New Year, New City, Same Injury-Prone Me

Yep, I’m still here! While I didn’t blog often in the first place (let’s be real, I just spend my time pestering Matt to write blog posts since he runs about 20 times as much as me) but unlike Matt, I actually have an excuse ūüėČ I’ve been dealing with an injured ankle/foot for a few months now. During my 50 miler, I ended up twisting my ankle at some point, and due to the adrenaline and runners high, didn’t think much of it. It hurt for a hot second but was nothing in comparison to what my quads felt like, so I barely noticed it. I had mentioned it to my doctor post-50 miler when I went in for my rib/upper respiratory issue, and she said just to let me know if it persisted.

After my last blog post (embarrassingly in late August) I noticed growing pain in my ankle when I was running. It had always been there post-50 miler, but not super prevalent. I mostly ignored it and assumed it was just a passing issue. After a few more weeks of the pain not really getting any better, it eventually transferred to my foot. At this point, I knew there must be something wrong, and I was likely making it worse. I went for a run on October 9th and decided to call it quits until I saw my doctor.

At this point, the pain was mostly in my foot and I was no longer running, so my doctor really only focused on my foot pain. She did an x-ray which didn’t show any signs of a fracture. She told me to wait 10 days and if it still hurt, we would get an MRI. Cut to 10 days later, pain is still there, she says we can do another x-ray. I put up a big fuss, and it was thankfully changed to an MRI. Unfortunately, the MRI didn’t show any signs of a fracture, and my doctor’s exact words to me were “Your MRI is normal so you do not have a stress fracture. Your pain is probably due to ligament or tendon strain. I hope it feels better soon.” Like actually my doctor just said it was PROBABLY a strain, and that she hopes it feels better soon. I almost lost my mind. I temporarily gave up, felt defeated, and just thought “well if it were a bigger issue, I guess my doctor would be more concerned.”

After a few days of wallowing in self-pity and wishing I could run, Matt convinced me to just make an appointment with my sports medicine doctor. I didn’t realize I didn’t need a referral with my health insurance, so I asked my doctor for a referral, and another whole issue ensued. I called and asked for a referral on a Thursday and they said I would hear back from someone within 1-2 business days confirming that the referral was processed. I called back on Monday since I hadn’t heard from them, and they said that it hadn’t processed and that they had no record of the referral, so I had to go through my doctor’s office again. They also let me know it wouldn’t be approved for 4-6 weeks. At this point, I was furious with my doctor’s office. I called my insurance directly, and they told me I didn’t even need a referral, so I immediately called and made an appointment with my sports medicine doctor as soon as he could see me, which ended up being about 2 weeks later.

Within 5 minutes of the appointment, he diagnosed me with a sprained ankle, sprained mid-foot (due to changing my running form to avoid ankle pain), and my cuboid bone was misaligned. He popped my bone back into place and gave me a referral to physical therapy. I’ve been in therapy for about 4 weeks and should be back up and running within hopefully the next 2 weeks.

These past 3 months have been incredibly hard for me. We’ve been planning as much for our wedding as possible since we are leaving for Austin soon, working on figuring out where we are going to live in Austin, going through our belongings to figure out what we are and aren’t taking to Austin, raising a new puppy, maintaining balance between our work lives and social lives, and of course the holidays.

I have had an incredibly hard time finding the emotional and mental strength to do any sort of workouts. My goal was to focus on strength training, but I’ve just been so drained and depressed about not being able to run. I honestly hate going to the gym – I miss the ease of just being able to lace up, step outside, and go run for as long as I want. While I know working out is a good stress relief, I’ve found going up to the gym for a workout ends up being more stressful than no workout at all. I just get inside my head and think about how much I miss running, and how much I hate staring out a window at the outdoors while working out on an elliptical or bike.

That being said, while I want to turn this awful feeling around and find something I’m more interested in, we are moving in less than a month, so it’s hard to commit to something now that I’m not sure will be as easily available or close to home as something like the yoga studio down the road from our apartment. My goal once we’ve moved is to find an activity or gym that feels less like a torture chamber and spend as much time per week doing that as I do building up my running base again. While I should be back to running soon, I want to be able to consistently work on my core while also not working out at home – I’m about to work from home permanently and will need to get out of the house to exercise or I might actually go insane.

