Monday, December 5, 2016

Rudolph's Rampage

This past weekend, Kenny and I headed back to Harbison State Forest to try our hands at Rudolph’s Rampage Half-Marathon. I was looking for redemption after getting lost during the Hairy Bison 15k. Kenny was looking to complete her first trail half-marathon with her goal to “not walk”.

We arrived early with the intent of warming up. However the cold temperature kept us in the car until right before the start. Yes, I realize that it’s snowing in New England right now, but I swear that 40 degrees feels like it’s freezing. That’s what a year in Guyana will do to youJ

It was an interesting start to the race with 10k racers starting 2 minutes before us. In theory, you’d expect that they’d be running a bit faster but in reality, we still had to get through all the back of the back racers. In fact, when we took off, the first three miles or so were spent off/on trail getting around the herds. A group of three of us took the lead and starting making the passes. We actually ended up passing each and every 10k runner in those first three miles. At mile 4 or so, we dropped one runner so now it was down to two of us. At the half-way mark, I could still hear number 2 but not see him. By mile 7, I was running alone.

I settled into a comfortable pace and just ran enjoying myself while trying to keep the pace high enough not to get caught. Every once in a while, a mountain biker would come up on me and I’d panic thinking I was getting caught by a runner and I’d do a little pick-up only to see I was mistaken. The course was very well marked and despite my natural inclination to get lost, I did not. I finished with a time of 1:28:38 for first.

I grabbed a long sleeved shirt and headed back out on the trail to cheer on Kenny. Having never done a half-marathon on trails before, she had asked me what would be a good time for her. I took her 15k pace and figured that out for a half so I told her a 2:04. Not having a watch as I was running, I didn’t know what the elapsed time was as I ran back towards her. At mile 12, I came upon her looking strong and smiling brightly. Meanwhile, I was starting to bonk. I tried keeping up with her to run her in that last mile but I could not. Luckily, I knew a short cut and met her at the finish.

She managed to beat my expectations with an awesome  2:01:33 for a 5th place overall female finish. Based on how smoothly she was running, I am guessing she didn’t leave it all out there on the trails. Meanwhile, those two extra miles left me gassed.

I am running the Harbison 50k the first week in January and that “cool-down” was discouraging. I cannot imagine running another 17 miles. Oh boy, guess I better start up with some long runs.

In addition to eating my calories back in donuts, I got a free pair of sunglasses and a gift certificate for Fleet Feet for the win. I'd say it was worth the effort especially for such a fun race. 

Until next time,


Monday, November 28, 2016

Wrong Way Ferreira Strikes Yet Again!

I was jinxed. On the eve of a 15k trail race down here in lovely South Carolina, my good friend, Rich, commented on a photo I was tagged in on Facebook. It was the RI 6 hour race where I went off course and cost the team precious minutes(which we, of course, were able to make up but nevertheless became ammunition for Rich over the next years where I did continue to find ways to get off course).

So he makes that comment Friday night and Saturday morning about 6 miles into my race, I made a wrong turn which resulted in an extra half mile run and dropped me out of the top three.

 In fairness, there more than 2 people ahead of me but several of them were running the 30k so weren't directly competing. Yes that's right. There were people running twice the distance than me at a faster pace than me.
The Hairy Bison
Despite getting lost it was a fun race. The Harbison Trail Runners who put it on are hilarious. They have a hairy bison mascot, a funny pre-race introduction and Monty Python characters handing out water in Buffalo nickles at the only aide station on the course. There are NO course markers out there which likely contributed to my getting losted. I must note that the other few hundred runners did not seem to struggle with this.

I could have gone off course by a few miles and still had a great last few weeks. My parents came down from NH and we showed the around SC. Tailgated and went to a USC football, took them to our favorite restaurants.

USC's band

Hiked at Harbison and Congaree National Park.

