My Blog Posts

My quest to earn mountain goat status…

Saturday is a rugby day!

The weekend of  May 4th and 5th was a little busy. I started Saturday with Amoskeag rugby club when I briefly stepped out of retirement to play with my running partners and good friends Amy and Brigit. It was a fun morning, I played a position I had never played before and I didn’t get hurt! I hesitated playing because on May 5th I was scheduled to run the Sleepy Hollow mountain run-the first race in the USATF NE Mountain Circuit.

photo by Gianina Lindsey @ Snapacidotic
photo by Gianina Lindsey @ Snapacidotic
After the game I drove home, showered, packed my car with my tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, running kit etc. I then drove 3 hours to Huntington VT to Sleepy Hollow trails. $15 and I was set for the night! I set up my tent and was settled in around 9pm. The sounds of the night were amazing and after dark the skies were full of stars. I was excited for a good nights sleep and I wasn’t disappointed. Woke up, broke down camp and started to psych myself up for my first race of the series and my first race running with acidotic RACING. I met Chris in the parking lot and got my jersy and buff. I was ready to hit the trail! The race started-close to 200 participants and I was nervous. We headed up and I felt strong-down and up again. I was fast on the down hills not as fast going up. I tend to only tap the brakes going down and feel the need to take advantage of the moment. I passed a couple women who passed me again and ultimately I passed them before the race was through. I met up with a fellow aR team mate on the trail. Didn’t know him but we both were wearing team jerseys. We toggled back and forth and finally after the second hill climb up and fast down we were running together. He suggested we run together with a nice opportunity for a pic in the aR yearbook. Sounds fine but did I mention that I sprint the finish-oops. He wasn’t happy but we pretty much crossed the finish line together-in a full out sprint. After the race he said “there is a word for people like you and it starts with a B” I took that as a compliment 😉  It was nice to have people to hang out with after the race and I enjoyed meeting people with a similar passion for the trails. I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group, just one place from medaling in the USATF mountain championship. Not bad for my first official mountain race.
photo by Gianina Lindsey @ Snapacidotic

The weekend after Sleepy Hollow I had a great 12ish mile run in the Belknaps. We hit 4 or 5 peaks in total and finished at Mt. Major. I was enjoying the moment so much that I forgot to snap a picture…oops! It was a long but great run/experience. Looking forward to doing it again. This past weekend I ran Pumpelly trail of Mt. Monadnock. It was my first trip up Monadnock for the year and it did not disappoint. The views were incredible and it was a fun run/hike. I only ticked off one angry woman (gave her wrong directions on accident) and wiped out as the end of the run was “near”. Many laughs and perfect weather made for a great day. Next up…Mount Wachusett!

It was nice not to have to take a selfie from the top of Monadnock!

On the trail…

water along the west side trail

April 22nd I put in my longest trail run since the Circumburke race back in November 2012. It was a slow start and I tried my best to keep my head clear. You see, I have to run from my house to the trails which is over one mile. A mile not in the woods. Lately if I am not in the woods it seems like a lot of work to be running!  Once I got onto the windy single track that makes your head spin as you look for the next safe spot to land your foot, I was good to go. I ran the Ridge trail of Fox forest and started out on the West side (the side I live on). I headed West and looped around to the East side trails. It was a crisp, beautiful morning and the sun was shining which made the run that much better. I ended up taking the east side trails in the opposite direction than I was used to which added to the challenge. I started up hill and kept hitting hills along the way. I love running down these hills, I didn’t enjoy running up them all that much…until I started to look around. I stopped a couple times to take pictures.

View from the East Ridge
I also had to stop several times just to get my bearings because the trail markers were worn away and barely noticeable.  I get the impression that when I say I am on a trail run people are picturing the maintained/groomed rail trail type of trails. NOPE. They are tough to navigate and barely noticeable at points. When my phone app mentioned I was at a 15 min mile pace, I didn’t really care, I was running on this rustic terrain, up hill most of the way…but I kind of cared so I took pictures to document why my trail run pace was so slow. I am ridiculous.

