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Training Log: Week Ending 9/12/14

Saturday: 14 miles road, stopped at gym for light interval workout. It was a disgustingly muggy morning, and the minute the sun became fully evident in the sky, the combined heat index was well above anything I’ve subjected myself to this summer. I jogged along the Charles River, taking an easy pace, just trying to survive what has been one of my longest runs since May. I’m back in training mode and back on the weekend double-long run.

Sunday: 12 miles trail. The weather was nicer so I headed with great enthusiasm for Middlesex Fells. I alternated the fire roads with the technical single-track. The worst part was when I returned home, dripping with sweat and bug spray, and Mr. P informed me the shower was broken. Hello, kitchen sink sponge bath!

Monday: Interval workout with jump rope, 3 miles easy. I headed to the gym simply so I could take a shower afterwards, but squeezed in a good workout and lazy 3 mile jog outside along the Charles.

Tuesday: 7 miles road. Did a few solid long hill repeats. Darn, the sunrise is getting late.

Wednesday: 8+ miles road, hills, speed. I hit the track this morning and clocked a 7:45 mile with only a decent effort, which was encouraging. Training only for distance definitely compromises one’s speed, but luckily running 50 miles per week primes the physique readily for speed work. Hopefully visiting the track 2x a week will put a bit of pep into my fall races.

Thursday: 6 miles road. Lazy, humid, jut getting it done… but I do feel surprisingly spry for the end of a 50 mile week.

Friday: 60 minutes swimming. The pool was amazingly crowded this morning. It was such a beautiful morning that I felt torn hitting the pool. I’m thinking of phasing out regular pool workouts until December. I love the pool but my upper body tends to get bulky and muscled, even with once-a-week workouts. Plus, crowded pools kill me. I accidentally swiped a girl’s butt during a flip turn.

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Training Log: Week Ending 9/5/14

Saturday: 9 miles, 1700 feet elevation gain. The Jay Peak Running Festival 5K Hat Trick! This was an interesting race that reminded me just how darn slow I can be in short distances. 5K is a sprint distance, so I paced myself very differently than if I were running a 15K all at once. The first 5K was the hardest, the “Black Diamond,” with 700 feet of climbing and a section of tight technical single track. There were a slew of fast girls in my age group — more girls than men, actually, a rarity in trail races, and I finished mid-pack.

The first 5K

The second 5K, the “Blue Circle,” started an hour later; it was easier, but my inability to sustain a sprint landed me a bit better than mid-pack (though I beat this guy).

The second 5K


The third 5K, the “Green Square,” started an hour after that. This one, Mr. P was doing with Little Boy (and the friends we came with were doing it with their 6 year old and 10 year old). The third 5K was supposed to be the easiest but I didn’t find it easier than the second one at all; both had roughly 500 feet of climbing. I finished in about the same time (32 minutes). Little Boy did excellent, finishing in about 42 minutes! Overall, among the hat trick runners, I finished 8th out of 24 women. It was a good reminder to get some speed work in.

Sunday: 9 miles, treadmill. My quads were complaining bitterly after all of yesterday’s downhill running. In the morning we watched Mr. P finish the 25K race (4500+ feet elevation gain, which is insane).

25K Home Stretch (4000+ elevation gain)

He got third in his age group!

Third in his age group!

The weather was iffy all day. I needed to get in another run but knew it had to be flat and slow, so I opted for the treadmill in the fitness center, where I couldn’t even feel my quads. Same distance as yesterday, yet a totally different experience; not all miles are the same.

Monday: 4 miles hiking, 800+ elevation gain. Our last morning at Jay Peak, I hit the trails for some uphill hiking. Since I went straight up and straight down, I’m surprised it wasn’t more than 800 feet but that’s what the watch said.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles road running, 600 feet elevation gain. We’ve been terribly spoiled this summer by cool mornings with zero humidity, so I really shouldn’t complain about the hot sticky mess that has been September. Every part of my body oozed sweat.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles road running, 600 feet elevation. A slow, steady effort the whole way. The humidity was down a bit.

Thursday: 8 miles road running. 700 feet elevation.

Friday: 60 minutes swimming.

More pics from last Friday’s peak bag of Mt. Pemigawassette, aka the “Indian Head.”

The Apple of my Eye

"Daddy" by Little Boy

The View from the Indian Head

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First Day of First Grade!

It was yesterday. What a relief. 10 weeks of summer put a noticeable dent in Little Boy’s math skills (before summer, he was adding and subtracting numbers with ease; now, he throws out random guesses — “3? 10? 5? 8?”) and decreased his motivation to become an independent reader. The summer slump sucks!

