Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Today’s canvas

After not running for over a week, I was grateful for Scott’s invitation to run with him along the West River Trail.  We eased into the day, starting our run at about 9am.  Initially, we drove into some rain showers but could see the sun shining ahead of us in Vermont.  We hoped to get us some of that.

And we did!  We got into a nice groove and never saw anyone on the way out.  It was a peaceful way to start the day and I was happy to be running.  The sound of the rushing West River, the brilliant sunshine, and the mild November temperatures provided a perfect canvas for our run.  

We turned around at the four mile mark and that’s when the photographic shenanigans began.  Scott has such a natural way of making the run fun.  I ended up with an additional .5 to my distance because I needed to “run back there and run towards me!” so Scott could get a particular shot.  So our return 4 miles became all about the photography and silliness.  I’ll save you from the many shots taken and just post my favorites:

Monday, November 20, 2017

You get what you give

Tonight, we installed a cheap window shade.  For $5.00, we didn't expect much, nor did we need much.  As we cut and tore and ripped (not part of the plan), we ultimately installed this temporary shade and high fived each other.  We also agreed I would be in charge of any handling of this shade (read: man knows not his own strength).

You get what you pay for.

In running, you get the run you trained for.

And in life, you get what you put into it.  Simple as that.

I describe this past year as chaotic at best.  Not bad, just all over the place.  It was a busy year professionally and personally.  My balance felt not so balanced a lot of the time.  I started to dread my training runs.  Then I started to not do my training runs.  This was not the training I had in mind to prepare for Ghost Train 100 miler. 

My eventual downgrade from the 100 mile distance to a lesser distance was the right step for me and took the pressure off of me.  Though I still needed to dig deep for my newly committed to 30 mile distance, I was fairly certain I could manage the remaining training I needed to complete in order to finish the 30 miles.  Of course, the day of the race brought all the feelings of FOMO, but I never doubted my decision once I made it.

I just hadn’t trained for 100 miles this time.  So how could I expect my body and mind to carry me that distance?

Ghost Train was one month ago and I couldn’t be happier about my experience.  I started my training with a bang and ended on a much quieter note.   I got to run 30 miles with my friend Sue, be a part of her first ultra, and then run Susanne in for her final 10 miles to her 100 mile finish.  

Whether its money spent on cheap shades, effort spent on training runs, or time and energy devoted to the right things and the right people in your life, you get what you put into it.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Don't think

Ever since I began running distances, I’ve found the mental strength as important if not more than the physical strength.  The long run provides a good balance of time and endorphins to help me process, solve problems, and tap into my creativity.  The long run removes the noise and allows me to think.

Many of my longest training runs have incorporated multiple loops where I headed out with a plan to return home, grabbed stashed food and ventured back out for more loops.  What got me out on those multiple loops?  One mantra:

Don’t think.

I’d often say the words aloud, “Don’t think”.  Whether spoken aloud or in my own head, that mantra worked.

Recently, after a long day at work, I gathered up my running clothes and dashed off to change.  Of course, knowing my fellow Scores Running Club friends would be there helped motivate me to dive into the cold darkness.  But once again, I leaned on my old mantra friend:

Don’t think.

Whether it's four miles after work or a forty mile training run, the toughest part is getting out there.  Darkness by 4:30 pm, cold temperatures, snow, ice, (I imagine locusts are next??), all contribute to that lethargic feeling that is winter running. 

As usual, within the first mile or so, none of that matters and I feel good and healthy and happy.  Ironically, because I choose “Don’t think”, my run allows me….

To think.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Squeezing 101

During our breakfast run this past weekend, I chatted a bit with Frank.  Frank has a young daughter who is an absolute spit fire!  Every picture or video he posts shows a little one very enamored with life.  Frank said something along the lines of, “she sure squeezes every bit of life out of every day”.


Not a new concept, but wow.  Live like you’re dying, dance like no one’s watching, and on and on…..  But how do we do that?  How do we channel that inner young child and squeeze every bit of life out of every day?  Most of us are pulled in a variety of directions, whether its work, parenting, school, community, or even play.  We’re all allotted the same 24 hours a day, within the same 7 day period, etc.   There are times when one area becomes busier than another, and sometimes work takes over and “work life balance” takes a back seat.

