Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reindeer 5k Report, Interclub Run Report, 2011 wrap up and Barkley

I hope everyone had a great holiday and hope no one suffered from any sugar comas :) My family and I traveled to Pittsburgh to see my family and one of my heros - my grams:

Grams is the best! Love her!



Back in November the legendary Jean Toth asked my family and I if we'd like to go to the Reindeer 5k with her. "But we had to dress up!" She stated. We agreed and picked up Jean the day of the race. Our plan was to run the whole thing alongside Jean and have fun with it. We saw lots of great outfits there and plenty of smiles! Jean, my husband and son were no exception:

The race was a blast and time with Jean is always special - Jean's an inspirational runner, still running marathons and every other local race you can think of. Her next marathon is coming up in February in Arizona. WOW!!!!



This month my family and I also ran in the Interclub Run at West Woods Park. Dissapointment ensued as there was BARELY ANY SNOW. PSSHHT. What was this anyway? It doesn't feel like winter and I'm starting to get antsy for a significant amount of the white fluffy stuff. My husband, son, and I made up one team and went there again just to have fun, as none of us were training for anything at the moment. Luckily we weren't racing, as I had my first asthma attack of the winter out there. YAY! While there was no snow the temps were the coldest I had run in since last year. Those first cold weeks of winter are always the hardest to get used to, and I always expect bare minimum 1 asthma attack. You just have to put your head down and keep at it, because things do improve eventually! I had mine and hopefully that's the last one of the season! I kept running to finish my leg of the relay, but it was naturally a slower pace because hey, I need to breathe :) Poor NERC VP Sean ran past me smiling and talking and I pretty much ignored him. SORRY SEAN! I think I may have mustered up a half smile or grunt or wheeze of some sort.Despite that the event was a great one, and it's always great to chat with people from other clubs. NERC had a chili cook off there and I made my "Ass Burner Chili". Fellow NERC Beth and Mike Shaughnessy made a "Steelers Suck" chili to be funny har har har! (For those that don't know, I'm originally from Pittsburgh and yes I LOOOVE the Steelers! Lets just say I lost the chili cook off. Might have to do with the name. Hmpf. (I have to admit I did taste the chili though and it WAS yummy, AND I even voted for it! The name just really stunk) . Beth should be the one to choose the name from now on. After all she is the one that made it! ;-)



My goal race. #1 must do. (or try) So far there have been no female finishers of Barkley. Actually, they haven't had many finishers at all. 10 finishers total since the race has begun in 1986. I don't know why it is I want to do Barkley. I hate hills. I get lost easily. This race is notorious for both. If I got in it would be the ultimate challenge. I've submitted my entry and am waiting for word, I'm wondering if I should cross my fingers or not? One thing's for sure I will submit my entry every year until I make it there. I doubt I'll get in this year, but one of my running friends has also submitted his entry,and unlike me he is definitely the most qualified and I'm hoping he's lucky enough to get in.

Some Barkley stats:

Official distance: 100 miles

Unofficial distance, according to “Frozen” Ed Furtaw: 130 miles
Time limit: 60 hours

Fun Run distance: 60 miles

Fun Run time limit: 40 hours

Elevation change for the 2011 course: 118,200 feet

Average gradient for the 2011 course: 22.39 percent

Amount of runnable trail on the 2011 course: 59.6 percent

Number of finishers, out of approximately 700 entrants, since 1986: 10

Number of repeat finishers: 0

Entrants in 2011: 40

Finishers in 2011: 1

Female finishers: 0

Race record: 55 hours, 42 minutes (Brian Robinson, 2008)

Official record for futility: 2.95 miles in 31 hours, 42 minutes (Dan Baglione in 2006)

Number of runners banned from the race by Frozen Head State Park officials: 1 (Baglione)

Notable geographical features: Testicle Spectacle, Rat Jaw, Son of a Bitch Ditch, Meth Lab Hill, Big Hell, the Garden Spot, Prison Mine Road, and the Bad Thing

Typical nicknames of runners: “Raw Dog,” “Cave Dog,” “Frozen Ed,” “Old Gristle,” “Animal

2011 WRAP UP

It's been quite a year, a year that I'll never forget. There were a few ups and many downs, but you just have to keep on trucking and remember the good that has happened. The Beast of Burden (both summer and winter) were events I'll never forget. Sam Pasceri and all the volunteers are excellent people and I highly recommend this race. The Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon is by far the highlight of my year. Not for the running necessarily, but getting to spend time with the amazing Tarahumara and my friends Caballo and his girlfriend Maria. The people I met during my journey will remain close to my heart for a long time to come. Barefoot Ted, Bookis, Patrick (all of the Patrick's), Ravi, Shawn, Diego, Maria, Leah, and so many more. I would love to go again but could not afford to go back this year, despite Caballo's generous offers - we'll have to wait a year or so to go back.

2011 and family running:

My son's first marathon was a special experience, he worked hard, put in the miles and ran his first marathon! It was a nasty rainy day but still a great experience for all of us. It was amazing crossing the finish line together! He says he plans to do one again, but not until his senior year - right now he's focusing now on speed for cross country.

My husband's first 50 miler and 100 miler were incredible! To quote my husband after his 50 miler "I'm never EVER coming back here again!!" Ha yeah he did BR100 soon after. What was that again?! I realized how much work crewing was during these events. I'm proud of both my guys and looking forward to a lot of family running in 2012 as well!

I hope everyone had a great year and hope you're looking forward to big things in 2012! Happy New Year, and Happy Running!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Turkey Trot 5k Report

So it's done - our family's first Turkey Trot! We all woke up early on Thanksgiving Day and headed to the Y. I haven't done a 5k since right after the Boston Marathon in 2010. It was strange running a 5k race again. I've been doing lots of work trying to get faster, and wanted a PR for this race. A PR is what I got! 21 mins and 7 seconds. (However I did NOT beat my husband. HMPF.)

I'm torn between being proud of this race and disappointed in myself. Proud because of my PR, but disappointed in myself because despite what the numbers show, despite my PR, I didn't push myself. I ran easy the whole way and feel like I could've broke 21 mins. Breathing was good, muscles felt great, I just got in a comfy spot and didn't budge. I didn't even get sweaty WTH! That's a big indicator I didn't work it, that and the fact that I crossed the finish line and didn't grab anything to drink, because well I just didn't work hard enough to need one :) So I crossed saying both "YAY!" and "DANG IT!" I got first place in my age group and 6th place female overall, and I'm pretty sure this was the largest 5k I've ever run. Over 950 people registered and 750 people showed up to run. This was great news for the Y who didn't expect nearly that many people. (Soon after we got a letter stating membership fees for the year were not increasing for the first time since we've been members - maybe it's thanks to the runners!)

The cutest part of the whole race was a little kid I was running next to for nearly the entire race. I believe final stats have him listed as 10. TEN!! I just kept on watching him, smiling - wishing I had 1/2 of the competitive drive he had. He was trying SO hard, pushing it the whole way. He constantly would look back to see where I was, how close I was to him. I think he probably would have beat me if he didn't waste so much energy turning his head and looking back!! I actually felt bad when I passed him with 1/2 mile left because he was working SO SO hard. This great kid came up to me after the race and told me "Great job!" Competitive but great Sportsmanship - I LOVE IT!

The best age group award ever:

Thankfully I won a pumpkin pie, because the night before my son and I were doing the prep work for our Thanksgiving dinner and he accidentally put black pepper in our pumpkin mousse!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and some Turkey Trot fun of their own.

Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



I'm proud to be a part of a newly formed team, team JOA Moving Spirit as a coach and pacer! We are currently looking for both runners and volunteer coaches/pacers to join the team - so read up!

One of my running friends, local runner Joe Vasil goes to church with a young boy (John Owen) and his family. John has a fatal disease, Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

Joe and John:

DMD progressively wastes muscle and causes muscle weakness. It begins with microscopic changes in the muscle. As muscles degenerate over time, the boy's muscle strength diminishes. With DMD, ultimately the heart muscle will stop working.

Touched by the family Joe wanted to contribute and has done INCREDIBLE things already! His latest contribution to JOA is creating the "Moving Spirit" team. This team will help derail DMD together at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. One goal is to have Team Moving Spirit runners in each distance - the 10k, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon. Training starts January 1 2012! There will be plenty of support through the team's expert coaches! If you need some motivation to get into running further distances, or are just unsure of where to start join team Moving Spirit! Click on the link below to register!

All the training you need to complete this amazing journey will be provided. We ask that you commit to training with the $50 entrance fee, which will cover your race day shirt and other miscellaneous expenses. We encourage you to take part in fundraising efforts where your friends and family sponsor the steps you will take to derail duchenne. Race fees will be covered with $1,000 raised in fundraising efforts. You will be given you all the tools you need to help with your fundraising efforts.

This is a perfect way to jump into a new distance. With so much support and running for a great cause, your experience will be nothing short of phenomenal - I promise you that!

Again coaches and pacers are needed as well - you can click here to sign up to be a volunteer!

The goal of John Owen's Adventure is to put $150,000 in the hands of Scientists searching for a treatment of DMD. Let's help find a cure for John and the 500,000 other boys suffering from DMD.


This year's Turkey Soup Run went great! Thanks to Guy Gadomski for all his hard work on this. Guy made loads of bread and turkey soup, while other members brought various yummy foodstuffs. It was a beautiful day (well, for most-I wanted snow!) Many runners showed up - old NERC's and new and we all had a blast. It was great to see new faces -Big thanks to everyone who came out!


The time is here! Youth ambassadors are leaving this week to begin their journey - Expedition India! Previous youth expeditions consist of travels to:

Baffin Island



The Amazon

Click here to be taken to the Expedition India homepage to follow along!
Watch as Ohio youth ambassador Jessica Kenny from Lake Erie College runs India with other youth ambassadors from the United States and Canada!

Good luck to all the youth ambassadors, educators, doctors, and adventurers! Safe travels!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NERC Autumn Leaves 5 miler, Forbes House Donations, and Runnin' the streets of C Town


BIG thanks to all the runners who came out to the Northeast Running Club's Autumn Leaves 5 miler last weekend. The weather was (depending on who you ask...ahem) great and people seemed to really enjoy themselves. This was the last race this year as far as volunteering goes for my family and I. Saturday we helped set up - my husband with outside/course marking duties with the manly men and me inside setting up registration, food, etc. with the womenfolk. My son went outside with the tough guys for awhile but quickly came back inside coughing and sounding horrible. He wasn't looking good at all so as soon as the inside work was done we hit the road and went back home. I gave him some medicine, some homemade soup and kept him inside the rest of the day. That seemed to do the trick as he was back to his old self on race day, well rested and recharged - ready to fulfill his duties of picking on NERC V.P. Sean! Poor Sean....poor Sean! There were a decent army of volunteers on Sunday, and my son, Carole Krus' daughter (such a cutie) and myself were in charge of a water stop. The kiddos handed out the water and I took pics of the race. There's five photo albums which you can find at the links below:

Album 5

Album 4

Album 3

Album 2

Album 1

Thanks Mark Anson for putting on another great race!

Big thanks to all the volunteers who came out as well. The NERC is a great non-profit organization and none of this can be done without your help!


Big thanks to all my friends and co workers who donated to the Forbes House! The picture shown here is only 1/3 of the donations received!

October was Domestic Violence Awareness month and the Forbes House is a shelter for battered women and children. Their mission:

"To relieve the trauma resulting from domestic violence, to assure access to safe and caring environments for its victims, and to foster an end to domestic violence through education, prevention, and advocacy".

I'm so grateful for all my friends, the donations filled my entire trunk and the entire back of my car. I've got a few more things left to take down there and that's it! Forbes House is an organization close to my family's heart, and we appreciate all your help!


Missing your hot cocoa? As the days get colder I'm finding it harder and harder to avoid the wonderful comfort of hot cocoa. So - this is what I came up with. It tastes great, much like those McDonald's (ewww) McCafe coffee drinks, but it's packed with healthy goodness. Mix it up! Try different flavors of coffee, different flavors of protein powder and see what you like best. Some tips:

#1: When you go to blend it, blend it on the lowest setting.
#2: Don't reheat (or put the mixed drink back into the coffee pot to keep warm)
#3: This does just fine sitting in a thermos for a few hours.

Protein powered hot cocoa:
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Iso-sensation)
1 serving of coffee (I've been using chocolate mint ground coffee)

Make your coffee as you normally would (leave black - no cream, no sugar), then put into blender. Place 1 scoop of protein powder into blender. Blend on low until mixed.



So my son had so much fun running through Pittsburgh a couple weeks back that I decided why not Cleveland as well? Today we went downtown with our friend Charlie Bolek and ran 10k through the streets of Cleveland.

We had a great time exploring the city and goofing off! We started at the Westside Market and made our way towards Tower City, through 4th Street and past the theater district. It was windy but fun - and made for a good recovery run for Charlie who ran 50k the day before!!!!!

This is definitely an activity that we will continue to do. Right now I'm willing to drive 2-3 hours away to go explore a city in this fashion, so next on our radar will either be Columbus or Detroit. We've never been to either city, so it'll be great to explore a new place in such a fun way :) Afterwards we stopped at Patterson Fruit Farm and Barnes and Noble for some new books. The rest of our day has been spent in our jammies reading. Good weekends like this make Monday mornings so much harder! I'm not so sure I want to go to sleep tonight, because when I wake up it will all be over......

Happy Running,


For those that didn't know, October was Domestic Violence Awareness month. During the month of October I collected items to take to the Forbes House for Women and Children at work. The Forbes house is a safehouse for battered women and children. Their mission: "To relieve the trauma resulting from domestic violence, to assure access to safe and caring environments for its victims, and to foster an end to domestic violence through education, prevention, and advocacy".

I was thrilled to have received so many donations to take to Forbes! This is just a third of what received to take to Forbes:

Everyone was so incredible with their donations of food, clothes and toys! My trunk was full - as well as the entire back seat/floor of my car! Thanks so much for everything guys! Work friends donated, as well as friends outside of work. You guys are all awesome! I've taken the majority of the items to Forbes, with just a few things left to take this week. Wonderful!! This organization means a lot to my family, and we really appreciate it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



I received my I2P gear recently and it's the best stuff! compression shorts, jacket, long sleeve/short sleeve running shirts and was well worth the wait! The stuff couldn't be more comfortable - thanks I2P!

Did you see?
My amazing friend and coach Ray Zahab was on CTV recently speaking about I2P. Check the short video clip out here:

This was really well done and gets to the heart of what I2P is all about...a must watch!
Ray was also featured in Outside magazine - check it out here:

And one more video - a preview on the upcoming Expedition India!  This month 4 incredible youth ambassadors will be running  approximately 300 kilometers in the world's seventh largest desert!  Once again one of the ambassadors is from right here in Northeast Ohio - Jessica Kenny.  Congrats to Jessica and all the youth ambassadors, and GOOD LUCK!

