Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stonecat Trail Marathon race reflections

I ran StoneCat Trail Marathon yesterday and it was a good day. 

Start of the 50 mile race
The weather was warm but no sign of bees/wasps/hornets that often come out on a warm November day when a couple hundred runners take to the woods.  The course was perfectly marked and incredibly well supported by fun and crazy trail runner people.  I personally enjoyed the reversed direction of the course this year, especially the downhill final mile.  And best of all, I had my trusty running partner/informal coach/BFF with me for the entire journey.  Scott runs considerably faster than I, but wanted to hang out with me for 4 hours and 56 minutes to run and make me laugh.  Who’s luckier than me?

Right about mile 20 (where we all know the marathon begins!), I came closest to “the wall” than I’ve ever felt in a marathon.  I was caked in salt, was losing my focus, and just felt off.  At marathon #23, I know when things are off and know I need to address something.  And quickly.  With the warm weather, I took extra salt tabs with me and ended up taking three  – most ever for me in one race.  At the final aid station with just about 3 miles to go, this exchange happened:

Race peep:    Hey, are you eating enough?
Me:                  Oh, you’re referring to my salty face?
Race peep:    Yup.
Me:                  (stuffing Pringles in my mouth)
Race peep:    Real food might be better; grilled cheese?
Me:                  I don’t eat grilled cheese on a good day..thanks!

He was totally right and I knew it, but Pringles were all I wanted at that point.  I moved on and kept it slow and steady.  Much like Ghost Train, I kept moving one step in front of the other.  This period of time left me reflective.  I thought about my training and where my head has been over the last several months and had this not-so-extraordinary epiphany:  Our training is what it is.  Life happens and it sometimes affects our training.  We do the best we can with what we’ve got.  Some of us are working crazy hours or frequently traveling for business; some of us have heavier home/children responsibilities; some are struggling with health challenges.  

Ultimately, we get the race we trained for.  I’m thrilled to have finished Stonecat!  I’m ecstatic I was able to meet a very loose goal of a sub-5 hour finish!  And I’m so lucky and grateful to be able to run.  There are things I want to be different for my next race, but for today, I celebrate the gift of being part of an extraordinary running community and the ability to tackle the miles and achieve my goals.  And since my goals do not include grilled cheese sandwiches, I’m doing AOK!

My wearable finisher's medal!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Scott invited me to run a mostly-trails 20 miler with him today.  As always, I jumped at the chance!  Ghost Train and Stonecat will be here in no time.  There’s just one thing….

I haven’t been acting like someone who respects a 20 mile distance. 

My eating’s been off/crappy/lackluster.  My drinking has been the same.  I wish we were talking alcohol, but no folks, we are talking the simple act of hydration.  Nada.  My during-the-week miles have been almost non-existent and I can list all of the usual excuses (commute, commute, and commute), but here’s another thing….

If I want it bad enough, I’ll make it happen. 

I beat myself up enough during and immediately after the run, so I’m not going to do it again here.  But suffice it to say, I’ve been seriously humbled.  And it wasn’t just today’s long run.  So, apparently I needed to bonk a number of times this summer in order for the message to get through…

Junk in; junk out. 

Message received.

Friday, October 9, 2015

She runs!

Don’t you love when things just work out?  I was able to escape work a bit early today and get a jump on the weekend traffic.  I had two calls to keep me busy during my commute, so I felt super productive.  Because I got home at a reasonable hour, I was also able to snag a hair appointment for this evening….yay me!

Know what’s even better?  My new stylist runs!

She asked me a million questions and seemed genuinely interested in my running experiences.  She shared her running experiences and then asked the loaded question:  So are you into longer distance?  Why yes, yes I am J  I told her of my 100 mile shenanigans and this seemed to really intrigue her (as it did for me prior to my covering the distance).  It was so fun to relive my Ghost Train experience!   Usually, I’m annoyed at spending 2.5 hours in a hair salon chair.  Tonight’s appointment flew by and was actually enjoyable.

We discovered we both love our Asics too.  I might keep her J

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My "rest year"

What a difference a year makes.  Last year was all about new, big goals in both my personal and my professional life.  This year?  Notsomuch.  Not bad, but a definite dip from all of the hoopla of last year…

Just the quickest snipit of 'then and now'

Everything can’t be new and exciting at all times.  And although the grass does always seem greener elsewhere, I’m not looking backwards with anything but reflection and re-celebration.  Last year was kick ass.  I’m calling this year more of a “rest year”.  Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rediscovering Maudsley (aka: fun on the run!)

