16 September 2014

Because Time Isn't Real at Burning Man

So many months of working your butt off for a week? Does it even make sense? And then you get there and it's work work work and then it's playplayplayworkplayplay and blink it's all over and you are packing up your camp with tears in your eyes. This video gets that time is imaginary.

Time Shifts at Burning Man 2014 from Michael Tosner on Vimeo.

07 September 2014

Re-entry and Decompression

Re-entry has been really weird this year. I feel like it is going to take me longer to decompress as my burn was full of so much this year, almost too much. 

On playa, I felt stressed, a first for Black Rock City: the race was overwhelming and way bigger than ever, which was totally exciting and amazing and wonderful but a lot for me. Next year, I might not be able to run it as things needed to be managed while running. The stress prob contributed to stomach issues which led to 15 min in the port-a-potty, 30 min sitting around waiting for my tummy to feel better, and the poop shuffle - you know, when you have to poop SO BAD while running that you run to get to the toilet fast, then have to stop and hold your stomach, then you walk, then you run, then you clutch your stomach. AWFUL. The volunteers offered to have me poop into a black garbage bag, but HELLO I HAVE SOME CLASS. Not really, I'm just poop shy!

We also had some camp issues: people who didn't pick up their fair share of helping out, and striking camp left me in tears when not everyone helped out. I take things personally too much. So I felt stressed and upset and frustrated and it definitely showed. We grew a lot very quickly, and some people had different ideas about camp responsibilities. I think some will find a better home at a plug-and-play camp next year.

To be honest, all of it broke my heart a little bit. I know I wasn't able to fully be present at all times on the playa because of the stress, even showing that stress, being cranky to those who loved me (and everyone, I AM SORRY, I do love you!) and was hurt a lot. People are really their true selves on the playa, whatever that may be - so you get to see some truth to people. But mostly, it was a beautiful wonderful week, and everyone had their bright happy spots!

Moving on...the playa was good for me, as always. I had some big epiphanies about life, work, writing, love, living. People always say, couples, friendships, they either break up or get stronger. Wayne and I got stronger. Rachelle and I had some wonderful time together. I met some incredible new folks. I saw neat art, made some important internal decisions, danced my butt off, ran, meditated, talked to strangers, met lots of amazing runners, missed my kitties, kissed Wayne, drank mojitos with all my friends at Dementha (except Ben - you were missed!), had some great talks with Yosvany, watched the sunrise a few times, saw the amazing Embrace Burn (prob my fave Burn of this year), saw the other burns, danced a ton, met some great people, connected with so many of the amazing runners, ate lots of guac, drank tons of delicious pina coladas (even with the "WHO THREW AWAY THE PINA COLADA" drama), had a brilliant time.
i love this boy. this was a good year for bonding for us.

oh how he makes me smile. sunset time! howl!

ride this. no.

embrace. the best piece of art this year, IMHO

matching patterns

what i wrote in the library of dreams

that's my boy up there

holding things up

mud and cats

good friends

oh caretaker, how i heart you

some of my camp

dome and us

all smiles

embrace burns

good times at dementha

our annual wedding

dancing at my fave camp on the playa

burning man indeed.

goodbye temple of dreams. take those messages to my grandfathers and uncle and take care of all of them.

let it burn, burn, burn

And for now, we are resting our hearts, our minds, our bodies. I am at home, reading and writing and practicing yoga and running and cooking and baking and seeing those who matter most (Wayne, Mom, Dad), making plans to see others who really matter (Rachelle, Lissy & fam), and figuring out what is next for me.

The Burn always inspires me to do a lot, to be more of myself, yes, to see more fun art, to connect with friends who matter, to figure out what matters, to reach deep inside myself, to meditate, to think, to breathe, to be in the present moment, to push harder, to relax more, and to figure everything out in due time. 

Funny how fake fur and shiny things and burning art and amazing people can inspire all of that.

15 August 2014

Next up....!

Burning Man Ultramarathon! I've been swamped in organizing logistics....making presents for all of the volunteers....answering emails....organizing. I can't wait to run with over 200 amazing burners!

