Bumps In the Road

Sometimes, I do everything right and still hit bumps in the road. I have been trying to be smart this training cycle. I gained weight and have kept it on. I foam roll. I do mobility work. I stop runs short to have more time for stretching or form drills. I bike instead of run longer miles. I eat more than enough. I have taken steps to de-stress my life. I prioritize relationships over working out.

I am happy with everything and what is happening in my life.


Yet, I hit a snare a few weeks ago after 0SPF. I mentioned this in my Escarpment race recap. I hadn’t run for the two weeks leading up to the race. My foot simply hurt. I don’t know what I did, I did not go to a doctor. I took the advice of my coach and did what I normally do when I feel niggles, I took off.

This sucked. I was finally back in my city. The town I love and where I learned to run. Yet, I was stuck on the elliptical for two weeks trying to maintain some semblance of cardio and making sure I didn’t do anything worse so I had to DNS Escarpment.


I was being overly safe and still hit a snare.

Sometimes I think, because I am running smarter than I used to, that everything will be sunshine and rainbows forever. That is simply not the case. I could step off a curb wrong and twist my ankle. I could eat expired food (like yesterday) and get a stomach ache. Just because I’ve worked on certain areas and fixed things holding me back does not make me super human.

Sure, I’ve come a long way. I no longer feel like I am about to break. I do not have the stress I had this past winter. I have a team of people I let in to help me run smart and healthfully. I spend time with loved ones and friends simply because I want to, not because I feel I have to.

This does not mean I don’t have to struggle to run my best. Figuring out life issues does make my body less susceptible to burn out, but I still break sometimes.


That’s ok. I am still a human. I still live a full life when I am not running. It was the things outside my running that have blossomed, so even though I may need to take weeks off, I don’t feel as empty anymore.

Hitting rough patches is part of training. In order to appreciate the good, I am someone that needs to go through the bad.

See you out there! (finally!!)

Back Home

Well, I moved!

I currently reside in Newfield, NY which is just outside Ithaca until the end of the month at which time I will move to an apartment downtown. I am staying with my coworker and her boyfriend and three dogs.

Three adorable, energetic labs that have made my life quite exciting.

Maple likes to eat all the fruit and vegetables I leave on the counter.


Aspen is the most chill puppy ever, but is naughty when she spends too much time with Maple.

Yeti is the oldest and the one that behaves the best. I left a whole batch of cookies on the stove all day and she didn’t eat a single one! What was she thinking?

They all go to puppy training, so I’m optimistic about Maple…

I moved in last week and already have had some fabulous runs. I’ve also gotten lost once when I tried to run in Newfield. I got 6 miles out after taking a wrong turn…then hitchhiked home in the back of a truck. My hair was crazy!


I’ve run with friends a few times and it’s like nothing has changed.

These are my people.

I’ve spent the week working for my mom at her boutique and getting my paperwork ready for CTB and the fitness center. My mom and I have had some really great days together. No matter what food I bring for her, she still tries to eat half of mine. Like mother, like daughter I guess.


I start back to work at CTB this week. I have already eaten there everyday since being back. No shame.

I don’t have a set schedule nor will I have weekends off, but that’s ok. I enjoy my job and my coworkers, so being with them is not a chore. Just have to remember to take time off for races. My Saturdays will be spent working the morning at the fitness center and then working for my mom in the afternoon. I’ll plug her Instagram when I create it and you all can look at the clothes and buy them if you want. Whenever I am in a dress, it is from her shop.

My days are all different, but part of that is really cool. I’m teaching myself to go with the flow. Running will come, I just need to be flexible.

It’s all good down here.

Naked.

One morning a few days ago, I was getting into the shower. I had some time before going to the next thing, so I paused and looked at myself, sans clothes, in the mirror. 

It’s been a while since I’ve done that, like months. 

I took a second and really saw myself.

I look different.

I am not overly toned to the point of looking unhealthy.

I have more cushion in my stomach and hips.

