Daily Chatter

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

L. O. & Ts

I run every day. 
Today is day #661.

I like this saying a little better this way:
If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.
Saturday I proved how true that saying is for me.

What running the Hashawha Hills Trail Run 50k showed me:
I learned that I can run with someone else and not get lost.
I learned that what works for some runners isn't always what works for me.
 I learned that I can ignore a lot of discomfort when distracted by good conversation.
I learned again that my mind is 1000% stronger than my body will ever be.
I learned you can run fast across a hay field and not break your ankle.
sorry pappy, you were wrong.
I learned that just when I think I've fallen in love with this sport I fall deeper.
I noticed that I can run a 50k on very little fueling.
I noticed that some people don't like cheerfulness after 20 miles.
I noticed the same views can be just as breathtaking the second time around.
I noticed that people are really nice especially when you stop mid-race to help them pick up their dropped mail.  
I noticed that body type and age have nothing to do with how well you run an Ultra!
I noticed there is a child-like joy about splashing mud while you run.
I wonder how many runners were tempted to not get the gum bands?
I wonder if I will ever be able to share that level of joy with my family?
I think about those volunteers and wonder if they know how much their smiling faces helped me?
I wonder if my family knows how much ultra running is a part of who I am?
I think about the runners whose only desire is to go fast and I wonder why?
I wonder how much of this I will be able to put into practice on Saturday?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hashawha Hills Trail 50k ~ Race Report

Hashawha Hills 50k Trail Run
Westminster, MD
Saturday February 25, 2012

I arrived with a smile on my face in Westminster, Maryland after a little family drama delayed my arrival by about 3 hours.  Checking into my hotel at midnight is not exactly how I like to stack the deck in my favor the night before a race however, reminding myself that the number one goal for the Hashawha Hills Trail Run was steady time on my feet I went about the routine of prepping for a smooth departure in the morning.

I set out two options for clothes to wear with the weather forecast a bit questionable.  But no matter which option I went with I knew I might via for the title of the flashiest runner on the course thanks to YMX by Yellow Man.  They seriously should offer me a sponsorship!
Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on how my gear handled the day.

After about 4 unrestful hours of sleep I could hear the wind had done nothing but pick up through the night so I opted for a base layer and a long sleeve on top and Relax Reflect full tights on the bottom.  Do I really have to say that I was also squeezed into my new CEP Compression shorts?  Because I don't run without them anymore, it's a given!
After the morning routine with no one to get ready but myself since I was flying solo for this run, I packed up the car and headed to the Bear Branch Nature Center.

Race Director Alan Gowen could not have picked a better location to serve as the start and finish for this event.  Prior to the race we received requests to carpool and be courtesy of park users as space was limited for parking.  If I hadn't gotten that email I would never have know it could have been an issue because in my experience it went flawlessly.  Thanks to those who carpooled and those who helped point us to the right places to accommodate everyone.

After parking and a short walk to the center, I was quickly checked in and happy to see that we were able to wait inside until mere moments before the race began.  Even though this was to only be a "training" run I was still suffering with a few nerves about my poor preparation, i.e., I hadn't brought anything to eat prior to the race.  So my last meal was at 6:30 the night before.  I did enjoy a honey straw that my daughter gave me but that aside I was going to start this event on empty. 

I enjoyed sitting back and watching the wide array of participates as they mingled through the conference room.  The young ladies who helped at registration couldn't have been nicer as was everyone who I briefly spoke with while we wait for final instructions.

Our pre-race brief was just that brief and to the point and filled with a bit of nerve-loosening humor.  Alan reminded us to be courtesy of our behavior while on the trails and to leave nothing behind.  He also instructed us that we would be running a bit on the honor system due to an out-and-back section where we would need to collect first a thick and then on the second loop and thin gum band.  I absolutely loved this element of the run.  It guess it simply plays to my child-like love of this sport.  With a few more reminders we were sent off to the start line aka pavilion down the hill.

