Monday, November 29, 2010


Each of my runs these days feels like a gift. The world is so beautiful with the leaves down, the light down, and the water so cold and calm. There was even a scrim of ice on the duck pond half way down River Road this morning. The sun was coming up over the Stonington side of the river, hitting the ice at about 30 degrees and reflecting pale pink. Lovely.

I am once again listening to Anna Karenina as I run. I got the book at the library last year as a Playaway (a portable digital audiobook the size of a playing card) and, through multiple renewals, listened to it all winter. I saw it there at the library again a couple of weeks ago and grabbed it. Let me tell you, it's even better the second time. I will forever associate running in the early morning dark with Anna, Vroksky, Levin, Kitty, Steva, Dolly and all the rest of them. They feel like old friends to me now.

Sometimes I get in one run per day, and sometimes I fit in two. For the first time in a couple of years, I feel like I am getting in shape. Real shape. Possibly even 100-mile shape. So far, aside from a twinge here and there, my foot and lower leg are holding up well. They do better on trails than on roads, but it's difficult to fit trail running into my schedule. I don't want to run on trails by myself at 5 in the morning or at 5 at night. So I mostly stick to the roads, running on people's grass whenever I can get away with it (which is often, since most folks are sleeping as I hoof it across their front yards), and run trails on the weekends.

I am thinking about investing in some of those compression socks. Do they help? I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations.....

Susan and I had a beautiful 3-hour run at Bluff Point last Sunday. We ran in the dark and watched it get light. Susan's dad was with us for the first hour. It's always great to run with him. Susan is thrilled to be able to run with her dad, and I'm sure he feels the same.

We started in the dark.

And then the sun came up as the moon went down....

And so, the day began.... We circled over to Haley Farm, an old working farm that is now a series of trails, maybe three miles total. Lots of people come here to walk their dogs.

Little stop to take care of business.

And on it went..

Just yesterday I went back for a 4 1/2 hour run at Bluff Point. Susan ran 2 with me, which was great. And I ran the rest by myself. Which was also great.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thinking long

I think I'm going to try another Hundred. In the spring. The cold New Jersey spring.

The state of New Jersey does not strike me as a hotbed of trail running, but what do I know? Looks like they have a great series of trail races going on down there, including the NJ Ultra Festival starting March 19th.

The course is a flat, repeating T-shape, 25 miles long. Do the whole thing four times and VOILA! The trails are not technical, but they are somewhat scenic (cow farms, horse farms and the like). The surface is described as "crushed stone." So it's kind of like a road race on a soft surface.

Ideally, I'd love to run one of the big mountain 100s. I like to think myself a bit gnarlier than "crushed stone." But I have to be realistic. I have limited training time, zero travel budget, and I live in coastal Connecticut with nary a mountain in sight.

This race feels safe to me. As safe as any 100-miler can feel. I don't want to get too complacent. 100 miles is 100 miles, and it will be difficult no matter what the surface. But it ain't Hardrock and it ain't Leadville, that's for sure.

I like the idea of having a long race in early spring. (Though March 19th is technically still winter, I guess.) It will be good for me to have an eye on the pie all through my winter running. And it will be good knowing that all of my local runs are hillier than that course. Anything I run here will be more than sufficient hill training.

So I am starting to ramp up my mileage. I'm waiting to see how my foot holds up during the next month before I actually sign up for the race. Signing up always jinxes me. I lost a lot of money last year signing up for races too early, thinking my VT injury would heal much more quickly than it did.

So far all systems are GO! I'm loving the training. I feel motivated, you know. As I sit here, it's 5:30 in the morning, dark and absolutely pouring outside.

And I'm leaving you now to go for a run.....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall 2010

I was out running through Mystic late Monday afternoon during Simon's swimteam practice, and the light was amazing. Half the sky was fully in cloud; the sun was bright in the other half, slanting towards dusk. The trees, many still in lovely color, were lit up from above. I ran to a high place and looked down on the dark blue water and all of the colors burning below me and the whole scene took my breath away. I had Bon Iver's album For Emma Forever Ago blaring in my ears, which added to the whole cathedral-esque vibe. It was a beautiful handful of moments.

After taking a few days off after Bimbler's Bluff 50K, I started right back into my running routine and had a glorious week. I feel like I am finally getting into good shape. My foot doesn't hurt at all anymore, so I am not afraid to pile on the miles.

By some fortuitous accidents of scheduling, I got out twice several days last week. I ran loops every morning up the biggest hill in Mystic, and was able to sneak in two early evening runs during swim practice, as well as a 2-hour afternoon run on Thursday during the kids' Nature Class. I walked hill repeats behind the yoga studio during the kids' yoga class Monday as well.

By Saturday I was pooped. I swam during swim practice for 90 minutes and it damn near killed me! Sunday, Susan and I ran for a couple of hours on trails. All good.

This morning (Monday) it's snowing and slushing outside. The wind is blowing ice balls against the windows. I'm not going out in that! Time for a day off.

Here are a few photos of our life over the past few weeks. Fall in New England: what could be better than that??

Carschooling Spanish!

And Spanish on the beach!

Halloween, of course.....

Annual Homeschooling Day at the Corn Maze!!

And the last day of apple picking....

Happy Fall, everybody!!