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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TARC Spring Classic

This past Saturday was wet.  Wet and cold.  Two things that I had some issues with in 2010 in terms of my  DNF's.  I have had three DNF's in my life... two of the three were Wapack and VT50 both ran during downpours in late fall and early spring respectively, and for one I ended up in the emergency room naked, dirty and compromised in a way that does not need to be repeated here....DNF's are a sore spot for me because for the past few years I was dealing with cancer, over training, and as a result I had my DNF's but let it be known my complete lack of common sense in terms of dressing for the weather never helps.  I don't have huge stores of body fat to keep me warm...I get cold in the summer in AC...

So I have always had a slight issue with downpours and cold.  My lifestyle can often be described as based on a "less is more" attitude and that relates to clothing as well...I do not like a lot of it and do not like anything tight or restrictive...running tights are the devil's tool ; )

If I had my way I would live in baby doll dresses and flip flops or hot pants and tanks.  I can't stand running in pants and that can be an issue in winter weather as well as rainy weather.  It is funny as I run so much with Kev and it is a running joke between us that he is gear man and I am never prepared.  That has actually worked to my benefit though as Kev always has extra stuff for me to borrow...god bless Kev and his over packing (although he is getting better!) 

Still you can't wear shorts in the dead of winter.  So I bought a pair of tights for running this winter...searched high and low and finally found the ever elusive "low riders" running tights which did not squish my tummy but did fall off my ass for the entire 32 miles I ran the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass... luckily I had a long jacket on. 

So to get to the point...what the hell was my point??? ummm oh the Tarc Spring classic..I again did not set out to run the race appropriately attired.  I had no hat no gloves no pants...nope...just pink hot pants, a long sleeve shirt and my pigtails.  Luckily Kev had a pair of gloves I left behind from DRB (actually gloves I made him carry during DRB...well not MADE him carry but asked him nicely to carry...along with my jacket and some fuel...oh I am a pain in the tush)

This was the first ever TARC spring classic 50k and it was in Weston, MA.  Bob C and Josh K put the race on.  And I was really excited to get out there.  Bob C will always hold a special place in my heart as he helped me so much in my goal to run WS100 last year....he set me up with the best pacers and the people on the ground in CA that he had set up for me were amazing. I am proud to call myself a Trail Animal.  But I am also a Tugger...so this race meant a great deal as I was able to see so many fellow trail animals and tuggers like Emily, Dan, Rob, Steve, Christine, Garry and Paul running and Bob and Josh put on a truly spectacular race and of course Kev was there doing his volunteer work for I believe The Bear...

The course was a loop course and the volunteers did an amazing job setting up the markers, both chalk "trail animal" feet on the ground and ribbons on trees and on poles in ground.   There were rocks and roots and mud galore and stream crossings and some nice hills to run up.  Just a really gorgeous fast course.  The 50k was 5 loops of the course and if this was a dry sunny day I believe many of us would have had a 50k pr.  The race started with I believe Josh dressed as the big hairy Trail Animal...the racers let out a collected growl yelp or roar and we were off.  The first loop felt great...my speed work on the treadmill over the winter has really helped as well as the incline work on Tom's crazy incline treadmill.  I miss that treadmill!!!  It kills me to think Tom runs on that thing with a weighted vest...I would die just doing the 40% with out holding on to the bars!  I felt great for the first two loops but I was honestly a bit hot by the end of the second loop..so I set out for the third loop with out my rain coat.  The rain had petered out or so I thought.  BIG mistake.  The rain came down and came down HARD.  I was soaked immediately and chilled to the bone.  I saw Rob on the third loop and we knocked knuckles today he was going for his first ultra finish and he was looking VERY strong and confident on the course..I knew he had it in the bag...When I came in to head out for the fourth loop my hands were frozen into claws.  I removed my wet shirt and ran just in my sports bra and rain coat...Kev had to help me get my gloves on and Emily had to pick my wedge (I love my little kitten...who else but an amazing friend would pick your wedgie for you ; )  I did not see Steve or Dan on the course, but had run for a bit with Christine...she looked so strong in fact she passed me easily on the fourth loop with about 1.5 miles to go and took off like a speeding bullet.  The fourth loop I was not sore my legs still felt good I was just so cold that all my muscles were seizing from running in a hunched position.  I knew when I came in for the fourth that I would drop down to marathon as my lips were blue and I was becoming dangerously cold.  I had prior experiences with this and now know how to read the signs of my body saying no can do Michelle...your core is just too cold.  I did not know that you could not drop down...so even though I ended with a marathon PR (almost 25 minutes faster than my Nipmuck PR) I am listed as a DNF. 

