2008 Marathon & Ultra Marathon Stories
Miami Marathon - January 27th, 2008

Hi folks. Gimpy Jim here. Here's my brief Miami Marathon update.

The race day started out great, with weather in the high 50s (cold for Miami but great for us northerners), though a bit humid. If you are looking for a good reason to escape the cold Philly winter, the Miami Half or Full are great reasons. The race is exceptionally well organized, very scenic and has great energy throughout. You also get a great running hat, technical shirt and the coolest medal.

My race was going along pretty much as planned, until I hit about mile 15. Then the cramps started coming on and despite trying to concentrate on relaxing, I just couldn't get my legs to release the cramps. Eventually they progressed from quads, to hamstrings and down to the calves. By the time I finished running ~11 miles on them I knew my first stop after the finish line was to the medical tent.

I trashed my legs during the race but learned a bunch of things:

1) I have a higher tolerance for pain than I thought. (I would have preferred not to learn this, but I'll take whatever learnings I can get).

2) My mental focus is also stronger than I thought

3) I thought I had gotten past cramping issues since I hadn't had any for quite a while. Time to go back to basics and figure out why this 2007 phenomenon has crept into 2008

4) Even though I was running by myself, I felt like I was racing with all my FastTracks friends on Sunday. I remembered conversations about running from last week to months ago and used every tidbit to just keep going. Thanks for all your help, inspiration and virtual company.

I think I will go to the pool the next couple days to give my legs a rest, then start running again Friday or Saturday.

There was a nice FastTracks contingent in the Sunshine State this past weekend so let's here the other stories!

Jim McHale
Rocky Raccoon 100 & 50 Miler
February 2nd & 3rd 2008
By Meredith Murphy

This past weekend, Keith Straw, my husband, Eddie, and myself flew out to Texas
to run the races at Rocky Raccoon. My husband ran his first 50 miler and
finished strong in 13:32.

I ran the 100 miler and finished in 25:22, almost a 2 hour PR!!!!!! I was 1st
AG, 14th female overall.

Keith ran the 100 miler as well, and although he did not think he had his best
race, he finished in a very very impressive 19:19, 15th overall.

The 100 mile course was five 20 mile loops. The course, at Huntsville State
Park, was a very nice, very runnable, course filled with lots of roots and pine
needles. There were a few out and backs on each loop and I saw Keith several
times out on the course, and he caught me as he finished his fifth loop and i
was finishing my fourth. We ran together for a short while, which was a nice
treat in the dead of the night. Thanks everyone for your well wishes for the
weekend. Hope to see everyone soon when winter is over and i come out of hiding.

The B&A Trail Marathon & Half Marathon
Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

... 20 Fast Trackers
... 6 marathoners and 9 half marathoners and 5 supporters
... 3 age group winners in the marathon (Keith Straw, Marissa Crocco, Ingrid Cantarella-Fox)
... 3 PRs (Elden Monday and Marissa Crocco in the marathon; Brian Roberts in the half)
... A celebration lunch with good food and drink at Bill Batemans Pub

For some of us, the day began with meeting at 4:15 to rendezvous for the car pool and the 2+ hour drive.  Some went down the night before to avoid the early start.

Some used the race as kickoff training for the Tel Hai 5k.

Weather was 30 degrees at start with no wind and sunny skies. By end of race, temperature was mid 40s.

The half was out and back with one hill and the marathon got lonely the second half.  Course was bicycle trail the whole way after a mile and a half in the neighborhood of Severna Park, MD.  Water stops a little too far spread out along the course.  Good race & training run day for the group.

Definitely growing as a popular Fast Tracks event, the B&A is one to put on your schedule next year!

Marathoners (see the results by clicking here . . . )

Keith Straw
Elden Monday
Marissa Crocco
Tom Chaves
Ramin Sedehi
Ingrid Cantarella-Fox

Half Marathoners (see the results by clicking here . . . )

Stacey Gelhaus
Milo German
Sarah German
Bobbi Kisebach
Bridget McFadden
Robin McMonagle
Harry Rimmer
Brian Roberts
Debbie Zyskowski


Ethel Cook (paced some half marathoners)
Kathleen Sedehi & cousin
Stacey Gelhaus husband Ed
Bridget McFadden's boyfriend Robert

PS. Weather was freezing at the start.  Marissa had cold thumb syndrome but couldn't figure out where to stick them.

