Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Friday, November 30, 2012

There's a new/old marathon in town!

Almost 1 month since running my first 50 miler at Stonecat and I’m finally feeling back on track.  I’ve been taking it easy and really, didn’t have much choice.  My first run post Stonecat felt terrific, but my shins let out a huge scream the next day.  Duly noted.

Yesterday, I ran at lunch and had the best run.  THE.BEST.RUN.  It felt effortless, it felt recharging, it felt natural again.  To celebrate this wonderful return back to natural running, I’ve found a new/old marathon to sign up for!!

I’ve been stalking this race for a little while and am now ready to pull the trigger.  I love that it’s fairly close by and so “easy” in the logistics arena.  I love that I have never run this particular race.  This marathon takes place in the beautiful Kennebunk, Maine area and has an interesting history of having been run in the 1980’s (hence the new/old reference), then stopped in 1986, only to be revived 26 years later.  Coincidence that this 26.2 course is being brought back after 26 years?

The relief in establishing a goal is manifesting itself in organizing/sorting through my running clothes (no more shorts for this girl until the Spring!), in suddenly caring again about what I’m eating/drinking, and best of all, in creating a brand new training calendar!

Nothing like a goal marathon and a new training calendar to keep me out of the jelly rolls….

Sunday, November 25, 2012


What a fantastic weekend!  I had an impromptu visit from this chica and her little chic-ette, including take out dinner and frozen yogurt in sweats – perfect!  Next, had a great visit with Mom (been way too long), who also brought gifts - little does she know SHE'S the only gift I need.  Added a lovely dinner out to celebrate a big anniversary with friends.  Sprinkled in some running and other random productive things and voila – fantastic weekend!  The weekend also seemed to point towards what I’ve gravitated to as the theme of this post – longevity. 

Thanksgiving morning found Scott and me at the Feaster Five race that’s grown to over 10,000 participants!  They even had Matt Damon take part one year.  Scott’s cousin Frank (aka Rusty) and his two kids Justin and Kara came prepared to walk the 5K portion of the race.  Nephew Keith rocked the 5K and PR’d by 2 minutes – go Keith!  When Justin commented something to the effect of “this will be boring/slow/etc for you guys”, I reminded him that it’s not always about the speed.  We’ve met up to walk this Thanksgiving morning race for the last 3 years for both the healthy and the social aspects.  Although we all live fairly close to each other, we’re all busy.  That means we, like many, don’t get together as frequently as we might like.  This race has given us an opportunity to catch up over an hour or so, while walking….while participating…. Yay for familial longevity!

We also got to see some very interesting and creative participants:
Random people dressed the part!  Homemade "Mayflower"
that carried the family dog and dressed to the hilt as Pilgrims!
Our motley crew posing at the end of our Feaster Five jaunt –

Justin, Me, Scott, Kara, and Rusty - Keith was way too fast to be in this shot!

This morning, my head wanted to run 10 miles, but my body knew I needed to reign it in.  I’m still practicing patience and after this weekend, feeling like it’s starting to pay off.  Today’s run was without my watch or any expectations.   So on this cold, windy November morning, I listened once again to my body and feel extremely satisfied with my 4 miler.  I’m banking on patience to insure I completely heal my muscles and don’t invite any recurrence later, when I’m ready to resume training for….something.  Yay for personal health & fitness longevity!

Even better, my run rid me of the food hangover from last night’s surprise anniversary dinner we helped our friends Sue & Wynn celebrate!

Happy 20th anniversary Sue & Wynn!
Sue was completely surprised as each couple arrived unexpectedly at their house.  She kept uttering, “I’m so confused!”.  It was great!  There were 6 couples in total, and of course, the topic of length of marriage came up.  Interestingly, all 6 couples have been married for 20 years or longer – which now includes Sue & Wynn.  In a society where the divorce rate is so high, it struck us as pretty amazing that we've all been married for so long to the same person.  Yay for marital longevity!

Longevity is my goal in all aspects of my life.  I want to stay healthy in body and in mind!  I want to celebrate my 50th (or maybe more) wedding anniversary with Scott!  I want to appreciate and savor my time with family and friends!  I want to be running forever and someday be winning my 80-89 age group!  I want it all!!!  But I can’t have it all today.  And that’s OK.  I expect to have a long life ahead of me so I definitely need to pace myself. 

