Skip to content


Vermont 100 Miler, 2015 Race Report

100 miles was a new, very scary distance for me. My mission coming into the race was to finish the Vermont 100 without incurring a lasting (> one week) pain… and that mission was accomplished! Here’s the good and the bad:

THE GOOD

  • I finished in 25 hours, 15 minutes. Before the race, I had set my optimistic finishing time at 26 hours, which was really a wild guess, given I had never run a 100-mile race before. So though I managed my pacing horribly (see below), it was still a very respectful 100-mile time for a newbie mid-packer like me. I think if (IF!) I ever were to run another 100-miler, I acquired many ‘lessons learned’ that would result in a better time.
  • I had quality family time. Particularly with my most wonderful husband Mr. P, who paced me final miles 70-100 and provided such reassuring fortitude that he ought to be declared a performance-enhancing drug (although we walked most of miles 90-100, because of chafing and shot quads and he was fine with that). Seriously, nothing can test the strength of a relationship like pacing a significant other in an ultra! IN ADDITION, my father and stepmother journeyed to VT to take care of Little Boy whilst Mr. P paced me, and provided additional support (like the Sunday morning surprise-knock-on-the-hotel-room-can-we-use-your-shower visit, which saved my sanity). Similar to how my mother and father-in-law helped me complete the VT 100k two years ago, ultras can very much be a family event, and having loved ones there makes it even more meaningful. Knowing that people believe in me enough to come and help me finish made me believe in myself.
With my Little Boy at the starting line

With my Little Boy at the starting line

  • I remained healthy, fed, and hydrated. No nausea, no kidney failure, no muscle injuries. I ate copiously amounts of PB&J, grilled cheese, turkey sandwiches, and (after it got dark on Saturday) ramen with broth. It took me only three days to recover and I’ve already run 60 miles this week with only traces of discomfort.
Dutifully eating turkey sandwiches at mile 30

Dutifully eating turkey sandwiches at mile 30

THE MEH

  • My “race management.” I knew that the first 50 miles shouldn’t feel like work. And they didn’t… except I ran it in 11 hours — a 50-mile PR. I thought as long as I felt okay, the faster-than-planned pace was okay. After mile 50, I shared miles with people who kept talking about going sub-24 hours in order to “buckle” (runners finishing under 24 hours got a belt buckle; runners 24-30 hours get a coaster). I hadn’t planned on shooting for 24 hours but, running with people who were shooting for 24 hours, I started to get “buckle fever.” I ran miles 50-70 much faster than planned. I even arrived at mile 70 (Camp Ten Bear) at 7:30pm, one hour faster than I had planned, and before my pacer Mr. P arrived. (The medic stared at me. “Are you okay?” he asked, probably noting my darting eyes and confused expression, taking it for ultra-delusion. “I’m just looking for my pacer!” I insisted.) Mr. P showed up a few minutes later. I had 8 1/2 hours to run 50K to the finish and earn a buckle, which seemed highly doable… except, it wasn’t. By mile 90, I told Mr. P we’d be walking it in. I just had no will to run anymore. Since this wasn’t an “A” race for me, I wasn’t going to further aggravate my quads on the downhills. (But heck, I’m impressed that it took me until mile 90 for the wheels to come off!)
  • The weather. It was humid for sure. Not particularly hot or sunny, but humid. I did sweat copiously, but I felt grateful that at least the sun was shrouded and thus the humidity was bearable. Plus, the bugs stayed away… until the sun reared its ugly head at 5pm. Flies started following me. Right after mile 70 when I picked up Mr. P as my pacer, the skies opened up into torrential rain. honestly, the rain felt great but it turned the next section of trails into a muddy, slippery mess. It became humid again overnight. Still, the next day was about 90 degrees, sunny, and humid… so I felt grateful

