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14 Mar

A few years ago, I was teaching middle school in a charter school. I have a lot of thoughts on charters and whether or not they are good for education. But one huge positive of working there was that I had a lot of autonomy within my classroom. And so we did a TON of “culture” lessons.  And not just food or holiday lessons. But really meaningful stuff.


You see, when I think about my view of education and my job, while the reading and writing and math are obviously hugely important, the real, overarching goal is for students to leave me ready to be better citizens.  To be good human beings who are kind to everyone. To be those good humans even when no one is watching. To be open-minded and respectful to others who are “different.” To be able to identify good sources of information.  To recognize when someone has a bias/motivation for telling you something which might make it untrue. To be lifelong learners committed to self-reflection and improvement.


So one year in the charter, I decided to do a unit on El Movimiento–the Chicano movement. In the 1960’s, Mexican-Americans fought for their rights and against discrimination. We looked at the historical events of that time, talked about how it was like the Civil Rights Movement, discussed our government, how laws are changed, and methods of non-violent protest. The kids got super into it–having heated discussions about non-violent versus violent movements and whether things had changed or not since the 60’s. I sometimes facilitated conversations, but often they just took charge. They were 7th and 8th graders, but they had plenty to say (including many jokes about how they were gonna walkout of my class ha).  We culminated the study by watching the movie Walkout.


I had all but forgotten this, and then today, as I watched some video footage of the walkouts happening around the country, someone said “walkout” just the same way as in the movie, and it all flooded back to me. The main character had organized a walkout in her school to protest poor student treatment (I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but one scene that really stood out to me was when students spoke Spanish to each other in the halls or at lunch, they got hit–there was a sign that said “if it’s not worth saying in English, it’s not worth saying.”).  Anyway at the designated time, she stood up, mid-class, and quietly said, “Walkout.” Everyone looked uncertain until she said it again. And again.  And again, louder, and eventually joined by other students. It was a really powerful scene in the movie. The walkouts today were, for me anyway, similarly powerful and moving.


Reading the comments on the videos from the news today, I was so saddened by the hatred and condescension of adults. I don’t know how we’ve forgotten that students and young people have been behind so many of our biggest social movements.  And why shouldn’t YOUNG ADULTS (not kids…they’re not little kids anymore) have a say in the country, since they’ll be the ones living in it for the longest? Why are we trying to silence them, as though that will stop the progress and change that they are so determined to make. Why not engage with them, debate them, listen to them and support them? Shouldn’t we be pushing kids to think of ways to make the world a better place, to fight for what they believe in and to work tirelessly to accomplish their goals? What message are we sending by trying to silence them or treat them like babies with nothing important to say?


I, for one, am insanely proud of all of the young people who planned, organized and carried out walkouts today.  This country needs more people to step up and lead the way to make sure we grow into the best possible version of ourselves, individually and collectively. We need an engaged, informed electorate to make sure our democracy is as strong as it possibly can be.  Sometimes, teaching is really tiring.  But watching those kids today, I felt so hopeful and energized.  At a time when things often seem bleak and challenging, seeing the signs, the students, the orange…it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, we are going to be alright.


Run ‘Em All/Hike ‘Em All Challenge 2.0

10 Feb

They say sequels are always worse than the original…but clearly “they” have never been on an adventure-version-2.0-type sequel of a running/hiking adventure…because THOSE are always fun, original or version 2.0…
Back in the summer of 2014, Eric and I decided to finally tackle an adventure from our bucket list–running and/or hiking every mile of trail in Letchworth State Park.  As kids and young adults, we’d both spent a lot of time in the park.  We both wanted to see more, together. Getting to experience it all with friends almost 4 years ago was an incredible, exhausting and fulfilling week.


