Sunday, March 30, 2008

Queens 60K --quick race report

as I write this on a sunny Sunday it seems funny to miss one of 5 races that was held today!
But know I need the rest day (rested Friday also). I headed into Saturday's 60K knowing that it might compromse my Umstead experience but I also needed to test out my shoes and eating and drinking (i know it sounds crazy but I also hate to miss a BUS event when it's possible to make it). As Rob had a flat tire, drove down with Frank --it was so cold and windy that i changed into shorts and tights. When we pulled into the parking lot,we saw Barbara who had driven 3 hours from Albany! She is doing Umstead also. We made our way onto the track and ran one time around together for Ted Corbitt. I knew all of the 4 women in the field, and that was nice -in fact, it seemed like all 30 of the participants were friendly faces. Each loop seemed to take forever, as it usually does for me, and at 20 miles I wanted to drop out -but I was in first and all I needed to do was hang on and finish for the points awards. I also, in the back of my mind, wanted to shoot for a sub 6 hour --I got to the 50K mark (and Frank was a bit ahead of me the whole race!! I was so mad as I wanted to run with him -but I ran with another Frank for 2 loops--haha) in 3:52 and cranked out the last 6 in a 9 min pace! Everything hurt from the concrete and the pounding and I had blood in my shoe and a blister --was happy to have it over, and finish in 5:47 --now am concerned with fixing my feet and deciding what shoes to wear next weekend --getting very nervous! I don't think I overdid it yesterday BUT will have to rest this week ---am thinking of everyone who is getting ready -Meredith, and anthony, even who is pacing her and my friend Tim (and Frank's friend) who is not running well -but maybe things will turn around for him.. Frank seems to not want to focus on it and has not mentioned running with me or anyone --we'll see what his plan is! Maybe he won't know until Friday!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Queens 60K (37 miles)-March 29, 2008

What do you get when you combine 10 (or was it 12?) wind-blown , cold, hilly and somewhat concrete 3 mile loops of an outer-borough Park? The BUS Queens 60K --a full report tommorrow but we did survive. It wasn't easy mentally or physically to deal with the wind and the loops but one good thing for me was that womens' field was small (Ruth, barbara and barbara and me:)) so I won -and even set a PR of 5:47 (previous was 5:53 in the knickerbocker 2006) --Frank, in his first 0K ran 5:46!! He dawdled so that I could catch up but I never did.

Rob was supposed to come with Frank and I but got a flat tire! he didn't discover it until he went out to get in his car at 7:20 or I would have come pick him up. Barbara S. drove all the way from Albany , so i ran the first mile with her. We started on the track and ran a symbolic quarter together in honor of Ted Corbitt --well, it was supposed to be symbolic but Phil and Byron (and Frank) bolted ahead. After 5 loops (16 miles?) it was a struggle for me. I had a routine of walking thru the aid stations and up the hills but ran a 9 min pace when running.
I was so far ahead that I didn't really need to focus on time, and I wasn't -I just wanted to finish in one piece ad not push too hard. Plus, wore heavy trail shoes --at the end of each loop, I saw Frank running strongly, as well as the other 30 runners on the out-and -backs. When it was over, I got the biggest tackiest trophy (donated by ritchie's trophy guy) --Frank got a smaller but more stately one. Ritchie was in fine spirits and gave us the 30 year history of the 60K -he started it in 1978! Now it's rest, rest and more rest --will continue this later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mianus River Park

The Mianus River Park is a gem of a park a half mile from my house -it is one of the few parks in Fairfield County that allow mountain bikes (which I why I don't run on the trails on weekends!)-the trail network is about 10-15 miles -anyone's guess, although I usually follow the same 5-6 mile loop. Am going to check out the entire network with a girl friend of mine who walks...The Trails go out to the Stamford border near the Merritt parkway..I go typically weekdays at noon and see mostly dog walkers and neighbors -kids on weekends. I see my running friend Darcy here, wired to her iPod. It's quiet and peaceful, and great to be on when you are tired and want to walk some, and when you need a break from the concrete. But if you want a good workout, you can find hills.
My favorite loop is the Treetops estate (above and right), where a runnable 1.5 trail follows the river. It's still kind of bleak in the park...but pretty. Today lots of fisherman were in the water -guess it's the start of fishing season!. This is a good place to try out trail shoes-I wore the Brooks cascadias! LOL with trail shoes. I am feeling tired this week --I haven't dropped my mileage under 50-60 in 3 months -conventional wisdom says drop your miles every 3 weeks.
So monday and today I just did 5 miles of walk/running and will prob just walk 3 tomm and rest friday --Sunday are a bunch of races I want to do -mudders and grunters, Scarsdale 15K, and spring equinox! but not this year!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cats, cats -millions of cats -Tarzan and Lydia's story