USATF 50K National Championship
March 2, 2008
Caumsett State Historic Park, Huntington, N.Y.

Hi everyone!

I went up to Long Island, NY kinda spur of the moment to run the USATF 50K championship race. I was just going to use it as a long run and see some friends, much to my surprise, i was 8th female overall and got a kick ass medal!!!!!!

The race was 12 loops on a paved course and my main goal was to run an even paced race. Most of my laps were within one minute of each other and some were identical times, so i was very happy with my performance. The men's winner, Michael Wardian, was a superstar. He ran the 50K (31 miles) in 2:55 and got a new national championship record, new course record, and just missed the world record by a couple minutes. What a fast dude.

Enjoy the weather!

Ocean Drive Marathon - March 30th, 2008

The Race Report to End All Race Reports

Now that I have your attention. Well, I finally did it.  I completed a marathon.  Would you like to know how it went?  Of course you would.

There are so many ways I could communicate my experience of running the Ocean Drive Marathon to you.  Prose.  A song and interpretative dance.  A sonnet.  A haiku (probably more appropriate for a 5K).  What I have come up with is inviting you into Recollections from my Inner Monologue.  Admission is free, but only because we're such good friends.  Don't worry, I cleaned it up.

6:05 a.m.:  Its cold.  I am lying in bed, and my hair is cold.  Is that possible?  I see out the window that the sky is cloudless, but that flag across the street is standing straight up at attention.  Not a good sign.  Time to get up.

6:20 a.m.:  I am no longer vacillating on what to wear.  Shorts stay in the bag, tights are the choice today.  Plus hat, gloves (super-insulated thumb shafts), jacket. 

8:30 a.m. I guess I need to get out of the car and walk to the start line.  At this point, I could just drive away.  Make all passengers get out of the car and drive to that diner we passed.  I could eat eggs and pancakes and drink a pot of coffee, plus read the entire Sunday paper, and still meet everyone at the finish line.  Crap.  They are making me get out.

8:40 a.m.: I honestly did not recognize Keith.  He looks like a person, not a pink fairy.  Ethel tells me that she ran 14 miles yesterday.  Either she's nuts or I am a total wimp.  Probably both.  They both wish me good luck. 

9:00 a.m.:  On on.

9:25 a.m.:  Why won't this guy let me pass him?  I am running behind a very tall dude in a gray shirt (gray shirt dude, or GSD) to block the non-stop headwind.  Then he slows down.  I try to pass him.  Then he speeds up.  Then I run behind him to block the wind.  Then he slows down.  Then I try to pass him.  Then he speeds up.  This happens about 5 times.  I run next to him to get a good look at his face.  Did I date him, dump him unceremoniously, and break his heart years ago?  Did I fail him in my Statistics class?  Did I rear-end him on the Schuylkill?  Nope.  He's just a class A tool.  He's a jackhammer.  A Makita table saw with interchangeable blades.  A Black and Decker drill with titanium drill bits.  I am mentally cruising down the power tool aisle in Home Depot looking for just the right tool assignment, when he finally pulls away.

10:35 a.m.:  The ten mile mark feels pretty good.  Not too windy on the Wildwood boardwalk.  Mmmmm, fudge.  I should stop for some.  Oooh, boardwalk fries.  Funnel cake!!!!!  Oops, I almost run over the GSD heading toward the funnel cake. I apologize. He says something to me, but I can't hear him over the Foo Fighters, which is a very good thing.  No need to get into a fight mid-marathon.

11:15 a.m.:  No complaining.  Just passed the 14-mile mark, 12 remaining.  Next weekend, when Ethel gets to the 14-mile mark, she'll have 86 to go.  No complaining.

12:00 p.m.:  Do they have iliotibial band transplant surgery?  I need to put my name on the list for a donor.  Last 4 miles really did me in.  I need roller skates.

12:30 p.m.: Here come my kids.  All 6 (2 daughters, 2 nieces, 2 vagabonds roaming the streets of Avalon) run with me for a block.  A nice emotional lift.

1:00 p.m.:  GSD is back.  He sprints past me, then stops to walk.  I pass him.  He sprints past me, then stops to walk.  This continues for most of mile 24.  I lose him after that.

1:23 p.m.:  Finished.  Four hours and 23 minutes after I started.  Tears, lots of blubbering, family, friends, Keith, Ethel, Candace (who knocked out a 4:13 AND 2nd in her age group) all at the finish.  YIPPEE!!!! I will never do that again.