My boobs are fuller and do not just hang off my rib cage.

My love handles spill a bit over the waist band on my spandex.

I look appropriate for what I am doing. I look more like my mom (who is healthy). 

I do not look like I did when I was marathon training, nor how I did when I started running ultras.

I look fuller, stronger and not like I have a problem.

The training I am doing, the way I am resting, the food I eat is doing what it’s supposed to. I’m turning into a trail runner.

The thing is, the 15 pounds I’ve gained in the past few months have not really distributed yet. It’s still mostly on my mid section. But that’s ok. I sometimes get uncomfortable when my shorts are tight. I don’t have definition there. My belly sticks out.


I’m in love with this. 

This process. This path that has taken me so long to embrace. The changes necessary to both enjoy my life, let go of control and run well. 

I enjoy not having a routine. I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I enjoy impromptu bon fires and s’mores after a huge dinner of fried rice. 


I enjoy being cooked for by my friend’s chef boyfriend. I enjoy milkshakes and bagels at 3PM with my mom. I enjoy not worrying about training and just letting it come. I enjoy working around other people’s schedule and not making them work around mine.


I enjoy the feeling of being able to say this is enough. I don’t have to hit some quota of miles. I trust my training plan.

I now also trust my body. My beautiful naked, un-toned, strong, stubborn, silly body.


I trust you. I love you.

Thank you so much.

Fatass

A fatass race is one with no admission, limited or non-existent aid and no medals.

A fatass race is usually done on a looped course, in a remote area and few people.

A fatass race might be my new favorite way to run.


[photo: Michael Valone]

This past weekend I was able to participate in my good friend Michael’s second fatass race. I have really been enjoying travelling to run on the weekends, and this weekend’s trip was needed in a big way.

I was scheduled for 15 miles easy paced and the mile loop trail set up for the 8 hour event was picture perfect. There was one “aid-station” at the start/finish area and you could run as many or as few loops as you wanted.

The premise of this style of race fits in with how I view running. I started the sport because it was cheap, fun and a way to connect with myself and others. I didn’t need to be rich to participate and I get out of it what I put in.

Michael’s races basically mark a set distance loop (this was 1 mile) and the course is open for a set amount of time. The winner is the person who completes the most loops however you can come and go as you please. The winners of Saturday’s race ran the whole 8 hours (!!!!) and completed over 40 miles each. I did my 15 loops and then hung out the rest of the day.

I enjoyed seeing people all over the course and feeling like you were running with, rather than against anyone. I do enjoy running with people and these races give me a chance to do that without having to be at anyone’s pace other than my own.

The only part I was a bit worried about was that I lapped people (who were running a lot longer than me) many, many times in my 15 miles. I never want to demoralize runners, so I asked Michael afterward about that concept in looped courses. He assured me that, coming from his perspective, most people are running their own race and like to pass and be passed by all other runners. They understand, as I do, that we are all training for different things and so our paces will all be different. That put my mind at ease, because if I were running a fatass with someone like Devon Yanko or Yiou Wang, I would be the one getting lapped and I would totally not care!

That’s the beauty of a race like this, no medals, no glory, just running and being together.


I look forward to the next one.

Many On The Genny 2017

First I must thank Ian Golden and my Red Newt Racing team for all their support and encouragement leading up to this race. I must thank Trail Methods, specifically Sheila and Eric Eagan, the RDs for putting on such a great event. 


This past Saturday I was fortunate to run in the inaugural 40 mile race, Many on the Genny in Letchworth State Park. A few weekends ago, I was able to preview the course with the RDs, Sheila and Eric, and already I knew I was in for a great time.

The course boasts over 7,000 feet of elevation change in 40 miles. The first 20 follow the gorge trails up one side of the Genesee River and then back on the Finger Lakes Trail for the final 20.

