Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seven Sisters, good friends, and a college graduation

The past few weeks have been insane for me at work.  You all are probably sick if hearing me say it, but it's been 12 hour days non-stop for awhile now.  Anyway, it's been cutting into my running time, so I've been trying to figure out strategies to deal with it.

My primary strategy has been to run with Goat, since he is training for the Vermont 100.  I'm his pacer and try to get out to run with him as often as possible.  The past two weeks, it has not been often.  My other plan was to start racing more frequently.  I plan to race at least once per month in order to stay engaged in the running community and get in a good workout.  This has been working OK so far.

Last weekend, I ran the Seven Sisters Trail Race up in MA in the Holyoke range.  It's the most difficult trail race I have run ever!  It is only 12 miles long, but it took me over 2.5 hours (2:34 to be exact).  The course is only marked with the blue blazes, and I got off course a couple times.  I figure I was good for 2:30 without getting lost.  Anyway, it was a great experience!  I ended up parking right next to the Livingston's by chance, so quickly returned Deb's jacket that she had left at the Traprock 50K.  

Deb ran a great race, and I think she was 2nd female.  I hung on her wheel for awhile, but then fell behind when I got off the course.  I never did catch up.  Scott finished a couple places ahead of her.  He looked strong at the halfway mark, but then faded from the heat.  He's been training through these races in order to get ready for an Ironman.

A few miles in I heard someone cheering for "Daniel".  A minute later, my nemesis, Dan Larson, caught up to me.  He's a very tall guy with a pony tail, so he's hard to miss.  I say he's my nemesis jokingly because he passed me in my first VT00 at the 90 mile mark like a freight train in the night.  We ran together for awhile at Pineland Farms and he finished 3rd and I was 4th that year.  He ran Seven Sisters as a training run for Vermont to get in some hill work.  He didn't look keen to go crazy on the technical terrain, so I finished about 3-5 minutes in front of him.

I joked with the Legend, Rich Fargo, at the beginning as he passed me and then passed me again.  He is a running machine and has won more trail races than I have run.  I ended up passing him at an aid station with a couple miles to go as he was bonking a bit.  He caught up to me after I got off course a second time, but I managed to kamikaze the final downhill and passed a couple more people.  

It was a tough run, but I was pleased.  I finished 37th overall and would have been a few places higher if I stayed on course.  Best news of all was that I did not have any major intestinal problems the next day.  This was really good news, and I'm psyched to do another race soon.

Today was a great run with the Goat and Marty.  Marty is a Traprock 50K finisher, and overall great guy.  Despite pouring rain, the 3 of us had a blast and put in more than 24 miles on difficult terrain.  It took us about 4 hours and 20 minutes or so.  Other than some seriously bloody nipples, I felt great and am looking forward to another run with the boys soon.

So, now what?  Do I run Soapstone next weekend or do another long run with Goat?  Goat is training for VT100, so he'll do a long run Saturday and volunteer at Soapstone.  I would like to run Soapstone as I have always wanted to try it.  I'm starting to feel better about my running, so we'll see how this week goes.  It would be nice to get a few decent runs in before the race.

By the way, many thanks again to everyone who ran Traprock.  As a result, we cleared $200 and donated it to Haiti relief.  It's not a huge sum, but I'm sure every dollar makes a difference.  

Lastly, my daughter, Tara, who many of you met at Traprock, graduates from UCONN tomorrow, and I am wicked proud!  She's an awesome person, and it will be hard for me to hold back the tears.  I'm a real sap and get choked up at these kinds of events.  I can't believe the day is upon us!  It's going to be interesting to watch and see what she does now.  I'm sure she will make a very positive impact on the world as she has over the past 22 years.  Congrats Tara!  You rock!

Have a great week everyone!


Bob Buckingham said...

This was the first time you have run Seven Sisters? I figured you for a multiple finisher there. I think I have done it 5 or 6 times although not in the recent past. You are right it is a difficult course. Have you done Escarpment yet? That could be neck and neck with Sisters. Congrats to Tara!!

Ultra Steve said...

Thanks Bob! Escarpment is on my list, but haven't run it yet. I've always focused on the marathon and beyond, so having fun running with the speedsters this year.

Dawn A said...

Awesome you're getting a chance to preview Western States. Hope you have a lot of fun out there and come back ready to do it again a few weeks later.