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Summer Cross Training

Whatever your sport, you know that cross training is important.

That's why I get out kayaking as often as I can in the summer.

In light of that, I give you eight tips to help you cross train properly.

1. Invite friends along so you'll be accountable to someone.

Thanks Josh and Mary for showing us a lovely new place!

2. Choose an activity that's not too strenuous, but offers a different challenge.

Antietam Creek is a great Class I-II run through beautiful natural scenery
and the historic Antietam civil war battlefield park.

3. Remember to take note of your surroundings, including flora and fauna.

Great Blue Heron

4. In summer especially, it's crucial to stay hydrated. Use a hydration system that works for you.

Hubz demonstrates a hydration delivery system

5. Don't forget to refuel to keep your energy level high.

Picnic lunch

6. Appreciate the beauty along your chosen route.

Approaching Burnside's Bridge

A lot of blood was shed here during the Battle of Antietam

Antietam Creek joins the Potomac River at the C&O Canal Park

7. Test your equipment before you start. Failing that, pack your picnic in a dry bag!

RIP, Acadia

8. Have fun! 

What's your favorite form of summer cross training?

My New Favorite Ultra Quote

It was the moment in an ultramarathon that I have learned to live for, to love. It was that time when everything seems hopeless, when to go on seems futile, and when a small act of kindness, another step, a sip of water, can make you realize that nothing is futile, that going on -- especially when going on seems so foolish -- is the most meaningful thing in the world.
~Scott Jurek, Eat and Run

Wordless Wednesday: Highlands Sky

Highlands Sky 40 Miler is a fantastic, tough, scenic and well-organized race. This year I was a spectator.

Orange Hawkweed (aka Devil's Paintbrush), one of my favorite wildflowers.
Joe Schramka and Betsy Nickle approaching Aid Station #4, mile 19.7

Drew Watson borrows my sock after a blowout near mile 19
Beautiful scene near Aid Station #8
Goldendoodle, with West Virginia mud

Section of trail near aid station #8 (but not on the race course)
The woods are lovely, dark and deep

Meg Mosier and Marti Kovener strolling on the course
Naya gets a bath
David Frazier volunteering at Aid Station #8 (mile 36.7)

Another West Virginia scene
Seth Mosier with four miles to go
Davis, WV has the best recovery food

Seth relaxes after finishing

Dan Mackeben and Karen Donahue celebrate their finishes
Drew Watson finishes his first 40 Miler with Gaynor Bourgeouis

Alan Gowen and Beth Weisenborn linger at the finish

Tip Top Coffee in Thomas, WV

The Purple Fiddle, Thomas, WV

Eat and Run: Scott Jurek

Fun Run participants just before the run. Note Jeff Reed representing the VHTRC in the blue shirt!
(Photo from Pacers Facebook page)

Since my earliest forays into ultrarunning, I've admired Scott Jurek. He was the real deal -- winning Western States 100 Miler year after year (7 times in a row!). He was a class act who stayed at the finish line of every race to cheer for every last finisher.

When I heard he was in town to promote his book Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, I jumped at the chance to see him in person. On a warm Friday evening, I donned my brand new red running dress and took my life into my hands the Metro over to Arlington to do a Fun Run with him.

We gathered in the back courtyard of The Nature Conservancy. What an incredible, stunning wildflower garden they have, hidden in plain sight! They even have orchard mason bees. *swoon*

Talking with Scott in the wildflower garden before the run.
(Photo from Pacers Facebook page)

I got the nerve up to approach him before the run and get a photo. Good thing I did, because he was swamped afterward and it was hot and muggy. I would have looked a sight in a post-run photo.

He asked what ultras I had run, and I mentioned Bull Run Run 50 Miler. He had run Bull Run Run in 1999, shortly before he went on to win his first Western States. "That's the VHTRC race," he said, smiling. I was pretty thrilled that he knew our little club by name!

Me and Scott Jurek. He's an amazing ultrarunner and gracious, too.

The run itself was anticlimactic. I didn't try to jockey for position at the front. We ran a section of the paved Custis bike path (sadly, no singletrack trail), ending at Pacers in Clarendon. Pacers had a nice spread for us: fruit, veggies, hummus and some baked goodies. Scott hung around outside and chatted.

