Tuesday, May 20, 2014

30 for 30

The Sugarloaf Marathon in Eustis Maine took place on May 18. With approximately 700 participants the race was small and personal. The weather turned out to be absolutely perfect for a run. The air was cool and the sky was clear. The promised rain showers were nowhere to be seen. The lakes were full and the mountains were vivid and green with the recent rain and snow run off. The race ran down route 27 along the Androscoggin River which was high and tumbling fast down the riverbed. The race starting on a flat, going up hill and cresting at the midpoint, and finishing downhill broke up the miles and made the course easy to break up mentally.
The best part of the race was the fans cheering on the side of the road. Since the road was open during the race cars and trucks leap frogged like the runners. Cowbells and car horns and signs and streamers were all along the course. A few clever signs made us all giggle a little and informed us that; 'You run better than the Government, Humpty Dumpty had wall issues too, and Sweat is liquid awesomeness!'

Right from the start I was leap frogging with a small group of people from Connecticut. I shared my 30 mile goal with a woman in rainbow socks who cheered me on and one uped me with having run 42 this year on her birthday! I was maintaining a 8:20 ish pace and was worried that I made my usual mistake of going out too fast. Everything felt good so I told myself to relax and keep going. Going into the hill I felt strong and thankful for all of the Caribbean island training. I knew Julia was meeting me at mile 11, after the crest of the hill. Just after mile 10 my shoulders started cramping up a little. Jules was bringing energy gummies with her. The sugar, potassium and caffeine were an instant pick me up. As the decline increased I let myself go with it and held a pace closer to 7:25. Jules dropped out before mile 14 and Reg jumped in at 15 to finish off the hill. My legs started to feel the miles around 17. My father joined me for a mile, Jen for a half mile and Julia jumped back in at 23. Doubts started creeping in just before 24. As another runner ran past, I expressed my doubts at speeding up. Before I could get too discouraged, Jules just said, "Go with her, you can do it." and as she peeled off I pushed through the tight hamstrings and mental doubts and kicked past the girl runner as well as a few guys in front of her. I had enough in me to finish the final two miles at a 8:30 pace and jogged it out after the finish until my watch reached 30 miles.

After a lemonade and some homemade granola (only in Maine) I read out my watch statistics. For 30 miles my elapsed time was 4:18. My marathon time was 3:43 with an average pace for the whole thing of 8:36 minutes per mile. My shoes, that had been holding on by a string, finally ripped apart during the race and I bought new ones yesterday. Interestingly, I had to buy a half a size larger than I did last time. I broke them in this morning with a 3 mile jog around downtown Portsmouth. I picked up the New England Running Calendar to look for the next race before the high wears off. I had a great race and was surrounded by my awesome family, I couldn't have asked for more. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Here I go....

I’m running 30 miles tomorrow. Realistically, I should have chosen a marathon in June. I have missed some significant parts of the training due to work and life changes. I think pushing the date could get me back on track but those marathons wouldn’t be on my birthday weekend. I set out to run Run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, happy birthday to me!

I’m incredibly lucky to have a family that likes to get together and will use any excuse to do so. We have been known to move holidays around to suit our travel schedules. This weekend we celebrated three May birthdays and mother’s day. They all decided to head up to Maine to join me in one way or another in my run. Kate hosted a pre race cookout at her house in Saco and my mom made me a wicked awesome shirt that I will run in. Julia, my father and my brother in law are going to jump in and run some of the race with me. Jen is going to run a mile with me and her kids, sort of a cool down victory lap.

My friend Jillian blogs about her running and training adventures ever since she traveled over to Ireland to run her first marathon. She’s pretty incredible and I read her blog to stay current in her life and for the inspiration it provides.  She’s not training for anything specific at the moment, but wrote, “when asked if I was training for a marathon and I thought about how even though I wasn't, I kind of was. In running or in life. We all are. In every marathon there's a rough stretch. At some point in every single race, it's gonna suck. And yet, almost always, we finish. We come back for more.” Funnily enough, some pretty amazing opportunities have come out of leaving Antigua abruptly and heading out to sea. This week I was in New York City working with The Atlantic Cup, a sailing organization that is trying to save the world by being a carbon neutral event. Last week I was superyacht racing in the Palma Vela and the month before that I had the best crossing of any of them that I have sailed.
As for running in the past month, my Nike+ gps is getting pretty tired. Linking to satellites seems to take longer when my runs are 2,000 miles apart. I hopped off the boat in Palma and ran 7 miles along the waterfront. Later in the week I ran up to the castle and back the morning after the first team dinner. Since I may have had a glass of wine too many the night before, I joined Amy that afternoon for another run. It was a beautiful run through the olive groves in Alaro. Before leaving Mallorca I ran down the waterfront again for 10+ miles. From Mallorca I flew to Charleston, SC for the start of the Atlantic Cup. The event kept me pretty busy but I managed to squeeze in some half mile intervals early one morning. Between Charleston and New York I had to drive through Beaufort, NC to meet one of the race boats. I stayed over night and, after sending the boat off the dock, I ran 12 flat miles around Beaufort and Moorehead City. This week in New York I tapered by running around the city instead of taking the subway. Am I ready? I think so. I know that I’ll finish, I’m just unsure of how I’ll be feeling when I do.