A decade-plus ago, we spent time walking and cycling through the trails of Maudsley.  The gardens are beautiful, the bridges seem magical, and the slope down to the river….aaaahhhh.  We had only visited Maudsley a handful of times since then until recently.  A couple of weeks ago, we bit the bullet and bought a parking pass (that’s new since we first visited).  This parking pass splurge has opened up a whole new world of trails.  And no horseflies!

Today, we took the Go-Pro along and really had some fun!  We started out shortly after 7:00 am, but the humidity had already arrived.  It didn’t take long for us to look like we had been dunked in the river!  Fortunately, the mature trees provided a thorough canopy and protected us from the sun.  We weaved our way through the trails and found some new paths since our last visit.  There were a few walkers and runners out, but no real ‘traffic’ to be found.

My weekly mileage has not been good – ok, it’s been absent.  That Monday-through-Friday thing called ‘work’ really puts a wrench in things.  And boy did I feel it today.  Not only was the humidity suffocating, the hills were unforgiving to my lazy legs.  Between the Go-Pro shenanigans, the other runners, and a number of horseback riders, I had enough to distract me from my screaming quads.  Oh and the horse crap – that kept me very focused on the trail!

I’m so happy we are rediscovering Maudsley!  Its beauty in the trails, in its location (right on the Merrimack river), and in its proximity to us is worth every penny of that parking pass!  Click on the video Scott created as a result of all of the Go-Pro shenanigans…


Monday, July 13, 2015

Good weekend running mojo!

How cool is Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail “masterpiece” accomplishment this past weekend?  46 days, 8 hour trek from Georgia to Maine…  Just as I stalked Western States, I found myself in awe of this successful attempt at breaking the AT record.  While I stalked Scott’s progress, I also had a little running to do myself. 

Saturday morning found us playing on some great trails in Hamilton.  Scott and I ran “Run for the Hills” 10K three years ago when I was fairly new to trail running.  This time, Sue joined us and the three of us took on the hills on this warm summer morning. 

The “hill” reference in the race name was real.  A real rollercoaster –

A small race with few frills (though a nice shirt and great italian ice at the end!), it was a great race to have fun without any stress.  With well marked trails and volunteers stationed anywhere the trail might be confusing, I enjoyed working hard at tackling the hills.  I haven’t felt all that strong in the running department lately, so imagine my surprise when I later realized I won my age group!  When I texted Sue to tell her she and I placed first and second in our age group, she responded with, “Oh, so there were two total in our age group?”  Actually, there were only eight, but I’ll take it!  Don’t know if there was any award, but truly, the best award to me was that I felt stronger at the end than I had at the beginning.
Feeling pretty happy about my race (not just the AG win, but that didn’t hurt), I now turned my focus to StoneCat.  I registered Scott and myself for StoneCat 26.2 last week and hoped we would both survive the lottery.  I was thrilled to see we both were accepted!!  So now we have a nice trail marathon to gear up for together in the Fall.  Wahoo!

Good running mojo this weekend.  Now to keep the mojo going….

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Worth every cent

Scott and I took advantage of one of his rare Saturdays off and headed to Maudsley State Park to run.  We have plenty of trails around our house so that we normally don’t have to drive anywhere, but it’s always nice to change things up.  Maudsley is maybe a 10 minute drive from our house, so we arrived pretty quickly.  Then Scott reached for his wallet to pay the $5.00 parking fee.  Nothing.  We combed through the truck.  More nothing.  Fortunately, as we started to count the random coin collecting in his truck, we easily counted out the $5.00 needed to continue our plan!

Lots of runners, walkers, people riding horses; yet we never felt crowded.  The trails are easy and allow you to zig and zag as desired.  Even someone like me (sans internal compass) would have a hard time getting lost.  We left Bella home for this jaunt (she got an earlier trail run before we left), since she would’ve had to be leashed and that just isn’t as much fun.  For either of us.  Add the fact that there seemed to be no horseflies.  WIN.

When you’re feeling in a bit of a funk with running, it’s so great to run somewhere other than your everyday courses.  It’s also a bonus when you're following some of the most talented runners already running the Western States 100 run out in CA.  Not that our 6 miler was hard, but as I ran, I thought about the amazing athletes covering 100 miles over some very challenging terrain, elevation, and conditions.  Not sure if I have another 100 in my lifetime, but it sure is intriguing to watch the female winner finish in 19:05….I was running (or slogging at that point) for another 10 hours during my trek at Ghost Train.  Gulp.

Thanks Western States Facebook page!
Today is the second rainy Sunday in a row, but yesterday’s beautiful run along with the knowledge that some of the more mortal runners are still making their way to the Western States 100 finish line, motivates me to get out there.  I just have to channel last Sunday’s “let’s be 10” sentiment that found me splashing in puddles…

Getting a run in during beautiful or rainy conditions is truly worth every cent.