Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ultrarunning Boy Takes on the World( of biking with a baby)?

As you may or may not know, I am pretty excited about Baby Ferreira's arrival. I have been doing some research on bike trailers and seeing if there are ones that are compatible with infant car seats so I can take her out for rides(we already have a infant jogging stroller). I started doing some research and found out that it might not be such a good idea. 

Here's a synopsis of a pediatrician's concerns:

“It’s not about crashes at all, it’s about the potential for repeated mild trauma to the brain because of bumps associated with everyday road conditions. What is undocumented is what is happening to the brain during the bumps. Think of the movement of a bobble head doll in slow motion — that’s what may be happening to the brain in the skull inside the infant’s head after some big bumps. Neurodevelopment is critical during the younger years. An infant’s brain is a bunch of neurons, uninsulated wires, if you will. During the first year the infant is developing the myelin sheath, which insulates the neurons and sets the stage for all the development and learning that the brain does next. If you had to pick a time when it is most important to protect the brain from excess vibration or bumps and jostling about it would be during that first year after birth.

So it looks like I will not be getting a bike trailer, at least not for the first year. And any running we do will be only on the smoothest pavement around. We cannot help what brains she was born with but we can help her keep the ones she has:) 

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ultrarunning Boy Takes on the World(of Black Mountain Marathon)

This past weekend, Kenny and I headed up to Asheville so I could run the Black Mountain Marathon. The marathon is considered the "fun run" as it is run beside the infamous Mount Mitchell Challenge. I had thrown my name in for the challenge but hadn't gotten selected. Thinking this was probably in my best interest, I didn't think much of it until I ran with Rick from the Harbison Trail Runners in mid-November. He mentioned that he might be able to get me in the marathon if I won't. I was non-committal about it with my attention on the Mobile Marathon. And he didn't mention it again until the new year when he confirmed that he could, in fact, get me in. Crap. Now I would have to run a marathon that starts with 14 miles of ascending.

A little backstory- When I first starting dating Kenny, she had entered the half marathon that runs from the Loudon Speedway to downtown Concord. I had agreed to pace her for the last 5-6 miles. It touted that the last four miles were "all downhill". Well, imagine Kenny's surprise when she came across that uphill by Shaker Hill School. Suffice it to say that she spent a fair amount of those four miles grumbling. This has become a running joke between us whenever we do a race that supposedly is flat or mostly downhill. 

A little more backstory-The Mount Mitchell Challenge is one of the few races that I was aware of in the Southeast before moving down here. Since then I have come across some pretty great ones, no small part due to the Harbison Trail Runners, the races they throw and recommendations they make. But before I found them, I hadn't heard of anything other than MMC and its 40 miles of running to the highest peak on the East Coast. The first 20 or so were all climbing. This sounded like, to sound millennial, epic. The Black Mountain Marathon is the exact same course but turns but 6  miles before the summit. 

Back to the story. Once again  finding myself grossly underprepared for this race, I nevertheless had high expectations for myself. I had looked up the race results and spoken with some people and it sounded like it would be fair to expect 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per mile slower than a road marathon. So I went into the race thinking a 3:30 would be a good goal. Well, the mountain had other ideas for me. 

Never before in a race have I had to walk in the first 3 miles. There is a patch of ~1/4 mile pavement before you jump on the trail that I would say was as steep as Mount Washington. This may not be true but it certainly felt like it. And judging by the fact that everyone around me was also walking, I think it is fairly accurate. Shortly thereafter we hit the trail which was surprisingly runnable. I kept on having to hold myself back in fear that I would make a big pass and then come to a steep incline and have to walk again. But it never happened. The next 11 miles were all(for the most part) totally runnable with the biggest challenge coming in the form of golf ball sized rocks that kept pummeling my left foot. This foot is the one that I stress fractured mid-Flying Pig Marathon back in 2010 and still have residual pain from on occasion. Like when I repeatedly step right on a rock. 

