Weekend Recap, Podcasts, Book Review

My friend Shelly, from Houston, finished her first 100 mile race at Brazos Bend in December, and her name appears in this month’s Ultra Running Magazine. She is amazing. 

While I was in Houston in January for the Houston Marathon, I had a few minutes to talk to her about her race and get some tips for finishing my first 100. I wanted to know every training secret and figure out what I could do to get to the finish line at Umstead

Here are a few tips she gave me:

  • Find running partners
  • Join long run groups
  • Run after work and into the night (with someone)
  • Get up and run at 3 a.m. for a few hours
  • Listen to podcasts and books while running

As soon as I got home I joined Facebook groups and vowed to find people to run with. I have tried to run after work but I’m too tired and it’s too cold. I haven’t woken up at 3 a.m. to run either. And, I pretty much always run alone. 

However, today as I was running for hours on the treadmill I decided to look at some podcasts and take Shelly’s advice since my music wasn’t motivating me and all the TV channels were talking incessantly about coronavirus. 

I started listening to Motivation vs. Discipline from Trail Runner Nation because I’ve been having some problems with motivation and discipline lately. 

I’ve also been having recurring pain in my legs as my mileage increases; I’m thinking from my prior injury. 

I’m a mess. 

I decided to start listening to this podcast to force me to stay on the treadmill and finish the workout. I don’t listen to podcasts because they become cringeworthy to me, and it’s feels like I’m listening to a reality show that I want to turn off when everyone starts talking over each other. Today, I decided to give podcasts another shot and listened to this entire podcast.

The biggest take away from Motivation vs. Discipline was the discussion about the ultra running community and how at races people ask “what was your experience” not, what was your time. These runners care about having a great experience. And this is what needs to motivate my running. Another discussion topic is about how motivation is needed at the beginning of learning a new distance versus discipline; however motivation and discipline fuel each other. My favorite discussion point in the podcast: listen to your body.

If you only go out and exercise when you feel great you are not going to reach your goal.” It seems like my legs are always tired. When I do my long runs they are so tired during most of it. I acknowledged that it is good training to run on tired legs, but why are they ALWAYS tired? This podcast really motivated me to keep going. 

Then, I looked for another podcast to help me fight longer on the treadmill. 

However, as I walked for a bit on the treadmill I decided to find the Libby App for the library and find a good book to listen to.

But my mind moved back to a point from the podcast, Motivation vs. Discipline, that I should use Training Peaks to plan my week because seeing a red workout (meaning not completed) would help motivate me. So I tried to Log In to Training Peaks.

It all helped pass the time and I kind of, sort of, finished my workout.

I need to do more of Shelly’s recommendations since it’s now just about 6 weeks to race day. Training is not going as well as I’d like, but I’m doing it. 

“Individuals on the path of mastery are driven from within.” The Passion Paradox

Reading The Passion Paradox is helpful too. The idea of mastery and a goal of getting better, has helped me realize that I’m in this for the long-haul. I really want to finish a 100, get better at figuring out what my body needs to go long [successfully], and try other distances and endurance sports. The only way to do this is to learn more about what will cure all my aches and pains, get better at nutrition and recovery, and to figure out what truly motivates me. After 17 years of training and racing endurance sports you would think I’d have figured it out. 

Maybe this is what keeps me motivated: there is always so much to learn.

Mount Sunapee in November

On Sunday, I took Winnie hiking to Mount Sunapee. I’ve hiked the Andrew Brook Trail three times now and it never gets old. It’s a gentle, nice hike to great views. Originally I was thinking about hiking the Tripyrimids or Tecumseh so I could get started on hiking (again) all 4,000 footers. But it was so cold in the morning, despite the sun, and wanted to wait until it warmed up a bit. I went for a swim at the Y and once I got back and made lunch it was almost noon. There wasn’t enough time left to hike in the Whites.

It’s a 45 minute drive from Concord to Sunapee versus over an hour to Waterville Valley, so I decided that we would hike Sunapee and get comfortable winter hiking on a smaller peak before Waterville peaks. 

