TNF Endurance Challenge Race Recap (and my week!)

Hello my friends! This was such a fun week of running–I ran a ton with friends and family and had some exciting adventures and experiences. Also! My big life news of the week is that WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! Anyone who is local knows the Boston real estate market is bananas right now, so this was a huge deal for us and the result of literally years of research, scrimping, and saving. We’re moving just outside of the city, which is a little scary for me (I’m an urban girl) but I’m excited to explore my new town and of course have already researched the local running club 🙂 We don’t actually move for a week or two, but it’s super duper exciting to make it official.

Back to the week, I took Monday off and easy and then headed out for some solo speedwork Tuesday morning. This was a tough workout for me–I’ve been running with pacers at track, so I had a hard time regulating my paces. But I got it done and I know these are the workouts that make me mentally and physically stronger. Wednesday I went to an event for Global Running Day hosted by our local Lululemon store. It was set up like a silent disco–we all wore headphones and listened to a couple of yoga teachers leading a moving meditation while we ran loops along the Charles River. It was a little cult-like and weird to be in such a big group all in matching tank tops (they were free for the event) but a cool and different experience.

Thursday I set up a run and happy hour for Oiselle Volee teammates–we went on a 5 mile run and then had tacos and margs at a fun spot. We had a great turnout and an awesome night! I love these women, I always learn a lot from them and being a leader has been an honor and a blast. Friday I did some very necessary yoga before we met with our attorney for our official house closing–so, so many papers to sign.

Saturday was the big adventure of the week! My brother had noticed that the North Face Endurance Challenge MA race was offering half off for their marathon relay, so we jumped on it. The hubs, big bro, and a teammate trekked out to Wachusett Mountain, a local ski area, for a day of fun, sun, and dirt. The race was set up on a 6 mile loop pretty much straight up the mountain and back down again.

We had been warned that the course was very challenging and very, very technical–both of which proved to be true. Bib pickup was a breeze–we got bibs for each team member and an ankle tracker (nicknamed the “Martha Stuart” ;)) that we swapped off between legs. J took the first leg up the mountain, and the rest of us hopped onto the ski lift to see him about 45 minutes later at the summit. It was perfectly timed so that you could head up, see a teammate, and then meet them back down at the bottom.

When Jeremy got down we swapped out our tracker, handed off the handheld water bottle, and I took off up the trails! The run started out pretty easy–I held onto a cruising pace as I kept my eyes down for roots and rocks. The trails were super well-marked with colored tape for each race (there was also a trail marathon, a 50k, and a 50 miler–woof). The terrain quickly stopped being run-able and I took it hand over foot up some major rocky climbs, taking off at a jog again to wave to my teammates at the summit. The way down was a fair amount easier but there was a big rock scramble that I took fairly slow to avoid wrenching my ankles. I was mostly by myself, so I happily chatted with a fellow participant as the trail flattened back out and turned up a fire road towards the finish. I wrapped up feeling strong and happy to be done! There were some good snacks (fruit, rice krispie treats) along with free water bottles and medals. After I wrapped up J and I beelined it to the recovery tent to hang out in the Normatec boots–it was his first experience and he was smitten 🙂 There were also ice baths, which we left to the 50k and 50 mile finishers. I also loved that this was a “cupless” race–everyone got a lightweight collapsible cup to carry and fill at aid stations.

While the rest of our team finished, we grabbed some food in the ski lodge and chatted with the folks nearby. I even got to see a couple teammates who had completed the 50k–so impressive! All-in-all, it was a really awesome day. There were barely any all-female teams so hopefully my teammates and I can kick some butt in that category next year.

Sunday I wrapped the week with a 10 mile easy run with another teammate–it was lovely to catch up with her and shake the legs out. A super social, excellent week!

Weekly total: 30.7 miles

  • Monday: off! Did my PT and core exercises.
  • Tuesday: 15 x 1 minute at 6:45 pace, 6 miles total
  • Wednesday: 3.5 meditative miles
  • Thursday: 5 miles + strides with the Oiselle gang
  • Friday: 90 minute yoga class
  • Saturday: 6 trail race miles
  • Sunday: 10 mile long run with Sarah

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Pinelands 25k trail race recap (and weekly wrap)

Happy TuesdaythatfeelslikeMonday, friends! I’m back from a chilly but awesome weekend in Maine, and I have another race recap to share. Back in the fall, three of my running besties and I signed up for our first 50k. Then, life happened. Boston happened. One friend got a stress fracture and was out. The rest of us regrouped and decided to swap from the 50k to the 25k. I knew this was still a stretch for me post-injury, but I was determined to run it smart and enjoy the day. My goal was to finish injury-free and with a smile on my face, and (spoiler alert) mission accomplished!

My running buddy Denise (who had flown in from Cali) and I were anxiously watching the weather all week leading up to this race. We definitely both had some PTSD from Boston. We made our way up through Portland on Saturday, stopping off for some lighthouse views and lobster rolls (#basic). Amazingly, it only rained for an hour or so, and we were treated to this stunner of a sunset up at the cabin. All signs were pointing to a successful day on Sunday!

