Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Daily Chase: Vol. 70

January was a bit of a blur in many regards. The University of Delaware offers a 6-week winter term for students, of which a small percentage partake and an even smaller percentage are on campus. The result was an incredibly calm, quiet, and productive month that was nothing like the rest of the year. I’m typically juggling quite a few projects, so January was a wonderful opportunity to get a lot of uninterrupted work done, as well as tackle some meetings that would typically be much more difficult to schedule. Since I wasn’t teaching yet in the evenings, it also meant a much more consistent and easy-to-follow training calendar. The consistently mild temperatures meant I was able to really start the year off right, and my 325+ miles in January are proof positive of that. I know things will be getting much busier beginning on Monday with the start of the Spring semester, but I’m ready to return to a more fast-paced schedule. I’ve always been someone that thrives when I have more on my plate, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the buffet line on Monday!

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Chasing42 Log: 20170129-20170204

Run: It was another solid, consistent week of training, helped in part by the fact that I finally put together my training plan for the first 6 months of the year. Although I love to just go out and run, I know that I need to be a bit more regimented with my schedule so I don’t burn out, and I can truly enjoy the races I have coming up. This past week was my last opportunity for Monday and Wednesday evening runs for a few months, as I’ll be teaching those evenings during the Spring semester. This likely means attempting to get up early to squeeze in a run before work. This is a prospect I am far from excited about and uncertain as to how effective it will be. All I can do is try, but waking up is already a challenge during the week! After some sound advice, I made my way over to the UD football stadium earlier this week, and was pleased to find out it was open and I could venture in for a very rewarding stadium stairs workout. I followed this up with the first of six club hill workouts on Thursday, and my climbing was in solid form heading into the weekend. I capped off a solid week yesterday with a strong 27-mile effort on the trails at Brandywine Creek State Park, and I couldn’t be more happy with how well my legs are feeling. It’s time to hit the semester running and #chasing42!

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Thought: I have declared that this is the season of downhill training. I know, after quite a few experiences, that the downhills are the bane of my existence late in a race, and I’m determined to have more strength for those late race downhills this year. This means I’ve been hammering the downhills during my hill workouts, and pushing upward more methodically. It’s a strange reversal for me, but it seems to be working already, based on yesterday’s long run. I can only hope that my quads are ready for the Umstead 100 in April and Laurel Highlands in June. I have every intention of training hard so I can push those downhills while I’m #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 69

So, it would seem that our collective post apocalyptic nightmare is in fact a reality, and we didn’t simply imagine the election we all lived through. Now, following a poorly attended inauguration (unless you have the magical ability to deny reality while looking at conclusive photographic evidence), and an empowering and energizing global march, we are left to deal the daily fall-out. Hopefully, you have at least some sense of just how bad pretty much every decision he has made thus far is for anyone who isn’t a rich, White, heterosexual male. However, regardless of your political beliefs, you are reading this blog because you are a runner. You like to be active and be outdoors. If so, then this administration should scare the s#@t out of you! Between the climate change denial, the relaxing of EPA regulations, the increased ability to sell public park lands, the silencing of research coming out of government agencies, and the ease with which pipelines are being approved, we are watching as the world around us is pulled apart at the seams. We can only hope that the other countries who signed on to the Paris Climate Accords pick up the slack and double down on the efforts.

On the flip side, if our Bobblehead of State succeeds in building his giant monument to human stupidity otherwise known as the wall, then someone will clearly need to organize a race from one end to the other 🙂 I’ve got dibs on the first FKT attempt!

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Chasing42 Log: 20170116- 20170128

Run: It’s been a solid two weeks of running. I’m still surprised by the mild winters in Delaware, but certainly don’t find myself complaining about wearing shorts in January. My volume has remained pretty consistent, and I’ve thrown in some solid tempo workouts and vertical gain pushes to mix things up. A week ago, I headed out to Brandywine Creek State Park and did hill repeats on one of the more difficult climbs in the park. Both the climb and descent were good practice due to the fairly technical terrain, and I managed over 2,000 ft of gain in a little over 10 miles so I was quite pleased. This past Friday, I had the afternoon off since I had to work yesterday morning. This meant a golden opportunity to do a longer run on Friday, and explore some of the trails in White Clay State Park that I’m not as familiar with yet. It was a perfect afternoon for a run, and I only managed to get a bit lost once, which is a big accomplishment for me. Not being able to run yesterday morning was a great reminder of the importance of being flexible in your training. Your training schedule needs to fit in with your life, and you need to be comfortable with adjustments when things arise that throw off your schedule. Things will always come up!