Pajama Run

Thus called the Pajama Run because it is run from 5pm-11pm, I've always wanted to wear pajamas to this six hour run put on by the awesome Broadway Ultra Society. But I end up not, to avoid harassment, because it's in a very popular public park, Astoria Park. On the way, with lovely views, the Triboro Bridge above us, some mini-hills, Christian karaoke, a pool, people playing tug-o-war, wedding parties taking photos...it's an interesting place for a six hour race.
go triboro

menachem now has running clothes

feeling good, early on

run w a view

It was Menachem's first ever race, and he was asking questions about the bibs, including my fave, "What do I do with this bib now that I'm done running? Do I get to keep it?" He ended up completing just over a marathon - not bad, considering his longest run was 15 miles.

I went out okay, and realized chatting with certain people was not going to be an option - they were going out too fast for me. I slowed down, feeling Vermont 100 in my legs. Yes, I'm an idiot who runs 100 miles the week before she does a six hour. Ow. Ow. 

I had been dealing with a foot numbness issue, that luckily wasn't so much of a problem, but I was tired. My legs felt like they had run 100 miles the week prior.

I ended up with over 33 miles. Was happy, scarfed down two slices of pizza, and then Mary and I slogged on the bike ride home.

02 August 2014

Vermont 100 Race Report: Hills, Greenness, and Gorgeousness. And Kind of a Crappy Race Running-wise, but you can't win them all!

This report is super late because, well, life. But the experience was so huge that I've also needed some time to just sit down and write about  how amazing it was. And how painful. And how much it taught me. And how I can't wait to go back next year.

Vermont 100 is a really special 100 miler. Really. And I'm not just saying it because it was my first many moons ago, and the 2014 Vermont was my fifth Vermont (thus earning me a 500 mile buckle, wheeee!). There is a lot of love and thought and kindness put into this race. I've run 100s and 50s where it's clear the RDs could barely care. Vermont 100 is many months of planning and time of volunteers and 100% awesome. I love it.

The aid stations have themes and decorations. The volunteers are cheerful. People sit outside their houses to cheer people on. There are horses. It is just GORGEOUS - rolling hills and meadows and barns and silos and cows. I got to moo at a bunch of those cows. That was quite wonderful.

It's tough but good at many points. Everyone comes back every year, so you make new friends. And it's awesome. I don't have 5 consecutive runs because I skipped a year. I spent that entire year feeling sick in NYC, checking online to see how everyone was doing. Yeah. It's like that.
getting weighed in. my weight was pretty consistent the entire race. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I started out excited to run - but my legs felt kind of sluggish. You know sometimes you just try to run a speed workout and your legs tell you, "No, this is NOT happening"? Yeah, that was happening. So I decided to experiment. "I'll see if going out slow helps me. My legs will feel fresh later on."

News flash: going out slow does NOT make your legs feel fresh. They still feel like utter crap. I'm going to never go out slow again.

I was chatting with lots of friends, enjoying the day. My crew missed the first two checkpoints, and I was honestly a little worried about them, but fine. I pushed, but did my own pace. It was often slow. I ran a bit with Elena whose legs were trashed after Western - but it didn't work out. She was running UP the hills and walking down, and I was doing the opposite. Oh, ultras....

I hate that technical section in the 30s. Just kicked my ass, but I was prepared for it and it didn't seem that bad as it had in the past. I was sweating, feeling overheated, but it actually wasn't that hot. Low 80s maybe.

The Sound of Music meadow literally made me sing, and that other meadow in the 40s - still gorg. Never gets old. I love Vermont. I should move there - except not in the winter.
running friends rock. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 50, I ate a cookie at an aid station and it clearly didn't agree with me. It sent me on my hands in knees, dry wretching and heaving like I never have before. Misery. Ugh. I was forced to a walk for a while, letting my tummy calm down. My tummy was never 100% the rest of the race. Misery.

At Vermont, you run from aid station to aid station. Running through that covered bridge. Heading to amazing Margaritaville. So much fun. You just love the volunteers.

Margaritavilla had the cookies back, and I was happy. I wished my stomach was feeling better, but I slowly chewed a few ginger cookies as I walked out of the aid station before running.
Camp 10 Bear Rocks. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 70 and pacer #1, Christophe, and then I fell apart. My blisters. OMG my blisters. My blisters. My feet. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Changing before being paced. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Basically he got to see me at my worst. Thanks, Christophe. Oh wait, no, the worst would come later. I ended up walking a lot more than I wanted to because my feet were in agony. When we got to Spirit of 76, my absolute favourite aid station of the course, I ate grilled cheese and had someone wrap moleskin around my blisters. I really need to run with moleskin. It's pretty wonderful.

best aid station ever. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I left the aid station with Kim, who was super positive and a really great pacer. We chatted about everything random, Burning Man and running and whatever, and the time actually went by pretty fast. I ran most of the time with her, which is saying a lot. 
me and kim at bill's bar.(c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

When we got to Bill's Barn, Pacer #3, Stephanie was ready. She was so patient as I was a hot mess. I was not great until Polly's, but after Polly's, those last few miles before the mile 98 aid station, I was a wreck. I was peeing every 10 meters, falling asleep on the trail, my feet hurt, everything sucked.