4:30 p.m.:  Memphis beats Texas.  There's goes my NCAA bracket.

That's it.  Well not exactly all of it.  Four-plus hours is a lot of inner monologue, and I've blocked out a good portion.  Besides, for the whole show, I really should charge you admission.

Laura Pyott

Fast Tracks Participants:

1. Ethel Cook
2. Candace Gantt (2nd in age group!)
3. Donna Ornosky
4. Laura Pyott
5. Keith Straw

See the results by clicking here . . .
Boston Marathon - spectator point of view
Monday, April 21st, 2008

The pinnacle of a marathoner's goal is truly stepping on the line at Boston.  Today, at least 10 Fast Trackers did that on a beautiful day and made us proud to be spectators at the 112th running of the Boston marathon.

The day after the Women's Olympic Marathon trials saw Deena Kastor take first after being down by close to 2 minutes at 18 miles, our team took to the streets and hills of Boston on a cool morning.

Watching first hand and in person the women's elite race being won by the closest margin in Boston (2 seconds) as they traded 'moves' and leads in the last mile AND watching only the third man in history to win 4 Boston marathons (who 'threw in' a 4:36 mile at mile 19) gives a whole new appreciation to the elite of marathoning.

Well, we could go on but let us end by sharing with you the Fast Trackers that we knew were there.  Overall, our runners enjoyed the honor they deserved by qualifying and participating. If we did miss someone, please accept our apology but share with us our oversite:

Congratulations to all!

Salt Lake City Marathon Report
April 19th, 2008


I just completed my fourth marathon in Salt Lake City, which was by far the most difficult race I've ever run. Sadly, I missed my goal of 3:40 (a Boston qualifier) by a half hour with a finish time of 4:10. I was completely prepared in every way imaginable (thanks to Fast Tracks!), but the weather and altitude unfortunately didn't cooperate. I noticed from the start that my legs were sore and my breath was quicker than usual which made me nervous about the long distance that lie ahead. I was determined to stay on pace though, and maintained a 2-min lead at each mile for the first 10 miles thanks to the companionship of Elda, a woman from Santa Barbara who was also shooting for a 3:40 finish. However, my lead didn't last long because I couldn't keep up against the 30 mph headwind that raged along the entire first 13 miles of the course. I had to start walking at mile 10 and immediately realized my goal was out of reach from there on out. My spirit was crushed. I considered dropping out at just about every mile marker from that point on, but somehow - by either the grace of God or my altitude-induced insanity - I managed to pull myself together and finish.

Running is a metaphor for life in so many ways. You win some, you lose some. I am so proud that I had the courage to finish, in spite of the disappointment I faced so early on. I was reminded of the many variables involved in having a great race - especially those you cannot control. Needless to say, I still have my sights on Boston. One of these days, I'll make it there and the success will only be that much sweeter. Until then, I'll just keep plodding along, enjoying the journey. :)

-Kim Reeder

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
As for the race as a whole, I would recommend it to anyone interested in running a flat-to-downhill course surrounded by spectacular scenery.  Watching the sun rise over the snow-capped Wasatch mountains was unforgettable. If you're not acclimated to the altitude, I wouldn't expect to PR, but the net loss in elevation certainly helps make up for it (4800 - 4200 ft.).

- mild climate (50s - 60s)
- downhill course
- wide streets with plenty of room
- only 1200 marathoners (+ 4000 half marathoners)
- scenery

- dry climate - easily dehydrated
- potential for high winds
- altitude
- not a good variety of food at finish - mainly hot food like pizza and hot dogs which wasn't particularly appetizing to me

Boston Marathon - participant point of view
April 21st, 2008

Fellow Fast Trackers...

Please delete this quickly...if you are on overload from yet another Post Marathon Story...but I feel compelled to share a few thoughts with a fantastic group of people that have truly changed my running life...

...as many of you know my qualifying for Boston was the stuff that keeps dreams alive (3 Marathons in 6 weeks etc....) regardless I approached the starting line in Hopkinton with such anticipation...and along at around mile 8...pulled a quad muscle...that came awfully close to derailing the whole "Boston or Bust"...but I regrouped (slowed way down)...and just kept moving forward...at mile 16 I was met by my husband and daughter (certainly their support and smiles were inspirational...) and then at mile 21 my son jumped in and literally pushed me for the final 5 miles...at mile 26 I was greeted by my parents...and again their encouragement was tremendous...as I approached the finish line and glanced at the time clock...I was clearly disappointed...but thoughts of how far we travel (literally) to cross a finish line carried me forward....

