Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Archive for the tag “Daily Chase”

Daily Chase: Vol. 73

Phew! I feel like I blinked and the entire month of March passed before my eyes! It’s hard to believe that April Fool’s Day is on Saturday, and with it the Umstead 100 🙂 Despite an incredibly hectic work and travel schedule over the past month, I am feeling incredibly good about my training block and I’m ready to have a blast down in Raleigh, NC.

It’s spring break at the University of Delaware this week, and the timing could not have been better. Not only has it given me the extra evening time to get other things done, but I’ve been able to rest and catch up on a number of different projects occupying my time. With the exception of a small “snowstorm” 2 weeks ago (which still resulted in the university being shut down for a day and a half), it’s certainly felt like spring is in the air. If I’m being honest, it’s felt like spring since November 🙂 For the second year in a row, an incredibly mild winter has meant an amazing training season. Last year, the build-up was for the Georgia Death Race, and this year it’s Umstead.

Mary17-3

I had the trails all to myself after the snow fell! 

I may sometimes feel like the daily chase means chasing my tail with everything on my plate, but the truth is I love being busy. Not only does it leave me so much more satisfied at the end of the day, but it also means I value and appreciate every mile that much more. Each chance I get to lace up my shoes is a gift, and I won’t be taking it for granted any time soon! Keep #chasing42, y’all!

Mar17-2

Chasing42 Log: 20170303- 20170328

Run: First off, let me reassure you that the streak is indeed still in play. I am at 493 days with at least 1 miles logged, and going strong. It’s amazing how normal it seems now to make sure that I’m getting in that quick mile even on my rest/recovery days. Over the past few weeks, my hectic schedule has definitely meant some early morning and late night runs, but I’ve been holding strong to my training. Shortly after my last daily post, I headed up to Leesport, PA for the Naked Bavarian 40-miler. I planned on treating it as a solid training run for Umstead, and a chance to work through race-day logistics. The 2-loop course was made more interesting by the sub-freezing temperatures, but I still felt really good the entire way and the 6500 feet of elevation gain was nothing to shake a stick at either. I’ll eventually get up a full race report but I can definitely say it was a great way to start the month and round out this training block. Over the past few weeks, I’ve dialed my volume back and have actually committed to a legitimate taper. The Taper Gremlin has been hitting my hard, though, especially while spending all of last week in sunny Atlanta for work! However, I’m keeping myself focused and I’m ready to give it my all on Saturday!

Miles: approx. 250

Elevation gain: approx. 17,500 feet

Mar17-1

The weather in Atlanta was gorgeous all week. I love run-exploring new cities! 

Thought: I’ve been thinking more and more about gear lately. I know- shocking, right? 🙂 I’ve been gathering everything I’ll need for this weekend, and have been traveling more and more lately so I’ve been thinking more generally about the most efficient running essentials to pack. It’s an ongoing research project for me, and perhaps it is for you as well. I’ll spend more time in a future post sharing my essentials, but I’d love to hear about your essentials on race day. What do you make sure is in your race pack/ gear bag/ drop bag? What is your organizational system? Do you have a bag or other container that you have come to love? I’d love to hear all about it all! What are your essentials when you are #chasing42?

Daily Chase: Vol. 72

March is now upon us, and this is about the time that hints of spring begin to peek through the snow and cold. Well, instead, we’ve had more days above 50 than not, many in the 70s, and the snow has been nowhere to be seen. Climate change may be very real and I firmly believe in doing everything we can to slow things down, but I’m not complaining about the weather in Delaware 🙂 The busy hasn’t stopped, in my life, or around the world, in the last week or so, but that’s what keeps things interesting, right?

I’ve found my mind torn in a number of different directions as of late. Everything sparks my interest, and yet I don’t quite find enough time to do any one area justice. Perhaps part of #chasing42 is learning how to focus your energy more directly, and not get torn in as many different directions? #runningthoughts #ultramantra

Some things garnering my attention:

Shoes: I’ve been looking intently at the new Altra Escalante, and also trying to find a solid deal on the Topo Terraventure. The Escalante seems like a no-brainer, and I’ve read enough positive reviews of various Topos that I think it’s time to expand my shoe quiver!

