Daily Chatter

Friday, August 16, 2013

A look behind to see ahead

As a trail runner one thing you quickly learn is to not look back.  Looking behind almost always causes you to stumble and fall.  Then you lose momentum and, at times, have trouble starting back up again.  But there are times when it's safe and even beneficial to look back and take in the path you have already traveled.
As I was running this morning I was in a nostalgic frame of mind because today is my firstborns  birthday.  It was difficult to reduce to a few words what I wanted to say to him.  Those words were something like the first words he and I shared together, private.  Because I'm old fashioned like that.  But the walk down memory lane got me thinking about where I've been in different aspects of my life.  Of course, running was one of them.   
With that it's time for a numbers update: 2095.4 miles for the year. Day 1195 of the streak. 10,497.6 streak miles.
Now that I've looked back it's time to look forward.  Often I remind the biggest of my littles that he needs to remember where he has been but have a plan for the direction he wants to move forward in.  The same is true for me.  Let's see where I'm going in the days ahead.
In 15 days I will be running The Ring.  This is 71 miles on the Massanutten trail.  The reason I am running it three fold.  1.  I need to get past a mileage barrier I feel I have created for myself.  2. It will be the first on many runs to prepare myself for another MMT 100.  3.  The Massanutten trails are calling me back.

In 42 days I will be running the Mega.  The Mega is about a 27ish mile climb in PA.  It is a course like no other I've ever been on.  It offers an element - boulder climbing - that I don't get anywhere else. 

In 71 days I'll be back again for FOTM.  That's the 50k in MD that has an unexpectedly challenging course.  It's low key, real ultra trail running feel always makes me feel like a bada## when I finish it.  Plus this race was one of the first races I really found trail running peace during.  I go back year after year to find it again.

In 91 days I'll be back again for the Stone Mill 50 miler.  This could be the year that Lesley at Racing It Off joins me for some very supported fun.  Although with those long legs of hers and her killer racing lately she may been at the finish before me.  If she is she'd better get some great finish line photos of me. 
Sprinkled in between these dates are a hand full of training runs for different races and of course my daily running streak continues.  So it's a trail without end.  It's a race without a victory.  There will be no finisher's medal or golden buckle for reaching an end point.  I have not ultimate destination.  The trails just continues and as long as I keep feeling that pull to see what is around the next bend or over that hill, I will continue to run forward.  No matter the pace I will continue to see what draws me to those place that are just beyond where my eyes can see.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Day in Shenandoah

I had to wait 8 hours to see that our starting point was marked by this wonderful little concrete trail marker thanks to the hour of darkness when we started our adventure.  But it had been there marking the place where we began the long climb up to introduce my body back to serious trail running.

 Happily I was not alone but again in the fun company of D, hubby and their wonderful dogs.  After a crazy start to the morning with some forgotten trail shoes, I was quickly thrown back into the arms of those wonderfully taxing trails I have missed so much over the summer.

Running a local trail for an hour or so is nothing like carrying your supplies for an 8 hour run.  The excitement of being out there again was quickly replaced with the reminder of how punishing those climbs - and descents - can be.  Unfortunately D even reminded me how quickly things can get serious by being the first to take a fall during our run.
The weather was prefect.  It was hard to imagine that it was August in Virginia.  Although my legs were rapidly questioning how I will be Ring read by the end of the month, I was too caught up in loving being on the trail to really give much voice to those words of doubt.

D happily snapped photos of me dealing with all the abuses of the trail as I was lost in getting to see some new sites.

The climbs up were completely worth it!
One of many reasons I love ultra running is getting to see these amazing places.

And having friends who tolerate my nature loving side while in the midst of a training run doesn't hurt either.  Thankfully, D waited to indulge my nature photo ops.
And she captured awesome views like this one.

While I was enjoying this one.  But all too quickly our time on the trail was over.  My first - and potentially only - training run for the Ring.   
How fitting the we found these butterflies at the end of our run.  Ones like these had fluttered by us all day.  A few butterflies had been hurt probably ran over while they gathering salt from some sports drink dumped on the ground but others kept gathering there taking no lesson from their injured brethren.  It made me think of the craziness of trail running.
I will blindly continue wanting to do these crazy things even though I see the carnage around me.  There is something more powerfully beautiful drawing me forward and making my eyes only see the wonder. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

B Words

This past week has been full of the B word.  Yeah, thanks to all the worrying about LBM's school situation I did loads of B####ing.  But there were actually several other B words that seemed to be really prevalent in our week. 

LBM has been on a mission this week to discover all the bugs around the house.  Of course that is a fun science lesson but at this time of year those little critters have often grown!  We won't be catching this guy anymore.

With the approach of kindergarten LBM has started being responsible for certain chores around the house.  He earns a small allowance that he is practicing budgeting his money for his "wants".  But that hasn't stopped his previous behavior of using his puppy face to beg for things.  I didn't cave this time but darn he is so cute!

My garden and flower beds have been a botanistic inspiration this week with beautiful blooms every morning.  If you follow me on FB or Instagram you are probably sick of the daily bloom bombs. 
But maybe you are also inspired for notice a few of the B words in your day too.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Letter

Many moments in life are challenging.  I often hear myself complain about silly things like socks on the floor or toothpaste on the counter.  But I know my life is a blessing and I have only rarely lived a truly challenging day.  I know those days have helped to make me a better human being so I count even them as blessings. 
This past week has been a difficult one.  I gave little things the power to begin to overwhelm me.  The approach of the school year became no longer an annual event but a catalytic phenomenon heralding the end of life as I know it.  So as I was going to return a movie, which I had used as an escape from my seemingly overwhelming life, I stopped by the mailbox.  On my way I practiced what I would say to the super secret spy when he discovered I had not talked to the new superintendent about LBM's school reassignment.  I practiced telling him how I was certain that if she talked with me instead of him, I would somehow ruin LBM's chance to go to the school we had been planning and preparing to go to.  But when I opened the mailbox I saw it had arrived.
The letter.
It was the response to my written application for the reassignment.  As I read those words, "...has been approved..."  honestly tears filled my eyes and I felt 20 pounds lighter.  I couldn't believe how emotionally invested I had become worrying about what another change might do to LBM and all the great progress we have made.  I couldn't be happier that we can continue as planned and will be able to be active and involved with LBM's school.
With only a handful of days to go before school starts, there's lots to do to be ready to this milestone and then, well and then I guess I'll be left with nothing to stop me from remembering that there are days, those few days that are really challenging.  Some of those days life has just given me and some of those days I have chosen.  And one of those days is right around the corner.
August 31st
71.1 Miles of mountains fun.