TARC Summer Classic 50k Race Report – 2017 Edition!

I have a confession to make. A lot of the time, at least recently, I don’t love running. I have not been “loving the process”. I haven’t been thrilled with my races. Most training runs feel like a slog. While a bit demoralizing, I think it’s to be expected to be honest. In 2016 and 2017 I accomplished more than I had ever really expected as a runner. Two 100 mile races, half marathon PR, 5K PR, a Boston qualifier. It was just success followed by success followed by success. Everything had such tremendous payoff it felt incredibly rewarding. Now, it feels like I am just going through the motions. Seven Sisters was a bright spot of running with friends and craziness that was genuinely exciting. I’m still anxiously awaiting The Bear, since 100 milers are so challenging and unique, but TARC Spring, Wachusett, and to some extent Escarpment felt like a grind. There were moments during Escarpment I thought “I fucking love running”, but a lot of that race was punishing and challenging. The mentality was taking a toll, but on Saturday, all I could think was “I really fucking love running!”

Sure, the TARC Summer classic was still 31 miles. And 31 miles is a long way. And whenever you go a long way there are some low points. The point is that every low quickly left and was replaced by gratifying highs. The race, the community, and my performance all culminated in a great day. I’m hoping that I can take this rekindled energy and train hard going into the Bear.

A large part of what made the day work was treating the race as a training run. Normally, I think this is a bullshit excuse to wipe away a sub-optimal performance, but I had 40 miles on my legs from the week leading up to it, had run 24.5 miles on my long run the previous Sunday, and hadn’t done anything to really treat it as an A or even B race. So while I undoubtedly spent parts of loop 1 doing mathematical gymnastics to estimate a finish time, I quickly let any thoughts of performance and position slip away. I was going to run 31 miles and I’d either be in first place, last place, or somewhere in between. What’s funny is that I had tried to do the same thing at this race two years earlier and failed miserably. So, after three years of ultrarunning, I can safely say I know how to use a race as a training run.

TARC Summer 2017!
Having a blast! Photo Credit – Edith O Dixon

Like two years ago, I think the TARC Summer classic is one of the most enjoyable courses I have run! It has a mix of everything: single track, fire road, hills, techy sections. A 10 mile loop is just long enough to stay fresh but short enough to seem manageable. What’s also amazing is that I can summarize the race in three sentences.

  1. On my first loop, I settled in to running by feel and enjoying the day, and after about 5 miles everything clicked and it was smooth sailing.
  2. I fell right before the start on the second loop, but it got me fired up to run faster than the first loop!
  3. On the last loop, I fell again and felt a bit sorry for myself, so it went a bit slower but I still finished in 5:34 (in 2015 I ran a 6:39)!!!

Boom, easiest race recap ever! Honestly, it is difficult to write a report about a race I have already run. Especially when the goal was supposed to be the same. This year though, I was able to have a spectacular time. I feel reinvigorated for the final 6 weeks leading up to the Bear 100! Can’t wait to see how it goes.

Strava

TARC Summer Classic 50K – 2017

Gear

  1. Salomon Sense Ultra
  2. Balega Socks
  3. Nathan Handheld
  4. Garmin Fenix 3
  5. Gu, Tailwind
  6. Ciele GoCap

Bear Mountain 50k Race Report (April 30, 2016)

Well, Matt may have done basically the same course with an extra 20 miles thrown on, but we had very different race day experiences! While I was on the struggle bus my fair share of the race, it was overall an amazing day and I felt strong & fast almost the entire time. While Matt is good at remembering where he was and how he was feeling at what mile, I have a more generalized recap since I could hardly focus on anything but keeping my body feeling good.

To start the day, we had a 2:45AM wake up, since Matt started 2 hours earlier than me. I was grumpy about losing sleep, but I’m grateful I got to see Matt off before his long day of racing. After his 5:00am start time, I had nothing to do but stand around eating donuts around a fire pit to kill time. I felt anxious to just start, but I met a bunch of amazing runners while waiting for the start! When it was about 6:40 I finally stripped down to my race day gear and checked my bag. I was ready to go, and felt more excited than nervous for the first time in a while.