It sounds horrible, right?

But really, it wasn't. It was a lot of pain, yes, but also so much fun. It was hanging out with lots of my amazing friends in the ultra community, and seeing pretty sights. It was eating lots of grilled cheese and cookies. It was joking about Immodium and mooing at the cows. It was being free. It was no email or bullshit or deadlines or washing dishes. It was being in the present moment, it was now, it was awesome.

Thank you, amazing pacers Christophe, Kim, Stephanie. Thank you, volunteers. Thank you, Julia & Amy. And thank you Vermont for being so freaking beautiful.

04 July 2014

The Great NY 100 Miler Race Report (2014)

Photo by Ben Ko of Sarah, Thunder, and me
"You know how the NYC Marathon is a huge gathering event and excitement event for all runners in NYC? That's what TGNY 100 has become for ultrarunners in NYC," one of the runners told me. So true. Pretty much everyone in NYC was out, either running, volunteering, or pacing. It makes for 100 miles of hanging out with your friends in some really cool places. Okay, and under the Bruckner sucked, but everywhere else was pretty cool.
Otto, Thunder, me - photo by Oh Snapper

I have paced twice and volunteered once, so I knew what to expect for the last 50 miles. I was pretty blown away by how amazing the course was, and how cool it was to see New York City in a very different light.You get to run through all of these parks you didn't even know existed, swamplands, run over bridges, run past cool neighborhoods, and enjoy a very different view of New York City. It's pretty amazing.
The start. Photo by Donna S-T

The race itself is put on by American 48-hour record holder Phil McCarthy. One of the nicest guys, it's an honor to run this race.

The course is a lot of fun, and Phil really thought things out as he designed the course. You start and finish in Times Square, which is pretty neat, and the course goes through a lot of parks, bike paths, and neat streets, so it's actually a lot cooler than it sounds.

The negatives - you have to wait for street lights. There's a hideous section where you run under the Bruckner. Aid stations are water and gatorade, and anything else the volunteers buy out of their own pockets (Most of them really did have stuff.). There are turn-by-turn sheets that can be a tad confusing at signs, although some sections of the course were marked really well. (The first 100k was marked quite well.)

But the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Start of TGNY, photo by Grant McKeown

We started out of Times Square, and ended up running north in Central Park. Although it was 5am, it was still somewhat bright, and it was really exciting and everyone was in high spirits. Yay. Then you emerge from the park, running north, snaking over until you are running alongside the Hudson. You run north, north, north. Everyone was joking, laughing, and walking the hills. Yay.

We crossed over the Henry Hudson Bridge, which I did not like. We tried to yell to a group that we had noticed went off course, but they didn't hear us. After we got off the bridge, we were in the Bronx.

We ran through Van Cortlandt Park, which Phil had marked quite well with flour. We almost went off course once, but one of us noticed the slight turn and we ran through the park, enjoying it. There was a group of us, laughing, talking, finding our way, following our way.
Ray and I, mile 31. Thanks for the grub and photo, Emmy Stocker!

Orchard Beach was awesome. I had never been there before. You ran out 2 miles and when we got there, I felt silly. I had a random woman take our photo, and Ray (a newbie 100miler who finished in 29 hours) tried to explain what we were doing and she just didn't get it. I was excited to be on the beach.
Photo by Grant McKeown, returning from Orchard Beach

We waved as we ran past a bunch of guys in the Bronx smoking weed. We got slightly off course. We ran under the Bruckner, which sucked. The Triboro was a little scary but we survived. On Randall's Island, I began to get excited. Soon I would see Menachem, my first pacer (and my friend). I found a port-a-potty, which was nice to not drip dry. We hit up part two of the Triboro. 
Just after the Triboro - thanks to Kino for the photo. Look at Menachem's "fancy" running attire white undershirt & gym shorts from high school, literally.

