Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Daily Chase: Vol. 57

Oh, hi there! This is me emerging from the Olympics rabbit hole I fell down two weeks ago🙂 There have been more incredible highlights, interesting stories, and downright strange events in the international sporting world in the last two weeks than at any other point over the past 4 years. That’s what ultimately makes the Olympics such an incredible experience. I find myself so easily sucked into the drama that unfolds with athletes I know and those that I’m “meeting” for the first time on the grandest stage of them all, and it can be quite the emotional roller coaster if you let it consume you. I’ve enjoyed some amazing victories, incredible upsets, and questioned some ridiculous decisions, but I’ve loved every minute of it. I certainly have my own thoughts on the viability of the Olympics, the actions taken and not taken by Rio and the IOC leading up to the games, and the economic viability of holding the games in a different city every 4 years. However, I think it’s important that we all learn to separate the politics from the individual stories, the passion, the commitment, and the dedication on the part of all of the athletes that spend their entire lives working towards this opportunity. Only some of them are leaving with medals in hand, but none of them are leaving empty-handed. Their spirit, emotion, dedication, and heart are what #chasing42 is all about and I salute them all for their efforts!

An etching and printmaking workshop proved a wonderful way to spend a weekend with the beautiful epicurean!

An etching and printmaking workshop proved a wonderful way to spend a weekend with the beautiful epicurean!

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Run: My running has been quite consistent over the past two weeks, and I’ve been really pleased with some of the efforts as I continue to maintain my #chasing42runstreak. I’ve been tackling as many hills as I can, whenever I can, and that has made for some extreme threshold runs in the ridiculous heat and humidity over the past two-week. Ultimately, training in this climate will only make me stronger as the fall facing season approaches, but that hasn’t stopped me from cursing mother nature every time I come back from a run exhausted and drenched in sweat! I capped things off this past weekend with about 35 miles of mainly trail-running, with plenty of climbing, and my legs are feeling great. I’ll be running the MD HEAT 50K next weekend for the second year in a row, and it should serve as an excellent training run and way of working out some of my race logistics. Things were a bit cooler this weekend, and in looking ahead, it would appear that the weather may finally be breaking. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

My first attempt at paddle-boarding was a small victory...I didn't fall in!

My first attempt at paddle-boarding was a small victory…I didn’t fall in!

Thought: Now that I have over a year in Delaware under my belt, I’m happy to report that the chaotic craving to run every race in sight, all at once, has subsided. I’ve always told myself to choose my races and spread things out to ensure no burnout or overuse injuries. Towards the end of the Voyageur 50, I started to feel some sharp, stabbing pain in my left shin. I immediately assumed the worst and thought about the prospect of recovering from a stress fracture. I was clearly stubborn enough to finish the race, but the pain popped up again several times in the following week. I nervously requested and x-ray from my physician, and waited anxiously for the bad news. Luckily, I received to get the message that there was no sign of a stress fracture. The pain hasn’t re-emerged in the past two weeks, but it was the reminder I needed to calm down, take my training one step at a time, and be much more methodical about my approach. The “kid in a candy store” feeling I had when we moved to Delaware has now worn off, and I can return to the careful, measured, analytical approach to my running that I pride myself on, as I move forward. My plan is set for this fall, and I’m excited to see what the next few months bring. More importantly, I’m looking forward to many years of happy running and exploring as I continue #chasing42!

Race Report: Voyageur 50

I grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes. In reality, it’s more like 11,482 lakes of 10 acres or more. Thus, you’d think I spent a great deal of time on the water, and my youth was awash with typical lake activities like fishing, boating, and swimming. In reality, I lived relatively close to only one lake, and spent next to no time out on the water, aside from some “swimming” in depths that never went over my head. My asthma and the socioeconomic realities of life meant I spent more time reading about lakes and trails than I did enjoying them. Thus, when I discovered the North Shore of Duluth as an adult, and then discovered trail running even further along in my journey, I instantly fell in love with the trails that crisscross the shores, ridges, and bluffs of Lake Superior. As luck would have it, the epicurean, despite her high water standards courtesy of a youth filled with Atlantic fishing excursions with her father, developed a pretty quick love affair with Duluth and Lake Superior as well. Thus, when I realized that the Voyageur 50-miler just happened to be on the same weekend that we were planning to travel back to visit my family, it only made sense to plan a trip up north and spend some quality time on some amazing trails.

