The weather has been really nice and seeing the leaves pop out on the trees is always a treat! I love the smell of the flowers blooming everywhere and the green ferns and ground cover that pop up in the woods. Everything comes to life and our porcupines are back as well as the owls!
My midweek runs have continued to be fun and social! I got to run with Abbey, Mindy, Tony, Ryan, Jack Puppy and Rob. Some runs get my ass out of bed at 4am to rock out some miles before work and others leave me feeling like I was run over by a truck but no matter what they are fun and even better when shared with a friend! I also had a lovely lunch with my friend Miriam who drove all the way out to where I work to see me for an hour!
Last weekend was awesome, on tired legs Ryan and I raced the Wapack 21.5 mile trail race. We got engaged at that race, it was Ryans first trail race, I set the womens 50 mile course record at that race the day we got engaged, we got to direct the race last year and this year we would be running the short version as a training run for Cayuga!
The morning started out misty and humid but cool. I work my lucky gloves that Carolyn gave me and we started out up the hill at a solid but comfortable pace. I have really be focusing on nothing other than my effort and nutrition and truly having fun learning how to pace myself well. I was a bit nervous about the competition and if I would be able to turn off my competitiveness for this race as it was to be used as a training run. My legs ached and I knew I had some hills ahead of me so I found Jeremy, Lars and Tyler to chat with early on. We shared some good laughs and some great memories of Chad. We saw our friends running the 50 miler and cheered them on as we ran by them in the opposite direction. We stayed together until the first aid station where I found Miriam, gave her a hug, met the new baby and carried on by myself.
I stopped to pee and Eric surprised me while I had my pants down. I didn’t expect anyone to be there! Luckily it was just peeing so I got back up and carried on. My runs with Abbey must be making a difference. She whoops me on our speed workouts and I found myself running up hills I have never run before! I was floored and so excited! I’m not going to lie, I was alone for quite a while and very lonely. I figured I was in 15th place or something and really just wanted some company. I started to look around at the leaves just opening up on the trees, the flower blooming, took in the smells of spring and just enjoyed the feeling of the sun on my skin and the breeze on my body.
Around mile 10 I got my toe jammed between some rocks and it was really sore. The pain intensified and forced me to change my gait. It didn’t help. I was fine on the descents but the climbs were terribly painful. I rolled into the aid station before Windblown and had some snacks, thanked everyone for being there and carried on. I was ready for the big hill looming ahead of me, but to my delight I was able to run most of it for the first time ever! I felt so strong and so happy! I passed the lead 50 mile runner and cheered him on.
Again I was alone and my toe felt like someone stuck a knife in it. I wanted to cry but that wouldn’t help so I smiled. I figured I would be fine and ran as much as I could and after a while was finally at the last aid station! I saw Chris there with his warm smile and I hung out for a bit chatting with him. I was so happy and knew that for the first time my steppies would be at the finish line and watch me finish a trail race! Ryans dad was nice enough to bring them to the race to watch Ryan and I finish! Chris told me Ryan had slipped into the lead and that I was 3rd overall! I was floored! I smiled and was so happy knowing Zoe and Hannah would be there to watch their dad and I finish the race! I took off after a huge thank you and yelled back that I was so excited to see my family! For the last 3.5 miles I ran with so much joy in my heart. I could not wait to see the girls, to see Ryan and to have the girls see a glimpse of our world, our friends and our lives.
I was up and over Watatic in no time at all and when I finally got to the last stretch of doubletrack I looked at my watch for the first time. I had less than 2 minutes to break the current course record for women! I couldn’t believe it! I thought I was on a 4.5 hour pace! I ran so fast and so focused. I crossed the finish line and several people were on their phones trying to find out if I got the course record or not. I had gotten it by less than 10 seconds and was beyond thrilled to now hold womens records for the 21.5 and the 50 mile courses! I got huge hugs from Ryan, Zoe, Hannah and Ryans dad. It was so incredible to have my family there to hug at the end of my race! Ryan was only 2 minutes behind the mens record which was also really exciting!
