Archive for the ‘other women who play’ Category

Sienna Wildfield writes here on her running a 5 mile race. I’m not sure if it’s her first, but I found it very inspiring. Thanks for sharing, Sienna! {next posting: the wild seven sisters}

When I heard that Leslie was training for the Seven Sisters 12 mile race I got so excited and inspired that I emailed my running buddy to see if she was interested in doing the race with me.  She emailed me back and politely told me I was insane.  A better run she suggested was the Cave Hill Classic (www.cavehillclassic.com), a five-mile run to benefit the Leverett Peace Pagoda on April 17th. Much more sensible for me.  Thank goodness for good sensible friends!

She and I “trained” just by running a few miles nearly every day.  But what I wasn’t prepared for, physically or mentally was The Hill!  The last one mile stretch of this run is straight up hill… a BIG hill!  All the way to the Peace Pagoda.  I walked/ran that last mile, panting and sweating with my running buddy encouraging me on.  I didn’t care that I was last.  Didn’t care that it was sleeting.  Didn’t care that my nose was running and that I looked like I might pass out at any minute.  All I cared about was breathing, staying in my zone, and getting to the top without toppling over, which I did in just under 1 hour and 10 minutes …  Did I mention THE HILL?

As I reached the finish line at the top of The Hill, the clapping took me out of my sweet spot as all the other runners who had finished way ahead of me, enjoyed their slices of oranges, and were coming back down to escape the sleet, clapping and cheering me on as I approached the finish line.  They all seemed so proud of those of us who obviously don’t intend to race but just wanted to complete something that we too could be proud of.

I wanted to do this run, not with any agenda of racing, but to be part of something that celebrates being alive. Running is an excellent way for me to feel alive.  The pounding of my feet, the cramp in my side, sweat stinging my eyes … then finding that sweet spot to zone into as the elements meet my face and my pulse remains steady.  And running with a good friend makes the experience even more alive!   On the way through the course to the base of the The Hill, the time passed by in a rich way; filled with friendship, sharing and caring for each other and ourselves.  The last mile of the run, I was on my own.  Pushing myself forward, taking on the challenge and completing the task … all the way to the Peace Pagoda – a great analogy of life!

Thank you Leslie for being an inspiration!


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Below is an email my sister Susan wrote to a friend after her 50k run last weekend. I love the energy in her writing—made me feel like I could run that far, too!

It was SO AWESOME!! I’ve been meaning to give you the update! You SO have to do this one next year. It was gorgeous scenery–you are in the American River canyon, going up and down gently rolling single-track trails, some wider fire trails, some crazy ass steep hills (imagine speed hiking up the middle of a dry waterfall route — rocks and roots and all!), about 20 creek crossings, serious mud, mud, mud — it was quite the muddy adventure and I loved it! I really did. I was thinking about you and Christine the whole time. I think you’d love it. My pace turned out to be 4 miles per hour (finished in 7:42), which is the same as Skyline to the Sea, but I liked this run way, way, way better. We really lucked out because the day of the race, the sun was out (cold at the beginning –32–but warmed up to 50). The day before it rained nonstop for 24 hours. That’s why the creeks were so high and the course was so muddy. At first, I tried to side step the mud and water, but then you just have to go with it and get muddy and wet. At one stream crossing, the water was up past my knees! But it felt good — ice cold water. And by the time you were five minutes out of it, the water in the shoes disappeared. I did have a funny mishap: around mile 6 my shoe got completely stuck in the middle of a downhill mud pile and my foot came out of the shoe. I pulled over to the side and a runner behind me got my submerged shoe and gave it to me. My sock was dripping with wet orange mud, so I just took it off and ran w/o a sock for a mile till the aid station. I sat down and was like ok I guess I got to deal with a gross wet sock for the next 6 1/2 hours. But, the best thing happened: one of the aid station folks came over and asked what I needed. And I held up my sock and said, “I need a sock!” And she went to her truck, grabbed a pair of her socks and gave them to me! How cool  and nice is that. I wore her one sock on my right foot and kept the “spare” one in  my pocket. I tossed my gross one in the garbage. 🙂

As for my body: nutrition wise — totally fine. Drank water and Gu Brew (got this at the aid station…I definitely like Gatorade better). Had Gus like every 30 minutes. Didn’t eat more than a little piece of banana and a PB&J square…wasn’t into solid food. Had 3 pit stops on the run (two of which were serious!). My left tibialis anterior (sp?) tendon flared up here and there, but never more than for a few minutes or so, and always on the downhill parts. So, I was very pleased with the minimal pain factor. However, after the run, when I was walking back to my car, the tendon totally flared up and I was in super pain. But, it subsided that night. It did get swollen. I actually ended up getting Xrays last week and here’s the scoop from my chiropractor (who herself is a competitive biker/runner:

“The Radiologist sent the report.
“Post traumatic deformity of the distal tibia is noted with mild narrowing and distortion of the tibiotalar joint.  No acute abnormality is identified.”

So….looks like it is related to your injury years ago.  After your race, access how it is….if still painful, I would see an ortho for an eval.  I will see you later this week.
Let me know how it feels after today’s run.”

Would I go back to Way Too Cool and do it again?? HELL YEAH! 🙂

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A new series: articles from other women who love to play.
The first one is from Gina de la Chesnaye from Brooklyn, NY.
(You can contribute, too. Just give me a shout in comments)

I like to play hard. I always have. And today, in Brooklyn, I was reminded of what exactly taught me to play hard and most of all, endure. It was simple really. It was the rain. The rain that came fast and pin pricking down upon me as I dropped my kids off and it was the rain that swept away the snow leaving to my astonishment multitudes of dog shit piles unearthed for us to step over. (Wtf?!  I have a dog and I don’t do that but that’s another story).

It was this cold, cold rain that so many of us have trained in. We slugged and sloshed and did mile after mile of Indian drills and wind sprints and throws that left our legs rubbery and our hands numb. I am talking about Ultimate Frisbee. And Ultimate, I realized in the Northeast, is very much akin to basic training. It is cold. Wet. Muddy. And occasionally played in Nor’easters. (You can’t reschedule Regionals!)

We suffered. But, we suffered because we wanted to. We wanted to win.

So, today, after dropping the kids off in the rain I did an hour and a half of yoga. And then I hopped the subway to 38th Street to do two and half hours of kickboxing. All of this with a torn hamstring. It’s been a month out and I have babied it but it is still tweaked. But, I went and played because if I don’t I’m a miserable wretch of a person and I played hard. Round after round of drills. Kicks. Punches. Knees. Footwork. Sparring. Oh, I love sparring. That’s when all of the conditioning and the skills kick in and if you are not mentally present you will feel it in your jaw, your nose, your quad that your friend has so thankfully kicked because you were not smart enough or quick enough to move out of the way. Or your lip which will be bloodied because you simply did not have your hands up.

And, it all comes down to the rain. Push yourself. Muddy yourself. Play hard. And today, I knew I wasn’t going to win anything. I wasn’t trying to win anything. I was trying not to get my ass-kicked. But, when my trainer came up to me and said, “You are one tough mother.” I knew that I had won something – Respect. Just for playing hard…

And then I iced my hamstring. Which is still tweaked but just fine.

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