India Youth Expedition 2011 Promo from GOi2P on Vimeo.

Northeast Running Club Updates

The Saturday group runs are still on and with my son's Cross Country over I can finally go back! Except this weekend (lol). This weekend the family and I will be helping set things up for the Autumn Leaves 5 mile race held at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. This race is an incredible event, and so much fun! Run past cows, through corn mazes, and slide in the mud - make sure to come out, you'll have an incredible time! The race is on Sunday and starts at 9:00 a.m. It looks like the weather will be nice for once (boooo) so come get your fill of corn, hay, and fun!

NERC in the news!!!
Check out this article on Autumn Leaves and our awesome non-profit running club, it really explains what the Northeast Running Club is all about - and what the club's mission is:


With training miles currently reduced I still need to get my vitamin D! One of my goals (forever it seems) was to get backpacking gear and start backpacking together. Well, we went to REI Pittsburgh, and with the suggestions of my I2P friend Agnes Jung and the recommendations of "B Man" at REI I think we're all set! We got some great stuff and are ready to roll.

I took my son out for a test hike this weekend. We loaded up the packs with EVERYTHING we would take when we are out backpacking:

I wanted to see how he'd hold up first close to home - and this also gives me an idea of how many miles we could put into a day. We hiked a small part of the Buckeye Trail (it turned out to be a ton of road - yeah we got funny looks). Despite the roads we still had a fun time. At first my son had a hard time putting away the phone - but eventually it happened and we had some good conversation. Hints my son was thinking like an ultra runner came out. He schooled me on different toenail removal techniques, info on Badwater, grabbed a stick to carry for the whole hike like ultra-runner dude Ron Ross, and also asked "Hey mom, I wonder....has anyone ever run the whole Buckeye Trail?" Hmmmmmm......

We also got great amusement out of these two signs:

One side of the street with this sign: (Enter Cuyahoga, Leave Lake)

The other side of the street with this sign: (Enter Lake, Leave Geauga)

I imagine it's as simple as this: One side of the road is in one county, the other side in the other county - but it was still hilarious seeing it!

We managed 9.75 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. I really have no clue if that's fast, slow, average but I'm glad it went well. I tried to squeeze out an extra .25 miles to make it an even 10 but my son figured me out :) Throughout the whole hike I was testing his sense of direction, having him read the Buckeye trail markings and having him tell me where to go. When we got close to the parking lot I decided to blow right past the trail head in an attempt to sneak in that extra .25 and also to see if he was paying attention both at the beginning of the hike and at the end. He did great at awareness and called me on it right away! Boooo! It still bugs me we didn't get the extra .25! Sheesh.


Cross country is over for my mini, and he had a blast running with the team this year. The coaches were great, and the kids were amazing.

Examples of kid greatness:
Early on I was faced with a hard decision to make (a nightmare!) My son called me at work to ask me if a senior, Nick, could drive him to the weekly pasta dinner. My heart fell into my stomach. "Let it begin" I thought. The first time a KID would be driving MY kid. Point blank I was scared as hell. But, this is how it is - he's growing up, so I let him go. Everything worked out fine of course, and the senior that drove him is a pretty amazing person. All the seniors were great role models to the younger kids in fact, and it was so great to see. At one time I wasn't sure if he had a ride to the pasta dinner or not, and I hung out at XC practice to see if my services were needed. He wound up not needing a ride, because once again Nick was taking him-and I watched this amazing kid fill up his vehicle with freshman. So amazing! I never saw that in my school growing up. Seniors wanted nothing to do with lowly freshman. Maybe because I never played sports - so maybe I was lacking in experiencing that kind of camaraderie, but this all was really fascinating and new to me.

The strong character of the kids came through more than once this season. As it so happened I run with the Riverside teacher's running group when I can, and there were a few times we ended up in the same park as the XC runners. One instance when I was running I came up behind some kids who were running and having a discussion on the rights/wrongs of swearing. I slowed down to listen to the conversation again just completely fascinated at their discussion and their feelings on the topic. I ran smiling, hearing how "There was no place for it, etc"  Again...AMAZING! These are teenagers???

Excellent work on a great season runners! We're proud of you!


Another Halloween season at the Lake Metroparks has come and gone, and my son has once again volunteered at the Haunted Hayrides. This is by far his favorite volunteer job with the parks. Other volunteering he does with the system: Day camp counselor aide, Wildlife Center Assistant, and he has volunteered at Christmas Lights. He loves all that he's done but definitely has a blast with the Hayrides. When else can you be an astronaut? I mean come on!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween - now get out and run off all that candy!

Happy Running,

Monday, October 24, 2011


WOW!! Life has been busy busy lately! (seriously one of these days I will NOT start a blog this way!) Lots has been happening, will try and keep it short and sweet though :) No novels!

My husband and many friends ran the NC24 Hour Endurance Run in September, each having different goals as far as mileage goes. My son and I were providing assistance to friends and family, helping out with whatever was needed, trying to keep track of food and water intake for the team, as well as moral support. Many other NERC members helped throughout the day and night - and it was so appreciated! NERC and friends came from places such as Ohio, Canada, New York, and more! It was a great time, and everyone's performance was truly inspirational. Big congrats to all my friends, and to my hubby on a job well done!

My husband and I had the chance to pace our friend Scott McGrew at the Oil Creek 100 miler held this month in Pennsylvania. This would be Scott's first 100 mile run and he conquered it! I tricked my husband into taking the shorter pacing section (HA!) and I took the longer distance which was around 30 miles. Yup he was mad when he found that one out! But, he didn't really get the bum end of the stick as me arriving for the later pacing duty meant I got up early to see my son run in his XC meet which was 1 1/2 hours away (I got up at 4 that morning) then drive the 2 1/2 hours to Oil Creek after the meet & wait for pacing to begin! So, hubbers got more sleep. A lot more. Can't argue with that!

On the run Scott looked great the whole time, nailed nutrition, electrolytes, all of it. In fact, he scared the crap out of me to be honest. You see, in the days leading up to Oil Creek I had banged out a 120 mile plus week - my longest mileage week ever. I felt great, no problem, no worries! I was just happy to be running strong again and couldn't stop, feeling like Forest Gump when his braces came off.(I also knew a reduction in mileage was on the way for me as well so I just had to sneak some more miles in this week and went crazy!)SO-as I said before Scott scared the crap out of me. The last few miles of the 100 he really picked up the pace. For the first time I really regretted all the miles I put in that week. Basically I was scared that I wouldn't be able to keep up with him, because he was flying! And then - the last 1/2 mile he said it: "Hey do you think you can run ahead about a 3 minute per 1/2 mile pace and tell everyone I'm coming?" For the first time during my pacing job I think I showed 100% fear while I said...."uuuhhhh yeah if you want?! (inside I was saying awwwww DAMN IT!!)" I don't think I landed a 3 min 1/2 mile pace, but was able to speed up a bit to let everyone know he was on his way! Scott had a great run, and his wife Bri made a great crew chief! Congrats Scott!

This weekend I had organized a fun run for my running club, the Northeast Running Club. It was a 5 mile fun run down the busiest street in the area, and most of us were in full costume.

We had an absolute blast acting like kids all over again! For some it was their first group run, and for others it was their longest distance.

