Miles to Go for Who?


“Miles to Go for You.”  If you’re a somewhat new reader to my blog you may be wondering why I chose that name.  Miles to go for who?  Don’t you run for yourself?  Read on and you will understand, I promise.   In order to explain, I will have to take you back to July 4th, 2010.  My first running race ever.  The picture below means so much to me.

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It reminds me of where I started and how far I’ve come.  Even though it was 7 years ago, I still remember Hunter and I lining up with all the other racers on the street next to Dansbury Park Pool.  It was a scorching hot summer day and I remember feeling like I was doing something so far out of my element, being there among SERIOUS runners.   When the gun went off, Hunter and I ran with the crowd.  We had a short conversation and then the next thing I knew, my nine year old son took off!  I tried to keep his blue shirt in my sight but I literally couldn’t keep up with him.  He was running so much faster than we had trained!  My goal for that race was to not walk, no matter what.  I thought Hunter and I would run together, but I was so proud of him that I didn’t mind.  I just kept telling myself not to stop running no matter how hard it felt.  The sun was beating down on me as I plugged along on the levee in the last mile of the race, Hunter far out of my sight.  Houses with torturous pools in their yards came into my view, but I kept moving.  When I crossed the finish line in 28:11, Hunter was there waiting for me.  He had ran a 24 or 25 minute race!  A guy who finished behind me said I had a good pace and he had used me to keep moving forward.  (I had no idea this was a thing and that I was helping someone out!).

 

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YMCA 2010 Firecracker 5K (July 4, 2010).  We have both changed a lot since then!

Hunter and I had trained for our first 5K for a few months, side by side.  We worked our way up to a 1.4 mile loop in our neighborhood, then to about 3 miles.  (Those were the days when  I had sneakers that weren’t actual running shoes.  I drove my car on the loop beforehand to measure the mileage.  And…I used the kitchen clock to estimate our pace!).  Those training runs were HARD!  Our 1.4 mile loop would take us through the dirt roads of our wooded community in the Pocono Mountains, past neighbor’s houses, past the community mailboxes, past their bus stop, and through a quiet woodsy area with no houses.  There was also a “big hill”, the one the entire neighborhood used for sledding in the winter, that we had to run down.   After we were able to do one loop well, we decided to double it and get as close to 3 miles as possible.  We would switch directions during the double loop, which meant that we would not only have to run down the big hill, but also UP the big hill!  When we finished our second lap, Hunter and I would literally throw ourselves down on the grass in the front yard and lay on our backs trying to catch our breath!  Then I would quick run inside to check the time so I would know how long it took us.

Little did I know that that one little race would open the door to a whole new world to me.  I had no idea that I would one day own things like Garmins, real running shoes, Gu, energy chews, compression sleeves, moisture wicking clothing, or balaclavas.  Hell, I didn’t even know what most of those things were!  I didn’t know how much running would teach me about myself and what was possible, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted all the new people and amazing friends that it would bring into my life.

I wouldn’t have believed you at all if you had told me then that someday I would be running trail races exclusively.  And I without a doubt would not have believed you if you had told me I’d be running a 50 mile trail race with crazy elevation and beautiful waterfalls.

The picture below means as much to me as the one above.  Hunter, now towering over me, and my son Eli, have watched me progress through the various distances of road races.  They were there to cheer me on during my first half marathon in Philly, my first full marathon in the Poconos, my first 50K at Pine Grove, and my first 50 mile race in Ithaca, NY.

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June 3, 2017.  Cayuga Trails 50 in Ithaca, NY

So, miles to go for who?  In case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s these two right here.  My boys mean the world to me and in order to be the best Mom I can be, I run.  I run to stay sane, to stay healthy, and to show them that when things get hard you keep on pushing forward.  I run to show them that dedication, a fire in your heart, and a positive attitude can carry you for miles.

Who do you run for?

What do you remember about your first race ever?

Recovery & Next BIG Goal!


A lot of people have been asking me how I’m feeling, so I figured I’d talk about how I am doing what transpired so far AFTER the 50 mile race.

