bricks_and_bones: (pizza)
Bricks and Bones ([personal profile] bricks_and_bones) wrote2012-10-27 12:49 pm

Stone Tower complete

Last weekend saw the final race in the North Shore Trail series before the Stone Cat: the Stone Tower 15k. Here I am, #492:



WHAT A TOUGH RACE. For some reason my legs did not want to run uphill. That was unfortunate as the race saw three steep rocky ascents to the Stone Tower itself. On the other hand, I was burning the downhills. I made up a lot of time on the more technical downhill singletrack trails, passing most of the people who had passed me on the uphill and ultimately aiding my finish in 1:42. I am very proud of how far my agility, balance, and strength have come to allow me to kill rocky and steep descents.

I definitely think I could have done better than my overall time, but considering the terrain, I am not ashamed of it. My running buddy Tom stuck with me pretty much the entire race, though I left him behind on the final descent to the finish: he bruised the bottom of his foot pretty badly during the run and it was hampering his speed. He is a "barefoot runner," and uses these minimalist sneakers that really don't have a ton of padding between the foot and the ground to speak of.

He was definitely the faster of the two of us on the uphills -- he looked really good on the climbs. Hopefully he will actually call me to do some weekend trail runs together. We work pretty well together as partners.

Exactly one week from today -- almost one week from NOW, I hope -- I will be crossing the finish line at the Stone Cat Trail Marathon. The weather on the 10-day forecast looks to be partly cloudy and around 50° F, with a 20% chance of rain. However, this week's weather will likely be unsettled by Hurricane Sandy, which, while it LOOKS like it will probably make landfall around NYC and head inland from there, MIGHT move more northward to menace the Boston area.

Possibly fallout from such a storm for the marathon could include downed trees/branches, some flooded trails, and a heavier cover of leaf litter and other detritus over the trails. This kind of litter can hide dangers like ankle-breaking holes, rocks, and roots that can trip a tired runner who is dragging her feet. I am sure that volunteers will be dispatched before the race to check the course and make sure any big stuff is out of the way, but it could still have an impact due to the leaf downage. The culverts over the swamp have apparently been newly repaired -- hopefully this means no knee-to-hip-deep water to run through! And hopefully the hurricane won't undo all the good work there.

I am pretty psyched for the race, overall. I ran today for an hour (a short run!) and felt very strong. I haven't been trying for high speeds, but rather a good positive comfortable rolling forward motion. I need my lower back, pelvis, hips, and quads to be nice and loose for the actual race, just to benefit the mechanics of my stride. No cross training this week, according to Dan: just running, and for not more than an hour at a time. Friday needs to be a rest day. Though with the weather looking the way it is, I might not be able to run outdoors on Monday or Tuesday. WE SHALL SEE. I love running in the rain but I am not about to run in a hurricane.

I have been eating well, to say the least. I am trying to eat lots of lean protein and just generally eat the things that make me feel good, like my favorite meal/snack: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, yogurt, apple slices, granola all mixed together in a big bowl. Lots of peanut butter and nutella and pretzels. I need to focus on drinking adequate water over the upcoming week

For the actual marathon:

Dream Goal: Break five hours
Possibility: Finish in around five hours
Very Realistic: Come in around six hours

We shall see what actually happens when the chips are down! So far, I am glad to be (almost) at the starting line. The received wisdom is that the hardest part of a marathon is making it to the start, and this is undeniably true. I ran through 90° weather, through clouds of horseflies, through exhaustion and busyness, all the while avoiding injury, to get to this place. Standing at the starting line will be very satisfying indeed.