OA Girl is very, very tired.

OA Girl is tired.

No other word to describe how I feel.

I hit 42 miles this week.  Training is getting rough.

I did a 16-mile road run yesterday with my peeps down in Newport.  Yep, and when you need to 16 miles in at 6 a.m., you do run in the pouring rain.  Thus, the small group.  Only the “die hards” who need the training mileage.  Let’s face it, on race day, it is rain or shine.  As we say, “Suck it up, Buttercup!”

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And, today, I ground out a three-hour trail run in the Blue Hills.  I chose the Skyline Trail.  Bad idea.  There were some places that I knew if I fell, I would have broken bones or if not more, get seriously hurt.  At moments, I was getting very dizzy.

Not a good idea when running alone.  But, when you picked the path, you keep on keeping on.

At least my color coordinated outfits remain a consistent staple!

I like pond selfies for some reason, and oh, look, after you just climbed that steep hill, what a beautiful view of Boston.  Moving on…

Trail running is very demanding on the body.  There is no question.  I think it shows in my face.  I don’t look so “chipper” anymore.

I really like to find ponds to sit next too.  Forced break.

This past week I was able to get in a run at a new place.  I stayed at the Motherhouse of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Wilton, CT as I had client obligations.  Now, I have stayed at a ton of motherhouses during my career and never have I seen  a “Nun Pool!”  Pretty cool.  A bathing suit is coming with me next trip up.

 

I switched up my race plan.  The marathon that I had planned for September 9 is on the same date of a client Board retreat that I need to present at.  As the fates would allow, I found a trail running festival up at Jay Peak, VT on Labor Day weekend.  So, I signed up for a 22-mile trail race.  

God, help me.

And, of course, my 50K is almost a month away.

God, help me even more.

I may need to start going to church at this rate.

This weeks mileage will be about the same if not more.

I just cannot wait for the taper at this point.  In fact, I am praying for it.

One thing is certain, my body has slimmed down quickly.

As you can see by the length of this post.

The training is just beating it out of me.

Well, a hammock is calling and I must answer.

Off to sleep.

 

Running at Kripalu

Well, this weekend I was at Kripalu.  That would take a whole other blog post to describe my experience – glad I went is a good summary.

Yesterday, I decided to skip a session to get my two-hour trail run in. While I was reluctant to do that because Stephen Cope is one of my favorite authors, I had to.

Lucky I.  I had a taste of the Berkshire Trails.  How beautiful.

I navigated by Monk Pond to Bald Head.

I was about three miles in when my cell phone blasted a severe weather alert.  A line of marching thunderstorms was about to cross the region.  Well, what do you do in that case?  You are alone and you are in the middle of a forest.  Nothing.

These are the moments that I hate running alone in the woods.  And, other moments like bears, snakes, tripping and falling, multiple deer hooves, etc., etc., etc.  You begin to understand that you are not in your natural element and that nature is much bigger than you.  There is a whole other world out there………

I was on a Mountain Race when I hit a severe thunderstorm last year.  There is nothing you can do.  The trails become rivers down as they funnel all of the flash rain down and the lighting you just keep moving.  I think that was the race that my cell phone “fried” in.

So, I picked up the pace and just kept going, saying a silent prayer. I came to an overlook where a man was meditating on the edge.  I didn’t want to bother him to say “hey, buddy, see those dark clouds…”  Perhaps his meditating saved us.

The storm passed north of us.  Barely, but it did.

So, I continued my run.

It was a spectacular one.  I was waiting to see the mama bear that they say lives back there but no such luck.

All in all, it was a wonderful seven-mile jaunt on some of the nicest trails I have been on.

Did I say steep though?  Yes, steep.

Today, I woke up with a head cold.  Probably the casualty of sleeping with my windows open soaking in that crisp Berkshire night air.

I struck up a conversation with the Cafe operator and he noted that I could sneak over to Tanglewood as it is free after 9 p.m.  I just couldn’t muster the strength.  And, it was bleedy dark.

The Yoga and breath work was so intuitive and soul-connecting but that is an inspiration for another blog.

My training sucked this week. So, I am hoping that was a symptom that my body is a bit run down and thus the cold.  I hit the track this last Wednesday to find that football practice has already started after Paul gently warned me.  That means that this week, I need to head to Umass Dartmouth to get my workout in.  The track there is far superior it is just a hike.