It is astounding to me how many people from the WNY area don’t know about or have never been to Letchworth.  I’m going to pause here and say that this park is incredible–there is really something for everyone here–plenty of amazing spots that you can drive to and avoid getting dirty (for my not-so-outdoorsy peeps!), plenty of really easy hikes (for my friends with small kids), and a ton of challenging trails (for all the crazies I know), too! And the views…oh man the views…one of the best parts about visiting the Grand Canyon of the East is all the great look-out points.  For more info on trails and my take on each of them, you can visit this blog.  Or you can just look at these stunning images Eric has captured!


upper falls…from the opposite side of the gorge that people usually see them!


small waterfalls and creeks are everywhere on the FLT


Dave almost ruined the amazing views! 😛


sun coming up over the foggy gorge


the BEST part of this park!!!


middle falls from the “usual” side


This year, as we discussed summer shenanigans, Eric expressed interest in a second attempt at the Run ‘Em All/Hike ‘Em All  Challenge for a project he wants to work on…and so I hastily booked a campsite for our “home base” and planned out this year’s adventure.


Looking at it, the schedule seems daunting.  But Eric pointed out that we had plenty of time, last go-round, to hang at camp eating and drinking.  We made it work then.  We’ll be fine this time, too.


Sooooo…We’ll be in Letchworth from August 6 thru August 13.  Our plan for the week is below…everything is obviously subject to change (based on weather/how we’re feeling). None of these runs/hikes will be fast…we’ll be stopping for pictures and video and just enjoying some time in nature. But we LOVE company and if anyone wants to explore with us, we’d love to have you.  Book a campsite (they’re already filling up a ton! so do it fast!) and join us for Version 2.0.  I guarantee you it’ll be a ton of fun!!!



Date AM PM
Monday, August 6 Hike Trails 10 and 10a (roughly 6 miles)**Weather dependent we will do this in the AM or else after we check in and set up camp** Check in to camp (site 101) and situate for the week 🙂
Tuesday, August 7 Trail 1–7 miles one-way (depending we can drop car at end or hike back to starting spot for a total of 14 miles)
Start time: 8 AM
Trails 13 to 11 to 14–6.5 miles
Start time: 5 PM
Wednesday, August 8 Trails 4 and 5–4 miles  

Start time: 8 AM
Trails 2, 2A, 3–8 miles

Start time: 10:30

Trails 17 and 15–6 miles
Start time: 6 PM
Thursday, August 9 Trails 7 to 6 to 6A–14 miles
Start time: 9 AM
Friday, August 10 Trails 18, 19, 19a and 20–14.5 miles
Start time: 8 AM
Saturday, August 11 Trails 9 to 8 to 8a back to 8 and 9–9 miles
Start time: 8 AM
Sunday, August 12 Check out of camp
Hike 5.5 miles on the FLT to Lean-To #1
Start time: 10 AM
Lunch at the Lean-To
Hike 8.5 miles to Lean-To #2
Start time: Whenever we finish lunch and feel like it hahaha
Monday, August 13 Hike 8.5 miles to Lean-To #1
Start time: hopefully not as early as last time (thanks, coyotes)
Hike 5.5 miles to cars.  Celebrate the past days of amazing running, hiking, friendship and trail love!


How to Make a Racing Schedule

26 Jan

Mostly this blog will be me blathering about stupidity, mostly for posterity (for myself because no one else wants to hear about this crap now or later). If you are looking for advice for how to make a racing schedule, do not…I repeat DO NOT…read this blog. Or listen to me. It will not help you.  Trust me.  I am the least decisive person on the face of the planet. I have hemmed and hawed over a race schedule, wrote down the pros and cons of various races, tore all that up, rewrote them, talked while I ran, talked while I drank, talked on the radio (oh yeah! Guys! I’m on the radio now!!! Check it out sometime!!!!) And at the end of the day, my decisions came down to which races and which plans make me most excited to get out and run.


SO first the backstory. I had registered for Twisted Branch 100k last year.  I was training and things were going ok, and then we spent a lot of time dealing with massive flooding at our house. Coupled with Many on the Genny, life kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit (let’s be honest…I got a lot of hours and time on feet and lugged a ridiculous number of sandbags around, but it wasn’t “training”).  And then I decided to pile miles on again and got hurt–some kind of shin action that the doctor suspected was a small fracture.  So I was in a boot and my TB-dreams went out the window. I deferred with every intention of racing it this year.  But this year, as I get back into a regular running schedule, I realized I just wasn’t into it. Not that it’s not a great race, not that I won’t ever do it, not that I think I’m not capable of the challenge.  Just that my heart isn’t in it–it’s not something that makes me excited to get up and run, to put in the tough miles of training.  And if that’s how I’m feeling now, then it’s not my time to run this race.


