Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chat with top ultrarunner Karl Meltzer

On Thursday, November 29th at 8:00 PM EST, Karl Meltzer, one of the country's top ultramarathon athletes, will be speaking in the live chat room on my website, offering advice and answering your questions. The chat is free. All you have to do to join the discussion is log-in at and type in the password "teampr".

If you are unable to attend the chat on Thursday but have some questions for Karl, please e-mail me at and I will make sure that they get answered. Following the discussion, the entire chat will be saved and archived on the website to be viewed later.

This live chat will be the start of a monthly ongoing series, allowing you to speak with famous athletes from around the country.

Some background information on Karl Meltzer:

Last year, Karl won six 100 mile ultramarathons, including two of the toughest; the Hardrock 100 and the HURT 100. Along the way he set four course records. So far in 2007 he’s won the Moab Red Hot 50K, the Massanutten 100, and the Big Horn 100 (course record). In July he also won the 2007 Everest Award for best outdoor athlete. Check out his website at

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sarah's Vineyard

Tami and I met her parents and mine over at Sarah's Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls tonight. This is another winery that isn't too far from our place, which makes it convenient. This was the first time that any of us had been to this winery. Overall we were impressed. The atmostphere was very nice and relaxing. It is basically an old remodeled barn, with nice lighting and artwork displayed throughout. You can read more about their history HERE.

They have a decent selection of wines. We bought a bottle of Sweet Elisa which was good. Sweet but not overly sweet. My parents tried a bottle of their red wine (Sarah's Secret I think). We also bought some of their warm ciabatta bread which came with olive oil, pepper, and parmesan cheese for dipping, and one of their cheese plates that came with salami, grapes, and crackers. I can see us making a second trip back here sometime soon...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Slim Pickins 70 Miler

The Slim Pickins 70 Mile FA run, which is organized by the NEO Trail Club and only open to members, took place this past weekend, beginning one hour before sunrise on Friday and ending Saturday morning. This run covers the entire length of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) and the plan (for everyone except those putting out aid) was to run the trail in reverse by starting in Seward, PA (next to Johnstown) and traveling southwest to Ohiopyle. This was my first time running the LHHT and my longest distance attempt to date.

As Thursday afternoon arrived I could feel the excitement building and by four o'clock Slim Jim was at my parent's house to pick me up for the 2 1/2 ride to Johnstown, where I would share a room with Kim for the evening. Before heading to the Econolodge, Jim and I stopped for a bite to eat at Subway and then tried calling Gombu, Shubi, Moose, and Johnny D, who were all running the LHHT from Ohiopyle to Johnstown on Thursday so that they could put out aid during the day on Wednesday and transport cars from the start to the finish for everyone who was running on Friday. We weren't able to get ahold of Bob and Bill, but we did talk to Moose who was already on his way home since he only did 27 miles of the LHHT. He said that when he reached the 11 mile marker, heading away from Ohiopyle, he noticed that the water jug that him and Bob had placed on top of a tupperware container the night before was gone and something with large teeth (most likely a bear) had chomped right through the box. Then we called up Johnny D, who was running towards Seven Springs to meet Bob and Bill on the trail. John hadn't heard from them yet so the plan was for Jim and I to place aid for them at the mile 40 marker. Jim used the maps he had in his minivan and navigated pretty well through the dark country roads to get to where we needed to be. Once we found the road crossing that was right next to the marker indicating 40 miles to go, we got out of the van, placed the aid, and hopped back in the van to sit and relax for awhile until Johnny D met up with Bob and Bill. Just from the short time we were outside we knew that they were probably having a tough time with the strong winds (20-30 mph), snow, fog, and rain/snow mix earlier in the day. Time went on with no word or sign from them, so we called up John and he didn't know where Bob and Bill were either. Eventually though we got a call from John saying that he had met up with them on the trail, so we left and Jim took me to the hotel I was staying at in Johnstown.

Once we got to the hotel, we both enjoyed a good laugh because right next to the Econolodge was a business called "The Hite Company". The reason this is so funny is because Hite is the word that Gombu yells out a lot on the trail when acknowledging fellow trail runners.

