Hello 2015!!

So this is the year I turn 40.  I don’t really look at that and think I’m old.  I don’t care that I am 40.  You are only as old as you feel.

Now I must admit, when I get out of bed my ankles & legs sometimes give me all kains of grief.  This is mostly due to my inability to realize how good it is to stretch & ice my ankles & legs after running.  So here I will pledge some goals for 2015 in an attempt to keep me on track for getting some stuff done in 2015.

1.  Cross-train & Stretch.  Swim at least once a week, on the days I don’t run, stretch & do other core strengthening exercises.

2.  Complete a 50 mile race.  I had planned on doing this last year & doing a 100 mile run in 2015 but injuries plagued me in 2014 so it’s back to learning how to run without bad pain & train like I have never done in the past.  The goal race will be Stone Mill 2015 but if I feel that I am ready for a another 50 mile race earlier in the year, great.

3.  Adhere to a better diet.  I bought a Nutri-Bullet recently.  I plan on using it.  A lot.  Try to make sure I set my self up for success when it comes to eating.  I am addicted to fat & sugar.  The best way to curb that is to have food available that is not high in either of those & eat that when hungry.

4.   Become a better friend, brother & son to the people I care about.  This is one that I really feel needs attention as I find it’s better to stay away from people in general as they only seem to make my life difficult.  The idea then to make sure reach out to friends & family more often and express the feelings that I care for them and want to be there for them is important to me.

5.  Professional goals are same as always.  Keep learning as much as possible.  Keep being the best at what I do within the confines of my surroundings.

6  Make sure that Miles is as well taken care of as I can.  This mostly means that my finances do not deter me from paying for any treatment or rehab he’ll need as he gets older.  It’s not fair to him if I can’t pay for things he needs as he gets older.  It’s obscene how much I love that dog.  He’s been with me through thick & thin.  Always barking at me, whining at me for attention, food or water.  As he gets older, the things we used to do like long walks are going to be tuned down.  I need to fill his life with more to do, and more interesting things to keep him engaged & happy.

I really enjoy running on trails.  This past couple of years have been very hard as my body has been revolting at the lack of care I have given it.  This is a repeat of my swimming career.  I ran my shoulders into the ground early (age 13) and had to use strengthening techniques to get past this pain.  I showed then, as I do now an extreme lack of motivation to do those stretch & strengthening exercises.  Why is this?  It will only make me faster, better at what I already enjoy doing but I don’t seem to realise how important they are.

So these are a few of the ideas I have swirling around my head at the turn of my 40th year.

I’ll see you out on the trails!

How to date a triathlete/marathon runner/endurance junkie.

Just Another Vegan Endurance Junkie

1. Don’t.

Just kidding. In fact, endurance junkies are some of the most quality people around. All of those hours spent alone with ourselves in the meditative realm of Zone 2 really forces us to think about things like who we are, what we believe in, the meaning of life, what we’re going to eat immediately when we get home, and other critical themes.

But it’s not as simple as run, rinse, repeat. Being a true endurance junkie is a lifestyle. It’s a state of mind. For many of us, training makes us better people every day. It serves us in ways other people or experiences have not or cannot. And so we find ourselves caught up in a committed relationship, legs intertwined with the goddess of multisport.

As I once (perhaps mistakenly) told a past boyfriend: “You may be my boyfriend, but triathlon is my husband.”

Needless to say…

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North Face Endurance Challenge 50k Race Report

North Face Endurance Challenge 50K Race Report June 7 2014


First off, this report is about a month & a half late.  I am just not in the mind to start writing things down when I first do them.  I pledge to be better about this, especially when it comes to running.