A fallen tree from Hurricane Matthew
My brother and his girlfriend came over for Thanksgiving and stayed most of the weekend which was really nice and made me want to make sure I get him out my way more often. Maybe with more golfing:)

Jinxed is a relative term. I may have the worst sense of direction but I would say my life is anything but. I am blessed with all the people and adventures in my life and am thankful to be able to draw in each and every clean breath of air. I am likely to get lost again on the trails but I know where I belong.

Until next time,


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Habituate to Better Fitness

Have you ever noticed that when you get in your car in the morning, the radio seems to be blasting? I have. It seems that as the day goes on, I slowly increase the volume. Which makes sense right? Traffic, driving with the window door, and my engine revving all cause me to increase(at least momentarily) the volume. But I usually lower it again, so why is it high the next morning? 

Because of creep. Every time I lower the volume down, I do so a little less so incrementally it still gets higher as the day goes on. And I adapt(or habituate) to the noise and create a new norm(or baseline) for the rest of the day. It's the same thing with gaining weight. You gain weight to the point you notice it then you attempt to lose it. And you may lose most of it, but very rarely do you get it all off. So now you're new base weight may be a few pounds more. Do that again and again over the years and it's easy to see why it's so hard to keep the weight off.

Finances can be no different. You get a salary bump which makes you feel flush with cash so you go out living more extravagantly. Then you back it off but not to your previous leaving but to a new norm that's a bit above that so it's like you didn't get a raise at all.  

Obviously none of these scenarios are ideal. We'd love to save our hearing, lose all of the weight, and pocket the pay differential. But for most people we habituate to noise, income and body weight and slowly creep to an inevitable demise.

It's also a pitfall of P90X. P90X is great at revving up your engine but what happens when it's over? Lots of people just fall off the bandwagon or have to repeat it. But it doesn't have to be that way! For example with exercise, I suggest we can use this principle to our advantage.  There should be a P60 and then a P30X as well that slowly weans you down to a more manageable and sustainable routine that is just challenging enough to continue to make fitness gains. And that's the benefit of having a coach who can tweak your workouts individually to match your exact fitness needs.

But if you don't have or want a coach, try a train-cation. 

Let's say you're currently working out 3 days a week and just CANNOT do more than that. Take a week or two where you really ramp up the workouts* whether you do more days, harder intensities or throw in some cross-training. Really anything that makes you work a lot harder than you had. You can definitely do it for only a week or two right? Well, the nice thing is once you're done, you may have just created a new norm. A tolerance to add another day to your routine, or to run that loop a little faster. That's one of the main benefits of training camps. 

The key is to make the added increase enough to change your norm. A slight increase of body weight is easy to drop, but a big increase makes it difficult to lose it all. Likewise, really ramp up that workout routine so when you taper off, you still are slightly better off than you were before. 

Good luck!

Until next time,


*To ensure you don't injure yourself try not to do too much at once. I.e. increase mileage or speed but not both. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ironman Cozumel Preview and Pro Start List

Image result for cozumel ironman

On November 27th, while the rest of us will be well into our food induced comas, Amber and her sister Deidre will be racing Ironman Cozumel. This will be a fast race. Not only because the level of competition is, again, very high in the pro field, but also because of the course itself. 

Image result for cozumel
You cannot make the swim all down hill but you can make it go with the current. And that appears to be the case here. The race is a point-to-point swim that supposedly goes with the current. Not sure if that's a positive for Amber in year's past, but this year her swim seems to be her weak link, so getting her out closer to the front is probably a good thing. 
After a fast swim, Amber will be biking a three lap course that supposedly is entirely flat but has strong cross winds. Strong enough that disc wheels are prohibited. That's a good thing for Amber since she never races with a disc and some of those bigger girls that can grind the gears won't have quite as much of an advantage. 

The run is also a flat three lap course and the wind might slow things down a little, but hopefully by the second lap, Amber will be using the crowds and the athletes just starting their own marathons to feed off of and get her to a speedy finish. 

