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Showing posts from 2012

Challenges

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It started innocently enough.  A little red message icon on my Facebook page.  Oh dammit, when those are from Roger, I know I’m in trouble.  He sent me a link to a Hill Repeat From Hell Challenge.  “OMG, he’s totally lost his mind” was my first through tenth thought. He has this horrible/wonderful habit of raising the bar on what I think I can accomplish.   I tried ignoring  the challenge at first, but could not dismiss it.  I knew I would accept.  I always accept such challenges, but, dang it, it wasn’t going to be easy.             The challenge was to do increasing hill repeats over a four-week period ending in 100 hill repeats.  The rules were simple.  You had to complete 25 the first week, 50 the next, followed by 75 and then 100 in the final week.  You had the entire week to complete the training.             Now, me being me, I had to up the ante.  My Sunday morning long runs are carved pretty solidly into my schedule.  I’m usually good for a 3-4 hour trek.  It…

Turkey Trot and Thoughts of 2013

"Hey Mark, what should I write about the Turkey Trot?"  I asked, as I was struggling to put my thoughts together about this 5 mile race that is not really a race; it's more like a moving carnival with 14,000 people.

"Well,"  he said, "You got to run 8 miles by yourself in the morning.  You got all of us to put on stupid costumes.  You got to see your friends on the course.  I could hear you laughing all morning with everyone you were talking to.  You got hysterical comments because you decided to wear a shirt with "Dirty Girl" plastered on the back.  You got to prance around in a tutu and looked good doing it.  And, you beat the boys to the finish line. Why don't you just say it was the perfect start to a perfect day."

Well said, Hubs.  But, it was more than that.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect year of running.

I am very proud of the work I did in 2012, and other than one non-start in the Buffalo Marathon, I met every goal I set f…

Lu's Log

This race report is dictated by Natalie (we call her Lu---long story, don't ask)

Today, I did my fourth 5k.  Well, that's not really right, 'cause I did 4 other 5k's in training, so all together, I've done 8 5k's.  One of them was in the rain.  I did NOT like the rain.

I ran with my mom.  It was fun.  She would say things like "you are dad, I am pizza, what are you going to do?" Then, I would chase her.

This was my best 5k ever, because I never whined.  I beat my record by 15 minutes.

Near the end, mom said, "the faster we run, the sooner we'll get to Splash Lagoon!".  So I ran super fast the rest of the way.

I left my medal at home, but that's okay, because I LOVE the water park, and I get to stay in a hotel.  I LOVE to stay in hotels.

In conclusion, running is fun and I want to be a marathon runner like my mom.

And, my brother is annoying.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Mendon Pond 50k.
This race is scheduled to be my last race of the most amazing season of running I have ever had.  I just didn’t want to do it.
My legs were tired.  I missed weekends watching silly movies with Noah and making chocolate chip pancakes with Natalie.  I wanted to get back to the rigor of training and avoid the taper/recover cycle of racing.  I even tried to volunteer to help clean out my mom’s garage in MASSACHUSETTS just to get out of this race.
Then a funny thing happened.  Clyde said he was running.  Roger said he was running.  Jim said he was running.   I just adore running with these folks and the friendships we have forged while running are very important to me.  Okay, I’m in.
I got to the race site and saw my friend Kinga.  This woman coached me through the Dirty Girl race and I was glad to get the chance to thank her again.  “You saved me during that race” I said to her.  “You saved yourself” was her reply. 
I had about an hour to kill before the start.  Roger and I s…

"Pretty" Lady Finds Her Happy...

Oil Creek.  Four years ago, it was my very first ultra.  I only signed up because I thought I would never qualify for the Boston Marathon.  This race was like nothing I had ever seen before.   They say you always remember your first, and I certainly do.  Oil Creek changed everything regarding running for me.  It is also where I met my good friends Roger and Clyde.             I was lucky enough to have dinner with Rog, his beautiful wife Kris, and Clyde the night before this year’s race.  We laughed and told stories for hours.  It was a bit like that scene from the movie Jaws where the men are sitting around sharing battle wounds.  We shared stories about races, but I noticed we shared just as many stories about each other as we did about our selves.  I guess that’s what running countless miles with someone will do to a friendship.  I’ve often said that some of the best conversations in my life have been on trails, so a logical conclusion is that I’ve had some of the best conversatio…