As I grappled with the decision to race or not race Twisted, I’ve been struggling to find my running mojo…and I think I may be getting it back.  There are a billion reasons why it was lost…and excuses are annoying AF. If you really want to do something, you find a way. I didn’t find a way to do it. I spent the summer and fall running less than 20 miles a week. And I didn’t really feel too badly about it either.  Which tells me it was likely time for me to take a time out from bigger miles.


Anyway, I was still kicking around longer ultra plans…if not Twisted, maybe a 50 miler or even a 50k somewhere.  But the reality is that training for an ultra is basically a part time job, and I wasn’t ready to commit to that, namely because my favorite running and adventuring partner in crime is still not at 100%.


Eric had surgery on his other heel. Recovery is going so much better, and he is able to run! Running with him on the indoor track has been amazing–I’ve missed running with him so much. Training for a major ultra like TB or a 50 miler would require hours of training, most of which Eric could not do with me. And I kind of like hanging out with him. 😛


So I’ll say it again, just to make truly sure that I am committed to the decision. I’m putting TB dreams to bed for another year. It’s not a “never” it’s a “not now.”  Which is cool.


That being said…I was still left with major choices of what races to run. And…#firstworldproblems…we have some amazing races in our area, and I suck at decision making. But after a lot of careful thought, discussions with Eric about his race plans, and thinking about which races make me excited, I think I’ve settled on a decent race schedule for the year.


I need to take February and March to build my base back up.  It’s been a miracle for me to hit 20 miles lately, so I’ve got my plan all made to work my way back to consistent 30+ mile weeks.


April, May and June will be full of really intense training. The goal will be to get faster and work hard at running, while also continuing to lift and add in some cycling (once Eric is able to do that again!) We are currently kicking around a relay team for Medved Madness. But really the major focus is going to be running to get faster. June is also MFAMTL…in Durand (my home park)…and hopefully this version I will be healthy and actually remember the miles I put in!


All that hard training will be geared to training for the Cayuga Marathon (25 miler? IDK I should probably find out the distance, huh?).  I love this course.  I love these trails.  They are beautiful, they are challenging, they were where I spent a LOT of training runs thinking about life and figuring shit out when things were their bleakest. I love this race’s vibe. Whether volunteering or racing (I’ve done both), this race is just the best. When I ran CT50, I remember Sean saying, “This is a perfect course for one loop.” So I’m going to test out that theory.  With this amount of time, I should be able to get in some solid training miles and really do well at this race. Cayuga got moved to July, so basically I’ll taper a bit at the beginning of the month and then race and then recover the rest of the month.


August is Lucifer’s Crossing.  We swept it in a massive rain storm one year.  It was beautiful.  Someday I will do this race. Maybe this year.  We are also doing a #TrailsRoc team for the Mighty Mosquito.  I am super pumped to be able to actually race one of our amazing brain children races (I’m sure it will be different than our iteration, but still!)


Sometime in the summer, we’ll do the Saranac 6-ers. Mostly I’m just excited to get back to the ADK and any time I can do some camping is a good time. This summer, I’m going to try to be less of a bum and paddle more (spiders in the kayaks scare me though so if anyone wants to be my spider-killer, let me know), ride my bike more (fatty lyfestyle), and keep lifting.


In the mid-fall, I think I will aim for a speedy 50k.  I’m currently torn between two (shocking, right???) Watergap 50k would be a speedy course, but I’m worried about the flatness of the course (hahaha who the f am I??? Flat is your friend, Shme.) and we’d have to travel. Mendon 50k is in Rochester, but it’s roll-y and the weather is sometimes dicey and while I’m sure I’d PR with proper training, the course is not really “peak PR” material.


Re-reading this, I feel like there is very little actual commitment. But I feel like I have a direction with my running for the first time in a long time, and I am excited to see what I can do with some training to get quicker.


SO to recap:

May: Medved Madness?