I’m hoping I can get out of this funk as soon as possible by getting out of my comfort zone in Austin, and find a source of stress relief that isn’t running in case (okay let’s be real, when) I get injured again. While I’m excited to get back to running, I am going to take it slow, and not get ahead of myself by signing up for races before I’m ready. Hopefully, by springtime, I’ll be back in at least marathon shape, and maybe I can squeeze in another ultramarathon before our #GrandElamUltraMarriagethon in September of 2018!

 

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Oh also, this is Felix, our 4-month-old Labradoodle Puppy!

 

Now What?

 

 

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Photo by Scott Goldstein!

I sat down with the intention of writing a race recap for the Hyannis Marathon, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. To sum it up, it went better than I had ever imagined it could. I was shooting for sub-4, and surpassed that goal by running a 3:50:24. I felt strong the entire time, I stayed hydrated and took in calories as I needed them, and I finished strong with my last 5 miles being around 8:30 pace. Hands down it was my best performance out of any race I’ve ever run. Maybe someday I’ll have the energy to write a more detailed race report, but for now, I’ll tell you about my post-marathon week.

Let’s start with Monday. I expected to be sore, maybe have some stiff knees or sore shins, but I was nowhere near as bad as I thought I would be. I even biked to work, no problem! After¬†biking in to work, I started to feel some pain in my lower right abdomen. Pain very similar, but less intense, to my pain I had a few weeks ago before I ended up in the hospital with a ruptured cyst. I told myself I was probably just sore from the race, and it would go away.

Cut to Tuesday. I feel amazing, like I barely even ran a marathon, so after work I go for a quick 3 mile run. My legs are tired, but in great shape. I start getting excited for my long run on Saturday of 23 miles. Cut to Wednesday, the pain in my abdomen is still lingering, intensifying just enough to make me worried after my bike ride home. I listened to my body and skipped my run. I worked from home on Thursday and called my gynecologist to see if they could get me an appointment. By some miracle from the heavens, she has an open appointment at 2pm. By a whole other miracle, the company I work for is amazing, and let me take the rest of the day off of work to see my doctor.

I explain the situation and tell her I’m nervous I might have another cyst. I tell her I went to the ER not a month ago for a ruptured ovarian cyst, and she asks me some questions. When was the last time you had a cyst that caused pain? Are you still on birth control? Are you skipping any pills? Are you pregnant? Does it hurt during intercourse? You know, the fun questions we all love our gynecologist asking. She says she can get me an ultrasound at 4pm in Chelsea if I’m willing to drive out there.

Cut to 3:00, I’m in Chelsea (way too early) waiting anxiously for my appointment, exhausted from¬†the lack of sleep thanks to stress about my health. I get two ultrasounds and they say I’ll hear back the next morning. Cut to Friday during my lunch break. It was past noon and I hadn’t heard anything so of course I call in a panic, asking¬†for my doctor to call me back. She calls me a few minutes later and tells me I have yet another ovarian cyst. She mentions they’re not normal cysts, they’re hemorrhagic ovarian cysts (aka filled with blood) which is why they’re so painful. They have absolutely no idea why I’m getting cysts due to the fact that birth control is supposed to prevent cysts from forming at all.

It’s also over 5cm in diameter, so she recommends I don’t exercise for at least 6 weeks, which is when I will need a follow-up ultrasound to see if the cyst has gotten any smaller. If it has gotten smaller, I will need to be monitored for future cysts while they try to figure out why I keep getting cysts. If it hasn’t gotten smaller, I will need to meet with a surgeon to go over my options for removing the cysts. There’s a chance if they remove the cysts but haven’t figured out why I am getting them, they will come back, and they would go over my other options, which are far less appealing and end with me not being able to have children.

I have 5 short weeks to go until the Gorge Waterfalls 100k, but was advised not to run for the next 6 weeks. I’m still unsure about what I’ll do on race day, but for now I’m taking it day by day. If my pain subsides soon, I might try easing back into a running routine, but skip the biking, since it seems to aggravate it much more than running.¬†My doctor did say if my cyst ended up rupturing, it would decrease in size sooner than it would if it didn’t rupture, but it seems pretty¬†morbid to hope for a rupture since it basically made¬†any movement excruciatingly painful for 4-5 days.

