Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Other Brad

I just looked back through the blog to see when we had run at Bradley Palmer last. It was the end of March when I ran 22 miles there in prep for the TARC Spring Classic. Hard to believe we didn't get there at all this summer, but I suppose that since we didn't even get to Willowdale as we had hoped for any Stonecat recon runs, so I shouldn't be too surprised.

In any event, it is always nice to run at the "other" Brad. We got a bit of a later start than planned, as all of us slept in after a rough night of coughing from Sam. I got up at 8:00, Sam got up at 8:30 and Ryan didn't get up until 9:30 :-) I don't think that's happened for a long time! We finally got out on the trails around noon, and without even any discussion, set out on the GAC Fat Ass course. I know there are other nice trails to run, but it's just so easy to head out and know where we're going, what distance we're running, and not have to think about much else. Talk about creatures of habit :-) Still, I do like this loop, It's a nice mix of terrain and takes in a good portion of the park. I especially love the singletrack section in the middle as it wanders around through the woods and up the hill. I think I might have been a bit too enthusiastic on this stretch today - almost left Ryan in the dust - ha! ;) Just seems the perfect grade to run, and for some reason it's always fun to push it to the top. We kept the pace pretty snappy the whole way and got in a good 6 miles before heading back to Georgetown for round #2 of Thanksgiving. I'll be glad to be back to regular eating tomorrow, but as always, it sure was fun to eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner the day after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Went out this morning for a nice 5 mile run around the block. Cold and windy, but I felt good and managed a decent pace. I figure that was good for a 1/2 a piece of pie, right? ;)

The rest of the day was spent in and around the kitchen, eating and chatting, enjoying each other's company. Sam was so excited to meet her new cousin, Gavin! And what a cutie :-) We had a great day together. What a nice Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am gripe and I may groan about the little things, but in the end, I have so much to be thankful for. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to look at the big picture and remember just how fortunate I am. I have family that loves me, friends to laugh with, a job, a car, a house, enough money to pay bills and buy groceries and to buy extras like running shoes and toys for Sam. I can turn the heat up on a cold winter night without worrying that my oil is going to run out. I can donate to some of my favorite causes. We can treat ourselves to gelato and dinner out. I can go for a run with friends in the middle of the day on a weekday. I can buy special grain-free food for my two spoiled cats, and we have enough money to go to the doctor when someone is sick.

At work, I hear stories every day from and about people who are struggling to stay in their homes, we don't have oil in their fuel tanks, who have had to give up their animals because they've become homeless, who are just trying to make ends meet and not succeeding, often through a series of unfortunate circumstances that have just become too much for them to handle. It certainly puts it all into perspective. And so, with Thanksgiving one day away, I write this to remind myself that, really, life overall is pretty damn good. And for that I am very thankful.


And just so this post isn't entirely serious...

Yesterday at daycare, Sam's class went through a list of food typically eaten at Thanksgiving dinner and together made up a chart of what they would eat. Sam's row had "no"s to everything, even the pies (!), except corn (which we don't typically have at Irene and Dana's for Thanksgiving), carrots (which she won't like because in this case they'll be cooked) and rolls (again, which we don't typically have at Thanksgiving but which I asked Irene belatedly to get so that Sam would be able to eat at least ONE thing off the Thanksgiving table like the rest of us). Ha! Good heavens, she's a picky soul! Guess who's going to be eating pasta for Thanksgiving dinner?! :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pineland Run

We're loaning Mindy our 2nd carseat so that she'll have it when she picks up her niece at the airport tomorrow. Because I had only worked a half day at Tedford, I had the afternoon free (even if there was some work I should have been doing ;)), and since I knew Mindy was free on Mondays too, I suggested we meet up for a run along with the carseat drop-off. We agreed to meet at Pineland, and I was happy to have the rendezvous scheduled, as I'm not sure I would have gotten out otherwise. It was cold and windy again - brrr! - winter is here! Was also happy to see Xar and Tim pop out of the car with Mindy - always fun to have a catch-up run with those I don't see very often!

