Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 4 & Week 5 - Inspired by my Sissy!

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. 
~Author Unknown

Week 4  & Week 5 I have to dedicate to one very special person. My sister. Let me tell you a bit about her. She is a mother of two of the sweetest boys, kind, caring, patient, loving, understanding and determined!

In May of this year she came out to take part in the ultra scene. John and Ashley crewed for me at MMT this year. Days following the race she set a goal to run her first race before her 30th birthday. So we found a race for her, a very appropriate race the 4 mile Celtic Challenge in Buffalo, NY. This race provided you with a nice Guinness brew at the finish, so it truly seemed like a perfect fit.

To start Ashley’s training off right,  in May we got her all set up with the perfect shoes Altra Olympus, at the one and only If The Shoe Fits. Not only was her goal to finish the 4 miles but, she really stressed how she wanted to run 4 miles without stopping to walk.

So in just two short months, Ashley’s determination and go get ‘em attitude excelled.
She would send me updates on her progress saying she ran 2 or 3 miles effortlessly without stopping. One day Ashley went out for a 3 run and forgot she needed mop cleaner to clean her floors that evening. So just continued to log more miles and run down to the store to get the mop cleaner. In true Moses fashion, yes she ran down the street with mop cleaner. She would keep me updated on her runs and was finding a way to make her training and running not just something she has to do but she was making part of her very busy life and enjoying it!

As she would send me these updates and it would remind me so much of when John and I first started running many years ago. How the desire and want for more, was like a kid in a candy store. That rejuvenating feeling of accomplishing new goals, the confidence you build from doing something you thought was not even close to possible for yourself.

Ashley’s training far exceeded her own expectations as the weeks went by. The week before the race she shocked herself by finishing a 5 mile run followed days later with 6.5 mile run. Her strategy to go by feel and not stop to walk was paying off.  While Ashley was sending the messages of her longer runs, I don’t thinks he knew it but was inspiring me SO much as I have been plugging away at my training.

Last week’s training I planned for a 70+ mile week. It was hard and exhausting but Ashley’s progress was motivating me all week. Reminding me to just go by feel and remember that it is possible. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 

The end of Week 4’s training I was planning to run two solid workouts (with at least 50 miles total for the weekend.) I knew it was going to be hard but I knew I could do it. Saturday’s run was Pen – Mar to Gathland (Part of the Run Across MD) and Sunday I wanted to focus on climbing and elevation so I decided to go beat myself up on MD Heights (4 times.) I knew if I could do MD heights 4 times I could accomplish by goal of 70+ mile week of training plus get in that elevation.
The first time John went up with me the remaining three were all on my own. It was so hard to turn around and go back up but I had a fire lite up inside. I felt excited and inspired by sister’s weekly accomplishments. It was mind over matter. I thought if Ashley can do it I can do it. I ended Sunday feeling COMPLETELY exhausted as I logged over 13000ft of elevation GAIN for the week in 74 miles. 

Finishing Week 4 with a bang made me that much more pumped to keep my mileage high and consistent week of training for Week 5. Monday’s run was pretty creeky as I worked out several “kinks” in my legs with an 8 mile run on the Canal followed by a 13 mile (Big Car Loop) run on Tuesday, Thursday logged a double with a 4 mile run in the AM and 10 on the AT.  Friday worked out perfect since I needed spend the day driving I would log my run with my Sissy on her big day!

Race day came around and my cousin Lori, who has also been very inspiring as she has completely been kicking but accomplishing her every in running, decided she was going to come also. The three of us spent the evening together all in support of Ashley’s first race. I could tell she was nervous but SO excited. I had no doubt in my mind she could do it and do it well. I knew she wanted to run the whole thing without stopping that was her main she wasn’t worried about what time she would finish in she just wanted to finish.

So of course it was a VERY hot, muggy night in Buffalo. Much unlike the WNY summer weather she has been training in. The course looped all around downtown Buffalo. Not much to look at but a whole lot to talk about. At one point Lori and I questioned a dead animal smell, we joked about the creepy barbed wire area across from the construction zone, the aggressive and stressed out Police officers poorly directing traffic and the smell of Hamburgers and French Fries that teased our taste buds. There was a lot to talk about but not much to see. The whole time Ashley just kept trucking along listening to Lori and I make light of the very boring course.

About 3 miles in Ashley’s poor lil Irish face was scarlett red and she was saying she felt fine but she was SO hot. So I kept giving handing her a bottle of the lovely Tailwind mix and telling her to just take deep breathes, she’s got this!  The last mile I could tell she was ready to be done as we turned to the corner to run into our first finish line together I couldn’t have been more proud to have experienced that moment with her. I could see the confidence radiating off from her as she crossed the finish line in a time she did not even think she would come close to. Ashley again surprised herself.

