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October 14, 2012

Fall

Over the past ten days, many leaves have fallen, and I've had a couple stellar runs.....I think that my reward for dealing with the trials and tribulations of summer running (heat, humidity, sweat, bugs, yuckkkkk) is that fall running has been easy-peasy :)

Last week, I did a fun 11 mile trail run all around Mansfield's parks and preserves---wow, there were a couple tough climbs plus and epic run through a soggy field.  And yesterday I ran 13 on the (nice and flat) Hop River trail.  The air was brisk, and my legs just wanted to go, go, go.  In fact, I had to hold them back.

I'm bracing myself for the darkness of winter but am hoping that I can do some runs on UConn's well lit campus.  Till then, it's fall, and I'll continue feasting on pumpkin treats :P

September 13, 2012

To the Farm


Wow!  The Winni relay exceeding all of my expectations-  I had a blast getting a chance to bond with fellow Mansfield runners and was impressed with the scenery of New Hampshire. Oh, and the run kicked my tail ;)  Many thanks to Warren for sharing this unique race with us and to Rachel for organizing so many logistics.

I ran leg #5--10.6 miles from a ski area to Morgan Farm.  I waited with team members at the ski area for Alicia to arrive.  Around 1:30, I lined up very seriously in the exchange zone and was stoked to see Alicia finishing strong. I grabbed the baton and took off, but then my visor flew off!!  So I actually had to turn around and grab my visor. Geez, I'm a klutz!  That inspired me to take off a bit quickly.  After a few minutes, I passed a dude wearing a purple singlet.  It was hot and the sun was glaring down on me.  The course was on the side of a somewhat busy road. I was sweating a lot and had to deal with the extremely slick baton.  I felt like I was running pretty strong and powered up a couple short hills.  My first two miles were under 9 minute pace.



It was getting hotter, and I drank water at every opportunity. At a couple spots, folks were stopped on the side of the road, handing out water, and their cheering really helped out.  I could see a couple runners ahead of me, and I was glad that I wasn't lost ;)  By mile 4, I could tell that I was expending a lot of energy. The course was scenic- going by farms with traditional New England stone walls.

At mile 5, I took a gel.  I was a mess during this race!  I was running in a sports bra and shorts and was still boiling. I guess that's what happens when you race in the middle of the afternoon!  I started dumping water on my head to cool myself down. I did NOT want to overheat. I pretended that I was doing an Ironman- where they end up running a marathon in hot, brutal conditions. There were some extended downhills, and I knew they'd shred my quads but I also wanted to make up some time. I tried to let myself float down those hills. 

At mile 7, I had to bribe myself to get to mile 8. I checked my garmin a ton, hoping that the miles would click along.  Fortunately, there were a few shaded sections of the course and some clouds rolled in.  I passed a couple people and crossed my fingers that I could stay ahead of them. I sang a few Lady Gaga songs in my head. I reminded myself that my comrades from Connecticut were waiting for me and that really, really motivated me to keep running. It made a huuuuge difference to be running as part of a team.

By mile 9, I knew that I'd make it to the finish. I wanted to finish strong.  My leg ended with a downhill, and I forced my jello legs to move to the exchange zone. I was elated to hand off to Stacey.  I couldn't believe that I survived this race.  Apparently, Lake Winnipesaukee means the"smile of the Great Spirit."  I think someone was smiling that we had the moxy, the fierceness, and the sense of humor to run all the way around this fine lake.

September 9, 2012

Lake Winni Relay

I had an awesome time running with the Mansfield Trail Runners' relay team at Lake Winni.

My leg required mettle:

I will put together a proper race report soon on this hardcore New England race and my fantastic relay team!!

August 2, 2012

Bolton XC Race

After a month of Connecticut running--with many hills, some mud, and a few falls--I was beginning to feel the urge to race.  Fortunately, Rachel informed me of a fantastic cross country race series a few towns away.  The Bolton summer series involves a challenging 2.2 mile cross country course--on grass and trails in the woods. 