Since I was only up for 5 or so miles, we hit Oak Hill. I really do like how that side of the trail system runs. Oh, it's hilly all right, but it's nice running. We set off all four of us together, chatting, catching up, hearing about the Ozarks and school and this and that, but somewhere around Gloucester Hill, Tim and I got ahead. I was surprised that I could run and keep up the pace on all the hills. We had a good time talking away the miles. Once we hit the field, we turned around to pick up Xar and Mindy, who weren't that far behind, and we all headed back to the cars together. They went on for a few more miles but I was happy to hear the Garmin chirp 5 miles and headed back home. It was great to have a chance to run with those guys, and to enjoy a nice Monday afternoon run through the woods on the snow-dusted trails. Saw lots of turkey prints, a few bunny prints, one hawk feather and what looked sort of like feline tracks - perhaps fox? It's always cool to run after a snow and see who else has been out on the trails :-)

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We woke up to snow this morning. Sure wasn't expecting that! About an 1" on the ground around here, with the wind howling and the temps down in the low 20s. Brr. Guess winter wants to let us know it's on its way ;) Sam was so excited to see the snow that she wanted to go out right away. I convinced her to wait a few hours - I think we went out around 8:30 am - yup, we were up early! We got all suited up in our ski pants and snow boots and tromped around out back in the snow, enjoying the crunch of the dry snow beneath our feet, looking at our footprints, and of course, tasting the snow :-)  After all that, we didn't last long - it was pretty chilly with the wind! We did head out a second time after lunch again, taking a walk along the thin trail that lines the fence. We saw lots of bird prints, plus some cat prints and one other set of prints - possibly a raccoon? It was still pretty darn cold out, but I was happy to get suited up and go out - I certainly never want to dissaude Sam of any outdoor adventures!

First snow of the season, and it tastes good :)

Once we came back in, I suited up for my own outdoor adventure and drove over to the Cathance ecology center parking area for a run. I wasn't planning to run today but I just couldn't resist getting out on the trails in the snow! There had been some traffic on the trails before me, and I saw one other person out enjoying the snow-covered trails. Always glad to see other people out and about! The going was slow - an inch of fluffy, dry snow atop a thick layer of downed leaves makes things pretty slick, that's for sure! - but the woods were beautiful and quiet, aside from the howling wind. Got in 3.75 miles and headed home. A nice first snow run for the season!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

To the River

Had planned to head to Pineland this morning, but ended up deciding to stay in bed a little later, enjoy the quiet downstairs with a cup of coffee before Sam woke up, and just run around here. I was only planning on 5 miles anyway, so it seemed a bit silly to drive an hour total to run about 45-50 minutes! Sometimes it's just nice to mellow out on a weekend morning and not have to get in the car and go anywhere. I finally headed out around 8:30 and ran through the woods down to the river. The bog bridges were slick with frost and the frozen leaves crunched beneath my feet. Got in a nice mellow 5 miles.

I'm feeling pretty good but can tell I'm not quite back to my regular self again yet. Still kind of tired. I want to run, but I don't want to push too much right now. The overall plan is to take it easy through the end of the year and then start to ramp things back up again. Of course, the fact that I'm not in top form and am not running all that much hasn't stopped me from pondering "What's next?"That is part of the fun after all!

I believe the coin toss this afternoon pointed to a road marathon this spring over a spring 50k or 6-hour run. Yes, a literal coin toss. I am no good at decisions. See entering the lottery for the 50 miler, so I didn't have to be the one to make the final choice as to whether I ran it or not ;) I'm intrigued by the thought of running another marathon - haven't run one since MDI in 2008 - and lowering that PR, although I am admittedly a bit intimidated by the training plan I'd probably have to follow to run a "fast" time. It would be a good challenge though. Assuming I actually stick with the coin toss win, I'd go for either Sugarloaf or the Maine Coast Marathon in May, and then hope to run another long trail race in the fall to even out all that road running from the spring ;) Ah, it's such fun to plan and ponder!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Early Three

Up and out before it was light this morning. The sky was a bit too dark for a sunrise spectacular, but there were a few nice lines of gold, pink and deep purple along the horizon as I turned for one last look from the top of the powerline hill before the last stretch home. A nice, easy three to start the day.

