Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MMTR Schedule & Webcast


26th Annual
Mountain Masochist 50+ Mile Trail Run
Race Date: Saturday, November 1st
Start: 6:30am EST
Start: Blue Ridge Mountains starting in Lynchburg, VA (James River Visitor Center)
Finish: Montebello (12 hour cutoff)
Bib #29 (updated 10/31/08 @ 12:30 pm)
(includes past MMTR and video from the Inaugural Grindstone 100)
"Be light on your feet...choose your path wisely...someone else's path may not work for you...when you stumble, roll with it...relax in the midst of effort...concentration doesn't mean tension...a cold beer is a fine reward...dress the part...ask questions...go your own pace, if others need to pass, they will... make adjustments to remain balanced...pack smart...have options...refuel before you are empty...don't get sloppy just because you are tired...let go of time constraints...wait for those who are on their way...trust those who have been there before...return home a better (person) for having made the adventure."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jumping the Gun

So it's only October...what's wrong with planning out 2009? I thought I had a pretty good plan with my 50/50/100/100 plan but just one problem, I doubt the 3rd component of the plan is going to happen. Nothing official, just a gut feeling...that being the Green Jewel 100K. If I remove that from the plans, that leaves a huge hole between the end of March and August 1st. Doing a trail 50-miler that far before August with no other events equal to or in excess of 50 miles doesn't seem to make sense. So either I find something else (which I don't see on this ultra calendar) or possibly pick a 50M or 100K in either really late April or in May. My weekends are limited due to the Navy so that kinda throws a monkey-wrench into it all.

Anyway, this is too much thinking for me right now so I'm just going to mull it over and work on this later. The end goal is the same...I'm just trying to craft the best plan to get there...successfully. For now, I ran an easy road 10-miler on Saturday morning for my last "long" run before Masochist, took today off, and will run 5 before work on Monday. Tuesday will be off, 3 on Wednesday, and nothing but water/carbs/rest on Thursday and Friday. I've already got the pre-race jitters and with still 5+ days to go. These tapers are never fun. The good thing is that I felt like I didn't even run much last week but still logged 33 miles. I'm feeling very good, strong, and healthy right now. Ready to attack the Blue Ridge Mountains....and the Masochism.

Rumor has it that there are data points along the course next Saturday for a raceday webcast. Once I hear about it officially, I'll post the link here. All the fun starts this Saturday at 6:30am EST.

Great job to those who ran in the Running with Scissors Double Marathon and 60K trail run...we had perfect weather for trail running today. Also, a big shout out to Lloyd Thomas for rockin' out a 2:58 at the Marine Corps Marathon...AND negative splitting by 11 seconds. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure that's Lloyd's PR...and a ticket to eat chowder at Boston for 2009 and 2010.

Happy Trails, everyone!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Looking for Inspiration...and I Found It

Thanks to "hayburner1969" for this video summary of last year's Masochism...the 25th Anniversary. I think I'll watch this a bunch of times over the next week...enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

50/50/100/100 in 2009

I'm a planner and a goal-setter. Without goals I feel like I'm floundering about with no real purpose. My family and I have goals, I have professional goals, I have goals related to my career in the Navy, but today I'm pondering some running goals for 2009 (shocker, huh?!). If you'd like to opine, feel free either by commenting below or directly. Before I lay it out, here's the overall driving force: without delving into too much detail, I expect my running goals to go on hiatus for about a year...probably starting in mid-2010. With that on the table, I'd really like to cross the finish line of a 100-miler and since "Mr. BR100" and I have "issues" to work through, the BR100 has to be the one. OK...goal established. Now is the plan for how to get there injury free and prepared.

I learned a lot about myself in 2008. Looking back, I completed 3 marathons (will be 4 after Tecumseh in December), three 50Ks, one 100K, 55 miles of the BR100, and next weekend, the MMTR 50 Miler. A bit much, I think. I learned that recovery is key. Key to mental wellness. Key to the physical repair of damaged muscle tissue. Key to rebounding effectively for the next goal. Rest and recovery is actually difficult when you are feeling really good. When you're on a roll, logging tons of miles, crossing multiple finish lines, you feel invincible. In my case, perhaps not yours, that eventually catches up and results in a feeling of burnout, decreased performance, injury...or even worse, a loss of passion for just "getting out there." I don't ever want to lose that. It's not about my waist-line anymore. It's about the overall quality of life, the community of friends who share a similiar (if not same) passion, and consistently challenging myself to new levels. Keeping all of that in mind, I've been carefully crafting 2009 in my mind. While I love the road and "buzz" of the road marathon, I'm going to leave any firm plans on the table for those. Better chance of one in the Fall, I'd say.