A few blocks after we got off was the aid station and Menachem. I probably horrified him as I shoveled as many Girl Scout cookies and chips and Gatorade into my mouth as fast as I could. It was his first time at an ultra and I'm surprised I didn't scare him. He's still signed up to do the Burning Man 50k!

We took off running, and laughing. I began to get hot, really hot, really really hot. Ray and Menachem began discussing physics and my brain felt fried. I poured water on my head as I slogged behind them. We ran near LGA and the planes were close and we ran by a sulfur-smelling swamp. We got to an aid station where I picked up Melissa Woods, next pacer.

I began to feel better. We ran through a sprinkler in a park. We walked. I tried to get my focus back. Melissa took photos of the houses in the neighborhood for her friend. I welcomed the distractions and the conversations.

Ray and I shared Vaseline for our chafed bits. Only at an ultra do these things happen...
Photo by Ben Ko

We entered Alley Pond Park, I was feeling a little more clear headed. Menachem said goodbye as I shoveled down oatmeal cookies. He was a really good friend to see me suffering, and to have his awesome sense of humor. I loved it. Melissa was a bundle of energy and an amazing pacer. Ray ran with us, suffering but really in good spirits.

Mile 60 we met Beth and Cortney. They arrived way too early and had to kill time with beer and the World Cup. We ran to the 100k mark, where Trishul asked me, "Are you going to continue?" Uh, yes. Of course! I took a bite of eggplant parmigiana, Melissa gave me a change of socks, and we took off! I said goodbye to Melissa who was so awesome she was going to work at two aid stations after she left me. THANK YOU!

Beth & Cortney had never paced at a 100 and they were really great - energetic, fun, focused. Cortney was in charge of the directions and she was really great, and I was grateful because my mind was shutting down. Beth on the other hand, was checking out the local scene, noting bars of interest and taking photos. I sucked down an enormous Italian ice and was losing my mind as I lost feeling in my feet.

Broad Channel. Cute houses. Bridges. Cortney navigating. That blister hurt. OMG it hurt. I sucked down gus and my teeth literally ached. Do ultras cause cavities? Ow.

Into the Rockaways. Beth's chatter didn't stop and her and Cortney seemed so sane that I felt like I was probably an alien. We got into mile 71 where I said hello again to Melissa, hugged Wayne, shoveled down food, changed my sneakers to something a half size bigger, and then we took off.
Yes, a large rainbow Italian ice. Oh so refreshing.

Or, we left. My feet were a swollen mess and everything sucked. My mind was a trap and I was stuck in there and I was glad to hear Beth and Cortney dealing with logistics like directions and wasn't that an adorable house and shouldn't we do a summer share down here?

Ray caught up with us as we pulled closer to Riis Beach. At that aid station, they tried to force me to eat. I was hating 100 milers, swearing to never do another one. Seriously, 50 milers are SO much more fun. Why don't I just stick with those? What is wrong with me? Next year I will only do 50s milers...except maybe Umstead and Vermont and Hinson and National 24 Championships and....

I'm an idiot. I'll keep doing 100s.

We crossed the Marine Parkway Bridge. I'm terrified of the bridge and will only either sprint over it and walk clutching someone's hand. We walked uphill and after I was freaked out so much that I couldn't speak, I asked Ray if I could hold his hand. Death grip was more like it. We walked fast. On the top, we began running.

We ran up Flatbush Avenue, which is spooky and feels like forever. And then alongside the Belt, where Wayne goes kitesurfing at Plumb Beach. I saw lots of rabbits and peed in the darkness behind a fence. We kept running.

Then we got into Sheepshead Bay. Beth was like, "WHAT IS THIS? Where are we?" High heels and cologne and fancy cars and clubs and I'm running with a headlamp, looking like a truck ran me over, feeling like it. We got to mile 80 and I said thank you and goodbye to Beth and Cortney and Pete took over.

Poor Pete. I was out of my mind. My pinky toe hated me. I changed into shoes w the toe cut out but I needed to cut out more. We tried to use glass or something to cut it further, but it was pretty bad. I was in agony. We walked fast or ran and I felt horrible. Pete talked abt triathlons, ultras, so many things. He was great.

Along Shore Road, my arch suddenly hurt. I couldn't run. I was almost in tears. I wanted to stop. Was I hurting myself permanently? I hated this. Along the water, there were tons of people fishing, hanging out, smoking weed, drinking beer, running, making out. It was bizarre. NYC is really the city that never sleeps.