I have received numerous calls..emails all offering me congratulations...encouragement and kind thoughts of getting healthy and coming back strong....THANK YOU ALL!!!!

In closing I have just finished reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch (strongly recommend it...) and he has a wonderful phrase that I would like to quote..."Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." So I wanted a 4:00 hour Boston Marathon finishing time...what I got was the "Experience of a lifetime...."

Looking forward to many more miles with all of you!

Debbie Z.
The Flying Pig Marathon
Cincinnati, OH
May 4th, 2008

As many Fast Trackers ran in numerous races this weekend, eight trekked to Cincinnati, Ohio to participate in the 10th Annual Flying Pig Marathon & Half Marathon.

What a beautiful day and course as it traversed Kentucky and Ohio, running along the Ohio river with scenic views of the city.  Rolling hills that kept everyone honest provided for a challenging but reasonable race.

Saturday had us enjoying a well layed out expo, seeing alot of pigs, and receiving a nice gym bag as the promo.  Some of the ladies took the opportunity to run in Indiana to pick up a state to run in.  We toured the city after the expo, visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.  We also visited the largest swinging bell in the country (with Keith as our tour guide and navigator).   Pasta dinner was at a piano bar in Kentucky.

Race morning came early with a 6:30 am start.  Starting at the two stadium complex provided for ample parking and a relatively easy start for the 16,000+ participants in the marathon and the half.   The race was delayed for 15 minutes due to a fire at mile 22 on the course.  They had to reroute the course and actually added 1/4 mile to the distance.  Other than our garmins all being way over, they did a great job of not letting that distraction get in the way.  They actually indicated they will adjust our times accordingly (although we don't know what that means yet . . . ).

Keith Straw led our group in the marathon with another spectacular time and potentially ANOTHER marathon PR (depending on how they adjust times) with Elden Monday chopping off 16 minutes from his PR set only back in March of this year.  Keith and Elden ran together for 20 miles (as they do so often on the morning runs) and pushed each other to some fast times.

Other marathoners included yours truly, ticking off state 22, Stacy Gelhaus and Tracy Tesfaye, adding Ohio to their marathon resumes.

Our half marathoners included Bobbi Kisebach, Stacy A., and Terry Chaves - all having good days at the half.

Definitely a race well organized & attended, beautiful scenery, a festive atmosphere, and friendly people all around. About 6,000 took part in the 5k and 10k held Saturday morning to allow runners of all distances to have an opportunity to participate.  A good one to add to your calendar for future years!

Click here to see the pictures . . .
The New Jersey Marathon
May 4th, 2008

While the rest of the running group was at Flying Pig and the Broad Street run, Brian Roberts and I went out to NJ for the NJ Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. This was Brian's first marathon and he has trained very hard and very well for this race. The forecast initially was calling for wind, rain, and thunderstorms. Ugh.

The night before the race, the winds by the beach were fierce and neither of us were looking forward to what the next day would bring. Sunday morning, the
weather was foggy, not too cool, not windy, and just barely misting rain. As the morning unfolded, the weather turned out to be perfect and the sun was out for the last third of the race!! The 13 mile double loop course was very pleasant and runnable, with a nice stretch running along the beach and boardwalk. I was
planning on staying with Brian for the race, but we soon were separated in the shuffle at the first aid station. I did, however, do something i have never done before, i ran an entire race with a pace gro
up. I ran with the 4:45 pace group, and the two pacers were incredible! Such nice guys who sang and laughed the whole race. In the last couple miles, i was right behind the pacers chatting it up with two women and finishing in 4:46.

Brian finished not too far behind me, a little past 5 hours. He was smiling when he finished, and finished strong, i was so proud of him! He is now a marathoner.

