April 24, 2011

TARC Spring Classic 2011

 Before the Rain...
Running Rob, Breakheart Dan, 
Trail Pixie and the Bard LaTour

The TARC Spring Classic 2011 was held this April 23 on the beautiful trails in Jericho Woods, Weston, Mass. The pouring rain didn't stop many folks from running multiple loops. This Spring Classic consisted of several running events in one: a 10k, half-marathon, marathon and 50k. Each loop was 6.55 miles, except for a special 10k variation for those folks. The rain...and down pours held off until the second loop and then grew increasingly heavier as the day muddied on.
RD, Bob Crowly, me and Kevin Z
Yay, I'm Done! Alas, the rain is not.
(Street-, trail- and photo-cred: kZ, A+ volunteer!)

The best part of this day on the trails was being able to connect with many TUGger folks and friends.

TARC Spring Classic 2011
I felt good with two loops and enjoyed running loop two with Rob, who helped me sprinkle trail pixie dust along the path for all those that followed. My splits were just about even with the second loop about two minutes faster than the first (1:47). I was pleased with the near-even splits! For all the walking I did in the first loop, I am not surprised I felt challenged by the increased pace of my second loop. I am undertrained for distance and speed but there's only one way to get back into it...getting back out in it! When I finished RD Bob declared, "YOU are back!" That felt great! Howl n Hoot!
BigFoot runs through Jericho...

When I finished I felt so invigorated that I thought I might go back out for a third loop sans bib # and take some photos.  But after changing into some dry clothes I quickly recognized I'd have more fun in the aid area catching up with and cheering on friends. I tested my newly sewn light-weight running skirt and it wasn't heavy even from the deluge.The pocket designs worked well and kept essentials dry and in safe. 

I can't wait until The TARC Summer Classic this August!

April 22, 2011

Gearing up for TARC Spring Classic

From NOAA weather in Weston, Mass., for April 23, 2011:
"Saturday: Rain. Patchy fog after 2pm. High near 52. South wind between 10 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible."


Well, To keep my mind off of the April showers, I'm sewing some gear for tomorrow's trail fun! I'll be testing out two different style pockets —one with hook & loop closure and the other a fold-over flap style—on my running skirt.
In progress skirt in the fabric flavors
of Techno Trail and Black.
If I have the time I'll make some arm warmers, too.

April 19, 2011

Unrequited Love

Last month I met with a neurologist who told me, “You love your [sports] activities more than they love you.” She was responding to my confession that I “binge exercise.” In other words, I do not enter endurance events over trained. She continued, “Well, you are not 20 anymore.”

I unintentionally violated the “10% “rule,” yet again. That rule to not increase one’s mileage over 10% in a given week, etc. Hmmm: On March 5th  I did the SS half. I ran 3.2 miles and 4 miles the week before the 10 mile Merrimack River Race. Sure, I was good for 18.5 miles this Saturday.
The trail loves me, 
The trail loves me not...

I met Breakheart Dan and RunninRob for a fun jaunt along the Bay Circuit Trail 4/16/11.  This marked Dan’s second leg of his BCT 200-Mile Journey. I would love to join him on as many BCT legs as possible —so long as I don’t slow him down, and as long as he can enjoy my goofy jokes, extended walk breaks and overt fashion declarations. If he doesn’t watch out his BCT journey might turn into a Forest Gump-like situation:

We met off Middleton Road in Boxford, Mass., and his wife shuttled us to Prospect Hill (THANK YOU) where we met Rob and started our planned 18.5-mile adventure.  By 8:40 a.m. we were up Prospect, fully engaged in our a power-hike/walk break.   

I was so happy to be out in the woods with friends, sporting my running sneaks and new gator-bait gaiters, my Nathan pack bulging, and Cupid's trail running arrow through my heart.  It didn't matter that the trail was a mess and washed out in places. It didn't matter that I'd slept like a feather all week. It didn't matter that it was 20 degrees cooler outside than it appeared from indoors. We found ourselves doing some extra miles with laughs. It's spring and we had all morning...
The blazes were easy to follow throughout— (well, almost easy in most places...sometimes they were behind us on a tree we passed). Yes, with good company and conversation the miles pass quickly, even if running in circles.
Rob disappears into the woods
So in a nutty shell we got our feet wet (several times), ate, ran, jokes, ate, walked, took photos, told stories, ate some more.  I was no worse for the wear after five and a half hours.   

