Saturday, December 05, 2009

URINEO 2009 - Monkey Trail Madness

This year for URINEO (Ultra Runners In Northeast Ohio), Jim Harris, my brother and I decided to take a crack at the first ever Monkey Trail Marathon. Mike Dobies, from Michigan, came up with this sick idea, but was not able to attend.

We planned on meeting at 5 AM at the parking lot at the top of the Monkey Hills. Brian and I got there a few minutes late and saw Jim had already started. It was dark and cold out, but no snow on the ground for this year's URINEO.

Brian and I yelled for Jim and saw a light and a holler a few minutes later coming our way. Jim was finishing his first loop. I had forgotten a light, so Jim let me borrow one of his. This is a must for running the Monkey Hills in the dark due to all the steep downhills, turns, rocks, roots, trees, mud, etc..

Climbed and slid down this 20 times

I started out with a sweatshirt on, but warmed up fast and took it off after the first loop. An out and back was a little more than .9 miles. We planned on doing this 28 times for a marathon.

One of Bob's bridges

It didn't take long for us to realize how tough this would be. Throughout the first half I felt pretty good. Around loop 7, I got feeling tired but got a second wind soon after. Dan Kuzma joined us for the 8-13th loops. Jim was trucking along at a faster pace, lapping us once or twice. Also, the other runners, who started at the Lily Pond at 7 AM, began to appear. Among them were Kim, Gavin, Shaun Pope, Chris, Nora, Jacob Draa, Bruce McMurray, Lloyd Thomas, Todd Hanks, Dave Peterman, Bob Combs, and Kim Boner. I always have a blast at this event seeing everyone.

The "love log" in all her glory

When we got to lap 13, Brian and Dan split off. Brian planned on doing a loop around Lake Glacier. I continued on with the Monkey Hills. Every loop, Jim and I would cross paths going the opposite direction. This was a good motivation to keep going. As I got up towards 16 loops, I made it a game to see how much ground I could gain on Jim. For the next couple loops, I made it further and further before I saw him. On the next loop, Lloyd joined Jim and Jim gained some more ground back on me.

Slim Jim

Finally loop 20 came upon me. This loop was very difficult. My legs were feeling like spaghetti and it was hard to focus. As Jim and I crossed paths, I could tell he was feeling really tired himself. He was already on his 27th or so loop. I ran to the turn around and then started heading back to the parking lot once again. Every hill seemed steeper than ever!! I laid down a few times right on the trail trying to build some energy back to climb the hills. On my way back, I decided this would be my last loop since going downhill on my tired legs was becoming treacherous now. I was also 8 loops away from completing the marathon distance. I saw Jim again and told him I was done.

Afterward, I went to McDonalds and got a McChicken, McDouble, fries, and two apple pies. I then drove to the Lily Pond to hangout with finished runners. Bob and Kim Boner were there all bundled up cooking and eating soup. Brian and Jim Harris soon showed up. Jim was looking the most tired I had ever seen him. He finished with 30 loops of the Monkey Hills!! Also, Gavin came striding in finishing his first ultra.


It turned out to be another great year for URINEO. I always enjoy the great company and challenges that Mill Creek offers. This year the Monkey Trail Marathon eluded me, but I'm sure another attempt will be in store!


Kim said...

Good job Jeff!! That must have been tough. I think I did the 5K portion of the Monkey Trails!

Jeff said...

Thanks Kim, you too! Those monkeys kicked my butt. That was the most tired I've been in a long time!

Lloyd said...

Nice attempt at the Monkey Marathon!

Are you sure you want the whole enchilada? Crazy!

Good job to you.

Jeff said...

I won't attempt it anytime soon. It may take another year until I mentally feel up to it :) Good job to you also for going the extra distance!