So leading up to this race my training had really not been great.  It was only about 3 months earlier that I had DNF’d the Seneca Greenway 50k race which was the very first time in my athletic career that I had ever started something and not finished it.  Mind you back in 1991 I was about 3 miles into the Chesapeake Bay Swim and really wanted to stop.  The current was so bad that they were pulling hundreds of people out behind me so there weren’t any boats near me so I just kept on swimming.  I did learn a valuable lesson that day.  KEEP GOING.  JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  I think these 2 statements are the hallmark of Ultra Running.  So I had also been struggling with some lingering injury issues.  My Achilles have really never fully recovered from giving me about 2 years of pain and aching and on my left foot that pain transferred down into full on Planar Fasciitis.  It was the reason I had to drop out of Greenway, the pain in my foot just became too much to handle and I had to stop around mile 13.  So my training was not very consistent, I had done some long Saturday runs and had coupled them with a few weeks of 3 runs per week with the total of about 15 -25 miles per week at most.

My good friend Russ was kind enough to agree to crew for me.  He could accompany me to the start line, take the bus back to his car & meet me down at Great Falls VA Park around Miles 13.1 & about Mile 18 as we did a loop around the park and hit the same aide station 2 times before heading back to the start/finish line.   The plan was if my foot was really acting up that I would pull out of the race when I first saw him.  Then if I was feeling okay I would do the loop through GF Park and when I saw him again I’d have ½ marathon to go to the finish. 

The start/finish line was at Algonkian State Park in Northern VA.  There’s a golf course there and it’s right on the Potomac River.  The trail we headed down is called the Potomac Heritage trail and follows the Potomac all the way down to Great Falls by way of Riverbend & Riverview parks.  The trail exits the park and takes you through Trump National Golf course as well.  It is a wide trail for a bit then becomes narrow and also goes in and out of tree cover until you get back into the woods after the golf course.  It was a nice enough morning, not very hot or very humid so my Camelbak would suit me well in the hours to come. 

Around mile 6 or so you hit the first of 4 300+ ft. hills.  I had never run this part of the trail before as I had parked at Riverbend and ran down to Great Falls Park and tried to run the course as a training run about 2 weekends before the race.  When we encountered them all I could think about was if I make it back up this way these hills will be a BEAST to climb and descend on tired legs.  Overall the first 10-13 miles of the course were really fun, I met a guy named Kahlid who chatted me up along with a couple of cousins from VA who were running their first 50k.  There was one small incident involving a creek crossing where everyone was using a small branch to get across w/o getting their feet wet.  I am not afraid and am now used to running with wet feet & shoes so I decided when I saw another girl jump down the bank and into the water that I’d do the same.  (I crossed about 7 different creeks in sub 20 degree weather throughout this past winter training on trails so this was really no problem).  When I stepped across I felt my body go down and my pelvis area hit (I think) a big branch.  I fell forward quite a bit and my Camelbak almost came all the way over my head.  I escaped the opposite bank and scampered down the trail thinking about what an ASS I had just made of myself when I noticed a couple of other guys behind me who were faster than me.   I had joked to them how much of an idiot I felt like when I fell and they said, “No you showed us the way!”  That made me feel better but I did not leave unscathed.  I had a scrape on my shin and the top part of my ankle.  I also had pain in pelvis area just under my stomach from the fall.  It wasn’t too bad and I hoped that it didn’t become an issue later as I got more and more tired. 

I made it down to GF Park without much more incident and felt pretty decent.  Told Russ when I saw him that I would be changing my shirt & socks on the way back out and that I would probably be fine to continue back out.   What I didn’t know is that the 50 miler folks would have to do 3 loops around the park so there were many people running the same trails coming and going in all directions.  It was a very cool atmosphere as there were people cheering you on that were running other distances seeing you come towards them and givng you a “Get after it” or “Looking good” type of call.  I did some of the same but felt mostly shy about doing it.  I think the 50 mile folks did it a lot more to each other as those 3 loops were the bulk of the middle of the race and I am sure by the 3rd loop all they want to do is get back on the trail back up to the finish.  My new friend Kalihd met up with me at the start of the loop and eventually ran away from me being in way better shape and much younger! 

At the aide station before I changed into dry stuff I ran into a guy who used to be a Pool Operator for me a few years beforehand.  So random the people you see on the trail!