The next day I went for a Mothers Day run at Northwood Meadows with my friend Mindy. We had a great run over the mountain and then headed to our homes to spend the rest of the day with our kids! Zoe and Hannah made me cards and put on a dance performance that they worked on while i was running. It was the first mothers day gift and card I have ever gotten and I was smiling from ear to ear! I felt so loved, being a step mom is amazing! I love those cute little girls so much! We spent the rest of the day fishing with the girls which was really fun before bringing them home to their moms house. We drive 4 hours to see them every other weekend but it is so worth it.
The next week was a bit crazy, I had graston done twice on my achilles that I tore last year because it started to act up a bit, I had a massage from Jessica to break up a spasm I was having, had physical therapy for my Psoas muscle and then saw the therapist to help me deal with my PTSD. It was a week of fairly low mileage but a lot of well needed TLC.
Saturday came and Ryan and I did an impromptu 5k. We heard about it through our friend Mindy and figured it would be a fun way to get in some speedwork! Ryan and I ended up placing 1 and 2nd overall. It was a really small and hilly race and of course I still have not broken 19 minutes in a 5k! So, that quest will continue! I felt like my lungs and heart were going to explode and my legs didn’t even feel like they were working. Guess I need to work on cardio?
After that in celebration of our friend Chad who passed away suddenly on the trail last year and whose birthday was Saturday we went for a 7 mile mountain bike ride after the race. We are trying to sell our house and had a showing so we had to disappear for a bit, I hope they make an offer! We took Jack puppy and had fun riding our bikes! After that Ryan went for a run with a friend and I took Jack puppy on a hike up Parker Mountain where I carried a heavy pack to train for my dirretissema attempt this summer! It was a lovely night and we had a lot of fun and I did a lot of thinking about Chad. I realized that he made such an impact on so many lives that he really isn’t gone. He lives on strong within our hearts and deep within our souls. He is there when we need someone to talk to, someone to help us believe that we can and when we get together with friends someone to share great memories about. I think more people should try to be like he was, the world would be an amazing place.
My other friend Mindy had an incredible weekend and finished her first 50 mile race and I was so proud of her! She also managed to finish third! She is one strong girl who I admire and consider a great friend!
Today was something else. Ryan, Rob, Jack Puppy and Myself did a Squam range traverse out and back. That traverse is a beast and we started by stashing food and water at the turnaround. We drove to the trail head and started out under hot weather and sunny skies. It was going to be a struggle to stay hydrated and not drink all of our water too soon.
The terrain was burly and it just kept getting hotter! Jack puppy had so much fun romping around in the mud and water and during the long and dry stretches I hesitantly shared my water with him. I figured I can deal with being without water, but I never want to harm my pup and put his needs before mine. We made it to the turn around having a blast enjoying the views and the terrain. We drank a bunch of Gatorade and had snacks before turning around and going back to the car.
We had fun, we stopped a few times to take in the views and really had a lovely day on the trail! We got tired toward the end, dehydrated a bit and ready to get back to the car but overall it was a wonderful day together on the trail! I absolutely love that feeling of coming undone and knowing that you can still move forward and do it well. I love the pain in my legs, the labored breathing and that hunger for more hills, more rocks, more suffering. I have become a different runner this year, I may not be super speedy but I have mental toughness I never knew I had. Plus, I am running happy and stress free. That makes a huge difference and allows me to fully enjoy each run I do!
I want to thank my friends, husband and Jack puppy for always keeping me smiling on the trails. I am a social person (I never shut up!) and love company with friends. Thank you to my coach Jack for training me in a way where I can still spend time with my family, work full time and see my friends. Thank you to my sponsors for sticking with me, you are the best La Sportiva, UltrAspire, Julbo USA and Choucas Hats! Your support over the last few years has been wonderful and I love being a part of your teams! Thank you to everyone who is kind to me and likes me for who I am, I am a genuine person and enjoy the company of others who share that quality. And lastly, thank you to my boss and coworkers for helping me fall in love with my career again and to my sweet little steppies Zoe and Hannah for giving me the gift of motherhood. I love having children in my life because it makes me feel complete and loved. These girls make me so happy!
Each day is special, each breath is precious and every heartbeat is sacred. We only have one life, how do you want to live it? I want to live mine full of love, happiness and making a difference in peoples lives. So throw on that sparkly pink lipgloss, show the world your smile and live your life full of happiness. If you can please help my friend raise money for her running club in a very small town in NH Follow the link for details! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fitness-for-everyone/x/10817130