How to Get Your Teenage Son to Tie Your Shoes

My boys were awesome about helping me out on Saturday night and Sunday.   They were so proud of me that when I asked for help, both of them tied my shoes for me.  They actually fought over which one of them was going to do it, so they each ended up doing a shoe.  (hahaha…we’ll see if THAT happens again!)

Getting Around

Aside from the typical post race shuffle,  waking up the next morning had me feeling slightly like I had been hit by a truck.  My back was sore (kind of expected this due to wearing the hydration vest for 12 hours), but so was my chest.  I was also coughing much of the day.  This all ended by Monday night and was really not as bad as it sounds.  (Plus Jen and I both had this issue so I figured it was normal!)

We stayed in Ithaca Saturday night so that we could spend Sunday checking out Cornell University.   Cornell is Eli’s dream school.  He wants to wrestle there and study astrophysics!  The campus was really cool.  The buildings were very unique and there was a trail with a waterfall right by the campus!

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Then we went to the Shoppes at the Ithaca Mall so that Eli could buy some Cornell gear.  Eli was my little sidekick the entire time.  He wrapped his arm around my waist and helped me hobble around the mall entire time!

By Monday night I was walking and getting around much better.  Yesterday, HUGE improvement, and today I feel practically back to normal.  I have been sleeping a lot though!

I did some cycling at the gym today and attempted to lift a little bit but I felt too tired to proceed.  I’m going to stick to walking, stretching, and rolling.  I’ll try again with the cycling in a few days and hopefully I can get back to lifting soon because I miss it!  I have to remember that my whole body is basically trying to repair itself!

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Eating Everything

I was HUNGRY and eating a ton of food that I usually don’t but I didn’t care!

I had a pulled pork sandwich, corn on the cob, and cookie at the finish line. Then a short time later I had 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and a whole carton of Halo Top Ice Cream. Sunday I had to get out of bed before everyone else and hobble to the lobby of the hotel to eat at 6:30 am because I was starving.  Other runners were there too, and they were easy to spot because we were all shuffling around the same way.  I had an egg and sausage sandwich and two cinnamon buns.  For lunch we stopped at Wendy’s and I ate two bacon cheeseburgers, a medium Frosty, and fries.  When we got home Sunday night Hunter made me 3 scrambled eggs and Eli made me toast.  Then I had cereal.  Hunter told me I was eating like a teenage boy.  My husband did the laundry, unpacked, and put all of our things away when we got home so that I could crash on the couch.

This week I’ve still been eating a lot more than usual but craving a TON of fruit, vegetables, and protein.  I guess my appetite will get back to normal eventually!

How I’ve Been Staying Busy

As a teacher it’s been nice because school is officially out, so I’ve been able to catch up on my sleep and rest.  I’m not good at doing that for too long though!  The boys and I had some errands to run and went out for our annual kick-off to summer breakfast at a local diner on Tuesday.

I’ve also been watching YouTube videos of ultramarathons and getting some more inspiration for the next BIG goal. . .

Devil Dog Ultras

Jen and I are going to do our first 100 miler this December!  It scares the crap out of me and that’s exactly why I need to do it.  I couldn’t imagine even thinking about it, let alone running it, without Jen.  She has always wanted to do a 100 and I have slowly come to the realization that I do too.  I really, really want this.  Now that I’ve tackled an insane 50 miler, this goal seems even more attainable.  It IS completely new territory, that’s for sure, but I really cannot wait to get started on our next journey!

If anyone out there has any tips, advice, words of wisdom, or stories to share regarding 100 mile races, I’m all ears!

 

 

 

Ultra Training vs. Marathon Training


 

Week #4 Training is Complete!

In case you are a new reader, I am currently training for Cayuga Trail 50.  Tons of elevation gain, so it will be a tough race.  I have completed one trail 50K (Ironmaster’s Challenge), last April.   I have also done a lot of local trail races from 15K to 13.1 in the past two years. Before that I was a road marathoner.  As I made the transition to trails I fell in love.  It feels like a completely different sport to me.   The training philosophy is different and so are the experiences you need to get your body used to.