The race is in the area around Sugarloaf Ski Resort. Sugarloaf is approximately at the half way point as the course winds down route 27 from Eustis to Kingfield. The first part is flat road leading up to a hill climb that starts around mile 7. It climbs for 2 or 3 miles before heading down hill for the rest of the race. In order to bump it up to 30 miles I am going to run a 3 mile warm up on the way to the start and finish with a mile after the finish. It’s what most people do anyways, warm up and cool down, but tomorrow I’m going to count it all. I think it’s going to be a nice run. The weather hasn’t decided if it’s going to cooperate yet, it could be cold and rainy. After all, it’s a race in New England, as long as you keep running the weather will probably change. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Atlantic crossing number 7

 This is from the end of my most recent crossing. It rambles on a bit, as the brain does at sea...

As we wrap up 18 days at sea I thought I should write a bit before my brain goes back into “normal or real life” mode. Something happens when I’m at sea for an amount of time. The way I think about things changes. My priorities change, thoughts go deeper while at the same time things simplify. Maybe it’s the lack of stimulation or some kind of sensory deprivation that does it. Maybe it’s the unavoidable realization that we are very small in a very large ocean. For a week or two we feel appropriately insignificant to the great big world. Holding on to this perspective is difficult as soon as we’re back in cell phone range and the smart phones start buzzing, but it’s a perspective that is important to have from time to time. It is equally as important to give it up and come back to land and real life. Some sailors spend just a little too long at sea and start to give up on the world on land. At sea many things seem unimportant and one can start down a long road of indifference. Though our actions, efforts and beliefs aren’t necessarily making major changes or a big difference, it is important to give those beliefs and actions their due diligence and continue to care.

On this crossing we have had relatively perfect weather. The weather pattern was different from the norm, however, and took us on a route much farther south than usual when sailing from west to east. Usually we would sail north by north east towards the Azores, stop to refuel, reprovision or just relax and continue south east towards Gibraltar. This trip took us out of Antigua and north by north east for a few days before planting a large low pressure system to the north of us. The system dictated that we stay south and ride the bottom edge of it. The breeze filled in and we basically sailed on the rhumb line all the way across with breeze abaft abeam or behind us. The breeze was on average around 20kts and we averaged a boat speed above 10 knots for most of the 18 days. Fast, great sailing at a comfortable angle, we couldn’t have asked for more. A crossing as good as this one is a pretty spectacular thing. The boat responded well to all of the conditions and was a pleasure to sail. Even as we approached Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean we had strong breeze behind us and couldn’t seem to slow down if we tried! We were sailing main only and were still well above 10 knots!

Everything seemed to align for this trip. The weather was ideal and the night sky was full of action. We left with the moon waxing and had moonlit nights for the first 10 days. The full moon coincided with a lunar eclipse that the clouds parted for and we observed the bright white fade into a dark yellow as the shadow of the Earth fell across the moon’s face just before sunrise. The sun rose before the Earth moved passed the moon and it left us pondering the basic physics and geometry that are in play when the three local celestial objects align. I’m sure I knew it all once. At least my very expensive education led to a blog with correct grammar! As with every moon phase the moon began to shrink and night watches started with darker skies filled with stars. Sailing under a full moon is beautiful and a bit easier but when the moon stays below the horizon and the world is pitch black I can see the stars. Light pollution is everywhere in our world, even on small islands in the Caribbean. Staring up at the stars and planets from the middle of the ocean can take my breath away and again I feel small, but it’s a wonderful feeling. From the boat we watch as Nature and the Universe turn and roll on and on with or without us. War, oil, climate change, politics, Nature doesn’t care about any of that. Long after we destroy the planet we live on, it will continue to exist. The wind will blow, the waves will roll, and the night sky will still be there providing a spectacular show for whoever can take the time to watch it. On and on, constantly moving. The boat keeps sailing and the watch schedule rotates. Yet another way sailing is like running long distance. I keep moving and the miles tick by. They’re not all easy miles, like a rough day at sea, but they pass and eventually I arrive at my destination, whether its 3000nm across an ocean, or 30 miles ahead of where I started.

Cardio training offshore is another story. This trip was as comfortable as one could be but it was still at an angle or better yet, rolling from one side to the other, making even basic squats and jumps difficult to do without falling over.  The last month before a marathon is pretty important for training and heading offshore for a three week crossing is not in any of the training guides. Though my muscles are constantly adjusting to the angle and roll of the ship, it’s not quite like running for hours on end. Most days I would run up and back on the windward deck for as long as my ADD would allow. When the wind did die down and we had to resort to using the engine I ran around and around the deck for an hour or two at a time. With a rough calculation I determined I run about half as fast as normal when turning 180 degrees every 85 feet. People train for and set records for 1/2 and full marathons on treadmills, this was my version of gym training. Running around and around, ducking under sheets and runners and balancing when the boat pitched or rolled is the ultimate full body training. Using all my muscles for balance and resorting to catching myself on a life line when I couldn’t must be good for the core and upper body as well as the legs. The running paired with 30 minutes of team circuits at the back of the boat will hopefully leave me with some muscle strength when I step off the boat in two days.  We did the best we could on this trip and I know full well I’ll be paying for it come the 18th, but it was worth it.