Inside the lobby I asked the hotel attendant where I could buy a disposable camera since it was going to be too cold for me to take my digital camera on the run and she told Jim and I there was a grocery store nearby. We thought the Hite Company was a good enough omen for tomorrow's run but on our way to the store we passed Mill Creek Boulevard (home to the YUT-C 50K) and Goucher Street. 2 more good omens!

As we arrived back at the hotel Jim came in and talked with Kim and I while I started getting my run supplies ready. My gameplan was to wear a polypro shirt, which wicks moisture, underneath my Pearl Izumi top, which keeps in a lot of warmth but propels water. I would also wear a pair of winter tights, a pair of Patagonia socks that came up high to help block snow, and my Under Armour hat overtop of a winter facemask to protect my neck and face from the cold winds. In my backpack I stashed a waterproof windbreaker with hood, food which included Pure Fuel Energy bars, Clif Shot Bloks, a couple Clif bars, Reese's Cups, M&M's, and 2 peanut butter sandwiches. I also threw in a couple garbage bags, matches, an extra headlamp with extra batteries, a survival blanket, hand & feet warmers, a bottle of 5 hour energy, and some Advil. Luckily I wouldn't need any of these items except for the Advil. As I got close to finishing my packing Jim headed back to Laurel Highlands to place aid at the mile 57 marker and then fall asleep in his van. Roy Heger (who was staying at our hotel with Tanya Cady and Bill Wagner) then came over to our room and we chatted about some details for tomorrow's run. Then I enjoyed a bottle of Victory Hop Devil ale that Jim had given me before he left and off to bed it was around midnight. It's a good thing I had that beer because I probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep with my emotions running high. Plus the cap has a "V" for victory on it, so how can you go wrong?

As soon as I felt myself fall asleep the alarm was going off at 5AM. Rise and shine... I got dressed, put everything in order, and then walked across the street to grab breakfast at McDonald's. I was told by the hotel attendant that the drive-thru is open 24 hours. I guess they really mean "drive-thru" because when I walked up to the window they said they couldn't serve me. I was thinking... that makes a lot of sense to open the drive-thru window just to say that they can't serve me, but yet they are worried about being robbed.. hmm... I said "Sir, I have to run 70 miles. I just want some breakfast." Once again he said, "Sorry, but that's our policy. You can come back if you have a car." So, instead of re-inacting the scene from the movie Falling Down, I went back to the hotel and got the keys to Kim's vehicle. I then proceeded to order 2 sausage McMuffins and 6 hotcakes... awesome ultra food! Back at the hotel we all gathered in the lobby and got ready to head off to the Laurel Highlands trailhead...

Left to right: Bill Wagner, Tanya Cady, Kim Love-Ottobre, Roy Heger, and myself
As we arrived at the parking lot to start our run Gombu and Johnny D were waiting in Slim's van to let everyone put their belongings into the van which would then be driven to Seven Springs, which is about 43.5 miles into the run. I talked to Mike Halkovich briefly, wished him good luck, and then shortly after 6:00 we were headed onto the trail to begin our long journey...

The first hour of the run was in the dark so everyone had their headlamps on. The temperature at the start was in the mid 20's and you could already hear the wind howling. It didn't take long to warm up though because the first 4.5 miles or so are uphill. That gets your heart rate up quick even at 6 o'clock in the morning.

Roy in shorts... yes shorts!

Early on everyone was together but then around 3 miles or so the group of runners behind me, Kim, and Roy went off-trail for a short period of time. I remember the spot where they got confused because we almost did the same thing. They were back on the LHHT in no time though because the trail is marked so well. Just like everyone told me before the run, the trail is marked almost too good with yellow blazes on trees approx. every 15-20 steps. After we split apart it wasn't until about 18 miles or so in the run when I would see Jim and Tanya again at an aid stop by Rt. 271. So, for the first part of the run I was with Kim and Roy the whole time. I remember telling Roy "I hope we can just get 5 minutes of sun today" and sure enough, shortly after I said that the trail gods opened up the clouds and gave us some sunshine which provided us with some warmth and gorgeous scenery.