While this thought was swirling in my brain this morning, I headed out to work on a very foggy morning.  As I approached my favorite part of the drive, I was struck by the eerie, yet beautiful scene the fog laid out for me.  I thought about taking a picture, but a car came up quickly behind me, forcing me to continue on.  I almost shrugged the moment off, and realized I was disappointed at the prospect of missing a really cool photographic opportunity.  At the next available driveway, I turned around to head back and grab the moment. 

Can't decide which one I like better....this one?

......or this one?

As expected, arriving approximately three minutes later to work didn’t shut my company down.  But that three minutes gave me a satisfying feeling of taking time to do something that made me happy.  While Frank’s daughter performs flips and runs circles around him, my version of “squeezing every bit of life out of today” started with a u-turn and a couple of photographs.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Who’s YOUR inspiration?

Today, I watched Shalane win the NYC Marathon after 40 years of a non-USA female winner.  Three years ago, I screamed in excitement at our TV as Meb won the Boston Marathon.  Inspiration isn’t just about who wins the race; it’s more about who tries, who gives their all, and who demonstrates in a way that inspires others.

Twenty plus years ago, my mother started running.  She ditched her decades long smoking habit and hit the 5K and 10K routes.  She inspired both Scott and me to start.  And from there, we’ve gone distances we never even dreamed of.

Before moving from MA in 2016, one of my inspirations was a local girl who got out there (what seemed like) every day and made running look easy.  I never knew her name and she never knew she had an impact on me, but there were many times I got out for a run because of her.

Just this past July, Scott ran his first 100 miler at VT100.  It wasn’t his finish time that was as impressive as was his attitude.  Yes, finishing in 24:37 was indeed impressive.  More inspirational?  I never saw him without a smile on his face.  A few weeks ago, friend Susanne ran her first 100 miler and many times referred to Scott’s “happy running” and that was how she wanted to run her race. 

This morning, I jumped aboard a “run to breakfast” group run with my running club friends.  With a point to point 11 mile route and an out and back option, there was something for everyone – with a breakfast reward at the end!  I chose the out and back option and got to run with several, catching up, cursing the mud, and talking up the breakfast we were all working towards.   This group is comprised of individuals with individual goals, but together, we inspire each other.

Regardless of distance or pace, we are all inspiring someone.  I am grateful for all of the inspirations in my life (running and non-running alike!) and challenge myself to be the best I can be – someone might just be looking at me as their inspiration. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Vermont 100 Crew Pre-Work

When I ran Ghost Train a few years ago, I knew that I would depend heavily on my crew to help get me through the distance.  Scott held down our home base, cooked for everyone, tracked me, massaged my feet, and encouraged me throughout my journey.  The rest of my tribe ran with me, massaged my Achilles in the middle of the night, sang with me, and dressed in Christmas lights.  Whatever it took!  In July, I will take on this important role of crewing for Scott, as he heads into his own 100 mile journey at Vermont 100!

Today, we took a drive to VT to scope out the area.  This scoping expedition wasn’t for Scott,  Nope, it was for me.  If any of you know me at all, you know by now that I have no sense of direction.  And since VT 100 is not like my Ghost Train 7.5 mile route that runners repeat until complete, I will need to navigate through the back roads of VT.  At night.  For up to 30 hours (race cutoff).  The farm areas we saw during our drive were gorgeous and hilly.  As in, ears-popping hilly.  Also, every street sign seemed to signify more hills (i.e. Silver Hill Road, etc).  Hopefully this road sign doesn’t represent too much of Scott’s experience:
Yes, this is a real sign in the area!
I’m super excited for Scott!  His training has gone really well so far and I’m looking forward to helping him get to the finish.  It’s starting to get real, as we turn the calendar to June.  A few more lonnnggg runs for Scott and he’ll be off and running for 100 miles!!

Is it too early to start weather stalking???

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Tale of Two Pisgahs

During our exploration of North Carolina back in 2015, Scott and I took a hot air balloon ride over the Pisgah Mountains.  I had no idea the elevation was as high, if not higher, than some of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  That white-knuckle adventure is indelibly imprinted in my memories!