Trading Chaos for Quiet

“Base, you got a minute?”  I hear it constantly and I know within the next few moments, one or more of the following will happen, I’ll:  get a change in schedule, get a new student, have to write an IEP, be asked to provide progress monitoring for the intense state audit, go to a meeting, get a duty change (hehehe—‘duty’ still makes me laugh), do something for the new teacher evaluation system or drop everything and deal with a kid in crisis.  Add to this the endless stream of phone calls and emails (which I am fastidious about returning), eluding that kid who has become my shadow, yelling at my desk mate as his stuff creeps onto my side again, and leaving the building for the relentless fire drills.  Top this all off with all the regular start of the year stuff, actual teaching, planning and reflection, and you’ve got a very busy teacher.             I couldn’t wait to get on the trails.             On the trails, all I have to worry about is whats 4-6 feet in front of me, how I’m fe…

Rock and Roll and Chad

This weekend was a blur.  Friday night, I had the rare luxury of the house to myself.  Unfortunately, I also had a boatload of work to trudge through.  Saturday started early, as I was on the road to Philadelphia by 4 am.  Why Philly?  Because the greatest shoe company in the world comped my race and gave me a chance to represent them.  I love being a moving billboard for Brooks, and proudly wear their clothes and shoes.  I'm pretty tough on my gear, and Brooks has always been up to the challenge.  I love you guys.

Back to Philly.  At the expo, I got a chance to meet John Bingham, the author of The Accidental Athlete and former Runner's World columnist.  Mr. Bingham is a gentleman who promotes the back of the pack.  His philosophy is that runners should run as slow as possible, in order to get their money's worth from the race.  He believes  that anyone who puts on a pair of running shoes and registers for a race is an athlete, not just the top ten finishers.  His book had …

The Soundtrack To My Run...

I can work my iPod blindfolded.  It is always on my left hip, cord threaded under my shirt, ear buds tucked in my sports bra.  I always hit random shuffle as I don't like playlists.  I have a general rule that I don’t listen to music until the last three miles of my run.  But, tonight was different.  Tonight, I wasn’t training for anything, I was running because it was fun, and I was listening to my tunes for all fifteen miles.             Just as during races, I dedicate miles to loved ones, I have songs that will forever belong to someone or some special moment in time.  The song could be dedicated because it reminds me of the person, the person selected it or it was playing when I was with or thinking of that person.  Whatever the reason, when I hear that song on a run, I’ll think about the person who owns it.             Some people are easy.  Mark (Smiling Face), Noah (You’ll Be In My Heart) and Natalie (God Bless the Broken Road).  My siblings have songs:  Rick (Bo…

My Life as a Dirty Girl

100 miles.  The first time I attempted the distance, I left the course with kidney stones after 55 miles.  The first time I wanted to quit running all together was on the Dirty Girl course last year.  I completed an ultra there, but got lost and defeated.  “This is stupid.” I told my friends.  I was going to put away my running shoes and move on to other things. Three wonderful people gently coaxed me back.  (Thank you Roger, Kris and Denise)  I decided to take my two biggest running defeats and make the Dirty Girl my first 100-mile race.          The race got in my head.  I trained rigorously.  I was consumed by it during the weeks leading up to it.  I’d gone 75 on a nice flat course, but this would be different.  Roger describes it perfectly “I hate the Dirty Girl course. It just goes up, down, left, right constant switchbacks and single track. It's was tough for me to get in the groove last year. No long stretches to put it in cruise.”          Before the race began, I felt cal…

For Better, Worse, or !00 miles

A friend once asked me if my husband Mark really exists, or if I made him up.  The question caught me off guard, but it made sense, because it is rare for him to make an appearance at one of my races.  However, as I taper for my race next week, I have to reflect on how I know I couldn’t do what I do without him.             His support usually starts at night.  He’ll tap me on the shoulder, “Tiggs, you’re doing it again”.  I’m running in my sleep.  That’s when I know the race has totally taken me over.  Mark will usually grab his pillow and head to the guest room, knowing that neither of us will sleep as long as I log nocturnal miles.             He’ll understand as mid-sentence, I’ll stare off into space and go to check and re-check the tackle box to assure for the 100th time that yes, in fact, my head lamps do work.             He tells me of "friends" to ask him why he "lets" me do the things I do.  His response is always "have you MET Eva?...go ahead, YOU try…