Mile 90. "I want to stop. I really hurt my foot." I cried. The awesome volunteers wouldn't take no for an answer. They iced my foot, put moleskin in my shoe, fed me cookies. 

I hobbled out of there. I hated everything. The ten miles were going to feel endless. In Sunset Park, Pete bought me tea. I was falling asleep and tried to drink it. Stay awake, Cherie. Stay awake.

We hobbled. We talked. Wayne drove by the course and said goodnight. I began running. It hurt, but I could do it.

Mile 95. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see the amazing crew at mile 95. A small shot of rum, which was harsher on my belly than I would have thought. Keep going, girl. The Brooklyn Bridge. I hate this bridge now.

And the streets. Run. Run. Run. Run.

And somehow....done.

Me and Pete at the finish; thanks to Annette Vega for photo
I felt like crap, but was overjoyed at the finish. I sat around for a little bit, chatting. And then I was just too tired. I thanked Phil and Pete and everyone else, got my stuff, and fell into a cab. I got home and showered. I was too tired to eat. I just fell into bed with wet hair and woke up 3 hours later, famished. We went out to brunch and I felt surprisingly okay. Really really hungry.

What an amazing race. Thanks to all the volunteers, my awesome pacers, my kickass boyfriend, Phil & Trishul, and everyone else. I love you all.

12 June 2014

35th Birthday 50k!

                I always love the idea that your birthday should be your perfect day. Too bad that was not my day this year, but it was still a lot of fun.
                I woke up at 4a.m. and quickly got dressed and ate. Wayne insisted upon giving me a present before I left, and I kissed him goodbye as I headed out on a run.
                I decided to organize a 50k around Manhattan. I had done various sections of doing long runs, even as long as 26 miles last year. I posted it on FB in a few groups that I’m a part of, and on a Meet-up Group for Trail Running and Ultrarunning in New York. I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate my birthday.
                The forecast called for rain, lots of it, and we were not denied. Mary and I ran over the Pulaski in our tutus and took the 7 to 42nd Street, where we met a bunch of people under scaffolding. I dreaded the rain, and hoped it wouldn’t make things too miserable. Some were good friends, some were running friends, and some were new friends. We all had a lot of fun.
                The plan was to run around Manhattan south, going clockwise around Manhattan. We’d OF COURSE stop at Twin Donut as tradition demands (NYC Ultrarunners always stop at Twin Donut.) and wait for each other and try to keep together as much as we could the entire time.
                I was really excited to see Menachem at the start, who was training for his first ultra (Really, his first race!) of the Burning Man 50k. Everyone chatted and worried about the weather, and we left at 10 after five.
                The idea was to run around a 10 minute pace, but we mostly ran faster. We stopped every few miles – so people could get water, so people could go to the bathroom. Beth joined us by the Staten Island ferry and gave me a very decorated Hammer Gel. Fun.
                Sometime between 14th Street and 50th Street, my phone, despite being in a Ziploc bag, got wet and died. This turned out to be the source of my hell – I lost all my photos, including a bunch of photos for a series of articles I had planned on writing. It was stressful and I lost 12 birthday text messages (So whoever you are, whatever you wrote, THANK YOU!) and ended up spending an hour and a half at the Verizon Store in Greenpoint, where they were nice enough to help  me and give me a loaner phone.
                Steven met up with us in the late 30s/early 40s, and had way more energy than us. Everyone took turns running with others, chatting, catching up. It was really fun.
                We made the course a little wrong turn and ran some extra miles, but I just did what Wayne likes to say, “When you see a fork in the road, take it.” (He’s more thinking of food, hahah.)
                We stopped to use the bathroom and a parks worker was cleaning the women’s bathroom. We used the filthy men’s bathroom, where a pair of discarded underwear served as the butt of our jokes. It was a relief to use the bathroom because we were all completely soaked and there’s just something difficult about running in completely soaking wet clothes when you have to pee. We joked with the parks worker, and when she found out it was my birthday, she sang “Happy Birthday” to me and make me pliĆ© and dance. I couldn’t stop laughing.
                When running alongside the West Side Highway at one point, we saw cars hitting a giant puddle, causing a tsunami that covered the entire path. There was a deep puddle covering our path, and we were forced to walk on a high curb next to the puddle on the highway, so cars splashed us as we found ourselves stepping in the giant gross puddle. We screamed and laughed and it sounds awful, but it really wasn’t as bad as one would think.
                We headed north and ran through Inwood Park. That part was a little bit tricky, but Rich led us the right way. The park was nice, and a little tricky to navigate. We exited the park on 218th Street, and everyone cheered at Twin Donut.
Donut time!