East side trail
Natural bridge on east side

I followed my gut instinct and managed to get around the whole East side without getting lost. I looped back to the West side and headed back on the trails I was familiar with. Ridge trail is approximately 12 miles plus the run in and out of the woods so I completed almost 15 miles on the trail and decided to run the last 3+ on the road. Mistake. Miserable. My Inov8’s were not meant for road and were very uncomfortable but I knew if I had stopped by the house to change shoes, I would not have headed back out again! I sucked it up and made my way towards Grimes field so I could run on the gravel for a bit then headed home. I completed 18 in a little over 3 hours. That afternoon I finally got around to looking up a training plan for running a 50k, I was about a month behind where I should be for mileage. I am not so sure I will be doing a 50k at Pineland Farms this year which is a bummer because I really wanted to cross Ultra off my bucket list sooner rather than later. I will at least do the 25k. I still have a couple of weeks to figure it out!

View from the tower
The little ole look out tower on the East side
View from the tower
risked my life on these stairs for the view

View from the tower

The good outnumber you and we always will

The past few weeks I have had some pretty amazing long distance training runs and some pretty sweet short runs. I ran 15.5 in Syracuse. It was a great day for a run, a little chilly but it was a nice sunny day. I was directed to take a somewhat hilly route. Hills, hills, hills and a valley. It was a good run followed by an afternoon of celebrations-Moira’s baptism and Jen and Pat’s engagement party.
Last week I was running along the river when I noticed a large dark figure on the other side. It was a moose-pretty cool. I tried to get some pictures but it was 7:00pm and the sun was setting so I couldn’t get a good pic. I have a love hate relationship with that route. I love that it parallels the river and I kind of love that it
includes Bear Hill. Bear Hill is a long and winding hill. Just about a mile long. I often think that it would be a good short distance race challenge. The view includes farms, old homes, and beautiful sunsets at night. That particular night I saw a moose, 2 deer, cows (I love cows), and a bird that at first glance looked like an eagle. Its the little things that keep me going. When I take on bear hill I chant in my head-“Kill the hill” and “be strong, run strong”. Sometimes I find that running on the flat ground is almost harder than running hills. I like how my leg muscles feel heading up and I can feel my body working, my running seems to be pretty smooth going up. The flats feel l like more work for me for some reason. Ever feel like that?

I also was excited this past Saturday when I ran on the trails for the first time this season. Snow, ice, mud,  and standing water-It was a great run!

Yesterday I had the pleasure to participate in the 26.4.26 marathon relay. Educators supporting educators-A run to show our support and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. It was a moving experience. The day started with a heart warming and tear producing, story of a stepdaughter who lost her step mother (principal) in the Sandy Hook tragedy. I had tears in my eyes and had to fight from “losing it”. It brought back my initial feelings about the tragedy- that could happen to me, to my students. I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to my students.
Onto the run… it was not a race.
There were 6 of us running for HDES. Our abilities ranged from not running to  avid runner. I ran 2 legs of the race totaling a little over 7 miles. I added another 10 to make for a 17 mile training run. I ran strong. I felt strong. I ran with 26 angels watching over me. I finished the race high on life. It was such a great feeling to be running with 1,000+ educators, running to support a great cause. My co-workers were amazing and all pushed themselves to run  beyond what they thought they could do. Congrats to them! Sadly, that runners high was short lived.