Like marathon running there is a point in every delivery that makes me think, “how long is this trip?! How much farther?” and like mile 7 that point is usually around day 7. I get offshore, usually to some slightly unpleasant conditions, hammer through it for 2 or 3 days and enjoy the reliability and comfort of the trades for a couple days after. Finally, after adjusting to the watch and sleep schedule and finishing the book I brought along, I start to get antsy. This feeling lasts for a few days, through a tv series or two and a few more books. Then, all of the sudden, the trip is over. The excitement of the next port, whether it’s a new one or one that is well known, starts to seep in. My head starts to fill with friends that I’ll see when I get there. My legs start to ache for my favorite runs. In Mallorca I can’t wait to put in some long distances out in the country, through the rolling hills and old farms. My stomach starts to rumble for whatever local cuisine is best. In Spain it is the datilles con bacon tapas, the bocadillos jamon for breakfast, and the red wine! I look forward to and dread at the same time, signing back on. Checking email and Facebook, finding the next job, making travel arrangements and packing. A good crossing, like a good run, has a little bit of everything in it and leaves me wanting more. I’m excited to tie up the boat and run around and I’m excited to jump back on board and head off again. Just keep moving, I guess. 18 days at sea with nothing to do but sail the boat and nothing to see but the sea and the sky, gone by in flash.  Let’s hope the marathon feels the same way!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I managed to hit the 22 mile mark today but it was not pretty. Even with being out the door at 6:30 this morning it was already hot. There hasn't been a whole lot of wind for a week now and everything was pretty stagnant as I ran out of the marina. Since I haven't put in any big miles recently I decided to run this one mostly to prove to myself that I could do it. I took it slow and stayed on the flat roads. To run 20 miles in Tortola you have to do some hunting for flat roads. Even with the flat course I was looking a lot in sweat. From Nanny Cay I ran toward Road Town, through the waterfront and to the roundabout heading out of town. There is a 5 mile turn around there and a gas station where I fueled up with a water and an apple juice. I can't drink Gatorade or sports drinks primarily because I don't like them but I also because when I drank them in high school for soccer games I would cramp up afterwards. I choose to drink juice, usually apple, because its full of sugar that's easy to burn. I ran the 5 miles back to Nanny Cay and decided it was really hot and dealing with finding water on the way was a pain that I didn't want to deal with. I headed to the little gym at the hotel and set up to run the next 10 on the treadmill. Being Tortola the treadmill was pretty old, squeaking and the belt kept slipping. This is not how I wanted to spend the next 10 miles. I debated about waiting for the afternoon to finish the remaining 10. As a squall rolled through and rain came down I made up my mind to head back out on the road. I had saved the better half of the run for the second part anyways and took a left out of the driveway this time. Soper's Hole Marina is 6 miles down the coast road and is a good refuel and turnaround spot. I ran down with a water bottle strapped to my wrist with a hair band. I bought another juice and refilled my water bottle for the 6 back. I finished and felt ok but I am curious about what I should be fueling with during or before.
The water bottle on my wrist thing is working pretty well but it can't be too big or it gets really heavy to have on my arm. I am not doing any kind of food fuel and I think I need to figure something out.
What do you use to fuel before or during a long run? Do you stop and drink and move on or keep running? What do you do for food? Candy? Gu's? 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a little appreciation

sting ray in Cuba

Parrot fish have blue lips!

Cayo Largo, Cuba

BVI Sunset

I’ve been thinking a lot about appreciating what I have. In a Superyacht event sailors get flown into whatever island the event is at, put up in a villa, fed and entertained all while getting paid to sail the boats. Some of the sailors on another boat were overheard complaining that the guests on the boat get the nicer sunscreen and the race crew only get the cheap stuff. My eyes rolled pretty hard at this and made me think hard about the silly things I’ve been complaining about. Since the grass is always greener, or the water is always bluer, I often complain about traveling so much. This winter I thought long and hard about moving to New England full time and giving up life on the water. I thought ‘I’ve done this and I’m ready to give it up.’ The truth is that I really enjoy all the bits and pieces my life ends up involving. I get to live in places when the good stuff is happening, the Caribbean in the winter during race season and Newport and New England in the summer. And I get to do some pretty random and interesting things. Spending 20 hours in Istanbul or sailing to Cuba for the second time. This week I stayed in a villa in St. Barth’s for the third time!
A friend of mine, who is a pretty inspiring runner, busted his ankle recently and it made me think a lot about appreciating what I have as a runner. I don’t have a marathoner’s physique to help with striding out over 26 miles but I have strong legs that can go forever if I work up to it. Thanks to the volcanic islands I live and work on, I’m becoming a much stronger hill runner. I’m trying to focus on the positive point in my life and in running because my motivation has been lacking in the past month. I just looked back
at my Facebook posts and realized it has been more than 20 days since I ran 18.5. That doesn’t seem right to me but I’m pretty sure Facebook doesn’t lie. That also means there are less than 40 days and four 20+mile runs until I run 30 miles. My mileage drop is my own fault, because the thing about running is everything is your own fault, the good and the bad. I can blame it on work, small islands with impossible hills and travel schedules, but let’s face it, my motivation has lacked this month. Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to, the miles I’ve run and the places I’ve sailed.