Pretending I was having fun

We started at 7:00am, and by that point it felt like noon. I remember being a few miles in and thinking “wow I should have had lunch” and then realizing it was literally 7:30 in the morning. I had a long day ahead of me. A runner I met before the race had warned me that the first half of the race was much harder than the second half, and that he was begging for mercy by mile 5 last year. By the time I hit mile 5, I was feeling great and had no idea what this guy was talking about. It was hilly and technical, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then mile 5 was literally just one big hill. My legs were already tired, the toe I had fixed last week had been bothering me for a few miles, and panic set in. Had I not prepared well enough? Should I have trained harder? Of course, it was too little too late, and I tried to push the negative thoughts from my head and focus on one mile at a time.

At mile 7, I was sure I was slowing down. I had a chart with me showing what my timing should be at each aid station, and even at mile 8 I was on course for a 6:30 50k. My goal had been between 7-8 hours – I wasn’t going for speed, as I knew it was going to be a really challenging course. So I adjusted my pace to actually slow down and reminded myself to take it easy – I still had a lot of miles left and didn’t want to burn out early. Around mile 11, some nausea hit me. I had waves of feeling awful and waves of feeling fine for probably 6 miles. I was hurting and had to dig deep to push through. Luckily I brought my headphones, so I threw them on and tried to focus on some upbeat music to get me through it.

At each aid station I knew I needed to get real food in me, but I was really struggling. I’d walk away with a pb&j sandwich in hand ready to hike and eat, and would take 10 minutes to just choke it down. I was struggling between wondering if I needed more water, or if I was over-hydrating. Finally, I had my last wave of nausea and was feeling good again. I was so relieved to feel good, I was pretty much dancing through the woods (as well as you can when there are giant rocks and fallen trees everywhere).

The terrain was brutal. There were parts where I was lifting myself up in between giant boulders with my arms, and parts where I was basically crawling down a steep hill covered in rocks. I was not prepared for the amount of rocks. Seriously guys, it was rocky. When it wasn’t super rocky, it was gorgeous. We had some unreal views, though it was hard to find them while trying not to trip. I did take one fall and slammed my knee into a fallen tree – luckily I basically just tuck-and-rolled out of it and had a solid mile of flat, easy trail after that to recover and shake it off. Most of the miles after the nausea passed have already slipped my memory. I just remember putting one foot in front of the other, drinking a little water every mile, and chatting with as many runners on the way as I could.

Probably the moment I realized I had run 15 miles and was only halfway done.

At mile 21, I was feeling good but HOT. I hadn’t realized what 65 would feel like, and the clouds had started to disappear. I ran with a man from Costa Rica complaining he was cold (while wearing gloves and a long sleeve shirt) and wished that feeling upon myself with all my might. At the Anthony Wayne aid station (mile 21.2) I stopped to throw water on myself and put some ice in my hydration pack. It was glorious and helped put a spring back into my step. The next few miles were slower and hilly, but once I hit that marathon distance and kept going, I felt unstoppable. Nothing makes you feel more badass than finishing a marathon… And then continuing to run.

I knew the dreaded Timp Pass was somewhere after 26, so I put on some T Swift and just cheered on everyone around me so I could try to keep some positive energy going. I hadn’t looked at the elevation of the last big climb (on purpose – no use dreading an unavoidable climb) but I knew it was going to be brutal. Once I saw it I stopped, rolled my eyes, and just told myself I was the idiot who paid for this torture. My legs were hurting from all the hills, my feet were hurting from the rocks, and my knee was a little sore from my fall. I knew I had to put it behind me and think happy thoughts, so I put on Shake it Off (twice in a row) and literally danced and lip synced my way up the hill. I’m 100% sure I looked like an idiot, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t exactly what I needed. I absolutely dominated the hill and was ready to FINISH. I didn’t want to let any negative thoughts slow me down or make my doubt myself.

One of my favorite moments was probably around mile 28 – right before the last aid station. I had my tunes going and T Swift starts singing “are we out of the woods yet?” and I literally said out loud “NO TAYLOR I AM NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET, THANKS FOR THE REMINDER.” Sorry if you were around me during this race – I promise I’m not crazy. Well, no crazier than anyone else who runs 31 miles at a time.

