29 October 2014

RIP Blake Norwood

I have tears in my eyes. The ultra community has a huge gaping loss today. The founding director of the Umstead 100 miler, Blake was there for me in my second 100 miler, the first time I broke 24 hours. He was taking photos, including the gem below, laughing, teasing, enouraging, being out there. He was such a present RD - I have been to races and had no clue who the RD was. He, on the other hand, talked with everyone. He will be missed. Oh, Blake.....
Running my 2nd 100 miler

27 October 2014

Cape Cod Marathon: Views, Wind, and Split Lips (and I didn't throw up on myself or poop in my pants)

Post race: no one fainted or pooped in their pants or threw up. We all finished. In other words, the marathon was a resounding success.

I'm one of those people that are easily convinced to do things. Like run marathons, blow money on things they shouldn't, travel at the drop of a hat, get another cocktail, and bake something sweet and eat way too much of it. So when Jill said, "I'm running these three races. Want to run one with me?" and the Cape Cod Marathon fit, of course I said yes.

Jill was hosting a party the day before, so I prepared for the marathon by drinking mimosas and eating lots of delicious things. I slept a good deal, and we head over to the start in Falmouth, which was pretty low-key.

I was hungry at the start, and was looking for water to take a pre-race gel with. Someone told me it was at the front and then after I had looked around a bunch, someone else told me it was in the back. No time. Booo. I started, holding a gel, looking forward for the first water stop...which was in 2.5 miles. Water was every 2.5 miles or so. Boooo.

But the course was good. Hilly, yes. But oh-so-gorgeous. Really pretty. The ocean, the houses, the lighthouse. As Wayne said the day before, "Super f-ing quaint." Indeed.

After around 2 miles or so, someone came up behind me and began touching my face. I had no idea what was going on, and smacked the person away....and it was Stephen. Apparently I accidentally split his lip, and he said, "I deserve it. You don't startle a girl from Brooklyn during a marathon." It was a little strange to have someone touching my face from behind.

Stephen and I ran the rest of the race together - we talked about Burning Man, work, relationships, running, friends, the desert, lots of stuff. We suffered together, and enjoyed things.

My stomach was pretty wrecked. I didn't have pre-race bathroom success, so the last part of the race, I was in agony. As we came into the finish, I thought I was going to throw up all over myself, which would've made for a fantastic finishing photo - right?? But I didn't.

We finished, 3:55. Far from what I wanted. But considering I'm still dealing with that foot soreness issue (The bottoms of my feet are swollen, ow.) and my stomach was in agony, I guess it was okay. I need to do more speed workouts so I can kill it in a marathon, someday.

Post race, I shivered under Mylar and talked to runners. Then we drove back to Jill's house where we drank delicious alcohol and talked about everything until it was pretty evident I should have left hours earlier - which really wasn't a bad thing after all, as sometimes, fun takes priority.

Burning Man in Slow Motion

An amazing video. Can't wait to be home again.

Burning man 2014 from UBERcut on Vimeo.

Why can't I run down the street free of suggestion?

Today I was running home from the library. A worker in a construction hole had to watch me run towards him and then turned his body and head to look at me in the other direction. (Too bad he wasn't an owl.) I stopped and say in a really pleasant voice, "Why do you have to stop what you are doing and look at me? Really, it's not a compliment. I just want to run. I don't want to be stared at."

"Oh, you're doing a good thing."

A good thing? Why don't you go to the nearest gym and give a round of applause to everyone there.

"I'm sure you are not doing this to the men."

The whole interaction went over his head and I ran home, annoyed that I cannot just run down the street free of suggestion.

In the words of Fugazi,
Why can't i walk down a street free of suggestion?
Is my body the only trait in the eye's of men?
I've got some skin
You want to look in
There lays no reward in what you discover
You spent yourself watching me suffer
Suffer you words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands
Suffer your interpretation of what it is to be a man
I've got some skin
You want to look in
She does nothing to deserve it
He only wants to observe it
We sit back like they taught us
We keep quiet like they taught us
He just wants to prove it
She does nothing to remove it
We don't want anyone to mind us
So we play the roles that they assigned us
She does nothing to conceal it
He touches her 'cause he wants to feel it
We blame her for being there
But we are all guilty


What is decompression? It's untangling yourself from Burning Man. It's saying goodbye but reminding yourself of what you learned at Burning Man - and not giving that up. It's carrying on your dreams. It's refusing to give up a hope for an idyllic lifestyle. 
Me, Kathy, and Carrie

It's art. It's conversation. It's community. It's dancing. It's sharing. It's love. I want it every day.