We gathered in front of a pavilion huddled to block the wind and it was a simple "GO" that sent us down a short hill through the trees and to a brief road section.  With a goal to try and hold a steadier pace I had worn my Garmin although it did not pick up signal until we were well into the road section so I missed a bit of distance however in the end that didn't matter due to the tight winding curves of the trail the Garmin didn't read very accurately (as we had been told it would do).  The course was previously 'wheeled' so I was told and believe that it is at least 31 miles

I already know that I can not wait to run this course again.  With the changes in registration next year I hope I am lucky enough to get to repeat my visit.  This course was the nicest mix of country roads, single and double trails, creek crossings, mud and hills.  We passed through woods, hay fields, corn fields, little rural residential areas and even enjoyed seeing the raptor aviary.
During my first loop I often ran alone.  I had forgotten that the first aid station wasn't until about 8 miles.  Those early miles I struggled with keeping my pace under control and remembering that I needed my legs to last all day.  Since I hadn't eaten anything that morning I remembered to drink often and even brought gummies (yes, the little kiddo kind) since Gus have been giving me issues on these long runs. 
Sadly the first challenge came early in the form of mud on the out-and-back to retrieve my first gum band.  This section had a nice downhill grade on the way out and then of course the reverse was an uphill.  Since I struggle with stringing all the sections of the race together correctly, I will say that somewhere here came the first creek crossing which I think was only a two-stepper kind of creek but the water was frigidly cold.  There would several two and three-stepper kind of crossings and then one long deep creek crossing through the course which we got to repeat on the second loop.

During the first 8 miles I eat about 3 gummies and ran right by the first aid station feeling like I didn't need to stop.  After doing the section from the first aid station and back again, I stopped at the aid station and drank a half cup of broth and then drank a half cup of ginger ale.  Every aid station should have ginger ale.  Worked like a charm to keep my stomach quiet.
I chatted with many interesting runners along the way. A young lady and her boyfriend. She was doing her first trail race. They would end up finishing just minutes behind us. A "smart ass" inside joke in a bright orange windbreaker who didn't know anything about local history. Another DMer, Matthew who like to run a lot of miles the week of races. He is just my kind of crazy runner. 
During the last quarter of the first loop Larry H, a fellow Daily Miler (who provided the wonderful course and finishing shots.  Thanks Larry!)   caught up to me.  This came as a surprise since He had been in front of me earlier.  It seems my lack of aid station stopping had allowed me to get in front of him.  Little did I know that this would be the biggest blessing of my day.
I spent some time considering whether or not I was going to call it a one lap day.  My left hamstring and glute was talking.  They were getting rather loud on the hills.  When I fell in beside Larry again I questioned whether I would do the second loop fearing that I would not be able to ease up.
We finished the first lap close together.  I topped off my camelbak with orange Gatorade, ate a section of banana at the fabulous volunteer's insistence and realized that the clock said 2:52.
I was doing the second loop.

The high from seeing that I had hit the halfway mark well in front of 3 hours gave me a boost to push through the second loop.  I quickly caught up with Larry and excited told him I was going to do it.  Sub-6 or not I was going to try and be smart and finish strong.  Come on now you didn't really think I could DNF, did you?  There were gorgeous handmade mugs on the line.
The second loop was more of the first but with a strange new element.  Company.  I have never run with any one person that long.  Although we ever not always side by side and not always talking, Larry's presence and my confidence in his ability to run a smarter-than-me race kept me with him. 
I sure hope I didn't wear out my welcome.
He would lead the hills which would force me to walk when I might have tried to "run" them.  I would push on the downhills which felt easier thanks to walking the climbs.  I tired to keep my walking pace up but there were hills that were simply too steep for a 15 minute mile.
I was having so much fun that I forgot all about my left leg.  I paused at the "8 mile" aid station for soup and ginger ale again.  I didn't have a single nature call or GI issue. 
Before I knew it we were circling the pavilion area again.  Larry had began to put on a push to the finish only to turn back as he headed up the finishing hill and that is when I saw the clock.
It was counting down to 6 hours.  I yelled for Larry to keep going and I sprinted to that finish clock.
On a day when I didn't think I might finish.  I set a new 50k PR.