A tentative schedule...for critique and opinion:

50/50/100/100 in 2009

January 18, 2009: the SOLD OUT Buckeye Trail 50K (31.2 miles)

March 28, 2009: Bel Monte 50 Mile Trail Run in Charlottesville, VA

Memorial Day time period (actual date TBD): Green Jewel 100K around Cleveland (62.4 miles)

August 1/2, 2009: Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run

The schedule allows approximately 2 months between events and lays the groundwork for a gradual build-up to the capstone event but also adequate recovery time and time to rebound before the next event.

Fall events/marathons to be considered at a later date.

For now, I'm looking forward to my road trip to Lynchburg next Friday for the "Masochism" at 6:30am next Saturday. TAPER, TAPER, TAPER!

Good luck to those of you running "Running with Scissors" on Sunday. Great trail conditions!

Happy Trails, everyone!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goal-Setting and Loose Ramblings from my Brain

I think it's a good time to "reset" myself somewhat and clearly establish some upcoming goals...with regards to future running endeavors and aspirations. One thing I am no longer striving for is the common goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This past Friday, I had the day off and Vince and I had another great 9 mile trail run followed by my return to "retail sales" at Vertical Runner. Back before I landed my government job in April, I was working part-time at the store but now with a full-time job in Canton, it's become impossible. I absolutely love working at VR. I called my wife while there...reaching for some accountability...I told her that I felt like a kid in a candy store. The new fall/winter apparel is covering the walls and I could do some serious damage to my credit line if not I wasn't careful. She brought me down to reality and I walked out empty-handed but not before trying on a few things...like Keen's new light-weight trail running shoes. Oh my, I sure do love Keen. They fit perfect every time. ANYWAY, Vince was rattling off all the folks who were heading to Boston in April. Wow, I had no idea there were SO many chowder-eatin' runners in my midst. The closest I ever came was by accident. It was November 2000 in Richmond. My goal was to crack 3:30 for the first time and I ran a 3:21. That was only 3 years into marathon running. Now in my 11th year of "serious" running, I have attempted to at least PR, but the closest I've gotten is 3:26...twice. Richmond 2007 and Athens 2008. Now, I've inserted this crazy ultra-stuff and my overall pace has greatly slowed but endurance and plain 'ol grit has increased. Undoubtedly, speed can be regained through track work as I've proven in the past. I'll try to hit the track this fall/winter at the Kent field house and get the turnover moving a little quicker again. However, I no longer desire a BQ time...at least for now. I'm not a believer that "anyone" can qualify for Boston if they only try and train correctly. We're all made unique and for some of us, we just need to wait until we're older and qualifying becomes more in reach. (yes, I understand that many of you disagree with this...can we agree to disagree?) I'd say my passion falls more in reaching distances/time in excess of what I've previously accomplished. Pushing the "envelope," so to speak. With that in mind, my immediate/near-term running goals are shaped. Let me say this, too: as I blog this morning, I'm tracking good friends running the Columbus Marathon. It was in the 30s this morning and crystal clear. Truly a "Big Red Bow" morning...couldn't be better. I am so excited for a few who are on track to set personal records. They may finish by the time I finish here and if so, I'll post their results down below. I'm not even there but I'm very excited to see how they are doing...I really wish I was there today. You guys are a true inspiration! I love seeing others reach their goals...makes me speechless, I guess.

On deck for my immediate future:

13 days from now, my dad and I will hit the road for Lynchburg, VA. At 6:30am, November 1st, the gun will sound for the Mount Masochist 50 Miler in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's been sold out for months at a race cap of 300 runners/masochists. This is one of Dr. Horton's races and with that said, is long...at 54 or so miles. This will be the first Horton race I've done. CRAZY elevation profile and a race cutoff of 12 hours. For sure, I'll post a race report as soon as I can afterwards. My dad will have an eye-opening experience as this is will be his first exposure to the ultra-side of running.