Of course, lest you think the morning was all tra la la happy go lucky, I came downstairs from my shower to find that there cat poop in the corner (what is up with that?!), and then later when Sam and I went upstairs to get her dressed and teeth brushed, she came running into the bathroom, without any clothes on since she was starting to get herself dressed, and said, "Mommy, mommy, I was bending down to get socks out of the drawer, and thought I had to fart, but instead of a fart, a little poop came out! It's on the floor. Not on purpose like the cats, it was an accident! I didn't touch it. Come see." *sigh* [She is not a kid who poops on the floor, ever, and the whole thing was all so genuine, that I tried to just not make a big deal of the whole thing, and honestly, I really do think that she really thought she just had to fart.] So, never believe that the day continues on in the same manner as that peaceful morning run :-) Life is never that simple or tranquil around here. Ha!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All I Want for Christmas...

Clearly, Sam is a daycare kid, as tonight she asked if she could write her letter to Santa, and this is not something we have brought up with her before. Luckily, she doesn't have a very big wish list and simply wants a new "stuffy," a little brown bunny like "Puppy." :)

Translation -


Under "Bunny": a picture of a butterfly :)

"Dear Santa, I would like a new bunny. Thanks. Love, Samantha."

So cute!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Perhaps it was because yesterday's weather was so unseasonably warm, but today it just seemed downright chilly. Brrr. After first work, and then more work at home on the newsletter front, I headed out for a run at 3:00 pm. I ran the Heath loop, hoping that with most of the run being in the woods, I'd be protected from the wind. It sure was blustery out there! Literally took my breath away a few times. But the legs felt good, and it is always nice to take a break from the computer and get out into the woods! Saw Nate and a few members of his team on the way back. They were doing one-footed hopping drills up the sand hill as I ran down through. I think I like my workout better :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Hike and Run

Met up with Amy at 7:00 am for an early morning run through the misty fields at Pineland. The woods were very peaceful at that hour underneath the overcast sky. We got in a mellow 6 miles, talking the whole way, including to the cows at the edge of the pasture ;), and then spent another hour chatting over coffee in the Market before heading back home to our respective days. A nice start to a Sunday morning!

I came home to find pancakes cooking on the stove - yum, what a treat! We noticed the sky beginning to clear a little bit later and hastened to get dressed and out the door for a short hike. For something different, we headed around the Heath, enjoying the bog bridges, listening to the leaves crinkle underfoot, and of course, stopping to pick up nature treasures along the way - moss, leaves, little piece of wood, mica, pinecones, acorns, and two feathers - one hawk and one unknown - black on the top and yellow underneath, but too big, I think, to be my first guess, which was goldfinch. We took a snack break at the bench overlooking the Heath - the water dark and still, topped farther out with a blanket of cotton sedge - another incredibly peaceful and beautiful spot. Always nice to get out in the woods with Sam and Ryan, and the trails in the Cathance never disappoint.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


We had a busy day today. Ryan joined in on the TMR Pineland run this morning, while Sam and I hit the farmer's market for some delicious pretzels, purple carrots, top spinning and grooving to the music. After lunch, we all headed to the Freeport Frosty's for Will's 5th birthday. It was a pretty cool place for a birthday - there was a decorate your own donut station, donut-themed games, plus a giant donut cake! What's not to love? We had a lot of fun! Happy Birthday Will!

It's Will's birthday and it's at Frosty's! Yeah, donuts!

Donut toss

Donut, donut, twist

Run, Will, run!

Huge donut cake!

Frosty friends

Look at those huge slices of donut cake - yum! :-)

We wandered around Freeport for a while after the party - it was crazy busy! - and then headed back to Brunswick for an early dinner. As we pulled into the SeaDog lot, who should I see but Kristen, Phil, Anne and Thistle heading in? An unplanned dinner out with friends. Sam was in heaven, and it was a fun end to a busy and friend-filled day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dinner Out and a Sunrise

Last night, Sam and I went out to dinner, just the two of us. Ryan was working late, and I figured it would be a nice treat. We headed to our favorite place - Japanese! - to enjoy an early dinner. Sam received a lovely compliment while we were there from a couple expecting their first child - "I just have to say she is so well behaved!" said the woman who was 12 days late (!!). And really, Sam is an awesome dinner companion. She loves to eat out (who doesn't?) and she is old enough to have a conversations with at the dinner table. She had her bowl of rice and edamame while I ate up my delicious veggie rolls (tempura sweet potato - yum!) and then we headed next door for some gelato to finish up our evening. A fun night with my little munchkin!