                I don’t even like donuts – well, I like them, but they usually make me feel ill after. I got a coconut donut and ate half and it was delicious. Others ate eggs and homefries and toast, and we hung out there a bit too long as we grew cold and dripped large puddles underneath our seats. I fiddled with my phone and fretted over it.
                When we all left, we were shivering and it took us a while to warm up. We entered Harlem River Drive Park, and it was just so nice to be running together.  Then we were on the streets for a long time, which was pretty fun. We stopped so Rich could get a “Tropical Fantasy” drink (I would not call it juice – drink is more like it.) and stretched and laughed. We posed in front of the “Crack is Wack” mural and saw another side of the mural you normally can’t see from the highway.

                As the street numbers grew smaller and smaller, we got excited. We finished on 42nd and 1st, cheering in front of the UN!

                It was great to see clean Tommy Pyon and have Skype join us; I had fun running with Chris Solarz and Emi and Mary and Beth and Menachem and Kim and Steve and Rich and Mike and Miguel and it was totally awesome, a wonderful birthday present.
                The rest of the birthday was a little different. I ate, did laundry, showered, fixed my cakes, went out to dinner with my family and Wayne, and then drank champagne and ate lots of cake with my friends.
                Thank you, all. As much as I hate the ageing process (Funny how you couldn’t wait to be older when you were much younger.), I had a beautiful day. 35 does feel different, and I guess I need to focus more on enjoying each and every day instead of thinking of what I could have done. I need to just do it!

DIRECTIONS FOR 35th Birthday 50k:

·         Start at 42nd St and 1st Ave
·         Run south down 1st Avenue until 34th St; make a left on 34th St. When you get to the water, go right to run along the water in the East River Park.
·         Run along the water, going around the bottom of Manhattan (Battery Park City) and keep running along the West Side Highway in the park next to the river.
·         When you get very far north (you’ll run around 19.5 miles – this is 1.5 miles past the GWB), go straight on Staff St. Cross over Dyckman and head into the park, going north. Run around the park (it loops around the top of Manhattan), making a right onto W 218th St.
·         Stop at Twin Donuts. Even if you don’t like donuts, you need to stop. This is where we use the bathroom, eat donuts, & buy beverages.
·         Make a right onto 10th Avenue.
·         Take 10th Avenue into Harlem River Park (enter where Dyckman and 10th meet up)  and run on the bike path through the park.
·         Exit the park at 155th St. You may need to make a quick left or just go straight (depending on the bath) to run down St. Nicholas Place.
·         St. Nicholas Place merges and becomes St. Nicholas Avenue.
·         Run through St. Nicholas Park 141-128 Streets.
·         Exit the park running down Manhattan Avenue.
·         Make a left on 120th St.
·         When you get to the water, make a right and run along the East River Parth.
·         Exit the park at 60th street. Run straight until 1st Avenue. On 1st Avenue, make a left.
·         You are done when you hit 42nd St. YAY!

We plan on running around 10 minute miles, so at any point, try to calculate the mileage and time. See a map here with all of the mile markers: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6324851

09 June 2014


                When I first heard about the Elliot Rodgers shooting in San Diego, I couldn’t help but think, “No. No. No. Not another one.”
                While many were fixated on his clear mental illness, it’s obvious that misogyny dominates much of the reason for why he did what he did.
                I don’t think a lot of men realize what women have to go through every day. How sexual harassment can turn into violence. My body is not here for you. I am not for other’s purposes. If I don’t like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with me, or maybe even with you. It’s just taste. Or your tact. If a woman rejects you, that’s not reason to call her names, threaten her with violence.

                Way too many times I have told men, “No,” or “Shut up” or ignored them and their pick-up compliments suddenly turn into, “You f-ing b-tch,” “Dog,” “You so ugly,” etc.

01 June 2014

Buffalo Half Marathon: I'm BACK!

I was pretty nervous at the Buffalo Half.

Initially, I was planning on running the Buffalo Marathon, racing it and hopefully doing really well. With the awful shin pain I felt during the Brooklyn Half, I was nervous about pushing it. After talking with my PT and my coach, I decided to drop down to the half.

Oh, boo.

But on the plus side, I ran it, and I finished in 1:42 with zero pain. ZERO SHIN PAIN!!! So that was great.

