Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Well, it looks like this would be the time to go out for my 8-mile run.... we are in the little triangle of Maryland between the green rain band and Hagerstown. The rain is moving north, so it will be upon us again in an hour or so. I will get rained on during my return trip, but I need to be able to deal with that. If Nancy could go out and slog/spash through 11 miles of flooded roads, and qcmier could ride 35 miles getting totally dumped on, I can stand getting rained on. We aren't flooded, being as how we're up in the mountains; we're more subject to transient flash floods as streams spill over and then fairly quickly the overflow runs downhill into the low country, which is far from here, but affecting Nancy down on the other side of Chesapeake Bay.

No point putting it off till tomorrow; it's going to keep raining till July 5. And if I go now (instead of sitting here in front of the computer), I'll be done and back and maybe cleaned up in time for the next relatively-clear spell, during which it's possible Steve and I might want to go do something, since we're both off work today.

Talked myself into it.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Wow. I've been tracking my running and biking miles at G-maps Pedometer but at a relatively-low zoom level to save time. For some reason, to map yesterday's 8-mile run, I zoomed in closer and discovered I have been running on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost since I crossed into North Carolina! I just stumbled on it accidentally, following my nose, choosing roads that lead me more or less southwest towards Panama City Beach. I'm glad I looked closer.... I've been so intent on logging miles that I haven't paid any attention to the scenery. How many, many times does that happen to all of us?

Lately, though, back home in real-life Western Maryland, I've been unable to miss how lovely it is. Biking and running, I can't get over the greenness. The woodland backroads are encased left, right, and overhead in the most amazing shade of green. I can't get over the fragrance: a mixture of pine, hemlock, ferns, wild roses, moist mouldering dark earth. I can't get over how fast the fawns are growing: Memorial Day weekend I took a picture of one that wasn't much bigger than my cat. Now they're as tall as Journey, who is the size of a smallish Labrador Retriever, although the fawns aren't nearly that stocky, and spring nimbly after their mothers. I see some nearly every time I'm out.

When you're out there, wherever you are, logging the miles on your bike or your running shoes.... don't forget to zoom in and be where you are.


..... catching up on blogs. If I visit yours and comment, I hope you'll visit mine.... I've had next to no one coming by lately, not surprising since I haven't visited anyone else. But Steve is playing poker with the guys till late, and I have the whole evening to myself. I'll try to stop by.

If you come by here, scroll down and read the last couple posts.... I added 2 just today. I miss my imaginary friends.

Stop here, set a spell, putcher feet up, say howdy....


Steve was working in the park office a day ago, when a woman came in all agitated and irate... they had been away from their campsite from 6pm to 9pm and during that time someone had stolen a large Rubbermaid container of food from their picnic table and we needed to provide better security surveillance in our park.

Steve said, "I can tell you where it is."

The woman said, "Oh... did someone turn it in?"

Steve said, "Nope. But it's within a hundred yards of your campsite."

The woman: "Have you seen it?"

Steve: "Nope."

The woman: "Then how do you know?"

Steve: "Because that's what bears do."

So Steve accompanied the woman back to her campsite, and they looked around a little, sure enough, not a hundred yards away, there was the container, chewed, clawed, and pried open, its contents ravaged and the remains strewn all over. The woman was aghast. "I thought the container was safe," she said. "It's a Rubbermaid."

They just don't get it. We have big signs. We hand out written instructions about storing food inside a rigid-sided vehicle, like a car, truck, or camper. Not in a tent. Not in a jeep with canvas/plastic windows. Not in a cooler at your campsite. And not in a Rubbermaid container on your picnic table.

Some of the lakeside summer residents have pretty "bearproof" garbage-can containers made of 2 X 4 slats, that blend right in with the landscape and look really environmentally compatible. I've seen them, on my runs, with the slats ripped apart, the garbage cans extracted, the contents strewn far and wide.

The only thing that works is to keep garbage or camp food in the house, in a closed garage, in metal bins with locks, in closed vehicles (read: windows CLOSED, not left open), or inside campers.

We tell them. They just don't get it.

And yet they walk around the hiking trails in the woods with bells on their backpacks, purchased at the campground nature center, to scare mild-mannered black bears away. Like this is Yellowstone with grizzlies, or something. Yes, such bells are sold at the nature center, but only because people have requested them, not because they're indicated. We can't get stuck saying they asked and did not receive.

They think they have to arm themselves with jingle-bells, but they leave their food out so bears can perceive humans as a source of marshmallows, donuts, and grilled chicken.

They ought to have to pass an IQ test before they can set up camp.

