Category Archives: fun runs

My Next Big Event

is the Brain Freeze 5K on Saturday. After a long training cycle and recovery period plus a race last week at Clarence DeMar, I’m ready for some fun. So on Saturday after my regular long run, I’ll sprint 1.5 miles, down a pint of ice cream and run 1.5 miles more. Easy, right?

My race strategy is to bring a tough spoon, wear gloves and hope the 90 degree weather melts the pints into a more drinkable form.

Pictures to follow…

A Followup About Adventure Racing

In December, I asked a question about the proliferation of “obstacle races.” Then in May, I watched Emmy do Tough Mudder and was impressed with the physical requirements of that race. Apparently, I am not alone in my curiosity about the phenomenon, as the Journal of Exercise Physiology took on the topic in a recent issue.

It’s a fascinating Sunday read and great for anyone who is thinking about taking on an obstacle course or for people looking to learn more about designing training plans based in physiology (which is a good idea.)

Happy Sunday.

Old Route Relay Review

We had a blast on Sunday running across Chittenden County as Team Skirack. No one got lost (on our team), no one cried and we didn’t even have a team fight. And I worked on that whole toughness issue that I’ve struggled with before.

It was a very chilly Sunday morning (and day), but thankfully the rain held off for most of the run. We all piled into my car at CVU just after 8 am on Sunday after cheering Kyle on over the start line. After a coffee run, we drove along the first leg to cheer Kyle on as he climbed 3 miles up and over to Richmond. At the first transition point, Kyle tagged Eric and established our official team tag-off butt slap. Eric barreled towards Cochran’s and Sarah and I both prepped for our upcoming legs. We raced ahead of Sarah (she had a short first leg) to Camel’s Hump Middle School where I attempted to warm up for my leg.

I came into Sunday on dead legs, after running 20 miles on Saturday. I felt good, but knew it would be a grind to get through 13.6 on hilly terrain. Still, I somehow underestimated the hilliness of my route, despite coaching in that district on those roads. The first two miles were hilly, but manageable. It was the screaming uphill in mile 4 that I completely forgot about and where I realized just how tired I was. I was determined to be at or under marathon pace, however, and ground out a first leg at almost 10K PR pace.

The 90 minutes between my legs passed quickly; I rehydrated and fueled as we wound out of Jericho into Essex and like others in the car, felt pretty darn stiff as I warmed up at Catamount for the second leg. The first mile was a breeze; downhill and flat with the wind at my back. I caught a person dressed as a fox. And then things got worse. With the climb over 89 and the long, grinding hill afterward, I was a cranking teammate. I distinctly remember saying to someone “I’m not really having fun anymore.” Somewhere around mile 4 of my second leg, however, I decided that I was going to work on using the mantra I plan to use both for the MCAT on Saturday and during VCM: I am grateful to be here. 

I reminded myself that I was grateful to be running with friends, that I was grateful for healthy legs and lungs and for the opportunity to explore backroads near my home. Whether it was the mantra or the downhill, the last few miles flew by. My only major tactical error was at 7 miles, where I turned into Lake Iroquois, the transition zone. With the downhill and the finish in reach, I dropped the hammer down and started to push. Only to hear my watch beep for 7 miles and realize that I had half a mile left. Instead of backing off, I decided to push through instead and somehow held on for another unexpected half mile. I managed to better my pace on this leg, finishing firmly under marathon pace.

In the end, we finished 2nd overall (and to an all male high school team, SO unfair) and had a blast. It was refreshing to run in a new place so close to home and to compete as a team in an unconventional way. It was also good for me to practice pulling myself together even when my legs felt horrible. I highly recommend this race for first-timers and experienced relay teams alike.

Oh Yeah, I’m Doing This Race Next Weekend

Totally forgot that I agreed to be part of an Old Route Relay team next weekend, running 50 miles on a team of 5 through rural Chittenden County. Since I’m running 20 miles on Saturday, I’ll use Sunday as the perfect time to practice marathon pace on tired legs. The breaks in between each leg will give me time to refuel and the legs are just long enough to be tired!

