Monday, November 18, 2013

MUDD Poker Run 2013

MUDD Poker Run 2013

Thank you to Keith Daniels and Julie Bane for starting this great MUDD tradition of having a Poker Run! Keith was out a few times during the week and then again on the Poker run morning; creating and marking a fun 3.75 mile course winding through prairie and single track at Veteran Acres/Sternes Woods park.


1.Have fun!

2. You get 2 cards at the beginning of the run to start your hand.

3. Every loop ran you could receive 2 cards. But you could not ever have more than 5 cards in your hand. If you had 5 cards you had to turn in 1 or 2 cards to receive another card.

4. Run as many loops as you like. Eat treats. Socialize and have fun!

5. Best hand at the end of the day won the very special Poker Run trophy

They are off on a 3+ mile hilly loop through the beautiful trails of
Veteran Acres and Sternes Woods
John and Nandini mastering the Carina pose
Bad A$$ club- the final four running
Pouring rain, high winds, and dodging lightning bolts did not slow them down
All the extra mileage these hard cores ran didn't help them
win the best hand at the Poker run
Michael Johnson, Brandi Henry, Jean Lenard, Carl Galdine

Blair Piotrowski was award Poker Run Champ 2013 with 4 of a kind

Blair Piotrowski MUDD Poker Run Champ 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

North West trail run 5 & 10 miler- MUDD Ultrarunning Dudes & Dudettes aid station

Runners heading out of Sternes Woods MUDD aid station -North West trail run
photo credit Royal Hartwig

MUDDers getting the aid station prepared for the runners
Geoff Moffat, Michele Hartwig, Julie Bane, Jean Lenard, Jeff Lenard, Tim Kruse, Tasha, Nick

1st and 2nd overall for the 5 mile race
on a final sprint to the finish line
Mark Jensen is 13 years old. I am a big
fan of this kind young man.
He was beat out only by a nose. I'm so proud
of Mark. His father Bill Jensen is my
good friend and trainer. Final time 34:15 for 5 miles.

The MUDD Ultrarunning Dudes & Dudettes have been "manning" the aid station at the North West trail run in Crystal Lake, IL for 4 years. The weather was beautiful and all the runners had a great time. You can't beat the trails at Veteran Acres/Sternes Woods. The MUDDers look forward to volunteering at this race every year! It's a wonderful tradition.

The race director of the North West trail run is Bob Walsh. Bob is a great member of the running community in Crystal Lake. He is always there to help others. Bob will be hosting a 5k Turkey Trot at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake on Thanksgiving morning. The race is FREE. You just have to bring a donation of food or money for the Crystal Lake Food pantry. If you bring money in form of a check please have it made out to the Crystal Lake Food pantry because they can make that money go farther at the grocery store than Bob can. It's a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning.

Tim Kruse and Geoff Moffat waiting to direct runners
North West Trail run

Leaders in the 10 mile North West Trail run race
Christopher (Coco) Rodriguez

Runners heading into the MUDD Ultrarunning Dudes & Dudettes
aid station at Sternes Woods- North West Trail Run

Geoff Moffat directing runners
North West Trail run- MUDD aid station

North West trail run
Killer hill at mile 4

North West Trail run
nearing the top of the killer hill
Jeff Lenard, Michele Hartwig, and Sarah Finn Young.
Sarah was so fantastic! She was so kind to come out and thank Jeff and I
after the race. She told us our words kept her going. This is the note she sent us when she got home:
"Thank you for everyone who came out to support running today. My name is Sarah Young and today was the first time I did 5 mile run/walk. Also first trail run. I was nearly ready to pack it in and just finish walking when I hit the water stand. There were 2 people who encourage me to keep going, I did. They reminded me that it was to be fun. Today left an impact in my heart, and for that I say Thank you."

My daughter Tasha and her friend Nick

Jeff Lenard and I directing runners at a tricky corner. I jumped from
station to station bringing cookies to everyone.