They just don't get it.

Well, THAT was fun....

So I'm spending a fun post-swim afternoon, finished coloring my hair, got it blown dry, the curling iron is heating up, when my husband's "ranger" scanner goes off.... "Medic 9-1, Deep Creek State Park, Campsite #11, for seizures." We are site #25. #11 is just right across the loop from us.

My husband the paramedic was at the dentist, but Nurse Ellie hops on her bike and rolls on over there. Lady, 49 yrs old, diabetic, sick stomach since yesterday, hasn't eaten since yesterday afternoon, can't hold anything down, lying on the sofa trembling violently and sweating profusely. She's alert and oriented but agitated. Sure looks like low blood sugar to me.... gave her some sugar to dissolve under her tongue. Checked her pulse. Weak and a little fast, like with low blood suger. Her husband got out her blood sugar meter and she was able to check her own sugar. It wasn't low, actually it was high, but she sure looked hypoglycemic to me. We waited for the ambulance. Talked to her calmly. A first-responder came and as soon as he and I saw each other... "Oh, no," I said. "Oh, Gawd," he said. We had worked together long ago before he was a medic or I was a nurse. "It's okay, he's safe, you can trust him," I told the family. We got her blood pressure with his equipment. Sky high. I mean, maybe she's having a stroke, too. Ambulance with medics came. They had a chair stretcher (couldn't get a regular stretcher into the camper.) When she sat up she got a severe headache. Hmmm.... that could be low blood sugar OR a stroke. She started barfing. Ick.

Anyway, they trundled her into the ambulance and carted her to the hospital. I guess I'll check with the family later to find out what the scoop is.

I told them I was a nurse but I didn't tell them I've maintained my license on inactive-only basis for 2 years.

I told Mike, the first-responder, if I'd known he was coming, I'd have finished styling my hair before I came. He said I looked gorgeous. I didn't.

Good thing I didn't still have the dye in it. I'd have had to wrap a towel around my head and go like that, with my hair disintegrating under it for however-longer than you're supposed to leave it that I was there. That would have looked cute. Woman shows up on a bike with a towel on her head, rivulets of dye dripping down her face from under it, says, "I heard an ambulance call for someone here, I'm a nurse, can I help?"

It is so fun around here.....

Saturday, June 24, 2006


After work today I did my prescribed 40-mile ride. Tomorrow is an 8-mile run, my first since the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon 2 weeks ago. I've been keeping moving with biking and swimming, but poor Journey may have gotten a little out of shape, with my tapering before and recovering after the marathon. I'll feed her well tonight and then give her an aspirin after our run tomorrow.

Thanks to all my friends for the supportive comments! It helps!

Oops, one thing I am definitely slacking on.... that is my friends' blogs. I just found out that Nancy had a birthday yesterday. If I'd been up-to-date on her blog I'd have known that and not found out the day after.

Anyway.... anyone who's even more behind than I am.... go see Nancy and wish her a happy "extended" birthday!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Oh, wow.

I just spent a couple hours copying all my training logs for 2006 from CoolRunning.com to TrainingPeaks.com, which is the website my coach uses to write my workouts, and where I log them for her. I was using CoolRunning as well because I like the format better. But it was too cumbersome to be keeping up 2 logs... I'm trying to cut down on my computer use, consolidating and condensing where I can.

But wow.

Copying the info, I could not believe the weeks I was putting in, in January and February. If IM AZ registration had still been open, I could have done it. I was doing 2 workouts many days; two 100+ mile bike rides 2 weeks apart with a PR half-marathon the week in between. Running 6 or 8 miles a few days after a marathon. Biking 75 miles on Monday, 45 on Friday, 100 the next Monday. That would kill me now.

I keep telling myself I'm in my 2-week marathon-recovery period and not to be discouraged or take these couple weeks as representative of my fitness. Things are going to start picking up again this weekend. Tomorrow I'm on for my usual Thursday 30-mile ride to and from my mom's with probably 4 hours of fairly-heavy housecleaning in between; Friday is work at the gym 7-4 but a rest day from training; Saturday is work at the gym 8-2 and ride 40 miles; Saturday is run 8 miles, my first run since the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon.

I cannot believe what I was doing in January and February.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


We came home from being out and Steve said, "What's Journey gotten into now?" Clear plastic and colored squares were all around. Oh! I left my "training drink basket" out. She'd gotten the Baggie containing my packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid. They were strewn all around. Only one was chewed, and only a little, just a few toothmarks, and some powder on the outside. The remaining ones were untouched. HAHAHAHA!!! Poor dog.... can you imagine a dog chewing into a packet of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid??? Blech! Yuk! Pthoooo! Wonder how long it took her to get the sour taste out of her mouth?