This morning, although I knew I could probably get up later as Ryan was taking Sam out for breakfast and dropping her off at daycare before late night at work #2, I decided it would be a good idea to keep in the habit of getting up early and running. It really is something that takes practice! I waited until it was just barely light enough to head out without a headlamp, and headed out at 6:01 am. As I ran along the powerlines to Highland Green Road, I could see the glow of the sunrise along the horizon, a large band of orangey-pinks beneath that gorgeous bluebird egg blue sky that somehow seems to be most evident at sunrise and sunset. Once I turned onto the pavement, I caught glimpses of the ever-changing light between the bare branches of the trees, and at the high point of Mountain Road before I headed back into the woods, the sky was alight with bright pinks, purples and oranges. Nothing like a beautiful sunrise to make a 6am run worth it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Phyllis, this one's for you! Sam has become very interested in how words are spelled, what the first letter of certain words is, and writing different words. The other night she decided she wanted to write down the names of everyone in her family. We started with just us, but then she said, "And Morgan..." and so then we added on everyone on my side of the family. Then it was on to a new piece of paper and Ryan's side of the family. I just love these two pages! They are not perfect - Great Grammie, you got a bit smooshed into Grammie, sorry!, and there are a few stray letters here and there - but overall, they are pretty darn great.


On the running front, I'm still taking it nice and easy. Ryan's work schedule has him working 10:00 - 7:00 one day a week, so as this was his morning to go into work late, he took Sam into daycare this morning, which meant I was able to go out for my short 3-miler at 7:00 am and not be up at the crack of dawn. The sky was beautiful this morning - lots of light and fluffy clouds, with hints of blue sky showing through beyond, and just a wonderous light. And although it was cool out, the air was still and dry, so it just felt like a great morning to be out. It probably helped that I actually managed to crank out 3 sub-9:00 miles on the essentially flat 3-mile loop that took me through the neighborhood, along Highland Green Road and back home on the powerlines. :-) I won't let that get to my head, but it sure was nice to have my legs feeling like they could actually move again!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Along the Cathance

Daycare is open and Ryan is working, but I am fortunate enough to have the day off. I have a lot of newsletter stuff to work on, so I took Sam into daycare as normal and spent the bulk of the morning working. Then around 11:30, I thought it seemed silly to waste a day off and not run! Since I've limited myself to short little jaunts this week and next, I decided to hop in the car and drive over the ecology center parking lot and run on the Cathance trails from there. If I started my run from home, I wouldn't even make it to the Heath before having to turn around.

It was brisk and blustery as I set off, but the sun was shining, the woods were quiet and I was out on the trails. Can't ask for much more. As I ran along, I felt even more awe and much respect for my friends who run 100s and 50s on a regular basis, often without much recovery time in between. It is impressive! I say because I am still feeling very tired. Of course, this is compounded by the fact that I haven't been sleeping well, and the child decided she should wake up and come into our room at 5:50 am this morning and tell me it was time to go downstairs. She had been sleeping wonderfully late before daylight savings time, but now it appears her little body thinks that because it is getting light earlier, she should be up earlier. Sigh. In any event, I didn't have much pep today, but I just tried to be happy I was out there, enjoying the solitude, my feet crunching the leaves underfoot as the river meandered along next to me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

First Day Back

Headed out for a short run this morning. The morning was raw, damp, misty. Very November. But who cares? I was out running after a week of rest. The legs still felt pretty tired during the very mellow three miles along the power lines, but man, a run does the mind good :) Felt good to be out. I'd say I'm still recovering but I'll be out running slow and short for the next few weeks as long as it feels ok. Can't stay still for long! ;)