Kim and I would continue running together and the miles seemed to fly by as we carried on conversation and came up with whatever jokes we could think of to pass the time. At the marker indicating 63 miles to go, she took this picture of me posing like Catra... sexy...

Eventually we would meet back up with Roy as he would periodically slow down from time to time. One of the sections that we all ran together was a rare flat dirt road (about a half mile) that connects one trail to the next. This is the only section of the trail that you don't have to pay attention to what you're doing. The rest of the LHHT is pretty technical, littered with rocks (large and small) and lots of ups and downs.

The higher in elevation we went I could tell that the snow was getting deeper (about an inch on the trail and 2 off trail) and that more plans and trees were coated with blowing/drifting snow.

When Kim and I arrived at the aid station near the 57 miles-to-go marker we stopped and talked to Roy for a bit before he headed off, and then we loaded up on more water and food which included mini pecan pies, pringles, cookies, crackers, beef jerky, and M&M's to just name a few things. The selection and amount of food that the NEO Trail Club provided for this run was exceptional and went above and beyond what is normally provided at a FA run. As we were eating/drinking, all of a sudden I hear a loud "HEY!" and look up to see Jim and Tanya have met up with us. Jim's loud yell startled me since we hadn't seen them since early on in the run. That's OK though.. I have startled Jim enough on some of our training runs by jumping out from behind a tree. Kim left the aid station first and then I followed. I would meet up with her again down the trail and then eventually all of us (Jim, Kim, Tanya, and me) would meet up and run together for quite a long way.
Later on I realized that I had been putting off #2 in the woods for quite awhile and all the food I had been eating was building up inside. So... at a very convenient time we came across one of the park's shelter areas (I think around 46 miles to go) which has a couple bathrooms and an overnight building that you can reserve to sleep in overnight. As I got closer to the men's bathroom I could hear someone inside and when I asked if someone was there I was surprised to hear Roy. I figured it could be him though since I didn't see anyone else on the trail besides us the whole time. I wonder why nobody was hiking today... maybe because the wind chill during the day was in the teens! Well, I guess the reason Roy was inside the shelter area was to warm up a little since he had gotten his hands wet. Kim had a spare pair of knit gloves that she gave to him and that made things all better. Once we were all done taking care of business we were back on the trail and all stuck together for awhile. Then Kim and I paired up again and eventually passed through a very interesting area that was filled with rhododendrons. These plants were covered with heavy snow and you had to duck underneath them to continue on the trail, getting snow on yourself everytime you bumped one of the branches. It was fun for awhie but then became a little annoying. As we passed through this jungle I told Kim that it felt like we were heading through a car wash and we both agreed that Jim, Tanya, and Roy must be pretty skinny since there was still a lot of snow on the leaves after they had already passed through. It was starting to get colder now and we were losing daylight. Plus, this area had even more snow on the ground (about 2 inches on trail and 3-4 off trail) which made it tougher. It was kind of funny because all of the snow we were supposed to receive was supposed to be done by noon today but it wasn't until mid-afternoon when all of the snow squalls moved through this area. It would come down heavy for a few minutes and then all of a sudden the sun would come out again, which allowed me to get some beautiful pictures...

We then passed by some awesome beam rocks and I took a photo of this sign the park put up...

I also came across another park sign which answered one of the questions I had in my head for quite some time. Throughout different sections of the trail I would look off to the side and see a long fence and wonder if it was for private property or something. Then after reading this sign I realized that the park was trying to protect a certain species of tree that is most valuable to wildlife and commercial lumber. I guess if heavy burrowing of these seedlings takes place then this tree species runs the risk of being eliminated.

