Wednesday, July 31, 2019

End of July

It sure is feeling like summer around here. Hot and steamy, muggy and heavy. Whew! I guess if there was any month to have a down month, this was it. Only 75 miles this month, but I did hit just over 1,300 miles for the year so far during today's run, so that makes me happy!

Tuesday it was up and out into the misty foggy morning for a run along the powerlines. Feels like temp was only 64 but the humidity was 98% and the dew point was almost as high as the temp. Heavy, heavy! Two deer, four towhees calling, blueberries and raspberries and brilliant orange wood lilies amidst the greenery in the morning mist. Very pretty! (5.4 miles)

Love how the lilies rise out of the grasses

This morning was yet another muggy morning. Ran a loop around Highland Green and Canam. Saw two fawns, one deer separately, one northern flicker and had a whole lot of deer flies following me. Bzzzz! Annoying little buggers! Pretty fiery sunrise though, and a good morning to wear the Western States tank that I got in my swag bag! (6.0 miles)

So sweaty!

The legs have been feeling decent if still a bit heavy (although perhaps that is also partly due to the ridiculously steamy weather we've been having!) and now that July is done, I'll be working on building back up my mileage over the nextmonth. Ghost Train remains on tap for mid-October and while my intent when I signed up way back in January was to do the 100, I am giving myself the grace to see how things shake out over the next 6 weeks before I decide for sure what my body and mind are up for! 

Monday, July 29, 2019


Up and out on Saturday morning for a meander through the Cathance. Relatively cool but very muggy. Definitely summertime out on the trails. The river is running nicely but with much lower water levels, the grasses along the Heath are long and scratchy and the deer flies were buzzing and following along in their relentless pursuit. Still always nice to be out on the trails, even if I did decide to abort to the road for the final few miles in an attempt to avoid the deer flies! 😂 Saw one deer and a red eft crossing the sidewalk. Stopped and moved him onto the grass across the street. Always a good sighting! 😍 (7.0 miles)

Cardinal flowers blooming on the river banks


Then it was out to the coast to hang out at the Point with the McDosties for the day. Always a good time, and Sam was so happy to have time with Anne and Thistle! It was an incredibly gorgeous day too for lots of water fun, sunny and bright but cooler and with a lovely breeze right along the coastline. Ahhhh....

Such joy 😍😍

Coastal views

Getting ready for a fun ride getting pulled in the tube behind Jack's boat!


As Sam said, that was such fun, after I got over being terrified! 😆😆

The kids went out a few more times and Ryan and I stayed back with Kristen's dad and enjoyed sitting on the dock with our feet in the cold ocean water, taking in the views 

And then it was back to the pool! JUMP!

Such a fun day and we all came home sun-kissed and tired and happy! Thanks Kristen and Phil!

No running Sunday, but I did manage to cajole Ryan and Sam out of the house after lunch for a nice meander out at Wolfe's Neck State Park. Ryan was convinced it was going to be deer fly hell, but it turned out there was a lovely breeze, it was about 8 degrees cooler out at the coast and we had a lovely walk with no bugs whatsoever. We also had a chance to talk with Tamson for a bit and look through the telescope at the osprey family out on the island. Fun! (1.2 miles walked)

Right along the edge, the water was quite warm!

This is apparently the face of a 9-year old who says 'enough photos, Mom!' 😂


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Running Fun

Still recovering and not taking running too seriously or trying to do all.the.miles.

That being said, I couldn't pass up the chance on Monday to head up to Camden for a few miles in the hills! Our original plan called for us to be driving home Monday afternoon, so I had taken the day off. Sure, I could have gone into work, but that's no fun 😉😆 Instead, I headed north after dropping Sam at camp and got in a lovely 7 mile figure-8 loop up and over Bald and Cameron, enjoying the ocean views on Bald and the sun-kissed, sweet blueberries on Cameron. Felt good and so happy to be out! (7.3 miles)

Bald views

So many blueberries!