The winterberry shone bright and cheery against the more subtle browns and golds of the late fall landscape. Blue jays called above. I looked for the Bald Eagle we had seen soaring in the area yesterday, but he was nowhere to be seen. November isn't my favorite but I do love that the eagles come back to hunt, etc along the river at this time of year. They are always a treat to see!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sam: Four Year Stats

Legs are back to feeling pretty normal, but I'm still very tired. I guess I'll know for sure how everything is doing once I go out for a run, but I'm still planning to hold out until Sunday. I think by then I'll really be looking forward to a few miles in the woods!


Took Sam in for her 4-year well-child check today. She's weighing in at 30.4 lbs. and is 37.5" tall. In other words, measuring in around the 10th percentile and definitely a munchkin :-) But we knew that, ha!

She was really good all throughout the visit. We were there forever, as the doctor was running late, and they had to redo her hearing test a few times as the doctor didn't like the read-out in one ear. Her tubes are still in but at odd angles and on their way out, and the one in her right ear is still ever so slightly in place in the eardrum, which was messing up the readings. She knew she was getting a flu shot, but didn't know about the other shots she had to get, and as the appointment went on and on, she kept getting more and more agitated with anticipation of the shot hurting. Poor kid. She cried with each of the three shots but did really well. A few minutes later, as we were getting dressed, she sniffed and said, "I'm happier now, Mama," and then told me in the car that hugs and kisses from Mama and Daddy would make her feel even better. Such a sweetheart.

She also told me tonight that when she got to be bigger numbers (ie. older), I couldn't call her munchkin anymore. Growing up too fast! :-)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stonecat Results

9/36 female

Looks like the finish line clock was a bit off, as my chip time was actually 9:25:06. But still, it's cool! I'm happy ;)

Post-Stonecat Thoughts

So, the inevitable:

~ I barely slept last night. Spent a lot of time laying in bed, tossing and turning and looking at the ceiling. Sigh.

~ Found a few spots of rather uncomfortable chafing - mainly under both arms where the shirt and pack rubbed my skin and along the edges of my back where the pack movement rubbed me a bit raw.

~ Have several bruises along my middle vertebrae. My assumption is that  it is from pack movement. Although I love my pack and wouldn't want to wear anything else while running long, and it fits well, it does move. I have it as tight as it will cinch but it's still a bit too big, or I'm a bit too small. Either way, over the course of 9+ hours, all that movement compounded into some rather uncomfortable bruising after the fact.

~ Got one nasty blister on one of my middle toes. I managed to accumulate a lot of debris in my shoes, and I think this one spot took the brunt of the debris. It's a bit painful.

~ My legs are sore, sore, sore. Could barely make it down the stairs this morning and am still hobbling around. Put on my polka dot compression socks and that is helping my calves but the quads, well, ouch!

~ I am just plain tired.

Since I posted my report last night in a fit of post-race spastic energy, I missed a few key things:

~ The first is that the GAC put on a great race. Things were very well organized, the aid stations were well stocked, the volunteers were great, the course was well-marked, with some of the nastier roots even marked with reflective tape so as to help the runners use caution in the dark. Thank you, GAC, for a fun race! I think it was a great race to run as a first 50. It was awesome to come through the start/finish a number of times and have good access to crew. I didn't find it too tough to run the four laps. It was easy to break down each lap into 3 parts, which helped, and every time I went around, the woods seemed to look different. It definitely worked for me.

~ Secondly, a big thank you to Irene and Dana for watching Sam for the day yesterday! I know she had a lot of fun, and it helped a lot to know that she was in good hands while I was out running all day!

~ And last but not least, many thanks to Ryan for supporting me through this whole venture. He encouraged my training, put up with my tiredness during the big weeks this summer and fall, and believed in me the whole way. I really appreciate his unwavering support, especially once he got injured in September and had to shelve his own running goals. I know it was tough on him to not be able to run, to have to miss his planned race for he fall, and to watch me run throughout. But he didn't complain (much ;) ), and was my biggest cheerleader yesterday. I am really glad he was able to run the last few miles with me! That was a great treat!