Well, after our nature lesson Kim and I met up with Slim Jim again and we trudged on past the bridge that passes over the Pennsylvania Turnpike and closer towards the Seven Springs Ski Resort. We've now been in the dark for some time and Jim and I noticed that Kim was beginning to have some breathing problems. She has exercised induced bronchospasm, which basically limits her from taking in a normal deep breath. She had used her inhaler several times on the run today, but it was not producing any good results. So, with her breathing continuing to get worse she decided to call it quits at Tanya's car, which was parked at the Rt. 31 parking lot (about 40 miles into the run). When we arrived at the lot it was almost like heaven to see Roy and Tanya already in the car with the heat on full blast. We got inside and quickly warmed up, making Tanya's car smell even more like something had died in there. While I drank a couple bottles of Ensure and ate a sandwich I noticed that Kim was shaking uncontrollably and her face was a little pale. We were all concerned for awhile but eventually her body temperature regulated and she was a little bit more back to normal. Up until this point I thought that Kim was just joking around when she said she was going to quit because I have never heard her complain or be in this kind of condition. It was still a great run for her though... 40 miles in the snow/cold is not easy. Once we knew that Kim was fine to drive, the plan was for her to drive Tanya's car back to the finish in Ohiopyle where Roy had already purchased a motel room. Before we hopped out of the car Roy put some windpants on.. you know it's getting pretty frigid outside when Roy has to do that! Jim and I left the parking lot first with Roy and Tanya following shortly after. We were moving pretty quick through this section from Rt. 31 to Seven Springs and got a boost of energy as we neared closer to Seven Springs and could hear "We will rock you" and some Tom Petty over the loud speakers at the Ski Resort. It was amazing how loud the music sounded with it being miles away. As we reached a clearing I could see the long steep hill that would take us up to the building at Seven Springs where Bob and John were awaiting us with warm soup, food, and drinks. This hill was pretty tough and very icy, forcing you to stay in the snowy grass off to the side. On our way up I started singing "I'm on a highway to hell!", which seemed appropriate. Once we reached the top we could see Bob and John inside the windows and John opened the door for us. It was really nice and warm in here. Bob attended to our needs and let us know that this was our last aid stop until the finish since the bear ate our food/aid at mile 60, so I made sure to eat/drink a lot and pack stuff in my backpack. I ate a hot cup of Ramon Noodle Macaroni & Cheese, some cookies, pringles, danishes, and had a cup of water and some energy drink. About 10 minutes or so after Jim and I arrived here, Roy and Tanya came through the door. They fueled up and we agreed to travel the rest of the way together. I had a hard time deciding whether or not to quit here at Seven Springs, since it was midnight and we still had a marathon (26.2 miles) to go, but I sucked it up and went back out into the wilderness.

I felt pretty good from Seven Springs to the mile 18-to-go marker, but then as I was pushing hard up this hill I could feel my body temperature quickly rise and I started feeling uneasy. I told Jim and everyone to hold up for a second and that I wasn't feeling very great. This was a scary moment because I knew in my head that there was still 18 miles to go and no easy way to quit even if I wanted to. Jim suggested that I put on my windbreaker overtop of what I already had on. That made me feel better and once I ate a pack of Reese's Cups and had some Ensure I was ready to continue on. At this point I tried to pay more attention to how my body felt and continually adjusted the zipper on my jacket and the ski mask which covered the lower portion of my face. Also, it seemed like whenever I felt bad again I would take a swig of Ensure and that somehow gave me the boost I needed to keep going. Once I got over this wall I felt pretty good until around mile 11 or 12 to go. Jim, Roy, and Tanya were up ahead a decent amount at this point as I started to slow down and focus more on what I needed to do to finish. Things were pretty lonely at this point as it was somewhere around 3am, dark, very cold, and I was by myself. The only neat thing was if I turned out my headlamp every once in awhile and gazed up at the sky, which was clear and filled with tons of stars. At this point I started singing songs out loud to myself like Tom Petty "I won't back down" and Phil Collins "Take me home" to break up the monotony and help motivate myself.