I pushed myself as hard as I could those last few miles. I had been leapfrogging with a few guys during the race (I was mostly surrounded by guys during the race – come on ladies, let’s outnumber the men someday soon okay?) and at mile 29 I finally ran with one of the guys for a bit and we bitched about how we just wanted to be done. He ended up finishing just before me, but I didn’t care. I got to that finish area and was greeted by the November Project Boston leaders and nearly lost my mind. For some reason, I thought the marathon relay was Sunday, so I was not prepared to see so many familiar, smiling faces cheering me on. I had the biggest smile on my face and finished feeling like a million bucks. There were dozens of NPers cheering for me, giving me high fives, and hugging me after I finished. I can’t thank them enough for being there for me – it was hard not having Matt at the start or finish for my biggest race, and seeing those beautiful human beings made my whole day.

At the finish: biggest smile I’ve ever had while running

I felt great post-race for about 15 minutes and then the nausea hit me. I knew it would (or at least I had a suspicion since I felt nauseous after Vermont as well, which I also had bouts of nausea during) but seeing Matt finish his 50 miler perked me right back up. I shoved as much food as humanly possible into my tired body and soaked my legs in an ice bath.

I finished my race in 6:50:26, which was a hell of a lot better than I could have ever imagined when I was contemplating throwing up at mile 12. I had my fair share of ups and downs, but the ups far outweighed the downs. Overall, I definitely recommend runners who enjoy technical running to do this course. It was truly a challenge of endurance, and I can’t wait to head back next year and do the relay – or, depending on this next year of running, to PR the 50k!

 

Strava:
https://www.strava.com/activities/562680023
Gear:
Garmin Forerunner 620
Ciele GoCap
Balega Socks
Nike Kiger Shoes
Nathan  Hydration Vest – HPL #020

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Week 15

This week didn’t go according to plan, but I’m thankful it was a taper week so I don’t feel too guilty! I’ve been having pain in my right middle toe for a few weeks – the same toe that lost its nail after the Marine Corps Marathon. It finally finished growing back about 2 weeks ago, and ever since, my toe has been bothering me. I was going to put off going to the doctor until after Bear Mountain, since I was pretty sure it was an ingrown toenail and would require some sort of procedure to fix, but I went to the doctor last Wednesday anyways. I figured they’d refer me to a podiatrist and I’d have to wait a few weeks for an appointment anyways.

My doctor took one look at my toe and did exactly what I thought she would – sent me to a podiatrist. I went to the front desk to make the appointment and was given two options for an appointment – 2 days from then, or in late June. I was not about to be suffering on every run from now until June, so I sucked it up and went to my appointment on Friday. 

The podiatrist confirmed it was an ingrown nail and suggested a procedure where she would numb my toe, then cut off a sliver of my toenail on the side that was ingrown. I explained that I had a race the following day as well as the big one next week, and though she said I could wait, she thought I would have no problem running next weekend if she did the procedure that day. So, I got the procedure done Friday morning! I ended up not running the TARC Half Marathon, which I was bummed about but decided later it was the right call. While my toe was only a little sore, there was rain in the forecast, and the last thing I wanted was to get my toe infected from running in the mud for 2 hours!

Goose was very concerned – even though he’s in a cone from being neutered!

I did my 6 milers on Wednesday and Thursday, but ended up resting Friday and Saturday so I missed a lot of miles. Matt and I did a nice 4 miler on Sunday, and my toe already felt better than it did before the procedure. I’m very glad I got it taken care of so Bear Mountain will be pain free – at least in the toe department.

This next week is my very last week of training! Just a few short mileage days and I’ll be ready to go. I can’t wait – I feel strong and ready to take on Bear Mountain.

Bear Mountain 50k Training Update

I fell off the blogging bandwagon again! But hey, life gets messy and hard and busy sometimes – we all get it.