Pisgah, NC

Today, as Scott and I ventured out on a morning run/hike in Pisgah State Park –in New Hampshire – I felt so grateful to be able to live so close and “play” in such a beautiful place.  


Pisgah, NH

By the end of our 11 mile adventure, my feet were tender!  So many many downs. Official elevation (according to Garmin) was 1795'.  

Extra bonus:  our adventure collided with a local trail race.  We got to cheer some runners on and give extra cheer to Arne and Maggie, friends from our running community.  Fun!

Both Pisgahs were beautiful, however I prefer exploring with my feet on the ground and not 5000' feet above!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Shift

At a work training session a few months ago, one of the ice breakers was to share with the group your favorite food.  Most answered “seafood” or “anything Italian”.  Me?  I had to be a smart ass and answer (honestly, I’m afraid):

Anything in a package.

Yup, there it is.  The absolute truth and no surprise to those who know me best. 

Even before I began running the kind of miles that enable me to eat whatever I want, I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted.  Frankly, I never placed much importance on food.  Only when I began running did I realize I needed to give a little bit of thought to what I put into my body.  Now it was considered fuel.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy fresh fruit or vegetables.  But more honesty?  I’m lazy.  No thinking or planning needed for a quick buttering of peanut butter toast for breakfast.  Unless I bring leftovers to work for lunch, there’s a good chance I’ll be found grabbing a breakfast sandwich via McDonald’s drive-thru.  Even my GU comes in a package.  And how do I wash it all down?  I grab myself a Coke or some other sugary drink.  What a hot mess.

Something about today was different.  Having nothing to do with weight loss or diet fads, I tried having a bowl of fresh strawberries for breakfast.   Usually, I’m famished by 10:00, but today, I sailed right through until lunch time.  Scott and I had a lunch date, where he brought me a salad with grilled chicken.  I washed it down with a bottle of water.  By the end of lunch time, I was feeling like a rock star.

Then Marissa brought cupcakes into the office.  Sigh.

Fortunately, they were quite mini.  I did have one and enjoyed every mini bite of the mini cupcake.  And I washed it down with water.  Dinner consisting of spaghetti and meatballs (washed down with water) rounded out Day 1 of this fueling experiment. 

The reason for the experiment?  I’m tired of feeling gross.  Plain and simple.  If I don’t want to feel gross anymore, I need to change what I eat and drink.  I still see ultra race goodies in my future, but in its place (like during an ultra race) and not in the form of a daily diet.

I’ll always have a soft spot for packaged food, but more real food is likely to prevent me from gaining too large a soft spot….on me!

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here’s to friends who miss your blog

As I close in on my 50th run around the sun (how has it already been a year), I am reminded of how little I’ve written in my little blog this year.  I’ve had many thoughts, experiences, and opportunities to write about, but like many, I lost the thought or if I did start writing, it suddenly sounded boring.  Today, I felt the urge to write, thanks to a text conversation with my friend Bonnie:

So maybe not a lot of content, but starting off easy with a bullet summary and some photos to describe the last 6+ months:

* Ran 3 loops of GAC Fat Ass.  In a blizzard.
* Ran through the winter in first pair of yak-trax.
* Bella turned 9 years old.

* Participated in my first Ugly Sweater Run/Contest.
* Registered for Ghost Train 100.
* Volunteered as a course marshall at Red Hat Run.

* Enjoyed countless Scores Running Club runs.

* Learned the fun of Mexican Train game.
* Ran TARC Spring Classic 50K.

* Spectated at Boston Marathon.

* Created a new team at work.
* Made new friends at work.
* Made new friends at play (run).
* Missed old friends and old running routes.
* Re-landscaped our front lawn.
* Witnessed some of the most beautiful sunrises/sunsets.

* Saw my first bear
* Joined Scores Running Club Board of Directors as Secretary.
* Joined Race Committee for Drummer Hill Trail Race (6/10/17)
* Joined Race Committee for Stone Arch Bridge 10 Miler (10/28/17)

Looking forward to:
--> Lots of summer evening fires on the patio
--> Lots of running – day and night
--> Lots of swimming at Goose Pond (for Bellz)
--> Lots of hiking
--> Crewing Scott at VT100
--> Our niece’s first baby

and of course....

--> More writing in this blog!