Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A snow shoe Kick

On Sunday I pulled my self out of bed to get ready to go for a snowshoe in Fox forest just across the road from my house. It’s cold out, low twenty’s. But the forecast is for the temps to rise fast today. I shuffle around for breakfast, morning chores and gather my equipment. I final head out side around 8am. I try to set my poor mans GPS(pedometer) to my snow shoe stride.

At 8:30 the sun is shinning bright as I scramble up the snow bank across the road from my house and plunge into 10 inches of snow on the other side. I take a few steps and quickly remember how much harder snow shoeing is then just walking. I take a deep breath and push on threw the woods that will eventually meet up with marked trail in Fox.

I trudge threw the snow breaking trail. There is a crust on the snow that I break threw with a loud Crunch every step. When I pull my foot forward the snow shoe toe breaks the crust again making another ripping sound. It’s quiet the ruckus as I walk on.

I’m already tired of breaking trail and can’t wait to get to the marked trail were hopefully some one has already broken the path. I need this kick in the as for so many reasons. The biggest one is I signed up for snow shoe Marathon that is only 11 weeks away. This is a great reminder how much more I need to train and work out. I haven’t really done a lick of training since my 30 mile birthday run on November 29th. I have been so unmotivated to do anything. I have been letting the troubles of world around me drag me down. All I want to do mostly is sleep. It is so easy to sleep in the morning. And at night come home eat and sleep.

I reach the marked trail and find that no one has broken it yet. I’m a little bummed but also grateful for extra work out that I get from breaking trail. I continue a long up hill climb. At the top I try to run a little bit, still breaking trail, it doesn’t feel too bad but I only run for about 200ft. I continue breaking a lot of trail. And were I don’t break trail only one or two people have been through, some with boots some with snow shoes. It’s kind of disappointing to me. Don’t get me wrong it is fun and exciting to break trail and the extra work out is really needed. But the fact that this snow has been on the ground since Wednesday and here it is Sunday, almost noon, and hardly any trails are being used is sad. This is something that people can do for free and have fun doing with friends, family, or like me by yourself. It saddens me that people are this lazy and uninterested in being outside. On the other hands it excites me a little. To know I’m better then them. Darwinism, survival of the fittest. What would happen to you if the world as you know it ended?

Ugh that being said I keep pushing on. It’s apparent as I get closer the main trail head that I’m not going to be able to hit all the trails I was planning to. I just don’t have the strength today to do it and not stop every 5 minutes to catch my breath and be miserable. It’s still bright and sunny at the trail head and I’m briefly on broken trails. But it quickly changes as I head out and I’m still breaking trail still on some of the most common trail. The clouds move in quickly and the temps rise with 30mins of leaving the main trail head.

As I break trail through the last sections the sound of the snow shoes crunching threw the snow is really wearing on me. I’m again surprised no one has been out here on one of the most common trail sections. I plug on at almost a snails pace it seems. I can feel the fatigue in my.. well pretty much all my leg muscles(hip flexors, gluts, quads, hamstrings and calves). I finally reach the home stretch and my pace picks up every so slightly. The last section will soon be logged and the trees the decorated with ribbons and paint markers. I try to enjoy now before it goes away. I get back to my trail to house and head home.

It was a real good kick in the ass. According to my pedometer I only did 4.1 miles and it took me around 4 hrs. I don’t have 26 hours to finish my race,… in 11 weeks. Training here I come again!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A 30 mile run to Celebrate my Birthday

When : Sunday November 29th
Where: My House- 293 Bog Road Hillsboro NH
What: A 30 mile run to Celebrate my Birthday(Nov. 27)
Start: 8am or 9…
How: 5 laps of about 6 miles on the around roads and trails that I have run on since moving to Hillsboro in 2001. All the laps will start and finish at my house, that of course will serve as an aid station. I’m not a fast runner and I’m just looking to finish not smash records. This will be trip down memory lane for me. And a mental struggle to keep going for 30 miles. I have done 30 mile races before but not ones that pass my house every few miles with a nice comfy coach starting at me from inside! I’m looking forward to the challenge and the Finish. I welcome anyone that wants to come out and join in for a few miles to share the journey and challenges of life.
Warning: Due to being in the Middle of Hunting Season Please Wear Bright Colors.

Lap 1: Old school 6.04 miles
These laps follow the first long run I found and did when I moved to the neighborhood. It follows the paved roads around the edge of the Village passing farms, buffalo, ponds, fields and forests. The dirt roads cut threw the village giving a look at the mix of old camp houses and newer buildings that inhabit the Village. The run also leads to a few views of Gould pond.


Lap 2: Colby Hill over the top threw Fox 5.5miles
This lap will be a good amount of up hill walking. The run winds up Colby Hill road and then on North Road passing mostly large rural farm houses and conservation land. The road will pass threw historic Hillsborough Center. Then a long paved down hill run will bring the run to Fox Forest. The old roads threw the Forest will lead past old cemeteries and long abandoned farm house cellar holes. The trails will come out of the woods just a quarter mile from the finish on lap 2. Due to being in the Middle of Hunting Season Please Wear Bright Colors for this part of the run!!

Lap 3: Farrah Marsh House Rock 6.5
This out and back follows Bog Road north past many brooks and marshes. Starting with a long climb that levels out for a long stretch along Farrah Marsh. The run will turn around at House Rock. The rock is a large erratic boulder, the size of a cottage, that sits on a slight knoll. There are tales of people having lived under the overhang. Due to being in the Middle of Hunting Season Please Wear Bright Colors for this part of the run!!