The past few weeks have been going very well! I am feeling strong and ready to take on Bear Mountain. I finally brought myself to look at the race elevation profile and other information about it, and I’m less daunted than I thought I’d be. While I haven’t gotten a ton of trail time, I know I’m a stronger runner now than I’ve ever been, and I am mentally prepared. I’m ready for it to be race weekend and for me to kick some ass and take some names!

A lot of my fellow runners have been getting injured, and it has put me on high alert and helped me to force myself to stretch or roll after a run when before I might have been lazy. Matt’s ankle has been sore, a few friends have stress fractures, and our wonderful friend and guest-blogger Kristen has some hip flexor issues. I have become hyper aware of my body, and have been easing off when my shins hurt to avoid a stress fracture. I’m hoping to ease back even more when my training is over and to keep my mileage steadily around 30 miles each week as long as my shin pain dissipates, and then work my way up slowly to get my body ready for my next adventure in running – a 50 miler!

I haven’t chosen a 50 miler yet, but am hoping to do one sometime between next spring and summer. It’s a big challenge, and while my heart is telling me to sign up now and worry about the rest later, my brain is reminding me of all my past injuries and telling me to wait at least a year before I take on such a big challenge. Hopefully I can get in a few marathons and half marathons (and maybe another 50k…) in the next year, but for now I’m going to force myself to rest, recover, and plan. I may even reach out to my physical therapist or a running coach to correct any imbalances I may have and to put me on a path to success. The last thing I want is another injury and to be out of the game again. 

Tapering has begun this week, and I’m looking forward to a slight break in my mileage and to get some well-deserved rest after Bear Mountain! I’ve gotta keep my mileage up enough to pace Matt at his first 100 miler though – I can’t wait!

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Week 11

I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 months of training! Week 11 went pretty well, considering I’m still on the tail end of this lingering illness. I started on Tuesday with a shortened run, only got to 3.5 instead of my scheduled 5. It went pretty well, as did my 6 miler on Wednesday. It was very windy, but I still managed to break 9 minute miles with an uptempo progression run. It’s been a while since I’ve actually completed a speed workout due to my shins followed by the cold I had, so it felt good to run hard.

Thursday was a pretty rough day, starting with our dog being sick all night Wednesday night, so I ended up pushing my run to Friday instead. Matt and I did a short 3 miler since we didn’t want to overdo it before the TARC Hale and Back on Saturday. Poor Matt was sick for his race, so we went to bed nice and early Friday to rest up as much as we could for the race!

I decided to sign up for the TARC to Hale and Back 6 hour race last week, with the plan of doing either 20 miles or 4 hours – whichever I hit first. I went into the race feeling really strong, and I ended up totally kicking ass. The course was a 3.5 mile loop, so I assumed I would get 5 loops in (17.5) miles, but I actually got in 6 loops! It felt great, and I was so proud of Matt for running 31 miles with this terrible cold.

Sunday was a tough day in the motivation department, but I still managed to get my planned 6 mile run in on the river. Matt took the day to rest (because I all but forced him to… He sure is stubborn) so I put on a podcast and just forced one foot in front of the other until I magically ended up back home.

Overall, it was a good week, though I did feel guilty for shortening a few runs. It certainly doesn’t help that Gustav has been waking me up at least once every night for various reasons (you know, because 1AM seems like a great time to chew on an elk antler) and I’ve been oversleeping in order to get my rest in. I’m not the kind of person that does well without sleep when I’m not training, so when I am training I don’t mess around with sleep. I work with 3 boys between the ages of 4 and 9 so I would probably go insane without a solid night of sleep. All I can hope is that the next few weeks my shins stay in line, I don’t get another illness, and Gustav starts sleeping through the night!

TARC Hale and Back 6 Hour – Race Report (March 26th, 2016)

Somehow, it is the end of March and the first race of 2016 is in the books! While certainly not my optimal performance, I had an absolutely amazing time out on the trails at Hale Reservation at another incredible TARC event. Two days before the race, I woke up with a pretty nasty cough/cold that made me wheezy and gave me a sore throat. The idea of running for 6 hours seemed pretty unappealing, but I tried to look on the bright side. I decided to think of it like this: if I weren’t running the TARC event, I would be running alone. The race started to seem a bit more appealing, but I wasn’t as excited as I had been a few days prior. Either way, Saturday morning rolled around and Colleen and I made our way to the Hale Day Camp.