After all, it’s not always about the speed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I’ve been afraid to run.  After my first run post-Stone Cat, I experienced some sharp pain in my right shin-ish area.  It hurt to walk, let alone run.  I’ve overdosed on RICE and expressed my fear to Scott once or twice or twenty times….  I said it once before, “Aren’t we all just one step away from injury?” 

Now, I’m not injured.  I agree with others I’ve tapped that I just needed to recover a bit longer from my crazy 50 mile run.  But it’s scary to step back out.  Why?  Because I don’t want it to become an injury – especially an injury that might recur.  I don’t have any patience for that.

So, I’m using my patience in the form of… steps.  It’s been hard to simply stop.  After logging so many miles over the summer and having my first ultra just about take over my every waking (and sleeping) thought, I’ve stopped.  I have no race goals; nothing.  I’ve been tempted to sign up for something, but then I heard Scott’s advice and have decided to heed it.  He advised, “Why rush it….just enjoy running without the pressure of a race”.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first run post-post-Stone Cat run.  And felt no pain.  This I can be patient with.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

“Old people….”

Hey, we’ll all be old one day.  We’ll demand the world reacts to our beck and call.  We’ll look for the senior citizen discounts.  We may hit the gas instead of the brake.  We may forget stuff.  We’ll hopefully start winning our age groups in races.  These generalizations are not true of all elderly people of course, but I think our elderly family and friends sometimes get a bad wrap.  Today, while shopping at TJMaxx, I got a great shot in the arm thanks to a trio of elderly men.  Allow me to set the stage:

I approached the store and noticed the 3 elderly men (EM for short) hanging around their car, smoking, and yuckin’ it up while waiting for the store to open.  I was already amused.  I headed to the women’s clothing and they headed to the men’s.  Eventually, I ended up in the men’s department to buy Scott a few things.  Here’s a snippet of their loud conversation:

EM #1:         What, you don’t like the shirt?
EM #2:         Yeah, I like it OK…on someone else.
EM #3:         It’s OK, but it’s got all that bullshit on it.

To the response of EM #3, I couldn’t suppress a smile.  A girl working there also heard their conversation and smiled; our eyes met.  We both quietly cracked up.  Next exchange:

EM #1:         So you gonna get it?
EM #2:         Yeah, it’s Izod
EM #1:         Well, you gotta try it on (in a very insistent “mom-like” manner)

Finally, as I stood in line to check out, EM #2 was in the process of paying for his purchases.  EM #3 was standing in front of me in line.  Once EM #2 finished, he waved his friend EM #3 over, loudly yelling and motioning –

EM #2:         Hey, this register’s open now!
EM #3:         [turned to me and, with a smirk/shaking head] Old people….

I laughed my ass off.

As I left the store, the 3 men had again congregated by their car, now with their bags from TJMaxx.  Smoking, laughing, and probably comparing purchases, I found the whole situation so endearing that I had to steal a picture of them.  They reminded me so much of Scott’s dad with their bantering, smoking, swearing, and smart ass comments, that I felt like I got a visit from him through these strangers.

I love to see elderly people independently doing their thing, laughing, and most of all, not acting elderly.  We can’t stop time folks, but we can sure learn from those paving the way ahead of us.  That’s what I want to be like when I become “Old people…”

Friday, November 16, 2012

RIP Hostess

I can’t believe Hostess is going down!  No more Twinkies, Wonder Bread, or these delicious gems a friend once Fed Ex’d to me:

I even found them safely stored in the vending machine at my Vermont based office.  Sigh.

Rumor is that Twinkies will last forever.  Better stock up! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I want a do-over!

So last week I was struggling over my first run post-Stone Cat.  Not struggling because I didn’t feel good, but struggling because I didn’t want to overwrite this –

But by Sunday morning, 7 days post ultra, I was ready and even excited to slip into my running shoes and head out.  Bella was excited too, since she had also gone 7 days without her fun, lead-less run.  I took one last look at my DailyMile “last run” of 50 miles, and replaced it with a last run of 5 miles. 

I survived the DailyMile mileage replacement just fine.  It’s the post-5 miles I’m having a bit of trouble with….

