Do you like running?

This morning I read an article from a Facebook Group post. The article: Why I won’t stop running due to COVID.

The question the writer posed to himself “Do I like running?

McConaughy’s story made me think about this year and how wacky my training plans were compared to a year ago. Last year my motivation was high to run a race that was way out of my league and at high elevation. [Leadville]

The challenge spurred me on to do my training plan every day, lose weight and created a new world for me in ultra running. I remember feeling excited about every run. When I knew I had to run 10 miles or 20 miles, I was looking forward to the run, planning what I would listen to and what I would eat for a meal after (I love a good post-run food plan).

However, 2020 started so different because I was injured and training for a 100 mile race I wasn’t super excited about. Training and motivation were nothing like a year ago. The weather beat me up and I didn’t follow the plan. I wasn’t excited about running and spent more time in the gym lifting weights.

McConaughy’s article reminded me of the feeling of being on trails. As soon as I hit a trail I’m suddenly feeling better and happier. While I am faster on the roads (and like seeing a faster pace on Strava) and sometimes do enjoy roads, I’m happiest when I am surrounded by trees, running past an occasional stream and see dirt under my feet. 

Like him, “I was captivated by the challenge of trying to run longer distances in more wild places.” That’s why Leadville was such a positive in my life last year. The Leadville 100 was long and wild. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. That’s what got me up in the morning and out the door to train. That drive and happiness drove my desire in all aspects of my life. I was so excited for whatever was around each new corner. 

McConaughy asks himself and readers, Why do you enjoy running in the first place? For me, I like the simplicity of running. Not much gear is needed and I can open my door and go. I especially love running to the top of hill, and when I’m fit, I recover fast and keep running; it makes me see progress and makes me happy. I love the days when I can run 10 miles and it feels relatively easy. 

There may be no races this year but somehow I will run 100 miles if I have to do loops around my house and ask friends to support me.

I had this poster on my bedroom wall during high school. It’s still true.

Leadville 100 Canceled, 2020

I just read the news about Leadville 100 Run – canceled. My heart sank.

While I’m not racing it this year, I know how I felt at this time last year training for the August race: I was tapering for my first 50 miler as part of my 100 mile training plan, I was close to race weight, I was laser focused on training for my first 100 miler. Leadville was my entire world.

And to think that I went through all those tough training weekends and then the race was canceled – I’d be devistated.

However, in ultra running and triathlon there are so many things that can go wrong in any training cycle: injury, sickness, weather. There are so many factors at play in training for an A Race. We have to remain positive and know that it will be there next year.

I’m disappointed for my friends who are in the middle of training and planning for Leadville. I know they are sad.

Leadville, Scoping out the course before race day

At the same time I get a reminder of one of the best things I did in 2019: train for my first 100, travel to Colorado multiple times, run with friends at 10,000 feet and strive to finish something unknown.

Leadville 100 Race Morning

Training was hard but I was so motivated. Race day ended early with a disappointing DNF. But I’m not done with you Leadville. I will conquer you. I will run that red carpet.

And some day. Some day. I will be a Leadwoman. How’s that for lofty goals?!

Getting to know a new trail

Quarry Concord NH

Three weeks ago I injured my left ankle. 

April 14 injured ankle, from twisting it while trail running.

I can finally run but there is lingering sensitivity and I don’t want to push it too hard. I haven’t run long in four weeks. This weekend I am trying for 15 miles. 

Cycling is good, though but the weather isn’t cooperating for tri bike time: cold and windy. Mountain biking has been good this past week. I feel like I can escape the cold and wind a bit better on trails with the mountain bike.

I’ve been mountain biking to the quarry and trying to get familiar with the trails. It’s so cool to see the quarry water. I don’t think I have ever seen one like this, just in the movies. The discovery process of learning trails is so fun; trying to figure out which way to go and how to get back to the water. It’s similar to moving to a new place and getting to know the new trails and roads.

I remember when I moved to Steamboat Spring, I signed up for a trail running series. It turned out that by running all the races I got to know all the trails around Steamboat and the surrounding towns. I met like-minded people and stayed for three years. When I moved to Granby, CO and lived on the slopes of, then called, SolVista I made a game out of skiing every trail in a day, which wasn’t difficult since it was small. The idea of really getting to know a landscape by learning trails is something I’ve always tried to do in all the places I’ve lived.