Lap 4: Old school 6.04 miles, “Backwards” 6.04miles.
These laps follow the first long run I found and did when I moved to the neighborhood. It follows the paved roads around the edge of the Village passing farms, buffalo, ponds, fields and forests. The dirt roads cut threw the village giving a look at the mix of old camp houses and newer buildings that inhabit the Village. The run also leads to a few views for Gould pond.

Lap 5: Emerlad Lake Village 6.04miles
This lap is a series of loops that follow the dirt roads threw the village giving a look at the mix of old camp houses and newer buildings that inhabit the Village. Along with glimpses of the ‘colorful’ people that live there. The run will follow the roads the go around Gould pond (emerald lake). The last 2 miles follow the paved road around more of the village before connecting back to Bog and to the Finish!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please Help With VT50K

On September 27th I’ll be attempting to run the Vermont 50K(31miles) to benefit Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport.

The race takes a great deal of time, training, and mental toughness on the runner’s part. But this pales in comparison to the determination and heart that people with disabilities show when they chose to conquer their said disabilities. There is nothing you can’t do if put your heart and mind into it

Please help to give everyone a chance to live and enjoy their dreams.

Thank you


I can take checks Made out to VASS or
Donations can be made online at:

Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports Vision:
We believe sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual.To that end, we extend an enormous thanks to our affiliates, sponsors, volunteers and partners who believe in our mission and vision, and who afford us the opportunity to bring sports and recreation to our clients’ lives.
About Vermont Adaptive
With nearly 400 active volunteers, plus generous partners and sponsors, and an amazing base of clients and friends, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports has been at the forefront of sports and recreation for those with disabilities in New England for more than 20 years. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. We promote independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational activities.

“What I remember the most is Jacob's smile! It didn't go away once and his excitement was beaming! This was the first time ever that Jacob had done an activity that he was not asking to leave or was not struggling to understand what to do. As I video taped, the tears were freezing to my cheeks! I think I was the proudest mom in the world at that moment! And at the end of his lesson he asked "can I go one more time?" This was a first for Jacob and I knew at that moment, that it was meant to be that I found Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports!....
Just being in that VASS atmosphere at PICO gave me an over whelming feeling of happiness. One that is hard to describe! I saw smiles and happiness all over the place. People in wheel chairs laughing with their instructors as they got ready to hit the slopes. Another instructor stooping down to a 5-year-olds level to ask them if they were ready to go have fun and ski. And what most people may forget.. Is these people are not getting paid to do this! They are volunteering!”

“Sailing was, without a doubt, the most awesome summer sport. Neither one of us had sailed before. Esther said when she was steering the sailboat it made her feel in control and momentarily forget about her disability. It gave us great joy to watch others steer the boat and leave their worries behind. It was almost as if everyone’s disability had vanished.”

“Karinna has a bold spirit and she thrives on adventure; she was an active participant… We’re so thankful to Vermont Adaptive’s team of caring and spirited professionals. Through your care, Karinna has been able to enjoy and join the family for canoeing, skiing and horseback riding. We all benefit from the fresh-air togetherness.”

How Dose some one attempt to run a 50K?

“Dig deep into your well of Human Potential and pull up a pail of "I CAN." Drink from the waters of your soul and your heart will carry you to places of grandeur. No it won't be easy, it might hurt.. but IT CAN BE DONE. The human body is the most amazing instrument you will EVER own. Why don't you take it out for a spin and learn what your potential REALLY is. You'll be surprised.. I promise. Human Potential is UNLIMITED, so don't be afraid to get in line and take a drink from the waters of life.” John Lacroix

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." John "The Penguin" Bingham

“Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” Dean Karnazes,

“The trick is to NOT wrap your head around it. Just go out and do it. You'd be amazed how far your legs can take you if you simply let them” Josh Robert

Saturday, July 25, 2009



Time: 1:19:30

It’s a bright sunny morning when Josh and I get to the start. I’m so excited to do this race. I haven’t done a trail race since Peak. I am more eager to do this race then the triathlon tomorrow that I have been training for. I’m not really ready to run this race. I have not been trained much at all. The thing is I’m so eager to run on trails today I don’t care how long it takes me, I just know I’m going to have fun.

The race starts and Josh quickly moves away with the main pack of runners ahead of me. I start down the trails and I’m instantly thrilled to be on the trails. But I also quickly fall to back of the pack but could care less.

I pass a couple on one of small hills right before real climb of the race begins. I cross the road and begin climbing up the hill. Up and up I hike. It’s a good climb but not as bad as the hills at Peak. It levels for a bit and I think its over but then its starts to climb again. I finally get to the water stop on the top. They offer one water cup to drink and one to dump over the head, since it is so hot out. I say no thanks and run off into the woods again. The single track weaves threw the woods at the top of the mountain. Occasionally passing by over grown swamps filled with dead trees. These type of swamps always creep me out. I haven’t seen anyone in a long time but I don’t mind, I’m having a great time on the trails.

Finally the trails pops back out onto the grassy snowmobile trail. I run to the second water station. The two guys at the water stations seem to be in good spirits and happy to be there. I know I’m one of the last runners and I’m grateful for the friendliness and encouragement.

The trail is steadily going down. Starting out grassy then turning to the woods with a few water crossing thrown in. As I get closer to road, I see Josh ahead on the trail waiting for me. He has already finished and has come out to run with me to the end. He tells me I look great and happy. I do. I’m smiling and running high. I’m so glad I ran this race. We cross the road again and Josh pulls me along the last short trail section. Finally the finish line.

