Repost / Mid-year goal review

This photo is so true. The original post from December 2018 really struck a chord. Seriously, my goals of running a 50 miler and 100 miler started years ago. I think the first time I thought about a 50 was 2014 when I crashed on my tri bike and decided to only run.

I signed up for a 50 miler and then couldn’t do the training.

DNS (Did not show) – however, not my first DNS.

Now, 5 years later I finished my first 50 miler and I’m seriously ready for my first 100 – all in the same year.

Here’s to finally meeting goals and my new mantra for 2019

Take  each adventure as it comes and be open to all possibilities.

Leadville Training – Week 12 Recap

I didn’t write a weekly recap last week, Week 13 since I did a race report for Pineland. So here is the update on training for Leadville that is in – OMG – 12 weeks!

This week I’ve been thinking about my first 50 mile finish and what was going through my brain as I sat on the picnic table at the finish line. I thought for the first time that maybe, just maybe, I will finish the 100 mile race. I felt like my body adapted well to 11 hours of hilly running despite nagging knee pain during most of the race. I liked having a pacer, which I’ve never had before. I really think that as I build up mileage in this next weeks, I might just do this.

I took it easy this week and had no expectations of mileage despite knowing I should try to run 47 miles according to the training plan. I really wanted to give my knee a break so I limited running and added more biking and hiking. The plan worked because today, Sunday, I have no more knee pain.

One of the things I needed to start doing to really prep for Leadville was running with poles.  I ran on June 1 with poles for the first time when run/hiking Whiteface. The poles got in the way a lot but they helped take some pressure off my knees. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Another thing is I need to start running at night and I’m not looking forward to that.

Next week I’m going for a 40 miles week versus a 60 mile week since I want to taper a little bit for the Leadville Marathon on June 15, then it’s 3 weeks of 70 mile weeks. I seriously can’t wait for these high mileage weeks:

I’m also mountain biking more to work my core and to make the legs stronger. It’s also great for cross training. And, oops, I got a bit sign up happy and registered for the Top Notch Triathlon in August in Franconia Notch. (see the picture of swimming in Echo Lake in the top photo) I wanted to do the triathlon for so long. I didn’t have a mountain bike so I couldn’t sign up for the last two years. Now, I can do it.

I heard about this race from a novel, Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian. I read his book in 2006 when I lived in Colorado. The story is set in northern New Hampshire about a family that spends their summers near Franconia Notch. The book is about complicated families and the ramifications of bad decisions and accidents. But what has stuck in my head is the ending that takes place on the slopes of Cannon Mountain as the family members compete in the Top Notch relay triathlon. I have never forgotten that story and how Bohjalian chooses to end the story on top of a New Hampshire mountain. It’s a story about forgiveness and acceptance – something I still need to figure out with my complicated family.

Miles this week: 28 with hiking

Vertical: 4,366

Average resting heart rate: 47

Hiking Whiteface, what cures hopelessness

This morning I head up to the White Mountains to hike Mount Whiteface. I attempted her early this spring and turned around at the granite ledges because I seriously thought I would die. It was snowy and icy and I brought my dog. I wanted to live. So I turned around.

Now, June 1 I hike Blueberry Ledge solo. I want the peak. I am not sure what the day will hold for me; maybe Passaconway, too. But I don’t have a plan except to bag Whiteface.

The trailhead has a little history for me. Back in 1988 my boyfriend at the time took me to Sandwich and Wonalancet for a second-hike-ever to Whiteface. He told me that he wanted to be buried in Wonalancet because he loved the place so much. Now, so many years later I had a first kiss in the trailhead with a guy I really liked. Hmmphf. The mountains. The place where I felt reborn after not having any goals and not knowing what my life would be like after high school graduation – the most confusing time of my life. I feel for high school graduates.

