Sunday, April 20, 2014

And Taper Begins...

Saturday was 26 on the schedule and I ran 3 laps of a 8 mile trail loop for 24 and am calling it 26.  Muddy Math.  I was on my feet for 5 hours and 33 minutes.  My heart rate stayed very consistently in my endurance zone. With a few stops to talk to Dave and the other folks doing trail maintenance, to pick up a lost iPhone and to step aside for the mountain bikers, my heart rate dropped quickly and came back up quickly.  All in all I'm pleased with this run, I've been pleased with most of my runs lately.  It is time to raise the bar. 

When Dave and I discussed weekend plans, Dave said he and Lennon would be out with a group doing trail maintenance at Burlingame on Saturday, I had planned on running there.  Hmm... do I keep with my plan or modify it.  I kept with my plan.  His work session started around 8:30 and I was up and out and on the trail around 8:15.  I knew where he was working, getting rid of a tree that had fallen across the trail and was in a its hard to go over or under it sort of position.

Plus most of the walkways (what are those wooden things over the swampy areas?  do they have a proper name?) were all tipsy turvey from the last few rainstorms allowing them to float around a bit.  

Lap 1

2ish miles in I hear a familiar voice "You're not running fast enough."  Dave and Lennon hauling in a chainsaw and a wheel barrow of stuff.  I stopped and walked with them up to the job site.  I wasn't sure when I'd see them, I figured I would at some point.  Lennon made a crack about "Meeting your lover in the woods." and Dave quick said "Shhh don't tell Beth."  ha ha ha

Dave & Lennon

Did a nice job trying to twist my right ankle in a way it isn't supposed to bend.  I sat for a moment or two with that one, wondering how bad is this really.  After a minute?  All seemed fine, a little tender and back on I went.

Otherwise lap one was as I expected, I walked hills and avoided some of the mud, I'd have two more chances to motor through the mud, why do it so early?  Saw a couple people and a couple of bikers.  There was a father and son biking, both looked a little not so sure about all of this.

Lap 2

This is when the voices of doubt start, but I had this prize waiting for me about 2 miles into lap 2, seeing Dave.  I had no idea this would mean so much to me, but it did.  I post on FB what my plans are and put it in my blog to help hold myself accountable and not come up with a reason to not achieve what I set out to achieve.  But somehow this live person there made it a little more meaningful to keep going on.  That helped. 

There were about 3 mountain bikers, Sandals was among them, curiously not wearing sandals though.   My thought at the time was "Was that Sandals?" and put it out of my head until I saw some pictures Lennon posted on FB and yep, that was him.

The crew were very busy sawing and moving and that tree across the path was gone, no more pondering do I go over or do I go under.   Got a little kiss from Dave, awww... I'm NOT big into that mushy stuff and neither is he, so this overwhelming PDA set me on my back foot!

L - R  Lennon, Dave, Bert

Others were busy putting the walkways back in order.  I stopped and let them do what they needed to do and thanked them for their hard work and time.  

Remember those voices, well they started up and wanted to convince me to just quit and run 10 on the roads later.  No! NO! NO!  You can't.  Maybe Dave is still working on the trail and wouldn't that be cool to see how much progress they've made?  Oh they are probably already done, it takes you forever to get around this loop...

I stopped at the car, hoped I had a candy bar or a diet coke in my purse, nope, damn.  In the immortal words of one of my besties  "I could REALLY use an icy coke right now."  This would now play on an endless loop in my head, replacing the doubting thoughts.  Poured some more water into my hydro-pack, burped it, took off my second shirt, and was off again.

Lap 3

Wow there are nearly white caps on Watchaug pond, that breeze really does feel nice.  It is such a pretty blue color.

Then the weird noises started, the trees talking to me?  I thought someone was behind me, nope.  I stopped.  Weird.  Guess I'm getting a little delirious?

Then I started hearing the chainsaw again.  They were still there!  Good grief when did I become such a teenage girl?  The area was all cleared and they were putting in a ramp up and over a downed tree, the one were there were sticks, if you know the trail.  And I figured out what they were re-purposing the downed tree with, it could be a bench but it really is a little ramp over a muddy area.  I wondered why there were saw tooth cuts in it when I ran by on lap 2.  It now makes sense, to cut off a section.  No one had an icy coke for me, but we all agreed that or rather a cold beer would hit the spot!

Then Bert asked "How many miles have you run?"  Lennon said "You've been running this whole time?"  I think they were a little stunned?  It was kind of funny when the 19 miles registered to them and they shook their heads.  (Dave kinda beamed, huh...)