The course itself was really nice - a lot of pretty streets, you get to run along the water, nice cheering crowds. I was pretty excited to be in Buffalo, seeing two of my best friends, and it was nice to be running and having V cheer for me along the course. 

The finish was quick and much less of a sh*tshow than other marathons I have done (aka I loved it!) although the "fruit" they promised was less like the honeydew V and I had hoped for and more of the old orange slices and chunks of banana.

I ran a somewhat steady pace, struggling towards the end, mainly because I hadn't done speed in so freaking long.

I'm glad to be back!

Brooklyn Half: No Cheesecake Please

I love the Brooklyn Half. 

So even though my doctor hadn't approved me running, I'm a moron and decided to run it anyway. I was pretty excited and it felt amazing to be running.

I started off with a bunch of my friends in one of the early corrals. I ended up running by James (BRC50k alum) and Kike (another BRC50k alum!) and chatted with them. I was supposed to start at, per Ray's instructions, at 9 min miles, and I felt good,  could drop to 8s. I started at 7s. Ooops.

And then the crash came, around mile 8. I was running with some NBR peeps - Mia and Jose - and all felt horrendous. Then Mia and I stopped to go to the bathroom - my tummy was not right - and when I left the port-a-potty, my stomach felt worse and my shin was really bothering me. Mile 9 now.

I told Mia to go ahead and slowed down a lot. I walked, because I knew I could only damage myself more. My stomach was a wreck. I ran, I walked. Wayne biked next to me.

Mile 12. I went into the first of the port-a-potties. And then I left and then I went into the last of the port-a-potties.


Really, Italian ricotta cheesecake the night before a half is NOT a good idea.

Finished around 1:55 or so. Shin hurt a lot and could barely walk after. Didn't eat until late afternoon as my stomach was killing me all day.

But it was fun!!!

14 May 2014


I haven't had a serious injury in a while, or anything as serious as this yet - but I found myself unable to walk after the Bear Mtn 50 Miler.

After the race, John, Mary, and I were walking towards the subway. we were hobbling there. I could not walk without pain and when I saw a cab, I flung myself into it, barely saying goodbye to my friends.

I was in that much pain. 

I woke up in agony, literally crying. I cancelled my plans for the day (easy run; going to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with Wayne; going to a dance party w Dite and some of my burner friends) and spent the day with my foot up, ice pack on, popping Ibuprofins, really worried. I become even more upset when I began Googling "pain lower shin."

Oh no, did I have a stress fracture? No, no, no, no, NO!

I went to my PT, Dan, at Fresh Pond Physical Therapy (AWESOME PT!), who is just around the block from me. He said he thought it was just tendinitis, but said I would need an MRI to verify that.

I called Dr. Goolsby and they somehow squeezed me in for an appointment. I took a cab because I could barely walk and almost threw up in the cab I was so nervous. I tried to focus on studying Spanish while I waited but I was so nervous.

She looked at my foot, talked with me, walked me walk - and then said yes, it's impossible to verify if it's a stress fracture without an MRI. She got me an air cast and told me to wear it all the time, except when I was sleeping. She told me I could bike with no resistance, or swim, or aqua jog. Bleh.

MRI was the next day. The whole appointment took me nearly two hours, and they played Alicia Keys while I was in there, which was nice when I wasn't hearing those awful "EH EH EH EEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHH" sounds. I was on edge when I left....

I called my doctor....and she was so busy she didn't call me back. I felt awful and everyone kept texting me, IMing me, emailing me, calling me...."Did you hear back from your doctor?"

Finally, she called. It wasn't a stress fracture, but a stress reaction, she explained. I had significant swelling in the muscle. I should keep off it for two weeks.

"From my race? I mean, it's already been five days without running?"

"Well....why don't you schedule an appointment for a week and a half from now." Eeeek.

She said I could bike, so that was good at least. I hit up the gym the next day and got some great trashy novel reading in while biking. It wasn't as fun as running, but at least it was moving my legs.

My PT said I could start running, slow if I had no pain. The run was like heaven. Nothing had ever felt so wonderful....

I'm resting, I'm bracing, I'm chilling...and soon I will hopefully be 100% running and back to my normal crazy self!

05 May 2014

Bear Mountain 50 Miler: No Matter What, It Eats You Alive

Bear Mountain. It's a tough place. Why the hell would anyone run an ultramarathon?