A couple of weeks ago I delivered a boat to Cuba from Virgin Gorda. It was a 5 day trip of motorsailing dead down wind for 1000 nm. We had a pretty good sail for the 12 hours that we were between the Dominican Republic and Cuba, where the wind funnels through the two islands. We arrived in Cuba at an island cay off the south shore called Cayo Largo. Sailing to Cay Largo you can guess which song was stuck in my head for days! Cuba is a fascinating and beautiful place. You can see my photos from my trips there last year here. I didn’t get any time to explore this year since traveling back to Cuba is neither fascinating nor beautiful, just a planes, trains and automobile puzzle that takes some time. Though planes fly from Havana to Cayo Largo multiple times a day there are no planes that fly from Cayo Largo to Havana. A travel agent had booked myself and the other crew flights from Havana for the next morning and we had to get to the main land, 30 miles away, across the island that is 50 miles wide and to the big city by 5 am the next morning. We managed to find a flight to Varadero and convinced a taxi driver when we landed that he wanted to drive us the 2 1/2 hours to Havana. After a quick sleep in a nameless hotel we hailed a noisy 1950’s cab to the airport at 5 the next morning. From Cuba we flew to Panama City (sometimes you have to go left to go right, right?) back to San Juan and finally to Tortola. All in all I was pretty impressed that the agent was able to piece a trip together that only took 1 day. I even made it back to Tortola for Friday night pizza at the Watering Hole with Meredith and Ashley! 
I had a weekend on Tortola before heading back up to the North Sound for the YCCS Superyacht Regatta. On Sunday morning I managed to find the public track in Road Town. I know that Road Town is not very big and finding a quarter mile track and sports complex should not be very hard but the track is completely enclosed and it took a few laps of the area to find where it actually was. Next step was finding a way in. It’s pretty typical in the Caribbean to build a shiny new facility and then lock it up so that no one can use it. I finally found a torn down fence and an unlocked gate and let myself in. It was hot and sunny but with a bit of breeze that made the middle 200m of the 400m repeats I was doing more enjoyable. I decided to do two of the speed workouts that I’ve missed and started with two sets of 6X400 with a 90 sec rest interval. I took a solid break and continued with and decreasing intervals of 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 with 200m rest intervals between. It was really nice to have a proper track to run on. Repeats on a track make it easier to track how I’m doing, when I’m slowing down, ect. I ran 7X800 this morning and am really starting to enjoy speed work.
During the YCCS event I ran the hills in Virgin Gorda and the Oil Nut Bay run a few times. We sailed to St. Barth’s for the Bucket Regatta and I found a cool trail to run on, though it wasn’t very long. The run home from the harbor every day included, you guessed it, more hills. I’m looking forward to getting back to Tortola and putting in a 20 miler on flatter ground as well as a speed work out on the track.
I think I have decided on which race to do for my 30 miler day. The Sugarloaf marathon is on May 18, the day after my birthday. It looks like a beautiful course and is said to be slightly downhill the whole way. I figure if I’m going to throw in a couple extra miles, a downhill race wouldn’t be so bad.
Here’s to a more motivated April, which is, scarily, the month before May!