The best part about relay races, however, are the picture and the inevitable hysteria that results from being in the car with three other teammates for an entire day. I’m looking forward to quality time with friends, music blasting from the speakers and the excuse to eat poptarts for most of a Sunday. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect way to kick off MCAT week.

Roll Away Your Stone

You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works…

I don’t run with music, but I use it to lift and do core and am always looking for songs to get me through it. I’m a huge Pat McGee Band fan, and Mumford and Sons fall somewhere between Pat and the Dropkick Murphy’s for me. If this song doesn’t make you tap your feet, well, ignore my musical recommendations from now on.

Best For: A boring treadmill workout or pre-race mix.

Special Thursday Fun Run with Brooks (1/26)

SkiRack hosts a run every Thursday at 6 pm that covers 5 to 6 miles and is a great way to connect with other area runners. On Thursday January 26th, it’s an extra special run as Trish from Brooks will be joining to showoff Nightlife clothing. Demos may also be available. After the run, there will be a social gathering at a local restaurant for beverages and food. Mark your calendar and join us for any or all of this fun mid-winter evening.

The Big Question

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” – Peter Maher

Is simple running not hard enough anymore? For me, the marathon and the 5K are two very different kinds of hard. The marathon just grinds on you and takes what you will give it. The 5K is a fine line between red line and vomit. I have yet to race either without pain.

So someone please explain the phenomenon of the Tough Mudder, of the Spartan Race and the proliferation of other “extreme” running events. Why in the world would I want to enter something that isn’t a race where I am guaranteed to fall, get muddy, be shocked by up to 10,000 volts and run through fire. Should that happen in the course of a training run, fine, but pay for that experience?

Maybe I’m a slow learner and someday too will reach a point where only crawling under barbed wire fence mid-run will placate my need for stimulation. I went on an adventure run yesterday in fact. We decided to find a new path back to the school, which required bushwhacking and orienteering through a bog. As the light was fading away, I stood on the edge of a bog on a rotted tree. There was one line through the bog that wouldn’t result in completely soaked shoes and it required almost perfect foot placement. With a deep breath, I moved and managed to get across the bog with minimal mud/wetness. Eventually, we found the trails we knew existed and happily popped up across from the school. I should mention that this run also included plenty of barbed wire, which is plentiful in the backwoods of Vermont where old stone walls still run. The run wasn’t for cardiovascular benefit; my heartrate averaged 127. It was for fun and agility.

Despite being a firm believer that fun runs are as important as spot-on tempos, I’m still baffled by the number of people signing up for these extreme events that are only peripherally running events. If you want excitement in running, try cross country. The start of a cross country race is much like these events, only it’s a race and the obstacles aren’t predetermined. And if you fall, you may just get trampled. Don’t worry though, they’ll bring the herd back over you for a new start.

Have you done one of these adventure races? What’s the appeal? Were you a runner first or an athlete from another sport who came to running later?


Turkey Trot Week

My number one tip for surviving Thanksgiving Week? Keep running!  Family and feasts require some balance and a few minutes with your running shoes will do the trick.  Here are some local Turkey Trots to get you out the door on Thursday:

GMAA’s Turkey Trot at UVM

Jarred’s Run in Richmond

Killington Turkey Trot

Don’t live in Vermont? Try this link to find a Turkey Trot near you.

Thirsty Thursdays

In college, Thursday night was the first night of our weekend and we would head to Cagney’s for $3 Long Island Ice Teas. Needless to say, not a lot of running happened on Friday mornings.

Thankfully, college is over, and Thursday nights are now reserved for fun runs at SkiRack. The Thursday night runs are back! Every Thursday night, a group run will depart from SkiRack at 6 pm for a 5 mile or hour run (whichever comes first) at a relaxed pace. It’s a great way to meet other runners, stay motivated in the dark of winter and kick off Friday. I’ll be leading some of the runs, as will other local runners like Joe (SkiRack’s shoe expert), Will (SkiRack’s marketing dude), or Sam (Marathon 201’s coach).

All are welcome. Please wear reflective gear and dress for the elements.