And most surprisingly, he said he was looking forward to his next marathon, which i think it rare to hear from a first time marathoner right after their
race. Good Job Brian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Event:  5th Annual Christiana Care Health System Delaware Marathon™ & 4 Person Relay Race
Bell Supply Ten Miler

Date: Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Location: Frawley Stadium, Wilmington, DE

Time: 7:00 AM

As the two starting guns went off for the three races at 7 (marathon) and 7:05 (10 miler & marathon relay) 20% of Fast Tracks was participating in the events.  Probably the largest Fast Tracks showing at an organized race, numerous runners took home recognition and awards:

* 10 Miler - at least 7 FT participants (Janice Lear - OVERALL FEMALE winner; Rachel German - 1st in her age group)

* Marathon Relay - 5 relay teams (20 FT participants) - Our "Positive Force" team - led by team captain Harry Rimmer and ably supported by George Hughes, Stacy A., and Deb Keener took first place in the coed seniors group and took home the coveted bobble head awards.

* Marathon - at least 10 FT participants (Keith Straw - 2nd in age group, Michelle Mitchell - first in age group and BQ!)

Rain held off so that our tailgate was the popular after race location.  It also allowed us to cheer in the many runners finishing the marathon.  Thanks to Harry Rimmer for organizing that fun event!

Congratulations to all on a great outing for our group!

Grandfather Mountain Marathon
Saturday, July 12, 2008 7:00 am
By Beth Proffitt

Forty-one years of running
"One of America's Toughest Marathons"

Start = 3333 feet
mile 2.5 = 3160 feet
mile 4 = 3650 feet
mile 5 = 3500 feet
mile 7 = 3750 feet
mile 8 = 3600 feet
mile 10 = 3750 feet
mile 13 = 3400 feet
mile 15 = 3600 feet
mile 19 = 4000 feet
mile 20 = 4050 feet
mile 21 = 4000 feet
mile 24 = 4100 feet
Finish = 4279 feet

When I checked in last Friday I received my commemorative t-shirt that looked an awful like the Conestoga Shirt that Jim Donaghy wears. The elevation pattern SCARED me.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I picked this marathon because my dad grew up in Ashville, NC and his brothers and sisters still lived in the area plus we could celebrate his 75th birthday on Saturday, July 12th.  yadayadayada.  Not a smart reason to pick a marathon.  However,  when I met a couple people who chose this to be their first marathon, I didn't feel as stupid.
The Hatfield-McCoy marathon mountains prepared me and Tums worked to alleviate cramping ( remember the Reading Cross Country coach at the Firecracker 5miler told me to try Tums for the calcium-magnesium content). 

I packed a roll of tums with me (had 8 in the roll to start because I tried 2 the previous weekend just to test my stomach while running, no problems)   At the 1 hour mark I felt tightness in my hamstrings so I chewed 2 tums.  Tightness went away.  1 hour later = same thing again,  1 hour later = same thing, took 2 more.  30 minutes later took my last 2 = it worked every time.  However, at the top of the last mountain I had to do a recovery walk (could have been mental, just wanted to make sure I could jog on the track in front of 10,000 people).  I did put walk breaks in during my entire run; I would walk up the steepest part of the mountains when my heart rate started to exceed my comfortable 80% max heart rate pace.  I ended up passing at least 20 people, 6 of them women in the last 6 miles.   When I did reach the final 380 meters on the track, I was sorely disappointed to find the track was cinder.  Not good.  My calf muscles started to tighten.  This time, I used mind over matter: "I am not going to walk in front of all these people";  "just pound it out";  "you can walk after the finish line"   I pounded it out and calves felt find as soon as I walked after finishing.  I had NO post race cramping at all.  I was fine.  The Hatfield - McCoy wiped me out with my legs locking up, stiff as boards.  This time, I was good to go.  Did a recovery walk and drank some gatorade and ate a banana.  I couldn't run for 8 days after H-M, I ran 5 days after this one (I raced the Third Thirsty Thursday last night and did well!)   The week before Grandfather I took Calcium-Magnesium supplements 3x/day .   I do think there is something there with the calcium.   Unless I am a sucker for the placebo effect.
I had my mom, dad, 2 aunts and an uncle all cheering for me at the finish line.  It was the Highland Games and you can't park there on the Mountain.  You have to drive to a high school and get on a shuttle at 8:00am. Then shuttle up an hour to the mountain.  They waited for me to finish at 11:14am.  My time = 4:14:35.    I was very happy with that since the Race Director said to add 30 minutes to your regular marathon time. I beat that.  At noon, everyone was ready to go so we got on a shuttle and got back to the Boone High School at 1:00.  Then we had a celebratory Birthday Lunch for my dad.   Well, it turns out I should have stuck around for the 1:15pm awards presentation.  (That is asking way too much for 5 OLD people to stick around another 2 hours on the mountain though, and then shuttle back 1 hour).    Thanks for emailing me Monday morning letting me know I placed  3rd  in my age group.   No way.  So 4:14:35 wasn't too bad after all.  My cousin is getting my award from the Race Director.  We'll see; the R.D. is a real jerk. He is rude to everyone.  Very arrogant.  He is the track coach from Appalachian State and he has a rule: "you must be present for award".  Whatever.  Butch Ulrich and Ron Horn and Dick Fitch are the best.   AND YOU TOO!!!! Now I see!  By the way.... my eye is doing much better.  Thank Goodness!
The guy who came in first in the H-M Marathon came in 4th place at the Grandfather. He said, "hands down the Grandfather is tougher".  My time was 8 minutes slower in the  Grandfather but my body did so much better here.  The H-M 2  hour rain and wet shoes definitely made the run tougher for me last month.  Grandfather was so much more pleasant:  A dry sunny day around 60-65 degrees, mountain air.  Wonderful.

