Friday, November 23, 2012

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 for myself. This includes my first 100 mile finish, that has haunted me since I started ultra-running.

Now my thoughts are focused on 2013.  I spent the night before Thanksgiving, plastered to my laptop, trying to finalize my race schedule for next year.  It's not complete, but here is what I came up with:

Beast of Burden Winter 100 miler:  January 26- If the weather holds out, I will make every attempt to complete my second 100 mile distance.  But, I'm no fool.  This course is tough in blizzard conditions, and if Mother Nature is cranky, I'll drop my 100 mile goal and make this a long training run with friends. 

Rock and Roll (half) Marathon DC: March 16-  My role in this race will be to coach/mentor Noah to the finish line of his first marathon.  I'm registered for the half, as I couldn't resist the urge to run at least some of it.  Looking forward to seeing Lisa, Gary and Chad on this course. 

Gettysburg Marathon:  April 28- Ever since Gary told me about running this course with his dad, I've wanted to try it.  It will be a good speed tune-up for my next race as well.

3 Days at The Fair 100 Miler: May 16- Oh Jim, if this is the only way we'll get to see each other on a course, then so be it.  With Marco by our sides, pacing us through, this will be my second or maybe even third 100 mile finish.  Plus, it should be a fun road trip to New Jersey.

Segahunda Trail Marathon:  May XX-  I just love the sweatshirt they give at this race, and the only way to get another one is to run, so....

Finger Lakes 50k/50 miler: July 6- I'd like to see what I can do on this course when I'm not stung by a bee.  Chris runs a great race, and I'm looking forward to going back.

20in24 Ultra:  July 20-Roger gave me some of the 'cons' of running this race, but I just loved running in Philly and I've not seen all there is to see, so I'm going back.  I've got a Plan A and a Plan B for this race.

Beast of Burden Summer 100 Miler:  August XX- If the fates allow, I could be competing for the coveted double buckle for completing both the summer and winter 100 races in the same year.  If I drop from the 100 in winter, then I want to use this race as my first chance to get a BoB 100 buckle.  

Virgil Crest/Oil Creek 100  VC TBA   OC October 5- Roger if you are reading this, I still haven't made up my mind.  I will be running both races, but the distances are still TBD.  Which ever I choose, will be my 'A' race for the year.

Mendon Ponds 50k Date November XX-Just a fun 50k that I look forward to running.  I wouldn't miss it.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

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.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

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 sat in his car and watched the snowfall.  Clyde joined us after a bit.  I tried my best to get these guys to blow off the race and go out to breakfast with me, but they wouldn’t hear of it.  We ended up having a great conversation.

At the start, Roger and I spent some time with each other.  I love running with this guy as he has taught me so much about this crazy sport.  When we finally separated, I watched him morph into Superman and fly around the course.  He was in his element and having a freaking blast!

Clyde and I met up for a couple miles before the end of the first loop.  We had a nice, easy chat about nothing in particular, but it made the miles chug on by.

I was reminded of my friend Gary on the course.  Last year, he and I ran this together and I was happily thinking how his life has changed so much for the better since that run.

When I completed my third loop, there was Sam.  Sam is the (former) race director for the Beast of Burden. You have to look closely when you see Sam to notice the crazy, but this guy has completed a TRIPLE IRONMAN.  We had a nice chat, before I had to move on.

I spent the day looking for my friend Jim, and was bummed to learn that we were separated by only about 2 minutes on the trail.  Don’t worry, we’ll run together on the next BoB.

I was able to finish the race about an hour faster than I did it last year.  When I crossed the line, there was Roger.  Apparently, we had only been minutes apart the whole day.  We had another great conversation about our seasons past and future and this wonderful trail we just got to enjoy.

The course was in beautiful condition but the weather was not.  We had rain, snow, sleet, hail, and wind.  But these will not be the things I remember about Mendon Ponds 2012.  It will be my time with friends.  Some of these friends are new in my life, some have been around for a while, but all mean the world to me.