Ultra Weekend is Here!

Friday, September 29, 2017

My ultra marathon is this weekend!!  I [and 41 other Trail Animals] will be attempting to run 50 miles through trails and fire roads of Carlisle, Ma at the TARC FAll Classic 50 miler.  This is the moment every run this year has been aiming towards.  I can't wait to see how it goes!

Where: DCR Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, MA

The race starts at 6am and I will be running until about 6:30pm (give or take LOL).

Course: The course is a 10 mile loop which will be nice.  My crew will have a chance to see me 4 times at the start/finish area.  Here's a pdf of the map:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxKo5FsSCWeyNDEzQ0dIY01DNGc/view

My goals are simple for this one.

------ Goal:  Run 50 miles...no matter how long it takes.

------ Reach goal:  Finish in under cutoff - 12 hours, 30 minutes

Michael and Liza will be out with me all day serving as my race crew.  Thanks guys!

I am really excited for Saturday.  The celebration has somewhat already begun.  Michael gifted me these beauties after my last training run on Wednesday :)  I'm looking forward to what the day brings. 

Celebratory flowers after my last training run <3

Thank you to all you who have been following along this year.  It has been a long time coming, this 50 miler.  See you after the finish line!

Run and Smile

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My day started out rough today.

I was angrily shouted at by a guy on a crowded train this morning.  When another man intervened, the two almost came to blows right there on the T.  I was shocked.  Then, as I got out onto the street a few blocks from my workplace, I witnessed a woman angrily yelling at a construction worker who seemed stunned by the situation and was sheepishly trying to get away.  Her friends were able to get her away.  Still reeling from my encounter on the train only a few minutes earlier, I thought to myself (and probably out loud).  WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I hadn't even made it into work and everybody is going nuts.  Everybody's angry.  Everybody's on edge.  Everybody is flipping out...at strangers...on the street!  Is it a byproduct of the crazy racist events of this week?  People are having a meltdown!

It was a chore to focus once I finally made it to work.  I mulled over the crazy events of the morning and I craved a quiet space for my evening run.  Today I was scheduled to do a run-commute (about 6.5 miles) and was planning to do the same old, same old.  After this morning, however, it was hard for me to want to run through crowded Back Bay, Mass Ave, and Kendall Square.  People are nuts today and I didn't want to be around them.

I was tempted to retreat to the forest again, where I would only be bothered by a mountain-biker or two, maybe a scurrying chipmunk, and the one thousand-some-odd gnats floating around below the trees.

I was tempted but made a different plan.  Instead, I decided to stick with the city run but to explore streets just off of my normal commute-- neighborhood streets where I would see real people; tired people in need of a smile.  And, I resolved to smile at them-- any of them who looked me in the eye.  I was in a bad mood but this is what i needed to do; run and use the joy I feel that God has given me (regardless of circumstance) to bring joy to others.  So I ran and smiled and said hello.  And people smiled back and said hello.  It was hot today and the sweat was burning my eyes but the angriness of the morning felt far away.  I extend my run to 10 miles.

Harriet Tubman memorial (South End Boston).

You cannot love God and hate people.

A Quiet Wog Through the Forest

Saturday, August 5, 2017

My current mood.

Here I am, a moss covered bolder making myself comfortable in the middle of the trail.  I have no place to go, nowhere to be-- just enjoying my current chill in the quiet of the forest.

This run took some patience but I had nothing else do to this afternoon so I stuck it out.  I got to the trails just as a downpour started.  I decided to wait it out in my car and ended up napping for 45 min while it rained and rained and rained.  I woke up, ate half the peanut butter and honey sandwich I packed for the run, and waited another 20 min for the showers to pass before heading out unto the trail.  It had been four weeks since I last ran on trails and with the slick footing I took this really slow (a walk/jog pace or a "wog" as my buddy E-Rob calls it).

Even though the rain delayed things, I'm glad I got out there when I did.  I really needed a quiet space today.  The rain virtually made it so that only true nature lovers or those training for ultra marathons were out on the trails.  I saw 3 runners and a bunch of folks at Sheepfold (because there are always a bunch of folks at Sheepfold).  It was nice.  And, after-the-rain leaves everything so green!  In addition to 3's company, I saw a little garter snake which was moving slowly down the trail but too fast for me to get my phone out and take a picture (I doubled up on zip-lock bags today.  My phone is still recovering from the deluge of two Tuesdays ago), the fluffiest squirrel I ever did see, and about 2,000 gnats.  I was swatting and swatting and swatting-- really working my arms as much as my legs on this one.  K ridiculo.