So I changed out of a wet shirt, wet socks & borrowed Russ’s headphones as I had lost one of the rubber ends from my earbuds.  He gave me some encouragement and said that “You got this, only ½ marathon to go!”  it was good to hear, I wasn’t in a whole lot of pain and I was feeling confident that I was going to be able to finish. 

The next few miles I felt my first onset of cramps in my quads.  I kept on drinking the Nuun that I had in my Camelbak as I felt that staying as hydrated as possible was my only recourse at preventing debilitating cramps.  So I ran through the next few miles hitting the aide station at Carhart and realizing that my best friend in the world is the Orange.

I have never taken Oranges as a recovery snack and I don’t really eat many in my day to day life.  This must change.  They had cold quartered Oranges at every aide station which I started eating and then had a whole Orange at each of the last 2 stations of the race.  I believe that with the water & Nuun this was the key to keeping me hydrated enough to finish the race.

At mile 27 there was the last 300+ ft. hill and that is where the wheels started to fall off.  I was getting tired and my lack of full training became evident.  According to my MapMyRun stats I was 18 min/mile for miles 26 & 27 then back down to 16 for 28 & 29 and back up to 18 for mile 30.  I am sure that there were hills there that were doing a number on my pace & my phone isn’t the best at recording miles (I have recently bought a Garmin watch finally after 6 years of running!). 

There has been a point in each long race I have done where I see folks falling apart around me.  During my first ever ½ half marathon (Parks ½ the best one out there) I remember seeing a guy in severe calf pain along the trail around mile 12.  It is always jarring to see someone in debilitating pain.  This race was no different.  At one of the small stream crossings I came upon a woman who was being helped to a calf stretch by another runner.  She did not seem to be able to walk and was in severe pain.  The runner in front of my alerted the race officials of the situation at the next aide station. 

I made it back to the final aide station and actually had to pee after I left there so I am happy that my hydration plan really worked out well this race.  I think overall I understand what my body needs and how to nourish it throughout a race. 

I remember getting on the final part of the trail before the park turn and seeing it in the distance.  I was hurting but not massively.  I was happy with the day so far, at one point I thought I would be besting my 50k PR of 7:48 but the last few hills killed my pace and my legs so that came and went.  I finished at 8:01 and really felt that it was a tremendous day on the trails.  I had come into the race thinking that I may have to drop again if my foot pain became unbearable again.  I wasn’t sure if my training would be enough to carry me through the race.  I persevered and finished with a big smile on my face. 

I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a 50K in June in the DC Metro area.  It was very well organized, the aide stations were very well stocked & fully staffed at all places.  There also seemed to be EMT’s stationed along the course so immediate medical attention could be given should the need arise. 



Excellent Weekend Run

Last week I ran 12 miles (or so) to cap off a 22 mile week. It was the 1st week since I made my plans known to the world that I ran 3 days and ate fairly well. Yes, I know I haven’t started posting my diet results yet. Baby steps.

Here’s a map from my phone of the run, I strongly suggest if you live in the DC Metro area to check out the right side trail – Seneca Bluffs. It’s a fairly new trail that is really pretty spectacular for MoCo standards.


Dispatch from the beach

So my plan to start running 4 times a week this week took an immediate turn as I only ran once, Doh! I had a long weekend at the beach planned for  a while with a friend who owns a condo here in Ocean City MD. This is an anniversary of sorts for us as we came here 8 years ago to watch the World Cup & are here again to watch group play in Brazil. I have spent some time reflecting on the past 8 year chunk of my life & it is nice either be able to get out of the area for a few days and come to a familiar place. 

I look forward to getting home & back to business towards my running goals & other summertime fun.


