Monday, December 29, 2014

It hasn't all been failure - the successes of 2014!

If you've read what I've posted over the past year, it kind of seems depressing. An injury early in the year, a rough time at the Vegan Power 50k, and a DNF at the Vermont 50.  Oh, and then there was the DNS for the TARC Spring Thaw, at right, I was told specifically to not run any long distances from an ER doc, who was telling me about the time he ran the JFK 50.

 I swear it hasn't all been bad, though! 

I've thrown down some really good, shorter races. Here's me taking second in my age group at the Elk Rapids Harbor Run 5k, associated with Elk Rapids Harbor Days.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Vermont 50 - My First DNF

I guess I may have spoiled it a bit with the title? Yeah, I DNFed at the Vermont 50. Le sigh. Not to worry, though, my loyal followers...  even though I had a rough time at the Vermont 50 and the Vegan Power 50k, I'm holding out on you about some of the good things that have happened with my running lately. Stay tuned!

The Vermont 50 mile is both a mountain bike and a running race that benefits Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, and some of it follows the course of the Vermont 100.

But first, let's talk about the kids races!  These were awesome!  Thanks Race Directors for putting this on!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two Thumbs Up for the Vegan Power 50k! 2014 Race Report

There's a Vegan Power 50k?  Oh yes there is, new this year!  There's also a bit of a grass roots movement to increase trail and ultrarunning in the Berkshires.  If you don't know where the Berkshires are, this is in Western Massachusetts, near Albany NY, not Boston, where the Appalachian Trail passes through Massachusetts.  It's a hilly, rocky, rooty area with some of the best hiking in the state.  The Vegan Power 50K is run by BURCS, the Berkshire Ultrarunning Community for Service.  BURCS is new on the trail ultrarunning scene, but is already making an impact with several fantastic must-do races.  Also, importantly, BURCS isn't about making money.  BURCS is about promoting social and environmental activism. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let's not commercialize the training run!

Step three is profit!
"I love capitalism!"  my friend Ana used to say. Growing up in Sarejevo, Ana was always annoyed by carrying ski boots back to the car.  But in the US, they made these little devices - a handle with a loop of string - to carry the boots.  Someone makes them because everybody buys them.  Hooray capitalism!

I should have just used the one on the right. 

Similarly, commercialization has brought some wonderful gear to trail running.  As an example, last year, I had a packable windbreaker, for hiking, that was cut poorly for running.  I also had a running windbreaker that didn't pack well, and barely tied around my waist.  Now?  I own a packable running windbreaker, and I had several to choose from. I'm happy to pay for great gear.

But is commercialism a threat to our sport?  I can see one trend that frightens me.  It isn't sponsored athletes or pricey races. It's the commodification of training runs.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First barefoot run of the season!

Hooray hooray!  What a great day!  It was in the upper 50's when I got home from work, so.... I got in my first barefoot run of the season.   It was only around two and a half miles.  I took my 11 year old out for 2 miles, came home, and ditched the Luna Sandals.  Did that ever feel weird!  It's been a long, long, winter, and many months since I've gotten the skin on the ground.

I'm definitely planning on doing more barefoot running this spring and summer.  It's good to be back!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ultrarunning culture: we need this growth.

There's been a great deal of buzz lately about changes to trail and ultrarunning culture, and most of that buzz has been negative.  Many people are complaining that new ultrarunners are somehow ruining the culture, and that we are in jeopardy of "losing something".  Most outspoken about this is Bob Crowley, who has gone on several podcasts with a call to arms for preserving the supportive nature of trail and ultra culture through new runners learning from and listening to the older runners.  You can find some of his podcasts here and here.  I don't mean to pick on Bob Crowley, as he's done amazing things for our sport, and he correctly identified some wonderful things about the supportive ultra community.  I've heard the same sentiments from people other than Bob, so the ideas are knocking around all over.  But I disagree that it is changing for the worse, and I disagree with what needs to be done to preserve the best parts. 

Wonderful though it is, the ultrarunning community isn't perfect and could use improvement.  I don't think that the way to improve it is through impressing some ideology on newcomers, though.  I think we need to work on some of our problems from the inside, and make the newcomers feel more welcome.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Will winter ever end? (2014 edition)

How's winter treating you?  Winter sure is something in Worcester, and I always feel transformed at the end of it.

I really do love running in the winter, and I'm very capable of staying comfortable in the cold.  I spoke about this recently with Richard Diaz from the Natural Running Network and Vanessa Runs on the Natural Running Network Live Podcast.  You can find the episode here.

But by March,   I simply cannot take any more single digit runs.  I wake up to run, look at the pile of clothes, look at the thermometer saying -2, and I just.... can't.  Speed doesn't happen on the ice and the snow, and I'm done with the anxiety about falling on it.  I only fell once this year, and happily, only hurt my arm.  My eyelids are chafed and my hands are raw.

On the other hand,  in winter there is this:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter Beast of Burden 50 mile Race Report 2014: I can't put my arms down!

On January 18th, 2014, I ran the Winter Beast of Burden 50 mile race in Lockport, NY.  This is a race on the Erie Canal towpath with a 50 mile and 100 mile option.  If you’re here on my blog trying to decide whether or not to run it in 2015, read on.  This race is fantastic, and flawlessly run, and the camaraderie amongst the participants was among the best I’ve experienced.  But the cold and the exposure were much more intense than I had anticipated.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter / Spring 2014 Racing Plans!

Wow, it's been entirely too long since I blogged!

I meant to get up a race report for the Nipmuck Trail Marathon, but now it's way too late.  That was back in early October!  A quick recap?  They handed out these 6 oz ultraspire cups, in an attempt to limit cup use.  I got the idea to go all minimalist and run with nothing but the cup.  That seemed like a great idea till I had a hypoglycemic fit during the last mile, and almost passed out.  On the plus side, I finished in 5:35, which was almost 40 minutes faster than my time from two years ago! 

Next on the agenda is the Beast of Burden 50 miler, on January 18th.  That's near Buffalo, and the whole point is to run in extreme weather.  As bad an idea as El Scorcho?  No, this one is worse because El Scorcho has a 25k / 50k option.  The Beast of burden is a 50m / 100m race.  Much worse than El Scorcho.