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Thought: As I wandered around the trails at White Clay State Park on Friday, it occurred to me how unfazed I was by the prospect of getting lost. The park isn’t large by many standards, but for me, it was more about the realization that I felt comfortable enough with significantly longer distances that I wasn’t worried about getting off track. If I ended up tacking on 5 or 10 more miles, I didn’t mind. I had the daylight, some fuel, and confidence in where my endurance is at right now. It’s a very freeing feeling to know that you can just keep going, and know that it means you can do even more exploring than before, and simply have fun with it. I pretty much had the trails to myself, and that nature high just got more and more intense with each passing mile, each stream crossing, each hill climb, and each new switchback. Running has definitely given me increased physical fitness, but it’s the mental freedom that I’m most thankful for overall. I’m happy to be #chasing42, no matter where I’m going or how far it takes to get there!

Race Report: PHUNT 50k

When a friend messages you to let you know he found a bib for an upcoming race for you, you don’t ask too many questions. This is even more true if it’s a race you wanted to run in the first place. I suppose distance does play a part in such decisions, but I happily added a last-minute 50K to my early season race calendar. The PHUNT 50K/25K is a race I had been hearing about since I moved to Delaware 18 months ago, and I was eager for the chance to toe the line!

The Trail Dawgs Running group is a fantastic local group of trail and ultra runners who put on a number of great races in the area, including a marathon I did this past May. In general, the running community in Delaware/Maryland/Pennsylvania is fantastic, and the Dawgs are a big reason for that! So, I knew this would be an enjoyable, laid back, and well-run race with a bunch of cool folks. Of course I wanted to spend a few hours out on the trail!

Packet pickup on Friday night was a breeze, not the least of which because it was only a 10 minute drive from my office. For a very low cost race, the Nathan water bottle and waist pack, along with some other items, amounted to a surprisingly great set of swag. I couldn’t resist picking up a new winter hat as well 🙂

The unusually late 9AM start time, coupled with the easy 25 minute drive, meant I was able to sleep in on a Saturday morning, which felt rather strange! I had time to relax, have some breakfast, get read, and still arrive in plenty of time to wait in the short porta-potty line. I’d certainly call that a win! One of the reasons I love small trail races so much is for the ease and convenience, and this race definitely worked that aspect quite well. The large activity hall at the Fair Hill Recreation Area, right next to the start, provided more than enough warm shelter for runners prior to the race, and proved a great location to meet up with friends before the race. Did I mention the convenience?

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The trail signage was fantastic! Photo Credit: RunningMadPhoto

Around 8:55AM, we wandered outside and made our way towards the starting area, and at 9AM sharp, the RD unceremoniously sounded a starting horn and we were off. No corals, no timing mats, no waiting around for waves. It was all about going out on some beautiful single-track trails and having a great time. The course was two 15.6 mile loops, with aid stations at mile 3.8, mile 7, and mile 10.8. I didn’t need my hydration vest by any means, but wore it anyway so I could easily carry my phone, nutrition, and the all-important TP. The forecast had called for rain and snow earlier in the week, but it pretty much all held off, with the exception of some light sleet, so the trails were for the most part in great shape.

I had no intention of racing this event hard, but of course the adrenaline of the first race of the year got the best of me, and I went out and ran the first mile in about 8 minutes. I knew the course didn’t have any significant climbs, but I wasn’t sure about total gain. However, I knew I had gone out too fast, but my mile 1.5, I figured I’d push it a bit and see what happened. The 50K and 25K runners started at the same time, but the pack still spread out pretty quickly. I was moving really well on the comfortable terrain, and found myself latching on to several different runners for pacing over the course of the first loop.

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All smiles out on the course! Photo Credit: RunningMadPhoto

I spent minimal time in well-stocked and energetic aid stations and saw it as an opportunity to practice efficient transitions for future races. The temperature was hovering right around 30 degrees, and I quickly regretted the running tights. I know I run hot when I’m racing, so I should have known better. I was moving really well, and eagerly tackling the short climbs on the rolling terrain. I had committed to running this first loop at all points, and I enjoyed the challenge those first 15+ miles presented. The first loop flew by rather quickly and I rolled back into the start area after about 2.5 hours. I realized around mile 12 that the other runners I was latching on to were probably only running 1 loop (25K) but I rolled with it and kept pushing.