Here's the pro female start list: 

  1. Abraham, Corinne
  2. Belanger, Valerie
  3. Bruck, Kate
  4. Capone, Lauren
  5. Cave, Leanda
  6. Ferreira, Amber
  7. Fillnow, Kelly
  8. Finger, Annett
  9. Gellatly, April
  10. Green, Erin
  11. Javens, Amy
  12. Lester, Carrie
  13. Lidbury, Emma-Kate
  14. McCracken, Amelia
  15. Naeth, Angela
  16. Roohi, Molly
  17. Schaerer, Celine
  18. Snow, Caitlin
  19. Stevens, Alena
  20. Stevens, Amanda
  21. St-Pierre, Caroline
  22. Vantassel, Amy
  23. Wendorff, Amanda
  24. Williamson, Kelly

Amber had a pretty darn good Mont Tremblant despite being just a month off of a very serious bike crash that derailed her training. I'm excited to see what three months of training can get her. Make sure to follow her and send her all your good vibes. 

Until Next Time,


PS: Since writing this post a few days ago, 4 MORE athletes have entered the melee bringing the total athlete count to 28!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ultra-Running Boy is Back!

Well that might be a bit of a stretch. But I am wearing my Leadville sweatshirt as I type this.

I'm really having more fun than that picture suggests. 

So anyway. I also have now signed up for TWO ultras in 2017. First in January I just signed up for a 6 hour trail race. So technically it might not end up as an ultra if I only run 26 miles or less. BUT still. The intent is that I'll be doing an ultra. Then the next month, I am doing the Harbison trail 50k race. I am excited about that one. Kenny and I have been out there a few times and I really like the trails out there. Supposedly it's 20 miles of singletrack and 10ish miles of fireroads. I am sure I'll be happy to see those roads. 

All this is build up for my 2017 A race which is March's Columbia Marathon. I really am going to try to PR/win it and know I'm more likely to get in my necessary mileage training if it's in the form of a race. Plus I miss racing and it's a good way to meet like-minded people down here. 

Okay well, I better get running so I can live up to my name again.

Until next time,


Friday, October 14, 2016

Settling in to Columbia

Oh hello again. Sorry my blogging has been erratic. But I'm just having so much fun down here in South Carolina!

Now that may sound sarcastic but it's true. I love my job and the kids I work with. I recently volunteered to head up the Wednesday Walkers afterschool program which I modify to more of a Girls on the Run program(but for both genders). If you haven't checked them out, you should: here.

In addition to really liking my job, it's nice to finally feel settled in with Kenny after the year apart and actually decorating our place and making it our own. We do miss our friends and family but have plans to make it home multiple times as well as have some of them visit us. And finally with an extra bedroom we can actually invite people to come down and stay with us for a while.  We have just started really getting a chance to explore Columbia but we like what we've seen.
The Capitol
Oh! And I just had a week off of work. That's right. Little ol' Hurricane Matthew apparently blew by and school was canceled from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. With perfectly clear skies for all days but Saturday. That gave me plenty of time to make it to Congaree National Park-one of the few NPs I had never heard of until I started researching Columbia. It was actually very cool. Some of the last remaining old growth trees on the east coast, a 2 1/2 mile raised boardwalk over a swamp, 30+ miles of single track, plenty of Cypress Trees and biodiversity and even an encounter with a wild boar. What's not to love?


Kenny and I also found a cool running store and have signed on for their weekly track workouts. While not as intense as Amber's, it's great motivation to get out on a weekday and do some speed work. Plus, there is an all you can eat Sushi place right around the corner so that is even better motivation ;)

What also is motivating is that Kenny and I have signed up for the Columbia half and full marathons, respectively in March. I've looked at the winning times for the last 3 years so of course my plan is to win. Which I think I can do. Which means I've just jinxed myself. Oh well. It still gives me motivation to get out there and train hard.

Tonight we head to the South Carolina State Fair where they have pig races, dog tricks and local live music. Tomorrow we head downtown for the extended Farmer's market, and Oktoberfest. And Sunday we are going to see if we can find a church that has a good community service program that we can help out with. All in all, we are having a wonderful time down here and are happy with our decision to try somewhere new.

Hope you all have wonderful weekends.

Until next time,