We rented a car and drove  the short 2 hours 15 minutes up to Carlton, MN (race start location) on Friday the 29th. Luckily my mother was able to join us, and it had been a good 35 years since she had been to Duluth, so she was eager to see how drastically things had changed. We got checked into our hotel and drove down the road a mile or so to packet pickup, which was an easy-in, easy-out endeavor. Carlton was holding their annual celebration “Carlton Daze” over the weekend, and I walked up just as a youth run was beginning, and it made me smile to see so many young children lined up and ready to give it their all. Then we drove the 20 additional miles up to Duluth, and spent the evening walking around the lakeshore, and eating a delicious Italian meal at one of our favorite restaurants, which we happily discovered now had a gluten-free menu, which meant we were back in business!

All smiles after a lovely evening in Duluth!

All smiles after a lovely evening in Duluth!

After dinner, we walked around a bit more and then headed back to the hotel. I got all of my gear situated for the morning and we relaxed before hitting the hay relatively early. 4:30AM came early as it always does, but I was thankful that the starting line at the Carlton High School was mere minutes away so I didn’t feel rushed. The epicurean drove me to the start and I arrived around 5:30AM, in plenty of time for the 6:00AM start. This was the 35th running of the Voyageur, and you could feel the history in the air as runners young and old gathered to tackle this out-and-back course. For some, like myself, it was the first time running the race, and for a select few, it was incredibly the 35th time they had toed the line!

Trail sunrises are the best! (Photo credit: Endurance Kennels LLC)

Trail sunrises are the best! (Photo credit: Endurance Kennels LLC)

There were a few brief words of encouragement from the race director, and we were sent on our way with the characteristically unceremonious “go” being uttered from a megaphone. After a brief stretch on a road leading to a paved trail, the course hops onto a several mile stretch of rocky, rooty, technical single-track along the Knife River. The reviews of the race I had read indicated that getting to this section as quickly as possible to avoid being stuck too far back in a single-file conga line was important, so I pushed it the first mile or so to make sure I didn’t get stuck too far back. The sun was just rising and it was a beautiful sight to see the steam coming off of the rushing water. It was hard not to stop and take pictures, but I did manage to get my phone out while I was moving- it was too beautiful to pass up!

How could I not stop for a quick picture?!

How could I not stop for a quick picture?!

The first aid station was 3.4 miles in, just over a beautiful swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park. I’d run these trails before and was excited to cross the bridge and know where I was, which doesn’t happen very often! I was feeling strong, and only stopped long enough for a glass of water before continuing on. The next 7 or 8 miles flew by pretty quickly, and I fell in sync with two other runners just after the first aid station, so we started running together and had some great conversation along the way. One of the best aspects of the trail running community is how genuinely kind and social everyone is, and how easy it is to fall in step with someone and end up chatting for hours.

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The three of us reached the infamous power lines section feeling strong and ready to tackle them. I’d heard this section referenced repeatedly as a challenging and difficult section of steep climbs so I was bracing for the worst. The climbs were definitely challenging due to the extreme grade, but they were all relatively short, so I didn’t mind them in the least bit. I was ultimately more nervous on the descents due to the slick, muddy path downward. The sun was still making its way up in the sky at this point, and the cool air gave us some much-needed relief, but also reminded us that it would be much hotter on the return trip!

Nothing reminds you to slow down like a rocky stream!

Nothing reminds you to slow down like a rocky stream!

After tackling the power lines, there was a short section of ridge line running, complete with ropes to pull yourself up on a particularly steep and precarious ascent, and I had a blast channeling my inner mountain goat. We emerged from the forest and spent a few miles on some rolling gravel roads before heading up to Spirit Mountain. As we were crossing under the ski lifts and looking down the ski slopes towards Lake Superior and Duluth, the views were absolutely incredible. I reached the top of the mountain, and other than a quick pit stop to allow for the end stage of digestion, I was feeling great. I had a blast bombing down the mountain on trails and service roads towards the final aid station and turn around point at the Lake Superior Zoo.