I received a text today around 4pm. As I unlocked my phone to receive my text two news flashes came across the screen-explosion at Boston marathon. My heart sank. My text was from my close friend and running partner-“Thank god you didn’t run Boston this year”. I immediately thought of a new running friend who was celebrating her Boston marathon debut today. The power of facebook allowed me to find her safe and sound and I learned  she had a fast race (3:30something)! Unfortunately for her and many other runner’s, their accomplishment was overshadowed by a horrible tragedy. My runners high from yesterdays run was deflated. How could somebody do this? The running community is full of some of the kindest, happiest people I know. What point could this be making? Senseless. As one friend commented- Unacceptable.
I wasn’t going to run tonight but I did. I ran 4.09 miles. I had noticed that at the time of the first blast it was 4:09 into the marathon. I  normally don’t get overly invested into tragedies but for some reason this one really hit home. Maybe its because I am a runner and we runners are a close community. Maybe its because I have been contemplating trying to qualify for Boston next year. Maybe its because I was toying with the idea of taking the day off to show support for the runners and had I not had a day full of meetings, I would have been there. Maybe its because I am now a New Englander. These type of things do not happen to us, when they do, it affects all of us. Whatever it is, I feel a need to continue to be a strong runner, stronger than ever.

We will keep running, we will run with the angel’s that have been taken too soon. We will run united.

Runners United to Remember:

A powerful quote recognizing todays tragedy…
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

– Patton Oswalt

Mind Games

Saturday I ventured on a long run. I am still recovering from my ITB injury from over a year ago that was “tweaked” again when I completed the Circumburke last November.  I was thinking 12-13 miles would be a good goal for this run. A couple of weeks ago I ran 11 miles and while I had a little pain starting at mile 9 it was nothing I couldn’t handle so 12-13 was do-able…until the mind games started.


Mile 1: This sucks, this is going to be a long run, oh look there’s my friend Connie, Hi! Yep I am pretending to be having fun and enjoying this right now! <insert smile here>
Mile 2: This is not so bad but this is a really long hill, why did I choose this route?
Mile 3: So I think it will be almost 4 miles of uphill then onto the back roads-dirt and rolling hills. I can do this.
Mile 4: Woo hoo-off I go. Lovin’ life. Love these rolling hills.
Mile 4.5 Oh geesh stupid shoe, gotta tighten the right shoe. I wonder why that shoe always loosens and the other one doesn’t. I don’t want to stop but I am not going to stop thinking about it till I tighten it plus my foot is sliding too much on the down hill. I better pause the Nike lady (App on my iPhone) and re-tie my shoe. I cant stop for long, I don’t want to tighten up.
Mile 6: hmm… I wonder where that road leads?
Mile 7: fork in the road…take the road less traveled (even though it is taking me farther away from home) or just go with what I know. I am feeling pretty good. Uphills are still strong. Worse case scenario I add an extra mile or two…at this rate I just might be ready to do that 50k trail race in May. Road less traveled it is!
Mile 7.75: I better pause the Nike lady again and check my GPS map. Hmmm…this road appears to meet up with that other road!
Mile 8: There’s the road, oh please let that be a real road. Yes its a real road…wait that’s a Dead End sign. I’ll risk it. I know that road has a couple different dead ends that must be what that sign was all about. Yikes that’s another BIG hill!
Mile 8.5ish: Crap…dead end…but I killed that hill. Kick back and enjoy the ride down. You are ridiculous!
Mile 9: Is that my ITB? No, its fine. No pain. No pain. It’s all in my head.
Mile 11ish: It is my ITB. Ugh, there’s the pavement. Ugh-what the heck was I thinking I have at least another 3 miles to go!  My hopes of completing that 50k are not looking so good.
Mile 12.5: The last of the big hills- my legs are toast. I can do this. Push it. Kill the f’in hill.
Mile 12.5+: This is stupid
Mile 14: Oh yeah, another mile or so. ITB sucks but its nothing I can’t handle one more little push and I am almost there.
Mile 14.5: OUCH. Crap. hobble hobble. Be cool. Be cool. Don’t walk.
Mile 15: Almost home…I want to get this run over with already! No pain, No pain. Don’t run through the pain, don’t walk, don’t run, don’t walk. Damn-just get this over with!
Mile 15.5: Wow that was AWESOME!

Here’s hoping my injury doesn’t keep me from another long run this weekend! Time will tell.
No Regrets!

Yep. It was a good run!
Because I was wearing these socks I felt like I
 couldn’t walk the last half mile…it wouldn’t look right.