What a blast! The trails at this race were fantastic. I don’t care if I’m tired for tomorrow triathlon this trail race was worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Skip Matthews Memorial 4mile run

Skip Matthews Memorial 4mile run
Hanover NH
Time: 44:46

My Dad and I wait for the race to start in the light misty rain. I’m running on my own this year. I know I can do 40 minutes but with out someone there to push me on it will be hard. I get a hug from Dad and head to start line. The rain has let up for the most part.

The single is giving and we start down the streets of Hanover and head onto to the rails to trails path. It’s a crowded race. I plug along trying to maintain a good pace. I weave around the slower runners for the first half mile. Now I am mostly getting passed and it’s a little frustrating. Then around one and half miles I noticed the runners have spread out and I’m slowly catching people. I cross over two wooden bridges and enjoy the view and sound of the rushing water.

I get to the two mile mark and turn onto the paved road. I keep pushing on and soon come to the wooden covered bridge were a band is playing Susa music. I try to use the beat of the music to move me a bit faster. Right after the bridge the big hill of race starts. I see people ahead of me. I want to catch them. I begin to jog up the hill, but my prey keeps ahead of me. I’m pleased that I just ran the hill. Now it’s time for some good downhill running. Again I try to pick up the pace on the down hill but I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Eventfully I do catch a few runners before the course turns back on to the rail trail.

I can feel my energy waning. I know the end is near but I can’t see it yet and it’s bringing me down. After what feels like many mile I finally see the end of trail and roads leading back to the finish line. When I get on the road I feel some energy coming back. As I near the last corner I begin to kick it a bit. I start to catch an older gentleman ahead me. I kick it in more and pass him around the last corner and home stretch to the finish line. I almost hesitated passing him when I saw his hat. It was exactly like mine. A 2009 VA Beach ½ marathon hat!

As soon as I run across the finish line and go threw the finish shoot I turn around to look for him. But he is gone back out on the course to meet up with some one that was behind him. I go and find Dad. He gives me a hug for a job well done and we head over to post race BBQ to enjoy some food together on another great Fathers Day run.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peak 10mile Hell Run

Peak 10mile Hell Run
Pittsfield VT
Time: 2:24:10

We gather at the start. It’s small group of us trying the 10 mile Hell Run. A lot of us seem a little nervous. I’m not afraid of distances or the climbs, I know I can get to the finish line. What my worry is, is my injury from last fall. This race is going to be a test to see how my leg holds up. I haven’t had any issues recently so I have high hopes that it will hold up and not relapse. If it does goes well this will be a great training run to start the season with. I see other run unsure if they want to bother carrying water or not. I’m surprised by the amount of people that choose not to. I have my water belt and I know I will use it. It’s a warm day and its only going to get hotter, especially with all the hill climbing.

The RD gives the signal to go and we head quickly across the open grassy field. Why do we always have to start so fast? I try to keep up with the main pack the best I can. We head into the woods and onto the snowmobile trails and start to head up the hill. I’m still trying to run and finally start to walk and instead of killing myself. It’s early in the race, no point in using all the gas in the first half mile.

The trail gets steeper and steeper and always up. No downs or flats. I trudge on and refuse to stop moving forward up the hills. I will not stop to rest on the uphill. I keep telling my self this, its almost like a mantra. I pass a gentleman in cargo pants huffy and puffy and having a drink from his Poland’s spring water bottle. Up some more and I am slowly catching a girl ahead of me with no water. I offer her some water as I pass her and she smiles and says no thanks.

Finally the trail levels out a bit. The top is near. Then there is large tree across the trail. …Really? I actually come to a stop to look at the tree for a minute. What makes this tree difficult is the fact that you have to crawl under it or climb over it. Not to hard for me right now but I think of the tired 54 miler racers coming up to tree, pausing and swearing. But it’s not unexpected to find strange challenges at this race.

I crawl under the tree and continue on to the top of Joes Mnt. I feel great seeing the view and breeze. I run off of Joe’s and into an amazing labyrinth of evergreens and tight switch backs. I’m riding on a great runner high now. I’m loving the down hill grade threw this maze of dense trees. But all to soon the evergreens fall away and give way to larger snowmobile trails of switch backs still leading mostly down. I hear voices and eventually see some people on the trail below me on the trail. I’m I going to catch them? I few turns later I realize they are way ahead of me.

The trail dumps me out onto a dirt road and starts to climb to the only aid station. I head into the aid station and I’m greeted by a lack luster group of people. I could tell they had too many beers already. No one offered any aid or encouragement. I fill my water bottle. Have some water and take some chips and headed out. I head up the dirt road and the girl that I past a while back jogs by me. Drat these people the run the hills...

I head back into labyrinth of snowmobile trails go up more hills. Following switchbacks threw over grown bramble bushes. I can hear and or see people but I can’t tell exactly were they are on the course. The bushes give way to woods and the trail levels off. I begin to run again as the trail is mostly down with steep up hills thrown in. Threw this section I’m leap frogging with a girl. I keep catching her on the uphill climbs when I refuse to stop and she catches me on the flats and down hills. This goes on for awhile. The end must be getting close. As I run the steep downhills, I wonder how the 50milers manage to runs theses downs with their tired quads.

I have lost sight of the girl have been leap frogging with, she is some where ahead of me. I look at the time, I must be close to the bottom and the end. Then F*, there it is. I was warned there was a big steep long up hill just when you thought were close to being done. I put my head down and slowly trudge up the hill. I catch a glimpse of my frog girl up near the top. By the time I get to the top she is gone. I start to run again down the trails and finally see the river then the bridge that leads to the finish.