TARC Hale and Back Gear
All the gear I needed for the 3.5 mile loop. Water, gu, and lube.

Colleen and I got to the reservation about 30 minutes before the start. We got checked in and got all of our gear set up. Running a short 3.5 mile loop made it possible to carry very little gear each lap which was amazing. Each lap I only had a water bottle, and in between I made sure to get my calories in. The loop itself was probably my favorite TARC course to-date. It was a great mix of technical single-track and some fire roads. While there weren’t any major climbs, there was a decent amount of up and down. The hardest part of each lap was running across some sandy beaches along the pond that absolutely killed my legs!

Judd!
Colleen and I were representing TBC just a few minutes before the start

At around 9:10, the 6-hour runners were off after the speedy 5K group took off running. As soon as we started running, I didn’t feel on top of my game. My breathing felt labored and I didn’t feel well-rested. I was able to at least convince myself that I didn’t have any set distance to cover. If my body wanted to quit after 3 loops, that would be fine. I just was out there to enjoy the trails. Since the loop was relatively short, the first loop felt more like a warm up. We came back to the aid station where I grabbed my water bottle, ate a little bit of Gu, and took off. I was looking to keep my time at the aid stations short, because it really is deceiving how much time you can lose eating food or chatting with the wonderful volunteers.

Powerline Downhill
One of the rolling downhills towards the start of the loop

Lap 2 my main goal was to keep it consistent with lap 1. I was at a bit of a disadvantage with the aid station time, but I did my best to keep my pace even and stay focused. I started to feel a bit more at ease, but still not great. I found myself focusing more on my health than on my running which was really distracting. My throat was sore, I was coughing, my nose was runny. It wasn’t the best. But as the miles clicked by, it started to feel more comfortable. Lap 2 was pretty much on par with lap 1, and I kept rolling along. Lap 3 was the absolute low point of the race. I was only 25% done, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep my pace, people were passing me. It was at this point when I started bargaining with myself: “6 loops would be okay, maybe 5. Well, as long as I run for 20 miles that is a good long run”. Lap 3 was the pits. But pretty much as soon as it ended my spirits reversed. Physically, I felt a bit stronger and I really wasn’t feeling fatigued at all. It was all in my head.

When I went out for lap 4, my main concern was still consistency. With Bear Mountain coming up in about a month, I want to make sure to have an extremely even race. I was using the 6 Hour as a way to test my pacing and endurance, so having the set loop to repeat made it great practice. By the end of the day, all of my laps were within 6 or 7 minutes of each other, which I would consider great pacing (at least for me). I was making sure to keep fueling. I switched to just drinking tailwind and having some Gu in between laps. Laps 4, 5, and 6 were all really smooth and even. At this point, I started to set my goal for the end of the day. I knew I could definitely do 7, I would really like to do 8, and 9 would be a great day given how I was feeling.

When I started lap 7, Colleen was in the aid station to start lap 6. She was flying! And feeling amazing! And an amazing burst of positive energy to keep me going. She was super supportive and encouraging for me to keep running. At this point we had about 2 and half hours left of running, but she was certain I could go for the full 6 hours. We left the aid station together and ran together for about half the lap. I got it in my head I had to run each lap exactly the same, but really I probably should have taken it down a notch and just enjoyed the next few laps. I hollered to Colleen I was going to go off ahead (which she didn’t hear) and took off. Even though I tried pushing it, I was only in the aid station a minute or two before Colleen.