Monday, June 19, 2006


Click here if you want the whole list.

Here's how I stacked up:
Time 5:20:30
#158 out of 201
44th out of 64 female finishers
5th out of 7 female 50-54 (no fair, the 50-yr-olds beat me...)

And that's the story.

Except the results page doesn't say whether the Hatfields or McCoys won... I'll email the RD and ask. Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Updates to my sidebar info

Nothing earth-shaking.... just added Kentucky to my map of Marathon States Completed; added recent mileage to my Fantasy Training maps, where my run has now taken me into North Carolina, and my bike trip has progressed almost halfway across Utah on U.S. Highway 50. At 1023 miles I'm only a third of the way across the country, and nearly half the year has gone by. It's not looking too good to traverse the 1100 miles from Deep Creek Lake, MD, to Panama City Beach, FL, by November 4 either, with only 335.9 miles down.

Adding mileage to those treks is going to be sluggish for another week as I'm on scheduled marathon recovery with NO running, and easy biking. And swimming. I should start a Swim Fantasy Route. 12.1 miles this year is more than halfway across the English Channel.

My ride to my mom's house and back, day before yesterday, took my biking for 2006 over 1000 miles. I go once a week and spend about 4 hours cleaning. I've got several cupboards done and one junk room about 2/3 done, and all her dead/dying/languishing houseplants thinned out and planted into a few easy-to-manage planters and hanging baskets. In the room I cleaned Thursday, the carpeted floor was too much of a job for the vacuum cleaner. I swept it well, then sprinkled most of a box of Carpet Fresh on it, which I will let fester until next Thursday when I'll vacuum it up.

I am really tired, folks. The last two weeks have been sapped by my new job, easy and fun though it is, and my marathon and the 5.5-hr drive both ways. Not that anyone forced me to do that, but I'm recovering a lot more slowly than usual, probably because of the new job.

Don't pay attention to my whining. I'm going to bed now!


My microwave is broken!! =:-O
After my bike ride home from my mom's last night I put in a potato and the mike made a loud buzzing noise and didn't cook. I smacked it a few times and tried again but no luck.
I felt totally helpless! How to cook a quick potato without a microwave???  I ended up cutting it in little pieces and boiling it. This morning I got out my oatmeal bowl and then realized, I can't cook it in this bowl. I'm going to have to cook it on the stove.
25 years ago I maintained that I didn't need a newfangled $400 (they cost that much then) radioactive device to heat up my leftovers.
How times have changed. I felt totally helpless to cook a potato until I shifted my brain into "back when" mode.
Now we have to find a new mike that fits in the space over the stove in our camper. There are a lot of things we need to pay off. I have a feeling our gas stove is going to get a lot more use for a while.
This is getting more and more like camping all the time. I've always said you can't call it "camping" when you have 2 TV's and a microwave. The other night the satellite signal suddenly quit on the bedroom TV. The one in the living room still works. With one thing and another, Steve hasn't gotten around to looking at the dish connection for the bedroom one.
So we're down to one TV and no microwave. Am I a happy camper? Not sure!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006



I tried to post a thumbnail, and although I was able to copy it successfully to my files, again my photos are not showing up on Blogger. Anyway, click on the link if you want to see my finish-line triumph :-)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bear Hunt