A great intro to the club I'd say! We got many curious onlookers, many smiles from drivers in their cars, and many beeps, woo hoos and you name it! We had around 25 people come out including my hero - the legendary Jean Toth, my runnin' mama!

As you can see my son ran with us as well(he was a little excited in the morning, getting into his Halloween costume at 7 a.m. - the run wasn't until 10:30!)

Amy and Sean ran the whole distance in their amazing costumes:

I don't know how they did it, but they did! That's one tough couple!

Friends Mike and Beth came out, and they get the award for cutest couple!

My own husband was a rapper, and certainly played the part!

Afterwards we all went to Quaker Steak and Lube for some seriously refueling. The run was a success and I already have requests to make one for next year, so it looks like this will be an annual thing! I think my son is already planning next year's costume....

Happy Running!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Beast of Burden 100 race report

First, a recap of my last 8/9 months. It's been a long journey.

Those of you who know me know I've been dealing with issues that have not been so pleasant.

#1. Swelling - legs, feet, which seemed to come and go randomly. When I ran, when I didn't run - it didn't matter. I did know it was far worse when I ate more sugar and wheat.

#2. Nausea - even when I did not eat/fuel on the run, I was getting nauseated - very uncomfortable.

#3. Insomnia - there were some nights when I just COULD NOT sleep. Oh MAN did I want too though!

#4. Fatigue

#5. Muscle weakness - at times I could barely lift my arms.

#6. Consistent weight gain, due to the edema

#7. Heart palpitations

#8. Bloated feeling constantly

#9. And others, I will not divulge...tmi.

After dealing with this for some time, thinking it would go away, and acquiring my one and only DNF, and a no show at Mohican I thought I could have an intolerance to gluten, since the problems were worse when I ate wheat products. (Looking back now, really didn't explain why it also happened when I ate sugary treats as well). I had thought I found a solution, for a couple weeks the swelling went down, but not completely-I know that know looking at my feet today. My feet had been swollen for so long that I actually forgot what they really looked like on a normal day. If the swelling went down slightly, I thought WOOOO! FIXED!

It went back and forth like this. It started to get ten times worse after my son's first marathon. Each cycle of swelling my legs seemed to get bigger and bigger and BIGGER. I was falling into a very deep depression. The highs and lows - I'm swelling, OH IT'S GONE YAY! Then, swelling - again and again and again. My running was suffering of course, speed dropped significantly. I could barely finish a run, and some I actually didn't - something I never imagined I'd do (not to mention my DNF at Glacier Ridge). After talking with my amazing friend and coach, Ray Zahab, I backed out of the 100 miler I was supposed to do in June - Mohican 100. I was hell bent on figuring out WHAT this was exactly. Except - I couldn't. My doctors were clueless - and they sent me to specialist. (Actually they lined me up with 4, but after the first one costing over $500 I could not go see the others.) The first specialist, I could tell - just thought I was crazy. I was only mildly swollen at the time of his office visit. So, I showed him a picture of what I was talking about. He nearly fell out of his chair when I showed him, telling me "WOW, I didn't expect that!" AWESOME. But he couldn't help me. He didn't even know where to begin. Again, deeper depression. I was at the point now that I was doing everything I could to avoid running with people. My run was a crawl, and I basically felt like a complete fat ass from all the water I was retaining. I couldn't wear my jeans anymore. My feet were constantly blistering. All I really wanted to do was lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. Boo hoo waaa waaa. I was still running though, even if it wasn't pretty. It was damn near uncomfortable. Imagine this. Go grab a 10 pound weight, try to run with it. Imagine that weight getting put on your body in one, two days. Horrid. Sometimes, it was more than that. I was constantly on the net in a "what's wrong with me mode" looking things up, wondering - seeing different things, thinking well maybe it's this, or that, or that....feeling completely crazy. I also was feeling like the people who really didn't know me well, only ran with me a few times - didn't really believe what was happening or maybe thought I was whining because I was slow. I felt like THEY thought I was crazy, too. No matter though. Something was not right, I knew it - and despite what people may have or have not been thinking I had to keep going, keep fighting until I found the answer. I was grateful to have a few friends help me out with some things. Most specifically - Courtney Baker Russell, who was helped me out and sent me some wonderful messages when I thought it was gluten. Agnes Jung, who always showed her concern, Desiree Cowie, Lee Shane, Wendy Collura, Chettina, and most recently Roseann Perchinske-a fantastic woman and athlete. You all don't know what a few kind words can do when you're really low. Really great people who I'm so fortunate to know. Also, my friend and coach Ray Zahab, who continued and continues to help me out through everything, offer his advice and put up with my frustration. And my husband. My husband who got the worst of it, who saw my tears, my anger, and my resentment.

This was not me. Hate was building up inside me more and more as each day passed. Before all this, I was a happy runner. Now I was starting to question why I was even doing it. What was the point? I wasn't having fun, and the more I ran the more I seemed to gain weight. It just didn't make any sense. It didn't make sense and I was pissed. I wasn't feeling good. Things just plain old sucked. Boo hoo. Boo hoo. But still, I kept looking for answers. Because deep down, I really do love running, and couldn't imagine my life without it. I started to do everything I could to avoid group runs. No way did I want to run with people the way I was. I didn't want people to see me the way I was, and I didn't really feel much like laughing anyway. Misery in my case does not love company.

About a week after I was supposed to do Mohican I signed up for the Beast of Burden 100 miler, thinking SURELY I would have things figured out by then. I continued to run, it continued to suck - with a few mediocre days mixed in between. Literally the ONLY good run I had was a 15k run the weekend before Beast of Burden. Ray advised me not to run Beast of Burden - and I admit that would have been the smart thing to do. But mentally I couldn't take it. I couldn't go through the whole winter with Glacier Ridge, Mohican, and BoB too! I would've shut down even more mentally - and that would have been worse than the physical issues I was experiencing. It was something I had to do.

When I first signed up for Beast I wrote down a time, stuck it on my work computer. A fast time. As the weeks went by that hope slowly diminished, and as the race approached I made a decision. I was going to Beast of Burden not to place, not having a time goal, but my only goal was to go there and smile, laugh, and have an all around great time. It was a good goal :)

So here goes. My BoB 100 race report, with a little bit of Eureka mixed in:

One week before Beast of Burden I was poking around on the Livestrong website. (Fantastic resource for anyone - please check it out!) I was mildly curious when I went onto "Myplate" calorie and activity tracker. I thought hmmm, I wonder how many calories a day I wind up with after eating and running? I thought the number would be outrageous, since the weight keeps creeping up, on and on and on....instead I was at a NEGATIVE calorie balance. A pretty big negative at that. I thought "NO WAY." How could that be? I entered in the previous two days. Again, big negatives. Now, I eat exactly the same way every day (breakfast and lunch, and in between snacks). The only difference daily is dinner. So that means that every day for I don't even KNOW how long I was at a negative calorie deficit, excluding my non running days - Monday and Friday. My heart sunk. I was trying to do things right, and trying to eat healthy - trying to lose weight because I kept gaining, etc, etc you know the story. I was downright shocked. I was always wondering, Ray CONSTANTLY would tell me, EAT EAT EAT! But in my mind I was thinking, just look at me though! I weigh so much!!! Even if it was water weight, it messed with my head, all that extra weight. It sounds dumb, me not knowing I was under calories - but honestly I wasn't a calorie counter. Frankly the shit bores me to death. But now, I have to be. I have to make sure I get everything I need. And honestly using the Livestrong site makes it SO easy it's almost fun. The only pain in the butt is when you have to add a recipe, it takes a few minutes (so really not so bad). It's almost exciting seeing how many calories you have left at the end of the day, and HEY...I can go out and by cashews, I have ### calories left!! That day I started using the tracker on Livestrong and have used it every day since. I found things on "starvation mode" which said you actually GAIN weight when you are at a negative calorie balance but I was questioning that. WHY if I was constantly at a negative balance was I not skin and bones? WHY was I gaining weight! WHY was I one of the biggest runners out there? The things I looked up about starvation mode said this would happen, that your body just holds onto everything it can get when it gets it. I really wasn't buying that one, still confused and curious. But I started to eat all the calories I needed and prepared for the upcoming 100 miler. (There is more to this equation later!)