The Boardwalk Ocean City MD…


From the end of the Northside Park Ocean City MD

Beginning of a journey

So last night was the first run of what I am calling, “Pete’s March to 50 Miles”.  To keep myself accountable I will be blogging more, better tracking what I eat & posting here what my interim goals are along the way.  As I wrote last year, I always think that I will start writing on here more and then don’t.  This time I hope to update you, dear reader, with my progress towards my goal race in November –  The Stone Mill 50 Mile Race.  http://stone-mill-50-mile.org/  The registration opens on August 1st and I’ll be doing some other assorted distance runs throughout the summer & fall.  


My basic training plan is to run Tue/Thur/Sat/Sun and increase my mileage from my recent average of about 20 -25 miles a week up to 50 – 60 a week at least.  This will need to be in direct connection with losing about 30 – 40 lbs and keeping my knees & ankles healthy throughout the summer/fall.  


I think my favorite part of the plan so far is that I’ll be on trails for at least 3 of the 4 runs per week and will make sure the 4th is on trails most of the time.  This will lessen the impact that my current body type puts on my joints.  


For now I leave you with a picture of my monster that I took this past weekend hiking one of my favorite trails –


Seneca Greenway Trail 50k pre-race thoughts

On Saturday I will start the Seneca Creenway Trail 50K race.  It is my first attempt at a 50K race but not the first “ultra marathon” I have done.  Last year I completed marathon the course in 7:16, it was very muddy and around mile 22 I had a mental break due to the unrelenting mud.  Within minutes of crossing the finish line I said I wanted to do it again next year and that time has come.

Website for the race:  http://www.senecacreektrailrace.com/

This race has a marathon course and a 50K course, the difference being a loop around Clopper Lake which is about 4 miles.  Since the addition of the Seneca Ridge Trail, the course has been reported at 29 for the marathon and 34 for the 50K.   We will also be running from Riley’s Lock on the C&O Canal up to Damascus which makes the course a net uphill  that should make things very interesting from mile 20 on for me.

This year’s race has me in an interesting set of feelings & emotions.  I have not run as many miles as I would have liked but I have been in the gym more than any race I have done in the past 3 years.  My hope is that the strength that I have gained will help me in the last 15 miles of this race, the ones I am most concerned with.  At mile 22, as I mentioned above, the hours of sometimes ankle deep mud, coupled with the amount of overall pain I was in led to a dramatic decline in my pace and overall speed.  By the time I got to the last aid station around mile 27 I was in “survival” mode.  I plodded along the last few painful miles with only the finish line in my thoughts.  I was alone on the course with my pain, it was something of which I have never experienced.  My post race thoughts on the day mostly are on how to avoid that mental break and what to do if one happens again.

This year I hope to learn from that and will be conscious of the need for a positive mental attitude all day long.  I see this as being a central focus on any long distance you run, swim, bike, hike etc.  I would imagine that people break mentally far before they do physically.  With all of the hours of training that goes into any event, if have a solid plan and stick to it the physical, in my case, usually comes together.

I also have a bit of a paranoia that I “can’t” quit, I finished this race as a rookie on what was described as a very “difficult conditions  day.  Even with the extra miles, I have put some pressure on myself to “not fail”, which I realize isn’t healthy but it’s there and I can’t get rid of it.   I will use that “day long” positive attitude to keep those thoughts at bay and only in the event of an injury will I DNF.

I sign off here, nervous about what is to come but excited for the test of my mental and physical abilities.  That’s why I am doing it, to challenge myself to go further and endure for longer than I ever have.

Wish me luck!

And then…

I keep thinking that I’ll start blogging daily or weekly or monthly, soon.  I have lots to say and little motivation to write.  Seems like the story of my life could be summed up by the words “And then…”  I am a dreamer who is apparently content with the dull relentless day to day workaday world.  Maybe this blog will get me to think about where I want to be and set some goals that I’ll go out and achieve.  I do have a fatalistic attitude towards life, a brush with the big C about 12 years ago left me with a “live for today as there may not be a tomorrow” thought/mantra.  Some people take that and run to great heights, I just go out for a run and enjoy being outside running.


Well this was more than I thought I’d post this morning while eating my oatmeal, just wanted to “get something on paper” for once.