Wow. I go away for a couple days and come back to all hell breakin' loose. Apparently there's been a female black bear with 3 cubs hanging out on the fringes of the campground, pestering campers out there, looking for food. One family said they were sitting at their picnic table making s'mores and two of the cubs came right into their site and up to their table, one swiping the box of graham crackers and the other snatching a Hershey bar, which it proceeded to unwrap and eat out of hand just like a human being. Now, I always think it's a privilege to see a bear, especially cubs, but this is getting a bit much. Next night another camping family was cooking fish they'd caught in the lake. My husband told them they'd damn well better not leave fish heads etc. outdoors anywhere, even inside their vehicle. Well, sure enough, whether from garbage or just the smell of fish cooking, along came the female, and when the guy yelled at her and tried to shoo her away, she bluff-charged him. (This is when a bear runs at you but then screeches to a halt a few feet from you, just to give you a hint that you're getting aggravating.) Steve and the other rangers reported her and her bluff-charge to Maryland Wildlife Management, who said, "Well, we don't want to be harming the bears.... if she does anything else, let us know." LIKE WHAT??? 
We've had 3 separate campers now leave after just one night because they're scared. Last night one of the other camp host couples got up at 3a.m. to move a family of scared tent campers into a cabin.... the same female kept coming into their campground, sniffing their tent, rummaging around. They left today too.
Now, in general, black bears raid garbage cans and break down bird feeders and are nuisance animals which avoid direct contact with humans; and in general I think folks are too paranoid about them. But this sow is getting a little too bold and brassy. Bluff-charging and all. Apparently Wildlife finally agreed after last night.
So Wildlife called in ... (ominous music playing... ) The Schrock Boys. With their Bear Dogs. Now, you'd have to see the Schrock Boys to appreciate this. There was a picture of them in the local paper last year, and if it hadn't been a color photo, you'd have sworn it was taken in 1850. Maybe of Hatfields or McCoys. Big huge redneck guys in overalls and beat-up hillbilly hats, chest-length beards, no-nonsense glowering looks on their faces, and multiple hound dogs on leashes. Yup, so the Schrock Boys were out here today. We didn't see 'em but we heard the dogs baying and carrying on,  and every now and then, a huge booming shot that sounded like it came from a muzzle-loader. This would be rubber buckshot to whing the bear in the ass and hopefully clue her in that this is not a nice area to hang out. They also shot bullets  which whizz and scream through the air like bottle rockets and then explode into fireworks, hopefully to scare her away from the area. The dogs bayed in one place without moving for a long time... must have treed one. It was all happening not a quarter mile away, up around the hiking trails that I police for trash. Every bit as entertaining as the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon, even just to listen to.
I'd have loved to go up and watch but Bear Huntin' with the Schrock Boys ain't no spectator sport.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Marathoning with the McCoys...