June 1, 2019 – I’m running/hiking Blueberry Ledge for the third time in my life and I’m feeling great. One week after running 50 miles I feel like a million bucks….. Until I get to the ledges where I turned around a month ago. It is so steep and scary and I feel at any moment I will fall to my death. Okay, a little dramatic, but I’m not in love with this trail or this mountain in any way, shape or form. I somehow manage to scramble to the top and I’m pissed. The trail diverges and I don’t know where to go. I go left and then it doesn’t feel right. The view is amazing but I’m distracted. I take off my pack and look at the map and I have to decide where to go. I’m not going back the way I came; certain death. I decide to go the Rollins Trail and just go home. I know I should summit Passaconway, I’m so close. I’ll wait and see.

But my mood is dark. I’m mad. I’m pissed. It has more to do than the hike and certain death; I’m just mad.

I follow the trail and it meanders into dark, moody places along the ridge. I run when I can; I want out. I think about Leadville and how I will feel running downhill. Will there be as many rocks and roots? There will definitely be more people. I stop and eat and finally take a picture.

I’m praying and hoping the mountains change my mood but I’m mad. I want the mountains to change my mood; I want to be happy and hopeful – but I’m not. There are no people on this trail. I finally reach the trail junction where I can head to Passaconway or go down Dicey’s Mill Trail.

I chose home.

I run as much as I can and finish 9.7 miles back to my car. The parking lot is overfilling with cars. I only saw 5 people the entire day.

I actually came to do what I set out to but in the back of my mind it would’ve been good to get Passaconaway.

I stink. I’m mad. I drive home.

I walk down to the Concord Co-Op for dinner. My heart hurts for a million different reasons. I feel like a teenager whose heart is broken and my stomach aches. As I enter the store I hear the song, Let It Be from the Beatles.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

I buy my food and walk home. I hear a line from a book I read so many times, so many years ago: Running From Safety, that reminds me –  take me out of the ball game, tell me it’s over, and I get instant perspective.

The anger, frustration is gone, gone. Instant perspective is all that I needed.

While the mountains didn’t cure me today, I’m still certain they will.

Pineland Trail Festival Race Report, 50 Mile

I ran my first 50 on May 26. I really didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how it was going to feel. I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the course with all the loops and running around fields. My mind at the start said just follow the arrows and course markings, and not overthink it. So I just ran. I started out slow, ate and drank at every aid station and waited for Mark to pace me at mile 27.

I ran most of the first 27 and only later started walking up the steep hills. Most of the inclines were runnable. I fell twice during the first 15 miles and landed hard on my right shoulder. I wasn’t lifting my left leg high enough because of knee and abductor issues. It’s a pattern to fall in the first half of a race rather than the latter. Go figure.

Mark was a great pacer and kept my mind occupied with other things. At about mile 40 I felt confident that I was going to make it to the finish. However, the miles seemed off when posted at aid stations. It was then we realized it was going to be longer than 50 miles; which psychologically was tough. At the mile 42 aid station/drop bag I took Advil and drank coke and suddenly I was able to kick it into high gear. The exhaustion went away and I powered up the hills and opened my stride. I felt great and got ahead of Mark. I passed a few men (which is always fun, ha) and finished feeling great. Marianne and Richard were at the finish cheering me on. Mark came in a few minutes later.

At the finish. Photo Courtesy of Richard Hoebel

What a day. The mud was crazy and the heat sometimes overbearing, but I did it. 50 miles.

Now it’s all about a little recovery and getting ready for Leadville in 12 weeks. My knee still hurts a bit but hopefully it is healing.

It was a great festival and the finisher packet was pretty good. I ended up placing 3rd in my age group and 12th female but the official results weren’t posted when I left so I didn’t get a beer mug.

I came for the finisher pint glass and that is exactly what I got. Race 3 of 5 – finished for 2019. Next up Leadville Marathon in June and Leadville 100 in August.

Tapering is hard, part 2

Tapering is hard. You have so much free time and your emotions are raging; you just want to run. You want your body to be tired so you can sit on the sofa and veg, but it’s raring to go. It wants to run and play.

I’m restless and anxious.

So after a few talk sessions and advice taking; that has helped me immeasurabley – I decided to head to the bike shop and buy the bike I’ve been researching, and hemming & hawing about. It’s my first time buying a bike with a 29 inch wheel – yickes. But I love her already.

I’m so excited to start riding but I’m not going on the trails until AFTER Sunday’s race.