~ Results still aren't up, but I'll post when they are. In the meantime, I'm gingerly walking around, eating a lot, and am hoping to sleep well tonight! I'll be taking the week (and maybe more if I can handle it) off from running and will try to stay away from in the meantime :) Ha.

A few photos from yesterday:

Helping Grammie cut up cheese for the lasagna

Coloring with Grampie. (Note the crazy hair!)

Fun with legos!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2013 Stonecat 50 Mile Race Report

I went into this race full of jitters, but still feeling like I had a pretty good chance to hitting my "I'll be pretty darn proud if I do this" goal of running under 10:00 hours. The base goal was just to finish. The "pie in the sky" goal was to gain the Snowplug Household 50 Mile Title, which was 9:23:19. I did not quite reach my "pie in the sky" goal, but I came pretty damn close, finishing in 9:24 and change. My Garmin died a few miles into lap #4, so I'm not quite sure of the time, and the results aren't up as I'm typing this, but 9:24:xx is good enough for me! So, Snowman retains his title, but I really am not upset with this. It was a great goal to shoot for.


Well, pre-race actually started earlier this week. I was a jittery, hyped up, crazy tapering runner all week, and I didn't do well maintaining calm. I also got a lot of race instructions from my pseudo coach Ryan. Eat! Drink! Walk the hills in the first lap! Don't go out too fast! I knew I didn't want to undermine my race by not fueling, but I admittedly have issues with fueling, so I agreed to Ryan's instructions to stop at each aid station, drink a cup of Gatorade and eat at least one thing. I was also determined to stick with my 30-minute fueling plan for as long as I could. I really did not want to meet my demise because of fueling issues.

Onto race day morning - the day started with a wake-up call of 4:00 am, which is way too early but it didn't matter much anyway; neither of us slept well. Ryan's mom very nicely took over the monitor at 5:00 am when we left the house, although Sam apparently didn't sleep either as we later heard she was up at 5:45. Sorry Irene!

Not many people out at 5:00 am on a Saturday morning, except when we turned onto Linebrook Road and got into the trail of cars all headed to the school :-) We met up with all the Trail Monsters in the gym, and I anxiously waited and paced and went to the bathroom a million times. Then it was time to head out and listen to the bagpiper and the pre-race annoucements. And then, off into the field in a sea of headlamps.

Pretty cool!

Lap #1:

The start of the race was slow. I had decided not to push it, and I resigned myself to walking up the first hill behind a congo train of runners. But it was incredibly annoying! I couldn't pass because then I'd waste energy needlessly but man, some people were going slowly! AIE. This went on through the first and second stretch of singletrack, and I was very happy to hit the stretch of carriage roads and be able to find my own groove and get around people as necessary. I ran with Sean for the first little stretch, but then he backed off before the first hill, and I ran alone but not alone for most of the first lap. The trails were definitely full! I felt good, and kept the pace reasonable. No sub-10:00 miles as far as I know :-) It finally got light enough to turn off my headlamp right after the first aid station, and the woods were just lovely. Also, the trails were in great shape - very dry. Although also very leaf-covered, hiding the myriad rocks and roots. I also stuck to eating every 30 minutes and stopped at both aid stations - the first was a cup of gatorade and one fig newton; the second, more gatorade and one nilla wafer. Hey, I was fulfilling my promise :-)

I got back to the field in around 2:13. Ryan was a great crew person and took my pack to restock it as I ran to the porta-potty, which made it a bit of a long stop, but hey I didn't have to poop in the woods, so I am happy to have wasted a few minutes :-) A quick gulp of Gatorade and one chip ;), and I was off at in around 2:17.

