28 April 2010

Self-Transcendence Six and Ten Day Races 2010

Last night, armed with a pineapple pizza, Iliana and I visited (once again) the site of the amazing Self-Transcendence Ten/Six Day race. Everyone looked exhausted, but happy the rain had stopped.

All photos are current as of 10:30pm Tuesday. 

10 day results

6 Day Results - Notice How Dipali is in front of all women AND men!

And tables belonging to racers

27 April 2010

The future...

I'm really excited about Saturday's Miwok 100k...In the North Face San Fran 50 Miler, I was able to run on some of the trails in the area, and they're just gorgeous. I know it's an insanely tough race - the altitude profile is more than a little scary!

I don't have a specific goal time, but I hope to run a strong, happy, good race. I'd like to finish in the top half (the top third would be even lovelier!) and learn more about what makes a race a good race for me! Mostly, I love races with fantastic scenery...and that's what this is.

May will be a quiet month. I'm taking care of a medical procedure (more on that in a later post) which means NO RUNNING! If possible, I hope to run the Mayapple 100k on May 22nd, but that depends on how everything goes. We'll see.

I want to celebrate my birthday with the Peaks Race 50 Miler - sounds tough but I hope to be in shape enough for it. And then a few other random races...and Vermont 100 again in July!

But also - I can't forget who I am. I'll be doing some writing, trying to submit my novel to agents, spending time with family, friends, working on some Burning Man costumes, growing tomatoes, basil and mint on my fire escape...and discovering the glowing life inside me and the glowing life in my hometown city.

25 April 2010


Iliana and I went to watch the Sri Chinmoy 6 and 10 day races in Flushing, Queens on Friday. It was pretty amazing - they have a whole mini-village set up, with kitchens, showers, port-a-potties, dorms w/ cots, tents, tables for the runners' supplies. The course is a 1 mile course around paths and parking lots of Flushing Meadows Park. You're rather close to the Grand Central, but also to the lake. It's weird - I never thought I would like doing such a race.

On Friday, I ended up hanging out with one of the runners for 7 laps or so. Barbara was on the first day of the 6 day race, and we chatted about the course, running, surgeries, ex-boyfriends, anesthesia, life, love, multi-day races, taping feet, our lives. It was pretty amazing to be out there and get into the pace. I haven't been so inspired in a while - I really want to do this race.

It doesn't sound lovely - a mile loop for 6 or 10 days? But honestly, it was really a beautiful and amazing thing, and I saw the way the runners dug deep inside themselves for the courage and the strength to push on.

Boston Marathon Recap

The Boston Marathon was okay. I went into the race, knowing the chances of me PR'ing were quite unlikely (and I didn't PR), but hoping I would run strong. I felt the effects of many things:

  1. Running Umstead 100 Miler 3 weeks prior
  2. Training primarily in ultra mode (lots of long slow distance)
  3. No speed workouts
  4. Some recent time off since Umstead due to knee and foot pain
My time was either 3:52 or 3:54 - something like that. I felt okay but quickly realized I would miss my PR and goal and decided to try to enjoy the day to the best of my ability. I slapped little kid's hands, smiled, chatted, felt happy. I re-experienced all the stupid hills of Boston (I forgot how many hills there are!), and the quiet spots of the Boston course. Around Mile 21 (actually, in the midst of Heartbreak Hill), I began feeling dizzy and my electrolyte levels were out of wack. I took an endurolyte, ate some pretzels, chilled, and felt better. I picked up the pace but then began feeling like a complete slug the last 3 miles with extreme hamstring pain. I was SO glad to be done.

I'm not doing that one again.

I understand what an honour it is to qualify for and run Boston, but I don't know - I miss ultras. I love the comradery, the people, the beauty of trails, the pace. Ultras are much more my speed than marathons. I'm doing NYC this year, though I do plan on doing some speed training (which should help w/ ultras as well) and I have to figure out how to run it w/o getting all stressed about time.

16 April 2010

Learning something big...

I'm excited/dreading the Boston Marathon...I'm dreading b/c I know I haven't done enough speed workouts. I ran a 100miler 3 weeks ago, so am still in that slower mode. I also have recently dealt w/ two injuries - top of my foot pain and I'm still dealing w/ some knee pain (though it luckily hasn't been bothering me while running) so I've had to scale back my training a bit more than I would have liked, and took off too many days.

I've never felt like this about a race before. I'm trying to feel excited, but I'm mostly nervous now. I just don't want to feel horrid and slow and miserable.

Nelson wrote me some sage advice, and I will do my best to heed it:

I think you are going to learn something big... It amazes me that for someone I admire so much I hang out with so little... Just run! It is what you like to do anyway. Slow? Well then see the sites! Fast? Then just see a blur! 3:30? Then just be in the pack! 2:10? Ha, to funny to think of anything... You are wonderful and amazing, you have great friends... What you do in Boston is a side issue because we will all run Boston vicariously through/with you...

