Daily Chatter

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Three Things Thursday - Sick Kid, 9000 miles & A Good Read

Having a sick little one is so challenging, physically and emotionally.  I've wanted nothing more than to help him feel better but I knew it would just take time.  That didn't help LBM when he was unable to eat anything because his throat hurt so much.  Thankfully yesterday we turned a corner and he seemed much more like himself.  We even got outside for a while!  The fresh air must have helped him because I had to negotiate all afternoon and evening to keep him settled down for fear of a relapse.
What the geese were thinking: 
Yeah, right we are the ones that they blame bird flu on.  Go back inside before you infect us all!
With LBM feeling better I wanted to get back on track and get a planned run in but the super secret spy had an evening activity so it was the treadmill.  I've been keeping the miles lower and slower the the training plan calls for due to a really aggressive training run this Saturday.  Have I mentioned that although I am not fast, running slow really sucks.  Running really slow on the treadmill sucks even more.  That was how I felt at .94 miles.  I seriously wanted to stop.  My mind was making all kinds of excuses about why I could stop.  I mean LBM wasn't completely better.  Never mind the fact that he was running around the basement playing like a mad man while I was running.  I told myself that I had 40 mountainous miles to run this Saturday.  But I also knew that if I ran my scheduled miles I would hit 9000 miles for my streak.  So after a little online whining and thankfully some votes of confidence telling how I could do it, I rallied, pushed my pace and finished my 10 miles.

9,001.70 streak miles - 2/27/13
 After having so much trouble getting my run going I decided that I needed to reset.  I needed to remember that I am excited about pushing for the 100 this year.  At times I get so focused on how much work I need to do, how intimidating the goal seems, how I feel so unworthy of accomplishing it, that I forget I want to do this because I love it.  I love running through the woods.  I love playing in mud.  I love challenging myself now not waiting until...fill in the blank...there are hundreds of excuses.  So I refueled with some yummy fish tacos and re-read some Relentless Forward Progress. 
Great book for ultra runners at any level.
What do you do to get over those mental excuses?
Do you find yourself using your kids as excuses to slack?
Fish tacos?  Love'em or not so much?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Hashawha Hills 50k Race Report - Ice and Mud

"How do you want to feel Tuesday?" 

This may be the best piece of trail racing advice I have ever gotten.  Those words were just a part of the wisdom that trail master and legendary ultra trail runner Gary shared with me as we laughed over and exaggerated about our day on the ice and mud covered trails.  But that thought hadn't entered my mind as the super secret spy and I finished what had been more than six hours of driving and arrived at our hotel.  The excitement of another day on the trails and the spy's first ultra was enough to carry me through the ritual of setting up our gear and ensure we wouldn't get too much sleep.
Bright and early we awoke to a nicely ice coated world and I'm sure we were both wondering what the day might hold.  We quickly got ready and happily followed another runner to the Bear Branch Nature Center where we scored some sweet parking spots again this year.  It seemed as though luck might just be on our side.

We met up with Diane who will be pacing me at MMT and several other trail friends and chatted in the warm comfortable center.  Getting to stage the race out of the center makes it much nicer when conditions are bad.  We didn't have to stand out in the ice and rain but were able to be inside for final instructions which included the gum band explanation; fat first, skinny second.  Which meant we had a short out and back on which we had to first pick up a fat gum band on the first loop and then a skinny gum band on the second loop.  This is always one of my favorite elements of this race.  We also got the usual don't litter, don't cheat, help others kind of advice then we gathered outside at a pavilion which would serve as the start, half way aid station and finish line then with a quick "Go" we were off.

Right from the start the super secret spy took off ahead and Diane and I ran loosely together.  I knew that the spy wanted to finish the first loop in about 3 hours so he would be able to have a cushion as conditions deteriorated through the day.  I fell into running with a group of runners who helped to pull me along a bit faster than Diane wanted to go and I drifted ahead.  Frequently I would make sure that I wasn't getting too far ahead.  But I ended up running several miles solo.