I was by myself for at least 5 miles leading up to this massive downhill which starts at mile 9-to-go and bottoms out around mile 6-to-go. This downhill is pretty long and steep and didn't seem any easier with leaves and snow covering up the rock invested trail. I had to constantly put on the brakes the whole way down which made my tired knees and legs even more worn out. The only good thing was before I started running down this hill around 5:30am I came up on a pickup truck with 3 guys standing outside of it and asked them if they had a bottle of water. It was still dark out and they were wearing camo, with one of the guys holding a shotgun. I guess they were scouting out deer before the start of hunting season (these hunters really get into it) and thankfully they were nice enough to give me a full bottle since my Camelbak was dry. We talked for a bit and they let me know that Jim, Roy, and Tanya were only about 5 minutes ahead of me. I somehow doubted that, but maybe so. They couldn't believe how far we had traveled. I told them thanks for the water and I was on my way.

As I got close to the bottom of the hill I decided to give a loud yell in case anyone was nearby and was shocked to hear Jim yell back at me not that far away. He had let Roy and Tanya go ahead and was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill to finish the last 5-6 miles. It was good to see him and was very thoughtful to wait up for me. As we continued on I knew that since we reached the bottom of the mountain we now had to climb back up.

5 miles to go!

As the sun came up over the horizon I could now see just how large this mountain was and I wished it was dark again... It was a good 600-700 ft. climb to the top. As we headed up I could feel how beat up my legs were. I honestly didn't think I could make it back to the finish but I would try to walk for about 10-15 seconds, stop, gather myself for about 10 seconds, and then repeat, over and over again. I was very happy to reach the top of this hill and the view was incredible. However, once again we started heading back downhill I was thinking to myself... we only have like 3 or 4 miles to go... we better not have to climb up another mountain! I asked Jim if we did and he said yep... Damn! The last hill was hard enough at this point in the run... now another? I told Jim I don't think I can do this and he said, well.. we don't have a wheelchair and I'm not carrying you back. So, that left me with only one option... up! Each of the last couple miles took me a half hour each to complete but somehow I made it up the last climb and was rewarded with a gorgeous view that overlooks the Youghiogheny River near the small town of Ohiopyle...

1 more mile!

The last couple miles are downhill and wind alongside of the mountain, with steep drop-offs right next to where you have to walk. I made sure to be careful here with all the leaves on the ground and eventually made it off of the trail and onto the last gravel downhill stretch which lead to Tanya's parked car, where Bob, Tanya, Roy, and Bill were waiting for us. Somehow I sprinted in this last section and gave Roy a high five as I crossed the line in 26 hours and 50 minutes. It was great to see everyone again at the motel and to be able to share our stories together. I will never forget this weekend and the great group of people that I was able to share these memories with. It was definitely an epic adventure and I look forward to many more ! HITE!

Left to right: John DeWalt, Brian Musick, Bob Combs (holding an extinguished match), Tanya Cady, Jim Harris, Bill Wagner, Kim Love-Ottobre, and Roy Heger

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Here we go!

Well, I made one last trip tonight to get some food/gear for Friday's adventure. At the grocery store I bought a large pack of peanut M&M's and Reeses Cups and at Appalachian Outfitters I bought some more Clif Shot Bloks, foot & hand warmers that last 5+ hours, wind/waterproof matches, and a 2-person survival blanket that folds up nice and small. Hopefully I won't have to use any of this emergency gear but I figured it's better to have it just in case. One reason I bought some of this extra stuff is because the weather forecast continues to get colder each time I look at it. As of now, here is what the national weather service is saying for Seven Springs, PA (the highest point of the Laurel Highlands trail):

Thursday: Periods of snow, mainly before 1pm. High near 33. West wind between 13 and 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Thursday Night: Periods of snow showers. Low around 25. Breezy, with a west wind between 20 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Friday: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 31. Breezy, with a west wind between 20 and 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday Night: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. West wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Note: Bob and Bill will begin running Thursday morning, with the rest of the group including me (7 or 8 others) starting on Friday morning. The only good thing about the forecast is it looks like we'll only have to worry about snow and not rain with high temperatures around the freezing mark. During our run you can check out these mountain cams at the Seven Springs Resort.