Hatfield-McCoy Marathon
June 14th, 2008
By Beth Proffitt

The Hatfield-McCoy Marathon was an absolute blast!  It was the toughest
marathon I’ve run to date (Number 10) and the most rewarding.  The
first half had a tough uphill at mile 7-8  ( I mean mountain) but it
had a nice down hill after that.  The second half was much tougher.  It
rained the last 2 hours of my run.  My feet were sopping wet.  My shoes
felt like 5 lbs each.  Plus the wet socks kept moving around.  I had
blisters by mile 18.  Blisters that I never get.   There was constant
uphills with plateaus, not much going downhill anymore.  Mile 23-24 had
the toughest hill; it was very difficult running with water logged
shoes.  When I reached the top I felt great. But I noticed everyone in
front of me was walking.  Weird.  Then I found out why:  my legs began
to cramp up –both hamstrings, both quads, both calves.  Relentlesss. 
That was the price for weightlifting those shoes up that last
mountain.  So I was forced to walk too.  I power walked about 200 yards
and sucked down a Carboom.  I was fine after that and could jog again
at that point.  It was still raining and my feet were still sloshing in
my shoes.   Anyway… I made it to the finish line smiling.  Very happy
with my time.  They said to add 15 minutes to your regular marathon
time, I beat that.  Yeah!!!  However,  20 minutes after the finish my
left calf locked up, stiff as a board.  OUCH!!!  Took care of that and
then my right tibialis anterior locked up.  OUCH again.  Took care of
that.  Then I was fine.  Everyone I talked too said they were cramping
up.  Probably because of the heavy weight on our feet.  I definitely
ate and drank enough electrolytes the entire race.

The race is phenomenal.  I highly recommend it.  The pasta party and
Hatfield-McCoy skit was great, The Race Director – a real Hatfield – is
the best.   He gave the pre-race speech at the pasta party.  I was
well-prepared on what to expect during the race at each mile.Wonderful.
After the race, they gave us grilled chicken and hamburgers and soda
and chips.  Plenty of fruit too.

My parents were there and this was there first  marathon experience and
they thought it was fantastic.  I hate to tell them that they are not
all like this.  My good friend and neighbor and orthopedic surgeon,
Jack , drove down with me.  Thank goodness. You will know why shortly.

The real trauma drama:

5 hours after the marathon (3:00 pm) I thought it was still raining. 
Everyone thought I was nuts because it was calm outside.  Turns out my
left eye was raining.  I could see a zillion little tiny gray dots. 
And I would see an occasional floater or two.  Well, Jack thought maybe
I over exerted myself and popped a blood vessel in my eye during the
marathon.  Sunday morning there was no improvement. We left to drive
home after breakfast at 8:00am.  Jack called his emergency room buddies
and they said they couldn't help me (just great, real comforting) and
that I needed to call the ophthalmologist on-call.  Which I called
immediately.  Dr. Carim told me not to worry and that to go straight to
his clinic in Wyomissing and he would meet us there at 4:00pm.  We got
there on time and left there at 5:06pm -- after I received emergency
laser surgery on my Retina.  I had a torn Retina.  Unbelievable.  The
doctor is the Retina specialist for the region. I lucked out.  And he
knew exactly what was wrong with me when I told him my symptoms on the
phone but he didn't want me to be alarmed so he underplayed it on the
phone.  He said the gray dots were from the blood I was seeing. 
Huh?!?  He said it was a good thing I bled out.  Some people have no
warning until things get way worse.