This is a new week of training.

A 16 miler on the docket for Saturday with an almost three-hour trail run on Sunday.

A new week dawns.

 

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In the darkness

Where are you in the darkness?

I am vulnerable.

I am foolish.

I am weak.

I am despised.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

You see my wounds.

You see my hurting.

You see my agony.

You see my angst.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

I want to see the light.

I want to feel the light.

I want to be the light.

I want to spread the light.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

I wait.

Welcome and Woo Hoo Runners!

I did almost 40 miles this week. Well, 37.5  But hey who is counting!?!?

The good thing about me is that I have some staying power for the distance.  Probably why I have gotten the USATF Long-Distance Masters award.

Yesterday, I think we had 11 to start our Newport group.  Here we are at the entrance to Fort Adams before the Folk Festival sign.  An appropriate greeting, “Welcome and Woo Hoo!”

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Again, I am the supremely color-coordinated one.  Someone noted, Robin always matches and my “ego” blurted out, yep, I do!  I take great pride in my running outfits.

Well, mile after mile, we kept losing some folks so that around mile ten or so, there were just four from our original pace group.  A large contingent broke off into another pace group earlier on.

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And, Ron, at the age of 65 looks better than all of us at that point. Although his hat is off centered – he says that is to the sweat can roll off to one side.  I suppose I don’t look so bad either.  My hair is blowing in the wind like a movie star or something… or something.

At about mile twelve, it was down to 2. Yes, 2 – Ron and I to finish off our 14.  Our two remaining fellows had some technical difficulties that they had to attend to.  They made it in short order though.

Some days this happens.  One group pairs off with another, and then another two pair off, and then before you know it…you are still standing or your not.

We all got to try the new donut shop in Newport.  I admit I didn’t have a donut and the Nitro coffee was a tad overrated.  After defending my place in line, I needed to crush some shopping at Run Newport.  Why I needed another water bottle is beyond me, especially when I drink diet orange.  And, another headband?????  Who knows.

I did ok for 14 miles.  My only pain is the ache in my glutes.  Quite literally a pain in the ass.   When I run a marathon, I keep some Advil or other ibuprofen with me.  Studies have actually shown that this can decrease marathon performance so I only take it when the glutes are screaming.  But when I do, I pop the suckers in.  Once I do that, I can pretty much get the rest of the miles in.

Today, I headed to the Blue Hills for a two-hour trail run.  My Sunday runs need to start being on trails so that I can get my ankle strength up and adjusted to the terrain for my 50K.  I did roll my bad ankle again today and hopped to a rock in pain but it seems to be OK now.

As part of this workout, I did 20 x 1 minute all out up a hill with 1-minute recovery.  Boy, was I glad when that was all over.  The aim of this workout was quick leg turnover up the hill.

Needless to say, I didn’t look so pretty today as I did yesterday.  Trail running is a LOT more difficult than road running.  A lot more intensive on the demands it places on the body.  And the dirt, rocks, bugs, you name it.  Did I say more demanding on the body!?!?

I did use this an opportunity to test out my new “Scott Jurek” Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest.  For those of you who don’t know who Scott Jurek is, there is no need, just know that I have fantasies about him. Really last year he ran the Appalachian Trail beating the last standing record.  He did it in 46 days.

 

While a bit of overkill for today, I need to start using it to get accustomed to it and for the weight, it adds.  Thanks, Paul.  Nice Christmas present.  It makes me feel a little tiny teeny bit like Jurek.

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I am not so sure why I continue to make my own routes but here is one I planned out meticulously.  Always I get off course so easily.  Perhaps, I just need to break down and pay the $2.50 for the actual Blue Hills trail map that has all the trails outlined. However, you think I would know this by heart now.  It is not my first Blue Hills Rodeo.

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After a few miles in, I made it to my favorite spot, a little “kettle” pond that apparently was so low it didn’t make it in the photo.  I was aiming to get it in the background.  All you can see is the teeny tiny bank to the right of my head.  Nonetheless, it still felt like an oasis for taking a quiet reflective rest and for a lunch of gummy chews.

Well, I am looking officially trail like here. My sweatband needed to become a headband.  And, so there you have it.