So my mile splits to the turn around was slower than I'd had hoped but not due to the pitch of the climb but rather the terrain. At the turn around, I was informed I was in 7th place in the marathon. 

Side-note- The majority of the competitive runners do the Challenge, so while I was 7th in the marathon, I would have been something like 20th in the Challenge even though they were doing 14 extra miles!

On the descent, I was greeted by dozens of cheering Harbison runners still making their ascent(again because they were pacing themselves for 40!). It was really nice to have some camaraderie at a race Less nice? Those same stinking rocks. On an otherwise, fast descent, I spent my time carefully picking my line to avoid landing on my left foot. Which is fairly hard to do with ~90 foot strikes per minute. Then add it a few sneaky UPHILLS! Where did those come from? I laughed to myself when I realized I was pulling a Kendra ;) Suffice it to say, I didn't have the descent I wanted but I was able to negative split the race and barely sneak under 4 hours. 

Hundreds of runners participated in the 2018 Mount
Back on the pavement, and very uncomfortable. 

Despite my little pity-party it was definitely a fun race and I plan to do it again. After it, I passed by hundreds of people lining the streets waiting for Billy Graham's motorcade to go by. We lucked out that it didn't impact traffic where we were staying so Kenny and I spent the rest of the day in Asheville. Which turned into a beautiful day. We had such a good day and slept very well that night. 

All in all, a fun weekend marking the last marathon I will do pre-baby Ferreira. Who knows how things will go after that?

Until next time,


Friday, February 16, 2018

Ultrarunning Boy Takes on the World!(of parenting)

Well hello there!

As you may or may not have noticed, the title of this blog has changed. If you haven't already switched over and still are interested in reading about Irongirl, you can find out more here  at her blog.

The change in name reflects the likely change in focus of my posts (and my life) going forward. With a beautiful, smart, powerful young lady on the way, I suspect I will have many things to say, few of which are ultrarunning or triathlon related.

But don't despair! I will still be entering in(often times, fabulously underprepared) events that challenge me physically or mentally. The only difference will be that I may have a little mud turtle hanging out along side.

Side-Bar- For those of you that do not know the mud turtle reference, check out Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees. Well worth the read.

Anyway, I suspect I will continue to get myself and baby Ferreira into plenty of mischief, and I will make sure to check you all updated on the progress.

Until Next Time,


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mobile Marathon

This past weekend, Kenny and I headed to Alabama partially as a babymoon and partially for me to run the Mobile Marathon. We headed out Thursday night after work and made it to Montgomery by 10pm due to the beneficial time zone change in our favor. We awoke, did a nice little jog to explore the area and then headed to the Civil Rights Memorial. Designed by the same artist who did the Vietnam Memorial in DC, it was simplistic in design but overpowering in its significance. What a sad and shameful time in US history.

We then headed down to Gulf Shores in an ill-advised beach day. The 20 mph winds and 30 degree temps kept us from staying out on the beautiful white sand beaches for more than a few minutes, but did not prevent us from finding a great little diner for a tasty lunch. 
Bundled up on the beach
Downtown Mobile
The next day we spent in downtown Mobile, which I liken to a cleaner New Orleans. Similiar architecture and both seem to be built around Mardi Gras(Mobile was actually the first in the nation to celebrate). Another good meal, race expo and a few beers at the Biergarten right on Dauphin St, rounded out a good day in Alabama. 

The next morning was race day. Kenny had mapped out the course and decided to run to a few spots that she could spectate and still be back for the finish. Apparently we had underestimated the distances as she had thought she'd be doing 6 but ended up closer to 8.5. Pretty impressive for being  6 1/2 months pregnant! 