Tricky photography of runners by my son Royal Hartwig

The Headless Helpers

North West trail run heading into the MUDD aid station

Ben Willis, Mark Perry, and Sarah Willis are human arrows
at the North West Trail run

North West trail run- Leaving MUDD aid station
Mark Perry, Julie Bane, Jean Lenard
North West trail run- Gerome greeting the runners as they
head into the MUDD aid station

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cactus Rose 100- Only those who risk going to far can possibly find out how far they can go- T.S. Eliot

Holly- toughest lady I know
Me the night before the race

I tried, I DNF'd, but that will not be the end of the story. I went on this adventure with my friends Holly and Tim. It was my first try at a "more difficult" 100 mile race. Not that running any 100 is easy, but I know which kind of 100's I can finish, and I wanted to challenge myself to something new. The idea of finishing this race scared and excited me. It drove me in training, it was something I had to do. My friends and I planned to run the entire race together. We had trained together and we had a vision of the 3 of us crossing the finish line together; holding hands, with our arms raised high in the air. That vision is still there, it will just have to wait for 2014 to happen. I was sad. It takes many, many training runs to get to the starting line of a 100. You dream of a race all year- and when you figure out on the course it's not going to happen, it's tough. So now I've started this race, I learned lessons I needed to learn and I am prepared for my next run at it. The dream is not lost.

Despite the disappointment of not getting to finish I had many things to be thankful for. My friends of course. I loved being with them all weekend. We laughed a lot, worked through some tough miles and made memories that we will treasure forever. The people of Texas were great, so welcoming. The runners in the race, the RD's, the finish line volunteers, they all were very supportive. It's a great community.

As far as the race- First off the course is awesome. I loved it and I miss it already! I can't wait to go back! I'm a cowgirl at heart and I love cowboy country! It is rugged, rough, and beautiful. The terrain is dry, sharp, various sized loose rocks. Parts of the course are run-able and parts are steep climbs and descents. On top of the climbs you can see breathtaking landscape for miles. The course had many huge Sotel patches. They were tall, grand and in full bloom. These plants had leaves with little teeth that cut you up. There was no way to avoid them, you just had to barrel through.
Close up picture of a Sotel. These plants were taller than us.

Camping at the start finish line is really easy. It only cost 10 bucks per car for the whole weekend. There was a nice wide open field to put up your tent.

My tent is the big one with awesome views of Hill country 
The race does not supply food or have any volunteers at aid stations. You drop your drop bags off at designated spots the night before then pick them up after you run the race. This was really easy and it only took about 30 minutes to drop off and pick up. The race supplied an unlimited amount of water and ice. It was about 5 miles between every aid station and every 25 miles you got back to the start/finish line. When you went back out you got to run the course the opposite of the last time.

Pre-race directions the night before
I barely ever eat any of the food at aid stations so bringing my own food was no big deal.  The aid stations always had a ton of ice with scoopers in it. The ice was clean. I get easily grossed out and I put the ice in my water bottle at every aid station. The race organizers did a great job at everything.

The race is described perfectly when it says on the website "We avoid anything flat to take you on all that is rugged and nasty".  The race director says everyone reads the website but does not believe the course is as tough as they describe. Believe it. In Ultrarunning Magazine Cactus Rose is rated tougher than Sawtooth. My girlfriend Holly has ran Sawtooth and she agrees with that statement. It is a beast, but it is not impossible. It kicked my butt but I will miss it every day until I get to go back. I will start this race again, and next time I will make it to that finish line.

Tim Kruse was the only one of our group that made it to the finish line. It was his first 100 mile race. He did a great job. At mile 50 Holly and I were pretty beat up and he looked like he had just started a 5 mile run. We were both so happy and proud of him. Holly went to High school with Tim and they just reconnected in the last year. They thought it was pretty funny that they used to work together in high school and now 20+ years later they are running a 100 mile race together.