Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Susan's 8-hour Adventure

Here we are, Susan and I, at 5:00 Saturday morning at the Bluff Point trailhead. We look oddly awake! We were just getting ready to start Susan's 8-Hour Adventure. This was her last long run leading up to the Umstead 100 in three weeks. I had originally planned to run Umstead as well, but my foot refused to heal back in the late fall and early winter so I bailed. I figured the least I could do was try to hang on for 5 hours with Susan on her last long run.

For me this was going to be a little test for my foot and stomach. My foot has been feeling much better and I was hoping it had 5 good hours of running in it. My stomach, which I have been tending to for the past 6 months with a gluten-free, dairy-free diet is also much better. I feel like I am coming back out into the light.

Susan and I started in darkness. The half moon lit the way.

Susan has never been a winter runner. (While winter is my absolute fave.) This is the first year she has not taken the winter off completely from running. Previous years she has strength-trained through the cold, dark months, but not run. Signing up for Umstead, a 100-miler in March, forced the issue. So she went out and bought a Gore-Tex suit and faced her least favorite running weather with admirable gumption. Amazing, Susan. I am pleased and proud! I hope I can come up with a similar sense of fortitude during the bright, hot summer months.....

Susan and I circled around for two hours, then met our friend, Davnet, who is just coming off a slow running winter and starting to build up her miles. She ended up running 2.5 hours with us, which was her longest run this year.

An hour after meeting Davnet, we circled back again to pick up Grace. Grace was running the 3-hour middle shift, overlapping with my 5 hours and the start of Susan's dad's final 2-hour shift.

It was very cool running in a pack of four ultra-running mamas! We had a spectacular time trotting and gabbing in the woods.

And look.....no big bulky jackets and hats! This was the first relatively warm day of the year.It was in the 30s when Susan and I started, but I think it hit 50 later in the day. Off came the Gore-Tex, the fleecy mittens, the big hats, the thick tights. We were free!

I ran for exactly five hours with no problems. No foot trouble, no stomach trouble. All systems go! My next step is to sit down with the calendar and figure out a race schedule for the spring. Stay tuned......

Susan finished her eight hours with her dad. She said the trails got very crowded later in the day. Maybe 100 cars in the parking lot by the time they finished. I'm glad I missed that. We didn't see a soul during my shift.

Sunday turned out to be another gorgeous day. Brian and I packed the kids and the bikes in the car and went to Harkness Park. Harkness is a CT state park with an abandoned mansion (popular for weddings), and lovely gardens sloping down to Long Island Sound. It's the perfect place for kids on bikes.

The dreadful Putting On Of Helmets. Watch that chin!

Biking toward the mansion.

A few shots of the winter garden. Don't you just love the bare sticks?

And a couple of signs of spring. Even I am ready for spring now. Especially after this lovely weekend weather.

We biked down to the water and spent a long time building a village in the sand. The sun was so warm the kids took their jacket off. Both boys, of course, ended up in the water. You gotta love those boys!

Happy early spring, everybody!


  1. Thanks for running my first and only winter with me! I have to say, I enjoyed it. Well, most of the time!

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  3. Hey Pam, I am soooo glad that you are getting your running legs under you again. Also, great job Susan! Good luck with Umstead. Hopefully I will get to run with you after you spank that race! So Pam, I am running, slowly, every other day. Everything feels well right now (although I biked to work today and I felt a little tightness on the way home). I am going to go out on the trails Sunday for an easy five miles with a young lady who loves trails. She is not into the long runs, but trails are what she loves to do. I want to introduce you to her sometime. Hope to see you soon.

  4. Have a great run, Bob! Let me know how it goes....

    Susan, you're ready!!

  5. It's all so beautiful. My heart aches with jealousy for many reasons: the beautiful weather, the pack of ultra-running mammas, the kids, building a village in the sand, early spring...
    Good luck to Susan at Umstead! Those 100's are such an adventure!

  6. Gretchen, too funny. I feel the exact same emotion whenever I read your blog: the mountains, the skiing, the views, the trails, the snow, the freedom!

  7. Such a great way to start a day... early long run with good friends. It's great that you are able to run healthy again. Susan is definitely ready. I could still sense Susan had a lot left when my shift ended. Looking forward to more awesome runs with the ultra mamas!

  8. Just came back here and wow, Pam, you have quite the following!
    Sounds like a great group of supporting people following your blog!


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