Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Running for the trail of it

Scott asked if I was interested in running trails with him….
You can see how miserable I was to run trails with Scott....NOT!
After several days of rain and colder temperatures, Monday finally brought us some decent Spring weather (no mittens!!).  But the rain and beavers had left their mark on the road to the trail head –
Where the heck is the road??
Fortunately, we had Scott’s big rig....

It’s been 6 months since I’ve done any real training on trails and these particular trails prepared me for StoneCat last November.  Running them again after all of this time made me hunger for the challenge all over again.  After having such a great Spring marathon, I’m finding it hard to not sign up for every race I see.  And with this year’s StoneCat turning to a lottery registration, the desire is even greater!  I mean after all, don’t we always want the things we can’t have or that we can only obtain through a lottery?

Sharing some pictures of our very fun morning on the trails, courtesy of Scott –

Trail running serves as such a great reminder of how fun (and challenging) running can be.  Don’t get me wrong, I worked.  And I’m sore.  But it’s a good work and a good sore.  I mean, this self-portrait doesn’t lie!

Anyone else feeling a bit trigger happy with race registrations?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mittens in May??

This morning brought a mixture of rain, temps hovering in the 40’s, and some bursts of wind.  What a perfect morning to run.  And even better to take Bella on the trails. 

I’m feeling great post marathon, but still in the mode of taking it easy.  I’ve been averaging 4 miles and not very often since Maine Coast Marathon.  And I’m completely OK with that.  My legs feel terrific, but I find my best mental recovery comes with taking some time to just “be”.  So, the last two weeks have consisted of runs that I’ve done whatever I felt like.  Last week, one of my runs was 4 miles @ 8:21 pace.  Today, I was barely maintaining 9:00.  There will be time very soon to focus again on the next goal (teaser!).  But for now, I’m enjoying whatever time I spend out there and it’s working for me.

Enter mittens.  Yes, mittens in May.  GASP!  They didn’t last for long, but they did help with the initial chill and more importantly, with the contact I made to the ground when I took my first fall of 2013…..


I also wore running pants this morning, which although didn’t completely prevent blood and some swelling, did help temper the more dramatic “skinned knee” I certainly would have experienced had I been wearing shorts.  I’ve definitely had much worse, but you know, any fall is jarring.  It's amazing to me that I reached mile 45 at StoneCat last year before  my one fall, yet today I fell just before the 1 mile mark.  Go figure.  

As I sat on the wet ground assessing my knee, Bella took no mercy.  She had already run up the small hill and was barking incessantly, reminding me I was late in throwing her stick.  She’s definitely bad ass Labrador!

After the "fall" drama, we decided 3 miles would do the trick for today.  I’m fine, but like I said, have no real need to push to anything more today.  I started out tired, which probably explains my lethargic legs (and fall), and I have a couple running dates with Scott this weekend that I’m looking forward to.  I’d rather get this fall out of the way before I get into some real trails this weekend. 

My knees and I will live to run another day…hopefully without mittens!!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cool Numbers

I love number trends.  For me personally, I am surrounded by 6’s.  They seem to be everywhere in my life:  born in June (6th month), 6 minutes older than my twin, 6 days on the calendar before my younger brother, graduated in the 66th commencement class in 2006….and it goes on like that.

So I started to see a cool number trend related to my recently run marathon, Maine Coast Marathon -
  • Race was run in the 1980’s but then stopped for….26 years
  • The course distance….26.2 miles
  • The winner’s age….26
  • # of official finishers….262
  • Scott’s bib #....262
  • # of marathons Scott has run….26
  • % of runners who qualified for Boston….26%

All I can say is, whoa.  I gotta find me a lottery to play!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Patience in Pace (Maine Coast Marathon race report)

Scott has always said, “Let the run come to you”.  It’s a great mantra and I believe in it, but I hadn’t fully practiced it and felt the reward – until Sunday.  Sunday, I embraced that sentiment and implemented into a plan.  A plan to manage my race, keep the pace steady and sustainable, and most of all, have some gas in the tank for the latter, harder miles.  Patience in pace is where the physical training meets the mental training.  That sweet spot.

