Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another B-day in the Books, On to the next!

I set out on my Birthday run with much doubt on how I would feel or if I would finish. I intentionally did not drink the night before after last year’s nauseating experience. I was apprehensive of my lack training and nursing over-use injuries from running the Stonecat Marathon. So to say the least I felt like a ticking time bomb. But I wanted to show I could still run, that another hash mark on my wall didn’t mean I was slowing down. So I set out this morning with Josh, my running idle from the very start, and Leah(riding a bike… she to is battling overuse injuries).

We finished the first 5.2 miles in good spirits. I felt better than I thought I would, little aches and pains but nothing big. We ran by my favorite marsh and there was even a flock of geese and ducks there to see as we ran by.

Leah ducked out for the second stretch of 9 miles as it involved a lot of snowy trails, not the easiest thing to ride a bike on. Within the first mile I was dreading this loop because of the added challenge of walking up the snowy hilly trails. With each step your feet would slip just a little, enough to make it more tiresome then it should be. Thankfully that seemed to only get easier as the loop went on and the snow softened. But other challenges came up. I found that I have come to dread the road section threw the development that connects the two trail sections. My inner quad muscles and groin began to tire and become sore. The arches of my feet began to ache and I had some grit rubbing the side of my left foot. My knees were aching while running the down hills now to. But I just gritted my teeth and kept moving forward, all and all it wasn’t that bad…

We got back to the house and mentally I was ready to head out for the last lap. Leah was back to join use again for the last 4.3 miles. I ‘pulled a Nate’ and decided to change socks and shoes. Meh my feet couldn’t feel any worse so why not try. It turned out to work out just fine. My heels were a bit tight to start but loosened up after a mile or so. I was more tired than anything and had to take walk breaks on the flats since there were hardly any hills on this section to take a walk break on. I ended the run feeling tired but yet strong and very satisfied.

I feel eager to dive into training again. Not limited to just running but cross training too. Like P90X, biking, snowshoeing, and general strength training. Not mention just trying to eat healthy on a regular basis.

I have four big runs on my horizon already for the start of next year. One is Josh’s B-day run. It will be a 50k this year and it would be nice to do the whole run with him this year. The past years I have only done parts of it. Yet every year he has done my whole B-day run with me. So I owe it to him :- )

Next is the Shamrock Marathon in VA Beach. It will be my first road marathon. I want to be trained enough to enjoy it and do it in a reasonable time. No not Boston time! Like 11-12 minute mile time, I would love faster, but one step at a time here!

After that is the Wapack Trail Race. It’s a killer of a 21 mile race for me. It has sucked every bit of me out the last two times I have done it. I curse the climbs and dread them. But yet I want to go back and try to better my time yet again.

Then there is Pineland Farms. Every year that I have run, I have done the 25k. I have been happy with that and scoffed at the idea of doing the 50K. I hate loops and hate the heat in the fields there. But the tides have changed and I plan on doing the 50K this year. The reasoning behind it is sound. If I ever plan on finishing the VT50, I have to get a good running base under me. Which means getting a handle on finishing 50k’s strongly and maintaining and building from that base. So yes you will see me eat my words and toe the line at the Pineland Farms 50K this year… by eating those words it will make the beer at the end so much sweeter though ;- )

In-between those four runs will other fun runs like Muddy Moose and Josh’s mini Barkley run. Along with some hiking adventures I’m sure.

So all in all cheers to turning another year older:- )

Sunday, October 2, 2011



We all use them. Some people much more then others. I admit it, I feel I use them to much. Why? Some day I hope to find that answer. But for now, I have plenty of excuses for why not to run ‘today’, for not training and putting off reaching my goals. I started writing this blog in February and now it is October... Though out the year I always had an ‘excuses\’ for not working on this it. I think biggest thing that stopped me was that fact I would be facing the truths, admitting all the excuses I use. So without any further delay here are the most common excuses I use.

“To tired”. “I think might be sick”

“The couch is warm and I should rest if I feel this tired.”

