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Posted Mar 2, 2016

From the Quill of Stephanie Suszek

THV Adult Programs & Services Director Stephanie Suszek is marathon runner turned triathlete turned would-be ultra runner. Combining a love of challenging athletic endeavors and history, she will attempt to run her first-ever 100-mile trail race at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Indiana on April 30, 2016 to raise funds for the Troy Historic Village. To learn more and/or donate, click below. 

Troy Historic Village

 

Training Update

So I’ve been “officially” training for this 100-race for about 24 weeks now. Guess how many miles I have run since I started!

a. 100 miles

b. 575 miles

c. 950 miles

d. Who cares, you’re insane

The correct answer is: e. both c. and d.

And I should probably go ahead and amend my boilerplate slightly, because now I can technically refer to myself as an ultra runner, having completed a 31-mile training run last weekend. The weather was freakishly ideal, my nutrition and hydration stratagems seemed to work and the whole run took me less than 7 hours.

Several months ago, I road-tripped my way to Chain O’Lakes State Park to scope out the race course. It is a super cool place and the people I met in the woods were super friendly. One hiker that I met asked me for directions, and waited so patiently for my answer as I tried to stop choking on the pita bread that I had literally just inhaled mid-stride.

But I digress.

Here are some photos of the trail where I will be running the race:

 

Purpleus planticus, I believe this particular botanical specimen is called. (Loraine says it's black raspberry)

Purpleus planticus, I believe this particular botanical specimen is called. (Loraine says it’s black raspberry)

 

A lake in the lake chain at Chain O’Lakes

A lake in the lake chain at Chain O’Lakes

 

Permanent trail marker on the course. Though these are prominently placed all along the trail to tell runners which way to go, I did not notice any of them until I’d already run seven or eight miles and gone off course roughly a million times.

Permanent trail marker on the course. Though these are prominently placed all along the trail to tell runners which way to go, I did not notice any of them until I’d already run seven or eight miles and gone off course roughly a million times.

The history enthusiast in me had to stop and capture the Stanley Schoolhouse School Bell:

Stanley School Bell

Stanley Schoolhouse is in the background. Opened in 1915 and closed in 1954, this one-room school house was repurposed as a nature center for a time, but it was re-repurposed in 2012 for historic interpretation, not unlike our own Poppleton School at the Village. Last year, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I even saw a couple of Indiana’s other one-room schools on my way to the park:

Happy School Sad School

I don’t know their stories, so I call them Happy School and Sad School.

After our awesome Maple Syrup Time programs at Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center have wrapped up, I will return to Chain O’Lakes State Park at the end of March for a 50-mile training run, the longest uninterrupted distance that I’ll run before race day. In the meantime, keep checking back here for biweekly updates on my training, virtual runs through historic Michigan and running history highlights. And if you’d like to support my athletic endeavors by making a tax-deductible donation to the Troy Historic Village, you can contribute online here: https://www.youcaring.com/troy-historic-village-467855, or stop by the Village Gift Shop during regular hours.

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