Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Shift

At a work training session a few months ago, one of the ice breakers was to share with the group your favorite food.  Most answered “seafood” or “anything Italian”.  Me?  I had to be a smart ass and answer (honestly, I’m afraid):

Anything in a package.

Yup, there it is.  The absolute truth and no surprise to those who know me best. 

Even before I began running the kind of miles that enable me to eat whatever I want, I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted.  Frankly, I never placed much importance on food.  Only when I began running did I realize I needed to give a little bit of thought to what I put into my body.  Now it was considered fuel.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy fresh fruit or vegetables.  But more honesty?  I’m lazy.  No thinking or planning needed for a quick buttering of peanut butter toast for breakfast.  Unless I bring leftovers to work for lunch, there’s a good chance I’ll be found grabbing a breakfast sandwich via McDonald’s drive-thru.  Even my GU comes in a package.  And how do I wash it all down?  I grab myself a Coke or some other sugary drink.  What a hot mess.

Something about today was different.  Having nothing to do with weight loss or diet fads, I tried having a bowl of fresh strawberries for breakfast.   Usually, I’m famished by 10:00, but today, I sailed right through until lunch time.  Scott and I had a lunch date, where he brought me a salad with grilled chicken.  I washed it down with a bottle of water.  By the end of lunch time, I was feeling like a rock star.

Then Marissa brought cupcakes into the office.  Sigh.

Fortunately, they were quite mini.  I did have one and enjoyed every mini bite of the mini cupcake.  And I washed it down with water.  Dinner consisting of spaghetti and meatballs (washed down with water) rounded out Day 1 of this fueling experiment. 

The reason for the experiment?  I’m tired of feeling gross.  Plain and simple.  If I don’t want to feel gross anymore, I need to change what I eat and drink.  I still see ultra race goodies in my future, but in its place (like during an ultra race) and not in the form of a daily diet.

I’ll always have a soft spot for packaged food, but more real food is likely to prevent me from gaining too large a soft spot….on me!

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here’s to friends who miss your blog

As I close in on my 50th run around the sun (how has it already been a year), I am reminded of how little I’ve written in my little blog this year.  I’ve had many thoughts, experiences, and opportunities to write about, but like many, I lost the thought or if I did start writing, it suddenly sounded boring.  Today, I felt the urge to write, thanks to a text conversation with my friend Bonnie:

So maybe not a lot of content, but starting off easy with a bullet summary and some photos to describe the last 6+ months:

* Ran 3 loops of GAC Fat Ass.  In a blizzard.
* Ran through the winter in first pair of yak-trax.
* Bella turned 9 years old.

* Participated in my first Ugly Sweater Run/Contest.
* Registered for Ghost Train 100.
* Volunteered as a course marshall at Red Hat Run.

* Enjoyed countless Scores Running Club runs.

* Learned the fun of Mexican Train game.
* Ran TARC Spring Classic 50K.

* Spectated at Boston Marathon.

* Created a new team at work.
* Made new friends at work.
* Made new friends at play (run).
* Missed old friends and old running routes.
* Re-landscaped our front lawn.
* Witnessed some of the most beautiful sunrises/sunsets.

* Saw my first bear
* Joined Scores Running Club Board of Directors as Secretary.
* Joined Race Committee for Drummer Hill Trail Race (6/10/17)
* Joined Race Committee for Stone Arch Bridge 10 Miler (10/28/17)

Looking forward to:
--> Lots of summer evening fires on the patio
--> Lots of running – day and night
--> Lots of swimming at Goose Pond (for Bellz)
--> Lots of hiking
--> Crewing Scott at VT100
--> Our niece’s first baby

and of course....

--> More writing in this blog!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The day after

I received this text from a friend who knows me (and the process) so well:

It was in response to this text I sent with a narrative of:

                                     Oops, this just happened!

Registering for Ghost Train 100 miler in December is the easy and exciting part.  It’s easy to jump aboard as friends post their news of race registration on social media.  But a lot can and does happen during the ten months between now and race weekend. 

I’m excited to ride the Ghost Train again.  My first and only 100 miler was at Ghost Train in 2014.  I haven’t had the desire to train for this distance since then. Until now. 