My legs were a bit tired at the end of the first loop, but I had been hydrating well and taking in a decent number of calories, so I was feeling good. I spent a few minutes at the aid station enjoying some Coke and GU waffles, and then launched myself back out onto the course. The crowd on the second loop was obviously a lot more spread out, and I almost felt like I had the trails to myself at times, which was fantastic. The trails were still in really good shape, even after 500+ runners had trampled them on the first loop, and my feet were feeling really good thanks to my Altra Olympus 2.0s.

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Look up and you’ll go down! Photo Credit: Mark DeNio

I kept expecting to hit some sort of wall on the second loop, but thankfully never really felt any sort of bonk, despite pushing it a bit hard on the first loop. My pace did slow somewhat, and I walked up a few of the hills, and lingered at the aid stations a bit more, but still felt really good for the most part. It began to sleet a bit at this point, but the tree cover provided plenty of protection, and it created a nice natural forest chorus as it struck the foliage around me. I was able to set small targets for myself during the second loop, which was helpful as well. That’s definitely the advantage of a looped course, and one of the reasons I enjoy them so much…as long as it’s an enjoyable loop!

I rolled into the finish line calmly in around 5 hrs 29 min (16th place, 6th in my always tough age group!) and would have happily gone out for a 3rd loop after such an enjoyable race! My quads were a bit sore, but nothing out of the ordinary, and I was overall really pleased to have such an early 50K under my belt. I collected my medal and unique finisher’s plate, and relaxed for a bit as I waited for others to finish. The environment, support, love of running, quality trails, excellent organization and aid stations, and energy that this race had is what trail running is all about. I can think of no better way to begin #chasing42 in 2017!

Daily Chase: Vol. 68

Happy New Year to everyone! It’s always a bit of a shock to the system when the new year creeps up on you, and this year was no different. The beautiful epicurean and I had a wonderful time in Arizona over the holidays, and reluctantly hopped on a plane on New Years Eve day to return home. Alas, the epicurean caught my cold/flu, which made travel less than ideal, and we were quite happy to curl up on the couch and relax on New Years Eve. I honestly can’t remember the last time we went out and did anything overly entertaining for New Years, and instead have consistently opted for quiet nights in. This is not to say that we are necessarily opposed to such endeavors, but we both seem to lack the commitment to do any actual planning. I’m sure that if I applied as much energy to planning those activities as I did my runs, we’d no doubt have a raging social life, eh? 🙂 At any rate, I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years (if you were celebrating), and that your 2017 is off to a wonderful #chasing42 start!

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We escaped the cold for a Christmas tour at Longwood Gardens. 

Chasing42 Log: 20161231- 201701115

Run: My training has gotten off to a great start in the new year, despite not finishing up my actual training calendar for the first half of the year yet. The weather has been generally really nice (for January), so I’ve spent a good deal of time outside, have been able to explore some new routes and trails near campus, and have even made it to track workouts on Tuesday nights again. Speed work has never been something I enjoy a great deal, but it sure does feel good when I’m finished! At the last minute this past week, a friend was even able to offer me a bib for a local 50K race, so I had the chance to toe the line for the first time yesterday as well. The trails were fantastic, the race was well organized, and I decided to push myself a bit, which resulted in a 5:29 finish on a course with almost 4,000 feet of climbing. I’m pretty sure I could have finished faster if I had been a bit smarter during the first (of two) loops, but adrenaline and a lack of a clear goal clouded my mind and I went out a wee bit too fast 🙂 I know you’re shocked! So, in case anyone is counting, the #chasing42runstreak is up to 422 days.

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Thought: Are you a resolution maker? Do you set goals for yourself in the new year, or do you scoff at the arbitrary nature of waiting until January 1 to make a change to your life that you no doubt have been thinking about for months of even years? This time of year always encourages new commitments to the gym, eating healthy, and a host of other activities that really just make good sense 12 months out of the year. However, an entire industry and emerged, centered around these resolutions, and the result is people hoarding their intentions for the moment the ball drops. People save up their intended changes for the magical moment where everything is possible, instead of opting to make changes throughout the year as they identify the need for them. More important, folks tend to craft lists of resolutions that are so long and extensive that the odds of actually achieving them decrease with each addition. In general, you are far better off sticking to one or two significant changes and working on deciding how you can best alter your daily routine to incorporate those changes. It’s hard enough to do something simple like deciding to wake up earlier or change your diet without trying to follow a brand new checklist of activities each day. So, whatever your resolutions or goals are for 2017, keep them simple, manageable, and measurable. Once you’ve worked that one new lifestyle activity into your regular routine, then you can move on to the next one. It’s all part of working smarter, not harder, as you continue #chasing42!