THE BAD

  • Friday night. I slept by myself in the “tent city” next to the starting line. There were probably over 100 tents packed onto the grassy field. Earlier in the day, immediately after we set up my tent, a pick-up truck pulled up and 7-8 svelte 20-somethings jumped out and set up a giant alcove right next to my tent. I contemplated moving, since the rest of the field was pretty much empty, but I took a chance. Later that evening, after the pre-race BBQ, I said goodbye to my parents, Mr. P, and Little Boy and laid down in my tent at 8pm. I couldn’t help but to eavesdrop on the people in the alcove; it turned out one of them was running the 100K, two other guys were pacing, and the girls were the “crew.” Of course, the crew can stay up half the night drinking pomegranate sangria (“Like, so yummy.”) and not have to sleep. When I finally did fall asleep, a car alarm woke me and everyone else up at 11:30pm. I dozed fitfully some more, then torrential rain started. My tent was humid and I was sweating. By then it was 2am and I decided to ready myself for the 4am start: Eating, drinking canned coffee, downing supplements, applying glide, braiding hair, and just generally freaking out. Is there anything more daunting than started a 100-mile race on about three hours of sleep?
  • Epic chafing. I wore my North Face “Better than Naked” shorts, which I’ve worn in at least 2 50K races and never had problem with chafing. I applied Glide everywhere I normally chafe. At about mile 35, I pulled off the trail for a pee break in the woods… and noticed that my enough bikini line was inflamed, as were other parts. I was carrying some vaseline-like stuff, which I applied… but this seemed to move the salty swear into the chafing, and it burned. At mile 58 (the famed Margaritaville Aid Station) two older women held up blankets for me so I could apply another coating of vaseline to my entire nether regions. Still, it burned. It burned for the entire race. In fact, if anything prevented me from running the last 10 miles, it was the horrific chafing in my crotch. At the mile 92 Aid Station, the young volunteers helped me pin my shorts to my underwear and jovially convinced me I was “ready for the runway.” I can’t say enough about these wonderful people.
  • Toes. I made a rookie mistake: I tried something new on race day. At 3am, huddled in my tent with the rain beating down, I decided it would be a great idea to apply Glide to my feet to prevent blisters. Now, mind you, out of all the running ailments, the one that has never afflicted me are blisters. I don’t know what I was thinking. The Glide made my feet slide forward in my shoes on the downhills, hitting the fronts of my shoes. Around mile 25, I was running with three brothers from Texas (really) and I fell into the conversation so easily that I started to push the pace on the downhills. (The brothers were hilarious. They were good guys, yet seemed to have little clue about ultra running. I told one of them how I ran the 100K two years ago and it killed my quads, and he asked  “The quads are the front of your leg or the back?” I was in disbelief, yet very happy and surprised to see they finish in 28 hours.) My big toenails are now black and I expect them to come off eventually.

That’s about it. Honestly, it wasn’t as hard as thought it would be, but it was still damned hard. I’m much more of a fan of 50Ks these days and I feel like I should perfect that distance, and then the 50-miler, before attempting another 100-miler. (Well, of course I am signed up for the 104-mile UTMB in France in late August… but I’m already planning to drop out at mile 50. Unless divine intervention strikes.)

61017182-VT100_2941

Around mile 60

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with , .


Taper Madness

I loath tapering for any race. One would think that after a hard training cycle, the 2-week taper before a 100-mile race would be heavenly. But with 5 days prior to VT 100, when I finish a short, easy run… it’s like someone who regularly gorges on hamburgers and fries for lunch opting for the salad. Totally unsatisfying.

Yesterday/Sunday (the day of the week that is typically my long-run day) I ran an measily 5 miles and then staved off taper madness by whisking Little Boy to Crane Beach. (Mr. P. had to do some off-hours database maintenance). Even I get lazy on beaches.

Crane Beach Frolic

Crane Beach Frolic

It’s T minus five days until VT 100, and I’ll admit my fear. 100 miles is long. Vermont is hilly, hot and humid. Suffering is inevitable.

My consolation is that I finished the VT 100K (basically the last 60 miles of the 100-miler) two years ago… so I know what to expect from the course. I’m also in exponentially better shape than I was 2 years ago, which is funny because I certainly wasn’t in bad shape 2 years ago — I did finish a 100K — but I’ve been much more rigorous about hill/elevation training and I’ve gotten faster, leaner, meaner. Of course, all of that might mean little if my knees/feet/hips/back starts screaming at mile 40 and I have to mentally deal with “60 more miles”. Or, if I start puking.

