Showing posts from 2014

Oil Creek

It’s the big one for me.  It’s the toughest race I do, and I’ve been at the starting line for every event.  The problem is, I’ve not always found the finish line.  I’ve DNF’ed twice on the course, at the 100k (bears psyched me out) and the 100 miler (I took a beating and couldn’t find a way to recover).  According to my friend Nick, it's my unicorn.
I’ve spent the last year, focused on getting this job done.I worked my butt off with relentless training.Yes, by building physical strength, but more importantly by building my mental toughness.
Mark tells me that he knew I turned a corner one day, when I told him I no longer cared if I finished or not.Oh, I WANTED a finish, but I wasn’t going to let a non-finish define me.I knew I had trained as hard as I possibly could, and if I ddin’t find the finish line, it would be because of something very far out of my control.He told me that my taper was the most serine he has seen so far.That’s saying something…
On race morning, I was ready…

This Year, I Turn Left

So, Oil Creek 100 is made up of 3-31 mile loops, followed by an 8-mile, “Coming Home” loop.  Yes…. I’ve done the math.  I know that’s 101 miles.  I try not to think about it.
For each of the first three loops, when you approach a fork in the trail, marked only by two humble signs, you turn to the right.However, should you reach that glorious Coming Home loop, you get to turn to the left.Rog has asked me to have someone with me when I do that loop, as it contains a hill that is quite sadistic.  It is called, "The Hill of Truth".   I’ve trained on the loop twice, once with Rog, and once on my own.I understand his concern.
Roger knows how hard I’ve been training.I’m not one to post every workout, but I’ve been putting in the miles.He recently asked me my plan for this year’s race.It is simple and summed up in five words:  This year, I turn left.
That race has defeated me in the past and it had been quite a thorn in my side.I changed my training this year to prepare for it.I’ve…

Go boy, Go!

Time with my son has become a rarity.He’s hardly home, and his priorities, as they should, have switched from family time to his life outside of this house.When the opportunity for Nat to have a weekend sleepover with her bestie, on the same weekend Noah wasn’t overbooked, AND the Finn McCool Obstacle race was running, I could not pass up the true gift of an opportunity.
When we’ve done these types of races before, Noah and I generally keep pace with each other.It was made crystal clear to me, on the first obstacle, that today was going to be very different.The race took place at Kissing Bridge Ski Resort,The first obstacle was a mega slip and slide down the central ski slope.Just as I approached it, Noah purposely clipped my ankle, taking me out, then dove over me.“See ya’ Mom” was all I heard as he took off down the mountain.This was going to be HIS race.Go boy, go!
That’s the last I saw of Noah until I tumbled through the mud pit and saw his smiling face.“Mom, I took first place i…

Eva's Husband

125 miles…that’s about two hours on the interstate.Enough time to listen to “Exile on Main Street” by the Rolling Stones and “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd in their entirety with a few minutes to spare.On a bright and blistering 85-degree day, the Beast called from the banks of the Erie Canal in Lockport, dangling a challenging distance that I had never personally attempted before, much less accomplished. It was the 10th annual “Running of the Beasts” complete with a running costumed bull, sombreros and red kerchiefs in the swag bags.
With my drop bag ready and a new pair of Brooks’ Transcends on the dogs, I ventured out the door at 7 AM.
I first met Denise in the registration line …a woman whom I was told was running the same distance as me; she would help me out and have my back today.If I didn’t know how to pace myself, hydrate properly or ready the nutrition for the day, Denise was the “man.” (thanks Eva).   Andy was a legend who lived up to his status.His calm, informal, …

Lu's Log

My daughter Natalie is my guest blogger.  This is her account of the 5k we ran together today

I just ran my SEVENTH 5k! Before the race, I got my hair sprayed with neon pink and green and orange.I got face paint on my cheeks.It says, “I <3 GOTR”.That means Girls on the Run.I didn’t practice with Girls on the Run this year, but my mom and I wanted to do it for ‘Lu Monday’. Lu Monday is when my mom and I spend time together.Usually it is on a Monday, but we both made an exception.
During the race, Mom wanted to start near the front.I wanted to see what I could do without her, so I started near the back.I didn’t want to get run over and I didn’t want Mom’s help.
For the first mile, I mostly ran, but I eventually got a cramp and started walking.During the second mile, once I saw the water, I took a sip and walked a little so I wouldn’t get another cramp.Then I RAN!Mom met me on the third mile.She brought me a water bottle.We giggled.
Once I heard the crowd coming nearer and nearer, I s…

I'm tired...