My son and I headed for Lockport, New York the day before the race. We chilled at the hotel, he showed me a pizza place that he went to during the winter BoB and we just ate, swam, and relaxed. My husband came later that night straight from work, and my other pacer - Scott McGrew and his with Bri came down the morning of the race.

Before the race we met lots of amazing people, fun people - and took a few pics

And then, it was go time! I started too fast for what I was used to considering how training went, and that was a mistake - especially in the heat. The course is interesting in the fact that you are completely exposed to the elements. That's what makes this race difficult. Winter version, Summer version - it's all about the weather.

Mile 12.5 I came into the aid station shaking, knowing what I had done. I left out of there still not learning my lesson. At mile 25 I came in, got a few things and left with my husband, who we decided at the last minute he would pace me (he was actually not going to be able to make the race at all at first, but was able to work it out with his job last minute). I left forgetting to take my ecaps along with me. TROUBLE. And that meant trouble FAST and in a BIG way. I crashed completely and walked quite a bit from miles 25-50, even when I eventually got some more ecaps. It took until mile 50 to be able to put forth some effort again. Scott McGrew started to pace me at mile 50 and I tried running some, walking some, etc, etc.

At one point during the run I really gained some ground and picked up some energy. It was dark now and a wicked thunderstorm rolled through, rain - thunder - lightning, you name it. I laughed to myself as I had mentioned to Sam (the race director) that if he wanted it to be sunny during the day he's got to at least give me rain at night. I guess I got what I asked for! Still holding onto my second wind, I kept on. I wonder, at that last aid station I had 1 scoop of peanut butter and a cup of coke! hmmmm I had also taken a fondness to watermelon and pringles :) (I had ditched my hammer concoction early on, just was stubborn and wanted variation) My main goal was to keep my calories under 300 an hour, as studies have shown that's about all a runner can handle in one hour. WELL. I screwed that one up! After the PB aid station, I decided well HA! That worked so well will DOUBLE the PB! NOOOO! I didn't think, doubling the pb and then getting another coke on top of it put me well over 300 calories. It wasn't long before I started dry heaving, nauseous, and just blah. I once again was walking, although I was still excited because soon my son would be pacing me, and I figured my nausea would be gone by then - since it would take me so long to get to him. haha.

Finally I got to the turnaround aid station - it was my last time there. AWESOME!! My son was ready and waiting to pace me for my last 12 1/2 miles. I looked at him and said "You don't have to do this. It's raining, thunder, lightning - seriously if you don't want too it's ok, really." All he did was look at me, and not even blinking said "No. I'm doing it. I'm going with you. I want to" AWESOME!! And away we went. In a way it helped me, because I went into "mom mode". I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about him - you know typical mom stuff. Is he cold, is he hot, is he tired, is he hungry, blah, blah blah. At the aid station: Make sure you eat, make sure you drink, blah blah blah. Soon we were nearly at the finish!! I did notice though, he was getting tired. He hadn't run so far since his marathon, and he had been busting his butt at XC practice. Still - he didn't say anything. Didn't tell me he was tired, didn't complain, but I did see it. Soon we got to a bridge that he thought was very close to the finish and said "HEY! There's the bridge!!" I had to tell him "No, we've got two more bridges to cross" and I then saw his shoulders slump. But still, my little trooper was such an awesome pacer and didn't say anything. Finally we went across the correct bridge, ran towards the finish line, and it was done! I took third place female, tenth overall. Not meaning to do anything but finish, I'm pleased with the results.

My time was 22 hours and 18 minutes. And this is the race that I'm most proud of by far. I didn't back down, didn't give up - and am going into fall with a positive attitude for next year. First, thank you's - then to tell you my little "Eureka" moment:

Thanks to Scott McGrew and Bri McGrew! Scott was an amazing pacer, and I would definitely ask him to pace me again! He's a great friend and I'm so glad that we met him and his wife this year. Bri is an amazing person, and was excellent crew for me! She's so positive, and it really rubs off. Great people and great friends, we're really lucky people :) THANKS GUYS!!!

My husband, who drove straight from a 12 hour shift to NY so he could help me out, and ran the crap miles with me. Forever grateful :)

My son, pacer extraordinaire, who fought his own battles silently so he could help me through mine:

My friend, my coach - Ray. As busy as he is, as much as he does - he still takes the time to help me, listen to me, and believe in me!

Beast of Burden Race Director Sam Pasceri, Resurrection racing, and all the BoB volunteers. You guys are incredibly awesome, and the event is amazing. A definite must do for every ultra runner, all because of people like you! I can't say enough about this race and the people - runners, you just have to go there for yourself and see. I really hope we can make it to this event every year, even if we're not running it. Running or helping, either way - this event fast became tops on our list. Thank you so SO much for your hospitality, staying up all night, working so hard - you guys are incredible people and we have nothing but respect for you all. Despite everything, this race and it's people made me love running all over again, and made more hell bent on figuring out what was going on. THANK YOU!!!

And now, my little "EUREKA" moment:

A week after BoB and my swelling was not horrible (actually - I thought it was non-existent, but again I had been in that state for so long when it wasn't too bad I thought I was "normal" even when I was not.) Yet, almost one whole week after BoB I damn near exploded. Frustrated, I thought long and hard. "If this does have to do with food somehow, what are the foods that REALLY make me feel good when I eat them? I mean really truly INSTANTLY good?" First thing that came to my mind, melons. Watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew. I rarely eat them, because lets face it. They're big, bulky, and well - I'm lazy and really don't like to stand there and take the time to cut em up. So I rarely eat them. But out of frustration I went and bought melons so I could eat during the week, and them to my calorie intake (NOT EATING ONLY MELONS). Monday I was feeling absolutely horrible and started, ate a whole melon. Almost immediately, waterworks. Literally I would go to the bathroom, sit back down at my work desk, and have to pee again. I got home from work and had lost 5 pounds since that morning. Monday night, still swollen - I ran. Just a short run down a busy street - Mentor Avenue. During my run I was running across a crosswalk when I heard someone in a car that was stopped say "WOW that's a big girl to be running like that." It was like someone had punched me in the stomach. I just wanted to scream "THIS IS NOT ME!" In tears I kept running, hoping that what happened during the day was a sign of good things to come. I didn't want to get my hopes up too high though. I didn't want to be knocked back down again.

Tuesday, same thing. One melon, 5 pounds gone.

Wednesday, One melon, 4 pounds gone.