Normally I would hear what my doctor said, politely agree to disagree as young people tend to do, and go about my way, silently suffering. But this time, there is a chance that if it doesn’t rupture or decrease in size, strenuous exercise could cause ovarian torsion, and I’d likely end up losing my ovary. While I’m happy to be an idiot and maybe cause some extra shin pain or push through some knee pain, losing an ovary at 26 isn’t something I’m willing to risk.

I am absolutely heartbroken that this is happening to me after 3 months of intense, dedicated training for this 100k. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’ve never been more prepared or excited for a race. But for once, this seems like something I shouldn’t brush off and try to push through. I will keep you all posted on my recovery and my game-day decision, but as of now it’s looking like we will just be enjoying a week of vacation in Oregon in April instead of racing.¬†Word on the street is their food and beer game is strong out in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe instead of running a 100k, we’ll drive a 100k and where each aid station would be, we’ll stop for food and beer! Sounds fun, but let’s be real, we were probably planning on doing that after my race anyways.

 

T-minus 7 Weeks!

After a week and half of resting post ruptured-ovarian cyst, I had a nice, full week of training last week. I ended up¬†being slightly shy of my goal for the week, but made the decision that going from 9 miles in a week to 50 the next might be a bit much. I started out with a long run on Sunday of 18 with Matt. We did an out and back on the marathon route and I expected it to hurt a lot more than it did, considering I had taken a while off of running, but it wasn’t too bad.¬†We averaged 9:00/mile, and it helped build my confidence tremendously for the Hyannis Marathon. I’m really hoping to break 4¬†hours, and if I can hold a 9:00/mile for 18, I’m really hoping I can hold it for 26.2, especially with race endorphins and adrenaline.

I rested Monday and got back into my routine on Tuesday with a solid 7 miler. Wednesday I decided to do Summit repeats to start getting some more elevation in. I started my run with a quick mile warmup, 5 miles of Summit, and a cool down on my run back home. I thought it would be more miserable than it was, but it was ALMOST enjoyable. I was just impressed with my hill-stamina compared to¬†my stamina even just 6 months ago. It’s funny that training properly really can make a difference. WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT? CERTAINLY NOBODY HAS TOLD ME THIS BEFORE. THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION.

Thursday was the dreaded Snowpocolypse of 2017. I started it out by oversleeping¬†for The Breakfast Club and woke up around 6 with that horrible guilt you get when you promised Kate you’d be at the run and somehow you’re still in bed. I was too guilty to sleep it off, and didn’t want to run during the storm, so I shot out of bed and got a quick 4 miler in so I could meet everyone at Cafe Fixe after their run. The rest of the day was spent working from home, cuddling with Goose, and playing in the snow!

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This was the first week I was supposed to run 6 days instead of 5, and due to taking some time off I decided to keep it at 5 days. I ran on Friday instead of Saturday, and got a solid 7 miles in on the dreadmill, since¬†the sidewalks were still not clear (update: still aren’t clear… get your shit together and clear your sidewalks, people). I skipped my Saturday run, and went for a long run on Sunday. Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

When we left for our run on Sunday it was snowing, and during our run it turned to rain, then snow, then rain, then sleet, then snow again, and finally just ice pellets punching me in the face. I wore a waterproof jacket but by mile 16 I was soaked through to my inner layer, freezing, and fucking miserable. Luckily the run itself was pretty good, and I felt like I got a good workout for my stabilizers by running in the snow and slush. I ended up only running 17.4 instead of my goal of 19 due to just being frozen inside. I thawed out by taking a painfully hot shower and Matt delivered me Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate like an angel put on this earth just to bring me joy.

Unfortunately, I think the run on Sunday irritated my ovarian cyst. Monday I woke up with more pain. I worked Monday and tried to shake it off, but by Monday night it wasn’t subsiding at all, so I worked from home Tuesday, took the day off of running, and popped Motrin on the couch all day. Today I’m feeling better, but still unsure about whether or not I should run or take another rest day. I’m torn since it technically¬†won’t make anything worse by running, it’ll just intensify the pain. We’ll see how I’m feeling tonight, but hopefully I’m back to normal by Thursday so I can get back into it and get some solid miles in.