I was enjoying the solitude and surroundings.  It was surprising how much of the course I remembered from last year's running.  The mix of fields, single track trails, fire roads and even a short asphalt section gives every runner a bit of what they like most.  The amazing surroundings combine with that unique feeling of being enveloped in a cocoon of my own warmth to fill me with such happiness.  The first creek crossing - only a short 2 or 3 step creek -  was a refreshing blast on my feet.  The miles flew by and before I knew it I was at the 8.5 mile aid station.  With the cold rain coming down I opted for a small cup of warm broth, a cup of ginger ale and a quarter of a pbj.  Then off I went for the next 2.3 miles before returning to this same aid station.  On the return visit I topped my pack, had more broth and ginger ale and headed out again.  Along the way I saw Diane across a hay field so I waited and we fell back into running together and before I knew it we were heading into the halfway aid station.

As we entered the aid station I asked when the super secret spy had been there but before they could answer I saw he was still there.  He was working on changing shoes and had developed some cramps.  After a quick massage and assistance with his shoe change he was ready to go.  I was so proud of him!  It would have been so easy to stop at half way.  He would have beaten me!  He could have gotten cleaned up and been warm inside the nature center but even without training he wanted to push through.  We all ran together for several miles before the super secret spy said he was cramping and would need to go his own pace.  It was so amazing to share the trail time together and having that time be during a race made it even more special.

Diane and I went off and the gap grew as we drew ahead making our way along the now increasingly muddy trails.  What had been frozen hard with ice earlier was now iced with several inches of slick sticky mud.  The out and back to retrieve our skinny gum band was a slippery mess and several runners took a spill.  Each time I got caked with mud another opportunity to wash it off would appear.  Then no longer would my issue be having heavy feet but frozen ones.

Diane and I would take turns leading which helped to break up the miles and allow me to enjoy the scenery a little bit more.  Even though the decision had been made to run a steady safe race due to the conditions I didn't want to get too lost in the surroundings and end up finishing in too leisurely a pace.  When I would pause to take pictures Diane would keep going making sure I had to move it to stay on track.  I am feeling very confident in our ability to run together this May at MMT.  I know she will be more than able to make sure I push through the inevitable discomfort and only focus on the joy and privilege that running is.

As we neared the end of our second loop we could hear the trail chatter from Bob and his crew.  His motivating banter had kept smiles on our faces throughout the day. 

A brief gratitude pause.
Bob was just one of many trail friends we shared the journey with that day; Gary, Kirstin Cherry, Mark, Al, Bobby and his fiance, Sima who was after her first ultra finish line were just a few of the many friends who played in the woods with us.  Of course our day couldn't happen without all the hard work the Alan, the RD and his crew of volunteers put in to make this race happen.  You know it's something special when your race director is out on the course, at an aid station, standing at the finish line to shake your hand and give you your finisher's mug!  A huge thank you to all the aid station workers, trail sweepers, cooks, bakers and general volunteers would made Hashwaha Hills amazing!

As we neared those final hills I was reminded again how blessed I am to do this thing I love and I used that thought to push those final challenges and cross another finish line.

After a brief celebratory pause at the finish line I quickly went to the nature center to change into some warm dry clothes before returning to cheer the super secret spy into his first ultra finish.  I was rushing so much that I took my first fall of the day as I ran down the hill to the finish pavilion.  Luckily I had enough time to quickly clean up as the spy rounded the turn at the bottom of the final hill.  We all cheered as he pushed up the hill and crossed the finish line.

I couldn't have been happier for him.  He was so proud of what he had accomplished.  After a few quick photos we gathered our things and returned to the nature center one last time. 

We enjoyed the warmth of some amazing chili as we chatted with our trail brethren sharing our tales from the day and for some a bit of liquid pain relief.

The day was full of firsts as I got to met online friend, Dora.  She finished her second 50k and set a new PR!  She is completely full of positive energy.  I have no doubt that she will set another PR as she races Seneca this coming Saturday.