I was feeling good on Spirit Mountain!

I was feeling good on Spirit Mountain!

I reached the turn around point aid station and saw the epicurean and my mother immediately. I was all smiles as I rolled in and greeted them calmly. They helped me fill up my hydration pack and mix in some more Tailwind, and I ate some snacks and a few glasses of ginger ale, and I bid them farewell. They left to go spend the afternoon in Duluth, and I took off to tackle the course in reverse, beginning with an ascent of Spirit Mountain. I fell in step with another runner, and we began geeking out over ultrarunning related topics. It was fun to have a conversation with someone as passionate about the sport, and who followed the “stars” in the sport as closely as I do and we had a great conversation. Near the top of the mountain, we picked up another guy, and the three of us continued on together, making our way back to Carlton.

Such beautiful views!

Such beautiful views!

The return trip was relatively uneventful, other than to say that I was still feeling really strong, and could tell I had been doing a good job with hydration and nutrition. The temps rose into the low 70s, but after the brutal heat in Delaware for the past month, this felt like heaven! I eventually pulled ahead of the other two I was running with, or more accurately, they pulled up because they weren’t feeling as good, and I carried on alone for a few miles. This chunk of the race really allowed me to reflect on how thankful I was to have the opportunity to be out there, in a place I love, doing something I love. My concentration seemed to lock in and I noticed each foot fall as I hopped over roots and sidestepped rocks, splashed through small streams, and set small goals for myself during climbs. I reached the ridge line again, and enjoyed the slightly different perspective.

Still feeling good!

Still feeling good!

Near the bottom of this section, I caught up to a guy I had been leapfrogging for several miles. We got to chatting and ended up running together for the remainder of the race without ever really talking about it. Our paces seemed to mesh well and an unspoken understanding just sort of took hold. We approached the power line section again and tackled the hills with relative ease, despite the sun high in the sky. After this chunk of elevation change, the final 10 miles flew by relatively quickly. We took our time through the rocky final miles to make sure there were no twisted ankles, and enjoyed the comfortable pace. We reached the final section of the trail and emerged out onto the paved trail we had taken to start the course, and it felt great to know were close. With about a half mile left, he looked over at me and asked if I had anything left in the tank and I said sure. We picked up the pace and sprinted in strong across the finish.

It was a memorable weekend!

It was a memorable weekend!

I crossed the finish line in 10:15, which was good for 71st/ 271 and very respectable. I claimed my finisher’s mug, and took a deep breath. My mother and the epicurean were waiting for me at the finish, and I greeted them with the same smile I had given 25 miles earlier. Happily, there were showers available in the high school, which meant I could clean up a bit before hopping in the car for the drive back. My legs were certainly feeling the effects of 50 miles, but I still felt strong and happily felt as though I could have turned around and done it all over again. This was a great test of my endurance leading up to the Grindstone 100 on October 7th, and I’m looking forward to this final training block. More than anything, this race was an opportunity for some new memories and a chance to share something I love with the ones I love. Ultimately, that’s what #chasing42 is all about🙂

Daily Chase: Vol. 56

Summer travels have made the last few weeks a bit of a whirlwind, but they have led to some thoroughly enjoyable experiences running and living life! We left to travel back to Minnesota to visit my family on the 27th, so the few days prior were a rush to wrap up things at work, pack for a week of travel, and still continue training. Luckily, the epicurean and I did a good job of planning ahead and it made travel relatively easy. We spent the week amidst what amounted to 4 separate shorter vacations, but I made sure to keep up with the #chasing42streak and still have plenty of fun and relaxation. You truly can’t put a price on spending time with family, and this was a special trip on many levels, and made me appreciate so much more the time we were able to spend with family and friends. It’s always hard to live so far away from family, and I don’t think it entirely sunk in for me until I was leaving to return to Delaware. There’s no question that #chasing42 has taken me to some amazing places and will continue to do so, but it will always bring me back home as well🙂