Andrew Brook Trail

The first .75 miles of the trail I was able to bareboot it. Then it started to get icy and slick so I put on my microspikes. We got to Lake Solitude in an hour and then about 30 minutes to the top where snowmaking operations had started. According to the Mount Sunapee website they open next Wednesday for skiing. It’s been so cold that I suspect there will be a lot of trails open.

Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail Sign

I love being on the Greenway Trail. The sign reminded me of the 3 day trail running event that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years: The Ragged Mountain Stage Race. I wanted to do it last year but I trained for the Leadville 100 instead. So this year, I might just sign up. Three days of 50Ks – sounds awesome.

Solitude Trail Sign

It was a beautiful day for views. I only saw six people the entire afternoon – so quiet. I didn’t see or hear any wildlife other than chipmunks. It was a great day to get used to winter hiking conditions before heading to the White Mountain next weekend to bag some 4,000 footers.

Although, not so quiet from the snow guns at the Ski Resort.
Winnie is pooped

Total miles: 6
Elevation gain: 1,614

Run the Witch Half Marathon Race Report

Kassandra arrived on Saturday from Tucson not only to visit me but to Run the Witch half marathon in Norwich, Vermont. We chose this race because it was a great way for her to see Vermont; a place I believe is so magical and beautiful, especially in the fall. I have always said that as soon as you drive over the Connecticut River from New Hampshire into Vermont it’s a different world. 

On Sunday as we drove in the misting rain, knowing that it was going to downpour at any moment, we were excited for the race and seeing a new place. 

The temperature hovered around 40 and once the race started we warmed up a bit; but not entirely. The course is hilly. The first mile was a warm up and then the hills came. Up and down, up and down, more rain, then the wind. 

Strava data

The first part of the half marathon course is paved and then we turned and ran on packed dirt; it was a nice change. The trees displayed their colors boldly and the scenery took our minds of the pain. 

We finished, got our medal, and changed out of our wet clothes as fast as we could. It was a good day to run and later appreciate the warmth of dry clothes.

Monday Motivation, making plans

This weekend I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon; a marathon I have been wanting to do for a long time. I almost signed up for Umstead but didn’t get in; a 100 mile race in April in North Carolina.

This week I start a new training block getting ready for a few marathons. The training plan has me biking twice a week which I’m excited for since it’s the best time of year to bike.

My next race is September 22 – Kismet. I’m excited to run/hike it since it’s billed as being very difficult and I haven’t spent much time over by Conway since I moved back to New Hampshire. I’ve never hiked Moat or Cathedral Ledge.

Top Notch Off Road Triathlon Race Report

Today was my first off road triathlon since Xterra Indian Peaks in 2009. I used no technology during the entire race except the photo at the beginning. I forgot my watch at home.

Bike:
Unlike most off-road tris the Top Notch triathlon started with a bike. The bike was 6.5 miles and the first half was on a road and uphill! Then we turned onto some single track for about 3 miles. It was hard. My heart was beating through my chest but felt great on the short downhill.

Swim:
The swim in Echo Lake was glorious. The water was so clear and I could see a crawfish-like critter scatter around the bottom. I have only swam once in the last four months so I wasn’t really prepared to swim ½ mile but it was a great cool down after the bike. 

Run:
As soon as I exited the cool waters, I began the hike up Cannon Mountain. I thought it would be more runnable but it was not. I felt like it was good Hope-Pass-training; endless steep uphill. 

At the top there were beautiful views of Franconia Notch where I hiked last weekend. Since I was in the self-supported Iron category (I completed all legs, instead of a relay), I had to figure out how to get back to my bike, then bike back to my car in the town of Franconia. So I took the Tram down, ran the trail by the lake to get to my bike and asked a few people along the way if I was heading the right way (I didn’t have my phone). Even with no phone I got back successfully. See we can make it through a race with out a phone. Seriously, a guy behind me was Facetiming someone. Luckily, the miles back to the car were downhill.

2nd in my age group, baby!

Such a fun, hard day. Tonight I’m hiking Kearsarge, hoping to get some nighttime hiking in and then a run tomorrow – then it’s taper time! 11 days until I leave for Colorado. 14 days to race day!