Dr. Carim said the tear had nothing to do with my running.  It was just
a coincidence that I ran a marathon that day.  It is because of my
Nearsightedness, the shape of my eye pulled on the retina.  I was a
classic case.   I was lucky.  I was seen within 25 hours.  There was NO
way Jack was going to let anyone in West Virginia look at me.  :-)
My he is a little prejudice. :-)  Jack and the Dr. hit it off and
talked shop.  I was definitely blessed and in good hands.

I had my post-op check-up on Weds afternoon with Dr. Carim.

He said the laser work was "beautiful".  He was so proud of himself.  I
liked that.  I am, however, seeing more floaters now than ever and
still looking through a hair net.  He said it will calm down. He also
said to resume all activity.  I haven't run yet.  I'm still paranoid
even though he said running had nothing to do with it. Plus I don't
feel safe running the roads with blurriness and my depth perception off.

View Beth during the marathon by clicking here . . .

Two Bear Marathon
Whitefish, MT

Greetings from the Kandahar Lodge in Whitefish, MT.   Here is my latest
marathon story:

I arrived in Whitefish, MT Wednesday afternoon. Had absolutely gorgeous weather on Weds, Thurs, Friday, Saturday.  Hiked and drove all around Glacier National Park.  Spectacular!!!  Had no idea how beautiful it was.  Wanted to see a black bear, grizzly, and a moose from a distance.  But it was too hot for them to be out.

Checked in for the race on Saturday.  Knew it was going to rain during the marathon so I went to Glacier Cyclery and bought a clear cycling rain jacket size Medium that would cover my butt and my hands during the run. Clear was important too so volunteers could see my race number.  Rain started late Saturday night and didn't stop until noon on Monday.  Yes, I ran my entire marathon in a rain shower.

The first thing that got my attention was when the race director met our shuttle at the race start in the woods at Two Bear Gate.  He said we had to check in our name and number at SUV #1 because there has been Grizzly sightings in the area during the last couple of weeks.  Everyone on my bus from Montana was glad they had their bear spray on.  HUH?!?  Bear spray???? Why didn't anyone tell me about that on Saturday?  Never knew there was such a thing.  The race director said to stay in numbers and make noise because bears don't like noise.  Okay.  At the race start the race director now tells us that the chalk they put down has probably washed away in the rain.  (they are environmentally friendly out there) but he promised he would have
people out at trail intersections so we wouldn't be confused.  Okay, great.  (Yeah, right.)  He also said DO NOT try to get a PR here. It won't happen in perfect conditions and it certainly won't happen today; watch your footing; be alert; have fun. Then he just said, "GO!"  We were off.  

I ran the first 10 miles in the woods with many runners around me.  I wore my big black trash bag over my new rain jacket for the first 6.5 miles.  It kept me extra dry and extra noisy to scare off the bears. ;-)   The race did provide aid-stations every 2 miles with water, heed, hammer gel, gummi bears and pretzels.  The heed and hammer gel proved to be very good stuff during my entire run.  I did not feel tired or lethargic at any point.  No leg cramping either.

Between Mile 10 and 15 on the single lane trail, I was ALL by myself, FREAKING OUT!!! I was runnning in the mud, rain, and worried about seeing a grizzly up close and personal. I would make loud shouts on occasion to scare the bears.(They were probably too smart to be out in the rain). Somehow I got way in front of the pack I was running with.  This stretch had some down hill to it so I took advantage of the help down.  You had to be very very careful not to slip on the wet rocks, leaves, and roots on the path EVERYWHERE.  Plus some of the downhill trail provided a stream for the run-off so I had to straddle the trail a lot.  My knees feel it the most today--2 days later. I did see one brave man working the aid station at mile 13 ; that comforted me, knowing that I was going the right way.  At about mile 14, however, the trail took off to the left.  NO ONE was manning that area.  I decided to keep going straight.  Made sense. NO ARROWS or signs though.  After running another 1/2 mile without seeing anyone I panicked thinking I went the wrong way.  I started yelling, "hello" "hello" "anyone in front of me?"  No answer.  Yelled it again while I ran even faster (as fast as I could in the muck)  No answer. Thought I screwed up and may have to turn around.  Yelled again, then finally A WOMAN yelled back "YES!  I am in front of you"  I caught up to her and we ran to mile 15 at the trail exit together and the 5 people working the train track there took down our race numbers glad we weren't attacked by any bears.  GREAT!!!