 

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Run: So, I ran a few times over the course of the last two weeks! I’ve been getting in some solid mid-week trail runs and other group training runs, which has made dealing with the continued extreme heat and humidity a bit easier. I made a point of taking it easy in the days leading up to our travels to Minnesota, as I was running the Voyageur 50 on 30th, and I thought maybe I’d give tapering a try. As it turns out, it actually does seem to have some positive effects, and I ended up having a great race playing on the trails overlooking Lake Superior. The entire Duluth area holds a special place for both the epicurean and I, so it was wonderful to return, and for my mom to be able to join us for the quick trip. A few days prior, I was able to run a few miles on the trails where I ran my first 50-miler as well, which was a fun trip down memory lane. I was able to run a familiar loop in Ames with some friends last Monday morning while we were in town as well, which was a blast despite the 5AM wake-up call. We returned home this past Wednesday, and got back to Wilmington early enough that I was able to get out for a comfortable midday run. Some solid hill-work on Thursday served as good prep for a solid long run yesterday. I was able to knock out over 26 miles on the trails with some good company, and then I headed back out in the afternoon to make it an interesting two-a-day test. Happily, my legs felt great!

Thought: The Summer Olympics started this weekend, so our collective attention will be directed to Rio for the next two weeks. There are numerous compelling stories and exciting events to hold our interest, and I’m looking forward to many of them. The lead up to Rio has been more about the chaos of Olympic facilities that were incomplete and environmental conditions that would make a cockroach cringe. I can only hope that everyone enjoys this moment. All of the athletes have worked their entire lives, in many cases, for this moment and it would be horrible for Zika or some other illness to ruin their Olympic memory.

Daily Chase: Vol. 55

It’s appropriate that the Badwater 135 took place this past week, because I’ve felt like I have been heat-training for it all week! I would love to tackle Badwater at some point in the near future, but running in 95 degree heat and humidity always gives me pause and causes me to rethink goals like that. Clearly humidity isn’t an issue at Badwater, but that only means the water leaves your body even quicker! At any rate, I finally feel as though I’m acclimated to the heat and humidity this summer, which is a nice place to be in as i enter full training mode for the Grindstone 100. The beautiful epicurean and I will be heading back to Minnesota this coming week to visit family, and I’ll have a chance to run the Voyager 50 in Duluth next Saturday, which I’m extremely excited to experience. That area and those trails hold a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to be back there!

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Run: It’s been an interesting running week for me, with the humidity and intensity of my workouts. I took things relatively easy on Monday after a solid, vert-filled run on Sunday. The track workout on Tuesday provided me an excellent opportunity to practice turnover and pacing, and I felt great despite the extreme temperatures. On Wednesday, I got home a bit later and wanted a short but quality workout so I headed to a local park to do hill repeats and squeezed some serious vert into a 5 mile run. I took it easy on Thursday, and dialed back my 200 repeats with the group to a more reasonable pace to give my quads a rest after two hard workouts. Yesterday, curiosity got the best of me and I returned to the Newark Reservoir to see just how much climbing I could squeeze into a short workout. I managed over 1000 feet of gain in just over 2 miles, and I was smoked. This is going to be a great go-to workout for me as I gauge my fitness and leg strength leading up to Grindstone. I tried my best to honor the taper this morning and kept my miles more contained for a Saturday, but still got some good pacing and climbing courtesy of friends always willing to push things a bit. It was 90 degrees by the time we finished running at 9AM, and the temperature isn’t done climbing yet!

