Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Monday, October 27, 2014


Meet the newest “Conductor” of the Ghost Train….

Holding the coveted Finisher's railroad spike at my very own
champage donned table - what a crew I had!!

100 miles....DONE!

More to come after I eat, sleep, and try to process my experience at Ghost Train!

Friday, October 24, 2014

One more sleep….

As I prepare final packing and cooking detail for Ghost Train, I have a very wise question Scott posed to me that's been floating around in my head:

What can I do to get through this obstacle?

It is a question that can’t be answered now.  Not now, when I’m chilling out watching TV or stalking social media.  Not now, when I’m fully rested and not running.  Not now, when I have never attempted to run 100 miles. 

That is the question I will ask myself when the going gets rough.  The weather is supposed to improve greatly, but it still could shower.  The temperatures sound comfortable, but it could get cold.  I feel confident in my training, but things will hurt.   The darkness will come and will stay for a long time, and it could produce a mental fight.  Any of these situations and others could creep into my race plan and well, force me to tweak my race plan.  But Scott has now equipped me with that very wise question:

What can I do to get through this obstacle?
  • If my stomach is cranky, I’ll throw food or TUMS at it. 
  • If my feet hurt, I may need to change my socks and/or shoes (don’t worry pacer friends, I will not ask you to massage them…I know my limits J)
  • If my mental state is suffering, I will ask for help (my pacers have been hording their stories/jokes/songs/whatever for this moment) or better yet, try to help someone else
  • If I get wet, I will remember that I have packed any necessary change of clothes
  • If I get so tired that it’s detrimental to finishing, I will remind myself that I actually can sit for 5 minutes and close my eyes.  It could be what saves my run.

Those are just a few things I can think of now (now, where I am completely sharp and not sleep deprived) that might help me this weekend.  I’m pleased with my training, I’m equipped with a fantastic crew, I’m relieved that I’m healthy, and I’m grateful to be able to do this.  

Now if I can truly get “one more sleep” and awaken refreshed for my run….

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!!!!