Whatcha’ listening to?

My head is a bad neighborhood. When I go there alone, bad things happen. Thoughts like ‘I’m not worth this’ & ‘I hate pain’ plague me. If I choose, I can let intrusive thoughts derail my run. Worse, I leave myself unarmed against destructive behavior. Like, romancing the idea of a drink or a drug. Or self harm as a release. 

I’m mostly ok with how my alcoholic mind works. This kind of thinking is not uncommon in alcoholics & addicts in recovery. My active using provided temporary relief from this thinking. Drinking gave me a pause button to a brain that wanted out from an almost constant barrage of negative thoughts. At almost nine years sober, I have some tools to stay out of my head. Stress is a trigger to self imposed martyrdom. So much time in my head on a long run can be a funny place. 

Reading an article on iRunfar got me thinking about my use of headphones. For today, I don’t think I’ll be one of those people running ‘wireless’ & free in the woods. While the woods of Vermont are where I feel at peace, I use podcasts to stay out of my bad neighborhood. No one is there judging my use of headphones. I know that. Part of me wishes, though, I could be the author of that article. Running free of distraction. Listening to the animal & forest sounds. I do sometimes. Mostly, it’s me & Aggie dog & some soothing voice telling m their good story. Ted Talks, Fresh Air, Stuff You Should Know or Joe & Charlie tapes (sobriety stuff) are my favorites. 

This isn’t to say I could relapse if I don’t have my precious podcasts. It’s not that dramatic. Simply, I have a more enjoyable run with some company. My runs, nine weeks out from Umstead, are loooooong. This still slow scurrier has a 25 miler followed by a 16 this Friday & Saturday. A total of eight hours listening to my own shitty thinking makes for some baaad ideas. So, I choose to listen to someone else’s good ideas. 

What’s your favorite podcast? Please & thank you. 
Thanks for running with me,


Time to Throw Down

First things first. My 50k training has officially begun. Which means I should mention the when and where. My very first ultra is the Pineland Farms Trail 50k on May 26. Its a weekend-long trail running festival in Maine. The 50k is on a Sunday, making for an awesome destination weekend.
My nerves are making me second guess my big jump into the ultra scene. It was only a year ago, almost to the day, that I trotted out my first trail run in twenty plus years. What the heck, bring it on. I can do this. Right?
So, I have just about eleven weeks left with which to train. Mind you, I simply want to complete the distance without falling apart. That’s a pretty wide margin to work in. BUT, right now my booty is cooked after 12 miles. I have some training time to put in.
That being said, I ran five days this week, including two back-to-back longish runs. And it has not stopping snowing in VT for over a week. Because I refuse to run anything else, I’m wobbling and twisting on snow packed trails. My heart rate has consistently been in the 150 bpm range for the entirety of the run. Making for one tired, actually two, tired puppies. Both girl and dog are grateful for artful picture stops along the way.

Food I love on long runs:
Honey Stinger Pomegranate Chews. Yum.
Chicken broth
Clif Bars, especially peanut butter chocolate chip
Snickers Mini (I discovered those after Halloween), but only one or two, or it’s not staying down
Peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches
Blackstrap molasses mixed with honey and instant coffee. Not so yummy, but my stomach is okay with it and it’s way healthier than most energy gels.
AND my newest favorite run item is Nuun sport drink tabs in grape. I put two or three in my hydration pack, instead of plain water, and voila. Delicious, fizzy, yummy electrolytes. Seriously love it.
I’m planning on alternating weeks for adding an hour to my long run. I’m up to 4 1/2 hours, so by May I should be getting comfortable with 7 and 8 hours on the trail. In theory. I’m not going to speculate on a finishing time to shoot for. Maybe next post. It seems too daunting to think about yet.

The good news gets better…the elevation gain for the Pineland 50k is about 300 feet! Total! Can I pick ‘me or what? Now, I’ll really be in luck if the course is in the woods out of the sun. And my 40th birthday is just days before the run. I might have to wear a birthday tiara. Put a BOLO out on chesty girl in a tiara. Hehehe.

Who’s running with me?


Today is the day!

Nothing extraordinary about today, except for the fact that I’m finally putting finger to keyboard to complete an entry. I’ve been stalling writing here for the last month for fear that I will have nothing to say, so here goes…

My run today was my usual morning route; 4 mile trail run in about an hour. Today was a bit faster, at 57 minutes. I started trail running just a few short months ago. Some days I am confident that I am running my own race, against only me. Others, I am trying to be the best runner ever. The reality is I am a deathly slow runner right now. Good days out on the trail happen when I’m at peace with who I am. So, being at peace this morning, or something like that, I pushed a little.

I love when I get my butt out of bed on time and hit the trail before work. My Aggie dog loves it, too. We don’t always make it out of the house in the AM, but it’s what starts my day off right. Its a much better day if i can run before anything else. The first half mile is to the local park, along the north end of town, on asphalt. My legs feel heavy and stiff. By the time I take Aggie off leash at the park, I’m feeling better. The park this morning is filled with fog and dewy grass. We go up the old ski hill my husband learned to ski on, about a 500′ climb. A year ago, I had to walk backwards up this section to make it up. Now, I can trot it. It’s progress. The rest of the trail is single track and snowmobile trails. And they’re all mine! Just me out here today. My legs feel awesome and I settle into a rhythm for the next couple of miles. My head clears and I feel present.

My favorite part of this run comes toward the end (!) as Aggie and I come down a small hill, into a clearing dappled with sunlight. The trees look massive, the light softens the green of the grass and wildflowers are everywhere. There’s a stream under a small bridge which Aggie launches into and I stop and wet my hair in. Just a quick stop today, and back through the softball fields and a half mile sprint home.

Not a bad way to start my day.

Now that I’ve written a bit, I want to write about everything that comes to mind about my running so far. But, it’s bed time, and I can incorporate more about this into my next few entries.

Thanks for reading, and happy running!