I have 30 hours to finish (the leading women usually finish around 19-20 hours). And my only goal is to finish. My optimistic finish time is 26 hours, realistic is 28 hours, and 30 hours is the cut-off time. So even my realistic running time will have me running from 4am Saturday morning until 8 am Sunday morning.

Mr. Kitty Cat felt little pity, as he instinctively inhabited a box in which new running shoes arrived:

Cat loves box

Cat loves box

“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
–  Oscar Wilde

Posted in Existence.


Camping, Mt. Ascutney, Fourth of July 2015

After last weekend’s trip to the Trappe Family resort, our collective inner miser kicked in and we decided to exercise extreme economic austerity by spending 4th of July weekend at a Vermont State campground. Since we have all the gear, this put us back about $100 of campground/wood/ice fees for 3 days/2 nights… but as I said to Mr. P, it’s not about the money saved. It’s about the camping experience: disconnecting from devices, television, electricity, any type of creature comfort… connecting to each other, to nature, to mosquitos, and to the bodily foibles of strangers in the communal bathroom/shower.

We left Friday mid-morning in the fully-loaded Subaru, heading to the Mt. Ascutney State Park in mid-state Vermont. We packed lunch so we could stop half-way at Pisgah State Park, to revisit a much-reminisced swimming hole where we took Little Boy when he was four years old. Funny how much more scared he was to jump from the rocks now than he was when he was four.

My boys, getting ready to SWIM

My boys, getting ready to JUMP

This is this part when my stomach and mind lurch:

Nooooo

Bombs…

oooooo....

…Away!

Me, not jumping

Me, not jumping

We continued driving north to the campground, where our lean-to awaited. The rest of the day was a flurry of setting up camp, playing games, cooking dinner, and wreaking havoc on ant communities within our site’s vicinity.

Saturday morning I woke up early and, as arranged earlier with Mr. P, started on my “long run” up Mt. Ascutney. Since I was hardly running the gnarly, technical trails, it was more like a fast hike. Still, it’s the type of training I need to start doing more often.

Early Morning Mountain Fog

Early Morning Mountain Fog

I tagged the summit and came back after 3 and half hours, only to drive back up with Mr. P and Little Boy after a quick breakfast. There’s a parking lot about a half-mile from the summit; we decided to hike on the trails on and around the summit rather than endure having to force Little Boy to do the whole hike up the mountain. He likes views and technical terrain; he doesn’t like mud, bugs, and endless tree-lined trails. We hiked around for about two hours with relatively few complaints.

West Peak, Mt. Ascutney -- hand glider platform

West Peak, Mt. Ascutney — hand glider platform

While we were up there, it started to rain, which surprised us. Rain was not in the forecast, yet it continued for much of the afternoon. We returned to the campsite and Mr. P set off on his long run while Little Boy and I colored and listened to the radio.

The rain slowed in the evening. We made dinner and played with sparklers. We were pretty relaxed and content.

Marshmallow

Marshmallow

Mommy Photo Bomb

Mommy Photo Bomb

It’s hard to believe we’ll be returning to the campground in two short weeks for the Vermont 100. I have started tapering my running, telling myself that the hay is in the barn and there’s nothing more I can do to get ready. My confidence in my ability to finish wavers from day to day, but these are certainties: I will be walking most of it, if I finish it will take me 27-30 hours, and my ability to finish will depend heavily on the weather. It’s been a cool summer thus far, so if it’s a sunny and humid day I will struggle. (Hell, it’s 100 miles… even if it’s a perfect weather day I will struggle). Bombs away…

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with , , .


Catamount 50K, 2015

I did not fear the Catamount 50K in Northern Vermont, even with its 5000 feet of elevation gain. I’ve spent the last two months trashing my quads and crushing my glutes & calves with hill repeats at Prospect Hill Park, a local bit of woods with a short but steep 400-foot climb. On other days I’ll hit the hills in my neighborhood by running up to the conservation property, where I’ll do speedwork on the buttery trail. No injuries. High spirits. Excited and terrified to be running the VT 100 in 2 and a half weeks.