Shortly after finishing, and sipping on our finisher’s beer Lori, Ash and I bounced ideas around for another race to come. The words “half marathon” were even tossed around in conversation.  I couldn’t have been more grateful to share that day with Lori and Ashley. Never did I think our determination and passions for something would come full circle to share a moment like that. I know there will be many, many more to come. As we have all discovered the same love for something.

Friday evenings festivities gave me even more motivation,  to go “hit the slopes!”  My hometown is 20 mins away from Holiday Valley, one of the sweetest lil’ ski resorts in WNY. Growing up I never went skiing here…so its kind of funny I find myself still not skiing but yet hiking up and down these slopes them to get more elevation for my 100 mile training. Crazy how life turns out….

Saturday’s run was another big push as I wanted to log at least 20 miles with lots of elevation and I was by myself. I didn’t know really where I was going but I knew I needed the miles and the climbs. So I filled my pack and just kind ran…wherever! I got lost a couple times, randomly picked a few ski slopes I wanted to hike up and down just took in the views and logged a good 23 mile run that day. I had all intentions of running Sunday but just thought a good recovery day wouldn’t hurt. So instead I took the day off and ran around my brothers back yard with my niece and nephew. I was happy with a 62 mile week, since I had plenty of quality workouts to build my training.

In short, Week 4 and Week 5 were completely inspired by my sister. As she brought back many memories, what it felt like to first get started in running, how to make running a lifestyle (not just something you have to do), what is feels like to accomplish your goals and to surprise yourself doing them.

Thanks for the motivation Sissy because of your determination,  you helped me dig deep in some of my most difficult moments in training the past few weeks. I have complete confidence you will continue to crush your goals and surprise yourself every time. I can’t wait to see you blossom and grow as a runner because you are one!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Week 3 - Inspired by Love

Since last week was our 6 year anniversary I thought it was only appropriate 
to make this weeks Blog story a love letter.

This week of running went really well. I was able to get a in a MD Heights run on Tuesday, a 12 mile speed workout on Wed  followed by a trip out and back on Loudon Height Thursday. Friday was a 4 mile road loop since I knew John and I were doing 20 + on the AT Saturday. 

Saturdays run was perfect! Despite my fall at mile 17 and Johns fall not to far after me,  the trip on the AT could not have been a more beautiful. The morning was cool, calm and it was our anniversary! We parked in Harpers Ferry and started at Rt 40 on the AT making it a little over 22 miles. Great way to start our day. Sunday we spent the day in Easton and Annapolis celebrating our anniversary. I had all intentions of logging 6 more miles to make a 60 mile week but getting home at 8 o'clock after a weekend of traveling it just didn't seem to fit in. Oh well, I feel rested, recovered and ready for a some good training this weekend with two long runs and planning on another run up MD heights and Loudon Height during the week. 

As always thanks for reading. The Beast blog story continues...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 2 brought to you by Chiquita Banana

"If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, 
your gifts will take you places that will amaze you."

As promised here this weeks weekly " Beast Blog Story." After a hard effort at Catoctin 50K last Saturday the tiredness seemed to linger way longer into the week than I would have liked. I took Sunday and Monday off after the race. Come Tuesday I knew I needed to put those sneaks back on and get out there. Tuesday after work the fatigue was still there but I cranked an easy 4 miles followed by some nice stretching/foam rolling to loosen up all the kinks and swelling from Saturdays effort.  John had a hard 9 mile workout he had to do on Wed. so I decided to tag along for the "fun." 9 mile tempo run on rolling hills (Gambrill Park Road) days after CAT50... wooooh weee that was an ass kicker. Thursday and Friday went out for a couple maintenance miles on the trail one day and road the other. 

I really wanted to stay consistent in my training and log another 60 mile week. So Saturday  I ran a VERY pleasant 13 miles on the Appalachian Trail. No music, no company just me and the birds, the bees and the trees. Really a beautiful and peaceful run. Just went comfortable and was mindful to not push it too much as I was planning to run longer on Sunday. In order to make a 60 mile week I knew I need to run 23 - 25 miles on Sunday.

My running "possy" were all getting in their last long run before Eastern States in a couple weeks so I decided to tag along (well at least a few of them were getting in their last long run...I am sure John G will still run a couple more 20 or 30 miles runs before ES because he is completely amazing like that :) Sunday morning I showed up at my usual time (aka Bonnie Moses time) 15 minutes late. As I pulled into the parking lot to meet everyone I realized I forgot my freaking shoes! Luckily, I had a pair of road shoes and semi-busted pair of old trail shoes in my trunk. The semi-busted pair of trail shoes were going to have to work. (Those will ALWAYS stay in my car now as a spare)  After realizing I forgot my shoes I was feeling unmotivated and slightly frustrated with myself. Despite my lazy mental state, I knew I was in for a great day of fun running with John G, Lisa and Jim.