Michael Wardian and Scott making plans to run the next day.
Somehow, they forgot to invite me.

We gathered inside the store and Scott spoke about his upcoming race in South Africa for charity, what he eats, how he trains and how he became a runner as a result of cross-training for Nordic skiing in high school.

One thing he said that resonated with me: To run an ultra you've got to be "hungry."  

It's so true. You may possess the training, fitness and ability to run 100 miles but you may not even make it 50K if you aren't focused on your goal. There are always excuses to DNF, and unless finishing truly matters to you, you're likely to succumb to those excuses.

Eat & Run - two thumbs up!

He also mentioned that he was looking forward to one day retiring from racing, and perhaps running the VHTRC Massanutten 100 Miler. How exciting it would be to have him toe the line!

I bought my book, tried on two pairs of running shoes and went for short test runs outside, browsed every item in Pacers (including the mens section) and got through Chapters 1 - 3 while waiting for the line for Scott to sign it. It was worth it.

And now, I can't put the book down. I'm captivated by his life story, his training, his races and his advice on running. His writing style is open and honest and right away, you feel like you know him. There are also a lot of great suggestions on how to become a better runner.

Though I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, I don't find his references to how he came to be a Vegan trite or sanctimonious. As someone who enjoys good food and cooking, I'm finding it interesting.

At the end of each chapter he includes a tasty-sounding recipe, and I'm looking forward to trying a fair number of them. I'll report back on my results!

A Family Affair

Hubz running with my Mom early in the race
Do you think you'll still be running when you're 72 years old?  I sure hope I will. 

Would you try running for the first time at 72 years old, if you'd never run before?

This Spring my mother decided to do just that. She wanted to run a 5K race. 

She wanted the whole family to run, too. Unless you count my brother Adam who runs a couple of miles occasionally for fitness, no one else in my family runs. My father had a hip replacement two years ago and is plagued by arthritis. So this was a pretty big deal for my family.

After conferring with everyone, she signed us all up for a 5K (and my father for the 1 mile) in our small hometown in Kansas. With the Couch to 5K Program, and Hubz and I offering up advice and encouragement, everyone started training.

Except that I was sidelined with my tendon trouble. Other family members did varying degrees of training on a sporadic basis. Some did almost no training. But my mother did her training faithfully and put in 3 days of running for 10 weeks.

Even before race day, I was filled with pride and admiration for my mother.
Race day itself couldn't have been more perfect. The weather was ideal, cool and sunny.  
The whole family got to the start on time (no small feat!) and we fit in a short walking warmup. 

And then we were off! 

The race crossed the Spring Creek twice each way
on the out and back course

Hubz and I stuck with my Mom and everyone else ran their own pace. 

My niece was supposed to do the 1 mile with my father but as soon as we all took off there was no holding her back. She ran in spurts, and aside from a couple of shortcuts (ahem) she did pretty darn well. She might be the real talent in the family.

SIL Shannon, Niece, Mom and Hubz.

Brother Adam took the family win and 2nd in his age group

SIL Paulyn

Halfway there!
Notice the big blue sky, typical in Kansas.

Kansas field in the morning sunlight
Mom's triumphant finish! She even had a little kick at the end.

I am so proud of each and every member of my family for their efforts.  

I think everyone really enjoyed the race. Hubz won his age group and my brothers and mother all took 2nd in their age groups. Next year, my sisters-in-law and I will have to avenge being shut out of the awards. This may just become a new family tradition! 

The family celebrates

Brother David shows off his medal
The 5k was part of a weekend of events celebrating 150 years of the Union Pacific railroad. After the race we strolled around and tasted pork at the Big Blue Barbecue competition and looked at nearly 300 restored classic cars in the auto show on Main Street. 

This car was my favorite

Meanwhile my niece was still going strong, running around playing on giant carnival inflatables, one of which was a centipede with a rather visually disturbing exit.

Inflatable centipede

In church the next day, one of the other ladies my mother's age asked her if she thought she could train for a 5K. A seed is planted ...