Friday, February 28, 2014


I’ve been pretty slack on blogging recently. I’ve been running, don’t worry, I just wasn’t finding interesting things to write about afterwards. A couple of weeks ago I ran a 15.5 miler before I left Antigua. It was a nice loop run that I started early in the morning. At mile 9 I ran past a gas station and took a pretty solid break to refuel with my Gu and buy some water. The whole thing was pretty slow and uninspired. The training program I am following has me running 3 times a week and cross training on the other days. I decided that this is probably a great program for decreasing a 5k or 10k time but doesn’t really feel like I am putting enough miles on my legs to then go out and run 20+. I decided that I wanted to continue to follow the speed drills but add a few more distance runs in every week.  I left Antigua a few weeks ago for a couple of different jobs and haven’t been finding the time to write amongst it all. So here is a quick recap;
I sailed from Antigua to St. Thomas on a 130’ Wally. She is an amazing boat to sail and we hit 17 knots as we reached off between St. John and St. Thomas. Unfortunately, she was built as a Mediterranean day sailing/racing boat and doesn’t fare too well when she sails offshore. We were taking her to St. Thomas to get loaded onto a ship that will bring her back to the Med. We were in St. Thomas a week early in order to get extra weight off the boat and into a container. The crane that lifts the boat out of the water and on to the ship has a load capacity that is roughly the weight of the boat we were shipping. In order to avoid lots of limit alarms and annoying beeping we took off everything that wasn’t completely necessary to ship. We arrived on Thursday night and took the weekend off. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a weekend off because I haven’t spent a lot of time in St. Thomas. In truth I avoid it because 1. It’s a shit hole and 2. There are so many other fantastic places to be around these parts. As luck would have it a friend of a friend was getting married and needed a +1 to go to the wedding with that weekend! Some very good friends of mine were on the guest list and many of the bride’s party went to UNH! I ran the morning of the wedding, did some work on the boat and got picked up by the groom and friends on the way to the ceremony. We stopped to fill the truck with ice, since it was a Caribbean wedding and you can never have too much, and headed to the venue. We had a great time dancing and not surprisingly, we all ended up in the pool with our party clothes on!
We got back to work on Monday. We had a pretty regular schedule, 8-5, and in preparation for 8 Tuff I ran a hill behind the marina every morning and again after work. The week went by pretty quickly and I bored the ferry for St. John Friday night after work. I wrote about the race already, so you can check it out in my other post.
After the race on Saturday I headed to Tortola to do a handover with the next boat I was joining. The crew is on holiday and I am looking after the boat and ticking off a small jobs list. While in Tortola I caught the gold medal hockey game with some pretty happy Canadians!
I took the early ferry back to St. Thomas on Monday in order to get the ship loaded later that night. Putting a 130’ super yacht on a 500’ super tanker is a pretty daunting and fascinating thing to do. We waited for the wind to die down with the sunset and began loading around 6pm. Everything went smoothly and sometime around 11 we headed back to the hotel and crashed into our beds.
On Tuesday I had told a friend I would help him sail his fast catamaran from the North Sound, Virgin Gorda, back to Tortola. I woke up early Tuesday, hopped back on the ferry to Tortola, drove out to Trellis bay and caught the North Sound Ferry. By noon we were hauling the main sail up on Soma and heading out of the channel. We had an awesome sail downwind that afternoon. It’s a funny coincidence that we don’t always sail in my line of work and it’s a real pleasure when we do!
On Wednesday I gave a friend a quick island tour of Tortola and sent him off on the ferry to enjoy the North Sound on his week off. With all this boat hopping and tour guiding, running got a little lost in the shuffle.

So, I ran 15 on the 10th, hills every day last week and 8 Tuff last Saturday. Yesterday morning I got back in the saddle with 7.5 flat, fast miles. I ran an 8:12 pace and felt pretty good. This morning I went back to the training program with 6X1000m repeats working on speed. I averaged 4:40 per k but need to do the math to see what that is in miles. I am looking at running my first 20 miler (a week late) tomorrow. Yikes!
Sorry for the lengthy and long overdue post, here are some photos to make up for it.

Sailing up on Angels' Share

Wedding view

Do you think we have enough?

Go Canada!

Island Tour

Island Tour

Island Tour

Sunday, February 23, 2014

8 Tuff

I ran the 8 Tuff Miles race in St. John for the third time. The race goes from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay from sea level to sea level and up 1000 feet. Last year when I ran this race I had been living in San Francisco and was running a lot of hill miles. This year, since I have been focusing on distance, I haven’t been putting as many miles in on hills. I had a pretty good race last year and tried to tell myself not to be disappointed if this year I wasn’t as fast. I’m currently bouncing between the USVI, BVI and Antigua for work and am in full nomad mode. Though I have been looking forward to the race for a couple weeks I managed to wake up in the morning totally unprepared for it. I don’t usually race with headphones but I had planned on making a play list and running with music. I didn’t get a chance to go to the store beforehand to buy my race morning breakfast of a banana with peanut butter and cinnamon-rasin bagel. The night beforeI broke my pre-race rule and had a few drinks with my friend Keith, got home late and forgot to plug in my watch to charge it up. After a few anxious dreams about missing the race and having no watch, I woke up at 6:15 feeling kind of blah. Keith drove me to the start and the race got underway pretty much on time, or at least on time, island time. The first 1/2 mile brings you out of the park, into Cruz Bay town and around the round about with a steel drum band playing. The steel drum always makes me smile and I had a big one on my face as I headed up the first hill. I say first but I really mean THE. This hill keeps going up for the 1/4 of the race. I would say there are 3 distinct hill, the third being the hardest because it comes after the “highest point, 999 feet” sign.
Thankfully, it rained for pretty much the entire race. Though it is the end of rainy season, this year in the Caribbean has been particularly wet. The rain on the day of the race wasn’t just misting passing showers, either. It Rained. And it felt so good! I think it helped a few people push a bit more and go faster. The first woman to finish set a new course record for women’s time. The hills are hard and seem to just keep going but the best part is the 2 mile down hill finish. Once you hit the last hill at mile 6 you are home free, just don’t fall!  With all the rain the roads had little rivers crossing them and the finishing shoot was quickly turning into a mud bath. Though I was going as fast as I could I had to hold back a little to ensure I didn’t eat any pavement in the last mile. I finished with a time of 1:09:44 and ranked 14th female and ~95th overall. It really is a fun race with some great views and moments of self evaluation.
Because the roads on St. John are pretty narrow and the turns are pretty extreme the race committee gets the island to agree to close the road on the morning of the race. This is fantastic for running but not so good for getting back to Cruz Bay after you finish. Every year a few of the early finishers jog back over to the other side and I toyed with the idea this year but alas the lure of a free tshirt and local beer got the best of me. I joined some friends at the finish and headed over to the post race bar for a beer. Once the road is allowed to open again it is a free for all with taxis and hitching to get back over the hill. We took our sweet time finishing our beer and Johnny cake and managed to hitch a ride in the back of a pickup truck all the way back to town. I’m pretty sure the ride back is always the best part of the race.
I really enjoy the race and the island vibe it brings out. Almost 2000 people come out to run and everyone else helps at a water stand or just stands on the side of the road to cheer. Running in the rain is fun but cheering in the rain is not and I thank everyone who stood under umbrellas, palm trees or trash bags to watch the race.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superyacht racing