I happily run across the bridge and plug up the last knolls and finally around the barn and across the finish line. I get my own unique Peak award, a black-smithed nail spike welded to a metal base. I’m very happy because my leg didn’t act up all! Now to move onto the next best thing… Post race BBQ foody goodness.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Muddy Moose 4 miler


Muddy Moose 4 miler

Wolfeboro NH
Bib: 550 Time: 52:54 Pace: 13:13

It’s a rather warm April morning as we gather at the start. I was hoping to try the 14 miler this year but I have had set backs with my bum let leg. Maybe next year… Josh and I share a kiss and good luck wishes and he joins up with John and his other running friends. I’m excited that two new friends are joining us this year. Dustin, our friend since back in college and Sara, John’s fiancĂ©. This is the first trail race for both of them. As we shift around at the start I loose sight of everyone and soon the start single is given.

We start out running down paved road by the ball fields then down the pack dirt road by the golf course before turning onto the trails in the woods. It’s a hot and I’m already breathing heavy trying to keep up with the main running pack. I quickly loose ground on most of the runners and fall to back third of the group. I look around for Sara and assume she is somewhere up ahead of me.

The mud puddles along the trail are well trampled and a mess by all the runners ahead me. I jog along trying my best to stay out of worst of it. It’s early in and I all ready feel hot and tired. I’m so glad I am running with a water belt and make good use of it. There is hardly anyone left around me. But I track down three runners ahead of me to begin to them chase down. After leap frog with 2 of them, I finally pull ahead them on the last climbs before the 2 mile mark.

I know I’m close to the turn around because the lead runners are coming back down the trail on their way to the finish. Its always impressive seeing these guys sprinting toward the finish. It is a trail race and the winner will still finish in less than 30 minutes. I would be thrilled and amazed with 45 minute finish.

Ugh it’s hot. I grab some water at the 2 mile aid station, one cup to drink and one to pour over my head. Again I wonder if I will catch up to Sara as I head up the road. I hate the heat. It’s not even that hot but it’s the hottest day yet this year and its draining me. I force my self into a run as we make our way along an easy road section. I make the sharp right turn and begin a paved down hill run that leads back to woods. I see people ahead of me and behind me. I try to pick up my pace to reel in the runners in front me but they are also using the downhill well, I can’t gain on them at all. I turn onto the trail and feel pretty good. It’s the home stretch. I notice a gentleman ahead of me that I’m slowly gaining on. By the time we get to a good muddy water section I’m edging to find a way around him. He begins to carefully go around the edge of the mucky water and I run right threw it and pass him. He continues to fall back as I continue on.

I hit a wall as I begin climbing some hills. I know it’s mostly flat and down hill once a get up them, but getting up them feels like a death march. The only thing that keeps me moving is I hear some girls somewhere behind me chatting. I look back but I can’t see them, but they are back there somewhere and I don’t want them to pass me.

My mood is better. I jog down the hills and dance around and threw the muddy torn up trail. I see another guy head of me. He looks tired and is mostly picky his way around the worst of the mud holes. I quickly catch up to him and I decided to run threw the mud to pass him. As I run threw the mud I stumble and almost take a header into the mud. I recover and pass the guy and continue on. I laugh because every year I stumble at some point going threw these last few muddle puddles.

The trail levels to the last section. I’m back on the golf cart road. I don’t have the energy to jog up the last hills and power walk the best I can. I get to top where it turns back to pavement. I see two girls up head. I kick it the best I can in this heat. But there are too far ahead for me to catch them. I keep up the pace and finish strong.

I see the time and I’m little bummed that it is slower then last year. But I’m not too surprised because of heat and my training has been light due to my leg. A good note is my leg did not bother me at all during the run and gives me hope for the racing season. I find that Dustin is long done and had great time. A few minutes later I find Sara and find out she actually was behind me the whole time. She is very excited that she finished and has me take a picture of her muddy legs and shoes. We all hang out at the finish waiting for the rest of our friends running the 14 miler to finish.

Monday, March 23, 2009

VA Beach Shamrock ½ Marthon


VA Beach Shamrock ½ Marthon

Bib:11585 Time: 2:48:25 Pace: 12:50

I’m up early getting ready for my race while Josh continues to doze in bed, the full marathon start an hour after the half starts. I’m nervous and going threw my stuff again and again. I’m double checking my clothing, supplies and other prep. How much to wear? Its cool now, but it’s also sunny and will warm up a little and I’ll be running… I plan on carrying a small water bottle in one hand and camera in the other. I munch on some food the best I can, waiting to head to the start.

Josh gets up and we finally head down to the start together. As we leave the room we look out the windows and can see the crowd of runners outside lining up for the start. Another huge race, as expected. We walk over and find our way to the general coral area for my expected running speed. I’m very nervous and try my best to smile. As the start nears I give Josh my hat and gloves. I know I will be warm enough soon as I get moving. We share a kiss and hug and he gives me assurance and tells me I’ll do great.

The start single goes off and the mass of people starts to crawl forward. I feel a bit lost with out Josh here with me but know I’ll be fine. There is no running for now, just a slow walk towards the electric timer at the start. I snap a picture of the start banner and the mass of people ahead of me as I get close to it, with the disposable camera that I’m running with.(unfortunately almost all the pics came out a bit blurry at best). I get threw the start gate and begin trying to weave threw the crowd of runners and walkers to find some room to run.

I finally settle into a run. But I’m not happy at all. I’m not even two miles in and my leg is hurting. What I’m going to do? Can I run the whole race like this? I keep trying to adjust my stride and foot strike to find something that works. But nothing really seems to help as I push on.