Maine Coast Marathon was a great race.  It was formerly held in the 1980’s, but then stopped for 26 years.  2013 marked its revival running and it did not disappoint.  It was a small race (results reflect 262 finishers) but packed a punch.  A punch in its rolling and sometimes very long hills, a punch in its beautiful rocky coast scenery (though race day was rainy and foggy), and a punch in its support – both volunteer and spectator.  I couldn’t have run this race without the volunteers and spectators.  For a point to point race along the coast of Maine, the support exceeded my expectations.
Before the race started, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing followed by the National Anthem.  The rain was light but steady.  The humidity was already a force to be reckoned with.   Within the first mile, I stripped off my long sleeve throw-away and turned on my focus.  That first mile felt like a slight decline so I monitored my body and my watch and let the nerves shake out in that first mile – 8:46.  Perfect.

This is also where I fell into step with Jeannine, who was running her first marathon ever.  We got chatting and suddenly found ourselves already 7 miles in –

At this point, Jeannine had to visit a tree and I continued on.  She had a very different goal and so I knew at some point we’d likely separate.  I did find out later that she finished in 4:08 – go Jeannine! 

The next several miles brought us to the driveway of the President Bush Compound in Kennebunk –
These miles also brought some hills and a dip in energy for me around mile 12 – (queue the salt tab!!)
The power gel and salt tab seemed to do the trick because I found my mojo again between miles 14 – 19.  I’m happy to report that the slower Mile 16 reflects where I finally had to retie my shoes; not because I was fading –

I think Mile 19 was a downhill; that 8:30 split gave me such a lift and a great spring board into the REAL race:  the final 10K.

When I hit Mile 20 and saw I was under 3 hours, I got excited.  Then I got nervous.  Then I got out of my head!  Mile 20 was far too early to set my sights on some ridiculous finish time I was suddenly dreaming up during my running stupor.  I quickly settled down and refocused.  Mile 21 split shows where some dizziness stepped in, so I dialed back enough to shake it off and recovered during Mile 22.  When I rounded the corner at Mile 26 and headed into the final .2…..I was floating!  I found that final gear and used it, passing a handful of people in that last .2.   

The great thing about Scott finishing in 3:24 (yeah!!!) was that he was at the Finish snapping pictures of me! 

I had a solid training cycle, I had a realistic plan for race day, and I had a combination of things go very well on race day (i.e. stomach cooperated, the sun didn’t come out until mile 24, manageable wind).  The magic of Sunday for me was finally understanding and leveraging the importance of  managing my pace early on and throughout the race.  

During my taper, I purposely went back in time and remembered Cape Cod Marathon I ran a couple years ago.  Yeah, my 3:57 was a great time for me.  But the way I ran the race that day?  Notsogreat.  I started out like a bat out of hell and convinced myself that I would be fine.  The latter miles slapped me in the face!  I was lucky that day to have Meaghan run me in during the last 7 miles, so she talked me through some of those really rough moments.  I did not want to relive that.  Been there, done that…..

3 days post race, I’m feeling great!  The legs are a normal tight, but I’m enjoying my rest and taking this time to milk my celebration of an amazing day.  They do say that patience is a virtue.  And sometimes, it also gets you a PR!!  Now if I can only apply that patience to holding off on signing up for another marathon….or something!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CELEBRATE! (preview to Maine Coast Marathon race report)

Today, I celebrate a new PR and a BQ time....3:53:40!!!!   But just as importantly, today I celebrate a marathon in which I managed it – it did not manage me.

More to come in a real race report, but for now, I’ll leave you with an image of my newest bling –

Hope you're all having a great weekend and all the Moms are having a pampered Mother's Day!  Time to eat cake  chill....race report coming soon J

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My week in pictures....and food!