For 4 years I had volunteered at Central Westchester Humane Society, once a week (I stopped last fall as too busy), and the 2 cats above are adopted from this no-kill shelter of 700 cats!
Lydia was in a cage from June, 2001, to dec 6, 2005 (yes, 4 1/2 years) with a male cat Nathan.
I adopted her and Nathan when my Grey cat (who came from CWHS) died, and found Nathan a home through Cat Assistance, a hard-working group in Ardsley. She is a dream cat, and easily fit into the group of 3 cats who shared my home. She is still a bit overweight! When my 16 year old Pumpkin died last July (her picture was in Runner's World in 1997 -I sent in a funny photo of her sleeping on RW magazine), I adopted Tarzan (Cat Assistance got him for me) -he also has been in a cage his whole life and his mother and sister died of FIP -he is healthy with a cold,pink nose. Both cats love to be a home now! What does this have to do with running? Nothing, except that every time I run in the trails I wish for a dog -but too much work for now. The animal shelter has so many beautiful animals --it justs gets me too sad to go there, which is one reason I stopped. But here is their website, where you can find a dog or cat to bring into to your life:) here's an article on cat Assistance from today's Journal News -- a story about 2 half-blind cats who need a home:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter in NJ-scroll DOWN for T-shirt post

Easter in NJ was church (where all 4 of my neices and nephews sing), socializing and eating. In thinking about Myriam's remark, using the power of prayer while running and in daily life is definately a good thing. My parents were the host for brunch at their club --you'd have to run 30 miles to burn off the lunch.
I managed to take a 6 mile /one hour night run from 10-11 on Easter eve (yes, my family thought I was nuts). I did the walk/run after slogging through 20 miles that morning --Then, did a 5 mile trail run on Easter @noon and 2 one mile walk with family...more fatigued than should be.
at left, the teenagers -my niece (my brother's 18 year old) is a star swimmer, with a perfect GPA and SATs--waiting to hear from colleges!. She dislikes getting dressed up and would rather be in her sweats and Chatham H.S. swimming sweatshirt. Above, my nephew in front of enough cupcakes and sweets to feed 1,000 as my mom says. At right, the easter egg get the chocolate out of my house! Tapering is a must this week, so have to cut down on the carbs.

Drowning in race T-shirts!! T-shirt quilts -part 2

what to do with race t-shirts? (and.. scroll down to Easter photos)

After saving up a huge container of sentimental race shirts, I finally made another quilt of 42 fun and colorful shirts with a blue and green border ( --at left, since the Boston marathon shirt is so boring, they cut the logo out from 3 separate shirts and sewed them on one patch! Next to it is an orange Westport summer series shirt -circa 1993? Above, right, is a vintage Perrier 10K 1984 shirt --in the 1980s I used to run 3 races a year, in addition to NYCM -the Trevira Twosome 10 miler, Perrier 10K and bagel Run (most sat nights I went out and so slept late sunday and ran at noon)--I wish I had saved the bagel t-shirts --I still remember the tackiness of the running bagel (the bagel had a sweatband). I never saved any Tri shirts, either, just the Bud Light Mt Snow Tri shirt -1991 (on quilt somewhere) Above the Perrier is one from my first ultra --Kurt Steiner 50K, 1999. On right is a 1988 NYCM shirt, and Yonkers 1996 logo. 2 blue shirts are from the Litchfield hills miler -one is from my 40th b-day (June 13, 1998) -the Westport and waveny park summer series shirts are sewn on..
it's great to get dri-fit shirts now that one can run in and enjoy and give to the kids to actually wear (like the Caumsett park shirt)!
I have so many more shirts with great graphics and from special races. I have a system now that my running friend Francoise taught me -when you get a new shirt, give away an old one that's not sentimental. One of my favorite shirts is the hot orange Norwalk 1/2 shirt...I have a basket of shirts to sleep in and that's one I use.
On Easter eve, at 10 p.m. I finally tried on my headlamp and took a 6 mile run/walk -my stomach hurt as it was after too much food and wine.
The moon was full, which helped, and now I have some night running in (when tired also) -Frank runs late every night!
Oh, on the left is a t-shirt from the Ocean drive marathon where we ran in a Nor'Easter -the race director mailed us shirts that said 'I survived Ocean Drive' .