The sun is coming up more and we are blasted with sun each time we pass a street block. I’m glad I brought my sunglass I will defiantly need them. I try to distract my self by looking at the crowds of spectators out watching us runners. There are people with signs, dressed in costumes, cheering, some just stand there quietly watching, some are even drinking beer this early in the morning.

The miles tick by very slowly. I come to the first big water station. But what’s this? A little side station is handing out beer to the runners. It’s so tempting, the thought of the beer numbing my bad leg. But I know beer wouldn’t be a good a choice in the end. How about a bathroom break instead? ‘Sweet Jesus!!” I think, “Look at the lines at the porta pottys!’, well scratch that idea. I don’t need water so onward I go.

I city starts to drop away and more of a woody country feel surrounds the road as I continue on. I’m finding that if I maintain a good even stride and keep focused on my runnin for the most part the discomfort in my leg is little more manageable. I’m feeling a bit better at getting threw this and I’m enjoying the race more. I eve’s drop on the convo’s around me to pass the time. I smile as I see people disappearing into the woods along the road to relieve themselves. I consider it but I’m not feeling that desperate yet. Some one has stuck little signs along the road in this section with interesting facts, jokes and quotes, making the time pass a little more quickly.

We runners come across a water station, fully stocked with cups and Gatorade coolers, but no water…? They had yet to get some one to bring water out to them. I was fine, that’s why I like running with my water bottle. I continued on down the road. Next I start to hear music. Then I can make out a little stage up ahead on the road. What a sweet relief and mood lifter. A live band playing classic rock tunes in the middle of race, love it!

The corner to the halfway point toward the fort looms ahead. My pace drops going around the banked corner. I wince. My teeth grind as I clench my jaw. My leg hurts bad, it’s crippling, I’m not sure what to do with it. I hopple to fast walk for a bit coming off the corner and down the road, this hurts more then running… Limping doesn’t help at all either. Running it is then. I force my legs to run again. I gather my stride take some deep breathes and manage to get things under control again. Just in time for the next water stop it seems. There are a few pit toilets here but also lines. I slow again to grab some water and body tenses up as my leg rebels. And then force my self to a run again…

I continue on, it’s the home stretch from here on out I tell myself. The land opens up more to fields and, best of all, the ocean comes into view on my left. Oh what a beautiful day. I see the light house ahead and nearby a porta potty for tourist with very short line. Sold! I take care of business and hit the road again. With that off my mind my mood improves. I take some salt tabs, advil, and munch on some shot blocks to keep me moving to the end. I finally come out the fort and back onto city streets.

I run past the beer station again and again I’m oh so tempted! But I know it would only come right back up at this point. I can see the city blocks again. The lead marathon runners start to run by us in the opposite direction starting the second half of their run. We cheer them on, but most of them seem too serious and focused on their run to notice us. I try to pick up the pace, the end is near. But I’m tired and loosing track of the miles per say, there are mile markers for both races and for some reason its throwing me off.

My leg is throbbing. I try to keep my stride, pace and foot fall steady and even. My knees are shot at this point and ache from the miles of pavement running. My feet are hot and tender from the miles. My leg muscles are numb, tired and sore. But the end is near and I push the pace down the Atlantic Ave, past the grand hotels. Any time now the course will turn left onto the board walk, it has to be soon… please…?

Finally the turn and onto the board walk! I run along the board walk by the ocean and I can see Neptune statue that is the finish. I come upon a group of girls and a guy. The spectators start to egg the guy on “Don’t let those girls beat you!” his response “They can have it!”

I feel myself kick it just a bit more and run strong across the finish line. I’m thrilled to be done and proud that was able to stick it out for the whole run. But almost fall a couple times as I come to a stop and my leg doesn’t want to move any more. I manage to coax it and tell it walking is a good thing and it agrees. I claim my ½ marathon metal and an awesome tec wick hat that I will wear proudly at any race I can. I snag some water and banana before breaking free of the crowd.

My finish time was great considering my handicap, pretty much right were I predicted it to be. I couldn’t be happier except for one thing. For Josh to finish his race and be here with me! So let the anticipation begin!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

VA Beach Shamrock 8K


VA Beach Shamrock 8K
Bib: 5749 Time:54:56 Pace:11.03

As Josh and I make our way down to the start I’m nervous. It’s a cool but bright sunny March morning and I hope I’m wearing the right amount of layers. We both have on our Team Robert shirts on for our 4 race of the year. There are people every where. It’s the biggest race I have every seen. We can see the start banner hanging a few blocks away but there was no point of moving forward towards it, as the crowd around us are all people lined up to start the race. As we looked around there are many different characters about us. Many people are in costumes and there are all different kinds of clothing. There are kids to seniors, and twigs to clydesdales. There sure won’t be any lack of stuff to look at while running.

The single to start goes off and we sprint off down the road…. at a slow walk. The crowd is way too big and there is a bottle neck to threw the electric timer at the start line. We cross the start line and finally manage to break into slow trot as we weave our way threw the crowds trying to find room to run down Atlantic Ave. It’s great to be passing people this early in a race!

Josh is eager to run and weaves off faster then me. I keep loosing him and can’t run fast enough to keep up. I have my big race tomorrow, the Shamrock ½ marathon. It will be my longest run since September when I first hurt my leg. Speaking of… is it in my head or is my leg really starting to act up? It kind of feels like it... It’s been fine for awhile leading up to March. But these last few days I swear I could feel dull ache in that area. But I blamed it on my nervousness of doing these races.