During and immediately after my run on Sunday, I felt totally fine.  By Monday afternoon, after having been sitting at my desk for awhile, I got up to go to the printer.  Owie!  Something felt very sharp and almost burning just above my outer ankle and up my outer calf - approximately 4-5 inches.  The area seemed a touch swollen and continued to rebel each time I flexed my foot in any way. 
Later, I limped to my car, then limped into the local market for a quick purchase, and finally limped into my house.  Scott wrapped it tightly and we headed/limped out to dinner.  The compression was helpful during that time that I couldn’t elevate or ice it.  But man did it hurt!  I was immediately discouraged that I had just done something pretty bad to my leg with a stupid run that could have waited.  Afterall, I have no races in my future, so no pressure to pick right up with training.

Since Monday, I’ve been indulging in lots of R.I.C.E. activity and trying to embrace this new found post-race inactivity.  Of course, because I can’t run at this moment, that’s all I want to do!!  I have a firm grasp on perspective though; I am not a few days prior to a big race and I don’t seem to be formally “injured”.  I've self diagnosed, with the help of my physiologically smarty-pants friends, that I’m probably experiencing an over-use strain and, as long as I take care of it properly now, it should work itself out soon enough and not return.  So far so good!

Moral of the story?  Next time, leave the 50 mile “last run” intact on DailyMaile for a reallllllyyyyy long time.  Maybe I can take back the 5 miler, if not to avoid the strain, but at least to milk the memory of that “last run" for as long as possible...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

How can I run again?

That means I’ll have to overwrite this crazy “last run” on my DailyMile….

I’ll enjoy the view for one more day J

Friday, November 9, 2012

What next?

Not really sure.  I’ve perused my usual running sites, but honestly, I’m happily chilling post-50 mile experience.  My legs feel pretty decent, but I’m tired.  You know, the tiredness you feel when you’re feeling run down.  I was up at 4am with a sick puppy as well.  Poor baby.

So, lots of these (for me, not Bella) –

And a little break from all of this –

But not for too long!  I am anxious to try my legs out and will probably venture out over the weekend.  How can I not run when this came in the mail yesterday?

I’ve had a phenomenal running year and am taking my time to reflect upon and relish in the memory of 3 marathons, including a new PR, and of course my most recent adventure – Stone Cat 50 mile trail race – which, as my first ultra, ends up being a PR as well!   

I’m looking forward to a healthy and strong 2013 and hope you’ll follow along!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stone Cat 50 Miler - Race Report

How does one succinctly articulate a race report that covers 50 miles (4 loops of 12.5 miles of trail) and 10 hours, 37 minutes, 55 seconds?  I guess we’re going to find out…..

Stone Cat starts in the dark, so all the cool kids were wearing head lamps.  Pretty awesome sight –
We had great weather from the beginning until the end, which found most runners in shorts, long sleeves, and gloves.  No chip timing and no dramatic start of the race.  A simple “GO!” did the trick.
Loop 1:
The first loop started out very slowly.  There was an immediate bottleneck of runners as we all found our footing on a single track trail.  Pitch dark.  I was immediately grateful that Scott had advised me to practice running trails in the dark, because it was far less intimidating on race day.  I was laser focused to avoid falling and to keep Scott in my sight. 

As the bottleneck lessened and we approached some double track trails and hills, the crowds thinned and we were able to fall into our pace.  It was still dark-ish, but getting lighter every minute.  Still, I was focused on footing and trying to find a good pace to settle into.  We struggled with pace most of the first loop, trying to reign in the 10’s and replace them with 12’s.  12’s were the goal; 10’s had no business crashing my Stone Cat party!

Garmin died at just shy 44 miles - not bad!
Pulling into the first check point to finish Loop 1 found me at 2:17.  I honestly did not have a particular time goal, but seeing this time left me ecstatic.  I had been terrified of not meeting the cutoff which would average out to 3 hours per loop.  But at the same time, I knew some of the faster miles were likely going to catch up with me.  Took a deep breath and started Loop 2…

Loop 2:
Surprisingly, Loop 2 felt the hardest for me.  I think that had to do with my own expectations.  I thought Loop 3 would be my hardest loop, so when Loop 2 surprised me with the feeling that it would never end….well, it started to grate on me.  Along with the faster miles in Loop 1, I was also dealing with a bout of nausea since almost the beginning.  I knew I couldn’t succumb to it (aka not eat) because that would’ve been my ticket to a DNF.  For sure.  So, I sucked it up, tried to take less GU and settled on more real food, like my pre-made jelly sandwiches.  That seemed to work, since I did finally finish Loop 2.  And without allowing myself to think about the miles ahead, I grabbed what I needed from my drop box and headed back out for Loop 3.