Thursday, my husband and I looked at my feet and legs in utter amazement. I don't remember the last time I saw my feet the way they looked. There was no denying there wasn't swelling. Down 14 pounds since Monday. Such a big difference:

Pic #1 - One pic of how my feet got - this is during one of the swelling instances before Beast of Burden:


Since the melons, for whatever reason were working so well naturally I was curious beyond belief. What is it about melons? WHAT is going on?!

One word: POTASSIUM. Melons are rich with potassium. And LACK of potassium causes every single symptom that I was experiencing. Why the lack of potassium? My negatvie calorie balance. NOW it makes sense, my swelling, my weight gain. Lack of potassium causes it all, and then some.

See below, copied off website:

Symptoms of Lack of Potassium
The most common symptoms of lack of potassium in the body is leg cramps and arm cramps. If a person finds arms and legs cramping a lot without any specific reason, it may mean lack of potassium in the body. Vomiting is another lack of potassium symptom as this mineral is an important part of ones gastrointestinal system. In less severe cases, a person may feel nauseated all the time. If you feel tired at all times and feel that you have no energy left, it may be a sign of lack of vitamins and minerals. Lack of potassium symptoms also include fatigue and weakness. Heart palpitations that crop up on an EEG may be a sign of low potassium levels. Abdominal and stomach cramps are also lack of potassium symptoms. Other signs and symptoms of low potassium may include:
•Abnormally dry skin
•Glucose intolerance
•High cholesterol levels
•Impaired growth
•Insatiable thirst
•Low blood pressure
•Mental confusion
•Nausea and vomiting
•Salt retention
•Cardiac arrest in extreme cases

So my little accidental miracle in a way. I stumbled upon this and so glad that I did. It's so simple. Seems so small, but it was HUGE for me. Potassium. The human body is so incredibly confusing, and such a great big pain in the ass. I'm thankful for my newfound knowledge though, despite it taking SO incredibly long to get to this point. I'm so pumped, more so than I ever have before. Now I have one goal. Get 100% healthy and regain the speed I lost dealing with these issues. And then annihilate the course at Glacier Ridge, the site of my DNF. CRUSH IT. It's not a huge race, no prize money, no national championship - but to go out there and kill the course will have very special meaning to me. Training has begun.

Happy Running,

Burning River 100 miler - a pacer's report

Yes I've been slacking on the blog! Hopefully I can remember all the details of BR, but life has been busy! I ran recently ran my latest 100 miler, my son started cross country and school - so much to do!

My husband's first 100 miler, the BURNING RIVER 100

It hasn't even been two years since my husband started running. I can remember the day when he said enough is enough, and we went out and bought him his first pair of good running shoes. Since then he has worked his way up from 5k to now an amazing 100 miles! He has, as most of us have - become completely obsessed :) A good obsession I'd say, since what we do really doesn't interfere with family time (early a.m. runs) and, well anyway our son runs with us quite a bit as well. (well, not now during cross season - he has ditched us for his XC buds! sheesh!)

The night before the race my husband, son, and I went to the pasta dinner/packet pickup for the race. The meal was prepared by the most awesome Chef Bill Bailey. There we met our friend from Michigan, Marc "Doc" Ott - who stayed the night at our house. Almost immediately when we got home it was lights out, both guys understandably wanted to hit the sack early. I had no complaints as I would be up all day and night as well :)

The alarm sounded off early EARLY in the morning. 2 or 2:30 a.m., I forgot which. We got ready and hit the road. Squire's Castle was bustling with activity very early in the morning - runners standing around looking scared beyond belief, runners peeing in the woods, and some runners running to warm up! (Uh Valmir yes!) We stood around and chatted for a bit, people attempted night time photos, and soon they were off!

My son and I hit every aid station that we were allowed to be at. Hauling stuff that my husband may or may not need to each one, waiting, cheering on friends that were coming in. Early on my son and I spent a lot of time with Sara Wank, Chris Basich, and Chris's brother. It made the day really enjoyable!

My husband was looking good each time we saw him. He had a good pace, didn't start out to fast - was doing really, really well. I don't remember the mileage, but I believe it was around 30? he came in and said he felt he was getting a blister and was going to get it worked on. I wanted to scream NOOOO! DON'T SIT! But, if the man had a blister that was bothering him, can't knock him for that. He sat down at the podiatrist's tent and that's where he stayed for over 25 minutes. BAD BAD BAD. I almost bent down and popped the damn thing with my fingers so I could get him the hell up and get going. Eventually, the deed was done - he got up and was completely cramping all over. From this point forward in the race, it was a whole different ball game. MISERY.

Now I was worried. All I could think of was Tanya Cady's saying..."Beware the Iron Chair!" So true. So very true. My son and I made our way to the next aid station. We arrived at the aid station and our friend Beth, aid station captain told me a runner was lost, and it was someone who most DEFINITELY should have been there by now. I asked who it was, and she told me "Valmir".

My heart sunk. Valmir is an amazing runner, spectacular beyond belief! And not to mention, he was lost and does NOT know English. Waiting and waiting - finally he came in made a quick circular motion with his hands and took off his bib. I have to say, it really seemed like he took it well. An amazing guy all the way around :) Heck, he had another hundo in a month anyway!! Save it for the next one...

My husband soon came in looking a bit hairy, he walked a ton between the dreaded blister aid station and this one we were at. We gave him his stuff, and off he went.

The next aid station we saw him at was the Boston Store. The Boston Store was a point in the race where quite a few runners dropped out. Unfortunately the heat of the day really got to some, and they called it quits. My husband came in, looking completely spent.

Knowing that he would perk up a bit the next time we saw him (due to our friend Charlie pacing him when he would come back around again) we kept reminding him - only xx miles until you can run with Charlie! Off he went.

It was awhile before he came back again, and friends Scott and Bri McGrew showed up. I also saw a few other friends, JP, Richard Cook, James Viggiano, Greg Murray - to name a few. It was really great to see so many people out there :)

Along comes my husband, and finally Charlie was up and out with my man, and I was really relieved. Charlie is SUCH a great guy, and I knew he could lift his spirits. Which he did indeed do. At the next aid station I was taking him the rest of the way, 37 miles - and my son would be going with Charlie to start his volunteer duties at the Merriman Road aid station.

My plan was to try and get some sleep at the aid station before my pacing duties, but there were just so many people, awesome people, to chat with that it was impossible-but I didn't mind one bit :) Really, I don't think I could've slept anyway, there was just too much excitement! Then, the man arrived! WOOO HOO! Time to go! Off we went through a run in the woods. In a few hours, it would be midnight. And on midnight, our anniversary. Running through the woods, in the dark - we never did get a honeymoon, so this was the next best thing!

I don't recall the aid station name, but it is the location of "No Frills Just Hills". I will just rename that section - BAT CITY. There were so many bats, it was unreal! Also if anyone was running and heard someone scream, sorry my bad - that would be me as a bat flew into my headlamp. Yep. After that I pointed my headlamp straight at the ground in the hopes of no more encounters. My husband's mood perked up considerably on the second loop - and he was moving at a pretty good clip.

Another aid station. We got to the next aid station, and were in and out. (This was the rule of thumb for the day.) No hanging out, no sitting down (except the dreaded blister time), no dawdling at the aid station. Get yer butt in, get out. Just keep on moving, keep on truckin', one foot in front of the other. About 2 miles after we left the aid station we came across a lady who was in such bad shape. She was weaving in and out, had a glazed look over her eyes, and had NO fuel. If I would have been the one racing, I would have stopped, stayed with her until she got to the next aid station - that's how she looked. But I wasn't, I was pacing - and had to take care of the man. Instead, I gave her all of my homemade energy bars. I could survive without them. She had done SO much more and needed them in the worst way. I worried about her the rest of the way. (SO SO happy to report though that she did cross the finish line about 1/2 hour after my husband!! Congrats stranger!!)

