Oh, Go Run, will ya?

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Here in Southern Vermont, we were spared any of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. We had been prepared for the worst, per TS Irene last year, but received only heavy rain and wind.

Earlier in the day, I read a runners blog out of NYC. She wrote about gratitude and the strength of fellow New Yorkers’ resilience post-Sandy. She loves her town and it shows. She said, and this is big, that the she wasn’t concerned right now about whether the NYC marathon was on or not. She has bigger fish to fry. Wow.

I spent the first 17 years of my life in Manhattan. I don’t often consider myself a New Yorker, unless its to brag. It is an origin of convenience. Or whatever. I never loved NY, it was just where we lived. But, somewhere, deep in my DNA is New Yorker. On 9/11, the first person I wanted to talk to was my mom. In 2001, it had been 10 years since we moved to VT. But, I ached for my city then as though I’d never left.

I’m feeling a similar tug to NY today. The pictures I’ve seen, the posts, TV coverage are all unreal. I feel frustration and anger and sadness. And all I can do is pray. It has to be enough.

So, what does this have to do with running, you ask?

I took a whole week off of running, without really meaning to. After my long run and then the CHaD race, my shins felt like they had daggers in them. Every.step.hurt. I didn’t want to stop, but I HURT. I hiked, I stacked wood, I cleaned (aggressively), I raked more leaves than any one person should. I walked. But, none of it is running.

And, I started to get bitchy. Really bitchy. Stop chewing so loudly bitchy. I started thinking maybe I didn’t need or like running anymore! WHAT!!!?!!! Okay, enough, go run. Slowly, gently.

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This is the trail that started it all.

Mile and a half in, and no shin pain. Amazing. I guess I did need some time to heal.

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Ahhh, and I’m back. I love these trails. They are my GF bread and butter. I can feel my mood lifting. I’m pushing out the heartache and the depression.

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My gratitude is rising. Aggie is happy to run. I’m happy to run. I don’t feel as messy as I did. And less hopeless and helpless. Thank God for running. This was a short three mile run. Just enough to get moving and not re-injure. And to get my head screwed back on. I love running, I’m passion about it, and I better appreciate what I gots while I gots it. Before its gone. Big sigh of relief. And it works to help get me out of the way of me.

I think I’m more available for prayer for my fellow New Yorkers now.

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I’ll always love you New York.- Ryan Adams

It’s just a little rain

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Gotta get me one of these euro stickers for the car!

Finally purchased a charger for my camera battery, and, of course, not the right size. How out of seven separate attachments does not one single one work? Rats. I really wanted to take pictures on my trail run. Oh well, guess I’ll have to keep posting irrelevant photos.

All this week I thought the CHaD 5k (it’s a fundraiser for Dartmouth Children’s Hospital) was on Saturday. Turns out it’s Sunday, so….FINALLY Long Run Friday is back! It’s been two months since my last all day run. And I’ve been missing them. The forecast was for heavy rain, so I’d have to dress accordingly. I’m a big girl, I know how to dress myself. Yeah.

Today’s run was a let’s-see-how-long-I-can-go kinda day. I love running in the rain in the summer. How much different could cool fall running in the rain be? I packed extra socks, hat, gels, water and tissues. Yeah, I’m still a newbie. My jacket had about as much waterproofing left in it as a wool sweater. How bad could it be under tree cover? Yeah.

The first two hours were smooth. I was on a familiar trail and going slow. I was wet, but not miserable. At the summit of Lost Mine trail, i change socks. Ahhhhh. Around hour three, I headed downhill and started to cool off. I was drenched and shivering. My Aggie girl was with me, and happy as can be. I wasn’t sure what the constant rain would be like for her. She never stopped darting in and out of the woods, chasing critters. Good sign, no distress. Me, I was cold! Why the heck didn’t I bring a change of jacket? Lack of leaves makes for crappy coverage from the elements. Note to self. Overpacking wouldn’t be a sin. I was not a Boy Scout.

At hour four, I made a detour and trotted home. I was still feeling awesome, and definitely not done running. Once home, I changed into dry clothes and hat, and headed out again. What the heck? Why not five more miles? Why? Because I can. And dry, dry, dry. I was solo, Aggie safe and dry and alive. If I could just outrun the rain…

It wasn’t a pretty five miles. Soaked again by a driving rain that had me Squeegee-ing my facing to see and squishing with every step. but who cares? I put in a good effort. I dragged a river into the house, mapped my route online, checked on Aggie. Still breathing. AND…holy cannolli, I ran 19 miles in 4:51:00!!ridiculous! This is my longest run yet. I’d do a Toyota jump if I had any legs left. Woooooooohooooo! I’m jumping on the inside! I AM SOOOO CLOSE TO MY FIRST ULTRA. I can taste it.

Ahh, a hot shower and chicken soup never tasted so good.

Thanks for reading,

Astrid

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Woods trail off this road half?

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If I had my way, I’d magically be whisked away to trails far and wide. I would step out my front door and onto endless trails of my choosing.