We opted to stay at the Trappe Family Lodge in Stowe, VT so we could be walking distance to the starting line… and, we needed to “get away from it all” after having zero get-aways since Christmas. It’s been all work, no play, and we needed frivolity. And the Trappe Lodge is significant frivolity. The Trappe family, who inspired “The Sound of Music,” had settled in Vermont in the 1950s, opened a guest lodge, renovated it after a (deadly) fire in the 1980s… and hadn’t touched it since! yet continue to charge premium resort prices… don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful place, but the amenities just didn’t add up to the premium resort prices.

But then again, race morning was luxury. I felt like a princess as I shoved nut bars into my mouth and applied non-chafing petroleum solution to my unmentionables in my hotel room, my own private bathroom, 2 minutes from the start!

Everyone looks intimidating at the start of a 50K. Of course the woman who ran an insane 4:30 on the course last year and the woman who recently represented the USA in the international ultra-trail championships in France looked especially intimidating… but really everyone looked fierce.

The start happened and we pranced up the gigantic hill with wayyyy too much energy. Too hard for a 50K., I told myself, yet I could. not. resist the lure of the herd, pulling me up the hill at a heart-pounding and non-sustainable pace.

In the first few miles, a slew of people passed me, including about 6-8 women. One girl (and I mean girl, I found out later she was 19) was running every single hill, no matter how steep. Unless you’re an elite, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in an ultra is to expend the energy running up a hill to gain a few seconds; everyone else fast-walks. Her breath was audibly ragged and strangled, and she wasn’t carrying water. I predicted she’d crash but for the first 10 miles I leap-fogged with her: she’d slog past me on the hills, and I’d pass her on the flats and downhills (she wound up finishing 20 minutes after me, as I was tucking into my beer).

Eventually the two of us settled in behind two other women on a flat section. I hung out, caught my breath, then made my move on a downhill. I knew they were all still behind me and that pushed me to maintain my pace. I passed 2 more women as I neared the end of the loop. My least favorite part was the uphill on grass, where a photographer happened to be positioned.

I really should have braided my hair...

I really should have braided my hair…

yCgCm0sJYzKWMML38CE_YuI49U732j_zOohVNhHElFM

… because it was a giant knot at the end

I finished the first 15.5 mile loop in about 2:35 minutes. Mr. P and Little Boy were waiting for me at the starting/middle/finish line with fresh socks, which were much needed due to the small but epic patches of thick mud. The older man at the aid station was very kind to me, filling up my handheld bottle as I changed socks and chatted with my boys. But it was obvious who he was catering to. “I want a banana,” Little Boy said. “Me too,” I muttered. Guess who was cute enough to dotingly get the banana;-)

Instead of saying I went out on the second loop “slow,” I prefer “cautious.” My pace on the first loop was significantly faster than I had projected; I was on track for a 50K PR, on a hilly/tough course! Yet I was not eating that much due to the limited number of aid stations, which only offered PB&Js on whole-wheat bread. So I went out on the second loop intentionally slow and got passed quickly by one man and then a girl I had previously passed; she looked young, cool, strong and was running smart.

She spurred me to pick up my pace. For about seven miles, it was almost awkward how I was running with her but just behind her. We came in around the same time at the final aid station around mile 25. She stopped, chatted with the volunteers, snacked; I asked for an ice/water refill, grabbed a PB&J and scrammed.

There were a bunch of senior citizens — random Trappe Family lodge guests — staring at me as I ran an 8-minute mile out of the aid station with rogue jelly literally all over my hand, hydration bottle, and on my shirt, trying to choke down the inedible whole-wheat crust, which was baked into brick by the sun. They looked concerned.

She was close behind me for the last six miles; I snuck peeks behind me only to catch a glimpse of her. Thank you, Competitor. You spurred me to a 50K PR on the hardest 50K course I’ve ever run. You finished less than a minute behind me. And we both finished strong!

And then I ate pizza and drank beer and quizzed Mr. P about the quality of the resort’s hot tub, and chatted with all sorts of folks, and loved life and running.