The race director was there handing out the fabulous finishers mugs.  I was so over the top excited I'm not sure I even shook his hand.  Had that clock read 7 hours instead this would still be the kind of race that makes me want to do this crazy thing.  If I ever have the opportunity to put on an event, something I think later in life I would love to do, this is the example that I would follow.  Maybe it's not every one's version of the perfect event.  Many runners need a bag full of goodies, bands and cheering crowds, booze and parties but for me this was the dream version of why I love to do this.

After cheering a few runners in to the finish line, I headed back into the Bear Branch Center to get on dry clothes and enjoy some warm food.  There was a big tarp for us to take off our muddy shoes, inside.  I gathered my bag which had not been bothered while I ran and changed into dry clothes.  There was regular and veggie chili.  Oh Yeah!  I must admit that I indulged in two cups of coffee to warm up too.  Probably not the best idea after running that far.  I ended up a bit dehydrated till I got home. 
The atmosphere was welcoming as runners sat around and chatted.  Everyone cheered as new runners came into the building.  I got to talk with the HAT Run RD and was so wide-eyed with questions (and maybe a little trail brained) that I didn't even ask his name.  He and a group of men were all talking.  I was like a kid in a candy store eavesdropping on their racing plans, past and future.  I think they were a bit amused by my naive enthusiasm.  Being surrounded by such experienced ultra runners it was very hard to pull myself away but my cellphone battery had died and I needed to check in with the family back home.  Although I knew that none of my waiting messages would top the text that Larry got from his wife after finishing, I still was eager to share my news with the family who puts up with my daily obsession.

The drive home did little to dull my giddiness over such a wonderful day even the skies seems to share my celebration.  With over 2 hours to drive I thought about the many things that had gone right for me and all the things I learned from this event.  I can only hope that I am able to use what I learned and apply it to my efforts this coming Saturday when I get to run the

Friday, February 24, 2012

The things I let get to me...

...when I have a race coming.

As a runner it is usually while running that I notice drivers but in the past 24 hours drivers have been really getting on my nerves in my everyday life.  Take for example my drive home after work yesterday.  I was going through an area near our middle and high schools.  This area is residential so the speed limit is set very low and there are two 90 degree turns.  As I was winding my way through I cam upon a car with two young boys in it.  Well, sorta in it.  One of them was sitting in the open window of the car apparently videoing two other young boys who were on scooter holding onto the cars open windows as it came towards me. 
Luckily I paying attention or I would have hit the young man holding onto the driver's door.  As I drove off the road to avoid him, he politely snarkily said, "Heeelllllooooo" as I gave him my best disappointed grownup look.
Despite much googling I could not come up with a photo to represent what I saw.  I did however find video of teens doing this same behavior. 

You don't have to watch this whole video but what I found interesting is that the young lady doesn't want to do this but the male voice, presumably the driver, pressures her into it.

My next run in with a driver was when the driver of my daughter's school bus barely paused at our house this morning. 
4 minutes early.

I keep a diligent eye on our time in the morning.  I carry my cell phone from 7 a.m. until after the bus goes.  This habit eliminates any human error from watching a clock that I might have set wrong. 
This morning at 7:17 I ran downstairs to bring our dogs into the house so that they would not try to get on the bus with S'ghetti Girl.  As I ran back up the steps the bus was pulling away from our drive at 7:20.  Our bus is due at 7:23. 
I raced down our very short driveway yelling.  The kids on the bus saw me.  Our driver did not stop.  S'ghetti Girl grabbed her things and we jumped into the car and chased down the bus two stops later.
No major harm.  But I wonder why is it that getting behind the wheel makes people act like they have lost all common sense?
That driver could have easily stopped out of kindness due to her early arrival.  Those kids could have gotten into that car if they need a quicker ride home.  As far as I know nothing bad has come from either situation but it could have.  I could have been distracted and hit that boy.  I could have wrecked my car "chasing down" the bus.  All because, in my opinion, there was a lack of common sense. 