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Bunny Boogie Crowd

From left to right: Rob, Kate, Tom, Frank, Katie, John, me

Bunny Boogie -A good time was had by all

This 3 mile road race is Darien is an Easter weekend tradition -it's also among the most competitive races around -especially in the womens' 40s...they seem to come out of the woodwork. I feel that i either race it or just jog it. Today I was still recovering from last weekend and a 2 hour trail run yesterday (abut 9 miles) did me in. Knew I should run a long, slow run today (15-20)but not race, with Umstead in 2 weeks.. Last year I ran this race with my friend Kate. This year I was honored to run with Frank's daughter Katie.
I will milling around at the start, uncertain about racing and she said she would run with me (the women and girls start ahead by 2 minutes) -so we took off, and chatted the whole way. We got to see Rob, John, Frank and Tom pass us! We only walked a portion of the hills and I was a bit nice to her in that I let her slow down when she was tired:) (unlike her father). Kate, who raced, came back and got us and Katie sprinted in! her father had finished and was taking pics. This race is also a fun social event -not only did I see frank and Katie, but John,Rob, Tom from TRR, Michael (veteran superstar) from Scarsdale, my friend Karen (above in pink with her chocolate bunny prize), and my waveny Park running friends -so a good time was had by all. After everyone left (Rob drove me up to get my coat at the start -very lazy of me), I ran the 1.5 mile loop 2x for 6 miles, and then ran out and back for @4 miles (I just go by time -10 min is a mile) , got some Propel from my car and then ran the loop 2x for @13 miles-I felt out of gas today -very depleted -maybe it was the lightweight shoes on the asphalt as my quads were fatigued, or maybe I was dehydrated or need a rest any race, i'd had it with Pear Tree point so drove home and ran 7 more from home -slowly, and those were really hard miles -just felt dead tired, like I couldn't go on. Think I am just not recovered from last week. Driving to NJ later for dinner and then rest day and church and Easter dinner w/family --food, food and more drinks will speed recovery:) next week, 3-5 miles 3x and then the HAt Run (Rob doing a 60K)!

On another note, just found out that Karen has been diagnosed with breast cancer -this is just unbelievable -she is a top triathlete, beautiful and slim, mother of three boys and a nutritionist! She will be supported by her good running friends, including John (above, with blue windbreaker and hat) -and is positive -she wants to go to the world champoinship tri this year. ironically, someone asked me if I was running Umstead for a charity -and I said impulsively 'yes, breast cancer' and so I will -any miles I do will be donated in dollars by whoever I can get:)

Friday, March 21, 2008

what to do with race t-shirts?

What to do with all those sentimental race t-shirts? RossCommonQuilts in Boston made 2 t-shirt quilts for me (one is pictured on left).I simply packed up 42 t-shirts and picked a border. Sent my check for $300 and viola -they sent back a quilt. I keep it on my son's upper bunk bed. On the right are 2 defunct races -the Fred LeBow Halloween run (Central Park, 1982) and the Greenwich Point Perspective (March, 1992).Also on the right is my NYCM 1983, '84 and '87 shirt. I will post my other t-shirt quit later! Oh, on top is another defunct race, the Seaside Heights Red Dog beer marathon , 1996! (I won it) -also (upper right -neon green and pink)is the 1992 Westport Minute Man 5 miler -that was the first big race I ever won in CT (29:59!).

spring flowers..bare trees, cold and high winds

This a.m. I finished painting some yellow Begonias...I can do much better with the composition, light and shading. so will try again. Also here is my drawing of an Easter Lilly for Good Friday.
As I write this the wind is howling and the bare trees are bending over. My weekday routine is usually to run 8-10 on treadmill or trails (depending on weather) mon-wed-fri and x-train (usually swim for an hour)...gym is closed today and it is so miserable outside cannot bring myself to go out. Just realized that in 2 weeks North Carolina will actually have trees with blossoms. and warmth. If it rains or gets chilly, will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Bring on the heat!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

upcoming local races

A low-key and fun upcoming local race is the March 30 Spring equinox 8K --St. Mark's in New Canaan at 3 p.m. --only one BIG hill. Find the info on --if you are brave, you can run it after the morning 30K ---get to the start early for a t-shirt (here is last year's shirt).