I’m frustrated that I have lost sight Josh. Is he going to leave me behind? I breathe. Just relax. I’m still passing a lot of people and I love that, even if a lot of the people I pass are just walkers. I go back to people watching. It’s so much fun and my mood lightens again. Josh is back now to! He mentions something about pace not being good, to slow, as we pass a mile maker clock. ‘Dude! A 11 to 12 minute mile is a great pace for me!” I think in my head.

As we round the corner onto the boardwalk and my heart jumps a little. I can see ocean now and that makes me even happier. But it has become clear that my leg is acting up, it isn’t just in my head. I tell Josh, I don’t want to whine but I want him to try to understand why I’m not trying my best. I try to focus and relax, don’t get frazzled. Breath in, breath out, left foot, right foot.

As we run up the boardwalk the crowd is starting to thin finally, if you can call it that. Josh is enjoying the people watching too. And is pointing out and reading out people’s t-shirts. One of my favorites is “I’m part of a drinking club with a running problem” It’s a good reminder that there is sweet delicious free beer at the end of the race! We run pass a few kids holding out their hands for high fives. We slap their hands as we run by making everyone smile even more. As we turn off the board walk back onto Atlantic Ave for a bit, some girls yell out “Go Loni!’ It is kind of exciting have someone cheer me on like they know me, who cares if they are just reading my number bib.

As we go up Atlantic Ave it feels like we going up a hill. I try to pick up the pace despite my leg, I know the end it near. We turn back onto the board walk and I can see the finish up a head. I try to kick it the best I can for this last stretch. Josh suggests finishing holding hands, I agree in a heart beat. We hold hands as we run towards the end. We have to let go at least once as we run around people. But we cross hand in hand. I’m thrilled and out of breath. We share a kiss and hug as we make our way down the finish shoot. We get our awesome metals and other race goodies. Another great race for Team Robert! Now what will tomorrow bring??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wild Rover Race #3

Hynes 5 Mile Run 3/8/09
It’s an amazing day for a Wild Rover race. Its sunny and a little mild, compared to the wind and snow a week before. But there is a still a cool breeze blowing to remind us that is it is still an early spring day. Josh is sore and I’m proud that he is here. The day before he just completed a 52 mile snow run/ snowshoe marthon(see here for details). It is his best ever early run of the year and I’m awed by him and his fellows runners that finished the 52 miles. I think to myself this might be the race that I will get to encourage and pull him along like he has done for me so many times.

We do the normal race prep of retrieving our numbers, check our gear and attemp a few stretches while enjoying the sun. I’m tempted to leave my light pull over behind but the breeze is too chilly for me. We wander to the start and hear the announcer explaining the timing chips and gun times. The stupidity of it all is the winners will be based on gun time and not chip time… What!! Wtf is the point of wearing the chips then… ahg… Where shake our heads and wonder what conflicts will come about at the end of the race. We make our way to the mid back of pack and antsiely wait for the start of the race.

The gun sounds and we slowly make our way to the start of the race. We finally get threw the start gate and can start to jog and get around people. I mention to Josh that one of the biggest challenges of this race is it starts up a small hill and I know that end is also up hill. It’s a bit of mental battle to think about the up hill at the end. He laughs and says its great. Its clear from the start that Josh will still be leading me along in this race. He is endless in his endurance this weekend and seems to feed off the challenge of helping me along. I’m very gratefully for it and if I feel like shit at times during the race.

Very soon in the race it starts to get warm. Really warm. I shed my pull over first. As I continue on its is apparent that I’m still going to feel too hot. I sigh and begin to plan how to strip out of my under-armor that is under my t-shirt without flashing to much of the world. I have Josh hold my waterbottle and proceed to snake out of my clothes. Once done I feel much better and we continue on to the first water stop. We pass it up since we are both carrying water. I soon regret it as the warm spring day is making it a hot run. Then just ahead is a bonus water stop sponsored by Remax! I gladly grab a cup as we run by.

We are still going along ok and passing people. But it is hot to me and I’m struggling with it. We see the front runners on the opposite bridge and muse over the fast pace they are running compared to mine. We head up the hills at the half way point. I want to walk. Josh calls me on. No more hills he says. I say there is hills until the water tower. I take a deep breath and lighten my step and mood as much as I can. It’s a beautiful day and there is happy people all around. I make it to the top. I tell my self it’s all down and flat for a while now. I keep a good pace going and feel great and continue to pass by people.

The home stretch is here and car traffic is all sorts of backed up and stopped this year. Sucks to be them. Down a hill and up a hill we push on. Josh encouraging me to go faster! Damn the end isn’t as close as I thought. I hope I can maintain for just a bit longer. Up and down the end hills And a bit more. Finally the end is in sight. I have just enough to give a little kick at the end. We cross the finish, some one says congrats Team Robert. It makes me smile. Ugh I feel nauseous but great. We get out medals, it’s that biggest of the three. The two other medals can hook onto it. We wonder right from the finish to the long beer line. We grabbed our two allotted beer and find a seat on the ground. I’m thrilled that I did so well. And I really feel my hard training since the race a week before really helped. I’m amused that Josh showed no discomfort during the race and just coached me along the whole time. He was as supportive and inspirational as always. Knowing that I can always be pushed further than I think. After the beer we grabbed some soup and headed home.
Time: 52:22 (PR)

Wild Rover Race #2

Drinking the night before a race is never good. I wake up not feeling so well. I get up and get dress and wait for Josh to wake and get ready. As we get ready our friend Dustin makes us a great hang over breakfast. We quickly chow down and head out. There is dusting of snow on the ground and more falling as we drive to the race. We drive around a bit looking for a spot to park and Josh is a little frustrated with my inability to point out and decide on a spot to park. We finally park and hurry off to the Claddagh Pub to register. We skirt threw the crowds and grab our stuff and quickly head back to the car.