Life or Death....

My Papa (grandfather) said to my mother, "I want to die. I've had a long life. I'm happy. I want to die."

Selfishly, I don't want him to die - he gives so much happiness to me and many others who loves him (and admittedly, aggravation to my grandma), but my mother asked me, "Why shouldn't someone be able to decide when they are done? If they've lived a full life, why can't they choose to stop?"

I am not making anyone's decisions on what to do with their lives. I don't want anyone to have unnecessary suffering or unhappiness, and if people can't do anything to alleviate pain - well, people need to live their lives as they see fit.

That said, if my papa did take his life, I would collapse into tears. 

Right now, I'll continue to cherish each and every beautiful moment of my life -- runs, a smile from a strange on the street, a delicious cup of tea. I'm looking forward to seeing my papa again, whenever he is strong enough to make it back to NY or I am able to fly down to see him.

I Belong on the Trails

My next ultra is Miwok 100k...I'm so excited to hit the trails, to see some really beautiful scenery, and to run my heart out...

15 April 2010

why i'm not super excited about running the boston marathon this year

I've gotten SO into ultras lately. I love the distance, the speed (or lack thereof!), the eating chocolate/cookies while running, the trails, the scenery, but especially, the people! I'm running Boston and I'm just not that excited this year.

I am proud that I qualified, and it will be fun to be up there with my NBR teammates, and oh yeah, shopping at the best runner's expo is going to be fun - but I'd honestly rather be on trails.

I'm also pretty nervous - I haven't done very much speed training at all. I've done some fartleks and tempo runs, but speed has fallen off the table so I will probably not be so fast...not to mention the fact that I ran a 50k in January, 50 miler in Feb, 50k in March, 100 miler in March...so I'm all about running slow and long, not fast...I hope I don't die out there.

I do know the course, which gives me confidence at least. I also know I can manage the hills. For those who obsess over Boston's heartbreak hill, it's not THAT bad.

I'm pondering Leadville, and I wanted to do Western States (lottery shut me out!), so I know what Heartbreak Hill is...and it's manageable. 

So I want to run Boston to have fun! I'm hoping I have some speed, and plan on pushing myself however fast that I can. 

My Papa is also in the hospital. He turned 90 yesterday (yay!), and has been having back pain. I'm going to dedicate this race to him, and whenever it gets tough, I'm going to push as much as I can because I know he's had worse pain - and because I love him, I will succeed for him.

Here's to Boston...Heartbreak Hill, you won't break my heart! We're going to fall in love...or maybe it's just a crush until I head to Vermont 100, someone I really love.

14 April 2010

Someone Might Need to Lock Me Up

After watching this video, I want to do Leadville. Bad.
I can't! I already am doing a total of three 100 milers and two 100ks.

But, what a beautiful day...

08 April 2010

Great Ultra Quote

"When my longest run was 13 miles, a marathon seemed nearly impossible.

When my longest run was 26 miles, 50 miles seemed nearly impossible.

When my longest run was 50 miles, 100 miles seemed nearly impossible.

When my longest run was 100 miles, 50 miles seemed like a nice, long
training run."

~Karl King

05 April 2010

Skirt It!

Running skirts make me dance!
Striking a pose in my running skirt during the VT100!

Since I first heard of the concept, running skirts have been my favourite thing to keep below the waist while running. I remembered when I ordered my first skirt from RunningSkirts.com, and how I loved it - I did that thing you're never supposed to do, which is ran for the NYC Marathon without testing it out on a long run, and loved it and felt great! At mile 11, some woman watching me remarked to her friend, "A skirt? Women can run in skirts?" My boyfriend at the time was standing next to her and responded, "Yeah, that's my girlfriend. She's wearing a running skirt." "A running skirt? They make such a thing?" "Yeah, it's from Runningskirts.com." (Isn't he a great advertiser?)

The big pockets on the side allow for plenty of things - my inhaler, sports jelly beans, gels, bags of pretzels, fistfuls of animal crackers, you know, the normal things one puts in your pocket. Plus, they look cute. If you're not into pink, they do have other colors and prints.

There's a myth that running skirts will be constrictive or uncomfortable, but I prefer them to running in shorts. They don't ride up or move around - I feel quite happy in them. Plus, I love how people are always shocked, "You ran 100 miles in a skirt?"

Recently, I sent them an email about something. They didn't respond, despite a follow-up email...and then they responded. They read my blog, even saw how I struck a pose at Umstead in one of their skirts...and sent me a super sweet care package. Will you be at Boston or Miwok? Well, you'll see me in one of their skirts then, in my newest one!   