I finished in 5:24, a 50K PR, 27th out of 96 and 7th girl out of 32.

 

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with , .


Birthday Season

It is Birthday Season… not just for me (yesterday) and Mr. P (today), but for seemingly every one of Little Boy’s friends. (And, soon, in three weeks, Little Boy himself will be seven!?!)

In between celebratory festivities, soccer games, and endless training runs, we squeezed in a trip to a local pond up in the moneyed hills of Belmont, a pond Little Boy and Mr. P had never been to (and that I only recently discovered during a run). It’s a secluded, quiet, smallish, kinda buggy but amazing area, with insane baby ducks, bellowing toads, grazing goats, and overprotective mommy/daddy geese.

The best birthday present by far!

Binoculars never get old

Binoculars never get old

Never!

Never!

Watch out, I'm going to...

Watch out, I’m going to…

flip you!

…flip you!

The obligatory spring blossom pic

The obligatory spring blossom pic

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with .


TARC Spring Classic 2015

Up until one minute after the race start, I considered the TARC Spring Classic 50K to be just a training run… not something I’d run hard. But I felt good, the day was crisp and sunny, and I was running a TARC race — life is good! The momentous snow of the winter is gone. (Was it ever really here? Did I really spend the entire month of February running on a treadmill? How did I make it through a 2.5 hour run on a treadmill?)

So yeah, this race was supposed to be just “time on my feet.” No speed involved, because speed plus ultra distance requires recovery, and with the VT 100 and UTMB looming, I don’t have time for recovery. I must be constantly pushing the limit yet not exceed the limit. With this race, I definitely pushed the limit.

The Twin State 50K

My first ultra of the season was actually a month ago, in VT, the low-key Twin State 50K, which I ran last year. Because Mr. P was on call for his work, I drove up to VT by myself, ran 50K essentially by myself, and finished in a muck of excitable French Canadians.

Twin State 50 Starting Line

Twin State 50 Starting Line

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Twin State 50, Mile 12ish Aid Station, AKA a guy on the side of the road with Oreos

TS_16987119696_0f9c5e8318_z

Twin State 50K Finish Line! Cue the cheering Quebecois

So Twin State was a good race for me, given the hills. I finished slightly over 5:35 and showed great sportsmanship by not ratting out the Quebecoise who I saw cutting the course. Overall a nice way to commence the season after the horrific Spring Thaw.

Back to the Spring Classic…

With the Spring Classic coming a month after Twin State, and with my legs feeling strong and injury-free (thanks mostly, I suspect, to my renewed commitment to strength and mobility work) I knew I could do a pretty fast Spring Classic 50K. It’s a really flat trail, as far as 50Ks go. The weather was ideal. And the course is 5 loops of 6+ miles, so I only had to carry a handheld water bottle and I could grab PB&Js at the end of each loop.

Mr. P volunteered to go early and help park cars. Little Boy and I arrived at the race start in Weston just as the main parking area was filling up. Little Boy thought it was hilarious to see Daddy in the safety vest, directing cars to various areas of the field. They left shortly after the race start, as I didn’t want them to spend a Saturday spectating an ultramarathon.

When the race started, I was accidentally (really!) at the front of the pack and I could see that there were no 50K girls in front on me (confirming my suspicion that several of the really fast girls who signed up to run were not, in fact, running). During the first mile, about 5-6 girls did pass me, but I still had the motivation and the feeling like I could finish this race near the front of the pack.

So I went for it.

TARC Spring 50K -- in the first mile feeling cold, focused

TARC Spring 50K — in the first mile feeling cold, focused — photo by Edith Dixon

The first loop was crowded as the shorter distances began to pass us and the pack settled down. I was thrilled that the course wasn’t terribly muddy — the last race I ran in these woods was the TARC 50M almost two years ago, which was epic mud. My miles ranged from 8:30 to 9:40, which is much much faster than I typically go on trails. The second loop was more being passed and passing. I told myself I was going to “calm down” but I felt exceptionally good.

