Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Foiled again

Perhaps I am destined to never run an ultra again. Perhaps the ultra gods are trying to tell me something. Dear, oh dear. Every race I have signed up for since last summer has been sabotaged, always for a good reason -- injury, calendar conflict, illness -- but it is starting to feel spooky.

I was well into my taper for the Traprock 50K a couple of weeks ago, a race I was very much looking forward to because it was here in my home state of Connecticut and it was the first annual running of a new race. It was a wonderful opportunity to support local running and explore new trails. And then Wednesday afternoon I got a horrible call from my father telling me my mother had had a stroke that morning.

Good-bye, race. Good-bye, family. Wednesday night I was on the train down to Virginia to see my mom. I stayed for several days, long enough to ensure that my mom had made a full physical recovery. Praise be. I barely thought about the race, caught up as I was in hospital stuff and then getting my mom home, safe and sound. It was an exhausting few days. I may as well have run an ultra.

My running buddies Susan, Grace and Davnet all ran Traprock, though none of the finished all 50 K's. It was a loop course: 3 10ish mile loops. Davnet ran one and dropped because her hip and knee were bothering her. But she did manage to win First Woman for the single loop event. Yay, Dav! Susan and Grace decided early in the 2nd loop that they would not be going out for a 3rd (though they did say they might have, had I been there to kick their asses into gear). They said I would have loved the course -- hilly and technical, not at all what one would expect from a race in Connecticut.

So, next year. Please, UltraSteve, do it again next year!!

On a more ringingly optimistic note, our little running group is beginning to turn into a Running Group. After a couple of years of knowing no other ultrarunners, I am very pleased to say that I now belong to a little community of local runners. There are 5 of us: the aforementioned ladies (a.k.a. The Bitches) and Bob, a lovely man and seasoned ultrarunner who does not seem to mind hanging out with a pack of runner girls.

We all met last weekend in Lyme, CT for a run through Hartmann Park. (All, that is, except Susan, who was recovering from a stomach bug.) We looped three times through the park for a total of almost three hours. Next time we want to add on more loops through neighboring Nehantic State Park.

It was a lovely spring morning, with just a scrim of green starting to overpower the grey of the trees.

Grace and Davnet making tracks.

Bob, pointing the way. He was our fearless leader until his hamstring gave out on the 2nd loop. I hope it's better, Bob!

And here is a bit of an anomaly for my Family Friendly blog, but I cannot resist. This is the sign we came upon at the end of our first loop. Cracked us up.

And said picnic tables.....You have to admit, it is a romantic spot.

At great risk of jinxing myself, I am here to say that I have signed up for the Wapack 50 in Ashburnham, MA in a week and a half. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Few Thoughts for Spring

Yesterday morning's run was hazy and freakishly warm. 50 degrees at 5 a.m. with a soft fog everywhere. I overdressed because it's difficult to get out of the habit of bundling up. When the sun came up I was overwhelmed by lovliness. I happened to be running along the Mystic River, which was wispy and grey. We still don't have leaves on the trees, but the daffodils are blooming. Against the gray water, gray sky, gray trees and gray rock walls the daffodils lit up like torches. The forsythia, too. Bright yellow beacons of the coming spring. The osprey in her high platform nest warned the dogs and me away. It was an eerie kind of screeching from this bird flying pendulums above us in and out of the fog.

Much as I would like to go back out this morning, I'm not going to. My running life is mostly scheduled around my homeschooling life. Today the kids have a 2-hour farm class after lunch, which gives me a 2-hour running window. Normally I would run or swim in the morning and then do the 2-hour run in the afternoon. No brainer. Just go.

But why? Why not stay in this morning and do something else? Blog, write in my journal, make tracks in War and Peace. Two hours of running on a Thursday should be enough. What is this incessant need to get out and run at every available moment?

I just love running. I am going to miss it this morning. But I'm not going.