as always, i have good intentions of keeping up with this blog. and then reality hits. i don't know what happens; i gather all of my thoughts when i am out running, compose what i want to write, and yet, somehow just getting on the blog just doesn't seem to happen. thinking about it, i think i have facebook to blame for that. getting ready for races, exchanging training thoughts, reminiscing after races ... it all happens instantaneously on facebook. so when i think i want to get on the blog i guess i just feel like i am repeating myself. so thinking about groups of events and coming to conclusions seems like a good thing to blog about now ... it just takes more time. so here goes.
i have been dealing with plantar fasciitis since last fall ... and i have to say dealing with because i think this is a problem that never actually goes away for good, but can be overcome and put into a dormant state. i no longer have the heal pain but find a "stiff" foot after i sit for long periods and when i get up in the morning. pain in the butt, yes, but a good reminder to stretch; something that i am very bad about doing. and yes, i am still running in the Hokas ... and still love, love, love them! have actually only found one race that i wanted to chuck them at, but other than that they are my savior. so here's what i've been up to ... me and my Hokas ... and of course, my best crew man, love of my life, Joe ...
June: got through the 24th running of The Finger Lakes Fifties. my chance to put on a big party of running for others. i love this. stressful? definitely. exhausting? like you wouldn't believe. harder than any ultra i have actually run. worth it? oh yes! however, getting ready for and cleaning up after this event takes me away from my own actual running for a couple of months. but seeing the runners on race day quickly brings me back to wanting to hit the trails for endless hours.
July: my get-my-shit-back-together month and get actually training again. this year "training" actually meant running The Escarpment Trail Run in the Catskills. i have a love-hate relationship with this run. it is, by far, one of the toughest runs that i have ever done. it is a mere 18.6 miles ... but with 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss and ALL TRAIL. there are climbs and descents that scare the hell out of me. and this year it was pouring rain for hours before the start and the fog left the visibility ... well ... something to be desired. best thing about that, though, was that i couldn't see off of the mountain while trying to ascend my nemesis, blackhead mountain. this was my first really technical run with my new Hoka Stinson Evos and they held-up like champs! my feet felt great the whole way! i am certain this was the funnest run i have ever done out of the eight times that i have run this race.
(view of North/South Lakes from North Point ... a mere 2.5 miles from the finish)
August: just two weeks after Escarpment came the Wildcat Ridge Romp in NJ. here there was the choice of several different distances and i opted for the 50K, as did joe. things didn't start out so good when just two days before the race joe and i went out for a little easy trail run to enjoy our 10th anniversary and get one last light run in before the race. but just 3/4 mile into the run ... SPLAT! ... and i look back and there's joe on the ground ... not getting up. at closer inspection i find that his right pinky finger is quite deformed and thinking that it is dislocated and knowing that the longer something is dislocated the harder it is to get back in place, i offer to fix it right there. joe was a trooper and let me yank on his finger, which after a couple of yanks did not look anything like what a finger should look like. here's why ...
so joe is doing much better now after seeing the orthopedist and luckily avoiding surgery ... mostly because there is no good way to surgically fix this thing. so for now he is just having to behave himself and not run ... or fall.
but back to the Wildcat. what a race! holy crap ... that was the hardest 50K i have ever done! elevation not so bad, but the rocks and the footing were brutal! 8 hours, 25 minutes! good time on my feet, excellent training, but ... WOW! good times and great fun with friends!
"clean" runners ... obviously pre-race!
and then, just this past weekend, joe and i made our bi-annual trek to lockport for the Beast of Burden ultra. normally i run the winter race and joe runs the summer. this year joe decided (prior to his accident) not to run the summer race. so i, for once, made a realistic choice ... to run the 50 miler and not attempt the 100. this race is just too damn much fun with the other runners and the volunteers. i want to have fun with them. yes, definitely run, but i want time to just hang out and have a good time. so the 50 was a good choice for this. and then my friend karen decided to go for the 100 and go after the "Double Buckle" (completing both the winter and summer 100s in the same year). very cool. i got my 50 miles done, but let me just say it wasn't easy! that flatness is tough! walk, run, whatever ... it's the same muscles groups working over and over. my hip flexors never hurt this bad on the mountains! so i got my 50 done and was sure i would be crippled the next day. joe was awesome crew for me, for karen, and for johnny and mo from NJ ... and probably helping so many others along the way! i woke up sunday morning after about 5 hours of sleep and stood up, walked, and felt pretty damn good! the Hokas kept my feet in great shape! joe and i quickly realized that we needed to get ourselves out to the Middleport turn-around so that we could catch karen as she headed back for her final trip along the canal. and we got there just in time! she was all set to head out! i was hoping she would want company (she normally goes it alone without a pacer) and she willingly accepted the idea. i quickly threw on my running clothes, grabbed a waffle from the aid station, and we headed out. unfortunately i had not had my coffee yet and with the adrenaline rush of almost missing karen, i forgot to grab any caffeine, and a couple of miles into the run my head started to feel a bit foggy. fortunately joe caught us along the way and got my cold coffee to me. cold or not, it was exactly what i needed. and karen was doing awesome and i didn't want to hold her back because i was decaffeinated. coffee, donuts, and some love at the Gasport aid station, and we were on our way to karen claiming the Double Buckle! and we made it and she was awesome! i am so glad we got out to Middleport in time ... it was a great honor to pace my friend to her finish and a great confidence booster for me ... getting going again early in the morning after a tough 50 miles just hours before.
the many emotions and friendships of BoB ...
and so that's what's the summer of running and fun has been. i can't wait for the fall and cooler temps and the beauty of the falling leaves and muddy trails. and the upcoming celebration of Virgil Crest Ultras ... where the whole damn crazy bunch of us will reunite on the trails and push our mental and physical limits once again!