Dreams I share

Pink twins

Decom takes place down a couple of streets in San Francisco in the Dogpatch area. There's a park in the middle with a bunch of art (including LOVE and Kathy's piece abbreviated, YAY!), people having picnics, hanging out. Then there are different theme camps providing music, snacks, drinks, interaction, that sort of thing. There's dancing, conversation, catching up with friends fun.

One of my fave runners (sans Mohawk) showing off his BRC 50k medal!

Love, Love, Love....

This year I found myself spending most of my time catching up with friends - talking, sharing dreams, talking about our Burns, talking about what we learned, talking about what's next, sharing secrets that we're barely comfortable telling ourselves...it's Burning Man in a real city.

The teacups!
 I stayed until the bitter end, dancing, catching up with friends, having fun, talking, listening, sharing, chatting. When it ended, I decided I was too tired (and too sore from the Dick Collins 50 Miler the day before) so I wanted to skip on an after party. But I helped Kathy disassemble her piece and move it to the van. We chatted in the ride home about love and life and searching for happiness and art....

I'll be back next year - it works well with running the Dick Collins 50 Miler, and it's a nice way to tie things up - and see Kathy and Carrie and Rachelle and Jonathan and Utah and Valerie and so many others. I love you all and thank you for making me realizing there's more to life than the everyday!
Kathy's super awesome piece!

Can't stop playing this song on repeat....

The lyrics don't move me heaps, but I just feel like I'm transported to a dance floor under blazing sun or blinking lights, pulling my energy up and out and sharing with everyone around me.

Dick Collins 50 Miler 2014: Hills, Madelines, and Super Nice People

I was pretty excited to run the Dick Collins 50 Miler. I hadn't run a 50 miler in quite a while, since May at Bear Mountain (which is so tough and technical it's more like a 75 miler than a 50, ugh). I had PRd on this course, so was hopeful, even though it was 2 weeks since Hinson 24 hour, and 3 weeks since North Coast 24 hour. Ouch. I felt it.

I started out, pretty excited and happy to run! It was so pretty. I was chatting up a storm with everyone around me, pointing out all of the pretty views. The course is just jaw-dropping, and oh yeah, this is totally normal for California and everyone stares at you like you are an alien when you scream, "OMG LOOK AT THAT VIEW," and they say, "That looks like everywhere out here. What is wrong with you?" Ooops. New Yorker.

There's a different vibe to running out in California; there's history. I mean, GORDY was in the race. Swoon. Gordy, the father of ultrarunning. People said, "Western," and they meant Western States. OBVIOUSLY. Everyone was amazed I came out for this race, but I told them they shouldn't be. It's an awesome race, beautiful, AND very importantly, the day before San Francisco's Burning Man Decompression.

The course is not easy but beautiful. Lots of ups and downs. I kept saying, "I don't remember the course being this hard!" Up and down, more ups than downs, it seems, but as the course was pretty much out and back, you know it really wasn't. My hamstrings felt DESTROYED. I kept stopping to stretch. They hurt so terribly.

I saw an old ultrarunning friend Steve, who was working an aid station while he was injured. He didn't mind the sweaty hug. 

I'll admit; the food at the aid stations weren't quite as good when Ann Trason was RD. I basically ran a 50 mile all-you-can-eat buffet when she was RD. This was still quite good - grilled cheese at the turnaround, yay. They had these little packages of madelines, and given that I adore madelines and bake them, I ate approximtaely 400. Well, not that many, but I couldn't stop eating them and had to restrict myself. I knew I wasn't burning that many calories, ha.

I pulled it into the finish, way slower than I thought and hoped. Blisters, soreness, but I was okay. I was disappointed, but I guess my legs are just too slow right now. Sigh. Oh well. Next year, I'll be fresher!

And yes, next year, I'll be back.

We got pretty good schwag - tshirts, wine glasses, little reusable backpacks, fleeces. The post-race BBQ was nice, the volunteers friendly, and I'll def be back! See you next year on the trails!

23 October 2014

Wait, why don't I live in California?

We slipped on our shoes and headed out the door....and Jerry and I were running here within a mile. There's a wolf in the background. Tough hills. Mountains, really. Dry. Why do I live in NYC? Because it's my energy and my city and my love and my family and my friends and my community but sometimes, I just want to roll out my door into awesome running. Maybe in another ten years I'll be ready to move out there, but until then, I know all the awesome spots to run in NYC.

02 October 2014

Because Dreams.

Lake of Dreams from roy two thousand on Vimeo.

This Doesn't Belong Here

This isn't now. No, it's not. It's a very different world. It's a world of the now, it's a world where we are cold, tired, talking, waiting, dancing, looking, and being.

I took a break from a busy day and decided to watch a video a friend had posted a while back. It was this.