Thought: I’ve found myself thinking more and more about doping in our sport recently. Recent drama with Russian athletes being banned from competing in Rio have brought the topic into the spotlight on a world stage. However, they are certainly not the first instance of doping in our sport. I was saddened to see the news that a MUT athlete tested positive after finishing 5th at UTMB in 2015. I think that the ultrarunning community likes to think that we are better than all of this at times, and that our sport has a decidedly different, more community-focused feel than the running community at large. In general, I would tend to agree with this statement. You need look no further than the epic finish at Hardrock last weekend to know that there’s something decidedly different about our sport. Some folks have celebrated this fact, while others have bemoaned it as an end to the essence of racing. Our sport may indeed be much smaller, despite the significant increase in ultra distance races, but we are still just as susceptible to human nature. We are a competitive community, and there will always be people willing to cut corners in order to gain an advantage. The fact that we are talking about it more now certainly isn’t because it’s a new phenomenon. People have surely been looking for illegitimate competitive advantages for years. What’s changed is our ability to discover this cheating and to communicate our discoveries on a global scale.

I’m a firm believer in a zero tolerance policy. I applaud the work of Ian SharmanSage Canaday, Kara Goucher, and others to draw attention to doping and organize athletes against doping in our sport. There was plenty of talk about doping at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field trials, especially with regard to Justin Gatlin and other elite athletes that have tested positive in the past. There is no question that these folks are incredible athletes, but in no way should they be allowed to represent the U.S. on a world stage. Once you test positive, your credibility is never the same and that finding will always haunt you, as it should. The fact that we see suspensions instead of lifetime bans communicates a clear message of hypocrisy and double standards that only hurts our sport and the young athletes working hard every day to achieve their dreams. There are enough pressures on young high school and college athletes as it is, without them having to worry about whether their opponent is going to have a slight edge thanks to a sketchy coach or banned substance.

There has always been something pure, clean, and powerful about the sport of running. You have the ability to toe the line at any time, and leave everything you have out on the track, road, or trail. You push your body to limits and beyond, and embody the purest nature of the human spirit. Our sport is at a crossroads, and the decisions made by leaders in the sport now will decide whether running remains that pure test of determination, hard work, endurance, and strength, or if it becomes something else. There are certainly other issues at play here, such as athlete compensation, the politics of USATF and other organizations, and the overall economics of sport. However, doping is a clear problem with a straight forward solution. The only question is whether we will act, and truly embody the #chasing42 spirit!

Daily Chase: Vol. 54

Did you think I forgot about you? Well, I wouldn’t say it was forgetting as much as simply not having enough time🙂 The training has been picking up over the last two weeks, and I’ve been doing my best to stay on top of everything else going on in my life. I’ll certainly never accuse my life of being boring, and that’s a sign of good decisions as far as I’m concerned! There is simply so much to learn, investigate, and explore in the world…so if you think you are bored, it probably just means you are boring😉 Now, if that reality check didn’t offend you and scare you off, then read on for some more highlights and updates!

It's nice to have so many choices!

It’s nice to have so many choices!

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Run: There has been a lot of miles and a lot of exploring going on in the past two weeks and it has made my training all the more enjoyable as I kept the #runstreak going! Here are a few highlights:

I love finding abandoned furnaces and other structures along the trails!

I love finding abandoned furnaces and other structures along the trails!

  1. New access to White Clay Creek: I discovered a trailhead into Middle Run, right next to White Clay State Park, and easily on my way home from work. I started bringing running clothes to work so I could go directly out from work, and it was brilliant! The trails were new, peaceful single-track and I loved wandering around in the woods after work. I haven’t gotten down to WCCSP nearly as much as I would like since Brandywine Creek is closer, but now I can get in a mid-week trail fix!
  2. I still get lost: I was reminded last Saturday that my directionally challenged nature is still quite relevant to my running. I drove out early for the group run, intending to do a quick 50-minute loop that we had done many times before, and be back in time to meet up with everyone else. Unfortunately, I managed to get pretty lost in this endeavor, didn’t make it back in time, and spent the rest of the run on random trails secretly hoping that I’d run into the group. I didn’t, but it was still a relaxing 15-miler with plenty of vertical gain, so I was happy.
  3. More hills: I’m back into full-on vertical gain seeking mode, which means looking for opportunities to squeeze as much climbing into as short amount of time as possible. I found two new options that will work quite well for this task. The Ramsey Hill climb is in Brandywine Creek State Park, and I’ve run by it plenty of time but had never done repeats. I also ventured out to explore the Newark Reservoir, which is only a few minutes from campus, and there is a fantastic hill leading from the parking lot to the water itself, which will make for some great mid-week climbing. I’ve certainly done far more climbing since moving here a little over a year ago, and I am enjoying the added challenge!
  1. Another new park: Last but not least, was my unanticipated discovery of the Carousel Park trails. I showed up to our regular Tuesday track workout but it had been moved and I didn’t see the email. I didn’t have time to get over to the other track so I went exploring and stumbled across yet another park and system of trails I didn’t know existed. Bonus!