Jim will be picking me up in Warren at 3pm tomorrow to drive over to Johnstown, PA. Once there we'll be spending the night at an Econolodge and then we'll wake up to begin running at sunrise. I will try to post a report on here when I get back home on Saturday...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Only a couple more days...

Well, as I get ready to attempt my longest run ever (Laurel Highlands Trail) I have to say that I am probably more excited and anxious than I have ever been for a race before. Being able to run 70 miles on an entirely new trail with 10 of my running buddies really gets me pumped up! Tonight I stopped by Vertical Runner and bought some Pure Fuel energy bars for the run, as well as some Clif Bars, Clif Shot Bloks, and a new pair of SmartWool socks. This entire week I have been thinking about what I should bring for the run and tomorrow I will finally lay everything out and get organized.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Boston Store Night Run

Rather than wake up early for a run in the morning, my brother Jeff and I decided to head over to the Boston Store tonight for a trail run. As soon as we got out of the car we both noticed how much colder it seemed than the previous few nights, making Jeff wish that he had brought a hat and gloves with him. Fortunately he had a heavy sweatshirt with a hood to wear over top of a couple t-shirts.

Once we were ready to go, we decided to head south towards Pine Lane on the Buckeye Trail. It didn't take long before we were warmed up and comfortable. Along the way we saw a lot of eyes glowing back at us which is always neat. Deer are pretty crazy around this time of the year.

We continued on the trail towards Pine Lane until we reached this paved road which leads downhill to Lock 29. This is the last break in the trail until you reach the Pine Lane parking lot. Since we started our run kind of late tonight we decided to take this road rather than turnaround at Pine Lane. Once we got to the bottom of the hill we ran over to the Lock 29 parking lot and then took the Towpath back to the Boston Store. We picked up the pace some and it felt good to stride out a bit. On our way back to the car we stopped and checked out this sign at Lock 11. I'm not sure if I've ever seen this sign before, but it stands out from all the rest because it was done in color. It's actually pretty nice and almost looks like an artist painted it or something. The sign reads: "Lock 11, known as "Lonesome Lock," 1892. The lock is thought to have acquired its name because of its isolated location."

As we arrived back at the Boston Store we figured that since we stopped short of Pine Lane we probably ran somewhere between 6.5 and 7 miles since it's 8 miles roundtrip from the Boston Store to Pine Lane. Walking towards my car we were surprised to see 2 other cars parked next to mine. We thought maybe there were actually some other runners hitting the trail tonight besides us. That was until we noticed "I love you" painted on the back window of one of the cars. Must be high school students... Sure enough, within a couple minutes we saw a group of high schoolers walking towards us. My brother and I waited still until they got close and then we shined our headlamps on them. They were startled immediately and jumped backwards, which made us laugh.

On the drive back to my place, we noticed that the fog in the air was getting pretty thick and I was able to take this cool photo...

Warzone, California wildfires, or just lights by the Turnpike?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

November NEO Trail Night Run

Left to right - Jim, myself, Mike, Kurt, Corey & Heath (Bob in background)

Well, it's that time again for our monthly NEO Trail night runs which take place in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As the day progressed I could feel myself getting more and more excited to run this evening. After work I stopped by McDonald's and picked up a double cheeseburger and six chocolate chip cookies... all for only $3... how beautiful is that?

The plan tonight was to meet everyone at the Lock 29 parking lot in Peninsula around 6:15 and get somewhere between 3-5 hours of time on our feet. When I arrived at Lock 29 I took my running stuff into the bathroom, which is open 24 hours, and got ready. Not long after I started changing Mike Keller came into the bathroom and it kind of startled me because I thought he was out of town on work. We chatted for a bit and then waited for everyone to show up. Mike pointed out that we were both wearing the same socks.. that's right, we're Darn Tough!

Around 6:20-6:25 we heard some turkey calls in the distance and immediately knew that our buddies were here. Once everyone used the facilities and filled up their water bottles we were off... Tonight I was borrowing Bob's Camelback to get used to wearing it in preparing of next week's 70 mile run. It seemed to work out really well and after wearing it for awhile I could barely tell that it was on.