....and hobnobbing with the Hatfields.
What fun! That's my main comment. This was a fun, fun marathon. About 300 runners, down to 200 after the half-marathoners made their finish. I was assigned to be a McCoy in this "feud" -- my roommates WrayJean and Kathy were Hatfields. I've met WrayJean several times at other marathons but I never knew she was a Hatfield. But I don't hold it against her. She was a right nice roomie and I'm always glad to see her. The Hatfields were pitted against the McCoys in this run, with the winning team winning the feud, at least for this year.
The race director, Dave Hatfield, had told us the night before: "This is a fun and challengin' race course. Don't be worryin' none about a PR. Y'all just go out there and have fun."
When the race director says, "Don't worry about a PR, just have fun," it's not a good sign for a fast race. But a great sign for a good time.
At the start, he commented: "Someone asked if there's a time limit on this race. Well, we've seen 8 hours.... but basically we just hope you'll finish before dark, 'cause the course is a lot easier if you can still see." Turned out, that was because the course was marked in blue arrows and blue footprints painted on the road; at intersections you had to look for the clues, like a Hash House Harriers run. There were no police officers directing you. There was no traffic competing with you after the first couple miles. And, as Dave Hatfield had predicted, "For a lot of you out there, there will be no one with you; it will be just you, God, and the road." It was lonely, all right... but lovely, because you knew that there were a lot of other lovely lonely runners out there with you forming a lovely lonely companionship meeting up with each other for a few hundred yards here and there.
There was a guy, sort of a mascot, dressed like a Hatfield (or a McCoy?) with a beard down to his chest, a rifle in his hand. He was at the pasta dinner, at the start, and at the finish. He didn't run. He was a mascot. Or a living monument. I expected all kinds of hillbilly costumes among the runners, but there wasn't a single one. Not even me in my trademark cutoffs.... I was wearing my cutesy pleated skirt from Goodwill. No one had a straw hat or corncob pipe or even a calico bandana -- I had one of those because it's part of my normal running gear, and mine was the only one. Anyway, at the start I stepped out of the pack to take a picture of Devilance Hatfield with all the runners turning the corner behind him, which put me DFL in that small running field. I caught up with the back of the pack but there I stayed the whole remaining 26 miles.
In the back of the pack, there were about a dozen folks like me, middle-age up to just plain old, most of them working on 50 states for the first, second, or even 5th time. That's right, 5th. An elderly man all hunched over with his head appearing to grow out of his chest sported a singlet displaying: "50 States and 7 Canadian Provinces and Territories 4 Times." He was running his 301st marathon. He looked like he could hardly walk. 
There was a woman named Pam, running on her 59th birthday, her 121st marathon and 42nd state. Runner after runner that I ran alongside, was running their umpty-umpth or hundred-and-umpty-umpth marathon. I felt like a newbie, running my 21st marathon and 11th state.
Another woman who was....um... large-boned. Um... kind of stocky. Um... OK, kind of fat. Sporting a singlet: "50 States and D.C. Completed." So what if you don't look like a marathon runner? What does a marathon runner look like, anyway? Obviously not like the marathon-runner stereotype. This woman has run me right into the ground in sheer distance and determination. She was about my age, too.
Everyone you buddied up with, back there in the back, asked, "How many states is this for you?" Like it was assumed that everyone in the back-of-the-pack group was working on 50 states. I was one of the younger ones. I am 54.
There was a guy (not in the back, I saw him while we were both checking into the host hotel and that was the last I saw him) running his 23rd marathon in 2006. The story? He committed to running 52 Marathons in 2006 to raise money for developmentally-challenged people. He gave me a card with his website so I could donate. There was another guy, from Tokyo, who got some notoriety at the pasta dinner and made a speech into the microphone, running his 33rd marathon this year. He's writing a book on the most people-friendly and eco-friendly marathons in the world. He recently ran 8 marathons in 23 days throughout Europe. I was awed by the size of the spaghetti portions he ate.
I'm putting my money on the guy raising fund for the developmentally-challenged. Partly because of our granddaughter Abbie. And also because he was a young guy who probably has a job, although he may be on sabbatical for this. Tokyo Joe, with his car (I saw it) and his mission, seemed like he needed something to do with his time. He was a nice enough guy but a little too PC for me, with his eco-friendly marathon book. I ran with him a little in the back of the pack and he took a lot of pictures of wild day-lilies and such. So did I but mine won't ever be in a book about eco-friendly marathons.
So. The marathon. The runners. One young man had a shirt with the shape of West Virginia on the front, a star marking the site of the Sago mine tragedy, the legend "Gone but not forgotten." On the back: In memory of Marty Bennett." I asked him. His uncle. Never saw him again after the start.
Another guy had a shirt with probably a hundred names on it in childish handwriting. I guessed he was a teacher, or a soccer coach, or something. Never saw him again either.
These guys were home showering, eating lunch, and dipping into the moonshine crock shortly after I got to the half.
On to the marathon for the rest of us.
My prophylactic Imodium didn't work. By mile 3.5, half a mile after passing the portapots at mile 3, I felt my breakfast protein-oatmeal shake trying to make a dive for the escape hatch. Hang on. Porta-Pots are supposed to be every 3 miles. I had Imodium. This can't be a crisis. This is not a crisis. This is not a crisis. I had Imodium. This is not a crisis. This is a test. This is only a test. Check out the roadsides.. Can I jump the guardrail? That sheriff is everywhere, will he bust me if I go in the creek? If he doesn't, Tokyo Joe will, for sure. Hang in there. I also had to pee. Already. Ack. I started saying to fellow runners, "They did promise us porta-pots every three miles, didn't they?" Hang on. In front of a very nice cedar-siding cottage was a man in camo overalls with a beat-up broad-brim hat and a shotgun. He was grinning and yelling, "If you're a Hatfield, keep on runnin'. If you're a McCoy, stop and shake hands." I yelled, "I'm a McCoy, can I use your bathroom?" Everyone laughed. Except me.