July: Cayuga Trails (**Goal race)

August: Mighty Mosquito Relay, Lucifer’s Crossing?

October: Watergap 50k (**Goal race)

November: Mendon? It’s All Downhill From Here?


Confederate flags

13 Aug

My grandparents lived in West Virginia for most of my early childhood.  We would go to visit them on road trips in the summertime.  I loved their house.  We’d drive thru a huge tunnel on the way, which we all thought was so cool.  We’d get there super late at night, and grandma would make us toast with jelly (even though it was long past our bedtime).  We’d get tucked into Uncle Patrick’s room (with all the toy horses).  We’d spin in the rocking chairs til grandpa came in and yelled at us. We’d walk to the marble factory down the road and pick through all the “garbage” marbles that were not perfect enough to sell (and got dumped out back of the factory). We’d walk to the town park to go swimming (it’s where I broke my brother’s chin open with some soccer cones one time…but that’s another story).  It was a lovely place to visit.


I remember a couple of years ago having some Facebook fights with some of my cousins over their use of the Confederate flag.  Eric quickly deleted them from his FB when he realized they were dead serious about their heritage and being proud of that flag.  But they were my family.  I couldn’t delete that quickly.  I couldn’t give up trying to show them that they were wrong.  That flag had nothing to do with their heritage and everything to do with hate.  Be proud of where you are from, by all means.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all be proud of where we’re from and have happy memories of childhood.  But for God’s sake don’t be proud of a flag that represented a treasonous group of southerners who started their own country and went to war with the US.  Don’t support a flag that was used during slavery and then again by the KKK to intimidate and murder people with the “wrong” skin color.  And don’t yell about immigrants flying their countries’ flags when you want to fly a flag of not just another country, but another country that fought a war with us.  Just don’t.


The conversation derailed, I gave up, I deleted them as well, and we all moved on. But it resurfaced yesterday as I watched in horrified tears as the streets of Charlottesville were flooded with Confederate and Nazi flags, skin heads, men armed with massive guns and homemade shields.  I took in the images of the blond haired men, standing with lit tiki torches on a university campus–the fire lighting up their eyes enough that you could see the pure hatred burning there.


And so last night I slept fitfully, heart heavy with the knowledge that this is part of my background, too.  Because I have family members who are racist and love their Confederate flag and think that white people have to fight for our rights, despite being called out on those false beliefs.  I couldn’t think of any new way to point out  the hypocrisy of a statement like “the Confederate flag is just celebrating my heritage and it has nothing to do with racism.”  Until yesterday.


I want to know where are the “the confederate flag celebrates my southern heritage” people now?  The ones who want to insist that they aren’t racist, they just love where they’re from. Why aren’t they coming out in droves to denounce their flag flying next to Nazi flags and being used at a white supremacy rally? Shouldn’t they be out, asserting that their precious flag doesn’t stand for hatred and white power–it’s just about sweet tea and farming and small towns and all that is good in the American south????


And while we’re calling people out for being silent now…I want know where are the Republicans who defended their vote for trump, saying how they believe in conservative policies but they aren’t racists. Where are the people who voted for trump because Hillary was “worse”????  Where are the people who mocked the “liberal snowflakes” after the election?  The ones who put up memes about the sky falling and said things like “it won’t be that bad…I had to deal with Obama for 8 years…you can deal with this…it won’t be that bad”???  Why aren’t they coming out en masse to denounce a “unite the right” event full of nazis and torch marches? If it were me, I’d certainly be saying please don’t take my title as “right winger” and bastardize it by associating it with this disgusting terrorist display.


But do you know why these two groups aren’t anywhere to be found?!? Because they are (at best) complicit in the kind of evil we saw this weekend. They are ok with Nazis taking their symbols and their names and using them in an ugly display of hatred, violence and terrorism. Their silence is tacit approval of what happened. Their silence is deafening.


Fuck your silence. Fuck your hatred.  Fuck your ignorance.  But most of all fuck your traitor Confederate flag.

8 years < forever

10 Jul

How can 8 years feel like forever (in a good way) but also feel like the blink of an eye?