In the morning, we drove the hour or so to the race start in New Gloucester. We parked, grabbed our bibs (which were marked with white tape to indicate we were swapping from the 50k to the 25k–shame!), and met up with our friend Danielle and her friend Rachel for the start. Everything was smooth and easy, and the whole start/finish area felt like a big party. Right on time, we took off across the start line together. My plan was to run the flats and downs and hike the uphills, but the first few miles felt pretty breezy as we chatted and ran. Turns out those first few miles were mostly downhill, so that makes sense 🙂

The course twists and turns through grassy fields and up and down dirt trails–definitely not many rocks and roots, but it was a roller coaster hill-wise (as you can see!). We all stayed together through the first half, when Rachel and Denise drifted ahead. I encouraged them to go on and tuned into my body, letting myself start to hike the uphills to catch my breath.

Once I was on my own, I kept my eyes on some of the runners around me, aiming for a steady effort. The cool but humid weather had me feeling toasty with all that effort! The second half of the race was a LOT of climbing, but it evened back out near the end, and I was able to keep up a steady run through the finish. I crossed the line feeling spent but strong–pretty darn good for my longest run since the marathon by 10 miles!!

After we all finished, we changed and made a beeline for the post-race BBQ–which was probably the best post-race spread I’ve ever seen. Burgers, salads, desserts… YUM! I loved that the race provided the basics and the rest was potluck-style. So many great homemade treats (including lots of gf options). Pro tip–spectators can join for $6 a plate 🙂

We settled in and chatted with some of the other racers (holy moly the people doing the 50k and 50 miler–so impressive) while we listened to a fantastic bluegrass band and chowed down. I had always heard that trail races have the best atmosphere, and I’d say this one was pretty darn fun. The race swag was pretty phenomenal too–mini cowbell keychains (full-size for the 50k), metal water bottles, and Darn Tough socks (the best!)

Overall, I loved this race and hope to incorporate more trails into my routine going forward. I’m so glad we did the 25k, too–I may run a 50k someday, but this wasn’t that day. The 25k was really fun and plenty challenging for now. The rest of my recap for the week is below–the big highlight being my first track workout post-injury. It was hard but good. I’m definitely itching to start building up that mileage again!

Weekly total: 26.2 miles

  • Monday: off (post-race rest day)
  • Tuesday: Track!! 800, 400, 200 x 3, 3.5 total miles
  • Wednesday: AM-4.2 easy miles, PM-75 minute yoga class
  • Thursday: rest day
  • Friday: 3.5 mile shakeout, PT exercises and foam rolling
  • Saturday: pre-race rest day
  • Sunday: 25k trail race!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Sasquatch Sprint Trail Race Recap (and weekly recap)

Hello and happy Monday! I’m coming in with the first recap in my “one race a month” summer/fall series. This past Saturday, J and I ran our first official trail race. This race was a fun hodgepodge of other firsts: my shortest race ever (at 2.35 miles), my first time running twice in one day, my first evening race, and my first (very minor) race injury. More on that in a moment!

Rewinding back to Saturday morning, I started the day with 8 easy miles with some of the Oiselle girls. Knowing the race was so short, I wanted to get a long-ish run done in the morning. It was fantastic to do it with friends, especially since the day was incredibly humid and the run was a bit of a slog to get through. After a shower and a power wedding planning session, J and I headed over to JP to stroll around Porchfest. From there we zipped down to the train and rolled out to the end of the orange line, where we boarded a quick shuttle bus to the Stone Zoo/race start. Bib pickup and bag check were quick and easy and porto potty lines were short, so we were off for a warm-up jog within 15 minutes. The humidity was pretty hot and heavy at the point (literally) so we weren’t particularly surprised to line up at the start line just as the skies opened up and the rain began to pour down. The first tiny bit of doubt crossed my mind at this point, as I glanced down at my relatively well-worn sneakers…

With no time goal in mind, we started off at a pretty solid clip along the road before we turned into the woods. J was in his element and was speeding along the wet, rocky terrain up a couple of steeper scrambles, and I was able to hold on behind him until about a mile and half in when my foot slid off of a wet rock and wrenched to the side with a thunk. I let loose a couple of expletives but it didn’t hurt too much, so I picked it back up at a slightly more conservative pace, keeping a close eye on my footing for the rest of the race. We finished down a smaller hill onto a grass field, and I kicked it in at a 6:35 pace for the last .2 miles. My final time was 18:14, which brought me in 140th out of 899 finishers. My splits ended up surprisingly even at 8:26 and 8:25 for the two full miles.

After the race I snagged an ice pack from the med tent and we made a beeline with friends over to the beer tent. There was unlimited Bantam cider on offer, which I was super pleased about. Despite the rain, the after party was a ton of fun! After a couple of drinks we called it quits and headed home for some much-needed late-night enchiladas and warm showers.

Overall, this was a fun first trail race experience and a great party! My ankle was pretty swollen for about 24 hours but is already on its way back to normal. My main takeaway is definitely that if I’m going to do more trail running, it’s worth investing in some shoes with proper tread. I’ve been lusting after these but would love any suggestions if you have lightweight trail shoes you recommend!! I think I’m ready for more trail stuff, especially longer/drier races where I have a better chance to keep my feet properly under my body 🙂

Weekly recap: (26.8 miles total)

  • Monday: 5 hilly Maine miles
  • Tuesday: 90 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Wednesday: Speedwork! 8×2 minutes at 5k pace with 2 minute recoveries for 6.3 total miles
  • Thursday: 4 easy miles
  • Friday: 75 minute heated power yoga
  • Saturday: 8 morning miles + warmup + race for 11.4 total miles
  • Sunday: Off

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).