|My Mom showing off her new Mt. Shasta jacket,|
|High above Heart Lake and Castle Lake outside of Mt. Shasta CA|
|Pre-surgery selfie, the beginning of what |
proved to be an excruciatingly painful day for Janice.
Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind. Two women I love were struggling and I wasn't in the best of shape to be of much help. I did what I could to fix myself while trying be a helper too. The guys at InspiredPT were great, Dan and Steve quickly saw where my pain was and developed a plan to get me back to running as soon as possible. Along with PT, I decided to register in some short fun races I could use as part of rehab while trying to keep my brain in the game.
SMT Turkey Trot - The Turkey Trot Tri, which I selected by accident, meant I would get to run a 5k, but at about the mid point I had to eat a small pie, drink apple cider, grab a pumpkin and run with it to the finish.
|Me & my pumpkin.|
December 18th, everything changed, Mom was in need of serious care and that day ended at the Hershey Medical Center ER. Man was she mad when I told her I had called for an ambulance. Mom was now on a journey and she wanted only one thing, to be well enough to go home, but Christmas would be at the hospital. Who knew that if you had a loved one stuck there for the holiday that the hospital hosted Christmas dinner? In an odd way, it was nice to share Christmas dinner with Janice and my Brother Larry in the hospital cafeteria. The doctors and nurses at the med center took such great care of her and eventually she got her wish and with Hospice Of Central PA, Home Instead and me learning how to be a home health aid, Mom got to go home. Mom got to see 2019 become 2020 and a few days later she turned off the television and Janice and I said what would be our last good night. It's been tough to start this blog, but now that I'm writing, it feels good to share. Dad provided the path, but Mom definitely kept us on it. We knew right from wrong, we knew perseverance, we had strength, we learned so many lessons because of Mom. To be so privileged to be 58 years old and still have my Mom was such a gift. At 95, she was finally ready to say goodbye.
|Mom grocery shopping on her 95th birthday. |
I have no idea what she did with that big loaf of bread.
|The beautiful morning sun in Janice's lens.|
Milburn Landing, Pokomoke River State Park, MD
This year's Algonquin 50k would be different in a neat unique way as well. An old childhood friend, in fact one of my original childhood friends, Mike McCauley would also be making the trip to the Delmarva to run the race. Mike grew up literally right across the street from me and yes he also knew my Mom all his life. [How many kids who grew up as neighbors would become ultra runners later in life?] #weird
|Packet pickup fun with Shane, Janice Me & Mike.|
(photo stolen from Mike's Facebook feed)
I'm not from Delmarva, but this event has a feel that I haven't experienced at others. I feel at home at this one, among friends. Often you go to races and you run into the regional clicks, whether they're all from the same town, region or running club and if you don't fit one of those categories; you're left standing alone waiting for the gun to go off. And at the finish line those same folks are all standing around, puffing their chests and boasting of their effort and surely you'll hear the letters PR, quite a bit. (to me PR represents the beautiful island of Puerto Rico) I'm sure those groups exist at the Algonquin 50k, but due to the atmosphere that's generated, and I have to say caused by the Race Director's personality; the event is focused on fun more than anything else. I've gotten to know so many people from returning for now my fourth year, that I feel a little embarrassed when someone calls me by name and I can't think of theirs (please accept my apology if you're reading and that's happened to you). The first year Janice and I met Gabe and Will at packet pick up and I ran much of the day with Sara. Year two introduced us to the Air Force buddies, Shane and Clayton. Year three I spent much of the day running with Erin and Dani and I'm leaving out a bunch of folks, but you get my point. I'm not a social runner, I train alone and at events I yearn for those hours on the trail in solitude; so by much of my own doing I don't meet people at races. From the social event the packet pick up at Hopper's has become to the finish line where most everyone waits for the remaining finishers, some other events need to take a lesson.
|New friends and old, just another cool bi-product of trail running.|
After a short stretch on a park paved road, the course turns onto the Algonquin Cross County Trail. The start of the trail is a mellow section, flat and with few obstacles; it's a nice warm up before tackling the water and the sand. Well this year was different, with the immense storm that had visited, this typically mild section of trail which has never had water or mud had both. With this as a preview the talk in the pack went right to wondering what the wet sections would look like. The water on the trail did not disappoint, entry to the aid station at Mile 4 which is usually dry had a fun pool of water; I say fun because it was fun to watch runners try to avoid it or splash through it. Out on the wet sections, pools of water were in new spots and many of the usual ponds were much longer than past years. There were so many big ones this year, I lost track as to which was Lake Swanson. It was more like the Great Lakes of Swanson this year.
|Through the aid station at Mile 4...and still smiling.|
|Uphill in sand...|
|Looking for The Greenbrier Spur Trail|
|The Goatman wears Altras.|
To make matters worse, just before heading down the spur trail, I tripped and fell. This was my third tumble on the day (yes it was one of those days) and the worst. First I was pretty stoked when I realized that my face plant had landed just to the right of a tree instead of going headlong into it. Unfortunately though, I soon realized that my left knee took a nice hit and I could feel it getting sore and swelling. Before I knew it, the Greenbrier Spur and it's mind game was behind me and it was cool as I was able to see Mike, got to see Pete and even Shane who was running with Kyle from Altra.
|Got to share some trail miles with Jackie, up from North Carolina.|
She's quite an inspiration and a member of The Suunto Elite Team.
I think it's like 7 miles to the next aid station after the Greenbrier Spur and for some reason, in past years it's felt more like 17 miles and I've wished I was carrying 2 bottles through this section. This year I planned ahead and had a race vest with 2 flasks.
In this next stretch I realized I was running with Erin who I finished behind last year. We talked about dogs, Josh who didn't come this year and her work with UPMC and their expansion in the Harrisburg area. The time passed which is nice, because it's always these late miles in an ultra that seem to never end. I stopped and walked a bit when I saw Janice at the last aid station which felt good.
|Cramp free running all day thanks to Pickle Juice Sport.|
|Watching and waiting for me and the end of long long day.|
Next year will by 5th year toeing the line at Pokomoke River State Park, can't wait for registration to open! Go run this race, I dare you to not have fun. Register early too, because it has built a great reputation and it will sell out fast!
|Trent The Race Dictator|
"Roads Are Dead"
Next up for me is The Seneca Creek Greenway 50K.
Those folks that make the race a reality:
|Breakfast didn't stand a chance.|
I was accused of licking my plate...
|Big Oyster Brewing|