“If I do get up, then I will have to go change in to running/work out cloths. Then figure out what I’m going to do and or were to go…”

Yes the couch is warm, but I am tired because I am not doing anything. Once I get going I will feel better and want to do more. Changing only takes 2 minutes and if I just get out the door I will know where I want to go. I will feel better getting up and doing something vs. just napping. I admit, I also feel guilty for being a bit of hypercondriac at times. I know the fresh air will help me but to often I have chosen to be ‘sick’ or ‘injured’

“I just spent the morning cleaning so I can rest now.”

Cleaning is not that tiresome. Period.

“I just ran/hiked/snow-shoed last night/this morning that was enough.”

I will not feel that tired from just those activities and it will not help me by not doing more. I need to stop short-changing myself. There is a reason I bought work out videos and other work out accessories and it was not to collect dust, it’s to be able to work all my muscles groups. I have these options so I don’t have to do the same thing all the time. The wonderful term is cross training. I need to do it more and not ignore it.

“It is to hot.”

I have the most trouble at races when I get to hot. I need to take advantage of these hot days for heat training. I just need to put some ice in my bottles and see what I can do. Not to mention there are plenty of other activities(also called cross training) I can do in the heat. (cough kayaking cough cough..)

“It’s to cold!”

Truth is I have enough cold gear to be quite toasty while outside. If it is 20* or above it is not that bad at all. I have gone out in worst. I have always warmed up fast and I have never come back cold. If it is that cold, there is that stuff I bought to use, treadmill, videos, weights….(that cross training thing again)

“But the snowbanks! I can’t get to the side of the road to get way from the cars. And if it snowing, what if the plow truck comes by??”

Cars are generally nice and do slow down and or at least go around me just fine. I wear bright colors and a light so they can see me. The plows are no big deal, I have dealt with them with out incident in the past. I go to the other side of road and wait until they pass. Some times I stand on the snowbank to get further out of the way or if there is other traffic.

“I despise running buy kids at bus stops”

That will never change. So I run up or down Bog Road and Colby Hill, there are hardly any kids. The best option is Fox Forest. No kids hiking that early!

“I worry about dog encounters”

I am so sick of dogs!! So I now carry two different mace/pepper sprays in hopes it will stop them. What more can I do? Got to face it or it will keep me trapped in the house. I am doomed to get bit one of these days.(Cops will know when that happens!)

“If I workout too much I will be tired or sore for work.”

Work smerk.. I have worked on very sore legs after races and got by just fine. There are people at work to help me hold the dogs down, but at races it’s only my legs, my body, that will get me up the hills and to the finish line.

“I should do errands instead. Things like clean the house or house hold shopping.”

Those are important things for me to get done, but I need to plan my chores and errands around my training. A little planning goes a long ways.

“I do not like running at night because of cars, people, dogs, and just plain old afraid of the dark.”

Find a friend to run with me, bring a light and wear good night time clothing.. Simplest safest solution. Either that or try to run on the treadmill…(yes I can not run on a treadmill, love speed walking on full incline though)

“I am going to walk the hill”

This is a new one, but I feel I have been milking the ultrarunner mantra of ‘walk the hills’ to much. I need to run the hills while training. And if I am not running them I need to put more effort/training into fast hiking them. But during tapering and the race play it by ear and hike the hills as needed.

That’s that! Now that I have admitted these excuses and explained why I should not use them I hope I will use them A LOT less. :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Ultra Family part 2ish

Josh opens the Door…

I remember many years ago, maybe 2005, going for a five mile run in Fox Forest on Lower Ridge trail with Josh. Josh said some words that got the wheels turning in my head and gave me hopes and dreams of doing a trail ultra-marathon some day. He simply asked if I thought I could keep doing the run we were doing for another 7 to 10 hours and if I could, he thought, easily do an ultra in the fall. Those few little words opened the door to my future as a trail runner and eventual ultra runner.

Thanks to Josh I met Rik and the other origins of the ‘Ultra family’…

Josh’s Dad, Rik, has always been friendly and always has a story. He has never made me feel unwelcome or awkward. We have never been real close but I have always looked up to him and admire him for his accomplishments and way he pulled his son, Josh, into ultrarunning. Rik tends to be a bit of minimalist when running. Some times too much of one and Josh is usually there to help him out. Rik has him well trained on being over prepared now..