But that is just what I think. 
So tell me, how would you have handled these situations?
Would you do anything further about the kid's behavior or the bus driver's?
What have you seen or been guilty of on the road ways lately?

Hashawha Hills 50k tomorrow watch for an update on FB if you follow me there.
In the area, let me know so we can get together.
Run strong and have fun to everyone racing this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday

This morning S'ghetti Girl and I saw a rainbow.
Why is it that the simple refraction of sunlight through raindrops sees the whisper a greater meaning?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

As the Nose Runs

With a training race coming up this Saturday you may have thought it was planned to not complete my "wake up" miles on Monday and again today.  However you'd be wrong.  I had every intention of getting those few miles in to help prepare myself to interaction sociably with other grownups but that didn't happen.  It's seems that the success rate may be directly linked to the pile of tissues beside my bed because LBM is often still in my bed! 

I knew that the super secret spy and I like to teach our children by example but in this case I completely wish he would have not shared his cold with the rest of the family.  Also thanks to the super secret spy being under the weather this past weekend, I missed out on a little kid-free time that helps to refill the patience reservoirs within me.  Even with a sick kiddo I have to admit that at times, say 3 o'clock in the morning after being woke up three previous nights repeatedly, that it can be an effort to not get worn out myself. 

So in the hopes of avoiding actually getting sick myself I have cut a few miles off the lead up to the Hashawha Hill 50k.  I have also mentally made the decision to keep the pace and effort in check since Seneca is the next Saturday and that course hold my 50k PR.  If any thought is going to be given to a PR attempt that will more than likely be the race so being healthy is a must.

I think we are turning a corner this morning when LBM woke up early and happy.  And since he was still to questionable to plop in the jogging stroller and not at all interested in the entertaining pastime of watching mommy run on the treadmill, we spent the morning reading and re-reading

I think those minutes will be replayed as I weave my way through the woods this Saturday in my own version of the story maybe more aptedly named,

Good Run Sun.

In the great green woods
there is a trail
And a red blaze
And a view of--

The runners jumping over the stream

and there were three little frogs, sitting on logs...
come back tomorrow to read the rest.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Closer to Confident

Day #653

It's a relative thing.
Some days my runs are effortless breezes that help retain my sanity.  Other days my feet feel as though they are foreigners in running shoes that speak a completely different language.
But every day I keep trying.
Trying to get a little stronger, a little more certain that this lofty goal I have set is somehow within my reach.
This Saturday starts a string of 50ks to help lengthen my reach towards that goal. 
100 miles
A goal in which I won't be the strongest or the fastest but I will be trying my hardest to get one step closer to confident.
Thanks to YMX I'll look good while getting there.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A 30 pound pack

Weekends are always fun and filled with little surprises.  This weekend was no exception.  I was looking forward to a slightly extended weekend in Virginia.  With the mild weather I had dreams of miles on the trails on Old Rag Mountain.  This is a picturesque mountain that I drive by every time I travel between VA and PA. 

The dream was altered when we got to Virginia and found the super secret spy struggling with a bad cold.  Being the good wife I made certain he got lots of sleep Thursday evening in the hopes that he would be up to hanging out the kiddos Friday while I scampered up a mountain side.  Unfortuately sleep did not cure his ills.   But being the determined person I am I did not allow that to stop me from getting out and enjoying the trails. 

It just added a very wiggly 30 pound pack to my resistance training and one grumbling 10 year old.  After packing LBM up the switch backs, I climbed ahead while S'ghetti girl and LBM rested to see if they would be able to continue.  It made for a great workout and an amazing time on the mountain.

In the end I think both kids enjoyed trying "climbs" they weren't sure they could do.  I know that I was very proud of how they continued on (okay LBM was getting carried most of the time) even when they were tired.  It wasn't the training I thought I would get that day but if the next day was any indication, I got a great full body workout. 

Five days to Hashawha Hills 50k

Have you ever climb Old Rag? 
Running Hashawha?  Ever done it?  Tell me about your experience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wondering on Wednesday

I have a lot of tee-shirts that I have worn forever.

 Take this one.
How that barefoot/minimalist is becoming so popular,
I wonder if Nike regrets this slogan?