Yeah, another kiss in public and I was off...  A bit delirious and didn't think to take a picture of what they had created.

The walkway thingys were all set up, and one was being leveled.  One of the workers made a wise crack about me making it un-level when I ran past.  HA!  Of course I thanked all of them and wished them a nice day.

And back to the trail and challenging myself to figure out what is coming next and not avoiding the water and the mud, because this was the last lap.  I pushed a bit up hills walked some.  Noted that my hips were a little achy, but not too bad but damn that spot in my back where Amy elbowed out a big knot was SCREAMING.  Huh...  And I couldn't feel anything in my ankle, so that must be all right.  My left knee has been grouchy and still was but more of a sarcastic I'm going to poke you kind of grouchy not a mean ornery pinch a sensitive spot sort of grouchy.  This was the LAST lap, so just keep moving forward. 

Saw the father and son again, looking a bit tired and WAY more confident.  Go guys!

A SLEW of mountain bikers.  Ah a great time to take a little break.  They were waiting for the whole group to gather back together so I waited with them and chatted a bit. We wished each other well.

And on I went and on they went.  Through one of the massive rock gardens there was a couple walking bikes.  They were just getting out of one of the huge masses of rocks in that area and commented that it was a nice day but the trail was way rockier than they thought it would be.  I said, it opens up in a bit, stick with it.  They had pretty much ended the worst of it.

Oh the last water crossing!  2 miles to go.  OH what is that, an iPhone, do I leave it or pick it up.  I picked it up shoved it in my pack and figured I'd fiddle with it when I got back to the car and see if I could find its owner. 

I ran out of water before I got back to the car so my only focus was Water and an Icy Diet Coke.   And of course to post my accomplishment on FB.  What is it with that?  A need for self-promotion?  To prove I did what I said I was going to do?  A little bit of both and it put a finality on the run.  Done and dusted.

After I got out of the shower (no chafing, yeah) and went to clean out my pack I remembered about the phone and tinkered with it.  No lock on it.  I looked at the last number dialed and dialed it.  Someone answered.  I explained that I had found the phone and the person on the other end was so thrilled.  They thought it was gone forever, they had retraced their route and nothing.   They lost it pretty close to the start of the trail and hadn't back tracked that far.  They told me what they were driving and where they were parked and they'd meet me.  Ok I said, 20 minutes. I found their vehicle and they weren't there.  I waited 5 minutes and the phone rang.  I answered it and they weren't going to be there so we agreed I'd leave the phone on top of the driver's side tire.  Plenty of thank you's and I'll pay it forwards.  Hey, no worries, glad I could help.

I wonder if this was the couple walking their bikes?  I'll never know, I put the phone in the spot we agreed on and went home.  I did copy down the phone number of the iPhone I could text her?  

Saturday I ran a little over 7 miles on the streets.  Meandering around with no particular place to go, figured I'd run along the Pawcatuck River as some sort of plan.  2 miles from home and this biker slows near me.  It takes me a second or two to get it all figured out.  Mike B!  He rode, I ran, and we chatted for about a mile.  Nice break.   The run felt good, got the last little kinks the ice and stretching didn't work out yesterday, and maybe I had a little Jack just to help me sleep, I rarely sleep well the night of a long run.

Beth, thinking she may want to put some sort of contact information on the lock screen on her phone in the event she loses it and someone finds it and wants to return it.


  1. An awesome post that manages to prove several things at once:
    1. Trail runners are indeed a bad ass bunch
    2. Chivalry is NOT dead
    3. No matter how much we age, it's still the simplest things in life that matter most (sweat, mud, nature, and kisses).


    1. Thanks Muddy!! I agree on all three points!

  2. What an epic adventure! Congrats on logging some major mileage and having fun while doing it. I'm really impressed.

    1. Chris - Thanks!! Great to finally meet you in person. I am seriously impressed with your speed, and triple knots!!

  3. Nice job, and a good read, Beth. I'm impressed with your running perseverance!

    My phone screen reads "If found, please call xxx". That's on my corporate Crackberry that they set up, but I'm sure there's a way to do that on iPhone also. The message saved me one time when I got off the train in Westerly and my phone continued unaccompanied to Washington.

    1. Thanks Jeff! Right foot left foot repeat. I may never put in the effort to get fast but I do enjoy the run! Ah, my work crackberry used to have that now I have iPhone for both. I best do some research...