So what will your first change or goal be for the new year?

Daily Chase: Vol. 67

There is so much anticipation around the holiday season that we begin talking about it months in advance. Ultimately, the payoff is hopefully positive, but nonetheless gone in a flash, and we are left to look forward to the next significant event in our lives. I can’t help but think about the similarities with many of the major races we run each season. We train for months and months, all in the hopes that the stars will align and we will go out and achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Our best laid plans are somethings thwarted, of course, by weather, or illness, or any of a number of life events that so inconveniently get in the way. This has certainly been the case for me on many different ocassions, and it has given me pause to consider the level of anticipation I place on any one day or event. I love celebrating with family and friends, just as I love running and the running community, but I feel I’m much more careful now. My hope is that I can remember to enjoy the moments in between, take advantage of unexpected opportunities when they arise, and properly contextualize my big races, just as I do major holidays. This may not stop me from getting ridiculously excited to surprise the epicurean with any number of unique and unexpected gifts, but it will help me remember again in the upcoming year that every run is important in its own way. I’m #chasing42 each time I lace up my shoes, whether it’s for a simple training run or a 100-mile race! 


Chasing42 Log: 20161220- 20161230

Run: The last week and a half have provided perhaps the most diverse array of running opportunities I’ve had in quite a while. In the days leading up to the beginning of winter break on campus, folks start to disappear early, which means accomplishing anything meaningful becomes more and more difficult. As a result, I was able to leave early the last two days I was in, and enjoy some mid-afternoon, mid-week trail time, which was a delightful treat. We flew out of Philly last Friday, and were lucky enough to snag a non-stop flight to Phoenix for our annual journey to see the epicurean’s lovely family. I squeezed in a morning run before our flight, which was needed considering the 5-hour flight across the country. This past week has been a running delight for the most part. I’ve been able to venture out onto the Arizona desert mountain trails on several ocassions. However, I was held back a bit by an unexpected cold and fever earlier this week, which meant not pushing quite has hard and doing some more running around town as well. Despite feeling a bit under the weather the last few days, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the variety of trail experiences. The highlight was most definitely a run up Elephant Mountain near Tonto National Forrest yesterday, and some of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen. I’ll be sure to share more trail highlights in an upcoming post! 


Thought: It’s that time of year again where the calendar resets, and everyone eagerly pours over potential races and other adventure goals.  I don’t have many races on my calendar as of yet, but am hoping to fill it in soon. However, my hope is to plan a few more solo or group adventure runs in the new year as well. There are a lot of ways to experience the world around me, and I want to make sure I don’t miss out on any opportunity! 

So, what do you have planned for the upcoming year? What exciting races should I be looking at? I’m always up for adventure invites too! Happy New Year to everyone as you ring it in tomorrow night! 

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

Well, it feels like an eternity ago, and I could pontificate on the variety of reasons why I haven’t written this review sooner. It’s the holiday season. The semester was coming to an end. Darker days sap my energy. Blah. Blah. Blah. At any rate, the reasons are irrelevant. The race may have taken place over a month ago, but the memories are still there so I wanted to share!

Most folks are probably on the verge of being thoroughly entrenched in their holiday plans, balancing increased opportunities to eat with decreased opportunities to run, and not even thinking about races in 2017 just yet. December is always an interesting time for runners, especially those in cooler climates. The weekend before Thanksgiving is always a wild card when it comes to weather, and is typically about as late as you can push most longer races unless you are committing to the cold, or happen to live in Florida. I was actually a bit surprised that the Philadelphia Marathon was as late in the season as it was, but it provided me with a nice racing bookend for my season. I probably wouldn’t have even considered it, but for the fact that a good friend from Iowa decided to fly out for the race and end her season on a high note as well. I couldn’t say no to that!

The epicurean and I made our way up to Philly on Saturday to pick up our packets in the afternoon before meeting our friend for dinner. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a larger race expo, and I found it interesting that the mystique of the experience definitely isn’t there for me anymore. If there was any question about whether or not I was a trail runner at heart, it was put to rest at the expo. I love the simplicity of a trail race, the community, and the environment. The expo just seemed overly commercial by comparison. Luckily, it was very well organized and we were in and out pretty easily. After a nice dinner, we parted ways and headed home for the night. In retrospect, it would have made much more sense for me to stay in Philly with my friend that night and not have to drive back up in the morning, but that didn’t occur to me for some reason. Hindsight is 20/20, eh? On the drive home, the temperature drops rather significantly, and the freezing rain began. Yikes! I could only hope that the weather system would be gone by morning, or the race would be brutal.