I loved the outback-country accoutrements. The road names. The signs. "Right Turkey Toe Bridge." Followed a couple hundred yards later by "Left Turkey Toe Bridge." A dilapidated rusty truck with rigor mortis and no hood, dead and forgotten next to a sign, "Caution: Trucks Entering Highway."  A beat-up old shed with authentic redneck vehicles in various states of disassembly and disease; nailed onto the shed, a brand-new beautiful sign: "Interstate Batteries: Fastest and Most Powerful."  Honeysuckle. Honeysuckle everywhere. Green. Green everywhere. Alongside the funny things were beautiful green woods, green grass, green vines, green bushes... the very air was green. We ran along Hardy Creek, then along Blackberry River. And then up Hardy Hill.
Ah, yes, at mile 6, Hardy Hill, about which we had been warned. Over a mile of steady climbing. Everyone I could still see ahead of me was walking. I kept running. I was too anxious to get to the porta-pots to walk. Everyone in the BOP knew about my plight. A boy who appeared to be maybe 14, running the half, asked me as I passed him, "Did you find a bathroom yet?"  FINALLY, at mile 7, there it was. ONE. Luckily, I was the only one running so I beat all the walkers up the hill and practically busted down the door. One of the most-appreciated moments of my life. Right up there with being told it's OK to push now. But 3 minutes later (yeah, only 3 minutes) I was on the hill again, and my momentum had been interrupted. And then the downhill started, which was downright painful, with my messed-up metatarsals. That looong downhill just plain hurt my feet. I groaned and whimpered. I had a hard time finding a stride I could live with. That downhill lasted forever. Or until 8 miles. Whichever came first.
My coach Mary had told me to hold back the first 6 miles and then wing it from there. Well, at 8 miles I was still holding back, and not on purpose. I just felt like it wasn't my day. Just tired or something. I'd give myself till the half to decide whether to finish. Stopped for a couple minutes at the aid table at Mile 9, took 2 Excedrin, salt capsules, ditched my visor which was giving me a headache, stretched, shot the bull with a bunch of ladies, young girls, and a man easily 600 pounds in a wheelchair with his stomach hanging down to his feet, participating in the marathon by manning a water table. You go, fat guy. You could be in bed in your house watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island and needing help to turn over, but you're out here in your wheelchair handing out PowerAde to marathoners. You go, fat guy. You rock.
Soon I met up with Pam. BTW, my porta-pot stop had relegated me again to DFL. I had to catch up again. I walked/ran with Pam for 3 or 4 miles, leapfrogging, getting ahead, stopping for water, catching up. We talked. She was running in honor of a friend with melanoma. I told her about Holly. She was on a cycle of run one minute, walk 30 seconds. I was happy with that. But she started running through her walk breaks and after a while she said, "You go on. You're way faster than I am." I said, "No, really, at this point I'm just planning on finishing before dark, like Dave Hatfield said." A quarter-mile later Pam said, "No, you go. You're way faster than me. I'm trying to keep up with you and if I do that I won't make the finish." That I understood, and I went on. She finished maybe 5 minutes behind me. Pam did not look like a marathon runner, either. 121 marathons and she had middle-age spread all over. Looky here, world.... you don't have to be skinny to be in shape. How many of you pumped-up muscle-builders or skinny elliptical patterers can run 121 marathons???
So Pam and I hit the half together, and my Excedrin had kicked in and I was feeling better, and I ditched my option to ditch. If I continue past the half, I'm in for the long run. Period.
But I was slow. Not just because I kept stopping to take pictures. I was just slow. Working in the gym, I've been taken in somewhat by the high-protein muscle-building mindset and I hadn't carbo-loaded well. Proof, world, Body-for-Life is not the diet for endurance athletes. I kept swigging from my honey flask, and I ate a few bites of bananas at aid stations (ick, didn't want to stay in my stomach) and drank PowerAde but I was dipping into muscle tissue for calories, I think. My quads hurt way sooner than usual. And for the rest of the race. And they still do, 2 days later. So I won't do THAT again.
Coach Mary has me scheduled for 2 whole WEEKS of NO RUNNING while recovering. Biking, yes. Swimming, yes. But no running. And in the second half, I kept thinking, "All I have to do is finish this race I won't have to run for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!!!" Yippeee!!! Just get to the finish and I'm off the hook for TWO WEEKS!!! WoooHOOO!!! It was something to shoot for. My reward for hitting the finish line.
Around mile 21 I thanked a water-table guy, old guy,  for hanging out all day waiting for us back-of-the-packers. He said, "Nope, gotta hand it to ya, y'all are doin' somethin' I couldn't do in my dreams. And y'all here are lastin' a lot longer than them folks as passed here 2 hours ago." I told him, "Thanks! You got the REAL ENDURANCE SPECIALISTS here!!" He called after me, "That's fer sher!" Geez... someone who understands!!! And a lay person at that!!
Somewhere around mile 23 I got a second wind. Started running blistering 11:30 miles instead of the 12:xx's I'd been running. I just felt stronger. Maybe it was 'cause the old guy understood.
So I ran into the final stretch, into the finish chute, to the PA's announcement, "Here comes #24..... Um... letssee... Ellie Hamilton!!! From.... ACCIDENT, MD????" Yessireebob, that's me, Ellie Hamilton, Accident, MD, and I crossed the finish line cheering with my arms up, and it was done.
I met up with Kathy, who had done the half, and a few minutes later, WrayJean came in. She had been ahead of me most of the race but we traded places around mile 18. The payback was, WrayJean still looks great in our post-race snapshots; I look like hell, with my hat gone, my hair a mess, and my mascara smeared under my eyes.
Maybelline Unstoppable Mascara isn't.  Or, if you read the fine print, it says: " *Under normal conditions." I guess running a marathon isn't "normal." I sweated so much, the dried salt on my legs looked like I'd been playing in a sandbox. Even though the weather never once felt hot. It was cloudy, low 70's, few rain sprinkles. I never was hot, even felt chilly sometimes. But sweated like a hog. Maybe I'll skip the mascara next time.
Lesson 2:
Don't be sucked into the body-building gym mentality and diet the week before the marathon.
Lesson 3:
Don't give a little camera to a photographer on a marathon course. I took over 50 pictures, and left the race to compose them properly. Spent probably 20 minutes taking pictures.
Lesson 4:
Unless you're competing for your annual income, a marathon should be fun, with joys and woes shared among participants, and laughter and hugs at the end.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I am having the worst time trying to post pictures. After I got these loaded, it just quit. I tried posting some in a new post, in case I'd reached the limit for one post or something. I still can't post any. After I click on "Done," nothing happens. This is aggravating. I had this idea to do a photojournal of the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon but I may be relegated to just a plain old prose report if I can't load any pictures. This sucks.