Next will be the Home Run for the Homeless on Thanksgiving Day in Akron. It's a very hilly 4 mile race that benefits the homeless in Akron...obviously. A really cool thing at this race is the mountain of running shoes that are donated each year. I accumulate my over-mileage running shoes, clean them up well, and donate them each year. They all get distributed to the homeless in Akron. This is a large event and regardless of your ability, I encourage you to participate. Don't wait until race-day to register as the line is always very long. Pre-registration is only $9. Here is the form to end the procrastination. A 1-mile family fun run is also offered. What else will you be doing on Turkey Day morning????

9 days later, a group of 6 of us will be heading to southern Indiana for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon...a point-to-point trail event. Road trip! This will mark marathon #23 for me. I've never run a trail marathon and am really looking forward to this. The race should be sold out by the end of this weekend at 600 runners since only 20 spots remained two days ago. It's a solid 5 weeks after the Masochism so I should be recovered and ready to go.

The year's last event will be the GNYER (Great New Year's Eve 5K race) in Stow, OH. A fun event with hot soup at the finish. I actually PR'd on this course last year with something like a 19:40...and it's a very hilly course. I wanted to run another 5K in 2008 that was flat to get another PR but it never happened.

For 2009, a few key events will be the Winter Buckeye Trail 50K (almost sold out!), some spring marathon (TBD), the Green Jewel 100K (date TBA), and the capstone event, the 2009 Burning River 100 Miler. Mr. BR100 and I have some unfinished business. Plus, that BR100 sticker is burning a hole in my glove box...it needs a home on my rear car window. (did you know that this sticker was my idea?!?!? Sorry, I had to grab some fame while I had the chance!)

OK...the Columbus Marathon: a HUGE shout-out to Susan L. for running a 3:18!!! I cannot describe how proud I am of you!!! That is phenomenal! To Boston once again for you! Also, great job to Jamie C. who accompanied Susan along the way and also ran a super race...3:19 finish. GREAT! Kudos to Jim C. for another sub 3 hour finish at 2:55...awesome job. And lastly (sorry, I'm sure I'm missing people), congratulations to the newest chowder-eating club member....Rose!!! Rose, you finally did it! Boston bound! 3:37!!! YOU ROCK!!!
You guys are all such an inspiration. Heck, I've had the jitters all morning just "watching" you online! Nothing beats the 'ol road marathon...such an exciting event.

This felt like an exhausting entry today...would've rather been exhausted by running Columbus!

See you on the trails...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thankful....just thankful

I just love this time of year. The smell of fall, the brilliant colors of leaves hanging from the trees, although only temporary, and a plethora of trails within our National Park to immerse ourselves into. While out there, I often think of the thousands upon thousands of northeast Ohio residents who have no idea what a gem exists right in their back yard. Most places like this are not surrounded completely by suburbia...you have to travel to them. Not so right here. Sure, our economy in Ohio is depressed, and many are gloom-n-doom about this Midwest state, but there is MUCH to be seen and explored right here if you just simply get out there and explore.

Why to say all this? I'm thankful. Period. Thankful for many things, but to name a few:

1. Thankful for miles and miles of nationally protected land that on Saturdays, many of us call "home."
2. Thankful for friends to share these trails with. We all have a resume, a job that beckons us on Monday morning, a family, and endless responsibilities. However, we're all the same when we hit the trails together.
3. Thankful that the Lord did what He did when creating this awesome work. Whatever your religious views, you have to admit that it's quite a "work of art" created not by man.
4. Thankful for the ability to run and run....and run some more. I am sure to never take this for granted as it can be snatched away at the blink of an eye. Value and respect every run and make it count.
5. Thankful for my family who supports me and doesn't give me a hard time when I'm away from home and escaping from the computer and ringing cell phone. This weekend was a good example.

As Red commented a few days back, she prefers my mental guts over video of the trails. Here are my guts! (happy, Red?!) I ran about 13.5 on Friday (as you literally saw on the last post), ran an easy 5 before church yesterday, and then had a phenomenal long trail run this morning. This is probably the first day that I've been truly thankful for my federal job that I got in April. Federal holidays rock! I met up with Vince again at Happy Days as we ran the Ledges/Pine Grove/Lake/Cross Country/Salt Run/Haskell and a portion of Boston Run...for 12 miles. Always great conversation with Vince...but like I say often, what's said on the trail...stays on the trail! VR headed off to open the store and I drove a couple miles down the road to Pine Lane and headed out to Boston Store, headed to the Brandywine Trail trail head, then turned back and traced my steps back to my car. There were a few points that I just had to stop and stand there in awe and take in the 360 degree view around me. So unbelievably gorgeous. You know about 1 mile out from Boston Store when you come to that huge tree that came down a year ago? Well, a path has now been cut so no need to cross it or go around. Just past that, you've probably stopped and looked out over the interstate. I did today and I gotta tell you, you do the same if you run this route soon. Over the interstate for as far as the eye can see is a puffy mattress-like rolling fall foliage example of what I'm talking about. I just stood there and stared...trying to permanently remember it...as it'll all be gone soon.