This weekend was the Super Yacht Challenge regatta in Antigua. After 13 miles on Wednesday my legs were pretty sore. Thursday I went out to practice on Marie, the 180' ketch that I was sailing on for the weekend. Marie races with more than 30 people on board and everyone has a job to do. My job was to tend the starboard running back stay through the tacks and handle the mizzen staysail halyard for the downwind legs. Though its the shorter mast, the mizzen mast on Marie is the tallest mast I have worked with. The mizzen staysail gets hoisted on every downwind leg, dropped before a jibe, and hoisted again after the jibe is complete. It is a furled sail that is relatively simple to deploy so it is used a lot. The mizzen team was pretty busy in all the races. We raced one long race on Friday, 2 short races on Saturday and a single race on Sunday. We sailed the boat well, improving everyday and making gains all over the course. It's pretty hard to describe super yacht racing so I'm just going to put up some photos I took over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

13 miles

I ran 13 miles today for my long distance run of the week. I am racing in the Antigua Superyacht Challenge this weekend and I'm not sure I'll have time to run 13. The run was out and back around Willoughby Bay. I did my bike workout yesterday and my legs were hurting more than I thought they would. I started well but started having doubts around mile 4. I toyed with turning around at 5 miles and wrapping it up at 10 miles instead. I stopped and stretched at 5 and talked myself into another 1/2 mile before turning around. The sun was setting as well and I wanted to run the final miles around English Harbor. I ran well after the turnaround and felt pretty good through mile 10. I turned past the road to home and continued into the village for mile 11. My legs were screaming at me and I turned around before the clock hit 12. When I reached my house, my watch read 12.5 I gave myself the ol' are you really going to quit with 1/2 a mile left?! lecture and continued past my gate. I finished the 13. My legs are killing me but I feel good that I ran the whole way even with multiple points of doubts. My pace was 9:03 and I finished the run in just under 2 hours.

While I was running I started thinking about the fact that I now have this goal to run 30 miles and many of my daily decisions revolve around my training. The decisions that I make about waking up early, eating breakfast or not, having a beer after work, all of these now have to do with when and what I'm running or training that day. It's kind of nice to have something to base my week around. The training asks for only 3 days of running and I'm finding it strange to think about doing other forms of exercise.
 I have always run as my primary exercise because it is easy to do when I am traveling. I only need my shoes. I don't need a gym or pool or a bike. I can do it pretty much anywhere. With the training schedule asking for 2-3 days of cross training I have to find time and the means to bike, row or swim. Swimming is taken care of, seeing as though I live on an island in the middle of the Caribbean, I just have to remember to pack my swim suit and goggles and go before or after work. Biking is possible at the gym here at the Yacht Club on an old stationary bike they have in the basement. Adjusting my thinking to include these other works outs is harder than I thought. As I settle into the routine it will get easier, it just feels funny right now on the days that I'm not supposed to run. My first instinct, the one that hates being told what to do, is to fight the training program. Don't tell me when I can and can't run! If I feel like running I'll go running! My second instinct is to go back to bed when I wake up early to run and realize it's a cross training day. I'm very good at convincing myself that I won't have time to do the workout, get home and shower and still get to work on time. This week I swam after work on Monday and biked in the gym on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to finding my rhythm with running and cross training. Next week I will definitely separate the bike from the long run so my legs are more fresh.
Right now I need to stretch some more, 13 miles is soo much more than 10!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mostly Flat