After finishing my first 50k at the VT50, Rik was at the finish line with a smile and hug. I will never forget that moment. I’m very grateful for him being there. (A side note, my parents were at the race next year waiting for me, in the rain, to finish, also very special.) My other big memory of Rik is pacing him at the VT100 threw the night. It was 19 miles of walking. The hardest part was keeping up a conversation all night, as most know I’m not a big talker! But we got through it and it’s another fond memory.

Over the years the normal group of guys that Rik and Josh would hang with at races were always positive about running. Dave Delibac, Mike Lacharite, John Izzo, and Dan Myers. They always encouraged me to go the distance. They never doubted that I could do it. I think they enjoyed the idea of someone else out suffering on the trails with them... ‘What’s the worst that could happen’, they would say, ‘there is plenty of time, just got to keep moving.’ Always friendly, helpful and they had their own stories to share. They always helped me feel at ease going into a race. They were all excited the days I decided to step up to the line of some 50k’s. They truly are an extended family to me.

Josh: Hero. Motivator. Friend. Coach. Protector. Guide. Teacher. Leader. Courageous. Happy. Devoted. Friendly. Caring. Encouraging. Selfless. Proud(of his ‘family’). Competitive. Inspirational.

“Loni said to me on the way to the race “You have addicting passions.” She was right.”

Josh’s view on ultra-running has always been inviting one. You can’t help but be intrigued when he passionately tells his running adventures. It is infectious. But the passion seems to have a positive effect and influence on any one who is exposed to it. It is not all about winning to him; it is about self accomplishment and the fun. He talks about the feeling the accomplishment from going the distance. And the simple joys of having a race shirt with a story. The sense of self you feel by completing that first 31.2 miles when your fellow friends stutter at the thought of running that long. About going out and trying it, having the courage to start. But he puts it best by saying “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”

Because of his views he has motivated many to run. Many of us were non-runners, my self included, when we met Josh. Chris, Rachel, Leah, Grant, Greg, Mandiee, Sara the list goes on and on.

If you agree to go to a race with Josh you are almost guaranteed to be running with him at some point. If he is not running the whole race with you he will come back after he has finished to encourage you to the finish line. He has done this countless times for me and it always puts a smile on my face. More so because I’m near the back of the pack of runners and I’m usually getting lonely by that point. It’s just in his nature. He has always looked after his friends like they were his family, his pack. Like the classic quote “friends are family you choose”-Edna Buchanan. It is not only in races. During hikes, regular runs and bike rides he is often the one that hangs back and checks on the poor soul left all alone behind the main group. On Mont. Katahdin years ago Josh was going to spilt from the group and take a different route down to avoid the infamous Knife Edge. Not more then a hundred feet down the trail we heard scrambling on the rocks behind us as Josh caught up to us. He said something along the lines of his wolf instinct kicked in and he couldn't leave his pack behind. That and thought of sitting and waiting for us come down off the mountain would have killed him with worry.

Josh will often ‘give up’ his own race to run with a friend or help someone new out. He will throw encourage words at you and at any runners that are passed along the way. His endless words encouragement to others has kept me smiling threw races before. Simple words of ‘you are looking good, running strong’ can help so much during the race no matter the distance. And some times just hearing ‘let’s run to the next tree before you walk’ is all that is needed to keep going, simple little goals and good company.

“SJ - “So we gonna sub 10 at Vermont in a couple of weeks”

JR - “well I gotta see where loni is in the 50k, if I can catch her I’ll probably just run it in with her in”

SJ – “you’re just so god damn selfless aren’t you.” (Jokingly)

It’s very true, my father got me into ultras 8 years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten 3 of my friends who had never run anything in their life to run ultras with me. Everyone I touch I seem to get into a race of some kind. From local 5k and 10ks, sprint triathalons, to as long to the Vermont 100. I think that’s really my calling. I’m a motivator, a guide of some sort, my addictive passions are hard to NOT share with the ones I hold so close. It’s something I can say I’m really proud of.”

Then there is the over coaching. ‘Come on lets pick up the pace” or ‘lets kick it to the end now’. The problem is that I have already picked up the pace or already started to kick it?!… ugh. The ones closest to Josh often feel his frustration at not doing their best.

But there is a good reason. He knows people have a lot more potential then they think they have. He knows when you can do better. He wants nothing more then to see you improve, to train harder, to reach and exceed your goals.