Having her on the course was a great help and kept me running hard in the first half. Unfortunately she wasn't there when I fell apart the second half. The wind and the hills in the second half, plus a much needed bathroom break, kept me from a sub 3 hour marathon, but after a few years of sub par races, I will take a 3:03 and 8th place finish. And that meant that I am now 50% complete my marathon challenge of running a marathon in every state
Post-race band
Definitely a good course and one I'd recommend. Plus a far more fun little city than I had expected. The best part? The race which is a fund raiser for a charity helping adults with cognitive impairments, gives out awards hand-painted by the residents. That along made it all worth while. 
Front of the award(I was given the 9th place award, even though I am recorded as 8th-I'll take it either way)

 Up next? I was able to get into the Black Mountain Marathon in the end of February so that should be interesting... 

Until then,


Monday, January 8, 2018

2017 was an Epic (Fail)

At the onset of 2017, I made a goal to run 2017 miles during the year. Well, let me tell you. I. Did. Not. Make. It. Not even close. In fact I was able two hundred miles less than the year before. I should have ushered in the New Year partying like it was 1572, because that was the mileage I was able to run this year. But interestingly, the year 1572 is the 2116 in the Buddhist calendar so it's actually kind of like I ran MORE miles than I had planned. FAIL!

So was 2017 a bust? Hardly. Just because my running(and races) suffered, does not mean this year was a fail. In fact, I'd call it epic.

Starting with New Year's Day(2017) still coming home from NYC Times Square Festivities,
 a whirlwind trip to Nashville with Kenny and Andrew
pacing Kenny to a BQ(in my opinion at least) at Wrightsville Beach
 winning the Krispy Kreme dash
Krispy Kreme Champ!
winning the Get to the Green 15k, and Quarry Crusher as well as the Burger Challenge at Pawley's Front Porch multiple times.
So despite the running and bad performances, not an awful race season wins-wise.

And then add in a fun trip to Europe when Kenny and I road tripped to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and Netherlands while also visiting Turkey, fun trips to Savannah, Las Vegas, Charleston, Asheville, Boone, Atlanta, New England and discovering a fun National Park and several state parks in our own backyard.

Top it off with two separate trips to the Finlands: Finland and Newfoundland and the trips end of 2017 was great.
Icebergs in Newfoundland

My parents
In addition to our Newfoundland trip, my parents joined us down in South Carolina, we visited them and my two nieces and new nephew multiple times.  I met and welcomed two new additions to the extended family courtesy of my cousins, Joey and Ryan.

What else?

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! Kenny and I got married by my sister at the Outer Banks on the ocean! And we have a little one on the way.

Baby Ferreira

Looks like life happens when you're making running plans. And 2017 will definitely go down as one of the best.

Until next time,


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Glass Heart

And with another failed marathon attempt under my belt, 2017 ends as the third consecutive year where I have not run a sub 3 hour marathon. Last year's Trinidad Marathon, was the closest I came and that was a legitimate excuse(bathroom related). However, all of my other attempts(see: Finland,  St Louis, Suriname, French Guiana, Columbia, Tobago and Guyana) have been a combination of a little bad luck and a lot of glass heartedness.

This past week was no exception. It was my latest ill-fated attempt to run a solid marathon, this time at Kiawah Island. If you remember from a few years ago, I won that really cool pelican trophy for coming in third here. Repeat? Nope. Not even close. Yet again, I let negative thoughts get in my head early and often and despite running consistent mile splits(6:23-6:25) for the first 12 miles, when given the opportunity to bail at thirteen, I did.

It's like I cannot get out of my head and just totally fall  apart. I know some of it is that I am aware of my less than stellar training going into each and every one of these races, but that's nothing new! I ALWAYS go in under prepared. I think the thing is, I had so much success in 2014 with that string of solid marathons that when the wheels came off at Alaska I have never gotten my "groove" back.

But like a puppy, I will keep coming back. Or is it like someone insane making the same mistakes over and over? Either way, I have registered myself for the 2018 Mobile Marathon in yet another attempt at finally getting my groove back.

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it!

Until next time,