Archive for November, 2013

Perfect way to start the weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2013 by Trail Boy

How about a little neon to brighten up the woods? Here’s our group at Yellowwood State Forest before the run. (Photo by Terry Fletcher)

What a great way to start the weekend: running for a few hours in the woods, making a few new friends and catching up with old friends.

It’s been too long since I’ve done this — at least two years, maybe more. But now that I’ve gotten over my leg injury and rebuilt my base, it feels so good to be back for outings like this.

This was a familiarization run on southern half of the Tecumseh Towpath Marathon course. About 50 people showed up, ready to rock the hills. Most are planning to run the marathon on Dec. 7. I’m nowhere near trained enough to run 26.2 miles, let alone a tough, hilly course through the woods of southern Indiana.

I showed up for run just to have fun, run about 10 miles and get back with trail people.

(I last ran this marathon in 2008, and wrote this race report.)

I love running in November. True, it’s not as pretty as October, when the trees are bursting with fall colors. But November has its own beauty. The trees are thinned out, and you can see for miles across gorges and ravines. Luckily we had a bright blue sky today and great visibility.

View from the top of Indian Hill Road

The run was organized by Terry Fletcher and his gang from Indiana Trail Running.They did a great job of marking the course with pink ribbons, setting up three aid stations, handling the carpooling and a thousand other things.

Terry Fletcher, the run organizer and all-around great guy. (Photo by Christy Snider Odeen)


The goal was to run from the top of Indian Hill Road (about mile 13 of the course) to the end at Yellowwood Lake. You could run a little shorter, about 10 miles, by clipping off a loop near the end. Or you could run farther by tacking on an extra loop or two here or there.


I ran a nice, easy pace, near the back. My goal was just to run for fun and get about 10 miles under my belt.

The air was pretty chilly, with temps in the mid-20s. But I wasn’t complaining. I dressed in three layers and kept warm.

Like my green jacket? I was hoping it would keep me visible to hunters. (Photo by Terry Fletcher)

Even though it rained Thursday and Friday, the trail was pretty firm and the creeks were low. Of course, the hills were tough, as always, but they were spread out, with lots of creekside running, moderate rollers and fun downhills.

I ran for about an hour with Toni, Mark, Marci and Momi. I didn’t know them a day ago, but that’s the beauty of trail running. Most people love to share the miles and trade stories. Lots of long friendships begin this way.

My running buds on Saturday (from left to right): Marci, Mark and Toni.

I also had fun catching up with Jim Halsey for a while. We’ve put in a few miles together at DINO races and fun runs here and there. He’s run oodles of trail marathons and ultras and is always encouraging. 

Jim seems to be having a good recovery after surgery last fall. He told me he has signed up for the 50-mile portion of the Indiana Trail 100 in April, so he’s not letting a little surgery stop him.

Jim Halsey (in the yellow shirt) gets ready to climb a hill.

The course was mostly singletrack, with some paved roads, gravel roads, jeep roads and grassy clearings.


One thing about trail running in November: you see lots of hunters. Terry warned us not to strike up long conversations with the hunters, as they want the woods nice and quiet, and wish we weren’t even there. And for the most part, that’s what I did.

But at one point, we saw four young hunters in a parking area of a gravel road. We waved to them. They waved back and asked us to take their pictures. They were in a chatty mood.

We took their picture.

Then we asked them to take pictures of us with them. Here’s mine.


Then we waved goodbye and clomped on down the road. Soon, we got to the turnoff point, where you could either finish up in a half-mile or keep going for another four miles.

I knew I was pushing my luck running this far. So I decided to wrap it up with 10 miles. The others in my little group went the other way and kept going.

Then I headed over to the finish area and gladly helped myself to some pretzels and brownies.

The temperature continued to drop, so a few of us gathered some sticks and wood and Terry built a fire in a fire ring. We traded war stories about the woods and warmed up.

Soon, it was time to go. I caught a ride back to my car at Indian Hill, and started the 90-minute drive home.

The run was a blast. Like I said at the top, it was a long time coming. Can’t wait for the next one.

(To return to the home page, click here.)

Finally, the base is back

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2013 by Trail Boy

I ran eight miles this morning in a big loop that took in three different neighborhoods. It was a mix of quiet roads, the canal towpath, the Monon Trail, a few busy streets, and one or two good hills.

It was my longest run since I screwed up my IT band three years ago. I felt nice and strong, and probably could have run for another mile or two.

So I’m declaring it now: I have rebuilt my base. I am ready to start training for a half-marathon next spring.

Oh, it felt so good to write that. You have no idea.

For the longest time, I have wanted to run and run and run. But I could take only baby steps. This has been so hard and required so much patience.

I think I’ve finally found a training routine that works.  The daily workout involves a mix of running, stretching, resting, power-hiking, more stretching — along with lots of planning and motivation.

It took me only three years to figure it out.

Over that time, I have started and stalled a dozen times. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. Usually, I overdid it and reinjured my leg. Then I had to take weeks off and try something else. Most of the time, I just drifted away from running for months until I got the itch again.

This time, I think I’m good for the long haul. It has taken me 2 1/2 months of gradual running to get to this point. You should see my training log. It is filled with two- and three- and four-mile runs, day in and day out, plus gradually longer runs on weekends.

So the next big challenge is to find the right half-marathon to run in the spring. I have a few ideas, but it probably will take a while to find the right one that will motivate me to continue running hard all winter.

See you at the races.

Sunrise on the towpath

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2013 by Trail Boy

Slowly, slowly, I’m building up to something.

This morning, I ran the beautiful towpath behind Butler University and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The sun was rising over the trees and sparkling on the canal and river.

It was a picture-perfect morning. So I had to stop and snap one or two pictures.

I started at Hinkle Fieldhouse. I ran a wide loop of the Butler campus and the neighborhood, and swung down Michigan Road hill to pick up the towpath. From there, I turned south to run to the I-65 overpass.

Once I hit the bridge, I turned around and headed north for a few miles to 52nd Street. Then I trotted back up the campus hillside alongside the soccer and football fields.

This was the longest run so far of my comeback, about six miles. I felt nice and strong, and probably could have gone a few more miles. But I don’t want to risk another flare-up to my IT band. And my weekly mileage is now at 28, compared to 20 last week.

So it’s probably better to stop feeling good than to stop feeling miserable, clutching my leg and hobbling back to car.

During the run, I saw ducks, turtles and even a blue heron. I could have stopped every few feet and snapped another photo, but this was a run, not a photo shoot. I limited myself to two.


Another fun season ends

Congrats to the North Central High School cross country team for another good season.

The boys’ team ran in the state championships yesterday in Terre Haute. They were one of 24 teams around Indiana. They finished seventh in the state.

My older boy, Steven, is a senior at North Central. This wraps up his ninth year of cross country. His mom and I coaxed him into running as a fourth grader, and he has stuck with it ever since.

Steven, age 9, pounding out the miles in grade school.

Steven, age 17, taking a corner at a meet.