He was a little emotional about going back, but insisted on going to his morning care program even though I had planned to wait on the playground for the official start-of-school line-up with all the other kids. That’s why his “first day of first grade” picture looks like he’s headed into a detention center.

Headed to the Morning Care Program

After school, as we walked home, I asked him, “How was your first day of First grade?”


“What did you do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was your teacher nice?”

“Yeah.” He thought about it, and then said darkly, “But teachers are always nice at the beginning.”

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Training Log: Week Ending 8/29/14

Saturday: 7 miles, pancake loop. Oh, the irony! I choose to do a fast, flat run around Fresh Pond because we were going camping and I wanted to preemptively minimize contact with insects. An added bonus was the access to modern bathrooms, and my digestive system was feeling rather productive that morning… too much information, but what happened not ten steps away from the bathroom was a shot of insect-given pain behind my knee — spider? flea? — that radiated through my entire upper calf. A red dot marked the epicenter of the bite; it didn’t start to swell until later that night, when I awoke in a tent feeling as if my entire right knee was on fire. Oh, the irony.

Sunday: 9 miles. A little bit of technical trail, a little bit of pavement, mostly dirt road. We camped in north-central Massachusetts at our favorite local campground. We’ve been there about a half-dozen times and I’ve gradually discovered a network of short trails that can constitute a longish run. I needed this run — I loved every moment!

A Lily Pad Pond

Last Spring, I discovered a small nineteenth-century cemetery grandly named New Boston Cemetery, with gravestones for men who fought in the Revolutionary War! But I am drawn to Sally’s tombstone.

Sally's Tombstone

More scenic waterways.

Otter River tributary

And then I returned to pond at the campsite, where Little Boy and Mr. P frolicked, built canals, and tried to catch fish. Lovely, lovely camping trip.

Summer Fun

Monday: 8 miles, Bread and Butter Loop. Last hard effort before the taper for Saturday’s race.

Tuesday: 60 minutes swimming. Tuesday is the day the fast girl shows up at the pool (she told me she goes to three different pools around the area, depending on her work schedule). When I give a hard effort, she’s actually not that much faster than me, but her flip-turns are wicked fast. If the pool is too warm, she’ll bitch about it and leave notes to the pool maintenance man. She is intense; I don’t usually swim on Tuesdays, but when I do I feel somewhat challenged by the fast girl.

Wednesday: 30 minutes circuit training/jump roping; 30 minutes swimming. I must admit that I am majorly in love with the jump rope. For awhile my gym had a small stash of jump ropes that I grooved on in 1-minute intervals in between planks, wall sits, kettle bells, and stretching, but the jump ropes disappeared. So I bought my own — a red-and-black beaded jump rope that is serious exercise fun. I’ve improved technically, so my limitation is often purely cardio. After jumping and planking myself into a sweaty mess, I hit the pool for a half-hour of solid crawl.

Thursday: 7 miles easy hills. After two days off running, this last run before my hat trick 5K on Saturday felt pretty easy.

(planned) Friday: 60 minutes swimming… and hopefully a mid-day peak-bag!

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The 6-Year Old Artist

I remember way back when, in the beginning stages of the adoption, Mr. P and I were in the mandatory interviews with the social worker. She asked us to imagine what would happen if the adoptive child had very different talents and interests than us, or didn’t “achieve” to our expectations. Of course this is something that every parent needs to consider of their offspring — and dare I say that it might be more disappointing if our biological child failed to “achieve” — but we answered that we’d be okay with it, we had lots of interests (camping, swimming) that every kid loves, and then I quipped something along the lines of “And if the child turns out to be an artist instead of a writer or engineer, I think we’d be okay with that.”

Of course, Little Boy turned out to be an artist — certainly not a writer, perhaps with engineer tendencies, but solidly a kid who can sit down in front of a piece of paper and draw and is very interested and critical of art and drawings we look at. When we were on vacation in Colorado, we spent many hours drawing Pokemon. One of my favorites is his Jigglypuff:

Jigglypuff Pokemon by Little Boy

So when he saw this old book of Mr. P’s about Diego Rivera (husband of Frida), he demanded it be his bedtime story for three nights running and also tried to emulate several of Rivera’s masterpieces.

I came across this one when I was decluttering the living room:

Rivera, interpreted by a 6-year old boy

Ah, this Little Boy. The joys just keep coming!