Lap #2:

As I headed out, Sean was headed in. Not far behind at all! The second lap went relatively smoothly. There was a lot more room on the trails and it was light out too the whole time, which made it much easier. This was my quickest lap, and there's not much to say about it, except that I felt pretty good, was eating on time, and stopped at both aid stations. The only issue that was starting to show it's face by the time I got back to the start/finish at the end of the loop was that my gag reflux issue began to surface right around the final time I took a gu on lap #2. My stomach wasn't feeling bad, but I was starting to have trouble getting the fuel from my mouth to my stomach - things just seem to get caught up in my throat. Not quite sure why that is. It doesn't seem to matter the food - real food, sweet treats, salty chips, gels, chews. It's all the same. I also got that way with HEED and later with Nuun. Switched this training cycle to plain old water and that definitely helped though, both with hydrating and getting the food down for as long as I am able.

Lap #3:

At the start/finish area, saw Sean headed in as I was headed out, and also picked up my first pacer of the day - Amy! Hurray! We headed out at 4:33 according to Ryan, and had a great time catching up. Amy did a great job reminding me to eat and drink and keeping me entertained for the first half of the loop. After that, I sort of just put my head down and ran. I didn't have the energy to talk, but I was more than happy for her company. It was awesome to have her out there with me, especially after she hurt her foot at TARC a few weeks ago. I am so glad it worked out!

I imagined this lap to be the toughest, and in part it was. I was getting a bit tired, and I was also running more than I've ever run before with each step past 31 miles. We did a lot more walking on this lap, and the pace slowed, but I still feel like I held it together pretty well. I wasn't discouraged by the walking, and I wasn't discouraged by the mileage. I just wanted to keep moving. This was also the lap where I knew, for sure, that I was going to finish this damn thing. I was feeling solid, if feeling the overall effect of time/effort/miles as one might expect at this point in a long race, and despite the above gag reflux, I still managed to get down 2 gels, plus one packet of chews, although those last were spread out over a pretty big time-frame. I did discover that I could more easily get the fuel down if I walked, so that is what we did.

Could also feel on this loop that the day was indeed warming up. I was pretty well covered in salt on my neck and face throughout this lap. But we did see 3 swans on the lake along the 2nd stretch of singletrack before the 2nd aid station, so that was cool. Plus I loved how Amy loved the woods so much - it was fun to share that with her, and it truly was beautiful out there today!

Lap #4:

So happy to be back to the start/finish after lap #3, but I was also feeling fairly focused. I don't think I said or smiled much at the crew as I ran by. I just wanted to get in and out and on with it! Ryan said I headed out at 7:02, this time with my second awesome pacer of the day - Mindy! She was great. She was very positive, telling me I was running well and holding pace; reminding me gently to drink; and helping me keep moving. No stomach problems, but not much interest in food here. Also, my Garmin died somewhere before the first aid station (Boo! But it is 4 1/2 years old and doesn't owe me much), so I didn't have my alarm going off every 30 minutes. On this lap, I broke my promise to drink and eat at least one item at each aid station - I only managed a cup of coke at the first aid station, but I did get down two gels during the loop, so I'm calling that pretty good for me. The first true sign of "trouble" cropped up on this loop - I told Mindy my legs were beginning to cramp a bit somewhere between aid stations. But, it was also somewhere in that stretch where Sean and Val caught up to us and that was a boost. We ran together all four of us Trail Monsters for a while, which was just so cool. I felt so proud! But at the start of the 2nd singletrack stretch along the pond, I slowed to walk and eat my second gel, and off they went. I was sad to see them go, but so excited for Sean! He was having a great race! So much for just "finishing" :-) And then along the little loop before the 2nd aid station, I tripped and fell, and my right calf cramped up horribly. OW! I got up quickly though and walked it off before running the final hill into the aid station.