This weekend will be my last long run before Hyannis, and I am super excited/nervous. I’ve never not tapered before a marathon, and of course want to be extra careful since this isn’t even my goal race, but I so badly want to break 4 hours that it’s all I can think about. On my runs I’m either thinking “I could totally break 4” or “I can’t believe I’m going to run 62 miles soon.” Can’t wait until after Hyannis when it’s just the latter repeating over and over in my head.

Oh by the way, literally only 7 weeks until my 100k. 7 WEEKS. ūüė®

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The Abominable SnowGoose

 

 

B.A.A. Half Marathon 2016

I hadn’t planned on running the B.A.A Half Marathon this year,¬†but a few days before a spot opened up so I decided to go for it and test my half marathon legs. ¬†I’ve been training for the Cambridge Half Marathon coming up in November¬†so I thought if I can run a tougher course a month before the race, I’d definitely be set for the CHM.

Matt ran his 100 miler the Friday and Saturday before the race in the pouring rain, so when I woke up and realized it was going to be chilly and rainy, I couldn’t let it get me down. ¬†If Matt can run 27 hours in the rain, I could¬†handle 2 without whining about it. ¬†I woke up late, ate dry cereal for breakfast (we were out of milk of course), hopped on my bike, and biked the 4ish miles to start. ¬†I felt warmed up and ready to go by the time I got there. ¬†I ran into a few other NPers and¬†get excited about racing.

When I started, I didn’t have a time goal in mind. ¬†My half marathon PR was on a completely flat course when I wasn’t training for ultras or marathons, so I didn’t think it was smart to try to PR on this tougher course in less than ideal weather. ¬†Last year I ran the B.A.A. Half in 2:02:29, and I wasn’t even sure I could beat that this year. My goal of the race was just to have negative splits, so I started at a nice, easy pace and used this race as my long run for the week.

By the halfway point, I was feeling pretty good (albeit wet and already chafing from my sports bra) and was ready to push it to the next level. ¬†I had forgotten about all the hills in the second half of the course, but I actually ended up feeling really strong on them. ¬†I haven’t been going out of my way to¬†run hills during my training runs, but I think I’ve just been pushing myself to try harder and not avoid hilly routes when I run, so I’ve definitely become a stronger hill runner in the past few months, which helped during this course.

I did some mental math and realized if I pushed pretty hard for the second half of the race, I could definitely beat my course record from last year. ¬†I kicked it in gear and pushed myself as hard as I felt comfortable with considering there are some ultras in my future that I don’t want to injure myself before. ¬†I ended up finishing with a time of 1:58:32 – a solid 4 minutes faster than my time last year. ¬†Last year I had been struggling with IT Band issues as well, so the fact that I ran faster and felt strong the entire time this year gives me hope for my training season this year.

After the race, I realized the temperature had dropped significantly during the race Рsomething I was grateful for during the race, but very unhappy about as I climbed on my bike.  I started biking home with my teeth literally chattering when a familiar voice yelled out to me to come pull into the next parking lot.  My savior, Kelvin, offered me a ride home which I gratefully accepted through chattering teeth.  I got home and immediately hopped in the shower to warm up.

Overall, the race was amazing. ¬†The course is great and challenging, I felt strong, and even the weather could have been worse! ¬†My biggest¬†complaint, as it was last year, is the damn drop bag situation. ¬†It’s chaos. ¬†This year was even more chaotic because it was raining and much colder at the finish than it was at the start. ¬†This meant everyone was trying to avoid the rain by changing into dry clothes inside the drop bag tent. ¬†This made it impossible for people to get to their own bags.

The only other semi-annoying thing to deal with is that there aren’t any bike racks near the start. ¬†While I understand most people aren’t biking to and from a half marathon, it would be great if they could get a temporary bike rack for the race for any runners or spectators – this was an issue for me in 2013 when Matt ran it and I spectated, last year when I ran, and again this year.
Strava:
B.A.A. Half Marathon 2016

Gear:
Garmin Forerunner 620
Ciele GoCap
Stance Socks
Saucony Ride 9 Shoes

Colorado 2016

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This has nothing to do with running but he’s really cute, so….