I wonder if you have time to be reading my blog would you also spare a moment to help me win?
2XU is hosting a contest click HERE to like my comment on their photo so my 647 day tired feet can enjoy a pair of 2XU compression socks.
Thanks in advance!

Shelly Cable My husband is to credit with my ultra running love. If it hadn't been for him daring me to beat his old high school marathon time, I may have never started running distance races. I really should thank him for that!

I wonder how I get myself into these things but I just realized that with all my schedule shifting I have just put in 6 consecutive double digit run days...and I will probably make it 7 before the day is out.
The weekend and a little break in the heavy training can not come fast enough!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Even on the hard days

Every mom, or parent for that matter, knows that Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to teach your children about love.  The kind of love you have for your friends.  The kind that you have for your family, the kind that you have for your community, your church, yourself...
The list goes on because there is more than one kind of love. 

Just as there are many ways to love.
On Valentine's Day I like to make sure the kids have an extra special treat to share with their friends.  I want them to feel special and important.  Then I want them to share that feeling with their classmates.

I know I look back at all the extra things my mom did and I cherish the time she took to make me shine amongst my peers.

Looking yummy!

So Sunday I spent the day in the kitchen.  Not completely unusual but this Sunday I was making a little something special for the kids to share on Valentine's Day.  S'ghetti girl was thrilled with the results.  Her happiness makes me happy.  I will look forward to them sharing their stories of how much all their friends enjoyed the cards and treats that they shared.

For me Valentine's Day is a little bit about getting.  It's about getting love back from all the love we give each day.  That's what it is about remembering that the more we give love out to others, the more love we get in return.

Heart pie lollipops

So for those who think Valentine's Day isn't special, you might be missing the point.
 Valentine's Day is just a way to focus on the topic and teach our families because of course we love each other every day. 

It's just easier on some days than others. 

LBM decorated himself for Valentine's Day

Friday, February 10, 2012

It is all falling into place

Another piece of the 100 mile puzzle fell into place yesterday when the DOW closed up at 12890.46.
My random number was 384.
That meant that I got in
No wait list for me this year.

This puts me another step closer to being ready for the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100.
I am currently at 66 on that wait list. 
I'm not worrying about that now. 
Really, I'm not.
Am I trying to convince you or me?
I have 4 training races between today and the A race in May

First up is the Hashawha Hills Trail Run on February 25
Then the Seneca Greenway Trail 50k on March 3
The HAT Run on March 24
and then the Bull Run Run 50 miler on April 14

With MMT 100 nicely timed on May 12 - 13 which will coincide with my 2 year streaking anniversary.

Running any of these races too? 
What does your spring schedule look like?
Want to crew a 100 miler in May? 

Don't miss this post HERE. We can run together this fall.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wanna Join Us?

Many of us are deep into our spring race training schedules with serious thoughts of setting new PRs or attempting new challenges.  At times it is hard to remember why we ever thought we liked this crazy thing we are doing. 
So I invite you to take a break for a moment and consider scheduling in some fun this fall.  A brief reminder that this is all supposed to be because we love it.  I can't think of a better way to reconnect with the joy of running than to run a 5k with a biggest group of friends we can gather!
All while getting splattered with color!

Are you in the DC area?  Game for taking a little trip to DC or VA this September?
If you are interested in being part of a running/bloggy friend color run 5k this September 22, let me know so we can plan the best celebration. 
After all we will have set PRs and conquered new challenges in the spring and summer, we will have lots of reasons to celebrate!

An Addict

It probably comes as little surprise to my regular readers when I tell you that I have a slightly addictive personality.  It's a handy thing to have when it comes to many aspects in life.  I am extremely committed.  Give me a project and I'll see it through.  Crash a plane and I'm the one to hike out for help. 

In my running life this addictive tendency has helped in my deepening love of running long.  I can also credit my 640 days of running to that dedicated side of myself. 

So knowing how I can easily get a little to into things I should have heeded the comments about


but I didn't.  I started to pin.  And now I think I am addicted to pinterest too.