Gear: My Salomon S-Lab 12 vest has been serving my well for a number of years, and I love the fit immensely. However, one of the zippers has completely broken, and the others are on their way out, so I’ve been thinking more intently about replacements. In addition to the S-Lab 12, I’ve been looking at several other vests, including:

  • Ulimtate Direction Fastpack 15 or Fastpack 20, PB Adventure Vest 3.0, AK Mountain Vest 3.0, or Jurek FKT Vest. I’m also coveting several of the new, larger packs- the Fastpack 25, and Fastpack 35, but I can’t honestly say that I have a use for them…yet!
  • Cotopaxi Veloz 3L or 6L vest– this is a totally new design for a running vest, and they are kickstarting the product. I’m tempted to give it a try as a lighter, shorter distance vest that would also work well for longer distances with ample aid stations.

If you have any experience with any of these items, or happen to have a discount code for me, I’m all ears!

Chasing42 Log: 20170220- 20170302

Run: My runs have continued to be consistent, even if it hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier to squeeze them in during the week at times. I’ve found myself venturing outside some mornings for quick runs sans-watch, in an attempt to focus my energy a bit more and wake up! I was in Boston this past weekend for a quick trip, and had the chance to get in a pretty phenomenal run, which you can read more about in an upcoming post. Thursday night hill workouts have been a nice challenge as well, and it’s been great getting out with others and pushing ourselves up and down the deceptively difficult hill near the Hagley Museum for some quality climbing!

Thought: Environmental concerns, protests, legislation, and research have been in the news quite a bit as of late. With numerous outdoor retailers making the decision to boycott Utah over the Governor’s stance on public lands, and the dismantling of environmental protections at the federal level, tension and fear is at an all-time high. People are downloading and archiving environmental research data due to fears that it will be scrubbed from the public record, and we continue to allow climate change deniers into positions of power within the very agency sworn to protect the environment.

In my professional life, I spend a lot of time thinking about intersectionality. In the context of my work, this is the notion that each of the various aspects of our identity intersect with each other to make us who we are and impact how we experience the world around us. None of us can solely be defined by one aspect of our identity (race, class, gender identity, sexuality, etc.), and efforts to combat oppression in any of these areas cannot be accomplished in isolation. We must acknowledge how various issues are interconnected, and acknowledge that sometimes good things are accomplished while simultaneously holding back other accomplishments. That’s why this piece in Outdoor Magazine was so powerful for me. If we can start having more difficult conversations like this about how all of our concerns are interconnected, and often not conveniently, then we can truly begin to realize the change we are looking for in the world. I highly encourage you to take a look, and think about where you fit into this puzzle. Keep #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!

white-clay-2

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!

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!

jan17-2

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.

jan17-1

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! 

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!

Daily Chase: Vol. 65

The end of the semester is always a whirlwind of activity, and this year was no exception. Add to that the preparations for the holidays, and the added workload courtesy of some frightening political decisions, and you have quite the busy schedule. Throughout it all, however, my running and the daily routine of it have kept me grounded and given me the opportunity to reflect on the day and process the multitude of sometimes very challenging conversations I’ve had over the course of the last few weeks.

We've been getting out for some more hikes lately. More time in nature is never a bad thing!

We’ve been getting out for some more hikes lately. More time in nature is never a bad thing!

Chasing42 Log: 20161127-20161211

Run: My streak has remained strong, albeit challenged at very points over the past two weeks due to my schedule. There have been numerous days as of late that have limited me to a few laps around the neighborhood, but they have been balanced with some energizing explorations of Newark, as well as some excellent trail miles. Last Saturday, I had the privilege of joining a friend (and several others) as he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first marathon by running 33 miles along the Mason Dixon Trail. I’m in awe of his endurance and longevity, and can only hope that I’m still capable of knocking out a 50K in another 35 years!

Enjoying some trail time at Brandywine Creek State Park!

Enjoying some trail time at Brandywine Creek State Park!

Thought: As the events of this nation over the course of the last month have proven, community is very important. The work I do, educating others, challenging beliefs, providing new perspectives, and most importantly, listening, is made possible because of the community of colleagues, allies, and activists that I surround myself with, both virtually and in person. Thus, it’s no surprise to me why I value the running community for many of the same reasons. They provide an outlet for sharing thoughts, ideas, challenges, triumphs, and give me a voice. These two communities don’t overlap all that often, but they are equally important to my overall happiness, and essential to motivating me on a daily basis. I may not have found other communities in Delaware just yet, but having these folks in my life give me the strength and motivation to keep pushing myself, both as an educator and as an endurance athlete. That is the true essence of #chasing42 and I am forever grateful!

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