City Hall was all lit up early…the race began with the sun!


I woke up on Sunday morning at a rather ungodly hour, and went through my pre-race routine in a bit of a haze before hopping in the car. I parked near the finish area, and walked to meet her at her hotel before the race. We procrastinated a bit to limit the amount of time we’d be standing around before the race, and then headed over. I was thankful I had worn a sweatshirt and a pair of flannel pants I could toss before the race, because the temps in the low 30’s and the 30-40 mile wind gusts made for a chilly morning. Those winds wouldn’t let up in the least bit over the course of the race, and they proved to be a challenge for many folks!

I had no intention of truly racing, but rather wanted to go out and enjoy myself, and cheer on folks throughout the race. Thus, I decided to commit to dialing things back for the first half of the race, and then seeing if I could conjure up a negative split. I went out rather conservatively, and stayed closed to the 4 hour pace group. The cold wind, and my lack of warm clothing probably pushed my pace a bit more than I had planned, but I still managed to run well within myself. The crowd support throughout the race was phenomenal and the route through the city was visually entertaining. Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Philadelphia. I’ve always seen it as being a bit too dirty, and lacking the character and charisma of someplace like New York or Boston. However, as I’ve spent more time in Philly, I’ve grown to appreciate it for what it is and stopped hoping it would be something different. The history is obviously important, but the character of the people and the energy they bring to the city is equally important. Philly is a city of hard-working folks who go about their business, don’t try to be too flashy or outgoing, but still establish themselves as worth of their position as a World Heritage site, among other accolades. I was reminded of this subtle significance as I calmly tackled the first half of the course.


I meandered through the course, sticking to my slower pace and trying to stay conversational, even if I wasn’t actually conversing with anyone along the way. It’s a relatively flat course as far as I’m concerned, but trail and ultra-running has arguably skewed my perspective a bit. Over the course of various other runs, I had become familiar with a majority of the course as well, which helped me feel quite comfortable throughout. The few hils of consequence that do exist along the course are conveniently located in the first half, around miles 6 and 8, which made slowing down a bit that much easier. The route passes the Philadelphia Zoo around mile 8.5, but sadly the animals weren’t lining the streets with the crowd to cheer us on. I would have appreciated a clapping monkey at the very least! Around mile 10, after a bit of climbing, the route passes the “Please Touch Museum”, and I had to giggle as I heard a few folks wondering if this was the art museum, and hence the end of the race (for the half, I presume). They sounded a bit sad upon realizing they still had a few more miles to go, but it was a mostly downhill route to the finish of the half marathon so I’m sure they survived.

I hit the half-way timing mat in 1:55, which was a few minutes ahead of my modest 2 hour target, but still very comfortable. After a few hours of calm running, I was excited to pick up the pace a bit and really stretch my legs. Around mile 14, you pass near the finish line as you head out along the Schuyukill River for an out-and-back segment. Years ago, I probably would have been annoyed at being so close to the finish line, but I was simply excited to pick up the pace along the river. I’ve run along this stretch of the river on a number of locations, and the route has a particular urban beauty to it as you progress along the shore. If it had been earlier in the fall, you would have seen crew teams out practicing on the river. As it was November, we had to settle for the wicked 40 mph winds indecisively alternating between blowing us along and bringing us to a standstill. 

Over the course of the next 4 miles or so, I pushed myself a bit and enjoyed realizing how much pep I had in my legs after 13 miles. In some past races, it has taken me a solid half marathon to even warm up and hit my stride, so I was definitely aware of the endurance training at work. I received a small ping of happiness each time I passed someone, and it helped me forget just how cold I was with very little to break the wind or protect myself from it. The route continues down the river until around mile 20, where you reach the turn around point and naively hope that reversing directions will help with the wind. It did not. However, it was fun to see so many runners with the out-and-back segment and be able to cheer people on. After mile 18 or so, I pulled up a little, having passed the 3:45 pace group faster than I anticipated. I was comfortably in negative split range, and sought to maintain a decent pace the rest of the way that would challenge me but not exhaust me. 