Laps 6 and 7
Colleen and I synced up on my 7th lap and her 6th. Colleen was feeling amazing, I was not.
Hale Reservation Single Track
Still moving

At that point, Colleen had hit her 4 hour goal, so she was calling it a day. I tried to keep it quick at the aid station and went out for lap 8. By this point, my sickness felt like less of a burden compared to good old-fashioned tiredness. I had been running for 4 hours and change. Fatigue was setting in. But also, there was a ton of time left! So I knew I could make 9 laps, and just over 50K happen. I finished up lap 8 and then went out for lap 9 with just over an hour left. Since I figured I wasn’t going to make the cutoff for going out for another lap, I eased up a bit and just tried to enjoy the last lap. I was pretty beat up, but the course was still a ton of fun, and the sun started to break out. I wound up finishing lap 9 at around 5 hours and 36 minutes, right after the cutoff for starting one more lap! Josh, the race director was super supportive and said I should go out to try and beat the sweep crew, but I was tired and pushing that hard seemed impossible and stupid. I called it a day at 9 laps, 5.5 hours of running, and 31.5 miles covered.

Matt and Gustav
Happy to be finished and see Gustav. Just missed that opportunity to go out for a lap 10 (which I was very thankful for).

Once again, TARC put on an incredible event. The course was incredibly well marked, all the volunteers were amazing, and every runner was super friendly! This was also the first “cupless” race I had ever been to, and I thought it was awesome how little waste this resulted in. As a tune-up for Bear Mountain, I was incredibly pleased. Sure, I didn’t feel 100%, but I was really pleased to be able to get 50K done. While I am a bit under my goal mileage for the event and for the the week, I still think this was an amazing event that I will definitely be back at.

Strava
TARC Hale and Back

Gear

  1. Nike Terra Kiger 3
  2. Nathan Speedraw
  3. Garmin Fenix 3
  4. Gu, Tailwind, Junkfood
  5. Ciele GoCap

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Weeks 9 & 10

Well, as I’m sure you read in Matt’s post, I’ve been on the struggle bus the past two weeks of training. I threw out my back, got a respiratory illness of doom, and had various other issues personally. Needless to say, my running has definitely suffered, but I’m determined to get back on the horse and tough it out.

VIRB Picture
Beautiful day in the Fells!

Week 9 started for me on a Wednesday instead of Tuesday because I decided it was smart to cut back on my miles while sick. I managed a 3 miler on Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, and 8 with Matt on Friday. I definitely wouldn’t have made it all 8 without Matt, and am glad to have him with me on weekends. Saturday was BEAUTIFUL and I was determined to get on the trails despite the fact I literally didn’t have a voice. We went to the Fells and while I wanted to get all 18 in, I decided to go by time instead of miles, since trails are always slower and I couldn’t go more than 15 steps without coughing. I got about 13 and a half miles in, which took me just under 3 hours. I took Sunday off and literally laid on the couch all day under a blanket sipping tea. I was drained from Saturday, but it was 100% worth it.

VIRB Picture
Beautiful day in the Fells!

Week 10 started out with me skipping my Tuesday run because I was coughing up a lung, and only making it a mile on Wednesday because of that same cough. I was very upset and frustrated, but I’m glad my body was smart enough to keep me from running and making my cold worse. I ran 5 on Thursday, despite the fact I was supposed to do much more. In my head I kept thinking I had to make up my miles from being sick, but I knew I would regret it and end up either sick longer or injured from putting too many miles into a short amount of time.

Friday I did 5.5 with Matt and have never been so happy to have him home. He ran with me for all of my weekend miles, and I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it through them all without him. He was my rock, keeping me steady and motivated despite feeling awful and coughing more. Saturday I finally got a longer run in and did 16 (miserable) miles on the river. Matt kept me steady and just made sure I kept putting one foot in front of the other even when I didn’t want to.

VIRB Picture
Struggling through my long run with my favorite goofball!

Sunday was a much less painful run, and we did 9 miles together along the river again. I planned on 8, and Matt planned on 10, but we compromised and did 9 together! It was windy and chilly, but it was nice to have the company and enjoy our Sunday together before he leaves for California again tomorrow. I’m glad to be back into the rhythm of running and excited to try and get all my runs in this upcoming week, assuming I don’t have some other injury or illness take over my life!

 

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Week 8

Well, I threw out my back this past week, so a lot of my runs were ruined. My week started out with a nice easy run on the esplanade where I called my family during their dinner and chatted with them during my run – it was lovely!