mid-march injuries and artwork

Today I got some good and bad news from running friends. My friend Kate, who has all but stopped running because of knee/hip pain for over 6 months, e-mailed me that she went to a sports Dr. and no torn cartilage -just pain and imflammation from ITB syndrome...this is a tough one, but her knee cartilage is healthy. Tendons take forever to heal, as no blood supply gets to them. She deserves to be out running as she works hard during the week and road races are her passion! She completed the Lake Waramug 50K last year in fine shape. While not racing, she has been taking photos at races.... Then, my friend Tim e-mailed that he has knee and ankle pain -he is going to try to get through this Sat.'s Bel Monte 50K, or as much as he can do without aggrevating it . Tim is a talented and strong runner and will be at H.A.T. run and Umstead.
The lastly, Frank is sick with bad cough and congestion --hope that the cold and chill of St patrick's day (it's my fault for staying to socialize in the chill) didn't make him sick. Well, we should be tapering anyway. But it is not fun to be sick when you are as productive as he is!

Today I went to my Botanical Illustration watercolor class -the ladies in this class are so talented and every week I learn as much from them as from the teacher --one older woman (older than me! that's why I like this class), Nancy, used to be a professional artist and sold paintings for $5,000 each...she is an expressionist and pencils in big shapes of flowers and splashes of color. My teacher joked today that we are going to lock her in a room until she produces enough paintings to pay for our kids' college tuitions (my teacher's son is going to Dartmouth).
I forgot my camera today but will take pictures of her 'sketches'. I have posted some of the vegetables that we have done. I also take a drawing class where I use Prismacolor..painting is a good foil for running as it occupies the mind and is completely different. One can also think about painting ideas while running or swimming -but finding the time to paint is another story! My running friend Rob, who is a softwear engineer, says he makes appointments with himself every day to block out work time. Frank gets up at 5!!!. I need a system that works to be more teacher works from 7-noon without interruption and fits whatever she has to do around it, but she's a Pro. Well, maybe tomm a.m. ill finish what I started today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

winter training-countdown to Umstead

I m writing here instead of making the kids dinner or folding laundry or reading my book club book ('Pompeii') -but as with all new things this will pass ! Maybe I'll write in here once a week after races (running -related) or mid-week after art classes (art-related!). Hard to believe with this dreary day that the Spring equinox is coming. In fact, this weekend is usually the Clubct Spring Equinox 8K but that has been pushed back til march 30 because of Easter (Jim will hold the Bunny Boogie instead).
I missed running a 100 miler this fall but had the most wonderful season with the BUS 6 hour runs and the VT and JFK 50s --all because of Frank's and my friends' support. It seemed like a good idea on August 31 to enter an early April 100 mile event -in February it was doubtful! Thankfully we knew alot of runners who are entered and it started to sound better. Now as Umstead endurance run approaches (April 5), reality is setting in (it's only one day that I'll be walking thru the woods at night). I wanted to look back at my winter training and see what I've done, if only for myself because it doesn't seem like enough. Let me say that my running friends are such an important part of my life. I would never be as happy running or racing if it were not for those like-minded friends who want to be out braving the elements with me. Just this Sunday Frank, Anthony and I saw Joe Handelman, 78 years old, running the TRR 10K. and he's running Sybil in 2010 for his 80th birthday! It's part of his lifestyle and social culture.

Weekend training starting in dec:
sat dec 8-sun dec 9 -walk 20 miles; ran 20 (includes racing jngle bell jog 3 miler)
dec 15-16 -holiday 4 miler w/susan, frank (ran 8 on sat); 15 on sun
dec 21-22 -Marty's 5K w/kate and frank and john -ran 20 on sat; 13 on sun
dec 29-30 -13 miles on sat; 17 on sun after Stamford 5K w/frank
january 5-6 -recover from holidays 50K w/frank(31 miles); boston build-up -8 miles
jan 12-13 -goofy's challenge (Disneyworld) 13 on sat; 26.2 on sun
jan 20-21 -Boston build-up 15K (John's 66th -day)w/frank and rob -ran 18 total
Jan 27-28 -injured -limped unofficially thru Manhattan 1/2
Feb 3-4 -injured -ran 10 on sat; 20 run/walk sun
feb 10- Boston build up 20 K -raced 12.4 (stopped after as calf hurting)
Feb 16-17 -Martha's vineyard 20 miler (ran 24 that day);ran 10 on sun.
Feb 24 -Hudson-Mohawk winter marathon w/rob --3;41 (ran 28 total)
March 2 -Caumsett Park 50K -4:26
March 8-9 - ran 10 on Sat; 16 on sun (includes colon cancer 15K)
March 15-16 -ran 31 on sat (includes Wurtsboro 30K) and 8 on sun w/anthony and f.

