It has been quite some time since I have posted and a lot has taken place; several big races and family visits. We continue to love this lifestyle, spending almost all of our time together, racing, training and visiting with friends and family along with the challenges of van life. We have one more big race coming up, our 5th and final SwimRun in North Carolina, before we head back to Seattle to spend time with our families for the holidays.
We left Ohio and headed to Erie, PA for the Erie Marathon on September 9. David and I had aspirations for qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon and we both felt prepared, mentally and physically. The weather was perfect and the course pancake flat, but it just wasn’t our day. David realized at mile 10 that it just wasn’t going to happen, and my wheels fell off around mile 16 when my left hip began to hurt and I began to walk more often then I normally would (I always do a run/walk for all my marathons including my past 2 Boston Marathon qualifiers). We were both disappointed and I shed a few tears but there is no time to wallow in self pity. I have so much to be thankful for, the fact that I got to run the Boston Marathon not just once, but twice, makes me so proud of my accomplishments. You see, if you know me or have been following my blog, you know that a bit over 15 years ago I could not even run a mile let alone the Boston Marathon. So, running Erie, although not the results I had hoped for was still a marathon and still something I am proud of.
After the Erie Marathon we drove to Vermont to spend some time at Cold Moon Farm with Irene and Ed and my parents. Cold Moon Farm holds a special place in our hearts. I grew up down the street from the Glazer’s and they were my second set of parents. I spent half of my formative years at their house, hanging out with their sons, swimming in the pool and sometimes driving Ed crazy with my whining. Just like my parents, they were always there for me if I needed something. They moved to Vermont over 20 years ago and I don’t get to see them as often anymore. When David decided to propose to me somehow he knew this was the place to do it. We made a trip to NY and Vermont in December of 2014 and it was on this trip, at Cold Moon Farm where he asked me to be his wife. So, this is why we love this place and knew we needed to make a stop here. It was also a perfect place to meet up with my parents to celebrate my 47th birthday and catch up. We really loved our time on the farm, helping out wherever we could, hiking and exploring the Green Mountains, visiting, reminiscing and telling stories about my childhood and relaxing. If you ever find yourself in Southern Vermont it is worth a stop over at Cold Moon Farm.
During our stay in Vermont, along with our regular schedule of running, hiking and strength training, we traveled to 2 big races. The first one was IGNITE SwimRun Rhode Island. This was our 3rd SwimRun race of 2018 and our first one which included ocean swimming. The location was Block Island, Rhode Island, a quaint island 12 miles off the coast, famous for its miles of free public beaches, sparkling clear waters, dramatic bluffs and open spaces. In our usual fashion we arrived early, helped set-up the venue and did some course re-con. We knew it was a beautiful location but this race course was breath-taking. It was also extremely challenging- ocean swimming with big swells, running on single track trails and rocky coastline, sandy beaches and stairs, lots of stairs. Due to the conditions on the south end of the island, one swim was cancelled and another adjacent swim became optional. If you could get through the break then the swim parallel to the shore it wasn’t too bad, unfortunately, I could not get past the break. After trying several times and not getting very far, David could see on my face that I was starting to struggle and panic a bit. He signaled to me to turn around and go back to shore, we will run the beach, it is not worth injury or even worse. We were doing well, in the middle of the pack, until we missed a turn onto a single track trail and ran almost a mile in the wrong direction. We got back on track but knew we were in last place (only 6 teams did the long course). We popped out on to the road, saw the team ahead of us, turned up the speed a notch and managed to come in 5th place at the end of the day. It was one of the most scenic races I have ever done. The day ended with an amazing bonfire on the beach, with the awards ceremony and sharing stories with the other athletes.
The second race we signed up for was more of a last minute decision. We happened upon a timed race that was only about 30 minutes from Cold Moon on another local farm, Beebe Farms in East Dorset, Vermont, called the Beebe Farm Classic. This race was a 0.87 mile loop on a gravel road surrounding horse arenas. We signed up for the 6 hour race with the goal being as many loops as possible during those 6 hours. This was my first timed race and my goal was a 50K, about 32 miles. I had my phone and headphones with me in anticipation of the monotony of such a race, but was surprised by how quickly 6 hours passed. Before I knew it, we had only a few minutes to go as I raced to complete my 39th lap and a total of 33.99 miles. David was able to complete a little over 43 laps for a total of 37 miles and an overall win. The race was well organized, had some awesome swag, including a fleece jacket and a mug, tons of food and great music. The best part about the day for us was getting a chance to catch up with our friend, Nancy, from the Hyland’s Boston Marathon team.
Our month in Vermont was incredible but we needed to start heading toward South Carolina, where David’s daughter and grandson live. We were going to be there for his 1st birthday party!! We left ourselves plenty of time, since we don’t like to drive too many hours a day and we had planned some other stops along the way. Our first stop after leaving Vermont, was New Jersey. We spent a few days with my cousins, Elaine, David, Robin, Michael, Randy and Jamie. We had so much fun sharing stories and spending time getting to know all of them better. While in NJ, I was able to show David around my high school, The Peddie School. I reminisced about my days there and how meaningful it was and how I never would imagine that 30 years later I would be running on the track and talking about doing my first 100K. Back then I was all about avoiding PE class and did everything possible to get out of it.
After NJ we made a brief stop in Shenandoah National Park. This is one of the most dog friendly national parks we have encountered so far. We hiked the Cedar Run-Whiteoak Circuit, a strenuous, technical hike which runs along the river and passes many waterfalls along the way. It was a perfect fall day.
From Virginia we made a brief stop in North Carolina, finally landing in South Carolina where we would spend a few days visiting with David’s daughter and grandson and celebrating his 1st birthday. We spent time at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia and the pumpkin patch. It had been 6 months since our last visit and it was so nice to spend some quality time with them. Our current living situation allows us these opportunities to visit family that we may not have otherwise, we feel so blessed to have the time to visit and look forward to next time.
Back to North Carolina and Hanging Rock State Park to scout out the SwimRun NC course. We were lucky enough to meet up with one of the race directors, Herbert, who took us on a tour of the waterfalls and the upper section of the course. This course is beautiful, with lots of single track, technical trails, waterfall climbs, and an amazing overlook on top of Moore’s Wall. We spent a few days here exploring the other waterfalls and trails in the park.
After a few days exploring Hanging Rock it was back north to Virginia for IGNITE SwimRun Virginia in Richmond on October 20th followed by SwimRun NC in Hanging Rock on October 28th. These would be our last 2 SwimRun races of the 2018 season, making a total of 5 for us this year!!
So stay tuned for some race reports and pictures very soon!!!