My running calendar called for a cutback week this week and I decided to run no more than 30 miles total.  This would keep me with my personal goal of not running less than 30 miles per week during this training and is a 12 mile step back from what I did last week.  I ended up running 8 for 32 miles.  Things are going really well so far.  I'm behind but managing to get out there and keep training.  Two more months!

Vermont 100 - Volunteer Experience #2

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Vermont 100 weekend is a weekend to look forward to in my summer.  This is my second time volunteering for the event with last year (2016) being my first and I can easily see it becoming a tradition. Visit the race website for more info on the race.

My friend Liza and I went up together this year and had a blast.  Vermont and the Vermont 100 did not disappoint.  From amazing volunteers, enthusiastic runners and spastic weather, there was always something to see and be inspired by.  Flexibility was key for the weekend...e.g. sleeping in the car to avoid camping in the wet fields with looming clouds above.  Adventure!   We volunteered first at the Friday night runner dinner and then Saturday at Camp 10 Bear aid station from 6am-2pm.  I recognized a lot of people from last year and made some new connections.  I am tired but oh so inspired.

Here are my pictures from the weekend.

Liza and I starting out on the trip up.
photo cred: Liza

Friday was dreary and wet up in the valley

Runner briefing before dinner on Friday

the Vermont 100 also has a horse race. Horse use the same route as the runners

"car camping!"
View from the car

4am start for the 100 mile runners

Camp 10 Bear aid station

Runners approaching 10 Bear

Runner drop bags at Camp 10 Bear

First Week of Ultra-training, Check!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I love talking running with other runners.  It warms me up; like a wax warmer sending heat and a beautiful fragrance to my soul.

With the first official week of ultra training under my belt, I am feeling motivated and energized.  This is partially thanks to the extra half week of rest due to my sprained ankle and partly to some encouraging conversations from really tough everyday runners.

For me, running is definitely not a solo sport.  It is way more fun to run with others and to share stories and experiences with people who "get it" and have "been there". I am constantly amazed by the people in my clubs; both the road runners and the trail runners.  These are people who hold it down with work and family like everyone else and still find ways to train 40, 50, 80 miles a week with thousands of feet of elevation gain to boot (I'm thinking maybe I'll resuscitate theRunnersRun Interviews sometime soon...there are some awesome stories).  It blows my mind but also makes it accessible.  Like...if they can do it, why can't I?  God made our bodies to do amazing things.  It's just a matter of focusing and finding the motivation to persevere.   With a bit of training and dedication almost anything is possible.

Increasing Mileage

This first week of ultra training was a 30 mile week.  I am training for the TARC Fall Classic 50 mile Ultramarathon on September 30th.  It is about 13 weeks away.  This first week was a fun week which spanned vacation on the Cape and lots and lots of fireworks.  It felt pretty easy to get the miles in.

I hope to run at least 30 miles a week for the duration of the training and to get a few (at least two) 50 mile weeks.  This is a lot of running for me but necessary.  The goal of this training regiment is to RUN MORE.  50 miles in one day is a long way and I will not be prepared if I cannot get at least two 50 miles weeks in training.  Check how I'm doing here.

I feel good now but the real test will be after 9 or 10 weeks of training when the cumulative fatigue starts to hit.  Like I told a friend from my club this evening who I ran into on my run, I'm taking it one training run at a time.  If I look out at future weeks in the schedule, I get overwhelmed :)

Training Plan

I plan to use the below plan as a guide for weekend long runs.  I found it using a random Google search that lead me to the Santa Clarita Runners Ultramarathon Training Schedule Generator.   I'm already a little behind the schedule because of the sprain set-back but I'm okay with adjusting.  The long run schedule seems logical and I will plan to follow the progression.  I plan to do my own thing for the weekday runs. Run-commuting to work (6 miles one way) is a standard weekly run for me and I'm hoping to incorporate a couple of back to back runs per week involving the commute.  Long runs will mostly be done on the trails to mimic race conditions.

Stay tuned for summer running fun!

How about you?
Do you think of running as a solo sport of more of a community sport?
Do you follow a plan when training for a race?