My trail family was so warm and welcoming to Mark as we lingered and laughed with the party crowd.  I know that the super secret spy has even more understanding about why I love this seemingly crazy, hard, often painful, time consuming thing.  This May as we take on 100 miles I know that even if he never takes on another ultra, he will be my biggest encourager and greatest supporter.  I also know that with his help I can cross any finish line out there.

Hashawha Hills 50k 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hashawha Hill 50k Goals

Even though I often feel as though I am on thin ice with my heavy run volume and no rest days, I am going to get uncomfortable and declare some goals for the Hashawha Hills 50k.  By putting my goals out there for any one's judgement I may be able to push myself just like I know I will have to push myself when I am deep into the miles, in the dark, potentially alone, in the middle of nowhere working my way towards a 100 mile finish line. 
To arrive on time. To start. To finish.
aka: Finish Feeling Fine having Fun
My I CAN goal:
Finish in under 7:00
This is a number that would have me potentially running with the super secret spy.  Again the decision to stay with him or take off with be made after conditions - my body, brain and trail - are taken into account. 
My I LOVE IT goal:
To beat my PR.
With a current PR of 5:59:33 my I LOVE IT time would be anything less
I'd even be giddy with 5:59:32 given that conditions this year with be worse than in 2012
My I DREAM IT goal:
This would be dreaming given predicted conditions for the day but if I am going to dream I'm going to dream big. 
No matter what the clock says as I make my way through the woods, over fields and across creeks I will be loving every step of it because that is the biggest goal after all.  The biggest goal I can achieve is to find joy while I am out there running immersed in nature.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Spending my day in sweat pants, catching up on all the latest kid shows, coloring, doing puzzles and singing the alphabet have all become my new comfortable.  What I didn't realize was while I was getting comfortable in life I have also gotten a bit comfortable in my training as well. 
At first the thought of a May 100 miler, while intimidating, was so seemingly far off that I felt comfortable in being able to do the required work to physically and mentally go the distance.  Because that is the goal, go the distance.  But now less than 9 weeks away that same 100 miles seems like something beyond what I can imagine.  But then again how many people can imagine running 100 miles on trails up and down a mountain?  So when life sent me a nice little reminder that I shouldn't get too comfortable I took notice.
I took a look at what I can do with these last 9 weeks.  Of course I've got the running part down seeing how it's day 1019 of the running streak but the cross training; course specific running/hiking, weight lifting, core strengthening, flexibility training and actual recovering time, are things I can really focus on to help me enjoy the journey to my first 100 mile finish line.  I will be putting pen to paper to help me stick to a cross training plan while I continue to put miles on my feet. 
Speaking of those miles, this weekend the super secret spy; D, my dedicated pacer for MMT 100 and I will be running Hashawha Hills 50k.  This course holds my 50k PR when I ran it in 2012.  Read about it HERE.  I can not wait to see what I have on this course again.  Although I know that D will probably remind me that this year is about the 100 and my focus needs to be on the fact that this is a training run not  a race.  She will probably remind me that HH will be a cake walk compared to the ubber long training run we have on the Massanutten Mountain Trails course the following weekend.  I will keep all those things in mind plus the fact that the super secret spy will be running his first 50k at HH as I prepare these last few wake ups.
Since I don't want to get comfortable I will be setting some goals which I will share tomorrow.  But feel free to offer your advice on what goals I should be setting.  Do you think I should run the race with the super secret spy and just use it for "time on my feet".  Do you think I should run it with nothing left and go after a new PR?  Or do you think something in between? 

Friday, February 15, 2013

I Must Sparkle

It's true.  I must Sparkle because my world has been full of so many amazing things lately. 
I bet I can even control my eyebrow too.

This past Saturday I was so happy to be able to be a part of the Run for Sherry.  This run always reminds me that I am a part of such a bigger community than I often realize as I go about my day.  The chance to join together to celebrate a fellow runner and embrace the power that being able to run gives me are things that add sparkle to my life.

By mid-week I didn't even realize I needed a sparkle recharge but I got a huge one when I got the text from my Oldest that I had become a grammy.  Days are to precious to wish away but I must admit I am very eager to be able to hold this little person. 