OK...enough spillage, already! At the end of the run, I had racked up 22 miles for an extended weekend mileage just over 40 miles. Perfect training 3 weeks out from Mount Masochist in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterwards, since Marjie was at work all day and the kids were at school, my day continued to lunch at Aladdin's in Hudson. I think I salivated all the way there just dying for my favorite dish, the Mujadara Plate. It's a "bed of steamed lentils and rice topped with Lebanese Salata and garnished with fried onions. In the picture, it looks more like a pile of fried onions, but that's just the surface. The middle "Salata" mixture is a combo of green onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and some other unidentifiable things for this non-cooking running guy. A vegetarian dish, as well, for those of you looking for that. Just before that came out, I ordered up some hummus. Unfortunately, there is no one-person version of it so half of that is in the fridge right now. Afterwards, I used my $5 gift card at Cali Juice (courtesy of NEO Trail and the YUT-C 50K last month), had the Mulholland, and headed on home.

“It’s the other sound that keeps me from falling asleep – the sound of mindless thoughts flitting through my head. I have heard a million people say that running is the most boring activity that they can possibly imagine. Since I’m sure I’m not any smarter or wittier than these people, I can only guess that they never learned to listen as they run. If they did, they would surely be entertained and informed by their own thoughts. How strange that running, which seems so outwardly physical, is actually the most thought-full of activities. If you slow down and pay attention, you will be amazed at what you hear. And you will find that the thoughts that surface during a workout run strong and true through all the parts of your life.”
(from Amby Burfoot’s “The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.”)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

trails, Trails, TRAILS!

This morning's trail run was more of a party atmosphere with the 5 others who showed up at Happy Days at 7am. Both Brian M. and I essentially were competing to see how many pics we could take for our blogs/Facebook and wherever else we post these things. Heck, he even grabbed a shot with him and the National Park worker unlocking the gate at Virginia Kendall.

Instead of spilling my mental guts on this post, I shot lots of video and here they all are. For you readers who run the trails, this is all familiar territory. For family/friends who simply check in on me from time to time and may not even run, maybe the videos will shed some light on the "why" I get out there at every opportunity there is. I also shot about 17 still pics as well. View them here. Absolutely gorgeous fall foliage!

Ledges Trail

video

Lake Trail

video

Salt Run Trail ending at Kendall Lake at sunrise

video

Boston Run Trail

video


Happy HAPPY Trails, everyone!

"The Wizard of Oz" Review

There are not too many things left in this world that multi-generational people can come together and all enjoy something together with the same kid-like enthusiasm. The Wizard of Oz, originally a novel from 1899, sent to the stage in 1902, and re-worked multiple times before being made into the well-known movie that was released in 1939. A timeless treasure that great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, kids, grandkids, and great grandkids can all relate to in a near-same fashion. We all "know" the characters, what we expect them to look like/sound like, and we know the songs. "Somewhere...over the rainbow..." is surely a song you know. It actually won the 1939 Oscar for Best Song for a Motion Picture. Well, the Carousel's production of "Oz" was perfectly on target. I don't care if you are 95 or 5 (there were 90+ year olds near our table and we had a 5 year old at our table!), you'll love it! VERY well done, superb sets, unbelieveable costumes and makeup, excellent singing/music...and those Munchkins...well, you'll just love 'em! Our evening started with dinner which in true Carousel fashion, was mediocre at best. The food has never been phenomenal there...just acceptable. The shows, however, have nearly always hit it out of the park. This was no exception. You know the story so I'm not about to tell the story of the Yellow Brick Road, but I'll make these few observations:

1. The character of Dorothy was a "dead ringer.": not only did she look like the "original," but physically, her voice, the inflections in her voice...everything. That could have been the Dorothy from 1939 and I wouldn't have known the difference.

2. The Lion: "Go ahead....put 'em up!" You know how the lion talks...trying to show a lot of "courage" which he actually lacks.

