After a high mileage weekend over the Memorial Day holiday I wasn’t sure just how many miles I’d run this weekend. My initial plan was to do the 24 hour hike in Mohican but after spending all of the last weekend in Mohican my wife made it pretty clear she wouldn’t be thrilled if I spent our anniversary weekend in Mohican too. I was able to talk her into going home to visit family over the weekend as long as we went out for a romantic dinner on Saturday to celebrate our anniversary (Hyde Park was what we settled on).
Since we were in NE Ohio for the weekend I could get in a few group runs in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with the Burning River/Vertical Runner crowd. I rushed out of Columbus on Friday to make it to Happy Days in time for the Friday night group run. I made it there right at 7:40 which I thought was 20 minutes before the group was going to depart. What I overlooked in my email was that the group was carpooling over to the Boston Store and running back to Happy Days! So I was all alone at Happy Days and it was pouring rain and lightning. Instead of running towards the Boston Store, which would have resulted in me meeting up with the group, I ran towards Kendall Lake and looped around the trails for a two hour run. I had never run the ledges trails or the Kendal Lake trails, so it was an adventure in the rain and fog trying to not get lost. I’m not sure how far I ran but I would guess in the neighborhood of 10 miles. I honestly couldn’t tell you which route I took so that will remain a mystery.
On Saturday I planned on meeting a group of runners at Pine Hollow for a 6 hour FA run. The course included some sections I’d run the night before in the dark around Kendall Lake as well as some sound of music type hills that we ran (or walked) up and down for 6 hours. It was great weather and I was excited to see several familiar faces, including Kimba, Kevin Martin, Tanya Cady, and Terri Lemke. My dad even came out to run a couple loops with us. He’s planning on pacing me for the last 10 miles of Mohican and he’s working hard to get in shape to do so.
We set out at 8am sharp for our six hours on the trail. I planned to run quite a few miles with Kevin, since he emailed me about the run initially but he didn’t set out with the group right away so I settled into a comfortable pace with Terri and we started tallying laps. After a lap or two we met up with Kim Beher who is new to ultra running and trail running but was well prepared for the days run. Together, Terri, Kim, and I logged 10 easy 2.25 mile laps together, which put us at 22.5 miles for the day. Terri only wanted to get in 20 for the day so I had already gotten one more lap out of here that she initially signed up for, and we were right at 4 hours so Kim was going to take the 11th lap slower to recover a bit. So I was going to head out on lap 11 solo. Well Terri’s a little competitive (aren’t we all!!!) or she felt bad to leave me running alone, so she agreed to join me for one more lap which we completed without a problem.
There was a great little side story going on the whole day while we were out there logging loops and accumulating miles. My dad, who had only planned on running a couple loops, and is just getting back into running, was quietly putting together an impressive day. We passed him when we were probably on loop 7 or 8 and he was still out there. I asked, “Dad, how many loops is that? You look great, that must be more than two loops?” He quietly said that he was on lap 5 and that he would probably call it a day when he got back the car. 5 laps (11.25 miles) would be a heck of a run and he was still looking strong. So when we passed him again a few laps later and he was still running I was thrilled to hear that he was finishing up 7 loops, almost 16 miles! Although I was very happy that he had such a good run I requester that he strongly consider calling it a day. There’s no need to push it too hard too soon. After all he only has to run 10 at Mohican and I’ll be moving slow by mile 90. Awesome day dad!
After putzing around for about 5 minutes after lap 11 I was ready to head out for lap 12 on my own but once again Terri decided to join me and we were joined with Jim Chaney who was on lap 14 and finishing up an impressive day of running. I decided that if I didn’t stop Terri wouldn’t stop, and I was pretty much ready to stop after 12 so when we completed the loop Terri and I called it a day. I untied my shoes, ate some food, and laid down on the grass. After about 10 or 15 minutes Kim came through finishing up her 12th loop and with 35 minutes to go she was determined to get in a 13th. I thought, “good for you” and stayed in the grass while she stocked up for a final lap. A minute or two later she came around the corner and Terri said, “come on we’re doing one more with Kim”. It wasn’t a question, and I didn’t even think twice. I got up, shoes still untied and finished out another loop with Kim and Terri (I never did lace up the sneaks). I’m glad I did the last loop. I had no excuse to stop after 12 other than I was ready to stop running. I wasn’t tired, I was just done running. In fact the 13th loop was the fastest of the bunch, clocking in at 20 minutes flat and I felt great after the run.
The total miles for the day was 29, which is a good trail run and probably the last really long run before Mohican. I can’t believe the big day is only three weeks away! It’s going to be really difficult to taper for three weeks…I have a hard enough time with a two week taper and actually felt great with no taper for Cleveland. Enough ultra vets have spoken about the importance of a long taper so I’m going to try and stick to it, begrudgingly.
Onwards and upwards to Mohican!