And who to my wondering eyes should appear? No, I wasn't hallucinating and seeing Santa, but I did see Ryan! I was so surprised. I told him I was cramping, so he said salt. He told Mindy to go on, so she left us with a wave to finish up the loop. I grabbed a piece of potato, dipped it in salt, and took a cup of Gatorade and said, "let's walk." We walked for a ways as I wrestled with the potato, which was GROSS by the way. Ugh! But it was salt, and it was needed. Those final 5 miles were slow. Neither of us had a Garmin so I don't know how slow, but I am sure they were. I ran whenever I could, but we had to keep stopping for me to massage my quads and the outside edge of my right calf. The cramping was definitely an issue. It was great to have Ryan with me though! I was so glad he had the chance to share some of my experience with me. Many thanks for Mindy for keeping me in the dark about the secret and not being upset to not get to run the whole loop!! Ryan caught me up on all the news, and kept telling me how great I was running. In fact, I felt like I had great energy, my legs were just betraying me. I tried to drink as much as I could. It was warm out now. We would run, stop, massage, walk, and run as soon as I felt I could again. I didn't want to get lulled into walking too much. The finish was too close. I was so frustrated, though! I couldn't believe my legs were trying to do me in. Well, I could - I was asking a lot of them, but I wanted to finish strong! Then with about 2 1/2 miles to go, my water ran out. All 40 oz. gone. Ugh! So, nothing to do but suck it up and finish. I was so thirsty. And mad at my legs. And wanted to be done! But, best of all, I was going to run 50 miles! I was doing it! This was enough to motivate me to pick up the pace as soon as we hit the top of the final hill with the turn-off to the first hill on the loop. And it felt good! The legs appreciated the change of pace, and I was psyched to be able to still run, and run strong! We picked off a few people here, and I felt like I was flying. Quite sure I wasn't, but I'm sticking with my story! And then, the jersey barrier, and the final downhill, and the turn to the field, and everyone cheering, and Sam, Irene and Dana there too, and I was all smiles. Then, boom! 50 miles! DONE! Holy sh*t! I had done it. It was a great day, and I felt like I ran a good race. Sometimes I don't know why I do these things, but the feeling of satisfaction as I crossed that line this afternoon was pretty cool.

Team Snowplug - almost to the finish! So happy!

So happy to have been able to run with some of my best friends out there today! I am honored that Amy, Mindy and Ryan agreed and chose to pace me in this race. You guys are the best! Thank you so much! I couldn't have done it without you.

It was also an awesome day for all the Trail Monsters running. Sean also finished his first 50 mile race, coming in at 9:22:xx, and George, after running 100 miles last weekend (not to mention the three 100's he ran in the past few months plus a few other races thrown in) finished the marathon in under 5:00; Tom came in in 3:5x, Bob in 3:44, Rick in just over 5:00 and Anne in 6:00 or so. So cool to have so many of us out there having good days! I love it. Not to mention, we had a great crew - Ryan cooking up pancakes and pacing, and Nathan, Mindy, Val and Amy cheering and crewing and pacing all day long.

Master Crew Chief Ryan, cooking up pancakes while we were out running

We are incredibly lucky to be friends with such a good (and crazy!) group of people - the Trail Monsters sure know how to represent and support their fellow runners at races. It really was great having everyone out there today!


We hung out for a bit while I got myself organized, and Sam gave me me her "Go Mommy" sign, and wanted hugs. I cleaned myself up with wipes - boy was I sweaty! - and hobbled over to change. I was the last one in, so the party broke up soon after, but not before a few photos :-)

Tired runner, and happy friend and pacer #1

Hugs from Sam make everything better! 

From there, we headed back to Irene and Dana's, where I gingerly played with Sam as best I could, and almost fell asleep before dinner - I was so tired and hungry. My legs went from just slightly wobbly to hurting pretty badly, so I laid on the floor and put them against the wall in the air for 10 minutes. Wow, that was painful! Sam was very sweet and make me a few crafts to make me feel better :-), and I perked up after some yummy lasagna. Luckily, Sam was tired out from the day and went to bed fairly easily so that I could come down and sit on the couch and eat a big bowl of ice cream and relax a bit. And since it's daylight saving time tonight, and I know I likely won't sleep much anyway, I'm up typing this :-) A bit long, I know, but there is so much to say, sorry, and it was a great day all-around!

Friday, November 1, 2013

T Minus 1

Well, this is it. Ran my last pre-race run today - 3 easy miles around the block on a breezy morning. The storm seems to be pushing through, and the forecast is still calling for a cloudy but precipitation-free day tomorrow - hurray!

Now all that's left to do is not go crazy with the jitters over the next 18 hours, believe in myself, my training, my pacers and Ryan as they help me through tomorrow, hope that the race gods send a little luck my way, and just go out and run!