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And, when I got back to the parking lot, what did I spy… A JEEP with a Vermont50 sticker.  This is the exact same race that I am training for.  I took that at a sign from the universe that “I got this…”

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A few pre-races on the docket now.

August 26 – 1/2 marathon –  Black Bear Half at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

September 9 – Charles River Marathon.  I am not one for inaugural races.  I like the kinks worked out of them but at least this starts near Harvard so I will be smart about it.

I would really like to do the 25K Around Cape Ann since I have done it a number of years but that is September 4 and would not allow enough time for rest before the marathon.

So the weeks are flying by and training is upping.  I think very soon I will be nearing 50 miles per week.

I am there.

Be still and know that I am there.

Waiting silently for you to awaken

to grow into your destiny.

 

Be still and know that I am there.

Needing nothing else in return

just a recognition of knowing.

 

Be still and know that I am there.

Discovering that all along

that illumination was just a reflection.

 

Be still and know that I am there.

Having the courage

to live in the moment of expectation.

 

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This photo was taken almost four years ago to the day.  A solitary trail run during Grad School.  Winona, Minnesota, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.  Rivers call us to be still and reflect.  This river most likely at some point in its life empties into the Mississippi, as Winona lies on the bluffs of that mighty river.

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And, just because I am awfully sentimental.  The athletic hallway to the pool I swam in nightly after class.  Four years ago this week, I finished my final Masters Summer Residence after three years of study.

 

 

Divinity​ awaits you

 

The one moment of error is to act as if

science is the language of the soul.

As if life depended upon the logical seen with no

witness to all that stirs within unknown.

 

To feel as if life had boundaries that existed

that could be defined or observed.

Surely, even you, have felt something beyond;

the ephemeral, the stirrings, and the song of the heart,

crowding out all that is known; the illusions of a world.

 

Facts are the modes of knowing but only poets

pierce deeply into the soul.  Boundaries do not exist in a

rebels voice. A voice from the dark night of the soul offering

redemption.

 

The soul is your mentor of things to come,

possibilities unknown.

The door has always been there to frighten you and invite you,

through the doorway of divinity

that has always been open and waiting for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The run of the devil…

Well, the ankle is well!  How do I know this?

The pep in my step has returned.  Yes, I know of this because my reputation proceeded me.

I heard, “And, there goes Robin” during the Saturday morning Newport group run.  And, off I went per usual.

It was a faster paced run given it was only five miles and it was supposed to be at half-marathon pace.  Since it was humid, the pace needed to be kept in check.

Today, my friend Heather met me and we had the “Run of the Devil.”  If I had known that the mileage ended at 6.66, I probably would have shot for a little bit more.

Well, not every run can be a match made in heaven, so sometimes you gotta take a little hell.

Heather was extremely proud of our Hathaway Road performance.  And, I was extremely proud of Heather.  Heather and I pretty much talked our ears off and solved all the world’s problems in about 40 minutes or so.  That was a cool thing.

This week things spice up a bit.  Tuesday is 1.25 hours, Wednesday is an hour run with tempo pace (aka UGH!), and Thursday I head to Sneakarama in Worcester to see my friend Karla Ann and get my free Tech Shirt and run with Striders.  I basically will go to great lengths for a free shirt of any kind, even a drive to Worcester.  It will be great to see Karla, and those Central Mass Striders are the best track club around.

I am mentally gearing up for our 14 miler in Newport on Saturday.  Did I mention how much I love Newport…well, we will see a lot of it over and over.  And, Sunday, my back to back run starts to lengthen to an hour and forty minutes.

See how this all revolves around friends.  Friends are what make the runs go by and the laughs a mile a minute.  Nothing like sweating it out with a friend or two.  My “social” runs are really the highlight of my week, my month, and my year.  Otherwise, why run 20 miles at a time.

All in all, I pray the devil doesn’t get my ankle.  I sure hope that 6.66 was not an indication that he was lurking to take me down again and give me a sweet pavement kiss…

 

 

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Runs are tons of fun with friends.  A glorious Saturday in Newport.  And, if you are wondering, I am the completely color coordinated pink person with the donut headband.

 

 

 

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6.66 “Run of the Devil.” I took Heather on a “Tour de New Bedford” showing her the finest there is to offer.