From eating mashed potatoes in a hotel room after saying “I do” to fancy dinners on cruise ships to trashing the dress in Letchworth.


our weddingour wedding 2

trash the dresstrash the dress 2

From camping and canoe trips to climbing mountains to swimming in creeks and lakes and the ocean. From running 5ks for bagels to running 50ks together.

camping 4

haunted campground

camping 2

apparently we can’t do this anymore…


first 5k!

running 5

maathon relay

running 3

first foray into race directing

From binge watching Netflix shows to going out to the movies (all three times we’ve been), from buying our first house to buying our forever house, from needles and tears and sadness to sandbagging and not-sleeping-because-the-house-is-gonna-flood-again.

housefire departmentimg_9054

From family parties to friend parties to Election Day parties to write-your-congressmen parties to derby day parties to 80s party to party just because we can and should, from friends’ weddings to family weddings to crashed weddings.

weddingwedding 4wedding 3wedding 2thanksgivingpartyparty 280s party

From puppy Picasso to old man Picasso.

picasso puppypicasso puppy 2


that time Picasso got skunked. “hey man…you really killed the mood for your mom and me.”

From Buffalo to Rochester to Mexico to Costa Rica to Panama to Indian Lake to Bermuda to Letchworth to Ithaca to Florida to West Virginia to Ireland.


kayaking the panama canal


the ruins in tulum, mexico



costa rica

costa rica

camping 6


camping 5

west virginia

camping 3


indian lake




We’ve had some pretty great adventures. I still don’t understand how a lifetime of adventures and laughter can ever be enough. I love you, Eric!!! Happy anniversary!! Now let’s go find some pizza!!!


Many on the Genny–RD Perspective

28 Jun

I could write a small novel about the work that went into this race, but no one wants to read that.  While we’ve been RD-ing for 5 years, this race was the biggest race we’ve ever taken on…by about 26 miles.  No loops meant way more marking than ever before, ultra meant much bigger aid stations than ever before, and the school year ending exactly at the same time as race week didn’t help either.  To say there was stress going into this race is an understatement.


There was blood, sweat and tears (literally) put into this race.  For years.  We have been dreaming and scheming to try to make the most beautiful, most sensible, most challenging and most scenic course that we could make.  Trying to find ways to include as much of the beautiful and varied trails as we could, from the incredible single track of trail 20, to the wide grassy trails of 11 and 13, to the shale-filled climbs and descents of 15 and 13, to the ridgelines and overlooks of trail 1, to the gorgeous waterfalls of the FLT.  We had spent countless hours in the park, scouting it all out, debating where to put aid stations, thinking about what we would want to see as runners, meeting to get permission from all of the groups (the State Park, the police, the Army Corps of Engineers, the FLTC).  And when that much time and effort has gone into something, there’s obviously a lot of nerves that things won’t work out the way you have envisioned.  We had big hopes and dreams for this race.


Wednesday through Friday of race week are a blur to me.  We spent so many hours on the trails, purchasing all the food, packing everything up, marking course, and yes, even arguing, that I almost didn’t have time to be nervous.  Each night, we’d fall into bed and I’d sleep soundly until my cursed alarm.  Friday night we didn’t even get back to the finish line and our “home base” for the night until midnight.  After a brief 2 hour-ish nap, we were up and at ’em at 3. It was go time and there was no turning back.  I was worried people would get lost, worried animals would have gotten into our aid station supplies overnight, worried we had forgotten something, worried the shuttles would not show up…anything that might go wrong had me worried.


But at 6 AM, as Eric yelled go and runners took off, I felt a lot of the stress lift as I reasoned with my worried brain–people were out…they had maps…the course runs between the road and the river, so if anyone gets lost, it won’t be for long (haha)…most people carry their own stuff anyway…there are plenty of bathrooms along the way for the first 20 miles, so worst case scenario people could fill water there until we could get to a store and deliver bottles (if someone shot up our water jugs or stole them or some other crazy thing that my mind was trying to make me panic about) or food (if the animals had indeed managed to find a way into our stuff).