The race consisted of 2 loops, and I wanted to make sure I had energy for the second loop. So, at the start, I ran fast but didn't let myself sprint.  First, we went downhill on grass. Then there was an oh-shit uphill, and I passed one woman on that section. Then there was a gradual uphill and a flat portion where I picked my pace back up.  The second loop began with the fun downhill and not so fun uphill. But then we descended into the woods. I was leaping over roots and rocks and even crossed a platform bridge. I was working to stay close to another woman. After turning around a lovely tree, we had to work our way back up & out of the woods. And then there was another gradual uphill on the grass- where I attempted to close the gap between me & the next group of runners (Alas! I didn't catch them). Once the grassy path became flat, I willed myself to sprint, and a fellow Mansfield Trail Runner cheered for me :> Apparently, I ran the final 0.2 miles at 7:20 pace!! After crossing the finish line, I got that pukey feeling, and that means that I was redlining and pushing myself.

I'm glad that I took the leap and that this Bolton race was my first Connecticut race. The barn was precious and the scenery was so green and expansive. I loved that there were runners of all ages--from speedy teenage boys to older women (rock on!). I also loved that there was plenty of hanging out before & after the race.  The running community continues to impress me with their kindness; I seriously feel welcomed. I hope to pay that forward.


July 8, 2012

Hitting the trails

After arriving in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut last week, I decided to join a couple running groups to acquaint myself with local trails.  I went for a couple mellow weekday runs with a Meetup group and really enjoyed the feeling of running through the woods.

My fellow runners were welcoming, and it was great to stick together while cruising along the trails. Some parts of the trail were rocky, but others were soft, pine needle laden routes.  I managed to avoid most bugs (after dousing myself with a DEET-containing repellant!).

Today I joined the Shenipset group for a longer run on the Nipmuck Trail.  The group took off at a pretty fast pace. Again, I loved the trail- with lots of rocks and roots and even a couple stream crossings.


But I just felt icky and couldn't get my heartrate down. So I stopped after 2 miles and a very kind group member ran back to the start with me.  We talked about running routes in the area, and he was encouraging (yay for the uber-kind running community!!).  With less than a mile to go,  I fell--it felt like a long time before I hit the ground.  Fortunately, I just scraped up my thighs, and I didn't even draw blood :)  Of course, I was quite embarrassed because a) I was fried and couldn't do the full length of the group run; and b) I face planted right in front of my new buddy. Aaarghhhhhh.  Anyways, I survived.  I suppose it's all part of acclimating to a new place--with new trails, new people, new weather, new bugs. So many new things.

June 21, 2012

Running in the Bay Area

I remember training for my first marathon (the 2001 Chicago Marathon) with Carolyn. I remember finishing the Skyline 50k ultra and being proud of covering so much terrain. I remember training very hard for the New York City marathon in 2009. I remember tough tempo runs around Lake Merritt and hardcore track workouts in the January rain. There have been lots and lots of races. I have amassed a solid collection of medals and ribbons from races in SF, Oakland, and even Santa Rosa! And most of my PRs were set around the Bay Area. I remember fun runs with old and new friends in San Francisco and on the East Bay trails. I've also done plenty of running by myself- on good days and bad days- to dig deep, to figure stuff  out, to reflect, to celebrate, and to move on.

The glories of being a runner in the Bay Area include:
-awesome routes just out our front door with challenging hills
-foggy runs over the Golden Gate Bridge
-flat runs in Alameda, Walnut Creek
-DSE races all over SF- for $5- and the lure of delectable chocolate chip cookies
-long runs in Golden Gate Park- with car free roads on Sunday
-hot, sunny runs in the South Bay
-trail running galore in Tilden, Chabot, Redwood Parks, Mt. Tam
-the San Francisco marathon
-the Kaiser half marathon
-Nike women's
-yummy restaurants for post-run refueling
-running in shorts in January and February :)
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