It might not be the best video of Burning Man, but I really did love it. It made me think, Oh Cherie, that is so different. That is another place from where you are now.

How can I get to that place of just being in the now? I guess it's a journey we work on every day...on playa, it's so easy to just be that and there.

01 October 2014

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race Report (2014): It Was Awful, But an Awful Lot of Fun

                Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race has a special spot in my heart: it was my first 24 hour race (which I won the first time) and really turned me on to 24 hour races. No matter your finishing results, you get to run with and meet and chat with a ton of different awesome people at all sorts of paces. SO MUCH FUN!
                I knew going into this race that I wouldn’t run my best, as I had run 105 miles the week before at The North Coast 24 Hour National Championships, but hoped since I hadn’t PR’d, maybe my legs would be decent, good enough for 100+ miles? Not exactly. My legs were tired, and a stressful week of work, plus not enough sleep, plus lots of other things going on in my head did not leave me well-rested. I took a nap the day before and literally had to pull over 20 minutes from the start of Hinson to stretch because I was too exhausted to keep driving. Not a good sign, but remember, I don’t often pay attention to bad signs. Sigh.       

                Hinson Lake is an awesome 24 hour race – the fee is $24 and you get a tshirt, bumper sticker, pint glass (Good because Wayne and I are always breaking the ones we have!), and food, and 24 hours of running fun! The company is great – I love all of the runners and end up chatting with tons of great people. The course is a 1.56 mile loop around the lake – it’s pretty, there are some small rolling hills, but it’s mainly flat on dirt, sand, and boardwalk. There are tons of tents along the course and fun signs.
                At the start, I took off, chattering and laughing, enjoying and remembering the course. What a beautiful day. Soon enough, my pace slowed to 9:20s, which is definitely not terrible, but I usually go out a bit faster, with less effort. These 9:20s felt tough. Oh no.
                “My legs feel so tired,” I told Shannon. We ran together for a while, and she seemed strong at times, but she ended up not having a good day either and dropped. I was very sad to see her go. My legs were feeling tired before 2 hours.
                I ran with Jonathan Savage, who told me about his brown recluse spider bite and his recovery. He promised his wife to only run 50 miles, and only that much if he felt okay. He ended up quitting at 50 miles, feeling good. We talked about stress and how it impacts running. Talking always helps, and talking while running is the best. If only I could find a therapist who wanted to go on long runs with me…I would have no problems, I’m convinced.
                I reached the marathon in under 5 hours and the 50k in under 6 hours. Compare this to last weekend’s 24 hour (with the marathon in 4:10, 50k in 5:05). I knew it would be a bad day.
                I talked to Ray. He was weary, still. Running for 52 days straight from 6a.m. to midnight on concrete will do that to you.
                I hung out with Kelley, I hung out with Joe, I chilled with lots of amazing people. It was fun.
                I had my set up of various bags next to Brett. Brett’s dad was 100% awesome and his name was Wayne. He called me “babe” and was sweet, hilarious, helpful, and nice. Brett ended up taking a 3 hour nap.
                After it got dark, I just crashed. I curled up on the air mattress Wayne had set up with Wayne’s sleeping bag and passed out. I got up, and slowly began running. My blistered feet felt better, and my legs were still tired, but I could do this. I knew 100 miles would be almost impossible.
                I took a 5 hour energy shot. I ran with music. I danced while I ran. I chatted. I walked Mount Hinson, that giant mountain they put on the course. I napped in a chair. I got up and ran more.
                About two and a half hours from the finish, Rich and I began running together.
                He gave me a red bull and we talked each other’s ears off. We mostly ran, but we’d walk Mount Hinson.  I don’t remember what we talked about – dissolving marriages and cupcakes and blisters and this race and that race and oh this race and yeah that race. I ate a lot of pink cupcakes.
                Oh, the food. This year I ate homemade cookies and pizza that I took the cheese off of and animal crackers and cheese its and lots and lots of pink frosted cupcakes. Oh, how delicious it all tasted. At least my stomach was awesome! Yay!
                I ended up with 94.6 miles, or 93.6, something like that. Ugh. Depressing. So close, yet so far. And I still know that’s a pretty awesome effort – esp since I ran a 24 hour last weekend.
                My legs felt tired and my body was exhausted. Stress has been seeping in everywhere lately – it sucks. My blisters were out of control – I stopped to cut moleskin and cover them, but they were a horrendous mess and I think I scared my little sister when she saw me popping them afterwards. Yum.
                So Hinson? Not my best race. Nope. Not this year. But fun –yes. Lots and lots and lots of fun.

                I WILL BE BACK FOR SURE NEXT YEAR. I hope there will be pink frosted cupcakes!