I just need to figure out how to make it through the day without sleeping because I am quickly running out of hours to accommodate all my passions.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday MisMash

Seventy mile week are becoming the new norm

I successfully took a running rest day this past week. 
See that little tiny 3 mile day.
It is a huge accomplishment for me.  Almost on par with successfully cross training. 
not the I accomplished that too baby steps people
I did however get my long run in on Sunday which I am completely shocked that I did.
The big miles, the run streaking, the kids, the husband, the big girl job, the date on the calendar, all combine to completely exhaust me this week.  I entered the weekend simply needing a break but knowing that I had to get my B2B started on Sunday.
So when Friday came I was all too ready to allow my wake up miles to be my only run of the day.
Followed by....
Roller derby may be in my future

More Roller Skating! 
I think my family should form a team.
We were so busy having a blast that I forgot to take photos.  Luckily the oldest snapped some to share.

The hay barn is completely down

After many hours on my feet between running and rolling, I was ready to put my feet up and enjoy our surprise snow storm.  The weather couldn't have been more beautiful.  It was a peaceful end to a very full day.

Why I love PA winters

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ultra training at the grocery store

First we stretch to loosen up.
This is never a good sign.  It usually indicates that this could be a long episode.

The the declaration of demands which is quickly followed by the mock walk off.  But the walk off thwarted by strangers.  It will required a second declaration and a rerouted walk off. 
But that too fails. 
The plan begins to unravel and all the stops are pulled out.  Demanding, pouting, whining. 
He just wants the blue gun.

Although LBM's attempts to get the blue gun were not rewarded,
come on a toy at the grocery store.  Why?  It doesn't help sales when moms have to walk out.
he did demonstrate a few techniques that apply to running.

First he sets impressive goals. 
Did he just meet me to think that he was going to get a toy at the grocery store?  Clearly, it's not on the list.
He changes up his approach.
Here I could learn a lot.  When I don't like the results I'm getting or not getting, I need to follow his example and change what I'm doing.
He is relentless.
I will really need to draw on this approach as the racing season begins at the end of the month.
He doesn't care how he looks to others.
Sometimes I worry too much about what everyone else will think of: my training, my race schedule, my weight, my pace...
He quickly got over his unsuccessful attempt.
This one I'll will keep in mind when I get that first 100 mile attempt.  Knowing that I will give everything to finish doesn't mean I will.  Being able to accept whatever happens and move forward quickly will help me better reach my goal if my first attempt doesn't see that 100 mile finish line within the time limit.

I just can't wait to see what LBM teaches me during his next tantrum!

What have your kids taught you lately?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How'd January Go?

January 20112

Monthly Miles Ran: 337.80 (Year total: 337.80)
Highest Mileage Week: 1/2 - 1/8 (DM Weeks) 78 miles

Rest Days Taken: 0
The Streak: January 31st was Day # 632 of the streak ~ 5,209.9 miles,
Runs ~ ave. 8.2 miles per day/ 57.7 miles per week
Zero. Zip. Zilch
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
I am a Nutella addict
Non-food Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
Too much computer time
Which Outfit did I Wear the Most:

I must really want the VHTR to hold the Skyline Challenge Trail 50k
again because I keep wearing that race shirt.

What We Are Watching:
With the Kiddos:
Magic School Bus episodes

My Viewing:
TBL and The Bachelor
Funniest/Best Kid Quote:
The kids know that I am trying to clean up my diet.
S'ghetti girl asks me as I am reaching for the Nutella again,

"Mom!  Are you sure you wanna eat more of that?"

Current Triumph:
632 days streaking
Current Goals
To get my monthly budget reworked
To get into the Bull Run Run 50 miler
Current Blessing:
Every single day in my life. A gift.
Current Excitement:
Getting S'ghetti girl to wear something besides sweat pants!
Registering for the Bull Run Run 50 Miler
It's a lottery and I really need to get in
Running a 50 mile training run without a race would suck.
Current Concern:
My Christmas tree is still up.
Getting LBM to want to sleep on his own.
I've moved up on the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100

How did your January days add up?