The past few weeks have just been me getting back into it after some toenail issues. ¬†After my last blog post in August, I realized my toenail was bothering me again. ¬†Instead of waiting until it got really bad, I went right back to the podiatrist and asked her to just permanently remove that portion of my toenail. ¬†In order to do that, she had to chemically burn part of my toe, so recovery took a bit longer than last time. ¬†I had planned on getting it done after our Colorado vacation, but I really didn’t want to spend our vacation in pain, so I risked it and got the procedure done about 2 weeks before we left.

By the time my toe was feeling almost normal, we were on our way to Colorado to enjoy a week long runcation!  It was absolutely perfect timing Рluck was definitely on my side.  I spent vacation alternating between running (in sneakers) and hiking (in sandals) to keep my toe from getting sore.  It was totally worth it РI ended up running 21 miles in Colorado despite taking time off for a few weeks before!

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It was really great to have Matt’s best friend Matt (I know, very confusing) on the trip with us. ¬†Matt had to get a lot of miles in for Grindstone, so it was really nice to have someone there to hike and run with while he¬†was off running 10+ miles every day! ¬†We spent a lot of time hiking and trying to catch our breath – it was a little embarrassing. I had forgotten what it’s like to run in Colorado!

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While there, I took my first real trail fall. ¬†We had run/hiked up Green Mountain and just reached the peak, and had about 7 miles to go until we got back to the car, when I tripped over a VERY obvious rock and started sliding off the trail down the mountain. ¬†It’s scary to think about it now, but at the time I got up and just burst out laughing at how typical it was of me to fall at the TOP of a mountain. ¬†Luckily nothing was too deep, so I picked myself up and ran the 7 miles back down. ¬†I was feeling pretty good – until I had to scrub rocks out of the dried blood on my hands in the shower… yuck! ¬†We had lots of beers to numb the pain, so don’t feel too bad for me ūüėČ Luckily I’m finally all healed up and have a few scars with a fun story!

Now that we’re back to reality, I’ve been trying to steadily increase my mileage for the past few weeks without going crazy. ¬†I’m basically the queen of too-much-too-soon, so I’ve scaled back to 10-15 miles a week for a few weeks, and am just now starting to add on a few more miles.

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My hiking/plant identifying trail partner!

My goal for the year is 1,000 miles. ¬†While it may not be a lot to Matt, to me it’s huge. ¬†Hitting 1,000 miles¬†while overcoming a few injuries, going through physical therapy, getting a puppy, and starting a new job would be a dream come true.

It’s been hard for me to prioritize running since starting with Bantam Cider Company, since I’ve just been putting everything I have into learning as much as I can as quickly as I can. ¬†That means leaving for work by 8:15am and not getting home until 7pm or later, which doesn’t leave me much motivation to run. ¬†It’s easy for me to forget how much my stress levels build up if I don’t run – and after a few days off I remember why I run. ¬†I could have a bad day at work, a frustrating day of puppy-parenting, or just the usual crushing realization that I’ll be in debt from college until my grandchildren are long gone, but it all goes away while I run.

As of now, I need to run 16.4 miles every week through the end of the year to reach my goal, so this is me asking you all for your help!  Help me stay motivated!  Offer to run with me on my days off!  Make me #verbal for NP or TBC!  If I can reach my goal of 1,000 miles this year, WHO KNOWS what next year will bring!

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The only good picture I took from Rocky Mountain National Park Рafter this, it got REALLY COLD and very rainy!

Colleen’s Update

Hey guys, I do still exist! And I still run! Life has been a bit crazy – I started a new job and spent some good time with my favorite physical therapist for a few different injuries. Thankfully, I’m feeling more settled and less injured now, and ready to start training again. We’re also starting to run with Goose now too, so expect some cute puppy pictures!

Yesterday, I crushed my first full tour in over a year!

First of all, let me recap Matt’s 100 Miler: everyone there was insane. Like in a good way, but still. I can’t believe how amazing everyone there was, especially Matt. It was a wonderful experience to be his crew chief! He inspired me to find my first 50 miler – if he can run 100 miles in 21 hours, I can run 50 miles. As long as my shins and knees hold up through the fall, I’ll be building my base up and starting training in mid-fall!

