Barefoot Mama

"I started running barefoot in March 2008. I started one step at a time, one day at a time. I decided to start keeping a journal of sorts. Sharing my history, my journey and my adventures."

I have taken some new paths in relation to my running over the last year. This blog will still include my running adventures but I have to move on with more stories of my family and the journey we have taken together over the last year. This blog was started as a way to help me record my barefoot journey but now needs to become more than that. Please be patient as I explore ways to stay connected with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another Great Adventure (and the JFK50 miler)

My adventure started out on Thursday, Novemver 15th at 7am with my friend Paula. I had to leave the family at home this time. We struck out on the road following Route 1 south. We weren't alone though. I was very excited to be traveling with our mascot, Emmett the cat! You may think that taking a cat on the road is ridiculous, ok it kinda is, but he loves the car. I think he thinks he is a dog! He actually growls! If he could have stuck his head out the window and let his ears flap in the wind he would have.
He spent a lot of time curled up in "his" seat or sitting on my lap.

So lately I've been trying to find a way to write about my 50 miler without sounding like a brat. I make most of these posts for my my friends and family who live far away who want to read about my running adventures and to check in once in awhile to see what my family is doing. So when I tried to write about this trip it turns out to it was about the fun I had and the 50 miler was secondary. Don't get me wrong I trained for this event and it was a tough one but the days leading up to the event were great and the adventure continued after the event. I was happy to finish the 50 miles but my trip was all about going somewhere with my friend and getting to see and do things we don't usually get to do. This is one of many adventures I've had with Paula.  This year alone we have been to events in Florida, Kentucky, Quebec  and of course Maine. First, it is the longest amount of time I have been away from my family, they usually go with me. And everything I did I kept thinking about all the fun they would have if they were with me. (Except for being part of a crew that had to wait around all day for me to finish the 50 mile run. My girls would have hated that. Not because they were bored because they would worry about me.) 

Our first destination was a 10 hour drive to friends house in Manheim, PA. We had a great day which included counting the deer on the highway. A wonderful game and completely entertaining. I believe we counted 12 dead on the road, 3 dead in the back of pickup trucks and 4 that walked out in front of us!  We had had a nice hot supper waiting for us at the end of the day. We camped out on a couple of air mattress in their office and it was wonderful. (Of course I am comparing it to our sleeping conditions on our last adventure where we spent 1 night sleeping in the back of the car on an old logging road in northern Maine and another night in a tent.) The next day we spent exploring their town, going to Hersey, PA and the Chocolate factory, paddling in a canoe for 6.5 miles, exploring the Amish countryside, visiting with friends and traveling another 2.5 hours to the packet pick-up for the JFK 50. My journey would have been complete with just that group of experiences. And I stated so at our Chocolate Factory tour. I said "This is the best! My trip is already complete and we have just begun!" 

Once we got settle into our hotel room and Emmett was all comfy on the bed I took a nice hot shower and called it a day. I had the beginnings of what could have been a terrible migraine earlier in the day but thanks to some Tylenol and caffeine I was able to escape most of the pain and was left with just a dull ache. I didn't let it ruin my day and I was hoping a good nights sleep would cure me and it did.

Well, here comes the brat part. I finished my 2nd 50 miler. The JFK 50 50th Anniversary. November 17, 2012. But, I don't have any great wisdom to share. My journey through that distance was MY journey and everyone has their own journey when you are running that far for that long. I can share the statistics: It took me 10 hours 43 minutes. And big deal. I had my goals for this event set and being the competitive person I am, "just finishing" was not one of them. I knew I would finish. That time was not one I expected to get, yes, I wanted to do better. And I can't explain it enough to people that keep saying to me, " I can't believe you ran 50 miles! Aren't you excited that you "just finished"? How can I say, "no I'm not excited that I "just finished" the distance". And why can't you believe I ran that far? I've been training for this for months!  But my chiropractor told me that I have to understand that what I think are normal runs and weekly training session most people don't. Most people don't go out and run 10 miles for fun. So in their mind I am doing something they would never even think of doing. He had to put it in perspective for me. I had a plan and I followed through with it. I wore my minimalist trail shoes through the single track Appalachian Trail section, I wore my VFF on the C&O tow path for over 26 miles and I ran barefoot for the last 8.5 miles on newly paved asphalt. I ate and drank when I needed to. My plan was to walk the hills and jog/run/walk the downs and the flats. Great plan. Glad I did it. What did I learn: Running on a straight tow path for a marathon distance with no hills was REALLY tough for me. It actually was a slow uphill grade the whole way but just seemed flat. The next ultra I train for will include more walking in the training program. Having a crew there just when you need them is awesome! I hope to be able to crew for someone someday and do as great a job as our friends did for us. And sharing the running experience with a friend was something I will never forget. I knew I would finish the run and I did. I always knew that if it came to a battle between my body and my mind my mind would win, I was right. I've taken the last 2 weeks off with ocassional trips to the gym for biking and swimming. Taking a much needed break from running. Planning more ultras in the future. Deciding which 100 miler to do before they all fill up. But need to put those 50K and 50 milers on the calendar as training runs before they all fill up as well. 

The adventure didn't stop with the 50 mile run. We stayed it the hotel one more night and got up, had breakfast and were on the road again. We traveled south to Florida with a stop to visit a friend in South Carolina and a short nap at a rest stop in Florida arriving at our destination about 6 am on Monday morning. My friend is a snow bird and we drove to her winter dwelling. While in Florida I helped her settle in. We went for walks and bike rides. I drank fresh OJ made from the oranges that grew in the backyard. We sat on her deck and celebrated our adventure with wine and cheese. We had our own little Thanksgiving dinner with some friends.  This adventure came to an end when my feet touched the ground in Maine at 7:30pm on Wednesday after I flew home. My friend continues her winter adventure in Florida and I got to be home in time to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Gone almost a week. It was good to be home. I can't wait for the next running adventure/trip but I hope it will include my family next time.
Biking past the orange groves
At the end of the JFK 50

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