3. The Munchkins: due to the layout of the Carousel, many times the characters came right out into the audience and due to our central seating location (PERFECT, by the way), we had Munchkins just inches from us. The costumes on the many Munchkins were elaborate and beautiful. So very well done.

4. The set: simply perfect in every way. Colorful, bright, engaging...and it told the story with the characters in unison.

The Wizard of Oz will be playing through November 2nd. If you haven't gone, GO! You will certainly not see it back anytime soon. Shows do not repeat themselves often at The Carousel due to so many shows out there. I should know...I'm still awaiting the return of The Phantom of the Opera....my all-time favorite.


Oh yea, for those of you with little ones..."High School Musical: On Stage" is coming in 2009....OH MY WORD...I don't think I'm going to be able to escape that one...at least not in MY house!

Now to the trails! It's in the mid-40s this morning and clear!

Happy Trails, everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Box Full of Marbles

Imagine this: find a shoebox, fill it with some marbles, and set it on loose gravel surface. OK, just hold that thought for a few moments.

One of the many things I've learned about blogging is that when you feel as if there's nothing to talk about, hence "blog" about, a reason appears. This last week has been highly frustrating. If you've been following along, I was foolish 2 days after the Akron Marathon and I tore or sprained my right calf muscle. I've run a few times since but it seems that I just keep resetting the pain each time. I found that after 2 days off, I could run but it would be sore. So after last Saturday's trail run, I took Sunday - Tuesday completely off. Wow, that really stunk bad. I'm not in the weight-loss mode anymore, but after losing 50lbs about a year ago, I'm always "aware" of my weight and when running comes to a halt, I'm suddenly asking my wife: "Does it look like I've gained weight?" " This shirt feels tighter on me." Sound familiar? The scale has crept up about a pound, maybe 2 lately, but that's it. Anyway, today was the day to take the calf on a "test drive." I'd compare it to those R&D (research and development) guys at Honda who in central Ohio, drive masked test cars around the countryside listening for squeaks, rattles, etc. So I headed out this morning around 4:50am on a quiet, rolling country route for an easy, predictable 5 miler. I took this route due to the lack of traffic or life for that matter. Dead silence is common on this route except for the occasional animal noise in the nearby cornfields. So here I am, about 3/4 of a mile into the run: focusing on my gait, stride length, breathing...everything. Simply trying to take an inventory of how this running "machine" is functioning. All is well. Remember that box of marbles? Go ahead and give it a kick across the gravel. Hear that sound? That's what I heard as I tripped over a well run-over, dry, dead piece of road-kill!......OK, take a breath....yea, it was as bad as it sounds. My stomach dropped straight to the ground. I was sick. I stopped, slowly turned and looked. Yep, that's road-kill alright. Probably a opossum or raccoon but too trampled to tell...thank goodness. It just slid across the ground...making that "marbles in a box" kind of sound. I then slowly pointed my headlamp towards my green-toed Brooks Glycerins...no blood or anything. However, I made a mental note NOT to touch that toe anytime in the near future. Maybe Chef Bill can get me some sanitizer spray from GoJo??? Did you notice I mentioned I was wearing my headlamp? I wear that thing PRIMARILY to miss the road-kill on these country roads and second for cars to see me. Well, it was tilted upward to provide more of a flood-light path to follow instead of pointing at the ground. This helps that tunnel effect created by fresh new batteries if pointed straight down. Plus, my mind was in la-la land...so happy to be running after a whole THREE days off and without any pain. Anyway, there you have it. The rest of run went well except for a few more "freak-outs" from animals near the edge of the non-harvested cornfields. I must have been spooked 3 or 4 times this morning.

Back home, I was happy. 5 miles very easy and everything feels good. I can't afford injuries right now with Mt. Masochist 3 1/2 weeks away. One thing is for sure: recovery/rest is so very important. The body will recover regardless of whether you do it purposely or by getting injured. There's a point, I think, where we all feel unstopable and like we can run forever. This is an awesome feeling but one that has to be embraced with caution. We are, after all, only human.

Till next time, watch your step!!! (yet another reason to get OFF the asphalt and ON the trails!!!)

Happy Trails, everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Trails, Apples, & Cider....Good Times!