That aside Josh does have very strong competitive edge and it is a joy to watch. Whether it be in pursuit of catching up to Sherpa John, pushing the pace to set a Personal Record or an all out sprint at end of race to catch his fellow runners. It is always inspiring to watch. He’s never really disappointed at loosing and is a very good sport when it comes to running. He will explain it is not about winning, its more about getting out there, doing your best, and having fun.

I like to whine a lot during a run. I always have an excuse for something. Then there is Josh. When he is running with others he hardly ever complains about his own aches, pains or woes. When he does it’s a problem that needs to be addressed, ie muscle cramps, chaffing. I admire his modesty about his discomforts and something I need to really aim for. But who doesn’t like ‘wine’? But then again to much wine leads to headaches and so does whining…

But please do raise you glasses and mugs to Josh. Who has given so many of us inspiration to run and has lead us into his Ultra Family.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow shoe race?!

What was I thinking!?

Last year at the Peaks Snowshoe Marathon I was excited for many different reasons. One was that I no longer had to try to train for a snowshoe race again. I was tired of trying to run with snow shoes. It was hard for me to keep up a good ‘race’ pace, I didn’t have ideal racing snowshoes and I often got blisters when wearing them. I was done with it all. I was eager to longer wear snowshoes and excited to feel the freedom of just running in plain old shoes again

But the race went well and after eight and half hours I was happy to stop as 19miles. I was very proud that I surpassed the half marathon mark. I was sore in so many new places on my legs for the next week. But still, most of all, I was just happy to be free of snowshoes!

Then fall came, and race amnesia set in. I think that running a race with snow shoes sounds like a good idea. Sigh… here I go again.

Though this year, I’m trying my best to keep my stress level about the race down. With last year experience and some good miles logged on snow shoes under my belt I feel quite content. I have the happy realistic goal of finishing the half again. I would be really excited to get to 19 miles. I would be ecstatic if I could do the whole 26.2. But I know me and my strength and my training. I am not really ready for the full marathon and I am ok with that.

There is one other big difference this year. There will be many people that are part of my ultra family there. That fact has turned it into more of fun event then just a race to me. There will be first-timers and veterans and those of us in the middle. As I think of the race, faces and images float threw my mind and make me smile. There are many faces of people I have met there over the years and have affected me, all in a good way. Delibac, Amy Lane, Mike Lacharite and his parents Don and Betty Lacharite, Steven Latour, Izzo, Ray Zirblis, Sherpa John, Josh and his dad Rik, Race Director Andy, Jason Hyaden(land owner, biker and trail creator), Joe(Land owner and Race Host), Adam Wilcox, Dan Myers and many others. It makes me smile and lightens my heart to think of seeing them all again.

This year is also very special as I look forward to seeing Leah, Grant and maybe Mandiee and Greg join the race. I feel pride and joy for them stepping up to the starting line. It doesn’t matter the distance they do or if this is there first race or not just. To me it is about getting out and doing it, having the courage to start, taking on a new challenge and having fun.

The images I see of past years make long to go back to see all again. The bon fire at the start finish with stone soup in a big pot next to the fire that most shied away from. The lead runners kicking up snow breaking trail threw an open field. The steel snowmobile bridge that meant the end of the lap was near. The ever green tree labyrinth near the top that was always mysterious and twisting. Joes cabin at the top of the course with a bonfire. The image of me taking face dives into the snow when I would trip on my snowshoes. The stream very near the end where you could either walk along tree log over it or hop over. The odd trail names. The random quotes of the seven deadly sins on trees along the course. The farm animals curiously watching us run by. People every where smiling. Its all good memories.

I look forward to feeling the whole race atmosphere at Peak this year, despite straping the shoes onto my feet. The thought of seeing my ultra family and being part Team Robert’s first big official race of the year makes the discomfort of wearing snowshoes almost non-existent.

Josh enjoying the Peak Snow Shoe trails on a training run. The Cabin on top of Joe's Mountain in the back ground. Gorgeous.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January - baby step into the new year..


Weight start 132.6

Weight finish 132.2

Miles ?? no good tally for the month, jumble of hikes, runs and snowshoes.