With the change in schedule and learning a new job, I’ve been running a lot less, and it’s been bumming me out. I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable in my job, and antsy to get back on the training train! I want to run commute (because Boston traffic DEAR GOD WHY WHYYYYYY) but am torn about not wanting to be sweaty for the rest of the day. If you’ve got any advice on run commuting at a place without a shower, or know of any gyms near Union Square that will let me pay for just showers, bring it on!

For now, I’ll be training and building my mileage back up so I can start training for the next big thing! In the fall I’ll be running the Cambridge Half Marathon with team Bantam Cider (you should join too!) and a few 5k’s as well. I’m still trying to decide whether or not I should do the TARC Fall Classic 50k, but I’ll make the call in a few weeks after I get training started.

Gustav’s first run – just under a mile!

I promise to be better at blogging now that I’m more settled into my new job!

Maine Huts & Trails

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but to be fair it’s been a while since I’ve run! My shin set me back in my goal to run 1,000 miles this year, but I’m finally back on track after spending¬†some time focusing on strengthening. After a few weeks of not running, I decided the smartest course of action would be to run a casual ultra marathon through Maine just for fun – I guess I really am as insane as all my other ultra marathoning friends.

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We had a group of NPer and TBCers all meet up at the northern most hut (Grand Falls) of¬†Maine Huts & Trails on Friday. At Grand Falls, there was a small parking area about a 1.5 mile hike from the huts where we parked and loaded up our gear to trek in to the hut. The hut was absolutely beautiful, and we ended up having the place to ourselves for the night due to it being the off season. The system has some beautiful cross country skiing in the winter (or so I’ve been told – I’ll have to find out for myself this upcoming winter!) and then has¬†their summer¬†season start in July. Since it was the off-season, we had full run of the kitchen but had to carry any food we needed in, prepare it ourselves, and hike everything¬†back out when we were finished.

We spent the night sipping wine, relaxing around a fire, playing Pandemic, and eating a pretty decent amount of spaghetti. I like to think we were camping, but really it was glamping. The huts were gorgeous and had everything we could need Рbathrooms, showers, a wood stove, couches, and a full kitchen! We all hit the hay pretty early to rest up for our journey the next day, but I ended up having horrible stomach issues all night. I probably only got 2 or 3 hours of sleep and spent the rest of the night wondering whether or not I had made the right decision to run after being injured.

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Photo credit: Sam Goresh

We had a lovely 5:45AM wakeup call and all proceeded to stuff our faces with some delicious Bagelsaurus bagels. I was really struggling to get food into myself since my stomach was still not feeling great, but I ate as much as I could and tried to pack a little extra for the run, assuming I’d be starving by mid-morning. We hiked our things back to the cars¬†and our lovely sherpas, Kelvin and Rebecca, drove¬†our big packs to the parking area near the last hut. We¬†all got situated with our running packs & snacks, and set off at a nice relaxed pace towards the second¬†hut, Flagstaff.

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One of my favorite views of the day.

Flagstaff¬†was about 11.5 miles from Grand Falls, and we knew we had a long day ahead of us, so¬†we took our time warming up and taking pictures to capture everything. We stuck together until the first stop at the Flagstaff hut, and then a few of us went ahead so we didn’t get too stiff from¬†stopping. I was worried if I waited too long and ended up having to walk from my shin I’d end up holding the group back, so we got going fairly quickly. I was starving by this point so I packed in as many calories as I could before we got back to the trails.¬†The next hut, Poplar, was about 10 miles away, and I was starting to feel it in my legs already. Luckily my shin was feeling excellent, but my IT band started to get a little tender by mile 18 or 19. I wasn’t too worried about it, but was just more concerned I was going to hold Matt back during his training run. We were already going much slower than he’s used to, and he was using this as a training run for the Vermont 100. Luckily, he’s the most amazing and supportive boyfriend I could ever dream of, so as soon as my knee started to really hurt, he made sure I power hiked instead of ran!

