Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Introducing my Ghost Train “Choo Choo Crew”

As I prepare to "board" Ghost Train in less than 4 days, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and introduce my fantastic crew!  I know, without a doubt, that I will have a much better race (and more fun) with this great cast of characters:

Carrie – miles 1-30
Carrie’s actually registered to run the race and plans on accompanying me for my first 30 miles.  Carrie is still riding her high of recently completing her first 50 miler at VT50, chased by a strong finish at Chicago Marathon closely following.  Wouldn’t be surprised to find myself pacing her at a 100 miler next year…

Sue - evening shift
I’ve dragged Sue to a trail race or two, but she’s more often found on the roads – and that’s OK!  In fact, it makes her even more badass that she’s stepping out of her comfort zone to help pace me through 15 miles of my run. 

Meaghan – middle of the night shift
In July, we got to help support Meaghan at her first Ironman at Lake Placid.  She’s been anxious to repay the “favor” (even though I loved every minute of her Ironman experience) by supporting me at Ghost Train.  We both ran our first 50 miler at Stonecat 2012 and, although separated from the beginning, ended up finishing together!

Sue D – graveyard shift
I ran alongside with Sue at her first marathon in Disney.  I was so happy to be a part of the successful completion of her goal and now we’re reversing roles!  Sue ran the 15 mile version of Ghost Train with me last year as part of my “scoping the course” for this year.  So technically, she’s been there from the start of this adventure.

 Scott – 24x7 shift
What can I say about my Scott?  He is my best friend and the most solid rock of a person I could ever navigate my life with.  We are such a great team!!  Scott is an incredible runner in his own right, yet has often accompanied me on important runs (i.e. my first marathon, my first 50 miler to name a couple) and has willingly sacrificed his pace for mine.  He is the ultimate supporter/coach/advisor and has embraced his role in supporting me on this Ghost Train adventure more than I could ever have hoped for.  All I can say is, if there were a prize for best crew chief, he would be the winner…hands down.

Honorable Mention:  Mom
Mom won’t be able to be at the race, since she will be away celebrating her birthday and newfound retirement!  I admitted to her that it was probably for the best – she would just be worried about me, and that would make me worry about her, etc etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I will miss her and wish she was there to run me in.  However, as I told her, she will totally be with me in spirit.  Her strength and guidance has always lead me in the right direction, to do the right thing, and at the right time.  I promised her that Scott and/or I would keep her posted of my progress through the race.   

There are many others who, along the way, have offered encouragement (i.e. you’re crazy!) and advice.  To them, I am grateful.  There are also husbands and boyfriends who may partake in the party that will be my 7.5 mile turn-around, so for them, I am grateful.  As I round this final corner of my training cycle to see the Start Line in the not-so-distant future, I am grateful.  Getting to the Finish Line will be a lot of work, but getting to the Start Line is priceless.  And I’m most grateful to have the right people by my side to help me grab this goal!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's on the Ghost Train menu?

Ultra races are famous for offering an assortment of food at the aid stations.  While I plan to take advantage of the aid station "buffet", I will also be prepared with some of my own fueling.  Just as important is what food my loyal crew will have available to them, as they support me, pace me, and voluntarily deprive themselves of sleep – all for me!  So, I present you with our Ghost Train Menu!

Of course, I’ll have 4192 GUs to offer up, but I’m guessing my crew would prefer meatballs or chicken ginger.  I’m actually already looking forward to having some hot oatmeal at some point.  Of course, a lot can happen between now and mile 90….

Bon Appetit Crew!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Preparing to board.... Ghost Train 100 Miler!!

Wow, it’s been soooo long since I’ve written.  Where do I begin???  Like many, I’ve teetered on the edge of, “Maybe it’s time to toss the ole blog aside” and then teetered back to, “But I do enjoy writing”….Sometimes, I feel like I’m on social media overload and other times, notsomuch.  I guess it’s just the old balancing act at play.

I guess it makes sense to begin with Ghost Train…

So, Ghost Train has been pretty all encompassing.  In some ways, training for a 100 miler doesn’t feel much different than training for a 50 miler.  In other ways (mostly mentally), it feels like I might as well be training to summit Mt. Everest!  The miles are long and consist of back-to-back weekend runs.  I’ve been tired and I’ve been ravenous.  I’ve had some cranky moments where I questioned why I was working hard for this seemingly elusive goal.  But as I sit here today, just under 2 weeks until race day, I’m feeling pretty good about it all.

Physically, I feel strong.  I’ve wracked up seven 30+ milers and more 20+ milers than I can remember.   I’ve run a couple of 50K trail races to harnass my trail pace, strengthen my ankles, and sharpen my mental toughness that comes from being alone with yourself in the forest. 

Now, my focus shifts from legs and lungs to lists, lists, and more lists!  I’ve got a list of what I need to pack in my “start” bin, my “turnaround” bin, and what gets packed in my ultra vest.  Friends I haven’t met yet (via FB) who’ve run 100 milers before have reached out with great advice and have shared their own lists.  It’s all helpful and I’m so grateful to have so many people rooting for me and doing what they can to help me reach my goal.

With that said, my crew is also established and ready to rock.  I’ve got my wonderful husband who will likely have the finest “Crew Central” ever (he’s talking about a heater folks) and I’ve got 4 of my closest and craziest girlfriends willing to run with me and pace me – especially during the 11 hours of darkness.  What else can a girl ask for?

A 100 mile finish please, if that’s not too much to ask!

