Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grindstone: what's not to love?

Registration opened yesterday, and I signed up for the 2nd Annual Grindstone 100. Dum da dum!

Just signing up feels momentous. Envisioning myself running along the mountain trails down in Virginia in October gives me a wing-nut thrill. Makes me want to get off my butt here and run!

Everything about this race feels right to me. I love the idea of a 6 p.m. start. For a relatively slow runner like me, who will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 hours to finish, the idea of doing the bulk of the nighttime running early in the race is comforting. I have not yet run on trails in the dark, and the idea of it scares me a little. Better to do it while I still have some semblance of my wits about me. Bob says he'll do some dark runs on the trails in North Stonington with me this summer. That will help, I'm sure.

I love the idea that the whole race is on trails. Part of my problem in VT last year (DNF'd at mile 70: I got pulled out because of grim stomach issues) was that I ran too fast on the roads. Running on trails forces you to go slow, to concentrate, to stay in the moment. And the gentle surface is exponentially easier on the old joints.

I love that the race is in Virginia. My family lives in Virginia: parents in Williamsburg, sister and her family in Richmond. So I will see familiar, loving faces along the trail. My parents came up to Vermont last year. Seeing them at the aid stations gave me a tremendous lift every time.

I love that the race is in October. My husband, Brian, is a teacher and takes his summers off. Bless him, he is incredibly understanding about my need/desire/will to run. So I will run big miles all summer and then taper off when everyone goes back to school (Brian to high school, kids and I to homeschool, such as it is) in September.

Weird as this sounds, I love that I am going into this race knowning that I tried and failed to run 100 miles once before. We live and learn. That's what this is all about. I have learned so much from last year's DNF: run slowly in the beginning, more slowly than you think humanly possible; take walk breaks, especially out of the aid stations; do not eat ANY fiber for the 2 days leading up to the race; drink water with ocassional shots of electrolytes; figure out a food that works (boiled potatoes are good) and stick with it. I am still working on this last point.

And finally, I love the idea of running in the mountains. I have always loved to run hills and this will give me plenty of excuses to get out and work them. Hill repeats here in Mystic. Family camping mini-vacations this summer to mountainous places to work on big climbs. And, more importantly for my teeny tiny quads, to practice the big descents.

So, every run I do for the next 6 months will have something to do with Grindstone. Every race, every 5-miler with Eddie early in the morning, every trail run, every hill. I love the training. The destination is trivial compared to the day-in-day-out practice of running, running, running. It will be amazing to finish, of course. But even more amazing is the journey to the starting line. It's all about being a good traveler. It's all about the journey.


  1. Woohoo, congratulations!! Just signing up for the race is a big hurdle in my opinion :) Training is so much fun, even more so as the race distance gets longer and longer. I can't wait to read how it all progresses!

  2. All right Pam! I will be happy to help out with a)your night time training and b)working on finding something suitable for you to eat while also running some trail miles with you.

  3. Thanks, Paige. I'll keep you posted.

    Bob, I am so happy to have you!

  4. Good Luck Pam. Running on trails in the night time would unnerve me also. I admire your determination and your committment to getting this race down pat.


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