of the race, and all of my friends as well! In between calling out the times I took pics of the runners. Then, when the last of the runners came through my spot I headed towards the finish line to take more pics. Soon I saw my son speed through - he ended with a strong finish. He improved so much from last year's time, I'm proud of him! Last year he ran Autumn Leaves with a time of 54 minutes and 53 seconds. This year his final time was 42 minutes and 45 seconds. WOW! I shouldn't be surprised because his improvement is equivalent to this year's improved cross country times - but it's always amazing to see such big gaps in time like that.
(Yes he's overdressed, and yes I knew better (from a runner's perspective) but hey - I'm a mom! He's lucky I didn't have him go out looking like that kid off the Christmas Story!)

The awards ceremony came off without a hitch, I helped Mark pass out a few awards towards the end, and what awesome awards they were!

I want one!
I'm a big fan of useful awards at races - because you can only have so many medals, and what are they good for really? They just hang there, collecting dust.

Guy Gadomski provided the hot cocoa for the mugs. Thanks Guy!

One last thing, the pictures I took are available free of charge (almost)at You just have to pay for whatever Wal Mart charges to print the pictures out. Go to the following link to view and purchase:
Prints start out at 10 cents each.

Thanks to all the runners who came out, and to all of the volunteers as well. It was a great time, hopefully everyone got EXTREMELY muddy, and we'll see you again next year!

Jean Toth - The only 70 & over female runner!

Lone runner headed into the corn field.

Future Autumn Leaves runner perhaps?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amish Country Fun Run, Johnson 5-0 Trail Run, Halloween Fun Run, Beast of Burden 100 miler

I know I know, lots to report on - and still busy. I'll try to make all this short and sweet, but I have to give huge kudos to my friends Jeannette, Zach, And Eric who have accomplished their furthest running distances ever! I'm proud of all of them! (Eric did the Run With Scissors double marathon, Jeannette the Amish Country Fun Run, and Zach did the Johnson 5-0 Trail Run)

Amish Country Fun Run: 10/23/10
some photos taken by Eric Ford - thanks Eric!

I wasn't sure how this one would turn out, how many people would show up - but we had a nice group!
I offered sleeping space in my house the night before, and friends Frederick Davis III and Charlie Bolek took me up on the offer. (Cue the nerves - as Fred is vegan! I have never cooked for someone who is vegan before!) I wound up not cooking, so I still have never cooked for anyone who is vegan ;-) I ordered pasta and picked up bread from the Great Harvest Bread Co. Simple! Having Fred was good, as my husband starting to think about a vegetarin lifestyle. (Crystal and Chris Basich then made him think even more about that the following Sunday - but we'll save that for another blog!) Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and we sat around talking until our eyes were puffy and we couldn't stand to be up anymore. It was neat watching Frederick get ready the night before - being able to see how an experienced vet prepares for a long run. The next day, arriving well before dawn were friends Jeannette, Crystal and Eric. Eric took some awesome photos of our run! Thanks Eric! (And big congrats on your first Ultra!) Away we went!

The reason for the run: I just HAD to run to this sign when I saw it!

I spent my time running back and forth between people and wound up with about 25 miles. I have to say, my energy level was zero. I was exhausted as I have not caught up with my sleep in the last couple weeks. That didn't stop the hills though! They were there whether we liked it or not. Jeannette was trucking along - giving it her all and Crystal was absolutely killing it up the hills. Charlie was being Charlie, running with a smile on his face as usual. Frederick had an incredibly steady pace throughout the run which was just amazing. Me, I'm all over the place in terms of pacing, but Frederick was running strong with his steady pace. It was very impressive!

We had an aid station along the route courtesy of most awesome NERC Mary! Thanks Mary! Closer to the Middlefield area we were met by Guy Gadomski, Emily Terlop, and Janet Edwards. Guy and Emily both were doing shorter runs due to the marathons they did this past weekend. (which they killed by the way!) Our run ended at Mary Yoder's Amish Restraunt, and we all chowed down on some good food. I was proud of Jeannette as she had just accomplished her farthest distance ever!
And it wasn't an easy run with all those hills, she did great! I definitely see a repeat of this run in the future. Congrats everyone and thanks for coming!

Johnson 5-0 Trail Run: 10/24/10
some photos taken by Zach Johsnon - thanks Zach!

The day after the Amish Run me, my husband, Kevin, "Buttercup", Crystal and Chris Basich met Zach Johnson for his first 50 mile run. (after we left some others joined in the fun)

The story goes like this: Every ultra running parent's dilema - find a race that fits with your families schedule. It can be quite difficult, and this was Zach's current dilema. He was itching to run 50 miles - but no ultras worked out for him date-wise. So what did he do? Made his own run up! I commend him for putting his family first and was so glad that we could run with him for part of his run!

Crystal, my husband, and I joined Zach for 19 miles - Chris stayed on for 5 hours of the run. Zach took us on "new to us" trails and they were amazing! Thanks Zach and congrats on your first 50 miler!

Halloween Fun Run: 10/31/10

some photos taken by Kattya Romero Mora - thanks Kattya!

So we all typically have to do long runs on Sunday, right? Well - with Sunday being Halloween I thought why not dress up? I wasn't sure if people would go for it, but a few did so it was on! Seriously, I haven't worn a Halloween costume since High School!

After searching for awhile (and almost having a heart attack over the price of costumes) I found one - a skirt and some wings. My husband was dressed as a nerd, Jeannette as a cat, Charlie as a martian, and running friend Kattya was in orange & black. Chris, Dave, and Kevin dressed up as runners.
HA! We had a great time on the trails Zach had introduced us to. There were a few people on the trails hiking, taking pictures, etc., etc. I can't even begin to imagine what they were thinking! One older man lectured me (jokingly) and said I should have been leading the pack since I had wings. It was tons of fun that may have to become an annual tradition!

Beast of Burden 100 Miler

So I've done it. This morning registration opened for the Beast of Burden 100 miler that will be held in Lockport, N.Y. on February 12 of 2011. February? New York? Snow Belt? LAKE EFFECT!!! I'm excited! The first thing I did when I woke up is registered myself for the race. Training has begun and I'm hoping the snow will start to fly soon. I have my winter gear ready and it's just sitting and waiting for snow! BRING IT!!!!

Have a great week everyone, and Happy Running!