Loop 3:
After 2 loops of feeling nauseous, a couple handfuls of saltines and some Coke finally settled my stomach.  The 2 fuel/aid stations in the woods were at approximately miles 4 and 7-ish.  A final station was set up at the school, where we checked in at the completion of each loop.  The volunteers were fantastic!  They had the music cranked, were dressed up as clowns, and, as runners, knew how to support us.  As we approached each aid station, someone was already asking, “What can I fill your bottle with?” or “What do you need for food?”.  At one of the aid stations, they were cooking grill cheese sandwiches and pushing them like they were gold.  I’ve gotten through 46 years without having eaten a grilled cheese sandwich; I wasn’t starting now.  But I digress….
Heading into the school checkpoint, I experienced a minor personal celebration, “Scott, the next time we run this field, we’re DONE!”  I definitely took a bit more time at this last transition.  Grabbing one more jelly sandwich square, a handful of mini 3 Muskateer bars (thank you leftover Halloween candy!), and my headlamp (my safety net), we set off on our last loop.  OUR LAST LOOP!!!!

Loop 4 - The Victory Lap:
The fourth loop was fondly referred to throughout the day as “The Victory Lap” and victorious it was.  As happy as I was to be into the last loop, I was feeling the effects of….everything!  Fueling had been funky, pace had been wonky, and I found myself completely on auto-pilot by mile 45.  We continued to walk all hills, but we also walked a bit more in between hills as well.  Whatever I had to do to finish this thing.
Friends Dave & Linda appeared out of nowhere to snap this shot at mile ~44
At the last aid station (mile 45), one of the volunteers asked me in a sarcastic/funny tone, “What’s the headlamp for?”  I answered, “First time….”  He responded while pointing to his watch, “You’ve got no worries”.  It’s amazing how a short exchange like that was so helpful at that point in the day.

Somewhere in the 40’s, a girl we had been leap-frogging with for a bit, finally passed us for good.  But not before complimenting us, “You guys are such a great team.  I’ve watched you and it’s really cool”.  Wow, what a great thing to say and for me such a great thing to hear that, after 22 years of marriage, we ARE such a great team and that other people observe that. 

Nothing but smiles and tears.  Not in any particular order :)

Some questions I’ve received since completing this amazing race –

Would you do it again?  Absolutely; not sure when, but would love to improve upon my pace and my fueling.  And now that I have a “first time” under my belt, of course it would be cool to set a time goal.

Did you get bored?  I really didn’t.  I got tired – really tired.  But I was lucky to have Scott there every step of the way, got to see other friends sporadically on the course, and actually do OK with being quiet.  In fact, Scott and I really didn’t talk much. 

What did you eat/drink?  Jelly sandwich squares really worked for me.  Other than mini 3 Muskateer bars, some chocolate chip cookies, and saltines, I didn’t eat very much at all.  Of course, I took a handful of GU over the course, but due to the nausea, didn’t take as many as I normally would have.  Drinking was much easier.  I stayed with my tried and true grape Gatorade.  Later at the aid stations, I thoroughly enjoyed the Coke.  The aid station at mile 45 served ginger ale – for some reason, that was like dessert for me J  I never broke open my pretzels or my chicken soup or potatoes.  My homemade peanut butter cracker sandwiches were just too dry (note to self for next time).  I took one salt tablet just for insurance.

Did you eat like 4 pizzas when you finished?  Not a chance.  As proven during the race, my stomach was not all that happy.  Even after a marathon, I usually have to force myself to eat something.  And at that, I usually wait too long and then feel lousy.  It’s taken me a few days to eat normal again.

How do your legs feel?  My whole body hurt that night.  My legs – from carrying me 50 miles.  My back – from leaning forward on the hills.  My shoulders – from carrying my water bottle.  My compression tights and I have been inseparable for the first few days post-race, but I’m definitely feeling better the last couple of days.  Still feel a tiredness, but I don’t think it’s all race related.  Sunsets at 4:30ish are more exhausting than running 50 miles!

