Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January Ultra

A few folks from Steeler Nation took a road trip to Cleveland this past weekend to run the Race for Regis, formerly know as the Winter Buckeye 50k. Tanya Cady designed a new course, with a new start pavilion, and we were not disappointed. The format was similar to the old run, multiple loops of five and eight miles. This made for some tough running as the trail softened up under the feet of a few hundred runners. There was plenty of ice at the beginning, creating quite a bottleneck within the first mile. After those of us with spikes in our shoes got through the icy section, the trail thinned out and made for a nice day of winter running. The aid stations were well stocked and manned by upbeat volunteers. I wasted quite a bit of time, stopping to talk at each aid station, mostly answering questions about the course changes at Laurel this year. Actually, it was nice not to have to worry about running fast, as Chuck and I were using this as a training run for our upcoming arctic ultra's. I did not get to chat with all of the folks from Pittsburgh, but saw Mike F., Michelle W., Dan and Sharon S., along with Eric G. and a few others. We were not able to stay around long after the finish as we had things to do at home. As usual, I wore my Steeler gear and took a bit of ribbing from the Cleveland folks. It was all in good fun and I certainly look forward to racing against those guys. Many will return the favor by wearing their Browns gear at the J.C. Stone race in a few months.

Pierre Oster sent a link to an article about the Arrowhead race, you can view it here: Arrowhead 135

I have started updating the website for the Laurel Highlands Ultra. We have decided to keep it a point-to-point race, with a detour of about six miles to get across the PA Turnpike. We have been talking with the Park Manager and hope to get the DCNR to designate the detour as an official trail detour. If we can get it designated as such, then it saves us from having to get all the special use permits for the road section. For those of you who have signed the petition and have called or written to our state representatives, I thank you. And please, keep the pressure on the state to get the bridge replaced. It will take a few years to get it done, but it will be worth it.

We also have added a three person team relay race to the 50k race at Laurel. We hope this will encourage more folks to give trail running a try. Check out the Laurel Ultra website for more details.

Don't forget about our next fun run, the Mingo Mingle coming up in a few weeks. Dave and Sarah Micklo will be hosting this fun run and it will be a lot of fun. We will be starting at one of the pavilions in Mingo Creek County Park. I will update the GPS coordinates when Dave verifies which pavilion we will be using. We will have a generator and stove there to heat up some food, so bring something to share with the rest of the runners. And don't forget to bring some warm clothes to change into after the run so you can stay comfortable while telling a few stories about the trails.

We are also adding another fun run to the growing list, a trail run in March at Raccoon Creek Park. Jon Gift will be our host and I will add a webpage with directions and more information as soon as I get time.

Don't let the cold weather keep you all indoors, winter is the best time to get outside and lay down the base training for the racing season ahead. If you learn to handle adverse winter conditions, then showing up at the start of a race when it is cold and rainy will not be an issue.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recover From The Holidays Recap

Our annual fun run is becoming quite a tradition as 75 folks came out on a cold and blustery day to start the new year and new decade. The temps were in the low teens all day with plenty of ice on the trails. Don, Ken, Chuck, Mark and I were out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to mark the course. We wanted to find a way to eliminate the asphalt portions of the course and Don succeeded. We had the Boyce/Mayview park pavilion as the run headquarters, and people brought all manner of food and drink for everyone to enjoy. Jeff Bowden was not feeling well enough to run, but he braved the cold for five hours as he staffed the start area, serving food and hot beverages to cold and tired runners. Cam Baker brought a torpedo heater which was put to good use. With the cold temperatures leading up to the event, we anticipated a low turnout, but we were pleasantly surprised by the number of runners who showed up. I guess a fun run with some friends trumps cold, snowy weather. Bob and Jim from Youngstown and a few other folks from Ohio made the trip east and had a fun time. Those of us who brought warm clothes were able to hang around and wait for everyone to finish, which ended up being about eight and one-half hours, when Don K. and Sue W. finally reached the pavilion. Our next fun run will be the Mingo Mingle in February. The info can be found at laurelultra.com/mingo_mingle.htm. I will send out a reminder as it gets a little closer.

I finished putting the finishing touches on my Arrowhead 135 sled and got out for a test run with the complete gear kit that I will be using in Minnesota. Everything worked perfectly, now I just have to finish working on the motor and I will be set for the race which begins on Feb. 1.

We are having a meeting on Sunday to decide what course will be run at Laurel this year. There has been a lot going on this week with respect to the bridge closing. We should have more answers after the meeting and I will post an update early next week.