As Sir Edmund Hillary so-famously said, "Because it's there."

For the 5th time, I set out to run the North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain 50 Miler. I had just run Lake Waramug 50 Miler the week before, but figured I'd probably be okay.

Hmmmm, that's to be debated.

This course is one of the toughest 50 milers out there. Steep uphills, impossible to run downhills (due to steepness and loose rocks), twists, turns, more uphills, rock gardens, rocks, rocks, more rocks, and just butt-kicking trails for 50 miles. Fun, right?

The North Face puts on a fairly basic race, with very basic aid stations, no frills. The volunteers are very nice, but some of them have never been to an ultra before. (We probably horrified them, shoveling M&Ms into our mouths with muddy hands while rubbing lube on ourselves....) The course is very pretty, and also, pretty tough.

I started out HARD. I suck on the technical, so I run hard where I can. While running the initial part, I quickly realized that um, I probably should have changed the batteries before the race. Ooops. So it was dark and that was a little tough.

Luckily, it got light quickly...

The course is tough enough as it is, but on Wednesday, it poured all day. I think it may have even rained some on Tuesday too, and even Thursday morning, but Wednesday, it just poured the entire day. I ran twice and both times it sucked. I literally have to change every article of clothing because I was soaked through, even through my rain jacket. Ugh. So the trails were basically mud puddles for 50 miles, with lots of streams too. The stream crossings that you can normally pop across with some careful positioning on rocks had submerged rocks. 

My feet were wet and muddy for 50 miles.

I changed my socks once and wish it could have been more. My feet felt horrid - I kept getting mud underneath the pads of my feet, and it hurt so terribly. My gaiters did nothing because the mud kept seeping in from the top. 

I was running pretty hard the first 10 miles and felt good. I sucked on the technical, but did what I could, and ran hard. At the second aid station, I got there, and was still ahead of mid-pack, and there were FOUR pretzels. Four. I ate three of them, as I was starving, but how could they be running out of food so early? Aid stations were running out of gels and all sorts of things. It sucked.

I was also hungry - really weird for me. Before 3 hours had passed, I had already eaten 4 gels - which is really weird for me, as I rarely have such a strong appetite running, esp for gels. This become problematic as I ran out of gels before my drop bag, and ended up eating a lot more solids than normal. But my tummy was mostly okay the entire race (good thing since they didn't seem to have any ginger ales).

I ran. I walked. I laughed. I breathed hard. I ate gels. I drank water. I looked at how gorgeous it was. I had fun.

The course had changed in a few spots, so that was a little confusing to me. I think it may actually have become easier.

The mud was hurting my feet. The front of my shin sometimes hurt. My back hurt from my water bottle waist belt. But it was fun. Why was I doing it? It was fun. I ran with so many of my friends, and got to chat with heaps of great people.

Clearly I am psycho to be posing like this just before the 50k. (photo (c)Kenneth Tom 2014)

Around 40, I felt okay. Not amazing, but okay. I set out from Anthony Wayne, crunching on those Delta cookies I saved from my last flight and pretzels. And then I began running. YES!!!!!!!!!!!

I picked up the pace, passed some people, ran with others, and chatted. I caught up to Melissa and we ran, chatting for a while. Then we got to that section where it's a ton of steep downhill with lots of loose rock. I noticed the front of my shin started hurting. Ouch. More than before. When I pulled into the pre-Timp Pass aid station, I let the medics ice me as I shoveled pretzels into my mouth. Then I left, refusing Ibuprofin as I had already taken Aleve. As I headed towards Timp Pass, which is the worst part of the course (You climb up a steep mountain and then back down, and running is pretty impossible w the steepness and loose rocks....), tears pricked the corners of my eyes. I tried to stop and stretch, and nothing would help.

The last five-ish miles were a death march. I was in agony. I stopped to rub, walked, ran when I could, and oh, was I in pain.

A mile before the finish, probably less, John Budge caught up w me. We finished again, so happy to see each other. As soon as I finished, I immediately went to the medical tent to get ice for my legs. And rest my weary feet....

Finishing again w John Budge. (Photo (c)Chip Tilden 2014)
It's Monday now. I begged my doctor to squeeze me in and despite resting for two days, I still had pain. They aren't sure if it's tendinitis or a stress fracture. An MRI tomorrow will determine that. Until then, I'm icing, resting it, and wearing a splint. And looking forward to the next time I will run, which will NOT be Bear Mountain.