Not much weight down just looking at it. But my weight did rise during the month then started to drop. I like to think that I was adding some muscle then started to shed some fat. I feel better for the most part, so it’s all good.

I have been eating better for the most part. I have been getting away from breads, butter, creams, and a bit less sugar. I hardly eat red meat any more, not on purpose… just lost interest in it for the most part. I have started eating more seeds, grains and beans for filler and instead of meats and breads.

I did not take part in Sherpa Johns running streak this year (run 2 miles every day). The streak last year left me very frustrated and sore. It left bitter taste in my mouth that has not gone away yet. Of course that led me to not running very much at this month. But I did get out a couple times on snow shoes and a few snowy hikes. I modified one pair of running shoes with screws. I have only used them once and they did work well. Then there was snowdays, that involved pushing the snow-blower around and shoveling. I did a few random days of P90x work outs and other small workout days. I even got on my xc skate skis once.

Highlights including :

-A group Snow Hike up Bog Mountain in Wilmont NH

-A group outing to Pittsfield VT and snow shoeing on some of the Snowshoe marathon course.

-And to end the month with a Bang was Leah’s Bear Brook Winter Fat Ass event. A good size group turned out for the event. We had 8 people on snow shoes, 2 on skis and a little dog along for the trip. The plan was a 9 mile loop, with optional cut offs. I had the goal of getting 5 to 6 miles in. But due to the mysterious trails I ended up doing 11.5 miles with the rest of the surprised group. We were all thrilled and excited with the accomplishment when we finished. But I do admit I was whining a lot, upset and in pain on the trail. My legs brought me to tears at one point before for going ‘numb’ for awhile. Sorry for being a poop :-(

But Cheers to Leah’s Dad and his GF for having beer at the end for all of us! And a Cheers to Leah for putting on a great event and a great post event meal!! I do look forward to going out to Bear Brook again! (I just have to do a little research and map reading so I have a better understanding of what is what)

Hopes for the next month: Continue to improve my diet. Working on getting sugar cravings down!! I have some new foods and reading material on order already.

More consistent about work outs.

Log more running miles!!

Looking forward to Josh's birthday run on the 26th!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where it all started...

Why I did I start this running thing?

Back in the late winter/early spring of 2006 is when it all got started. For two months I had struggled along trying to run a little. I never had run at all except to play games. Why start now? It's not like you have to be able to run to get by in this world. One big reason was I wanted to be able to run with my boyfriend, Josh at t
he time, in a race someday. I didn’t tell anyone that was why, but it was the main reason I started to run every spring. But it never got very far with it. Most would think I was just trying to get in shape and loose weight like everyone else in this country. The other main reason that stirred in mind was just having the ability to be able to run if I wanted to and if I Needed to. It bothered me that it would be very difficult to run away from or chase something if I had to.

That year had been going good for a change. Josh showed me a great website that has training programs for all kinds of workouts from lifting to running. I started the beginners running plan. Exercise Presciption.com I did well following its training plan until I got sick. After I got better I started running again for a couple of days but crashed and burned on a frustrating Saturday run.

I didn't run at all that following week till Saturday. I threw the training plan out the window and just ran. I decided if I felt bad I would walk. At each quarter mile mark on my two mile loop I decided to push on and ended up running the whole two miles!

This may not seem like much at first. But this was the first time I ran two miles without stopping to walk! It wasn't untill a couple days later, when I had finished a one mile run, I realized this is the first time in my life that I could remember ever running a mile! I never ran in school or for fun when I was younger, except when playing games. I never rain the whole mile in gym class. I did cross country skiing for a year but even that did not involve much running. I had accomplished something!

Shortly after that I some how convinced myself to sign up for my first race… I bit off more then I should have. I signed up for a mini triathlon: 2 mile run, 5 mile paddle with a portage in the middle, and 14 mile bike. Josh kinda gave me a look like I was crazy but was eager to do the race himself.

Race day came quickly and I was not ready but was not going to back down and I was determined to stick threw it. It was early June, cool and pouring rain with no chance of letting up all day.

To me, this is where being part of Team Robert started. Our friend Rachel came along to help us out and take pictures. She did an awesome job sticking it out in the rain with us the whole day. She got great pre-race picture of Josh and I. Josh looks happy and excited and I look petrified.