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Thought: I finally quite waffling and registered for the Grindstone 100! I knew I needed a key fall race to really focus my training, but I was hesitate for reasons I don’t entirely understand. However, now that it’s a go, I couldn’t be more excited! It is supposed to be a fantastic race with some serious climbing, and it even starts at 6PM, so I’ll be running through the night when I’m awake and alert- score! It will certainly be a challenge, and I’ll be hitting the hill repeats and ramping up the mileage as the summer goes on, but I can’t wait for October 7th. My mind is ready for the challenge, and now it’s time to make sure my body is ready- time to keep #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 53

Happy 4th of July to everyone! I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the holiday weekend, and find some time to get out and explore the roads or trails! The weather around here for the last week has been surprisingly pleasant, and the humidity has stayed in check, which has been a welcome relief. I’m finally beginning to hit my stride with this new schedule, and I don’t feel quite as tired on a regular basis, which is always encouraging🙂 My fall running calendar is beginning to take shape as well. I registered for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20th, which should be a blast with some friends traveling out east from Iowa to come run the streets of Philly with me. I think I’ll be taking the plunge on an October 100-miler as well, so more to come on that soon! I think having something significant to train for really does help me focus my effort on a daily and weekly basis so I’m excited to have that looming over me soon!

Trail love!

Trail love!

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Run: The miles have been feeling much more comfortable over the past week and a half. I’ve hit my Tuesday track workout goals with consistency, and I’ve been getting in some solid climbing as well, especially on the weekends. The last two weekends have seen 25/13-15 back-to-back efforts with plenty of climbing on the trails, and I’ve felt better than I have all summer. The trails are in great shape right now too, so it’s been an absolute joy to be out there! My weekly mileage comfort zone seems to be settling in at between 60 and 80 miles, and I’ve been hitting that mark consistently. It’s nice to have a sense of where I’m at my best without pushing myself too far.

Midweek beauty!

Midweek beauty!

Thought: The idea of a running culture has been on my mind some as of late. Many activities or affinity groups throughout society constitute sub-cultures, and running is no different. It’s fascinating to listen to story after story from runners about trying to explain their passion to non-runners. How often have you heard these comments?

  • You ran HOW far?
  • Why on earth would you get up that early?
  • Isn’t that hard on your knees?
  • I bet you can eat ANYTHING you want?
  • How far is that marathon?
  • I just don’t know HOW you do it? I get tired walking the dog!
You don't always know where the path leads, but you still feel compelled to follow.

You don’t always know where the path leads, but you still feel compelled to follow.

I will fully admit (and I’m sure I’m not alone) that I often forget that not everyone has the same understanding of running. This is in large due to the fact that I have surrounded myself with other runners who enjoy the sport as much as I do, and enjoy talking about it. It’s human nature to seek out other like-minded individuals that share your interests. However, I’m still amazed at the lack of basic running knowledge folks seem to have, no matter where I am. Running isn’t exactly a niche activity, or a brand new cultural phenomenon. People have been running for a long time, and the current running mindset has been developing for decades. Races of all distances are held almost every day, especially during the summer, and everyone probably knows someone who has run a half marathon or full marathon at this point. We aren’t talking about a group of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics translators here! Yet, the above questions still pop up. I’m always the most troubled by the “I could never do that” statements. If you speak with any group of runners, you’ll hear origin stories that run the gamut. Not everyone has been running their whole lives, and many people underwent significant life changes. Running was simply one aspect of that change. I’d put myself in that camp. Now, I don’t say that as a way of soliciting a pat on the back. I mention it to say that running isn’t out of reach for most people. It certainly helps to have the support of friends and family, but you can do it even without that support. It boils down to mindset. Carol Dweck talks about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and there is a lot to be learned in that simple distinction. It comes down to believing in yourself and your ability to change and grow. It helps to have a good pair of shoes too! Whatever your journey, the reality is that those questions won’t stop coming, but as long as you keep #chasing42, you’ll always be happy to answer them🙂