After each loop I passed through the starting line/aid station/drop bag area, where I filled up my handheld with water and grabbed two quarters of good ole’ PB&J. I ate nothing else the entire race, not even my typical “Oh, I earned them” peanut M&Ms.

Cruising on the second loop

Cruising on the second loop

The pack really thinned out on the third loop, as most of the half-marathoners had finished and the ones remaining were mostly walking and easier to pass. I finally passed another 50K girl I was leap-frogging with and didn’t see her the rest of the race. I slowed down a bit but still managed 9:40-11:00 minute miles.

The fourth loop was the loop that I dreaded. Miles 20-26, things get lonely, minds turn zombie. My legs still felt pretty good but my energy was falling fast and it took more effort to maintain my pace. Towards the end of the loop, I could hear two girls chatting distantly behind me. It took about one mile but they passed me; one was a 50K girl, the other was apparently a pacer. I was totally fine with her passing me except when the pacer girl said “Good luck!” to me, and in my tired mind I took that as an insult. Most people say “Good job!” or “Keep it up!”… but “Good luck?” Did I look like I was hurting so much that I would need, like, luck?

Luckily that was right before the end of the fourth loop, so I was quickly distracted by the thrill of going through the aid station and the PB&Js and whatnot, and then starting my fifth and final loop. Ah! Mentally I was relieved; every inch of trail I passed, I told myself “Last time I see that rock. Last time I cross this grass field. Last time I run this mud.”

I passed a few 50K guys on this loop. Towards the end of the loop I passed one guy who was breathing heavily. My passing seemed to invigorate him, and for about one mile I could hear him panting behind me. The fear of being “chicked” finally pushed him passed me about 2 minutes from finish, though he was wheezing like a dying man.

Finish! 5 hours, 36 minutes. 6th girl out of 33. (It turns out the girl with the “good luck” pacer was a mere 30 seconds ahead of me, but I had no way of knowing.) Overall another great TARC race.

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with .


Easter, 2015

On Monday, Little Boy came home with this “Weekend News” writing/creative exercise — (a much anticipated highlight of every Monday):

Weekend News

Weekend News

For those not versed in Little Boy… “I went to a shelter and my dad and me saw a ladybug and we put it in my mom and dads chocolate box it was cool!”

I saw the first phrase and gasped. You see, we did not go to a “shelter,” we went to the AMC Lodge at Mount Cardigan in New Hampshire. It’s a “lodge” (with plenty of creature comforts, including heat, bathrooms, warm showers, a library, rocking chairs… literally the works) not a “shelter” in mountaineering terminology, but obviously either Mr. P or I had once slipped and called it a “shelter.”

Of course, most people hear “shelter” and think “homeless.” I hedged with Little Boy:

“Did any teacher ask you about this?” (His regular teacher had actually gone into labor the day before, so there is his long-term sub and the assistant).

“Mrs. C asked me why we went to a shelter,” he said.

“And what did you say?” I asked.

“It was my Mommy’s idea to go to the shelter,” he said. (This is actually inaccurate. It was totally Mr. P’s idea to go to the lodge.)

Great. So now his teachers think we live in a homeless shelter. Maybe, best case, that we volunteer at a homeless shelter. Either way, pretty inaccurate.

At the "shelter", on the rocking chairs, after a rousing game of Spit (can no longer play easy with Little Boy)

At the “shelter”, on the rocking chairs, after a rousing game of Spit (can no longer play easy with Little Boy)

On the hike to the waterfall, across an ice bridge. We actually tethered Little Boy to a rope so he wouldn't slip away.

On the hike to the waterfall, across an ice bridge. We actually tethered Little Boy to a rope so he wouldn’t slip away.

Enjoying Easter chocolate as a respite.

Enjoying Easter chocolate as a respite.

Smiles ;-)

Smiles ;-)

Mommy's Pasty Legs, basking in 45 degree spring sunshine

Mommy’s Pasty Legs, basking in 45 degree spring sunshine

Two Weeks before, decorating eggs at the grandparents

Two Weeks before, decorating eggs at the grandparents

One week before -- hubby hubba!

One week before — hubba hubba!

Happy Easter and (sorta) Spring!