Been on a business trip most of this week in my unofficial second home state of VT.  I think this is my most luxurious stay to date!

I didn’t get lost in my ridiculously large suite –
Received this gift of a glorious sunset view from my room –
Watched a threatening storm roll in the next day –
Ate very well in preparation for my race –
Drooled each day at the desserts on display –
I didn’t get to actually relax in the hammocks, but they sure were tempting –
What’s an all-day meeting without some drama, courtesy of a kitchen fire –
I was able to run while here and, although it was in 80 degree temperatures, it was a beautiful run that helped balance out the all-day-sitting-eating-everything-in-sight theme.  Good thing too, because I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in food and desserts this week.  Did I mention our hotel is called The Essex – VT’s Culinary Resort & Spa.  Culinary usually refers to food   Really good food.

Work stuff aside, I’ve been completely spoiled this week.  I just wish I had Scott and Bella with me.  That would’ve been the icing on the cake (Lisa, enough with the food references!). 

Think my stomach can shrink back to normal size in the next 3 days before race day???

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Final long run, Friends, and Fun - puppy style

Today started with my final long run of my training cycle and I was lucky enough to have Meaghan as great company!  There’s nothing better than losing track of the miles because you’re telling a story or solving world issues or listening to your friend doing the same.  It was a great run to wrap up my season and confirm my readiness for the Maine Coast Marathon in one week.  Eeeeekkkk!!!!!

Between normal Saturday housework, regular play sessions with Bella, and a wonderful pulled chicken sandwich for lunch, I was able to sneak in a 45 minute sun-snooze –
My friend Sue blessed me with her presence/presents (yes, there’s a back story here) in a great impromptu visit and Martyn was just about pulling into my driveway as Sue was leaving.  Martyn had his dog Lilly in tow and was looking for company for a hike in the woods.  Bella was first to raise her paw, so we were off!

These two played, swam, and retrieved for the entire 1.5 hours we were out in the woods –
I’ll give you 3 guesses...who had the treats?
This could be dubbed “bridge over troubled waters” when you’re faced with crossing this bridge one week before a marathon (please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please don’t fall…)
I didn’t fall J

And lastly, I share with you a short video of Bella and Lilly letting off some puppy steam.  Maybe you have to be a dog person, but the point in the video where they stop and stare each other down, only to begin again in earnest?  Hilarious.

So….a very full day of great activity and wonderful friends!  I’m so grateful for days like today.  And will be particularly grateful for my bed.  Soon.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

9 Days...

…until I start my 14th marathon!!!  Training’s gone well, I feel strong, and the weather is shaping up to be a great running day (cloudy, 50’s, with showers…perfect!).  After last Spring’s sweat-fest at Boston and then last Fall’s washing-machine churner at Green Mountain, I’m hoping to get weather somewhere in the middle.  Going after this gem…

Other than training, here are a few random things that have been swirling but not yet written about –

  • The One Fund is incredible.  People are incredible.  Enough said.
  • If you haven’t heard of local runner/photographer Jim Rhoades, check out his website and try to find yourself on the Boston course:
  • The trails are clear again for Bella and me, so we’ve been enjoying some off-lead running again.  Gotta keep my Bella fit and tone!
  • My Asics GT2170’s are going buh-bye.  Sad times, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to the next generation of Asics. 
  • My reverse sensor on my car has gone on strike.  My goal is to get it fixed before my warranty ends.  Never realized how much I depend on that silly sensor!
Not my vehicle, but that sensor is magical and I need it back!
  • I finally finished painting spare room #2!  That room sat for way too long unfinished.  Hopefully it won’t take me as long to furnish them.  Hey, can’t rush into these things….

  • The day before I ran 16 miles last weekend, my head thought it was a great idea to spend hours raking and hauling leaves/branches via wheelbarrow up and over a hill.  Sunday morning, my body reminded me why that was such a bad idea.  At least my gardens are starting to come alive again!

What have you been up to?  Anyone try the new Asics GT 2000 shoes?