I’ll leave you with some post-race pictures –
Hmmm, I wonder what’s next…..but for now, thank you for your interest in my adventure and all your encouragement!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

What’s your inspiration? (a prologue to my race report)

Two years ago, I supported Scott during his first 50 mile adventure at Stone Cat.  Last year, I supported once again, while Scott ran “just” the marathon version of the course so he could help friend Andy during his first go at the Stone Cat 50.  Each year I supported, I watched and learned.  I became increasingly intrigued about what a 50 miler even felt like.... or how one even trains for 50 miles.  With a great base and little to no injuries, I took the plunge in June and signed up for my first Stone Cat 50.

In early July, I officially started my training.  I found a great training calendar that I felt worked for this normally low mileage kind of girl, I found some new bloggers who were also training for ultras or had ultras under the belt, and I watched this video.  Over and over and over again….of Rebecca running her first Stone Cat 50 -

Scott found this video on youtube and, knowing me so well, knew I would find it inspirational.  The thing is, I wasn’t inspired to somehow run an 8ish hour 50 miler like Rebecca.  And there’s probably a 20 year difference between us (just sayin).  What I was most inspired by was her demeanor, her clear command of the trails, and her positive attitude.  Every time I watched this segment, I felt inspired.  Watching that video became something I did when I was feeling beaten up by a run or feeling unsure of whether I could really finish this thing.  It helped me visualize the course and the day I would ultimately run it myself.  When Scott and I trained together over the summer, he sometimes encouraged me with “Channel your inner Rebecca!”.  And so this youtube became part of my inspiration.

My biggest inspiration, however, comes in the form of Scott himself.  When I expressed the desire to run Stone Cat 50 but knew I would be too afraid to do it alone (because I have no internal compass and was terrified of getting myself lost in the woods), Scott offered to run it with me and help me train as well as I could for this huge endeavor.  We ran a number of our long runs on trails together including the big 31 miler.  If I had a tough day or a particular dramatic fall, Scott encouraged me and helped me see past that difficult moment.

During the actual race this past Saturday, Scott supported me, paced me, pulled me back when needed, reminded me to fuel, and most of all, encouraged me.  Just when I needed it, I would suddenly hear him say, “Do you know how proud I am of you?” or “Man, you are gutsy”.  It would simultaneously recharge me and just about bring me to tears.

Happy tears.  Purely happy tears.

Thank you Scott for always being my rock, for spending all those hours on your feet running at my pace for me, and for believing in me.

Race report coming....soon!!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm an ultramarathoner!!

Stonecat 50 happened today, and after two years of supporting other runners, I showed up this morning to run Stonecat.  Better yet, I am a FINISHER of 50 freaking miles, as shown in my finisher’s shirt –

I don’t know if I’m more amazed at the 50 mile part or the part where I ran for 10 hours, 38 minutes.  Not bragging (much), but I’m so happy and so grateful to my hubby and this chick – talk about the ultimate in race support on the run!

Race report to follow after I catch up on the gazillion calories I just burned off!  Chili anyone?

Friday, November 2, 2012

‘Twas the night before Stonecat….

‘Twas the night before Stonecat, when all through the house
Not a creature was running, not even us.
Our drop boxes were filled in the kitchen with care,
In hopes that we’d later find everything there…..

I don’t have enough creative energy to recreate a complete Stonecat version, but you get it right? 

I took the afternoon off from work to allow me to do some mental preparing, running around, packing of drop box, repacking of drop box, cooking….jeez, maybe I should’ve taken the whole day.  Seriously though, I’m pretty damned excited!  Why shouldn’t I be?

  • I’m healthy enough to have trained and attempt a 50 mile trail race
  • I get to do it with my best friend in the world (who’s done it before!!)
  • The weather Gods, though evil last week with hurricane Sandy, have simmered down and are granting us a decent weather day.
  • The running group hosting the race cleared any downed limbs, etc that resulted from the hurricane.
  • Most dramatically, word on the trails is that the running group also worked on culverts that should provide us a fairly dry 12.5 mile loop (past years found runners slogging through inches of unavoidable water).
  • I have friends also running, so am sure to see some familiar faces both running and supporting

Thanks to all my family and friends who have called me crazy  encouraged me and have called or posted ‘good luck’ messages!  Time to trust my training, listen to my body, respect the distance, and….time to have fun. 

50 mile style J