And onward...
I was hurting. The horrible blister that I had for weeks, that had not healed - was excruciating. Also, I had started swelling (as my whole summer has gone) and my feet were just getting too big for my shoes. This caused even more blisters. 5 on the bottom of EACH foot. Still though, this was NOT my race and I absolutely did NOT tell my husband. Just bit my lip, kept on going. I WAS seeing him through the end of this no matter want. I did not even make so much as a grunt - I didn't want him to know, and didn't want to ruin his race. NO WAY.

We got to the towpath, and MY GOD. That seemed like the longest stretch ever. The never ending towpath. We were looking forward to seeing my son and our friends at the Merriman Road aid station though, so one foot in front of the other. Soon we got to Merriman and that perked my husband back up. Everyone was great, gave him a boost - and off we went! Again. And back on the towpath! @%^* !!!!

Knowing that the end was in sight really did make the last stretch of the towpath better though. Not too much longer we were in the woods again, making good time. We had heard about a nasty set of stairs, and soon we saw it. After 97, 98 miles you don't really want to see stairs! But there they were, and off he went. When he got to the top of the stairs there he sighed a huge sigh of relief. HOWEVER, a cute old man who was walking through the woods was also at the top and said "Oh your not done yet! Wait till ya see the next set of steps!" While he was indeed a cute old man I didn't think so when he told my husband that!

Finally we got to the steps, finished - and were again relieved. Soon we would see Charlie and my son and my husband would get to run the last mile with all of us. Going, going...and there they were!! It was off to the finish line, all of us! My husband's team - Charlie, my son, and me - going, going - It was amazing to see and I was completely proud of all my husband had done. And then, there it was. The finish. The BEAUTIFUL finish! Across the line he went, looking great. My husband got his well deserved medal, and sat by the fountain. Not too long after Tanya came over and helped us out - more tips (Tanya is an amazing runner who is always so willing to help with tips, suggestions, etc - and incredible person!). She helped us out with my husband, told him to get his feet in the fountain right away! Which he did. I have to say, I was pretty impressed (and pretty embarrassed) his feet looked WAY better than mine.

I couldn't have been more proud of my husband than at that very moment. There are knee issues that he's had to battle with since high school that he pushes through, silently. But yet, he ran his 100. Not even 2 years after beginning to run. An amazing accomplishment! His finishing time, 28 hours and 32 minutes!!

A special thanks now to an amazing friend, Charlie Bolek - for spending so much time out there with us. Charlie is a wonderful pacer and great guy, and I'm so thankful he was out there with my dude. Also a big thanks to all the volunteers for being SO incredible. Each aid station was amazing beyond belief - an event like this wouldn't be able to take place without all the people who stay up all day and night to help smelly, sweaty, and at times delusional runners. Thanks everyone, for being so amazing!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Quick note kids, the Burning River 100 miler is this morning and it's my husband's first. Will have pacer/crew report later - but for now you can track him online via the live webcast, go to !!

Good luck to all the Burning River runners! We'll see you soon!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beast of Burden Training, BR100 Update & Pacing Tips, Niagara Falls and I2P updates!


This past weekend my son was out of town and I decided to make my runs in the heat of the day to get some practice running in the open sun. Beast of Burden is on a pretty open course, little shade - so I needed this and took advantage of being able to start running later in the day. Saturday I ran one half of my long run with one of my best running buds, Charlie Bolek, and the other half I ran solo. I decided to try some new energy chews I got for free (almost - just paid shipping). They were FRS energy chews.

The verdict? I liked them. They seemed to work well with me. I also used my always trusty Smartwater. Smartwater is a HUGE favorite of mine. When you can't stomach sugary sports drinks, it's hot and you still need electrolytes, this is it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! (And no I'm not some kind of paid spokesperson for them by any means)I've used it for over a year now and haven't found anything better. I really liked the combination of the FRS chews and Smartwater. My belly liked them and I guess my legs did, too - I had a negative split for my 20 miler Saturday. Charlie and I started at 11:00 a.m., temps were in the 80's and purposely there was no shade. I was pretty pleased with everything.

Sunday was a different story. I was a bit tired from Saturday's long run. I decided I wanted to challenge myself mentally as well as physically. I once again started running later in the day. Temps were hotter than they were on Saturday. I purposely chose a route that even on a good day is pretty difficult for me, not to mention the day of long run #2 for the weekend. All open road running again, in the sun. To make matters worse, I was out of Smartwater. No FRS energy chews either. I relied on regular water and Perpetum chews (which my stomach can handle, but my mind cannot) I had no negative split, my pace was slower than Saturday's pace but I was pretty happy I didn't punk out and take the easy route.

Ice baths were not a problem this weekend :)

One problem I came across this weekend was a nasty blister I acquired Saturday. I bought new "blister proof" socks. The brand - Swiftwick.

(Note the ad stating "blister free!")

One might think it was due to my new shoes, but I wasn't wearing them. (I was running road, my newer shoes are trail shoes) The only thing that I changed wardrobe wise were those socks. I never had a worse blister in my life. The damn thing would NOT go away all week. Right now it's hurting worse than before and the protective skin is now ripped off of it. OUCH. This is the nice looking picture - it's a bit nastier looking now:

Needless to say, I'll be sticking with what worked before: My Wal-Mart socks.


The new I2P gear is in and it is HOT!!!

Get yours today! View the catalog and order information HERE. Don't miss out, the order deadline is Monday August 8th!
This gear supports i2P and their free Experiential Learning Programs.


This weekend will be my husband's final long runs before Burning River. Then, the dreaded taper. Maybe I can get him to clean my house! YAY! Things are still going well for him, and he'll be bouncing off the walls in a few days. If anyone needs a roommate.....

Burning River Pacing Tips: (or any other ultra really!)

Ask you runner – do you prefer me to run in front of or behind you?

Stay positive – there’s nothing worse for a runner than knowing a pacer thinks that they can’t finish the race/doesn’t have it in them. Be encouraging from the start!! No negative vibes!!

On the run – talk about anything other than running. Kids, family, positive moments in each other’s lives, blah blah blah.

Don’t ask how your runner is feeling. (You’ll be able to see it) They will most likely feel like complete crap at some point. It’s inevitable. Asking will only put their mind there….

There are times when to chat, and times when to just zip it! Feel your runner out, be mindful of how they are feeling and if they want to be involved in conversation.

Carrying extra batteries for your headlamps.

There are times when you may have to lay down the law. Runner not eating? Make them! That being said.....there are times also when you should listen to your runner. If your runner tells you they HAVE eaten or drank something, for example - listen, be patient, ask questions - when, how much, etc... this one's tricky, so you must ask questions and get all the details - if your runner has too much food in them it could cause issues, and if you try to give them more then it will cause even bigger ones! Too little can cause issues as well. Details will help you decide if you should put the smack down on them or if you should back off! Don't always assume you know everything, and don't always assume they do. You are a team, teams work together!

You’ll have chatty moments and moments of complete silence.

You will possibly see your runner through laughing, crying, puking, you name it.

You're runner may be a bit testy after running 50, 75, 80 miles etc. It's nothing personal. Don't worry about it (Kind of like when a woman goes into labor, screams at her husband). Just a product of little sleep, tired body, a little pain - no worries! They don't mean it!