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Training Log: Week Ending 8/22/14

Total: 41 miles. Slight taper in preparation for next week’s race (9 miles) in Vermont!

Saturday August 16: 6 miles run to gym, circuit training, 4 miles run home. It’s been a few years since I’ve used a Smith machine. I understand, in the “functional fitness” circles, it’s out of vogue because free weights activate more muscle fibers, stress joints less, and just generally make you look like a badass. But it’s been awhile since I’ve squatted and deadlifted heavy weight/low reps, so I felt safer with the dowdy Smith machine.

Sunday August 17: 10 miles road run, 1000 feet elevation gain. Surprisingly the sorest part of my body after yesterday’s weight workout were my pecs/triceps. It was a cool but humid morning and the smell of bacon wafted out of more than a few houses. Hamstrings were fatigued on the last hill but overall I killed it on the hills.

Monday August 18: 60 minutes swimming. Pecs and triceps still sore and, 5 minutes into the swim, I worried I’d have to retreat to the sauna. But everything loosened up and I swam 30 minutes without stopping, then broke up the remaining time with some kicking drills and freestyle laps.

Tuesday August 19: 2.5 miles to gym, circuit training, 3.5 miles run home. This summer’s weather has been blissfully mild, crisp insanity. I will stay in New England forever if it stays like this!

Wednesday August 20: 3.5 miles to gym, foam rolling and light weights, 3.5 miles home. Ditto.

Thursday August 21: 6 miles slooowww running. I stopped at the gym again… more for the bathroom than for the weights and foam roller, although I availed myself of those, too.

Friday August 22: 6 miles, hills. Can the weather please stop being this good so I can take a freaking rest day? I finally found a jump rope at the gym!– about a half-foot too long, which precluded one-legged jumps, but I laid out some solid blocks of ‘rope.

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Training Log: Week ending 8/15/14

I’m restarting the Training Log, in an effort get this blog consistent. I hate to be that runner who is narcissistic, preening, exhibitionist-prone, and self-centered… you know, the way that I’m always outside, running instead of entrenched in my home, watching television and surfing the Internet like a proper human. But it’s something I can write about without having to search for a topic. Because I’m always training.

I have three races on my calendar for the fall, the big “A” race being a 50-miler in early December. Finishing that 50-miler — The North Face San Francisco, on many of the same trails of the Miwok 100K — will qualify me to enter the lottery of the most prestigious and difficult ultra in the world, the UTMB in France – which is in proximity to our Alpine condo — for next August 2015. Essentially, I am already in training for the UTMB. Because it’s a dooooozy.

But not this week. This summer’s weather being simply wonderful, I have been running more than expected. In much of July and August, I had 60 mile weeks, on trail and road, loving the early sunrise coupled with pink-tinged sunrises during 10-miler weekday runs. This week I took it easy.

Saturday August 9: 6 miles, flat and easy, early morn. I know we would be headed up North to bag a few 4K-footers.

Sunday August 10: Finished the Mt. Whiteface and Mt. Passaconway loop. About 11-12 miles total, with (wild guess) 4K elevation gain. I was a bit deprived on nutrition overall and babying my knee on the downhills.

Monday August 11: 6 miles easy. Quads a bit sore from the hike.

Tuesday August 12: 7 miles, some hill sprints and pushing the speed.

Wednesday August 13: 60 minutes swimming. Lots of triathlon men in the pool, huffing and puffing after a lap. I kick water in their faces on the flip-turns!

Thursday August 14: 6 miles running to and from gym, circuit workout. My shameful secret of the summer: I have not been keeping up with my core and lower-body work at the gym. I know this only invite injury and doom, so I’ve vowed to resume the kettlebells thrusts, the squats, the deadlifts, the wall sits, weighted planks, etc etc etc. Surprisingly, going through the circuit my legs felt great — increased blood flow, perhaps — and I jogged home from the gym on a beautiful cool morning, feeling great.

Friday August 15: 60 minutes swimming. After yesterday’s weights, my glutes were tight and my hamstrings were downright sore, so I headed to the pool. Unfortunately my shoulders were also sore — probably the kettlebell work — so I was definitely moving at a leisurely pace.

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Mts. Whiteface and Passaconway

Just past halfway up Mt. Whiteface, when Little Boy was sweaty and bonking badly and no reasonable amount of jelly beans could revive his flagging spirits, we caught a view of the stoney facade of Mt. Whiteface and I revealed to him the name of the mountain.