Fireweed on Cameron

Happy lady atop the hill

Coming down Sky Blue, one of the park's hidden gems

Wednesday morning, I headed out for a run on the cart paths. Saw one deer, one great blue heron, bullfrogs croaking, bright woodlilies blooming and stopped to enjoy a few handfuls of ripe blueberries along the powerlines. (5.1 miles) 

And Friday, after a year+ in the making, I finally got out on the Freeport trails with Peter for a tour! And Ryan was able to join in too. A fun morning exploring Sayles fields and across the street around Highview Road. Cool area with some lovely open fields, boulders, a pond with at least 40 frogs poking their heads out at the water's edge and a maze of trails that no one but a local could know 😀 Always good to run on new-to-me trails, and even better with good company! (6.6 miles)



We forgot a mid-run selfie, so a still-slightly sweaty but happy after-run selfie will have to do! 😃

Sunday, July 21, 2019

VT 100 Weekend

Temps and humidity were forecasted to be ridiculously high for the VT 100 weekend. But there's nothing you can do about weather except accept it and modify your expectations and be self-aware. We knew that Amy and the race crew were going above and beyond to ensure that there would be ice everywhere on course and had set up extra water stops. Worrying would really do nothing except create extra stress, so we set off Friday morning for Woodstock with the full knowledge that the weekend would be hot and extra ice and slower pacing would likely be necessary.

We met up with Irene and Dana for lunch at the South Woodstock Country Store then headed up to the house to settle in. We had rented the same place as last year, as it was in a super convenient location and also thinking it would make things a bit easier as we all knew the location and there would therefore be a little less guesswork going into the weekend. Of course, it was hot as bejesus when we arrived and also it's VT, so there was no A/C. We got the fans going and hoped for the best. And not like we'd be sleeping long on Friday night anyway 😂

Then it was off to Silver Hill to get Ryan checked in and the pacer waiver signed etc. We saw lots of people we knew and had fun chatting. We also waited in line for a yummy ice cream, because, well, ice cream! 🍦😋

Happy to be in VT!

Sam, Irene and Dana headed back to the house while Ryan and I sat through the pre-race meeting. Not a ton of new info, and pretty hot under the tent, but it was over quickly enough and we headed back to the house for dinner and relaxing out on the deck.

Pretty Bee Balm in the yard

Dinner with a view


Glorious views

Gorgeous color!

Tyler arrived as the sun was setting and we chatted for a while before heading inside. Despite trying to head to bed early but it was definitely after 9:00 pm when we fell asleep and then, the alarm went off at 2:00 am. Whose idea was this anyway?! 😴😆

I just love all our different expressions here 😂😂😂 Post-start selfie with the crew

The runners took off into the darkness at 4:00 am. It was 73 degrees. This was now the 5th time I've been at the VT 100 in the past 6 years, and I'm not sure I have ever NOT worn a jacket for the start. Crazy. We hung out at the start area and watched the sun rise and the horses take off for their ride at 5:00 am before heading back to the house to pack up for the day.

Silver Hill sunrise

View form the house as the sun rose over the hill 💗

Then it was off to Pretty House. We got there early enough to set up in a good spot and have the chance to cheer on a lot of runners before Ryan came through, right on schedule at 8:00 am. He had gone through Taftsville where he saw his parents and was looking good in both spots.

He did mention that his legs felt a bit dead when we saw him at Pretty Hill but we figured he just needed to warm up, and after an efficient crew stop he took off, looking cheerful. Temps hadn't risen much since the start but you could tell it was humid. Everyone was soaked. Ryan took the sleeves with him and had already gotten ice in his ice bandana just to keep ahead of things.

Sam, Ryan and I stopped at Teago Country Store to get breakfast sandwiches, water and snacks, and ran into Nick Tooker and Sarah in the parking lot. We chatted with them for a while and then we all took off for Stage Road.