Wednesday I had to do 7 miles, but as I was crossing over the BU bridge the wind picked up and blew my favorite hat into the Charles River. I was only 5 miles in, and I ran straight home out of anger, with my hair whipping in every direction thanks to my hat being gone. Plus, it was 50 and beautiful when I started my run, and it was extremely windy and very cold when I ended. Later that night, I threw out my back at work. I could barely move the rest of the week, so I missed my Thursday and Friday runs.

Saturday was supposed to be my long run of 18 miles, but I still felt pretty sore so I did 4.5 on the elliptical. Sunday, I was finally feeling up for a run so I planned on running 10 with Matt, but around mile 5 my back started to get a little twinge in it, so I ran home and ended up running 7.5 miles.

Overall the week was a huge disappointment and very frustrating. I know these things happen, but it is definitely disheartening to see these things happening to me while my robot boyfriend runs over 70 miles in a week no problem. Combine my running week with the first with that Matt was out of town for work, and you can see why I ate a lot of ice cream cake to get me through it. Week 9 so far has not been much better, but I’m sure I will pull myself out of this rut and get back into it soon.

Lastly, this past week I was chosen as a finalist in a little competition Salomon Running was having. The idea was people submitted haiku’s about trail running and then Salomon would choose a winner. They couldn’t decide, so I was one of 7 finalists chosen and whoever had the most likes on Twitter and Facebook would win! If you win? You get to join in the Hut Run Hut 100-mile 6-day run through the Rockies this summer! My haiku was:

I like trail running
It keeps me from getting fat
I can eat more food

Obviously a joke catered to the fact that pretty much every trail runner I know is obsessed with food, right? Well, I was shamed via Facebook by a fellow November Project member about how my post was hateful and “fat phobic”. After she posted more than one post on my entries, I have asked Salomon to take my post down and take me out of the running of the competition. I hope all of our blog readers know that I did not mean to offend anyone and was just putting a little humor into the world. I apologize if any of you are or were offended by my words. The goal of any social media post I have about running is to motivate myself to better myself as a runner in any way I see fit. Yes, I run to stay fit and thin, because that’s how I feel comfortable in my body. I do not wish to make anyone feel like they are less than worthy because they are different than me in any way. Everyone should find their own motivation and work on themselves in any way they see fit.

Hoping the rest of week 9 gets better – excited to be halfway done with training at least!

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Week 7

I gotta say, I’m getting the hang of this whole “training” thing. You know, where I actually can train and don’t end up in a boot or on a surgical table! My legs still feel heavy and tired a lot of the time, but I feel confident in my abilities. I’m pretty sure I’m more prepared now for my 50k that’s 2 months away than I was when I actually ran my first 50k.

Tuesday I finally #justshowedup to a Tuesday with The Breakfast Club! Most of my Tuesday runs have been less than 6 miles so far, and it just hasn’t seemed worth the 5:45AM drive to go run for a half hour and then drive back home (especially because I really freaking hate waking up early). Finally my Tuesdays are longer. I was planning on running solo (most of the group is faster than me, and a few are my pace but were planning shorter runs) but Matt offered to run with me. He left for California for the week this past Monday, so we wanted to enjoy our weekday runs together while we could! I felt tired and slow, with my average pace 9:26/mile, but overall pretty good.

Wednesday was the first track workout I’ve done this training plan! I did a 1.5 mile warm-up to the track by Harvard Stadium and then did 5 x 800m hard with a 2 minute recovery jog between each rep. By the last lap I was tired, wet from the rain, and had a sore shin, but I was proud of the effort I put in. I averaged 8:48/mile pace for the run including the warm up and cool down, and had my pace for some laps between 7 and 7:30/mile! It was definitely worth the effort.

Thursday Matt and I overslept – did I mention I hate mornings? – so we did our run together after work, and it was pretty miserable. Runs after work now tend to feel a lot longer than morning runs, and it was windy as hell. In order to feel like it was an easy run, I felt like I was barely moving against the wind. We got it done together and enjoyed the parts where the wind was at our backs!

Friday was supposed to be my first non-rest Friday, but with my shin being on the brink of injury still, I decided to get my 4 miles done on the elliptical instead. It was boring as always, but I’m 100% sure I made the right decision for my body.