We get the last of our stuff together. It’s cold and still snowing as I fumble with my stuff to get ready. Josh is frustrated that I forgot my gloves and head band but lends me his since he had extra gloves and toque. We finally head off to start after much delay on my part. Josh mumble and banters about me not being trained… not prepared… imbecile… can’t figure out why I race.

We make our way to the back of the runners waiting to start. It’s still snowing and a little wind is blowing. I’m cold in general but my toes are the worst, always have been. I stretch and try to jump around it bit but doesn’t help much. Josh looks content, comfortable and smug just standing there waiting for the start. Most likely hot from the frustrations he feels toward me. Finally the gun sounds and the mass of runners begins to move forward slowly.

I jog along trying to get my body to warm up. My feet hurt and I’m in a mental low. Just trying to breathe in and breathe out and get moving. Josh is ahead a bit. He comes back a bit and calls back saying I’m going to slow only 15 maybe 14 minute miles. I’m frustrated it feels like I’m doing better then that and feel like I can’t go any faster. We pass the first mile marker in 11 minutes, I guess I wasn’t going that slow after all.

Josh is off ahead a bit just in sight. I plod along. I feel winded and cold for the most part and my feet are still cold and numb. We start heading up the hills and Josh hangs back for me. He asks how I’m doing. I say I’m doing ok. His reply is I’m not trying hard enough, I’m going to slow up the hills only 14 min miles. We get to the steep hill. It’s not very long but I can’t run it. I’m trying to power walk it the best I can. Josh is telling me faster longer strides… going to slow. We crest the top past the water station and over the last hump and start down the steep hill past the 2 mile mark. I’m still holding onto 11 minute miles despite Josh’s predictions.

I try my best to use the steep down hill to my advantage but I’m also nervous of slipping. We reach the more gradual down hills and I use them as best as I can. I’m finally feel better. I know I’m in the last long stretch. I can finally feel my feet again. I’m warm enough I can take off my gloves finally. Josh offers to take my gloves. He takes them and then moves ahead of me and calls me on to catch up. My knees are just starting to hurt a bit. I push on and we pass the 3 mile mark still holding 11 minute miles.

I move on as fast as I feel comfortable in the last mile. My knees are starting hurt more and my calf is starting to feel a little tight in my recovering leg. The front of me is feeling cold. Josh is trying to get me to pick up the pace running just ahead of me and calling me on. I have a mental block about pushing to hard to soon before the end since last stretch actually goes past the bar and finish and then around the block then to the finish. We are still catching people and passing but also being passed. I can deal with knee pain but the calf is getting me nervous but I push on. I just want to be done.

Finally we pass the front of the bar and I’m feeling better, the end is so close. Only three corners left and I know my legs can handle it. One corner down. We run around an ambulance parked in the road and make our way toward the second corner. Excitement and energy build up as we come around the second corner. My pace and stride increase as we near the third corner. No one else is able to catch us and I know some were trying. We round the third corner and I but in every thing I had left and cross the finish for a great time and another race PR! Again thanks to Josh dragging me along.

My knees are sore. We grab out medals and some water and skip the after race party to head back to the car. We get in the car and head for home my knees are already feeling better but I feel a little post race nausea….

Claddagh Pub Classic 4 Mile Run
Gun Time 44:11:00
Last year 47:59

Wild Rover Race #1

As Josh and I dress that morning we both don the Team Robert shirts for the first time together. I wear what I did last year: long sleeve Warm Gear Under Armor top, a short sleeve tech shirt over that and a ¼ zip light weight long sleeve tech shirt on top. The bottom consists of Under Armor warm gear tights and generic wind pants. For my feet Darn Tough socks and Brooks shoes. I also have my purple head band and Under Armor running gloves and hand held gel flask for water.

We make it to the race location in Haverhill, Mass. with plenty of time. We found a decent parking space right in front of the race start and finish. We pick up our Numbers form .P. McBride's Irish Pub and walk back to the car. We pin on our numbers and fiddle with the D chip disposable timing chips on our shoes. I munch on some cliff shot blocks black cherry and down some Excedrin to keep down any inflammation in my recovering leg. Both have a placebo effect on me more then anything but I need it. My nerves are getting to me. I’m worried how everything will go during the race. Josh laughs and reminds me I didn’t run 20 miles last night like he did. We decide to gather at the start with the growing mass of runners. We wanted to start with just our Team Robert shirts on but after a few minutes of standing in the dreary cold weather we decide we really do need a top layer. After putting on a top layer a few raindrops started to fall as we waited for the start.
We start at the sound of the gun and hang at the back of the mass of runners. I enjoy the slow gradual warm up as the mass of runners winds it way threw the city streets. I feel pretty good as we cross the bridge and hop up on the side walk to get around some runners. Josh smiles and says I’m doing awesome so far and to keep it up.

We get to the one hill of the course. It’s long one to me. In all my pre-race thoughts I had figured I would be walking the hill. But Josh has other ideas. ‘Coming on you can do it... You are doing great…. Quick small steps,… quick small steps…. That’s it, keep going….” All the way to the top of the hill. Once at the top Josh asks how I’m doing. I think I answer alright… at best. I can’t breathe any more. I feel nauseous. I haven’t done enough aerobic exercise in my training. Or training in general for the mater. My recovering leg has the smallest bit of discomfort and I don’t want to push any harder on it.