Running Through My Childhood

Maybe it has to do with waking up in my childhood bedroom; it’s the same, but different.  Gone are the 1970’s flower power wallpaper and my bright yellow canopy bed.  Added is my husband, who’s had the pillow next to mine for much of my adult life.  I’ve returned home different, but the same.
I had some time on my hands and new running shoes on my feet.  That combination only means one thing, and I was going to make the most of it. 
The first thing I see when I leave my mom’s place is the “big hill”.  I remember being about ten years old, my Dorothy Hamill haircut was blowing in the breeze as I cruised down this monster on my purple banana-seat bike.  I vividly remember thinking, ‘I never want to leave here’. 
I ran up and down that hill, and after all these years and all these races, I can attest, it is still big.
I leave the old neighborhood via the “big block”, though it is hardly a block at all.  I smile at the mailboxes that have names I remember—I once knew them all.  Leaving the …

Spartan Race

Noah and I set off on an unknown adventure last week--the Spartan Race.  It's a boot camp style obstacle course held somewhere in the woods, about an hour north of Toronto.

The organizers do not release a course map, so you really have no idea what you are up against.  Our only clue was watching the Spartans who had already finished their race.  They looked dirty and banged up.  Game on!

As Noah and I awaited our wave to begin, we were approached by a very tall man in a Spartan costume.  He was the m.c. for the event, but turned the microphone off as he was talking to us.  He also would not let go of my hand.  When  he left, Noah asked "Mom, how come all the guys who hit on you are jacked?".  Whoa, I was hit on?!?!  Cue awkward moment.

We jumped into the starting corral and were immendiately pummelled with high pressure hoses.  Then we ran through a series of stink bombs, our wet bodies holding on to the stench.  A mile long series of hills thinned out the herd.  Noah opene…

Trees. Knees and Bees-- Finger Lake 50

I started off tired.  I had just driven home from Plymouth, Mass, with the hubs and three kids.  Spending the night doing laundry is not part of my normal pre-race routine, but what's a weekend warrior to do...

The alarm went off at 3 am and I was out the door at 3:13.  It took about 2.5 hours to get to the race start, and I was thinking of every excuse possible to get a pass on this race and turn around and go to bed.  Unfortunately, everything fell into place and I was at the starting line ready to go at 6:30 am.

This race is run by my friend Chris, and I really wanted to see what kind of class act this classy lady would put on.  I was not disappointed.  She really thought of everything.  With the weather predicted to hit 95 degrees, she put a high priority on hydration and runner safety.  I've  never seen so many search and rescue and medical people mulling around a race before.

The course was a typical trail race with a mix of single track, double track, paved and unpaved roa…

My Girl Is Still On The Run...

Wednesday, Natalie completed her third 5k via “Girls on the Run”.  This AMAZING program works on both self-esteem as well as running endurance.  I’m so proud that she wants to participate in this program and that she has dedicated two days a week for the past couple months to training. 
One of my favorite aspects of the race is prior to the start.  The organizers have set up a tween paradise.  Not too young and certainly not too old.  There is a hair color station, hula-hoops, jump ropes and lots of room to frolic.  I was in awe watching Natalie and her friends playing tag, leapfrog, and some sort of jump on a tree and scream game.  Each game morphed into the next and no rules had to be explained.  There was giggling abound.
Then the race began.  I was in a sea of 8-10 year old girls and we all had on matching t-shirts and many of us had spray painted spots or stripes in our hair.  Nat took off with a smile until it faded…
Within the first half mile, Nat’s mood drastically changed.  The…

Sehgahunda Trail Marathon

I have been hearing for quite a while now about how tough Sehgahunda is.  I’ve heard it’s “tougher than Ironman” and “intense from start to finish”.  I did not diminish these comments and prepared for an intense day.  I’d heard of its intensity from too many people to dismiss these comments, but I’d also made the incorrect assumption that my previous tough trail races would give me an edge.  What I should have done is looked at the damn elevation chart.
I didn’t do that until the ride to the start with Lisa, Gary and Dan.  I assumed the race logo with the scribbled-in line was decorative.  They sort of laughed and informed me that that was the in fact the elevation chart for the course.   All the website stated was, “Your meander through the wooded single-track along the rim will be punctuated by a seemingly interminable series of gullies, each entailing a rapid descent and a climb again to the rim. Many small stream crossings and ever-present roots will keep you on your toes. Pace you…