The training program that I am following is the Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster program. The emphasis of the program is 3 hard runs and 2 sessions of cross training in a given week for 16 weeks leading up to your race. In the book they have training programs for the 5k, 10k, 1/2 and full marathon, as well as tips on cross training, fueling, stretching, etcetera.
The three key runs each week are; a long distance run, building miles each week, like any marathon training, a repeat run ideally on a track of repeats at race pace, and a tempo run of a few miles slightly slower than race pace.
Today was the first day I did a run from the training schedule. I set out this morning with my Nike+ watch to map out someplace where repeats were possible. There isn't a track close by and finding flat road can be difficult around here. I headed over the hill to the beach to measure out the parking lot there. The road along the beach is a lot shorter than I thought and is only about 200m long, not so good for mile repeats, I'd be turning around so much I would probably fall over!
Today's work out was 3X1600 with 400m rest intervals. As I write this I realize I had it in my head that the work out was 4X1600 with 200m RI and that's what I ran. whoops.
Since there wasn't enough distance along the beach I ran to the harbor started my timer outside of the Yacht Club. The road is flat as you head out of the village all the way to Cobbs Cross and I ran my first 1600m in 8:11. I was aiming for 8:20 and trying to get all 4 repeats to finish within a couple seconds of each other. My second mile was from the Cobb's Cross Corner down the road to St. James. Now when I say the road from town and to St. James is flat I mean Mostly Flat. Like how Wesley was mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. Go through his clothes and look for loose change!" There's a big difference between flat and mostly flat. The road to St. James is mostly flat which is slightly uphill. I ran my second and third repeats on the same stretch of road. I ran the second 1600 in 8:30 and my third in 7:30. That is the difference. Slightly uphill means slightly downhill on the way back. My final 1600 took me back past my house in 7:40.
I cooled down with a walk to Genny's store to buy some juice to rehydrate. I drink watered down juice instead of sports drinks and find they are full of sugar and vitamin C. When I'm running any kind of distance and it's hot I crave lemonade like crazy. Maybe it's all those laps from Portsmouth to the Wentworth and back ending at the juice stand. All I know is after a hot run there is nothing better than wicked cold lemonade! There is no lemonade here but they do make yummy local juices with mango and passion fruit and guava. I grabbed a couple of those and headed home to write this blog.
All in all I had a great run, misread the training plan, did an extra mile and didn't run them in the same time at all. I guess it's only day 1 but I feel good about the whole thing and I have a nice cold glass of Caribbean Medley juice and water next to me. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sources of Inspiration

I needed a good run today. Work has been pretty hectic and between a few different boats and islands for the past month. Last night I finally arrived back in Antigua where my duffel bag lives and it felt nice to be 'home'.

I ran a few times over the past week. I was on charter but I managed to squeeze in a run in Jost Van Dyke one morning. I ran over the hill to Great Harbor and later that afternoon I ran on Norman Island on what little road is left from an intentional development that fizzled out with the market crash. I left the BVI on a boat headed to St. Lucia. The wind direction is pretty far south at the moment and we were almost heading up wind the whole way. The trip took ~36 hours and we arrived into Rodney Bay early Monday morning. Tuesday morning I woke up early, still on delivery schedule I guess, and headed down the dock for a run. St. Lucia was where we finished the ARC and where my first run back was so awful. 12 days at sea is no good for the legs, remember. It felt good to be running the same road with strong legs. I ran out and back for 6 miles at an 8:57 pace. The next morning I woke up and ran the same course but with a slower pace of 9:30. I had been excited to go running when I went to bed and woke up well rested and ready to go. I headed down the road with my eye on my pace and just couldn't shake the slower pace. I couldn't figure out why I was so slow. I wasn't tired or sore. I was well hydrated and had eaten dinner the night before. My back was hurting again which may have been a factor. I decided to accept the slow pace and to tack on an extra mile to the run. If you can't build speed, build distance, I guess. The road I was on was really lovely and wound through some of the nicer neighborhoods in Rodney Bay. At the end I ran around the parking lot a couple of times to get a final distance of 7.5 miles. All in all the run was fun, just a little bit frustrating. That afternoon after work I flew to Antigua.

Back in Antigua I had a day off to sort through life-y things. I moved some money between accounts, checked in with some friends on Facebook and through email, and even joined Linkedin. I have been stewing over a job offer for a couple of weeks now and had to make a decision by the end of the day. For some reason I just couldn't decided what to do. I went back and forth and back and forth again. Take it, don't take it, take it....Don't take it. I decided to decided after my run. It was almost 4 when I finally got out the door thanks to my little sister's motivational speech. "You might find a sign on your run to tell you what to do." Good call, Jules. and just in case I didn't find a sign, I downloaded a new Rock My Run mix with super pop-y, up beat, happy songs (Thanks for the membership, Jules!). So with the fast beat tunes and Jules' encouragement, I headed up to Shirley Heights and I was headed there fast! I put on my Merrill's for the first time in awhile and felt light and free. Even though I was heading up hill my watch had me doing just over 8 minute miles! I was breath hard and sweating a lot! As I neared the top I felt myself slowing down. "Oh no, keep going, come on legs!" and just when I couldn't  seem to get back up to pace a yacht captain ran past me. "Come on, we're almost at the top." He said as he went by. and I thought "Yea! We are! And I have way more in my legs than I thought!" So I raced him to the top, swung around the taxi turnaround and flew back down the hill. I stopped off at my apartment, grabbed my backpack and headed to the beach for a sunset swim and cool down.
A great run and a great way to end a pensive day. I read in a book once to "ask nothing of your running and you will get plenty in return." I needed a good run after my slow pace in St. Lucia and my decision making day and I had a great one. I'm excited and ready to enter week 1 of my marathon training. This weekend marks 16 weeks until my birthday and my 30 mile run. YIKES! Good thing I have so many great sources of encouragement and inspiration; my sister, my iPod, fast super yacht captain guy and inspirational running book.
Here's my little inspirational thought; if you're hemming and hawing about going for a run, get out there and do it. I have never regretted going for a run but I have regretted my decision Not to go for run.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....