You can't read this, but it says "Phelps Funeral Home." They're set up for a service. And you never know when one of the mourners might have to answer a call of nature.

Good thing for the blue-painted feet.... I'd never have believed this was the way. It was kind of like being on a Hash Run, with "clues" often leading to "Bad Trails."

But there were so many truly beautiful moments....

Including this outdoor wedding -- a Hatfield and a McCoy -- with an Elvis lookalike doing an amazing rendition of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You."

"...And I leave my Christmas lights on on my front porch all year long..."

The Green Mile

Hillbilly Trophies?

WrayJean and Kathy still look great... what happened to me?

Scenic view on the drive home

On the way home

I was surprised, that evening after driving home right after the marathon, at how tired I wasn't. It caught up with me the next day. Ouch. Yawn. This is Day 2 afterwards, and although I'm not as tired, my quads are still sore.

I'll post more pictures if I ever figure out what's wrong... and if I can't post more pics, I'll get wordy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


...to let Blogland know I'm back from the marathon, that I finished it, that my feet are not any worse (maybe actually better), that I'm all in one piece (as much as I ever was), that it was a whole lot of fun, and that I thank everyone for their good wishes and foot tips!

I'll write a report soon and post pictures. Not tonight. It's 10p.m. and I've been awake since 3a.m., ran 5:20 (took a lot of pictures), then drove home 5:40, unpacked, finally showered, have been regrouping and checking email (an amazing amount in one day), and I am about to go to bed now. It's been a looooong day. I kept thinking about Julie running for 24 hours to the tune of 116.8 miles, and feeling puny because I was looking forward to the end of my 26.2....

Later, folks.... and thank you!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The Hatfield-McCoy Marathon is Saturday! I'm leaving tomorrow morning, driving to KY... well, WV, actually; the whole thing starts right on the state line and is run mostly in KY.

I've been nursing a sore foot for about 3 weeks... something wrong with my metatarsal head (ball of foot) after hiking in bad shoes/boots when I was repainting the trial markers. Actually it doesn't hurt that much when I run, only when I walk, so I guess I better not walk during the marathon too much :-) If it feels as if it's getting more injured, I'll bail. It would be my first DNF ever, but it's not worth really hurting it and then being out for 6 weeks. We'll see how it goes.

I'm packing up my stuff now and will be off in the morning! My friend WrayJean from Indiana is sharing my room, along with her friend Kathy. I haven't seen WrayJean since Feb. of 2005, at the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa. So that will be a lot of fun.

I'll let y'all know how it goes!

Monday, June 05, 2006


If you want some inspiration for your training, take a look at this. And congratulate her! She has accomplished an amazing feat.

Speaking of "feat," I am going to try her Foot Potion. I'm getting blisters this year and I never used to. Feet are changing, or something. It got her through 116.8 miles in 24 hours with just ONE blister. I get hot spots after 5 miles. Gonna mix me up some and try it out. Maybe for this weekend's marathon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Well, crap. I had this post all written out, published, commented on by Flo, then I went to change one little word and lost it.

It just goes to show.... I shouldn't edit and re-edit. Especially after something is already posted. You should see how long it takes me to make a 2-line email post acceptable.

Anyway, let me try this again.

This marathon is going to be fun. Here's the course description, including some history of the feud and pointing out some of the feud landmarks we'll see or run past.

Each runner is assigned randomly to be either a Hatfield or a McCoy (unless they're one or the other by birth), and the "family" with the lowest overall running time wins the feud... at least for this year.