Even many years later this idea of getting to know a place, to really know it, still appeals to me. Just when I thought I knew everything about Concord, NH I then I discovered this trail. There are no real trail maps of it and the city of Concord doesn’t have a map of it on their website like they do for all the trails. 

While there are so many devastating things happening in the world with the pandemic, to be able to turn the stay at home order into a positive, learning the local trails and getting to know home is one of the positive things about the times we are living in. 

Biking Makes Me Happy

Today is Saturday. It is raining with intermittent snow. Who doesn’t love a cold, snowy morning in May? I still hope to run and bike at some point today despite my run/bike streak ending at 8 days.

Yesterday, Friday afternoon, I rode to the quarry trails and found the quarry. The trails are fun and challenging. I was a little nervous once I found the quarry because so many movies have scenes where they find the dead bodies at the quarry or the killers are planning attacks while at a quarry. I felt at any moment someone would appear from the rocks and kill me; and no one would find me ever again. And, I was also worried I would get lost and never find my way home. 

When I left my house I wasn’t planning on finding the quarry I just planned to ride the trails and get comfortable with them so I didn’t bring water or food – famous last words from someone who goes missing on a trail. 

Plus, my ankle is not 100% yet so I didn’t want to be on rocky trails that may put pressure on it and re-injure it – so I planned on playing it safe but as I got deeper into the woods the trail kept leading me on. Despite being nervous about everything I kept riding.

The main trail heading into the woods.

After a few loops around the quarry and getting familiar with where I was I headed home, except that I missed a turn to bring me back to where I entered. I was heading downhill toward the cemetery on a rock-filled trail but I wasn’t sure it was the right trail. I almost turned around a few times but I figured it had to bring me back to civilization at some point. 

The area was a bit creepy and I thought that if I crashed, again, I wouldn’t be found for days despite being less than a mile from the cemetery according to my phone. I finally saw a building, then came to a gate and parking lot. I realized it was a business that has signs in the front that there is no recreational activity allowed on the property but I had to get home so I rode through.

As I rode home I was so happy. Mountain biking makes me happy, happy, happy. Despite the fear and worry just a few minutes ago as I cruise downhill back to my house I am glad I got out for 7 miles. The trails were awesome but next time: food, water and maybe a riding partner. 

The White Mountain trails are slowly opening now so I need to get up there and check off some 4,000 footers. It looks like they are taking a “phased opening approach”. I can wait a few more weeks to head north.  I can’t wait for Goldie to bag her first 4,000 footer! 

Dog love.

Training & Racing Update: Week 3, Run Bike Streak

I’m actually pretty psyched to get in 24 miles last week. The miles were solely from walking until Saturday when I tried a little running. Running didn’t hurt too much but I didn’t want to take a chance and re-injure my ankle. Sunday I mixed a little bit running in and the ankle felt good. I biked 105 miles this week which was a big for me, and where I am in the training cycle for the White Mountain Triathlon (half IM distance); I hope it still happens on June 27.

Week 1 – 3, 100 mile training plan results

The big story: Run/Bike Streak Day 7 on Sunday. I ran/walked and biked for seven days in a row. I’m going to keep doing it to stay motivated – heck it worked to keep me going this week when the weather was crappy. It’s the little things in life sometimes.

My walks and runs over the weekend took me through St. Paul’s campus, one of the few places that is really green.

I’m slowly getting back to hiking since the uneven surface is tough on the sore ankle. Goldie had her second and third off-leash hike. She does great staying close but on the last hike wouldn’t come close enough for me to put her on a leash to get back to the car. After 10 minutes I walked back to the car, opened the door and she followed Winnie right in. Success or Failure. I’m not sure but I rewarded her for getting in the car. 

Trails aren’t as green yet, but close.

I drove to Rye to visit my parents and sat 6 feet away from my mom in the driveway. Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day with a high of 77 degrees. It was nice to see my parents. Goldie was a little nervous for her first one hour drive in the car but did great over all. She needs to get used to car drives since soon we will be hiking in the White Mountains. Back in Concord it was nice to walk in shorts and a tee-shirt. 

Walking through the arches at the State Capital.

Are you watching The Last Dance? I am and it’s such a good documentary. Highly recommended.

Now it’s Monday and gearing up for work. It will be interesting to see more businesses opening this week. It’s been an wacky week and I can’t wait to see what happens. My plan is to run and bike everyday and more hikes with the dogs in Winant Park. Stay healthy my friends.