Race day is mostly a blur, too. As soon as runners had looped around the first 2 miles, I checked in with aid station 2, (Lisa had Aid 1 under control, I knew), found that food was ok, knew we were fine for at least the first half of the course for food and water, and headed around to finish marking the course–we had run out of time the night before.  I quickly ran/hiked trail 9, realized I should add the extra half mile and go check that the turn to the FLT was still marked and no one had touched anything, it was (of course it was), then backtracked to the car.  I spent a little time at the road crossing, hanging with my dad and brothers.  Seeing people running, smiling, high fiving me….I relaxed even more.  This was it.  The dream was happening.


By the time I had checked in with all the aid stations and made my way back around to the finish line, it was late…people had already finished…I still had a couple of errands to run to drop off additional supplies (water) for the aid stations.  But luckily we had the most incredible group of aid station-ers ever assembled.  Truly I never had to worry (or at least I shouldn’t have worried haha)–our cell reception on the first half of the course was spotty, but I knew my aid station captains and crew would handle any problems effectively.  The second half of the course required aid stations to haul supplies down horrible, mud-filled trails.  I got there, though, and they were so happy and full of energy and ready to go.  Some of them were out there for 9 hours on race day…others had set some things up the night before.  Not one of them looked annoyed or regretful of the job they had volunteered to do. They were amazing and absolutely instrumental to having a successful race.


I was so tired by dinnertime-ish.  I knew I should go back out to the aid stations to help out.  But I texted Jonathan (the only aid station still open) and he said it was all good there.  So I started to try cleaning up the finish line area (and even sat down for a minute or two) instead.


As I was cleaning things up, I looked around and advice we’d gotten at our wedding echoed in my head.  “The day is going to be crazy and busy and you won’t remember a lot of it.  So stop for a second.  Look around and take it all in.  Know that all these people are here because of you, to support you, to be with you.”  And I lost it.  I was crying and had to walk away to compose myself.  After that, every finisher…every smiling, cheering, happiness-filled finisher…had me choked up.  I could not believe this many people were here, loving the trails, loving the park, spending the day outside in the woods…because of us.  My heart was overflowing with gratitude and pride and happiness.


The rest of the afternoon and evening, I heard so many lovely compliments.  “I’d never seen that in the park and can’t wait to come back to explore.” “I’m not from here and I’ve never seen such a friendly group of people.  I can’t wait to bring friends back.”  “Your aid stations were the absolute best ever.”  “I had so much fun today.”  “This is one of my favorite races ever.” They went on and on.  Everywhere I looked, there were smiles and friends hanging out in the sunshine, eating pizza (so. much. pizza.) and drinking delicious home brew (thanks, Joe!).


When the last couple finishers made it across the line, I was so happy.  Until I realized how much work we still had to do.  We should’ve just planned to stay there, as the drive home that night was pretty sketchy…exhaustion was finally kicking in.  At 10, as we were getting ready to leave to go home, we remembered the stupid water drop coolers.  Josh and I drove over to grab them and the hike down was one of the most surreal.  I was so tired, stumbling around the trails to find the water coolers and drag them back up to the car.  When we finally made it home, I didn’t even say anything to Josh or Eric…I literally left everything in the car, climbed the stairs, put on a clean t-shirt and shorts and climbed into bed, completely unconcerned about my dirtiness…the sheets needed to be washed anyway.


There are not enough words to express to you all, the runners, their families and the volunteers, how thankful we are to have your support.  It’s still pretty surreal to think that this weekend happened.  Everyone all day kept thanking us, but the reality is that we owe you guys the thanks.  Without each and every one of you, this would just be Eric and I, sitting around a printed out map of Letchworth dreaming up a stupid race idea.  Without you guys signing on, trusting us to get it right, this wouldn’t have happened.  But somehow every time we scheme up something new, people sign on and get behind us, and that is the best gift anyone could ever give us.  So the thanks goes to all of  you.  You rock.  We love you.  We are humbled and so incredibly proud of everyone’s achievements.  And we can’t wait to see you all next year!



when life hands you flooding

11 Jun

Training this spring was going so well.  I was really happy with the way my running was progressing, both from a volume and a quality of runs standpoint.

March–173 miles.

April–201 miles.


May–70 miles.

Wait. What? Is that a typo?

May was a hot mess.  Partly because I jacked my calf up doing god knows what.  I was thinking it was just a result of too much mileage.