The race started and we jogged off into the cool rain. We promptly slid to the back of the pack. Josh stayed with me trying to encourage me to go faster. I was trying! My chest felt tight and hard to breath. Nerves most likely. We got to the boats and into the water we went and began to paddle away. Josh was easily keeping just ahead of me in his canoe calling me on, to keep pushing. I struggled in my nice light kayak to keep up. My hands ached because of the cold and constant slipping grip since it was so wet. When we got to the portage Josh scurried across the road with the canoe on his back easily. I hoisted my kayak on my shoulder for a bit. Rachel was there to get a picture then she helped me carry the kayak across the road and back into the water.

At the ended of the kayak section we had to scramble out onto a steep bank into knee deep water. There were a lot of people on hand to help. Usually it is shallower but because of the rain the river was running high. As it was, the Army Corps of Engineers that controls the dam up river was already holding back the water so the race could happen that day.

Rachel was there again to help us transition from kayak to bikes. Josh and I were off onto the last section on mountain bikes, yes on a road course. We peddled and peddled some more. Josh always ahead calling and leading me on. What few racer that were left behind us soon passed us on their road bikes. It didn’t really bother me; I knew I was as good as finished. With about 3 miles from the finish I had to jump off my bike, briefly, to walk a bit of a hill because my legs felt so stiff and tired. Josh gave a yell back, No walking! You are almost there! Walking was not that much better. I hopped back on and slowly ground out the last few miles. Near the finish Rachel was there again soaking wet in the rain to get a picture.

We crossed the finish line and people were still out there to cheer us in. We got a congrat’s for Rachel and I got a hug from Josh. In a post race fog we loaded the bikes on the truck. We went in and changed in to dry clothes had some post race food as we milled around the crowd in the school. We saw some results on the way out. I finished 3rd in my category… so what if there was only 3 of us in it…

That was my first race. I didn’t race again until October…

That race engrained in me the first feelings of a running family, a team. Rachel, an accomplished utlra runner, had put aside her day and comfort to help and encourage us in the pouring rain. Josh had stuck with me at my slow pace to encourage me threw the whole race. He could have easily finished an hour ahead of me but instead unselfishly helped me. I saw the different types of racers that day to. I saw the elites out to win, but I also saw the families out there having fun with there kids, and even their dogs!

Welcome to Team Robert, an Ultra Family!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Racing threw the Year!

Here is my hope full race schedule of the year. Hope you can join me some of the races whether to run it or cheer. I will be part of Team Robert and Hillsboro Trail Runners along with team me :-)

This years main goal is to set PRs(Personal Record) at all my races. I didn't not set any last year. I want to be able to run this years Vermont 50 races with the ability to finish. Which simple means better training.

(some dates have not been set in stone yet, hence the TBD)

2011 Races

March 5th 2011
2011 Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon

April 17th 2011??(TBD)

The Muddy Moose Trail Race
Wolfeboro NH

April 2011??(TBD)
EMS 5k Fun Run
Peterborough NH

April 2011?? ??(TBD)
Mud Muck Moose 5 Miler
Bartlett NH

May 7th 2011
The Wapack 21 mile option
NH to MA

May 28th - 29th 2011
Pineland Farms 25K
New Gloucester, ME

June 5th 2011
Pittsfield Peaks Ultra Challenge

June 17 to 26
Maine camping vacation!
Not a race but still important!!

July 8th 2011??(TBD)
Hillsboro Balloonfest 5k
Hillsborough NH

July 16th 2011(Maybe)
Wicked Wildcat Wander 5.8miles
Charlestown, NH

July 16 to 17?(Maybe if needed)
VT 100 Volunteering?/crewing?
Brownsville VT

July 30 or 31 (Maybe) (TBD)
Fox Forest Fat Ass 50K (1 of 2)
Hillsboro NH

August 27 or 28 (Maybe) (TBD)
Fox Forest Fat Ass 50K (2 of 2)
Hillsboro NH

September 11th or 18th 2010(TBD)
Pisgah Mountain Trail Race 50K
Chesterfield NH

September 25th 2011
Vermont 50 Mile Ultra Run
Brownsville VT

October 9th 2011
Harpoon Oktoberfest 3.6miles
Windsor VT.