Rolling back the calendar to last summer, no temporal anomaly to blame, another catch-up post is here.

14 05 2020

SUMMER 2019:

Now that I’ve been destination racing for over 10 years, it has become more of a habit and less of a noteworthy circumstance, as has the whole training, racing and running scene.  This is probably the main reason I sort of lost interest in blogging every step of the journey.  Blogging in the first place is like keeping a diary memorializing days and events of your life which may be lost to history otherwise.  Publishing your blog assumes others will be as fascinated by your doings as you are.  I guess writing about it became much less urgent to me since there were social media posts and photographs somewhere in cyberspace which could serve as reminders should the need arise someday to look back.  In other words, it was just too commonplace to bother with any more.

Now here it is in the almost-summer of 2020 with practically no races to be had, and with the quest to run one in all 50 states by the end of this year in imminent danger of not being completed, that a new inspiration to envelop myself in all-things-running has arisen.  They say you don’t miss something until it’s gone.  I’d have to agree.  Anyway, here’s one of two catch-up posts to close out 2019 because I’m feeling the need to savor, and thus document, every precious step again and I can’t leave a blank between then and now.

springhill luna groundsJuly 19, 2019 brought a “3 states in 3 days trip” to New England where I ran most of the evening’s all-female 5k Luna Run at the Spring Hill Lodge in Maine.  It was an event which I added on to the Friday night of my weekend as a spur-of-the-last-minute decision.  I didn’t realize it was a trail race to be run up and down some grassy hills in the pitch dark with the path delineated by ropes and posts.  I saw an opportunity to add on an extra state, so I signed up.  Unfortunately, my night vision is pretty bad and I ended up stopping after the second one-mile loop due to the darkness and uneven terrain, plus the 135 mile drive I had ahead of me to my next destination and another race in Warwick, Rhode Island the following morning.  But it was a fun evening regardless and the area was quite beautiful to run two grassy miles in.  I didn’t get a medal but I had a good time, and the post-race taco and dessert bar was wonderful.  I skipped the margaritas due to the late night and the drive, but the ladies seemed to be enjoying those too.

On Saturday, July 20, the Rising Above Cancer 5k was held on an incredibly hot and sunnywarwick runners morning.  The mercury would eventually rise to 93F on that sweltering July day but it already felt “too hot to run” by the time we all assembled at Warwick City Park for the 9:00 am race.  This particular 5k is held every year to benefit the Malloy Strong Patient Support Fund which is a cancer institute linked resource for patients who need help with costs of medication or other necessities associated with their diagnosis of cancer.  It is named after a police officer, Ed Malloy, currently battling liver cancer and supported by hundreds of people, many attending and wearing Malloy Strong/Never Give Up green t-shirts, who advocate for his cause.  Seeing them trudging along through the heat definitely made me sure to “never give up” despite the fact that I was sweaty and tired before we even started.  This is one attribute of the running community that I have come to love since I laced on that first pair of shoes in 2008: the inexhaustible drive to push past the point when others might give up, not only to prove something to their own selves, but to do so again and again (some almost every weekend of the summer) to send a little money toward people who need help.  The day was crazy hot!  And I really did need to shove myself forward one foot at a time but I finished and, albeit with a slow and embarrassing time, was glad to have spent the morning in the company of these warrior humanitarians.  Oh and then when I got done, I had THE BEST lobster roll I’ve had in a long long time!

Then it was on to my next and final stop but not before I enjoyed some history, because I decided early on that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who flew into a state for a race and didn’t stop to explore the surroundings.  After all the point of this whole venture was not only to race in all 50 states but to actually “see” all 50, so I try to do something a little touristy/educational in each one.  In this case, I visited the Mark Twain House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center as well as the Ancient Burying Ground, a cemetery dating back to pre-revolutionary war America.  Those alone could be an entire blog entry but this is a catch-up post, so I’ll leave it here.

connecticut runnersSunday, July 21, brought the Hartford CT Achilles Hope and Possibility 5k which was a race featuring and benefiting a fund for disabled athletes. The weather was a bit cooler and wonderfully overcast for much of the race so it was a more pleasant, though no less inspiring, occasion.  Afterwards I had to head to the airport pretty quickly, another few hours of driving time, and then back home before bedtime since I had an 8:00 am shift at the hospital the next day.

3 states – 3 days – 3 more off the bucket list.  Done!  Finished smiling and with no regrets.

3states

August 4, 2019
DuathlonMeThe Naperville Duathlon — my second one ever in life — was next on the agenda about 2 weeks later.  I’ve aspired to, and been afraid of, multi-sport activities ever since my early days as a runner.  Even though I am among the unlikely athletes — having started older, slower and heavier than most at the age of 52 when I first did Couch to 5k and ran my intial race — I have always wanted to go the extra distance and take on the next more difficult challenge.  I don’t swim and never will; I just don’t like it.  But duathlon racing was something that was “still out there” for me even after I ran my first marathon the year I turned 60.  I tackled Batavia in 2018 and got a 60-64 age group award but I always rationalized that it was mainly due to the crappy thunder storm filled day and none of the other old ladies showing up.  But the Naperville Sprint Duathlon this year was pretty much perfect, and the 1 mile run, 13.7 mile bike ride, then 3.1 mile run had plenty of competitors charging along the roads on a beautiful mid summer day.

I had driven the course once with my bike in the back of my SUV.  I had actually wanted to duathlonmedalbicycle that day but soon figured out there weren’t enough sidewalks to do so safely, and the busy streets of Naperville were too forbidding for me to take a chance in daytime traffic.  So I tracked it with my Garmin watch as I drove, as if I’d been riding it on my bike, then figured out all the elevations later at home and made sure I rode similar but steeper ones around my house so I could be assured of being able to give it my all with no surprises.  Because the bike leg seemed more daunting, Silly Me didn’t RUN those same routes (“note to self” taken for the next outing), and the uphill runs were a tougher than expected but I was SO HAPPY to complete the race with energy to spare.  I was the oldest female in the duathlon (at age 63) but not the slowest, and that was all I’d been wishing for.   I wanted to finish in less than two hours and I made it by 51 seconds.  It was an utterly wonderful occasion, even though the line to pick up our bikes afterward took like an hour to get through.  I left the venue with plans for the following year’s event already clicking through the cogs in my brain and a major feeling of accomplishment swirling around me like an aura.  I was finally, definitely, after two successful outings a real Duathlete, a true multisport athlete, on my way to conquer even more territory in whatever outdoorsy terrain lay before me.  It was great.

What a nice summer!  Power to the Slowbees! 🙂

summer race times

Next up, fall and winter.

 

 


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