I don't really like the newer set-up at Stage Road, as it is now, just like last year, out in the full sun in the field and you are no longer able to go around the corner in the shade to watch the runners come down the hill into the aid station. We brought out the big golf umbrella and stood/sat under it, as the sun had started to come out in full force and the heat was definitely a lot more noticeable.

Runners coming through were definitely looking a bit rougher and I know Ryan has not liked the stretch right before the aid station as it is exposed. He came in around 10:15 am, looking white as a ghost. Uh oh. We sat him down in the chair, and he immediately said he was done, saying he was feeling dizzy and wobbly and had actually sat down at one of the hoses someone had put out along the route. We got him some ice in the ice bandana and in his sleeves and shaded him with the umbrella, and talked through the options and what we could do to cool him down and keep him going. Tyler, Nick and I all talked with him, just to make sure we did what we could as a crew to let him know we believed in him and to make sure he didn't give up on himself too soon. In the end, he made the right decision, as of course heat exhaustion is nothing to play around with, and so, after about 45 minutes, we finally accepted the fact that it was over. Not what we wanted or hoped for, but sometimes you just have to do what is right for you, recognize that a finish does not define you, and live to fight another day. I had really wanted Ryan to have a good 100 this year and was so hoping it would happen, but it was just not meant to be this weekend. It was just too damn hot. Proud of Ryan's effort and attitude, and I know he still has the race he wants in him. It just needs to not be a summer ultra 😂😂

What a good kid 💓

Talking through the options

Nick trying to work his magic before the final decision to drop

In the end, the weather conditions, which apparently reached 100+ in terms of the heat index, got to a whole lot of people. In fact, looking at my Strava feed, Ryan was in the majority and certainly was not the exception to the rule for this race. So so many people dropped! Crazy, crazy weather, and only a 48% finish rate, which is highly unusual for this race. 

After we finally got things packed and Ryan into the car, we drove out to Lincoln Covered Bridge where Irene and Dana were waiting at the spectator spot and where we had a chance to tell all our Trail Monster friends in person that Ryan had dropped. Never an easy task but Ryan had a lot of support and everyone understood immediately. We have the best family and friends 💕

Then it was back to the house to get Ryan showered up, get some lunch and try to stay cool for the rest of the afternoon. We hid out in the lower level of the house where it was much cooler and then ventured out for dinner to The Worthy Kitchen, but it was incredibly hot in the restaurant and Ryan was starting to feel the heat again and have issues, so we quickly packed our food up and headed home. 

Thankfully temps did drop overnight, and we all slept well. Still in the low 70s when we woke up but with a nice breeze and comfortable out on the deck for breakfast with a view for a bit before the sun came out fully.

I had planned to pace Ryan for the final 12 miles before Bill's to the finish line, but apparently it's just not meant to be for me to get out on this course 😂 so instead, I headed out around 7:00 am for a run on the Vermont country roads from the house. Did the same loop I ran last year, with a long, steep downhill at the start and then of course, the reverse on the return 😉 Definitely felt the humidity and couldn't help but think of all the runners still out on course, battling through. I was drenched by the time I finished and more than happy to stop at the end of the driveway and pick raspberries on the steep climb back up to the house 😀 (5.1 miles)

Morning view 😍

Oh Vermont 💚

And with that, the weekend was done other than packing up, getting the house in order and hoping we would stop sweating 😂 Again, not what we were hoping for but onto new challenges and different adventures! And despite it all, we had a fun, if crazy, weekend, and Vermont sure is beautiful!

Can't close out this post without giving major props to Billy and Melissa for finishing this race. You two are badasses for sure, and I am so impressed! Congrats! Strong stuff.

Also, a HUGE thank you to Tyler for joining us on the crewing adventure and to Irene and Dana for coming up again for the weekend for extra support! And of course, to Amy and all the race volunteers for being out there and making this race happen! Despite it not going the way we wanted for Ryan, it was still a fun weekend and we love this event! So many great people!!