I may prefer smaller trail races, especially due to the family atmosphere, but there is still something special about a large urban marathon. I’m always keenly aware of the folks out there pushing themselves, running the distance for the first time, or attempting a new PR or a BQ. The extrovert in my loves cheering people on, and feeling as though I am sharing their their triumphs and struggles. It was that energy that propelled me back along the river towards the finish line as the final 10K ticked off. The crowds weren’t heavy along this stretch, but they were consistent and you never felt alone. I made a point of stopping briefly at each of the well-staffed and well-stocked aid stations and thanking the volunteers, and surprisingly managed to keep myself properly hydrated the entire time. The race finishes near the famous Art Museum steps immortalized in the Rocky movies, and the spirit of the marathon is certainly characterized by that particular brand of grit and hard work. 

I crossed the finish line in about 3:39 as the Garmin flies, and locked in a solid negative split in the process. I have never run a negative split during a marathon so it was a nice feather in my running cap. I finished just a few minutes behind my Iowa friend, which made it easy to find her amidst the crowd. We collected our medals and space blankets, and shuffled our way through the finish chute towards some snacks and water. Had it been a warmer day, I would have loved to stick around and cheer others on. However, we began shivering pretty quickly so our priority became heading back to the hotel for a hot shower and some more substantial food. As I walked back, I was subtly aware of how good my legs felt, which brought a smile to my face. This marathon was all about the human element, and the celebration of our sport, and I couldn’t have been happier with the smiles I logged along the way while #chasing42!

Delicious waffles make a great post-marathon treat!

Daily Chase: Vol. 66

The end of the semester is always a tad bittersweet as classes wrap up, and the new year looms on the horizon. Although January 1st doesn’t signify much in the higher education world, the last few weeks of December certainly mark a time of transition. These are the weeks when I have the chance to catch up on all the tasks that have eluded me for the past 4 months, and I look forward to the change of pace every year. This year, that was especially true as I wrapped up my first semester working full-time on top of teaching. It was a test for me to see how my new job, teaching responsibilities, running and training, and maintaining a home life would all balance out. I’ve always thrived on being busy and the past 4 months have certainly given me that. I may have had to make a few adjustments and compromises to my schedule and life along the way, but I’m ultimately quite happy with how I spent my time and balanced everything along the way. The idea of “chasing42” has taken on various meanings over the years, and it continues to be an evolving quest to understand life, the universe, and running!

Chasing42 Log: 20161212- 20161219

Run: With classes done for the semester, and projects at work winding down, I have been able to maintain a bit more structured training schedule as I look forward to our yearly trip to Arizona and ease into the new year. I’ve been out for some more consistent runs, despite the cooler weather and the darkness that seems to come earlier and earlier. I’ve done some quality bonding with my headlamp and discovered some new running routes near campus along the way. Perhaps the highlight of this past week was a freezing-rain filled past Saturday morning. You’ve heard me mention before my extreme hatred for the treadmill. I haven’t done a significant run on the treadmill in will over 5 years, and I’ve never been able to run more than 14 miles without boring myself to death. However, this Saturday forced my hand, as freezing rain and slippery roads constitute the one weather condition I won’t run in. I obtained a free guest pass to the local YMCA and made my way there in the wee morning hours on Saturday. I was determined to overcome this mental challenge, and to get in a much-needed long run along the way. I fell into a rhythm after a while, discovered the joys of adjusting the grade for a greater challenge, and occupied my time with ESPN, people-watching, and some chatting with a friend. When it was all said and done, I had knocked out 22 miles and 5100 feet of climbing. I may not have enjoyed the experience, but I valued the mental challenge and know it’s just one more piece of the ultra-puzzle!

Embracing the darkness!

Embracing the darkness!

Thought: Well, like most folks, I didn’t get into the Western States 100 or the Hardrock 100. Mind you, this was the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to enter either lottery, but I couldn’t help but get my hopes up at least a little bit. I had put some other plans on hold as I knew getting into either race would be a significant financial and training commitment. Now that my schedule is a bit more open, I can begin thinking about other races I’d like to add to my calendar for 2017. I already have the Umstead 100 on my list (April 1st), and I hopefully applied to the Laurel Highlands 70.5 mile race, but I’m waiting to receive notice either way. Beyond that, the sky is the limit (well, and funding, and time, and the good graces of the beautiful epicurean), but I’m determined to have my schedule cemented early on in January so I can get on to the business of training. I’ll be adding a second class to my teaching load in the spring as well, so making excellent use of my time will be that much more important. Do you have races locked in on your 2017 calendar yet? I’d love to hear where you’ll be chasing42!

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