Like most “first” races, I had no goals for Ghost Train 2014, but to finish (and finish healthy).  I knew I had 30 hours to complete, so if I finished in 29:59, I’d be thrilled.  I finished in 29:06, so not really that much time to waste!  Also being my first go at 100, I was ill prepared for things like sleep deprivation.  I’m still not sure if I can fully train for that, but at least now I know what it looks like, feels like, etc.

I hope to train for Ghost Train 2017 in a way that will find me stronger during the race.  This includes better management of the night running (I’m pretty sure I walked more than I ran during those night miles), keeping a cool head during the sleep deprived hours, and of course, tackling that dreaded mile 75 moment.

As excited as I am to name my A race for 2017, there’s always that “day after” moment that follows.  Sometimes it’s not the literal day after, but days or even weeks later.  It’s that moment that hits, “Holy crap, I just registered for what?”  And that’s often followed by, “OMG, I have to get serious about my training!”.  And then after the first bad run occurs, “What the $#@& was I thinking?!?”.  And so on.

Fortunately, I’m accustomed to this “day after” syndrome.  And apparently, so are my friends.  We get through it.  We support each other.  We enable each other.  Best of all, we remind each other that we are strong enough to get through the training and make it to the start lines.  Then we wrap ourselves in Christmas lights or sing songs to get each other to the finish lines.  

Meaghan during Ghost Train 2014

So here I go, onto the day after the day after....let the training begin!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I did not know you had curly hair!

This was an exclamation made at a fun “Cookie Swap” I attended today.  Granted, I am still getting to know everyone, but the person who said it was my running partner from this morning! 

After a group of us finished the 12.5 mile run this morning, we were talking about the Cookie Swap where many of us would be meeting at later in the day.  I joked that I wasn’t sure we would all recognize each other without our running gear on.  Turns out I was right!

Not only did I hear “I did not know you had curly hair!”, but I also heard, “OMG, I had no idea that was you!”.   We all joked about how different we all look when we’re dressed in street clothes and don’t have our hair tightly pulled back or hidden under a winter hat.

Back to the Cookie Swap…So.Much.Fun!  In all my years of baking cookies, I had never attended one before today.  I met more new people, enjoyed some appetizers, shared in some cookie swapping (haven’t tasted them all yet), and had some good laughs.

I’m glad to have spent a few hours running and then sharing cookies with this group.  I’m also glad they have now met the “non-running Lisa” as well as the “running Lisa”.  After all, I haven’t even broken out my winter running face mask yet.  I’d hate to have to start wearing a name tag!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nothing good happens after 2am….

I would normally agree, and not being a morning person, I think any time before 6am is too early.  For anything.  Never mind for running.  But today, that changed.

Today, I finally joined the 5:30 am crew who meets at a local trail for a 6 mile run in the woods.  I’ve heard of these die hard runners; they roll out of bed and onto the trail and complete their run at about the time I would normally get out of bed.  Today, I was one of them!  And today wasn’t the easiest day for my first time.

Tap…tap…tap drummed the rain on the window sill.  Waking to that sound always presents a risk to a planned run.  The early hour along with the darkness provided a true test for this non-morning runner.  Luckily, I had laid everything out I needed for the run.  We took the short drive to the trail head and waited a couple minutes while the others emerged from the darkness.

Hitting the trail, two things immediately happened.  First, my headlamp decided it was still asleep and wouldn’t stay lit.  Second, some major puddles ensured no one would finish this run with dry shoes.  A third miraculous thing happened within the first mile; I WOKE UP!  I actually enjoy running in the dark and even more so with friends.  There are usually a number of dogs who come along for the run for the treats everyone brings.  Today, I got to meet Bacon, the golden retriever.  Baconnnn!!!!

By the end of 6 miles, I was soaked, refreshed, energized, and extremely proud of myself for getting out there.  Having both my running gear and my work clothes ready was a huge time saver and I even got to work before 8:00…win!  Mentally preparing myself the night before was also key to following through with the plan. 

So go figure, some good things DO happen after 2 am…a good run, good friends, and a good lookin’ sunrise.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My tribe grows!

It was clearly meant to be that we would join Scores Running Club.  In the temporary house my company placed us in when we first rolled into town, we found ourselves living on the Clarence Demar marathon route – right about mile 13.1.  How appropriate.  Towards the end of a particularly hard run one day, I bumped into and hung onto Susanne and Brian (part of Score's).  That run ended on such a good note and punctuated my decision to join this club.