Truth is if I knew I would have been given a DNF I would have gone back out on the course for the 5th loop and that probably would not have been the safest course of action for me.  Dan, Rob(ultra finish yippeee) and Steve all stuck it out and finished the 50k. Dan has had some serious issues with injury this past year so this was a major deal for him and it is soooo cool, and well Steve just sticks it out no matter what you throw at the guy.

I am a bit disappointed but as I am still dealing with the repercussions of my last health crisis and I must realize I am not like other people in terms of my training and racing...I have some stuff that will always be there in terms of my health...much like Julie and Streph have had to deal with in terms of their running so I need to be smart about what I push my body to do.  The Death Race is my ultimate goal for this year.  It seems as if Tom and I txt about the race and our training at least 10 times a day : ) 

I was proud of my time Saturday and I need to remember why I do what I do..ultimately it is for me....DNF yeah I don't like it...but when I am just ashes being thrown off a mtn top no one there is going to bring up the fact I DNF'd at the TARC 50k : )

Monday, April 18, 2011

DRB

This past weekend was excellent in terms of training.  Hit a workout with Chris Friday night and increased weight and or reps for all exercises in the program so VERY pleased with that.  My wide grip pull ups are really increasing in terms of reps and ease.  Had a nice dinner out Friday and saw some live music so perfect start to vacation.  Saturday got in a wicked arm work out at gym and then did a short but vicious series of body weight exercises that really fatigued my arms.  Saturday night out to Halfway with a friend then grabbed Garry at Logan as he is staying with me for the marathon.  Headed to bed early due to the 4 am wake up for DRB.

 Kev rented a car so Garry could have my car to head into the expo in Boston to grab his race number.  After a huge snafu with the zip car Kev rented we arrived at the start well past the 6 am start.  We headed out closer to 7 but that turned out to be a godsend as the rain ended right when we finished the first mile of the course.  What stunk is having to carry our jackets and sweatshirts for the first 13 miles!  Kev grabbed my rain jacket though and I just had to tie my WS sweatshirt around my waist so that was helpful.  Any one who has run DRB knows your times will be VERY slow compared to any other race time you have had...Kev and I got lost within the first 4 miles and had to back track.  You need to stop at intersections just to read the map! click on link and see for yourself!!!
http://www.trailanimals.com/photos/

We went out there planning to run between 26 and 32 miles depending on how Kev felt as he had back to back races with a entrance into the Boston Marathon this year.  Knowing this I went into DRB as a training run knowing on my own I would surely get lost...This turned out to be both good and bad.  I had so much fun running with Kev, but I was feeling really strong...I mean REALLY strong and so I wanted to go out fast.  I did but I would have to stop and wait for Kev because A. he had the map. B. even if I had a map I would probably read it wrong and C. Kev was out there for a training run and did not want to blow out his legs for the next day.  So I would run ahead and stop and wait for Kev at any intersections.  The slightly competitive side of me came out ; ) and at one point I bitchily yelled at Kev for getting us lost.  he ignored my outburst as he knows me so well and he knows when to ignore me and when to take me to task ; )  The course was sopping wet..I was running straight up and down rivers that were at one time trails.  The rocks were slippery and muddy so you needed to take care on the downs.  The Blue Hills are a great place to train.  I feel like my endurance for any distance at the Death Race is well taken care of and will only increase as my training continues..I was hitting those ups with ease(Garry told me after the fact it is close to 8000 feet of total elevation gain/loss and that is impressive trails so close by) even Kevin commenting on how strong I was.  I have a race schedule for the next three months that will ensure I will be one of the fitter entrants in terms of time on feet and ability to stay moving...basically relentless forward motion really will describe me to a T.

So the bottom line in terms of DRB is we took out time, got lost, stopped often to check map and had long periods of time at the car refueling and changing and yet we finished 26.2 in 7 or 7:30. 
Garry showed up to hang and see friends..so awesome to see so many friends and running acquaintances...Bob got me into the closed Tarc spring classic 50k for next weekend (pays to know the RD) Paul was there having run the 50k, and Doug stopped by.  It was very cool to see a friend I met at Western States last year at DRB and to hear he got in again and will have Kenny pace him if his hernia heals quickly enough....basically yesterday felt really good...racing and training always reminds me how many people I have met through my running and just how many of them really are glad to see me out on the trails and how many wonderful people I am blessed to know.

As I write this I realize I am actually really happy today and I feel really lucky...funny thing...I lost something precious to me last week but through the loss I found strength...I mean I know I am strong but I forgot just how strong.