We start to head down the hills. Josh says to relax my body and use the hills. I do my best. My body is recovering form the uphill and is happy to be going down. Until my curse returns. The curse of getting side stitches when I’m running down hills. It doesn’t have a chance to get horrible this time around. But it is so annoying.
After getting off the hills I try my best to maintain a good steady pace. Josh is beside me encouraging me on, “you are doing great,… Chase more people down.”
As we are crossing the bridge in the last stretch we jump to side walk and manage to get around some more people.

The end is getting closer. I want to run harder and catch the people walking ahead. But I know it is still too soon for me to push it.
Josh is saying ‘pick off people one by one... chase’em down” I can tell he is eager to kick it to the end. But I know if I try now I will burn before the end.
Around the last corner and under the bridge we come at my fastest maintainable pace. I feel nauseous but I know the end is so close.
I finally start to kick it a little faster to get around the stupid car driving on the race side of the road in the final stretch. Then sprint a few steps around a person. The end is ahead I extend my strides as much as I can and start a faster pace for last few feet of the race. Threw the finish we run side by side. I’m thrilled, its way better time then what predicted and a race PR and my leg held up great! I couldn’t have done it with out Josh pulling me along.

We funnel down the finish shoot Josh is proud of me and gives me hug and a kiss. I’m in a daze. We get our medals. I just want open space. I want to be able to breath and nausea to go away. We find a less crowded space and I catch my breath and enjoy some chili and beef stew before we head for home.

2nd Frozen Shamrock 3 Mile Run
Time: 31:23:00 Gun Time
Last year 33:47

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jan 31 2009 Snowshoe

The first thing we notice as we pull into the parking lot at Miller Sate Park is all the ice damage on all the trees. A majority of the tree tops are broken. We gather our stuff from the car and snap on our snowshoes. Its great day without a cloud in sight and the sun is reflecting blindingly off the snow. Josh is bit surprised at the temperature and wind, it’s a bit colder then he thought it would be. We start out toward the kiosk and trail heads. Josh asks which trail and I say either the road or Marion Davis trail(1.6miles). He mentions the Wapack trail and I say I’m not in the mood to try to climb up and over rocks with snow shoes.

In reality I did want to try but I’m still a bit gun shy about hurting my leg again. And the fact that I’m not in the best shape would make that trail quiet the challenge. I just want to be able to hike today and work my legs a bit. I don’t want to push to extreme limits, just test my leg out and build up some strength by snowshoeing up this small mountain. I have a long ways to go if I’m going run races safely this year and I want to use this hike as a way to help build up some base strength. I know Josh will be a little bored since it won’t be much of a challenge for him and he will be waiting for me and I hope he doesn’t mind and doesn’t go nuts.

As we start out I almost immediately notice my boots are rubbing up and down on my heels. I have always have had problems finding foot-wear to wear snowshoeing that doesn’t give me blisters on my heels. I stop to retie my boots tighter in hopes that will stop the problem as Josh waits antsyly next to me. We head out again and my boots feel much better. Josh jokes as we cross a half frozen stream that I will trip and fall in. No such luck as we easily cross it. I do I have fear of crossing ice, and frozen streams and swampy areas in the winter because I don’t know exactly what is under me. I’m afraid of falling threw into the unknown. At least I’m braver on snowshoes because of the increased surface area they give.

We start the steady gentle climb up the mountain. Marion trail is a rolling up hill climb. With occasional down hill sections and a few short steep climbs but it is all doable on snowshoes. As we hike we admire the snow and sunshine on this brisk day. We continually look around at all the broken trees from the ice storm. Amazed at how some of them have been, twisted, snapped and splintered by the power of nature.

As we get closer to the top, climbing up the steep sections is slower for me as my calves began to tire and burn more. The snow is broken up into loose chunks in the steep sections making it a bit slippery. At each step I make sure the cleats on my snowshoes are dug in so I don’t slid backwards. But I have no pain were my injury was so I’m happy to keep going.

I stop to rest every once in awhile and to breathe in the fresh cold air and take in natures winter beauty all around me. As we get near the top a thin coating of ice is on the trees. The top branches shimmer and sparkle in the sun against the bright blue sky.

At the top finally we enjoy the views and walking around on the icy crust of the snow. There is a thick icy snow coating on the trees that creates an amazing icy winter wonderland. We don’t stick around to long and started down the road(1.4 to bottom) to get out of the brisk winds at the top. A ways down the road we stop so Josh can take a picture of me on a bump out on the side of road with a beautiful view in the back ground. I walk across the top of the ice crusted snow with my snowshoes and stand on the bump for a picture. Then a second later my left foot broke through the crust and I sink in up to my thigh. After struggling a bit and getting out of the hole we find out the bump is a snow covered tree/shrub.

We continued down to the bottom. It is a colder now that we are not working as hard as we were getting up the mountain. At the bottom we cut off the last tiny bit of road to detour onto a short section of the Wapack trail to the start of the trail heads and kiosk to complete our 3 mile hike.

Back at the cars we load up and jump in happy to be out of the wind. But it is delayed a bit as Josh’s car gets stuck in the snow. A truck parked a little close to us and he can’t back straight out. But with Josh’s determination and skills he soon has the car unstuck and as a bonus nicely warmed up and we head home.

I had a great time. It was great weather for a winter hike. Sun was out, the winds were tolerable. Plenty of natures winter beauty. Company of great encouraging boyfriend and my leg didn’t bother me. It was a good day!