This past week absolutely flew by. I was incredibly busy at work (we're always busy at the end and the beginning of the next month at Social Security.....hint, hint!!) Sunday night I got my deep tissue massage as I mentioned on my last post and Monday morning, I felt REALLY good during my morning run. SO good that it was turning into a tempo run...STUPID! About 2.5 miles into the 5 mile loop, I felt a very distinct "stab" in my upper/interior right calf. Imagine ringing out a towel. That's what it felt like someone did to my calf. I got home and thought how dumb that was. Torn and beat up muscle is not going to react nicely to being stressed like that. I took 2 days off, drank lots of water, had Marjie massage the area and went out for 7 on Thursday before work. It felt great but by the time I got back....well, not so good. I REALLY wanted to run the trails on Saturday so I just prayed for quick healing Thursday and Friday. Marjie said the swelling really went down and even though it was a bit sensitive Friday night, she said it "looked" fine....GREEN light for Saturday morning! Yea!

I met up with Frank D. at 6:30am at the Happy Days parking lot for a really gorgeous and scenic trail run. It was dark for the first 1/2 hour so headlamps guided the way. My thought was that the trail could help heal the calf with such a varied and soft surface. It got sore throughout the run and the soreness/pain/discomfort started transmitting up my inner thigh but was not so bad that I couldn't continue. We looped the Ledges Trail, headed over to Virginia Kendall to the ever-challenging Salt Run Trail, hit the Pine Grove Trail on the way back, finished off the Ledges and got back to the parking lot at 9 miles. We then "cooled" down for another 3.25 miles on the Boston Run trail. Great run on a crisp and cool morning. I had never met Frank before but we'd seen each others' names on many race results and registrations. He has completed four 100-mile trail runs including August's Burning River 100...where I dropped at 55 miles. It was great to hook up with another fellow ultra-runner and share stories/strategies/future goals. No better way to spend Saturday morning before my family was even out of bed at home! Thanks, Frank for a great run! I'm sure we'll have many more in the time to come! We were done at 8:30am and I was off to Chick-Fil-A for my Chick-Fil-A Chicken Biscuit, hash rounds, and homemade lemonade!

Next up: our annual trip down to Rittman to the Bauman Apple Orchard. The last 2 Saturdays in September and 1st Saturday in October each year, they have somewhat of a festival there...GREAT for the kids and family. Kids' "train" rides, hot fresh kettle corn, hot dogs, cider, hay maze, petting zoo, and acres and acres of apple trees for hand-picking. The day was perfect with temps just below 60F and crystal-clear blue skies. I gotta tell ya...there is nothing like picking apples right off the tree and eating them. Well, maybe one other thing...eating a bag of kettle corn fresh out of the kettle itself! At $2 a bag, I could've pulled up a chair and eaten that stuff all day long. It was the best popcorn I had ever had.

When we first arrived, the girls played in the hay maze, barely glanced at the petting zoo area, and then we grabbed our plastic bag and apple orchard map and headed out back to pick apples. For one bag, you pay $10 for as much as you can possibly stuff in that bag...supposedly 1/2 bushel. We got mutsu, yellow-delicious, jonathan, fuji, and one other kind I can't remember. We inspect all the apples and make sure no holes/soft spots/black spots exist, then turn them till they break free...a cool technique to leave the stem on the tree. Plus, tradition has it that the girls always get up on my shoulders to pick those super-high apples. This should get really interesting as they girls get older, heavier, and taller! Once we packed full our bags, had a couple of apples stuffed in our bellies, we had a hot dog and cider lunch...for a whoppin' $1, then toured the "cider factory" to see how cider is made. The apples are first sorted as either good or bad apples. The good ones are cleaned and sent up to get bagged. The "bad" ones are crushed and the juice extracted to make cider. The juice is heated to 160F and then cooled for bottling in the back of the facility. What's really cool about this place is that anyone can walk anywhere in the back without an escort. Plus, employees are everywhere and very willing to answer any and all questions. We walk around each year to see this and it never seems to get old. Once we completed our self-guided tour, snapped a few more pics, and picked up our own gallon of fresh cider, we headed on home.
If you've never been down to Bauman, I encourage you to make it down there next fall. It's a short drive down there and you'll really be thankful you went. Make it a tradition!

Next up: be careful with my calf and get it back to 100%. Other than that, I'm planning on a 50K training run on Columbus Day throughout many trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park...most of which are part of the Burning River 100 course. This will be my last really long run before I leave for the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia on October 31st. The Mountain Masochist 50 Miler (aka: the Masochism) is on November 1st, leaving out of Lynchburg, VA.

Till next time.....Happy Trails, everyone!