Here are some things I do for ultra training that I never did for marathon training:

  1.  Run trails.  (This is an obvious one, but I honestly didn’t even do this enough for my 50K last April).  Also, run trails that will allow you to experience the same stress of race day if possible.  I’m trying to get a lot of elevation change in my long runs.  I think it’s working, as Saturday’s run did not even make my legs sore at all 🙂
  2.  Eat every 45 minutes and eat real food.  I never did this for long runs on the road. I’d pop a Gu gel every 6 miles (bleh I can’t even fathom eating one of those anymore)!   Now I take peanut butter crackers, Honey Stinger waffles or chews, granola bars, Fig Newtons, bananas, etc.  Still experimenting with food but notice it’s all FOOD!  Ultras obviously take a long time on your feet and there is no way I will get through with just gels or chews.  My stomach would seriously hate me.
  3. Slow down.  In marathon training it was a different mentality for me.  I always had a time goal or pace that I was striving for.  Now I just take what the trail gives me.  If there are climbs, I power hike.  If there are downhills, I fly.  If it’s flat (haha when does this happen?)  I cruise.  This constant change of pace is what I need to put my body through because that’s how race day is going to be.  Long runs on trails are unpredictable and depend on the terrain, so that is how I run!  You can feel the different muscles being worked during each of those scenarios.
  4. Hydrate smart.  This is where Nuun comes in.  I take plain water too but now that my runs are getting longer, I always have a 12 oz bottle of Nuun Active along with me.  It is the perfect balance of electrolytes to keep you going.  Even in cold weather, you will sweat a lot and need to replace those electrolytes.  Today’s flavor of choice was fruit punch.  I always feel good when I drink it on a run.  So thankful to be a Nuun Ambassador and run for Team Nuun!
  5.  Be prepared.  I always have my hydration vest on for any trail run over 4 miles.  This is because I like to carry things in case of emergency.  You just never know.  Do I really need water for a 5 mile run?  No, but I like to carry extra food, a light windbreaker, and my phone for trail runs. These things have all come in handy so it’s best to be prepared.   Plus, I’ll be running my 50 miler with my vest on, so I like to simulate as much as I can.
  6. DOUBLE LONG RUNS!  This is the big one for me.  The other 5 things are a choice you make and stick to.  Double long runs need to be slowly introduced so that your body adjusts to not having a rest day after a long run (as in marathon training for most plans).  I started introducing my body to this in October.  I worked up to two 10 mile runs back to back before my plan started a month ago and it was a great idea.  This weekend was an 11 and a 16.  The plan I’m using has me resting the day before the first long run and the day after the second.  I try to stick to the rest day on Friday and Monday, but sometimes things happen with our busy schedules mid-week and I need to rearrange.  I just make sure to run easy so my long runs take priority.

 

Some Pics from Today’s Run (16 miles on the A.T.)

My awesome Hubby helped me drop my car off at Pine Grove and took me to the spot that I ended my run yesterday.  I planned to stay on the AT and get up to Sunset Rocks for the extra mileage.  This stretch of trail was not very technical except for a few rocky areas and some gentle inclines.

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Lots of creek crossings today .

 

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Once I passed the Pole Steeple trail intersection, the AT was downhill and then flat along a wide road. Not my favorite.

I kept heading South once I was through the park and ended up off the trail for a mile to explore Camp Michaux (see the sign below).  It was kind of creepy and intriguing since there is a lot of history there.  It was a secret WWII camp for interrogating Prisoners of War.  I want to take my family back to check it out.  Some of the building remains are still there and marked.  I feel like places like this leave behind a certain energy that was not the mood I was aiming for today, so I turned around and headed back to the AT.  When I hit a total of 13 miles on my watch, I turned around and headed back to my car.

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I ended up running 4 of my miles under 9:00 which typically does not happen on a long trail run, but that’s because this section was fairly easy.  A few small inclines but nothing major.  Last mile back to the car was an 8:16 so it did feel good to finish strong.  I was surprised it was that fast because it didn’t feel like it!

Week #4 Run Down

Monday:  rest

Tuesday:  4 easy road miles with club & lifting and core @ the gym

Wednesday: 6 trail miles

Thursday:  busy day so rested

Friday:  easy 4 on roads, some with pup

Saturday:  11 miles on the trail (more elevation change)

Sunday:  16 miles on the trail (fairly easy jaunt)

 

Happy miles this week, readers!

What is your favorite food, gel, or chew to eat on the run?