I feel 20 years-old when in the woods with friends, moving along pine needle trails and wading through cool running water.   If I can't BE 20 again, at least I can run 20. I'll keep asking for the "Trail's Hand."

April 15, 2011

Bit by the Needle Bug

This spring I've been bitten by the needle bug. 
It looks like this: 

I bought a serger last spring and it sat in the box for months as I was wonderfully distracted by meeting someone special. Now spring is here and I have all sorts of fresh vim and vigor. I am ready to serge, baby.

 This machine is not my serger but a photo of my "work horse." It has multiple bells and whistles. Still, my first love will always be my grandmother's Singer Featherweight
The other night I was inspired to make an article of clothing and take a break from  Gator-Bait Gaiters. So I created my own pattern with inspiration from my collection of running skirts; I kept what I believe to be the "best of" features and added improvements. As I was skeptical of how it would all come together, I chose an inexpensive 100% Polyester Fabric (black and red) with so-so stretch. For the pockets I found a decent square of my circa 2000 Malden Mills Powder Dry. 
 When I start another, with higher quality fabrics, I will improve as either a flap or a zipper to keep my "nuts and berries" secure while I run. 
Photo by Gilles Gonthier
 Surprisingly I didn't need to alter anything AND it fits! I still need to finish the bottom hem so later today I'll explore the various feet attachments (to the machine ;0) so I can finish it beautifully.

April 09, 2011

20th Merrimack River Trail Race

 RD, Petey raffles more Fluorescent Shwag and Sour Patch Kids
Today marked the 20th birthday of the Merrimack River Trail Race! The conditions were absolutely incredible—little wind, sun, cool (t-shirt weather), and nearly dry trails. Some great folks spent time laying lots of new boardwalk material to help with erosion, as well.
This morning I was going to go and pick up my t-shirt, which is awesome this year, and then go for a few miles as not part of the race (even though I pre-registered). Then I saw Richard who encouraged me to run and walk it! Okay, Okay twist my arm.  I don’t like signing up for things and not doing them and I was afraid I wasn’t ready for the distance. I’ve run a total of 7.2 miles in the last two weeks…and before that, a snowshoe half in early March. I needed to take it slowly… it’s a no-brainer.

Starting out in the rear, I took it out with walking often and averaging about 12 minutes per mile. I felt great. It was wonderful to be outside along the water. With lots of alone time along the trail, I thought about how tree bands reveal information about a given year’s weather and the effects of environment on its health.  I pictured my last year (of limited running and more health cruddiness) as separate but connected bands —a thin dark band of blight cushioned with a porous and strengthened ring of positive spirit and an expanding circle of hope.
Not winded (really, I was taking it perhaps, too, comfortably) I made it out to the turn around in 1:04. Feeling fine, decided I would try to break 2 hours total. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up with no mileage in the logbook but mind over matter. I got slopping a bit foggy footed and one near fall really shook me up a few moments as I thought I might’ve hurt my calf catching myself (Jury is out.)  I had one good down- to-earth fall around the large bridge at the Deer Jump. Miraculously, I sort of rolled out of it unscathed. Go Pixie Powers.

So with many walk breaks on the way out, I took the return more seriously with power-hiking the inclines and lots of steady running on the descents and flats. I only wore a watch (no GPS) so the mile markers allowed me to calculate my pace in the last four miles. With four miles remaining I hoped to hang on and run as evenly as possible. Miles 6 through 9 were dead on even and then the last mile I whittled the pace down to finish in 1:57:33. 
The stats are in: Out for five miles in 64 minutes (12:48 pace/mile) and back five miles to finish line in 53:33 (10:42 pace/mile). Cool!

Trail Runners can be a surprisingly
orderly and well-behaved group. ;)
Not too shabby for no training. It was a delight to see so many trail-running friends. I am reminded of what a great community trail runners create.

TARC, here I come.