Now my feet are soaking wet and shoes are full of mud.  My whole body is soaking wet.  There is no way that water proof jacket could hold up in a down pour like this.  There are vents in the inside arm sleaves so it is called "water resistant"  Whatever.  Thank goodness I had on a runners cap the whole time to shade my eyes.

From mile 15.5 to I swear mile 20 it was a steady steady steep incline.I powerwalked a lot of this section and passed the joggers.  It was so steep that powerwalking was just as good as jogging.  If you looked to the right you could see Whitefish lake (kind
of through the rain and mist).  You could seldom see the 2 beautiful lakes in the woods when I was running there. Sometimes I could see them to the right.  But you really had to look at the rocks, roots, and puddles on the trail to keep your footing.  I must say that the rain did provide a more brilliant color to the fall leaves.  That was definitely pretty.

From Mile 20-26.2 I passed about 5 half-marathoners and 3 marathoners.    Everybody was miserable.  There were 2 girls I ran with periodically throughout the race who I became good friends with.  We each ended up getting 2nd place in our respective age groups even though we each had our worst marathon times ever.  Well it turns out my
time of 4:36 still would have placed me in previous year marathons that were all run in the beautiful sun. Somehow I didn't get one foot blister.  I think maybe it was because it was only 50 degrees and my feet never swelled up in my sopping wet shoes.

The finishers medal is the best I've gotten. It is made of granite with a big bear etched into it.  The 2nd place plaque is also granite with the same etched in bear.  Pretty cool!

I plan on meeting my 2 new found friends in another state sometime.  We exchanged emails.  One of the girls is a Marathon Maniac from Spokane. 

And that's my story.

Marashall University Marathon


Sunday's Marshall University Marathon was a good one but did get brutal.  Temps started at 42 degrees and ended at 72 degrees when I finished. We picked Marshall to memorialize the 75 football players/coaches that died in a plane crash in 1970. You probably remember this from the movie We Are Marshall.   During the race you get to place a rose on the Memorial Fountain (if you so wish to give up precious time) or you can hand your rose off to a volunteer to place it for you.  The last 100 yards you actually run on the Thundering Herd's Football Field and carry a football to the finish line.

I went with 3 Fasttrackers: Tom Chaves (created my website), Keith Straw (the fairy), and Elden Monday who wanted to beat 3:15 and qualify for Boston.  My friend and chiropractor, Andy Harris, went with us too. Andy ran for ALS.

With the temperatures low during the first half of the race everyone was on pace for a PR.  Keith , a 3:12 marathoner paced Elden and they had a 90 minute half marathon.  Amazing.  Keith finished with a PR of 3:10 and 3rd place for 50-54.  Elden got his BQ with a 3:13.  Yeah! Please see picture of Elden #112 temporarily beating the fairy:

Tom has to get a 3:30 to qualify, he usually runs a 3:40.  He ran an on target 1:40 half and managed to finish under 4 hours -- the heat got to him.  The heat got to me and Andy as well. I ran a 1:53 first half, felt easy.  I thought I kept the same effort the second half but finished with a 4:01:37.  Andy ran a 1:59 half and finished with a 4:44.  Andy, built for football more than running usually runs 4:15.  He came in half naked, put his ALS shirt on before carrying the football the last 100 yards on Marshall's football field.

I witnessed 3 collapses on the course due to cramps.  First a girl at 20 miles, I gave her all my Tums for calcium.  At mile 21 a 50 year old man's legs gave out and he landed straight back on the towpath, volunteers helped him up. While waiting for Andy to finish, I saw a man in his fifties at the 30 yard line raise the football over his head and his legs gave out and he landed straight back on the turf.  Other runners carrying their footballs ran over and around him, not kidding.  Then 2 big guy volunteers helped the man up and he eventually hobbled over the finish line killing 2 minutes of his time.

Keith was in his hay-day.  When he got to the starting line in his fairy costume people took pictures of him, told him it was a "pleasure" to meet him, recognized him in Oct and Dec. Runner's World .  Elden said guys were bitching during the race ,"We can't let the fairy beat us!"  Keith beat them.  After the race we all ate at The Marshall Cafe and tons of people came over to meet Keith (in regular clothes now) and took pictures.  We were all gagging of course