Happy Easter and (sorta) Spring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with , , .


A PR, and a PW

It’s Spring, supposedly.

PW (Personal Worst)

My first race of 2015 was the TARC Spring Thaw. Last year I came in second place by running 28.5 miles in six hours — the trail had some snow and ice, but it was minimal and manageable. This year, there was a 1-2 foot snow pack that caused ankle-tweaking postholing and just general unpleasantness. I went to the race with low expectations, and after completing one 4-mile loop of mostly walking in a long conga line of equally frustrated trail runners… I was done. One hour, 15 minutes for 4 miles… Sure, I could have done more loops, but given the scheduling constraints of the day, plus my realistic fear of damaging my ankles/lower calf in ridiculous conditions, I decided to pack it in and go run 13 hilly road miles.

This gave me a ridiculous 14.04% rank on Ultrasignup (based on the total miles of the top woman — a local legend — which was 28.5 miles). Embarrassing Internet result… but in ultrarunning, there is a very fine line ‘tween grit and foolhardiness. I am content with my 4 miles and 14.04% rank.

At the start, with hardier runners than me

At the start (far right) with hardier runners than I

PR (Personal Record)

This past week, we visited family in Pennsylvania. Since all of the early-spring road half-marathons in Boston have been cancelled due to snow banks, Mr. P and I decided to look for a half-marathon around Philly… and serendiptiously found the Caesar Rodney half-marathon in Wilmington, Delaware. It was hilly, but I decided to go for a PR road half-marathon (judging my previous PR — 1:47 — to be soft).

On Sunday morning we left Little Boy with his grandparents and drive to Wilmington. We don’t go on dinner dates anymore — just half-marathon dates. And it was such a treat to go to a race with Mr. P! It was windy. Well-organized, about 1000 runners? Delaware Senator Tom Carper — who was running — gave a speech at the starting line. Over the megaphone, I couldn’t understand a word. When the race started, Mr. P ran ahead of me and I fell into a 7:30 pace, knowing the first six miles were flat and fast. The hills were madness. Still, with all the winter’s treadmill speed work, I easily attained a new PR in 1:42.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 6.14.13 PM

 

 

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with .


Oldie But Goodie

4 years old… actually, just-turned-5. Generous smiles, unabashed Mommy Love. Good times.

No snow… warm, sweaty warmth. Good times!

Summer 2013, frolic with friends

Summer 2013, frolic with friends

Posted in Existence.


Respite, and Snow Shoe

Primarily, it’s the consistently insane cold that’s been keeping me on the treadmill. Yesterday morning it was -6 without the wind chill. I felt no shame spending 2 hours on the treadmill. I mean, what, I’m going to run in -6 degrees, on sporadically shoveled sidewalks, surrounded by 5-foot high snowbanks? Really?

But today was a different story. Today was a brief respite from the cold, with a warmish morning (30 degrees) warming up to a sunny 40 degrees!

I needed to be in the woods. I had hoped to run bare-sneaker, but the trails at Prospect Hill weren’t packed enough. So I strapped on the snow shoes and galavanted for 4 hours (actually, I galavanted for 3 hours and then got sidetracked for another hour… I got lost trying to get to the trail I had hoped to take back to the car, then when I reached that trail it was completely unbroken, forcing me to trudge through thigh-high powder to break the trail). Still, it was lovely to be outdoors and not suffering.

View of Waltham & Boston from Prospect Hill Summit

View of Waltham & Boston from Prospect Hill Summit

Obligatory selfie

Obligatory selfie

After a leisurely lunch, Mr. P went for his long run and I took Little Boy in search of sledding. He rejected all our usual haunts so I decided to take him to an unconventional sledding hill: Lone Tree Hill, a conservation area off the beaten path with few suitable sledding slopes. At least we would have soothing solitude and sustaining sunshine! (and Little Boy did get a few good runs in)…

Attempting to sled at Lone Tree Hill

Attempting to sled at Lone Tree Hill

Gorgeous afternoon!

Gorgeous afternoon!

A relief to spend so much quality time outdoors. Winter, you have not won yet.

Posted in Existence.

Tagged with , .