Saturday was our 3 year anniversary – Woohoo! We had good intentions to go to Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s long run, but nothing sounded better than spending the morning sleeping in and cuddling with our adorable pup! I ended up having some horrible stomach problems the whole day, so I did as much as I could (barely 3 miles) and decided to move my long run to Sunday. I’m grateful I did – I still had stomach issues on Sunday, but they were much less terrible.

I did 17 on Sunday (10 with Matt, 7 on my own) and it was probably the worst long run I’ve had in a long time. That being said, I averaged 9:33/miles despite feeling like my stomach was being wrung out like a sponge. I was grateful to have Matt with me for the first part to keep me distracted. Around mile 12 my stomach started to feel worse, but I knew my legs could go all 17, so I sucked it up and listened to a podcast to distract myself.

I’m proud of the week I had! My shin seems like less of a threat, but I’m still trying to be on the cautious side to avoid every injury I can. Unfortunately, week 8 has not been going well for me, as I just threw out my back yesterday, so I’m just hoping I heal in time to get my long run in this weekend!

Bear Mountain 50k Training – Week 6

Well, this week was my first overall negative week. I’m definitely glad it didn’t happen until now, but I’m determined to get back into it and prevent more injury. After a few runs on the treadmill in the cold weather, I started having some more serious pain in my right shin. I’m wondering if maybe the treadmill just somehow makes me change my stride significantly, but it could also just be from running so many miles. I took enough time off this past week and took it easy enough that so far in week 7 my runs have felt pretty good, though!

Tuesday was my second treadmill day, and the first day my shin really started to hurt.  I did 2.8 out of my planned 5 miles on the treadmill before I called it and went downstairs to immediately ice my shin and have a small panic attack. Matt talked me down and told me to just take it easy this week and see how it goes, so thank the lord I have Matt to keep me from going crazy.

Wednesday I did an easy 5 on the esplanade that went pretty well, despite my shin being a little sore still. I took advil, rolled/massaged/iced my shin after, and decided to call my Thursday run the next day after some sleep.

Thursday I was feeling pretty good and had my first hill repeats scheduled for my training plan, and felt like I should at least try to do the workout. I did a nice 1.5 mile warm up and was feeling pretty good, so I headed over to Summit to do some hills and almost immediately regretted it. My shin got much worse and I decided to just run the hill home and call it after only 2 miles. I felt very defeated and worried about the rest of my plan. I knew I had Friday to rest, and that I should try to take Saturday easy instead of jumping into my long run right after a painful run.

Saturday I decided to do my miles on the elliptical, and I’ve never made a more difficult decision. It was straight up GORGEOUS in Boston on Saturday. I walked my puppy at the park in SHORTS AND A SWEATSHIRT. It took every bit of my willpower to not run outside and to force myself on that elliptical. I’m thankful I did it though, since the extra impact would have made my long run Sunday pretty miserable. I did a 50 minute elliptical workout while staring outside at all the people jogging and walking and enjoying their life much more than I was at the moment, but was just thankful I had the ability to do a low-impact workout. Plus, I took Gustav to the park twice that day to get my fill of sunshine!

Sunday I woke up feeling much better and decided to go for my long run. When I was in the boot, I bought some cushioned 33-m ASICS, which are more like Hokas in their level of thickness. Something nobody warns you about when you get a boot – none of your shoes will be tall enough to keep you from walking lopsided! So I switched to my ASICS and decided to do an 8 mile loop, instead of 16, just in case my shin was too sore for the full 16. I ended up doing all 16 and felt barely any shin pain!

This week was scary, but I’m proud of what I accomplished despite the shin pain. I’m monitoring the pain as I go and making sure I do even more strengthening exercises and stretches throughout the day. I have been to physical therapy before for shin splints specifically, so I’m fairly confident I can work through it and adapt my training plan to my needs. My plan has me getting up to at most 52 miles in a week, but I’m confident even if I kept my runs all generally the same as they are now (with the exception of my long runs) I will be in better shape for this 50k than my last!