I'm a McCoy. If life had worked out differently, I actually might have been. My first love was a McCoy. I don't know if he was the same McCoy family as the feuders, but had our (mutual) crush continued and endured, I might have been a McCoy. I wouldn't be where I am now. I'd be richer.... according to my understanding he's done quite well indeed. I wouldn't be retired (if I had ever worked... I don't know anything about his wife), wouldn't be living and traveling full-time in an RV. My children Valerie, Jonathan and Avery would never have been born; without them there would have been no Collin, Grayson, and Abbie. I wouldn't have lived in Garrett County, MD for 30 years. I'd have lived in 6 countries around the world and I'd be living in Geneva, Switzerland at the moment, not going to Kentucky to run the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon. It was a long time ago, 8th grade and our first couple years of high school. 50 years later, I still dream about him sometimes. I guess you never forget your first love.

Anyway, I'm done training for the marathon. I ran 18 miles last weekend and 10 today. At least, 10 more or less... en route, about a mile and a half out, I discovered my necklace was broken and the silver cross I've rarely taken off in 20 years, since Steve gave it to me that Easter, was gone. So I retraced my steps all the way home, and went out again, retraced, came back, went out again, and on this trip I found it. I was so overcome I picked it up and kissed it. So I looked at my watch, estimated where I'd need to run to to return home with a total of 2 hours, which I would call 10 miles.

MapQuest predicts a 4-and-a-half hour drive down there. This may be a good omen. I have sort of a rule of thumb that says it's reasonable to travel to a race when the travel time is no more than the race itself will take me, more or less. So, it's reasonable to drive half an hour to a 5K; an hour to a 10K; 3-and-a-half hours to an Oly tri; up to 6 hours for a marathon.

So maybe a 4:30 drive prophesies a 4:30 marathon.

Or not.


You-all will have to take this post with any typos or syntax errors it may contain... I'm not going to take it back again after publishing to fix something and lose it again. It's already lost something in the translation. And gained.... I didn't include the story of the lost cross in the first version.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Hey, for the first day on a new job, it went off smooth as silk. Actually it wasn't very busy at all. I cleaned the whole place up, and then went around and did 12 reps on every machine in there, at weights that pushed me to fatigue but not failure at 12 reps. It was fun but I'm not used to it... I'm a little sore in some places.

Many of the people who came in were regulars who didn't need anything except a "Hello," which of course to me means "Shoot the breeze about your workout program and what's going on in your life." But this is what we are supposed to do with customers -- make them feel we're interested in them, that we like them, that we want them to have the very best workout and the most success possible.

I sat next to one guy, he on one machine and I on the next, both of us lifting while we talked about RV'ing -- he's been pondering it and was really interested. Then he asked about triathlon, since I was wearing a race shirt. So we talked about that, while lifting, moving from machine to machine. Obviously neither of us was working very hard but it was chummy.

One guy I felt like I remembered from another incarnation.... which was true. (Remember, this is the area where we lived for 30 years where we're "back for the summer.") He had to tell me who he was, because last time I saw him he was a pudgy, sort of spacey 10-year-old. Not anymore... he's grown up and working out to meet the physical requirements to join the Navy. He's worried about running 1.5 miles in 12 minutes. Can't keep up an 8-minute mile yet. I suggested he do quarter-miles at a faster pace, like 1:50 for a quarter, with recovery jogs, rather than busting butt trying to run a whole mile in 8 minutes. He had never heard of interval training and acted like I'd given him the Good News.

We're supposed to do that, too... advise clients if we know what we're talking about; make sure their form is correct on the machines (like I'd know....) help them select the right resistance/pace/incline/weight for their ability and goals... yeah, on 3 hours training. I knew being a runner, biker, etc. would come in handy, as would being a nurse.... as such I did have training in lifting, but not weight-machines.... human beings, actually, and other heavy things, but the principles are more or less the same.

I think I like my job. The assistant manager came on duty after me, and she didn't call and ask what the heck happened in the cash register, or anything. Actually it was a little like working in the doctor's office, but not nearly as taxing mentally or emotionally. I'm happy.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Well, if the paperwork is messed up tomorrow, that's what they get for putting the new gym gal on Saturday morning, the busiest time of the week, all by herself.

I was there today for about 3 hours, was shown where all the day passes, membership forms, and contracts are, how to turn on the cash register (OH, GOD! THERE'S A CASH REGISTER????) and hopefully how to run it, where cleaning supplies are, how to turn on the tanning bed and advise customers in safe use, how to use all the machines. It was a lot in 3 hours.

Tomorrow I'm opening up and I'm IT until 2pm. Although I can call for help with any questions.

"Don't worry," said Kris, the assistant-manager who showed me around. "It's not brain surgery."

Thank goodness for that.