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Once¬†we got to Poplar,¬†we connected¬†with our sherpa Kelvin and got a plan for the last few miles of trails. We all planned on meeting up at the Airport trailhead, where we’d drive a few minutes up the road (to take off an extra 1.5 miles of trails), grab our packs, and hike another 3 miles up to our final hut – Stratton Brook. The last miles were really just power hiking and ingesting¬†a large amount of anti-inflammatories (for me at least), but we actually kept pretty consistent time because a lot of the trails were overgrown and swampy in the previous 20 miles. We had a lot of slow miles at the start –¬†it was clear that the trails not only aren’t used often in the spring/summer, but are definitely made for cross country skiing. During the winter it wouldn’t matter if the¬†trail had wooden planks under tall grass – it would all just get covered in snow!

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Gang’s all here! Sam, Clint, me, Matt, Dan, and Tania all taking a breather to soak our sore feet in the cool lake.

We joked about how this was called “The Lazyman’s Ultra Marathon” since it was more than a marathon but less than a 50k but hey, still counts! It certainly didn’t feel like a lazy ultra marathon considering we were on our feet running and hiking for over 7 hours!

Overall, the trip was a huge success and so much fun. We managed to stop at Duckfat¬†on our way up for panini’s and milkshakes, and stopped in Kittery for some Ramen on our way home. We ran, we hiked, we laughed, we napped, and we talked about our bowel movements far too often, as runners tend to do. I can’t wait to do more fun trips like this in the future, and am so grateful to Dan for thinking of it and organizing most of the trip!

I’m so glad my shin was feeling up for the task. I’ve been working on getting my stabilizers stronger so I can continue my training and enjoy fun excursions like this one in Maine. I will definitely be back to these huts – once to check out cross country skiing, and another trip during the summer for some trails! If I can keep up my training, strengthening, and injury prevention, come fall it’ll be time to start training for my next big milestone – 50 miles!

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The hike up to the last hut was the hardest part of the day, but the view was worth it.

Bear Mountain 50 Miler ‚Äď Week Twelve Training Recap

Here we are, at week 12, with absolutely no sign that week 11 happened. But it did! and I wrote Hale 6 Hour Race Report instead of a normal training recap. Sure, I could do both, but I am already running 70+ miles a week, so that seemed like a bit too much work. Sadly, I am still recovering from my cold, so while I have been hitting my desired mileage, the quality is not quite what I was hoping. This was especially evident during my tempo run when I was significantly under my target pace. I am certain that some of it has to do with fatigue coming off of the 6 hour, but the struggle felt more like a cause of respiratory issues than tired legs.

Beyond logging as many miles as I physically can, training for Bear Mountain (and on the long-term, Vermont) has started to get a tad monotonous. I don’t think it is because of boredom with running, but rather boredom where I am running. Long Beach, CA is completely devoid of interesting places to run. Maybe I am not running in the right places, but everything that is convenient to me is a flat path, with few other runners. It makes training incredibly difficult just from how similar all my runs are starting to feel. I suppose on the bright side, it will make sure I am mentally prepared for boredom.

Quick Recap:

Monday I ran a 5K just to shakeout some of the soreness lingering from the 50K on Saturday. I ran this nice and easy after a long travel day.

Tuesday I ran an easy 10 miles after work. Those 10 miles were probably my most miserable workout of 2016 so far. Running east along the beach I had a marvelous tailwind, but the return journey I had winds gusting so hard that they were whipping sand into my face. By the time I got back to my hotel, I was spitting out sand.

Wednesday was the aforementioned tempo run day. I just felt off. Really hoping to kick this cold soon.

Thursday I did another easy day. I did 12 miles which brought me from Long Beach to Seal Beach. Across 12 miles I probably saw 3 runners and 4 other pedestrians. Seriously boring!

Friday I was thankfully back in Boston! Feeling a tad better than earlier in the week, I ran 7 uptempo miles from our apartment to Newton and back. Nothing crazy, but felt good to be moving well. It was a bit hot and humid, which made me sweat bullets. Good to know what I have to look forward to this summer.

Saturday was a cold, wet slog with the Heartbreak Hill Running Co. 20 miles in nonstop rain. Soaked to the bone. Cold. And dear god, the chafing. Thankfully I had my TBC/November Project friends Molly and Scott to be miserable with. Not happy about the conditions, but really happy I got it done.

Sunday I ran with TBC companions Kate and Alice for 15 laid back miles. Besides some crazy wind, we had a great time trotting around Boston. It was Kate’s time running around Fresh Pond! Really happy to have the company since the weather was far from ideal.

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!