Since that day, I’ve joined a number of group runs; on roads, on trails, dressed like Robin Hood (for Halloween of course), and soon to dress in an ugly sweater as part of a fun run/food drive for the Keene Community Kitchen.  Runs can end with pancakes, with beers, or just a high five.  But they always end with encouragement, positivity, and camaraderie.  

Today’s run had six of us traipsing through the trails for a couple of hours, enjoying a day that found a few of us peeling off layers (not me of course).    We found lots of hills – both ups and downs – and some dizzying switchbacks:

Post run, we grabbed a seat at Brewbaker’s for some coffee, hot cocoa, muffins, quiche….all well-deserved!  Food and company thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve run solo.  I’ve run with others.  This is the first time I’ve joined a club.  Not only has it been great to have others to run with, it’s been the perfect way to meet people and get involved in our new community.  Let’s face it, runners are just naturally awesome.  Meeting like-minded, fun, and really nice people in your new town is also awesome.  Adding those like-minded, fun, and really nice people to your already awesome tribe….priceless.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Fifth Lap

Running TARCkey Trot 6 hour trail race was all about finding my footing.  It wasn’t easy.  This 5K loop originated from the lovely Wright Locke Farm in Winchester, MA and wound us through Whipple Hill in Lexington, MA.  It was runnable, but included a number of decent hills and countless rocky/rooty sections.  The weather was perfect:  chilly 7:00 am start, and onward to a warmer, 60 degree finish.  Finally, throw in chickens, goats, and the supportive and chill vibe of the ultra/trail running community, and you’ve got yourself a good day!

My goal heading into the last-minute trail race was wishy-washy at best.  Somewhere during the 1.5 hour drive to the start, I decided on the following:

1.  End the day with the feeling in my legs that I’ve worked.  Hard.
2.  Complete a minimum of 4 laps.

Mission accomplished!  I completed 5 laps and ended the day with hard worked legs.  Goals met did not come without challenge and obstacles.  I haven’t practiced my longer distance fueling in some time, and it showed.  I knew early on that I wasn’t fueling enough, yet couldn’t seem to find the right recipe.  My jelly sandwiches just weren’t cutting it.  The aid station had its usual buffet of everything imaginable, but still, nothing looked good.  I didn’t feel sick; but because I wasn’t eating or drinking enough, I felt off most of the day.  That lead to some sloppy feet, when…..BAM, I fell.  And with that fall came a double calf muscle cramp…OUCHHHHHH!!!!!  I didn’t lay there for dramatic pause, but because I needed to let it pass so I could get up.  A fellow runner stopped to make sure I was OK, helped me dig my bottle out of the trail, and wished me well.  I went on to finish that lap and went back out for my fifth lap.

At the end of my race, I was happy that I met my goals, but definitely hungry – for both food and for the command/confidence of the trails I used to have.   Reflecting on this race, I feel like this past year has seen a lot of my “finding my footing” as well. 

This year started out with a number of big changes:  accepting a new job in NC, selling our home in MA (where I had lived for 39 years – gulp), moving to NC, starting new job, and then deciding the area wasn’t for us.  Next stop?  NH!  I started yet another new job, and we bought a home.  Typing all of that in one paragraph was easy.  Living it was not.  Much like my race yesterday.

During this transition time in our lives, we encountered different hills too high to run.  Missing our family and friends was a big hill.  The culture was another hill.  The new job just didn't fit.  I couldn’t find my footing.  All the hope and promise of this new place felt like my fall on the trail.  But each time I “fell”, I got back up to try again. At the end of the NC “race”, I came to a realization that my goal wasn’t NC; it was the experience of having tried.  And the reward? I will never wonder, “What if…”

I’ve learned important lessons throughout my different “races”. 
  • Falls will happen; get up and continue on!
  • If you get lost, find another route!
  • Accept help; whether in the form of encouragement or of digging out your bottle from the trail!
  • It isn't always about the time/distance/destination, it's about the experience!
  • And most importantly, be open to the matter what the end result!

Having completed my fifth lap at yesterday’s race was a bonus.  I headed home grateful for the experience and for the ability to run.  This year has been an experience I never thought I’d have.  Whether setting off to run a new trail or to live in a new state (or two!), it took a confidence and a bit of courage I didn’t know I had.  The fact that I tried (and keep trying!) represents my ultimate fifth lap, where I finally found my footing.