My training run this Saturday will have to wait. 
Could you say no to this sweet face? 

Then this morning...you know, Valentine's Day, I see this amazing little rock
It does not take much to make me happy.  More Sparkle!

Still blinding others with my over abundance of sparkle I didn't expect anything but a normal Thursday evening run when I was getting ready to get my sweat on.  But things were just going my way because a quick check of my email before my run had me literally jumping up and down.
That counts as cross training, right?  Totally counts.

 I mean I've been saying forever that I am a poster child for YMX.  Just look at this YMX covered blog but for it to actually happen has me on top of the world!

I can not wait to see what amazing things tomorrow brings!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How'd January Go?

January 2013

Monthly Miles Ran: 342.8

11.1 avg miles per day 77.4 avg. miles per week

Highest Mileage Week: 01/14 - 01/20

Rest Days Taken: 0

The Streak: January 31st was Day # 998 of the streak ~ 8,744.9 miles

Runs ~ ave. 8.8 miles per day/ 61.3 miles per week



Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:

Puppy Chow

Non-food Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
Baking.  Baking. Baking the treats I'm indulging in!

Which Outfit did I Wear the Most:

This YMX shirt will eventually wear out considering I live in it.
YMX needs to make me an ambassador already, huh?!

What We Are Watching:

With the Kiddos:
Kiddo singular, S'ghetti girl is far too busy Skyping with her friends
Hotel Transylvania


My Viewing:
On the mill, I'm watching Warehouse 13
Funniest/Best Kid Quote:
One evening LBM fell off the back of the love seat.    After the booboo drama, I was talking with him about how he needed to obey and stop climbing and jumping on the furniture to avoid getting hurt. He explained that he had his own solution. He told me that I just needed to get a taller couch, one that went nearly up the the ceiling that way when he fell I'd have more time to run over and catch me.

Current Triumph:
Being more active with the PTO.

Current Goals
Getting more active with other local friends
Get back on the cross training wagon
Current Blessing:
Every moment of my life
Current Excitement:
My first grandchild is due today
Another big MMT training run
and getting to run Hashawha Hills 50k with Hubby
Current Concern:
My first grandchild is due today
Running Hashawha Hills 50k with Hubby

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Who I've become - 1000 days

It's hard to imagine what I might be like at some point in the future.  I think back and wonder if I would have ever guess that scrawny little awkward farm girl would have ever grown up to be the person I am today.  I often wonder if that scrawny farm girl would be proud of the "who" I've become.
May 9th, 2010 was Mother's day.  It was the last rest day I've taken for 1000 days.  On May 10th I hadn't decided to run for 1000 days but I knew that I had wanted to run on Mother's day and simply hadn't been able to fit it in.  That started a desire to find ways to fit it in, make it happen and prioritize my run. 
1000 days later I have left the road, grown in my ultra trail running, made many amazing friends, pushed myself beyond what I ever thought I can do, learned, taught, laughed, cried and loved every step along the way - even the really hard ones like the unexpected extra 5 miles in that 50 miler.
I won't change a single thing.  But when I went to plan my run for that 1000th day, I had a choice.  Friends were going to practice a section of the Massanutten trails and I really wanted and needed to get out there but I also had commitments to help the PTO.  1000 days ago I would have gone for that trail run.  I would have told myself that I would be able to get it all done later.  But I didn't go.  I chose to fit my running around my life instead of allowing my running to, well run my life.
That morning I spent with my family as we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together.  Then I spent the afternoon on the phone and computer rounding up volunteers.  That evening I went for a brief run and felt great about it.  The next day I spent the entire day in the kitchen cooking and baking for S'ghetti Girl's teacher appreciation dinner.  Again that evening I went for my scheduled run.
I guess it's taken me this 1000 days to see that running, fitness or whatever you focus on can be an integral part of a life without being the only part of that life.  It is my hope that for the next 1000 days I can continue to challenge myself and enjoy trail running without missing out on everything else that my life has to offer.  Because those finish lines are so much better when there are friends and family happily waiting there for me.