so have had 5 or so runs over 26 miles -that's about what the winter in New England dishes out.
No 6 hour runs or 50 milers --that's fall and spring. So Northerners Frank, Tim and I are in this together -others have done rocky racoon which is fabulous training. I know that my training of quality road miles is not what I should be doing but it's winter...Those who live in Florida or southern climes are lucky, with long trail runs. So many races to look forward to later in the season -all we can do is our best. Injuries, sickness...expect the unexpected just when things seem easy. I am looking forward to March 29 for the H.A.T run -- a hike. I come home and have to rush around and pack up my 8th grader for a school trip to DC! and my teenager has a RIT open house in NYC on Sun March 30! Spring comes and it gets busy. I just wish my young ones would run with me --my 10 year old got a bike and we will be bike/running together. signing off .

Wurtsboro 30K

this will be primarily a running blog, but I may post some of my artwork and writing...I'll write about my own races and training and lifestyle as a mother and competitive masters athlete. I'll cover upcoming events in CT. Here is a race report from my most recent race, a stepping stone toward spring ultras.

Wurtsboro Mountain 30K –March 15, 2008

This was my third year running this challenging 18.6 mile course and although I fear it, I keeps drawing me back and I feel that have to include it in my spring race schedule now every year. I first found out about the race from friends Frank and Don ---they kept talking about this Sullivan Striders Running Club race that started out, in the hamlet of Wurtsboro NY (about an hour and a half away in lower Catskills), with a 3.5 mile climb (and then some)….they also talked about the pizza and six foot subs at the end. The first year I ran Wurtsboro, I met the race director Myriam, and fellow runner Todd and also met up with my brother and sister-n-law who have a weekend house up the hill! on Wolf Lake. It is as low-key a race as you can find, with a different crowd and friendly atmosphere. The course climbs up and up for the first 3.5 miles, and just when runners think they have a break, it climbs again. It then winds its way long streams, lakes and back country roads –the last mile goes over a rustic one-lane bridge (my favorite mile as the race is almost over).

This year, I drove up with Frank and Don –Rob was going to go with us but got stuck in a traffic jam on 95, so had to drive up himself (he did make it)- it was raining when we left at 7 a.m. but then it stopped and later the sun came out –it never got out of the 40s, but we lucked out with the sun. The funniest thing about the race is the start –we all stood in the middle of the street and Myriam yells ‘go’. Since this was my 5th long race on asphalt, my main goal was to get thru without injury. My second goal was to come in the top 3, but that was out of my control. The first woman (who finished in a 6:38 pace) was out of sight from the beginning. I ran with a pack of 5 women, and Frank and others, slowly up the hill.

Our 2 mile split was 17 minutes and my quads were dying already –why oh why did I do that 8 mile run yesterday??? Race that 15K last weekend? Once he course leveled out, I ran with 2 other woman at about a 7:20 pace. Another woman passed me and so I settled into a pace where I was pushing myself hard but not to the limit –about 7:15-7:20s –to try and get away from the other girls. But more hills –argh. The beauty of the course takes one’s my mind away from the pain, and the middle miles seemed to go quickly. Around mile 14, I started to tire, ad my calves were tight –it was an effort to push myself at a sb8 min. pace. Myriam drove by and yelled that Frank was ‘hurting’ –I retorted that it was because he had run 70 miles that week! Apparently also, a man tried to pull a knife on one of the runners –strange but true. At mile 16 and 17 I hung on, very happy that my soleus muscle was not tight or hurting –it had been 8 weeks since I pulled it, and this race was the ultimate test. On the last mile, my friend Todd yelled ‘you can break 2:25’ so I went for it –2:24 (7:44 pace) and third overall woman – and a PR on the course. 2 years ago ran 2:25…Frank finished right behind me in 2:29 (he was hurting but he rallied) –Rob and Don and my friend Anthony finished and my brother Todd and my sister in-law Anne came to see us at the finish ---it was a treat to have them meet us. I jogged 1.4 miles (to make it 20) and then we went in for pizza, coffee, drinks, bagels –our ultra friends Doug, Barbara and Christine also ran. This race is worth a 22 miler in effort, so say the experts, so it is one of those races I love and hate. I’m glad it’s over but love the rolling hills and the people! And my quads are trashed today, so could only jog the TRR St. Patrick’s day 10K. But I got to see Anton, Dave, and got to drink beer on a cold day.

Next up in 2 weeks is the H.A.T. 50K, then Umstead April 5 endurance run (seems like a dream). Major goal in the next two weeks -to focus on work and taper down miles, to fully heal any muscles!!! Maybe one night run Easter eve.