I love my town park and its trail system, but I’m outgrowing it a bit. I can eek out about six miles without backtracking, and by doing a little bush whacking. I find myself looking furtively off into the woods while driving trying to find snowmobile trails to poach. Completely unsafe driving on my part. I talk to complete strangers willing to give up their secret trail spots. I scour online trail finders.

I don’t love, or even like running on the road. But sometimes it feels like less of a secret agent mission to simply run where it’s most available. That would be the asphalt between this trail and that one. And maybe, just maybe, a little road racing while I’m at it.

So, I found myself doing my first half marathon. On the road. That’s right. I said it. And I didn’t love it. But I’m proud to say I finished it.

It was way too hot for early September. 70 degrees and 65 % humidity for the 9am start. Hubs ran the first two miles with me, then took off to run his own race. A few more miles, and I was feeling good. Six, seven miles. No problem. I got this. Wait, am I getting sun burned. What the? Isn’t this September in VT? As a happy New England trail runner, sunscreen is rarely on my list of essentials. Trees are enough. Why yes. I’m starting to poop out. I’m cooking like a fatty slice of bacon. I’m carrying my stupid cell phone cause I forgot my watch and two energy gels and I want to threw them away cause they are slipping out of my hand. I wanna go dive under a bush for some shade. Why am I doing this?

It wasn’t really that terrible, I’m just not used to pushing yet. On the trail on a long run, I walk if I need to or stop and stretch. Here, I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn’t start again. So, I kept shuffling along.

I did end up walking a bunch the last two miles. I didn’t have much left in my hips to power it in. I finished in 2:46:23. I’m really glad I did it. I appreciate my trails even more now.

Not sure if ill do another road race. I do know I will drive further and further for more and new trails. Just be careful if you see me driving.

Runs with Cold

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Yesterday’s 10k trail race was a blast! Albeit cold (34 degrees at the start), it was sunny and bright. God has blessed us with rain just about every day for the last three weeks. Boo. I swear, I’ve been getting moldy. Finally, race day, and the sun was shearing away last night’s hard frost. I had told myself I wouldn’t go if it was pouring. I was feeling a bit wonky and getting super sick was Not on the agenda. Well, no rain=running!

It had been three weeks since my last trail race, and I was itching. I went out a bit fast, then almost quit before the first mile! I hurt all over and couldn’t find my breath. I haven’t been running as much the last month, so my training is lacking. My left tight IT band is about as tight as a guitar string. And I’ve been experiencing some random foot pain in my right bunion (sorry, ick). So my excitement level is pretty high when I can run.

The course leveled out and I found my breath again. A beautiful vista got my head into the run and I was finally present. This is why I run on trails! Up, down, left right, where’s the trail? slow and steady up the hills, fast and open on those downhills! I love the changing leaves, the geese on the lake honking like crazy, the unlimited chili at the end! Pretty course, no humidity, no IT band pain. Ahhhhh!

I ran a 1:24:00. That’s about a 13:30 split. For me, that’s pretty good. On my long runs (12 to 17 miles) I run 16-17 minute miles. Woooohoooo! Most of my trail races this summer have been at the 15 minute split. So exciting! Maybe someday I’ll run really fast and be a star! A girl can dream

After a welcome nap, I woke up with the dreaded stuffy nose. This morning, I woke up looking like a washed up boxer. My face was as puffy as when I had oral surgery in the spring. Yay, sick. Hey, I just ran my fastest 10k trail race with a cold! Awesome! I feel like shit today, but… I ran faster with a cold! Maybe my running has improved… Maybe.

This a rambling, un-cohesive post. Sigh. Oh well. Blame it on the sickness. Did I mention I’m faster?

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Thanks for reading,

Astrid

Catching Up

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New shoes!!! These are my newest running purchase. Hoka Stinson Evos. And I love them. I had been coveting them for three months. I obsessed, I saved and I looked at them online obsessively. Did I say that already? You know, it’s that shiny thing disease. They are worth all 180 dollars I spent on them. But, yikes, on the price tag.

They are the opposite of minimalist. They have two whole inches of fabulous cushioning. They look more like the ill fated Shape Ups than a typical running sneaker. Yeah, I know, at six feet, I really needed an additional two inches of height. Because they drastically changed my center of gravity, it took me a couple of weeks to get used to and trust that I wouldn’t tip over barreling down a trail. I love feeling like I’m on a trampoline in ’em.

Okay, I’m not writing a review for Hoka, so I’ll leave the details to a sponsored runner.

Bottom line, I love my new shoes. My only gripe with them is my own technique. I’m a super supinator and these bad boys force me into a neutral foot strike. I’d been running all season on the outside edge of my tootsies in my ancient New Balance. Now, my foot pain is on the rise. Boo. Oh well. We’ll see if this corrects itself. I like them too much to stop now.

Just finished a 10k trail race This morning. Burrrrrrrr. Cold and beautiful. More on that later.

Thanks for reading,

Astrid