Daily Chase: Vol. 52

This past weekend, I returned from a quick trip to run with a few friends, and was greeted with a dead phone. I should have learned my lesson by now, but I realized at that moment that I hadn’t backed it up in a few weeks, and I sadly had lost quite a few photos. After my initial frustration, I mourned the loss but moved on. We catalog memories in a lot of different ways, and those photos were just one way that I had captured different moments. Luckily, this site is yet another way that I’m able to capture life, and it made me appreciate even more the power of journaling as a means of cataloging memories. I hope you have many different ways to capture those things that are important to you as well. Oh, and don’t forget to back up your phone!

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Run: The time management transition continues, and I’d be lying if I said my sleep wasn’t suffering as a result. However, I’ve still been able to keep moving forward with my training and getting in my daily runs. I have two weeks of track workouts under my belt now, and am feeling really good about the time I’m spending racing around the 400m oval. This past weekend, I met a friend up in York, PA, and we ran the length of the 41-mile York Heritage Trail down to Cockeyville, MD in honor of his 41st birthday. We were awake at 3AM, and running by 3:45AM, which was painful at the time, but we were thankful for the cool temps during those early morning hours. The run itself was surprisingly easy and quite comfortable, and we had a blast! My legs felt fine on Sunday and I managed a nice recovery run along with all of the other chores on our weekend agenda. One of the other significant shifts has been my ability to make it to group runs on Monday nights, which means Monday is no longer a rest and recovery day for me. I’ve shifted my schedule such that Wednesday and Friday are more intentional rest days with lower and slower mileage, and it seems to be working out well.

Thought: As I was running at a local park on Wednesday, I found myself particularly annoyed with some of the folks sharing the paved loop with me. Now that summer is here and the weather is much nicer, it’s wonderful to see so many more people out and about, being active, and generally taking advantage of the weather. However, it would seem that some of the most basic rules of trail etiquette seem to go out the window rather quickly. This wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve found myself pondering the illogical nature of decisions that I would have thought would have been common-sense. I resisted the urge to “politely” ask people to consider their decisions, which was probably for the best since my comments may not have come out quite as nice as I would have liked. However, it reminded me that as runners, we can’t take some of these common-sense actions for granted and need to always assume people will behave irrationally. We need to be ready to react on paved residential trails in much the same way that we prepare to react on single-track in the middle of the wilderness. Dogs and strollers may replace snakes and tree roots as our most significant obstacles, but the need to respond accordingly is still there!

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

  1. Walking 3-wide with 4 dogs across the entire trail is never a smart move. I’m sure you have a lot of gossip to catch up on, but you still need to pay attention to yourself and your pets!
  2. Giving your dog 10 feet of leash to weave back and forth across the trail is going to get you in trouble. I’d prefer not to jump rope with your leash.
  3. I’m really happy to see you getting your young children outside and teaching them the value of exercising. However, please don’t let them run up ahead of you so far that you can’t alert them to others oncoming. They probably aren’t going to be paying attention, and I certainly don’t feel comfortable moving your child out-of-the-way so I don’t knock them down!
  4. Runners- please remember to run on the right and pass on the left, and to keep to your side otherwise. Folks of all paces are out there, and you don’t want them to run into you, or vice-versa.
  5. Everyone else- passing on the left is common. A biker or runner should shout “on your left” before coming up behind you. This means they will be passing you ON YOUR LEFT. This is not a request for you to move to the left, or for the two of you to part like the Red Sea so that I can run between you and hope I don’t trip over your stroller or startled dog. You might need to practice this reflex reaction at home, since it would seem that a significant number of people are confused by their left and right when confronted with the decision.

Just sayin’. I’ll keep #chasing42…on your left.

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