Except I’ve run this kind of mileage before without any issues.

Then I realized that right around the time my leg started hurting, we started sandbagging. Because when life hands you flooding, you sandbag, re-sandbag, and try to pump out water multiple times.  You don’t sleep or don’t sleep well, having nightmares of floods and sinkholes and crocodiles.

Yep.  Our dream house on the water has been a little bit of a nightmare the past 2 months or so…Lake Ontario is almost 3 feet higher than it normally is this time of year, which means our little pond is also up.  There’s a lot of debate right now about why that is, but at the end of the day, we had a late snowstorm and way above average rain fall (and the IJC has some new regulations that probably aren’t helping us, but are also probably not the actual cause for the flooding).

In any event, my training has been down.  I missed my two peak weeks for Cayuga and decided to pull myself out of it all together (as we watched weather reports that whole week leading up to the race, unsure if we could even go down to Ithaca at all).  I spent the day of the race alternating between being sad that I wasn’t out there, regretting my decision, but ultimately being at peace with it. It was the right choice.  I came home from Ithaca geared up from watching so many amazing people run well, and I used all that inspiration to re-make my Twisted Branch training plan…I looked at everything as though I’d been running 50 miles weeks for the past 2 months.  Or 40.  Or even 30.


But the reality is, my last 7 weeks of training have averaged out to   18.5 miles.  I didn’t know this until I just computed it.  That’s actually kind of embarrassing, not because there’s anything wrong with that mileage, but because I say that I am an ultrarunner.  WTAF.


Anyway, as with all lies we tell ourselves (like, “your training has not been that off” and “you will just pick up where you left off”), eventually you get slapped in the face with the truth.  And today was that day for me.


Today, Ellie wanted to see the front half of Many on the Genny.  Of course, Eric signed  me up as unofficial tour guide, even though she’s twice as fast as me.  I planned to do 20 miles.  Both of these things were silly, given my training the past almost 2 months.


And so I got slapped in the face around mile 10 (maybe before that).  Lack of training, lack of sleeping, stress…whatever…I was a mess.  It was not fair to Ellie to keep making her wait for me.  I made it to aid 2, hopped in the car, and felt good about my decision.  I did a couple more miles after that with her, but the reality is that anything more than 15 is a stretch right now, especially if it’s hilly (like Many) or hot (like today).


So…IDK where I go from here.  I need to rebuild my mileage and get myself back in shape.  I am pretty sure I don’t have time to properly train for Twisted.  It’s not really a race I want to go into severely undertrained or woefully out of shape.  I’d have a few weeks to get in some solid training, but that’s assuming that we don’t get hit with more flooding, which is really unlikely given the height of the water.  According to the Army Corps of Engineers website, between now and July 9, the water in Lake Ontario should go down 6 inches.  Which is a lot.  But I have no idea what will be enough and when we will be safe.  It honestly feels like never right now.  One of the neighbors said he heard we’d be out of the danger zone by December.  I am hoping that was just hyperbole.


The reality is that if/when I do Twisted, I want to run well.  I don’t want people to have to wait around for me, I don’t want to chase cut-off times…I have always said I wouldn’t step up in distance unless I knew I could handle it, and right now I haven’t been handling the training needed.  That’s the plain and simple truth of the matter.


In any event, right now I am kicking around seeing who (if anyone) needs a pacer for Twisted (assuming our house isn’t floating away) and taking the summer to get myself into shape.  I really want to do the Many course all the way, so I could hopefully be ready to do that at the end of the summer, then maybe just train really hard for Mendon.  That would possibly catapult me into training for Twisted 2018, which would put me in a good spot to hopefully do well.  And take a little pressure off me as we navigate through the rest of the summer and hopefully the end of the flooding.


So with that said:

  1. How many miles a week do you think are needed to run (well) a super challenging 100k?
  2. Is it wise to push my training for the next 8ish weeks (which would allow for a 2 week taper) and see what happens?
  3. Does anyone need a pacer (as long as you understand that if we are under threat of flood–which god I really hope by that point in the summer we’ll be in the clear–that we will be here trying to salvage things)?