I’m not only physically, but I’m emotionally tired.  My husband often tells me that I don’t stop moving.  “just sit down”, “enough”,  “dial it back”, “stop”.  But, I don’t.  I’m lost without my to-do lists, my calendars, and my training log.  I have two insanely busy kids, and I’ve been racing my butt off.  I’m tired.  Very, very tired.
On the way to the Segahunda marathon (okay, the sticker says 26.3, so I guess it’s an ultra) I decided that I just didn’t want to run.Not that I didn’t want to run Segahunda, I just plain didn’t want to run.
For me, it’s a very clear sign that I’m over-training.
What got me to the starting line was that I was meeting a bunch of people from work.These are people that I not only see everyday, but who have truly crossed over the line from co-workers to friends.Most were doing the relay, so a half-marathon for each of them.For several, it was their first trail race.
I ran into friends Lisa and Gary before the race.Gary was running, and Lisa was crewing.I…

3 Days at the Fair

Timed races are always interesting.  It’s hard to even call it a race, because you are really not competing against anyone else.  In theory, all you have to do to be a finisher is to start.  Each person has their own goal and can stop when they have reached it.  Placements are made on overall distance, but you can constantly hear people ask “what’s your goal today?”, and encouraging each other to push just a little bit further.
Mother Nature was in a sour mood, AGAIN.All day Friday it rained…hard.It was a sufferfest to push through the wind and sideways rain.It pummeled us from shortly after the start until pre-dawn the next day.It was brutal, punishing, and truly not fun.
It is easy to step off the course and call it a day.Most people don’t.Canadian National records were broken.Many PR’s were set .I watched runner after runner dig deep and do what they had to do to maintain relentless forward progress.
Here’s how it went for a few of my friends:
Jim-If you asked him, he would tell y…

Never Alone...

So…I freak out the night before 100 milers.Seriously.Freak.Out.I wander out of conversations mid-sentence.I sweat the small stuff.  I introvert.  I can’t sleep.
Roger usually takes the lion share of my absurdity.The poor man has earned his spot in heaven, simply for dealing with me before races.It started innocently enough when he texted, “you in taper mode?” and I spiraled down from there.
My final message was, “Rog, why don’t these (100’s) get easier?”
His reply: “Easier?I don’t think a 100-miles will ever be easier, even when you drive it”.
I had three goals for this race:
1.It has a challenging hill at mile 99.  I've named it 'Monster'.   I needed to know that I could handle that type of technical climb so late in a race, because Oil Creek offers it’s version called ‘The Hill of Truth’.I’ve only climbed it once, on a training run.It left me doubled over…sucking air.

2.I wanted to set a personal record time.I was on pace to do so at the Winter Beast of Burden and Mother …

Thank You For Being A Friend

I remember slogging around the North Coast 24, on it’s .9-mile track.It was the race that I wanted to hit my first 75 miler.I would have to go around that track 84 times.Yeah…monotonous.After running for about 12 hours, evening was descending.A runner approached me, “Do you have anyone to spend the night with?”In any other context, this would be absolutely inappropriate, but on this course, it was just his way of looking for someone to talk to while we went around, and around, and around.He needed a friend.
He was a very nice man, but was obviously struggling with the race.He had suffered a stroke that left him with major holes in his memory and with speech deficits.We spent hours talking about his recovery and obstacles that he has had to overcome. His finish line was at 50 miles, and he thanked me for the company and said, “If you ever want to run the HAT race, you let me know.I’m one of the race directors.We fill up quickly, but you’ve always got a spot.Thank you for being a frien…

DC Rock and Roll Marathon---Even Does It

I arrived in DC the day before the race.A leisurely walk around Arlington National Cemetery helped me to cement my goal for this race.I would run it strong, run it focused and be a metronome.I wanted to prove to myself that I could run by perceived exertion (no watch) and maintain a steady pace over the entire 26.2.If I could do it, it would prove to me that my training was on track.I didn’t care what the pace was that I held; that would have to depend on the day, the crowd, the course, my diet, my training and of course Mother Nature.I just wanted to cross the line with whatever stride I had at the start.Even 10k splits—here I come.
I got to the start line and I had a heavy case of‘I miss my kids’.I ran the half marathon with my son and his friend last year, and I couldn’t help but feel the void created by his absence this year.Dang broken leg!A quick call home, and my daughter saying our favorite catch phrase,“You are brave.You are smart.You are strong.” followed by, “I’m making yo…

The Beast Bites Back

So, not finishing Oil Creek got to me me.I was determined to run another 100, and fast.However, my choices were somewhat limited, and I kept coming back to the Beast. Although, I did keep looking for ANY other race I could do, asI’d already double buckled in the BoB.
Finally, I decided, what the heck.I needed a race, and here was one right in my own back yard, surrounded by friends and on a known course. It would be nice to knock out an “easy” 100.I didn’t really think through that “easy” part.
The weather looked like it was going to be mild for the race.The polar vortex had past.No major storms were on the horizon.I ran the course the week before with my friend Jim, and besides a bunch of downed trees and their branches, it looked pretty good.I was even cocky enough to say that I didn’t think the weather was going to be a factor in this year’s race.Jim told me I was an idiot and thanked me for jinxing the race for all of the other runners.Then he took me to see the chicken silo.Sometim…