It's hard to describe these monthly night runs and I don't want to ruin it for others by getting into all the details right now, but basically there is a lot of running/wandering in the woods with slipping, sliding, major hill climbs, hopping over downed trees, dodging branches, getting scraped by briars, running through small streams, balancing yourself on logs that stretch across ravines, and much more... Ready to join us on our next night run? I thought so! It's a great time and I really enjoy spending trail time with my buddies and meeting other adventure seekers. I must say that we have a great group of runners in the NEO Trail Club and we have enjoyed some awesome experiences together.

When we got back to Jim's car at the Happy Days Visitor Center we enjoyed some food and drinks and then Mike and I left to run back to our cars at Lock 29 (yes, we did run the whole way back Jim!). On the way back Mike and I kept a somewhat fast pace. He has to run a 50K race in NY this Saturday so he didn't want to push it too much, but I tried to motivate him and I was glad to see Mike go a little bit outside of his comfort zone. This stretch from Happy Days to Lock 29 is approx. 2 miles and when we finished we definitely felt good about our effort.

As I head to bed, I leave you with a quote from Catra Corbett's blog which pretty much sums up the incredible fun we had in the woods tonight.....

"Take all opportunities to break old habits and old patterns as this is a time of rebirth and re-invention. Sometimes patterns are hard to change so perhaps the easier way to is to discard them altogether. Certainly there will be mini-endings and beginnings around this time, so don’t hold onto the past, allow new situations to be drawn to you and to flourish. Evolution, like the passage of time, is not within our control. So go with the flow and allow yourself to be guided." © Stephen Haynes

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Days Night Run

Ready to attack the night

I had originally planned to run tomorrow morning with my friend Derek and then meet up with Bill Wagner, Kurt O, and others at Lock 29 around 8. However, Dan Kuzma gave me a call during the afternoon and said that he would be up for a night trail run tonight. I had to think about both options for awhile, as they were both tempting, but I decided that I was in need of some nighttime trail running before the Slim Pickings 70 Miler on Nov. 16th. By running tonight it would also allow me to sleep in tomorrow morning, so that helped to finalize my decision.
Once Dan picked me up, we headed over to the Happy Days Visitor Center parking lot around 7. Upon arriving I noticed that it was going to be a little chilly on our run (around 40 degrees). Since we haven't had much cold weather yet it was hard to figure out what to wear, but I was glad that I decided to wear my winter fleece hat. I thought about wearing light gloves too but ended up going without them and was glad that I did once my body started warming up.
Tonight we took the route that I usually like to take... Going underneath Rt. 303, up to the ledges, back down towards Kendall Lake, and then over to the Kendall Hills.

Have no fear... It's only a deer...

Dan and I both enjoyed the run tonight since we haven't done much nighttime running lately and I was very glad to not feel much fatigue from my marathon a couple weeks ago. Speaking of fatigue... tonight I wanted to try out this 5 hour Energy Drink that I had laying around my place to see if it would be something that I might want to have during my 70 miler in a couple weeks. The bottle is basically the size of a tall shot glass and provides you with a heavy dosage of energy ingredients. I only had a few sips though because I didn't want to be wired for the entire night. I was surprised at how tolerable the taste was. This energy drink comes in 2 flavors (lemon lime and berry). The bottle I had was berry and it basically tasted like Kool-Aid on steroids. Shortly after drinking some of it I could feel a little boost and I didn't experience any negative effects so I think that I'll bring some of it along with me for my 70 mile attempt on the 16th.
On our way back to Happy Days we took advantage of the mostly downhill grade and picked it up some. This is a great area to run during the day when you can really let your legs stride out. After a final push up the last hill we wrapped up with a total of 7 miles. I asked Dan if he wanted to do the 3 mile Boston Run Loop once we got back to his car, but he said he had a tiring day at work so we both decided to call it a day.

If anyone is interested, next Wednesday (Nov. 7th) a group of us will be meeting at the Lock 29 parking lot around 6:15 pm for a night trail run. For more details visit -