Why I'll Never Be 70.3

I was trying to be good this morning and went to the gym to lift weights and do a water workout. I almost wrote swim, but if I did, I'd be lying - I wasn't exactly swimming. 

I did water running and yes, some pathetic attempts at the breaststroke and crawl stroke for about a half hour. I never feel as good after swimming (I pretty much spend most of the time checking out the clock to see if it's time to stop.), but I figured I should do some sort of cross-training.

In May, I have a surgery scheduled that will sadly pull me out of training. My focus should be recovery, though of course my immediate questions were, "When can I run???" It looks like I can expect to go back to work within 1-3 weeks, so we'll see when I can run - when I have no pain. The doctor suggested swimming, so we'll see how that goes. I'll try not to drown, and don't worry, I won't do it when I'm on pain medication.

But yeah, I'll never be an Ironwoman. (My coworker used the term "Ironwoman" and I love it!)

First Sponsorship!

I recently received my first sponsorship with Team Odwalla - so exciting! It's the first year they'll be doing the program, but I'm proud to be sponsored by a great company whose products I enjoy.

When I told my grandma, she said, "Finally, all that work pays off." Well, that wasn't the point of running all these miles, but it's really nice to get a nod.

02 April 2010

There are ups, and there are downs, or, I don't know what this pain in my foot is

Post-Umstead 100 Miler, I was experiencing an ultimate runner's high. I felt sore, yes, but pretty good and emotionally great. 

Sunday, very sore, could barely sleep. After the race, I slept for three hours and woke up because I was in too much pain. I took a bath with epsom salts, inhaled alleve my sister's doctor husband insisted I take, and sat around their house for most of the rest of the day.

Monday I was wore but feeling okay. I worked at home. After work, I walked to meet some North Brooklyn Runner friends to chat about the Boston Marathon. On my walk back, I felt mostly okay; my feet were still blistered but I was wearing my Birkenstocks which let my feet breathe.

Tuesday I ran to the gym, worked out on the elliptical for an hour (nice & easy), and then ran home, showered. Walking around my house, I notice a slight *twinge* in the top of my foot. Whatever. I ate my breakfast. I walked to the train in the horrible windy miserable rain and got soaked. On the platform, I noticed my foot was still kinda hurting - and overwhelmed by the crappy weather and not wanting to hurt myself, I walked back home and worked at home. I iced my foot for a while which seemed to help.

Wednesday I did a short run and felt great. A little twinge in the foot, but nothing too crazy. Walking around in my Birks at work I felt some slight pain. Ummm...not cool. I ended up going home early with an awful migraine.

Thursday I woke up - with my migraine. And a cold. And my foot was hurting. I decided to work from home (I probably should've called in sick in light of how awful I felt). I worked from my futon, lying down, trying to relax. I went to my podiatrist at 10:30...who said I probably don't have a stress fracture but it's probably just tendinitis. 

The next week - no running. Ugh. I have to wear a stupid ugly surgical boot (I know, when it's the FIRST weekend of spring sandal weather!!!!) and soak my foot in these stinky Chinese herbs my doctor gave me.

I only hope I can run soon - the Boston Marathon is in two weeks (which I'll probably be slow anyway since I'm used to ultra pace) and Miwok is in four weeks. I already have to take off in May for surgery, so this is a super bummer.


Cobblestones: Fiction

She walked alone through the streets of SoHo. It didn't matter which streets, it's just that these were streets she had once walked before with much different meaning. These were streets she walked when she felt like she was untouchable. She felt slightly nauseous at a memory of herself telling a good friend,

"I can't believe it, but my life right now is practically perfect."

It was way too late. The party she was at -- streets behind. Slightly sobered, but still, a taste of salt and lime on her lips from her last margarita. She stumbled on the cobblestone streets, glad no one was around to see the tears. 

"I am not crying. I am fine. I am good. I am better off alone."

She pushed on. Two drunken girls passed her, not noticing the devastation on her face. Their laughs echoed in the street, and a full cab sped by her. 

"I couldn't get into that even if it were empty." 

Her tears left her outside.

A glowing 24-hour bodega ahead; she pushes on, pushes past.

The subway ahead; she walks past.

She pushes on, walking dozens and dozens of blocks, sobering up, the tears drying up. When she arrives at her new home, she shoves the key in the lock, trudges up the stairs, and tosses her purse on the table by the door. Her cat meows.

"That's right, Sinda," she tells the cat. "I'm home. I'm going to make us some food and I'm so glad to see you. There's no place I'd rather be."

She remembers what her tears and drunkenness prevented her from remembering earlier, remembers reasons why she had ended everything.

It's not perfect, but it would be again - someday. She knew it, she just had to walk there, walk her way all the way to perfection.