[Photo: Many On The Genny Race Website]

I spent the weekend at my parent’s house, so I woke up at 2:30AM on Saturday to drive up and catch the shuttle to the race start. It rained a bit that morning, so it was nice and cool at the 6AM start. I saw a bunch of people I know including Pete Kresock, Chris O’Brian, Michael Valone and Katie O’Reagan. The race is capped to 125 runners, so it had a really great small town feel. I wasn’t nervous, mostly excited to start.

The race began with a yell from Eagan and Rich Heffron and Scottie Jacobs (two of my RNR/MPF teammates) took off. Pete, Katie and I started running together for the first few miles that included a loop around the park before getting into the gorge trails. Talking to Pete is always fun because he is so experienced. He just flies down hills, where I hobble and exhibit baby deer movements.

I missed a turn early, but realized my mistake after about 30 seconds, so it wasn’t too bad. We stayed together mostly until the first climb around mile 10. I started hiking and I heard them coming behind me. I remembered this from my preview a few weeks ago and stuck to my plan of hiking the hills even though I could have attempted to run. 40 miles is requires a lot of energy, I had to save it. Hiking also gave me time to eat and drink.

[Photo: Ron Heerkins Jr. Goat Factory Media]

After the first climb we we spit out onto a road section for 2.5 miles. This is where I saw a guy ahead of me and eventually caught up to him. He introduced himself as Rob (happily married with three kids) and we ran together for the next 10 miles. That part was a blast and definitely the high moments of the race. We were cruising and chatting (so much so I forget to hydrate as much as I should have) and the miles flew by.

We got to the halfway point together, refueled and set off promptly. Right after the aid station you were supposed to turn left and cross the bridge to get to the FLT. However…straight ahead of us was a rainbow. A rainbow you could RUN THROUGH! Not under it, but THROUGH IT! Caught in the amazement, we ran straight and missed that turn. Luckily I stopped us, checked the map and we turned around only wasting a few minutes.

No shame, that wrong turn was worth it. I would do it again in a heart beat.

A few miles later, Rob pulled ahead and I let him go, I needed to concentrate on my race. At mile 25 I remember thinking, “ok, I’m feeling good, I can run 15 more miles.”

Then…SPLAT! I took a fall and fell on my right rib (not the previously injured one). That began the mental downfall that plagued me from miles 30-35. My rib hurt almost like I had a nagging cramp. I also took a few hard downhills and my feet/ankles were getting sore. (Undertrained woot woot). I started getting in my head about tons of stuff.

My friend who passed away.

My relationships.

What I was doing.

How much I missed Ithaca.

How mad I was that I forgot to refill my water.

I was mad that I was crying.

Everything just came up and I was a dehydrated, emotional mess. It didn’t help that this was in the 8 mile stretch with no aid. That felt like FOREVER.

I told myself I could stop. 30 miles was enough. No shame in stopping.

But I wouldn’t let myself quit. I might have a death wish or something. But I told myself I could cry like a baby if I wanted, but I was not stopping unless a bear ate me (which I would have welcomed at that point). It was a pretty low few miles.

However, I made it to the aid station, ate a bunch, chomped on ice, got my pack refilled and just breathed. Seeing the people also helped. They were so supportive! All the aid stations were great, they really took care of me refilling my bladder, asking what they could get me, not overwhelming me. It was amazing.

I ate a bunch of PB&J and drank a bunch of Mt. Dew and set off again. Only 5 miles to go.

After another mile, I almost started to cry again, but I ate the best two gels ever (THANK YOU JASON!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!) and, for some reason, I stopped feeling bad and started to enjoy things again. I think the hydration helped, but also, I just needed to feel that low moment and keep going. I needed to believe I would come out of it.

I did. I finished.


Rich won in like 6 hours. What a boss.

My first 40 miler was completed in around 7 hours and 7 minutes.

It was beautiful, terrifying and an experience I will find hard to replicate.

My reward? Eric is sick and give me entry to next year.

Too soon.


I currently am sponsored by On Running, receive product from Barney Butter and am a part of rabbitELITE.