Whiteface?” he repeated, laughing for the first time in many hours.

It was hard. It was brutal. And then we reached the really technical, steep parts… and it was a breeze. Little Boy was all smiles!

Summiting Whiteface

Little Boy particularly enjoyed the truly dangerous parts… (meanwhile Mommy fell behind, immobilized by her fear of the void).

Big Rocks going up to Whiteface

I remember the first time Mr. P and I climbed Whiteface, over 5 years ago. I swore “never again!” But alas, I forgot that promise. After a little complaining (me) and great enthusiasm (Little Boy and Mr. P), we reached the difficult summit of Mt. Whiteface.

Summit of Whiteface

What a relief when it was over. We had about 2.5 miles of relatively easy trail along the ridge to go until we reached our objective: Camp Rich campground! (Did I mention we were backpacking and I had about 20 pounds of gear and food on my poor aching back?)

Backpacking paradise

Mr. P compensated for my lack of enthusiasm (ie, exhaustion). Little Boy called it “the best camping ever” and cited the presence of a radio (my idea… we tuned into a retro 80s station to groove on the likes of Billy Idol and Janet Jackson) as well as instant camping cuisine (pasta with meat sauce). We were all happy.


We slept… kinda. It’s amazing how hard ground really kills old bones. We woke around 7am, fixed a small breakfast and lots of coffee, and then ascended the .5 mile trail to Mt. Passaconway (Little Boy’s 4th 4000-footer).

The lovely trail to Mt. Passaconway

Wooded Summit of Passaconway

With Little Boy’s 4th 4000-footer in the bag, we descended back to the campground and grabbed our backpacks. It was 9:30 and we were all eager to get back to the car. It was all downhill, but it still took a fair amount of coaxing to beseech Little Boy to keep moving. One moment he’d be running downhill with the speed of a deer… the next moment, stationary as a sloth, staring at a stick. We reaching the car at 11:30, jubilant to go get cheeseburgers!

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Colorado, Part 4

I need to finish posting our photos from Colorado — it’s been nearly three weeks since we’ve been back and my memory is fading fast. Like, here’s a picture of a lake that we hiked to on our Big Hike #3:

Oh yeah! It was called Lily Pad lake! There were two of them… the relatively lily pad-less one above, and a smaller one nearby:

Next thing you know, we end up taking a gondola to the top of a mountain in Breckinridge in order to tour a big, expensive summer fun park!

It was the last bit of fun Mr. P would be having in awhile, as the following day was his first 50-mile race ever, the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Run. What a doozy of a debut. The race started at 10,200 feet altitude and climbed considerably through the fabled trails of Leadville. We were staying about 60 minutes from the starting line and the race started at 6am, so rather than wake up at 4am to go with Mr. P in his rental car and then essentially be stuck at the starting line (since I was not a “second driver” on his rental), I rented a second car so Little Boy and I could sleep late and drive to the aid stations to cheer Mr. P on to victory! (By victory, I mean completion… which is all he hoped for).

Aid station around mile 30

Little Boy and I arrived at the aid station around mile 38 way too early — almost 90 minutes ahead of Mr. P’s optimistic “best guess.” Honestly, it was easier to find than I imagined. We sat along the trail with other runners’ crew under this sign:

Welcome to Leadville

The bugs were feasting on me. It was hard to keep Little Boy amused, although he might have been just relieved that we weren’t hiking. Finally Mr. P appeared!

He complained about his knee hurting but said he otherwise felt okay. Little Boy was excited to see him and insisted on taking pictures.

12 miles to go

After wishing him well, Little Boy and I drove to the finish line, where we cheered on the runners and played Uno, fully aware it would take Mr. P several more hours to finish. Finally, he came into view. I had urged Little Boy to run in with him to the finish, but he got suddenly shy.

And that, essentially, was the end of the vacation. The next day (Monday), we drove back to Denver and returned to Boston (traveling home went much better than our trip to Denver). It was a low-key vacation, consistently pleasurable and overall relaxing. (The relaxation and acclimation to altitude lasted about a week. I was sprinting up hills at record speeds and feeling like Superwoman! Then, vacation euphoria as well as my red blood cell count returned to normal.)

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Colorado, Part 3 and a half

We developed the film in the disposable waterproof camera that we bought for our whitewater rafting trip in Colorado. (And then we slipped on our LA Gear sneakers, danced around to NSYNC and got Rachel haircuts… because developing photographic film is so DEMORALIZING that I must attempt to MAKE WIT).

Arkansas River

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