Sunday's long run consisted of as many stops we could have possibly taken; to take pictures, pee breaks, pick up a salamander to move it off the trail, point out the frog that was not even close to the trail, to stop and laugh because we were laughing so hard, point out the huge piles of horse poo, point out the tree that was so elegantly growing out of the rocks, to stop and turn around in the complete opposite direction because we went the wrong way, to stop and talk how sweaty, gross and wet we were, to eat, to drink, we stopped to talk about eating and drinking, the list goes on and on! 

This obviously is an inside joke. 

Any reason we could find to stop we did! Those 19 miles felt like 10 (well... kind of) because of the company, the fun and that crazy bond we all share together. The possy's original plan was to run 20 so I knew ahead of time to log my 60 mile week I would have to go back out for a few more miles. I was dreading this most of the morning BUT I was NOT going to talk myself out of it. Lately, I find myself saying I'm going to do something and then never follow through. So we got back to the car I ate a banana :) and some of John G's chex mix. (BTW John that chex mix was delicious! I think it's what helped me crank out those extra 4 mile) I had to dig deep to keep going but honestly I think the last 4 felt much better than the first 19. Once I got that nasty pack off and sweaty shirt I felt about 5lbs lighter. 

So I got in 60 miles this week. Feel very happy, strong and ready for another hard week of training. I'd like to dedicate this week's blog story to "the possy." Thanks for the many hours of laughter and motivation on and off the trail :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Introducing: The Beast Blog Story

As of the beginning of last week there are 20 weeks until Hellgate 100k, the last race of the Beast Series. For the next 20 weeks I will be documenting weekly updates of my journey to Hellgate. (Gosh! that sounds awful “my journey to Hellgate”) So I present introduce to you the "The Beast Blog Story.” 

These posts will be a compilation of illustrative stories, photographs, drawings, feelings and collages to share moments that inspired me throughout the week of training, as I complete the rest of this year's goals. Merging my two passions into one designing and running. You may not be able to fully understand what I put down on "paper" but this is the easiest way for me to creatively express what I've learned, struggled with and embraced throughout the weeks to come. Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Breaking up is hard to do...

Yesterday I did it.  I broke up with my streak. As of Saturday I was going strong for 200 consecutive days. For the past couple weeks I've been struggling whether or not to officially break it off.

My reasoning isn't because I can’t do the mile(+) anymore. I think in 200 days, I’ve proved to myself I am capable of doing the streak for the rest of the year. It’s because I need a break. A mental break. I still have some pretty big goals I need to accomplish this year. Next weekend is the Catoctin 50k and the rest/ hardest part of the the Beast Series which consists of; Grindstone 100 mile race (October), Mountain Masochist 50 miler (November) and Hellgate 100k (December.)

My finishes so far this year has come from simply listening to my body, running smart.  Part of running smart is giving it what it needs. What my body needs (I think) to finish the rest of the races this year, is just that small mental break once a week.

A day to not think about mileage. A day to regroup. A day to focus on stretching, foam rolling working out the kinks from all the other runs that have built up to that day. A day to let my body reset, so I can go back out recovered and stronger than if I didn’t give myself a full days of rest.

I don’t like quitting. Actually, let me rephrase that I hate quitting! Not finishing something that I started drives me crazy! This doesn’t feel like quitting though. It feels like a healthy break up. It just isn’t working out anymore for me and the good ole’ streak. I have found that there is something much more positive coming out of this than if I was to continue on in this daunting “relationship.”

In this “200 day relationship” I’ve learned so much. It has taught me that I am very
determined. I will go beyond the limit. Actually this streak has redefined my definition of "limits." There is no limit when it comes to the kind of weather I’ll run in. Regardless of what wind, snow storm or lightening storm that pushes me in the other direction, I will put my head down and continue to push through. (I have oddly found the most extreme conditions fun.)

This streak has taught me that there is always enough time to run regardless of how busy you are. It doesn’t always have to be a 10, 5 or 3 mile run but if you just put your shoes on and get out there that is something. Which is way better than nothing at all. 

The streak has also taught me that no matter how tired you are, you can do it. It’s just your mind telling you otherwise. Once you get started it’s surprising how much energy you get from overcoming the mind. Most of my runs I would plan to head out for 2 or 3 miles on a tired day, I'd end up going for 4 or 5 miles instead or sometimes triple the distance if things were clicking just right. Your mind easily gets in your own way. Push it aside if your feeling right, just go! You’d be surprised what you are capable of.

So yesterday the break up went well. No hard feelings. I still went out for a bike ride. It was refreshing, relaxing and different. The perfect mental break I needed to start back up another week of hard solid week training.

If my main focus this year is to “run smart” then I think it's best the streak and I part ways...

It’s been real, streak. Maybe we will meet again someday soon. I'm glad we left it on good terms :)