Don’t forget to fuel your body as well. Typically a pacer is out on the course a long time. Bring your fuel and use it!

This one's for new trail people mostly: Don't be surprised if you see your runner pee in the woods. Don't feel bad about peeing in the woods yourself. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

If you haven’t run with your runner before, try to get a run in before the race.

Discuss your runners goals prior to the race. Will you be there just to keep them company, for safety, or to make sure they stay on pace?

If you are tired, hungry, a little sore - don't complain, just suck it up because your runner is probably feeling a lot worse! You can tough it out, just stay positive!



The kiddo's in Myrtle Beach, my husband's running his first 100 miler on our anniversary - so what to do? We decided at the last minute to go to Niagara Falls. Just a short trip, we left Monday and came back on Tuesday-but we got our fill of fun! We checked out the falls of course, did the Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, and all the typical touristy stuff. After all the waterfall related activites we checked out Clifton Hill.

Clifton Hill is a busy area of town, complete with wax museums, haunted houses, Ripley's Believe or Not, Guiness Book of World Records, and many restraunts and shops. We'll definitely be coming back with my son as he would love all of the above. We had some fun hanging out, acting like kids ourselves:

The incredible shrinking man:

Over the Falls!!

What surprised me the most about Niagara Falls? The Buddhist Temple we stumbled upon. Of COURSE I had to check it out! I walked in and felt like I could spend forever there. It was amazing. The monks were friendly, everything was so peaceful. It was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sarira Stupa on River Road. The construction of the facility began in 1995 and it opened in 2001. It was built to commemorate the numerous Buddhas in the past, present, and future. A beautiful place, one worth going to, and a place I'll definitely be visiting again.

Overall the trip was great and we were surprised at how close Niagara Falls was. We'll be going there many more times, it's really no problem making just a day trip out of it if you leave early enough. I just can't wait to take the kiddo! Perhaps a running tour of the city next time?

Happy Running All!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Beast of Burden 100 Miler Training/Gluten Free Week 3/BR 100/I2P Updates

The miles are starting to pick up and things are looking good! First order of business was a shoe change. My "why not" experiment with the Pearl Izumui's did not pay off. In fact, my husband and I are, even with the discount we got, out a ton of money because of the Izumi's. They were horrible for the both of us. We couldn't take it any more! Friday on our way to Baldwin Wallace to pick our son up from camp we stopped at Vertical Runner. I knew what brand of shoe I wanted - my old and trusty Adidas.

Never again will I put my feet in another brand of shoe. I don't care how much of a discount I get, I don't even care if I get shoes for free - FUGGETABOUDIT. (Although Vince gave us a pretty sweet deal on our shoes!) I tried on one of the shoes and instantly said "I'm gettin it!" Vince looked at me as if to say "Don't you even want to at least walk in them, tie them, something?" Didn't have to. I already know, they work for me and I love them. I'm not saying they would work for everyone, people have their own likes/dislikes, people have their own foot issues, etc, etc. For instance you could wear huraches like my friend Ted:

You can use, well - - any old shoes that you get for free, because the shoe companies love ya, like they love my friend Caballo:

Or heck, you can even go barefoot like my friend Patrick (who recently set the world record for the greatest distance run on sand in 24 Hours - 87.36 miles)

What's my point? Trial and error are ok, ultra running is definitely a learning process - but if you find something that works, really REALLY works for you don't change it up. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?

My first run in my new shoes was a 25k training run. Little did I know, my Izumi's had completely changed my running form. At the time I didn't realize it was the Izumi's that changed my form, I just assumed my form was totally jacked up from my health issues (again - it's a learning process). I was starting to get ticked, really ticked with every run I was going on. Wondering, why if my health was starting to improve, was my form still so messed up? Enter Adidas and problem solved! I started running in my Adidas and like magic everything was right with my running world. It was then that I realized that my previous shoes were to blame for my craptastic form - for whatever reason. I don't know if I had a placebo effect goin' on, or I was just really excited to have my form back, (or just the simple fact that my better running form was back), but my pace improved by nearly one minute per mile from the previous week. HOOAH! THANK YOU ADIDAS!

This is HARD. REALLY hard. I love love love my bread. Last week really hurt. I have a lot to learn about all this. A WHOLE lot to learn. Last week all my food tasted the same. Chicken, steak, fish - it ALL TASTED THE SAME and I was getting tired of it. Then, along came two angels. Angel numero uno: Crystal.

My husband and I attended a runner's picnic organized by none other than super speedy Chuck-O. We all brought a dish, and Crystal (who deals with Gluten issues herself) brought an awesome desert - vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free brownies. I was SO excited I hugged her, and seriously wanted to cry! (but that would be crazy. I'm just crazy at home when no one can see) The brownies were amazing, and I probably could have eaten the whole batch. Yes. Yes I'm certain I could.

Angel #2, Courtney Baker Russell. I was speaking with her at Mohican about my problems, only to find out she has gluten issues as well. Saturday evening she posted a pic up on facebook of pizza she was eating. PIZZA!!! WHA?? WHA?? I commented on the pic, the pizza looked delish, and she told me she had ordered it from Zeppe's, they now make gluten free pizza! The next day I ordered some for lunch (I was so excited I called before they opened!) The pizza was rather pricey, $15 something for an 8 cut, but I had been craving pizza all week and I couldn't take it anymore! They gave me only 3 choices -plain, with sausage, or with pepperoni. I ordered the pepperoni and went to town. It tasted good! Not the same as the regular stuff, but it really did satisfy my craving. My husband approved of the pizza as well - that's always a bonus! I have to say, it feels SO great to not feel pregnant after eating pizza (which is always how I felt before). I was not swollen, bloated - none of it. Even the old man said he felt better after eating the gluten free pizza vs. the regular pizza. Tasty and you feel good after - doesn't get much better than that! The next time we order it I will change things up a bit, I'll put some veggies from the house on the pizza as well. (Don't know why I couldn't get veggies on this one - must be a safety thing) Thanks Courtney for letting me know about Zeppe's!

The Burning River 100 mile endurance run is fast approaching. This will be my husband's first 100 miler. I have to say, I'm extremely proud of him right now! He had his first real taste of what it would be like last weekend. He ran 8 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Sunday. I joined him on Sunday for 25k and was extremely impressed at how well he was running. If he was hurting he wasn't showing it at all. He is 100% ready, and I can't wait to pace him! BR will be on our anniversary, and it will be really special pacing my guy for his first 100 on our big day! Also, he's a real ultra runner now - he made me take a picture of his gnarly feet. You know you're an ultra runner when you get proud of the fact that your feet look so freakin' funky:


Next up for I2P: INDIA!

The next youth expedition will be in October, and the youth who will be chosen for the expedition will be going for free to Rajasthan, the largest state of the Republic of India. The youth will run approximately 300 kilometers in the region of the Thar Desert. (also known as the "Great Indian Desert")

Parents and teachers - if you know someone who would be interested in this - please tell them! Youth between the ages of 17 - 21 can register today for your chance to join the i2P Youth Ambassador team on this once in a lifetime journey - again, at no charge. Send them here:
Good luck to all who are trying for a youth ambassador spot!

Don't forget about my upcoming fundraiser fun run for I2P! To register and/or donate go to the event page on facebook. The page has a link so you can donate via The mula goes straight to I2P. Donate today!!

Happy Running all!