Lastly, like any good little runner, I’ve begun stalking the weather sites.  I’ll be ready for anything, but am putting extra weather prayers to work.  I realize this could change 62 more times before race day, but as of today, the weather gods are favoring Ghost Train by offering this beautiful forecast –

So, you’re all caught up!!!  I feel happy to be injury free (physically and mentally), prepared to have everyone and everything I need to get through 100 miles, and grateful to be healthy enough to even consider taking on this crazy/awesome/exciting/scary/insane/fantastic journey!

Ready to punch my ticket for the Ghost Train…CHOO CHOO!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dreams (Ironman Lake Placid - a sherpa report)

Last weekend, Scott and I headed to Lake Placid, NY to cheer/support/experience Ironman.  Meaghan set her sights on completing an Ironman a couple years ago, but this year, she targeted Lake Placid.  What a trip!  My words cannot do justice, so I’m going to post a great video/photo montage Scott put together to capture the day.  Seriously, he could make some good money creating videos like this for people….

There’s great music and other video sound bites, so turn up the volume for full effect!

So proud of Meaghan for chasing her dream and rocking Ironman!!

Way to go Meaghan!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All the views without the work!

Scott and Bella took off today to climb Mt. Chocorua.  They got a fantastic day to do so and a gorgeous view from the top –

In addition to his pure love of the mountains, Scott’s also been taking advantage of this more mountainous terrain to prepare to run Jay Peak 25K, Vermont 50, and StoneCat 50.  That’s some race line up!!  Anyhoo, his hike up Mt Moosilaukee two weeks ago and then today's scaling of Mt. Chocorua should leave him feeling stronger and even more trail confident.  

Never mind the bonding between man and beast.  Some of the areas were too steep for Bella, so Scott carried her over/up those precarious points.  She's the baby afterall...

Hiking happened, breath taking views happened, mixed up water bottles happened (hmmm, which bottle was it that Bella drank from???), and even swimming happened –

Summit of Mt Chocorua in the background; swimming post-hike at the base
One of these days, I will get myself into one of these pictures!  But for today, I got to enjoy the gorgeous views and some fun stories without the actual work!  Scott and Bella always return home in such a happily exhausted space.  And a happy hubby and dog means a happy Lisa!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Mutterings

My reward for almost 7 hours of running between Saturday and Sunday’s back to back long runs -

I did do other things that weren’t running related.  Like…
  • Celebrated my nephew’s birthday.   He loves/adores/goes crazy over Godzilla.

  • I weeded.  A lot.  Seems I forgot some areas during spring cleaning and just now cleaned up some bunches of packed down leaves leftover from last Fall.  Oops.  No complaints though; weeding is therapeutic for me.

  • I finally broke down and bought my new kicks.  I had well over 500 miles on my old shoes and was starting to feel some knee pain.  OK, knees, I heard you loud and clear!

  • Performed the usual variety of household chores like laundry (though most of it was running wear!)

  • Cooked a nice dinner for Scott and me (not my forte, but I can manage spaghetti and meatballs)

  • Started to discover some string beans, cucumbers, and squash growing in our very full garden (we planted everything from seed, so more exciting than normal!)

Now it's time to put these tired feet up and enjoy the last of the weekend!   Hope you all had a great weekend J

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Quest for Slow

Come the Fall when I attempt the Ghost Train ultra, I am going to draw upon my training like no other time before.  The trick is, I know how to train for a marathon.  I’ve learned how to train for 50 miles and for 50 kilometers.  I have never trained for 100 miles.  This is new territory.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been sticking with my tried and true training, with the addition of some pretty long back to back runs each weekend.  The problem with that approach is that I’ve been running those long runs at a pace I typically train for a marathon (we always go back to what we know!).  I’ve had moments during these runs where I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread and that there’s no way I’ll be able to do more than what I’m doing that day.   A discussion with my coach (aka:  my very wise husband) has made the light bulb finally go on.

I will be walking a lot at Ghost Train.  Therefore, I must train for that.  Simple.

The last fourteen or so years of “serious” running (no, you didn’t miss an alert of my change to elite runner status; by serious, I mean, incorporating running into my lifestyle instead of just jumping into races and wondering why it’s no fun), I’ve done what everyone does – always reach for the PR…the BQ….  With Ghost Train, I may be reaching for a new distance, but that’s a PR enough for me.  I have a 30 hour time limit and, if I train properly, plan to meet that with room to spare.

I began implementing a run/walk ratio into my long runs.  And, as much as I enjoy friends’ company during these long runs, I’ve had to start declining and going solo.  It’s not them, it’s me!  I tend to fall into step with them instead of following the run/walk I had planned.  At this point in my training, almost all of my longest weekly runs are at least 25 miles.  That leaves me out there for a really long time – if I do it right.  And that’s success in my eyes.  It’s time on feet I’m after.  So time on feet I will get.  That sort of takes me out of the playing field for a little while as some of my friends will be training for other distances.  It’s a bummer because I love my running friends, but Ghost Train will be here in no time, and I will live to run again with friends very soon!

With a race of this magnitude and it being my first, I truly have no time goal (except to meet the 30 hour limit of course).  My goal for the race, just as it is for my training (now that I’ve seen the light) is patience.  I actually don’t worry about getting to the finish line as much as I worry about getting to the start.  I believe that my quest for slow will get me to the start line.   

With fourteen weeks to go, I need to make these training runs count.  I must be patient and embrace the time on my feet.  Yes, I could be doing a million other things during a 4-6 hour training period.  But that won’t get me what I need.  What I need is to be able to tuck these long run/walks into my mental and muscle memory banks so that, somewhere during the midnight-to-3:00 am time frame during the race, I’m able to make any emergency withdrawals on those memories.  Just enough to get me to the next turn-around….