I'm back out on charter and haven't had the chance to run very much. I have been swimming everyday around the boat and for some reason swimming doesn't entice me to blog quite as much as running does. I'm pretty sure I'm a slow swimmer but have never done a race or tri to compare to other people. I swam 0.67m today along the coast of Cooper Island in 30 minutes. That makes my average mile swim pace around 45 minutes. I don't even know how people calculate their swim pace. I imagine it is not in minutes per mile or every would be so discouraged they would jump out of the water! I also have trouble relaxing and zoning out while swimming, which is probably the reason I don't think of stunning blog subjects along the way. I don't relax because when I do I forget all the little things that make you a strong swimmer. If I start looking at the sea grass under me I forget to kick my feet. When I realize I am not kicking I focus on that and forget to keep my fingers together and my arms long. Basically I have to think about every stroke while I swim. I haven't been swimming for as long as I have been running so I chalk it up to not having enough practice. Don't they say you need 10,000 hours of doing something to be really successful at it? I don't think I've done anything for 10,000 hours, perhaps that is why I am not incredibly successful at anything particular.
Swimming is fun though, especially in the Caribbean. It's warm and windy and there is often a lot to look at under the water. Two nights ago I swam a couple laps around the boat before sunset and I saw two sting rays and a barracuda. Yesterday and today I swam mid morning at Cooper Island and saw all sorts of pretty shells in the sea grass and some fire coral and fish by the rocks at the turn around. I do actually enjoy swimming I just have trouble doing it for more than 30 minutes. I also don't know any good swim workouts so I just swim at a consistent speed around and around the boat. Swimming through mooring fields is pretty dangerous because of all the dinghy traffic and I get too nervous to have a good workout.
Though I am enjoying swimming it is always nice to have the opportunity to run while on charter. I ran on our first morning out up the hill at Peter Island but we have been staying on the outer islands, many of which don't have roads or trails. This evening we are moored in Soper's Hole and I managed to get off the boat while everyone was showering and having sundowners for a run along the coast road. It was a beautiful run, right before sunset. My legs felt fresh and it felt good to push it pretty hard. I forgot my running watch on my friend's boat last week before charter and I have been running with just my Casio. I ran out for 20 minutes and back trying to keep my pace up. It felt pretty good to map it on MapMyRun and see that I was running at an 8 minute pace. Even my pace up the hill on Peter Island on Sunday wasn't too bad. It's a pretty steep hill and I averaged around 10:30/mile. My legs and lungs are feeling strong and even my back has stopped hurting! I feel like I'm coming back into my stride after so much time away from running consistently. My 16 week training starts the last week of January with a 13 mile LSD. I am heading back to Antigua after this charter and am looking forward to running there. Though I love spending time in the BVI, training in Antigua is a little easier and there are more routes to run.
Here are the maps of my swim and run today.


And here are a few photos I have taken recently of the BVI.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Can an uninspired run lead to inspiration?

I know it's Friday and all and my post should be an ultra inspiring, uplifting post to roll into the weekend but I'm really just not feeling it. Maybe it is because I work on opposite schedules to most normal people and instead of a slow Saturday morning I actually start a week of work tomorrow. My friend, Jillian, always writes a Feel Good Friday post on her blog. In honor of that I tried to curb my really terrible horrible no good run into something positive this morning.

I woke up feeling achy, tired and uninspired. I debated with myself about going running at all, but seeing as I won't have a whole lot of opportunities this coming week, I pushed myself out of my bunk and pulled on my running shorts. I touched my toes and headed down the driveway of the marina. Legs felt heavy, back felt tight, just all around "ugh" feeling. I said to myself "just get in a few miles, I'll do some push ups and sit ups when I get back. Maybe go for a swim later. Stretch it out." I slogged along for my one mile warm up and stopped and stretched. Looking around for inspiration to get through the next couple miles, I gazed out over the channel. The sun was just above Dead Chest and Peter Island and the sky was a cool yellow gray color. The breeze has dropped a little but is still cranking down between the islands, keeping everything nice and cool in the mornings. As I looked back toward the road it hit me. Telephone poles! Nothing beats a good old Fartlek drill when you can't get moving. I would do a mile of poles and turn around to finish with 4 miles total. My intervals were short in 3 speeds. The mile went by quickly and loosened me up quite a bit. While running yesterday I took notice, as I always do, of the trash lining the side of the road. I have been running on the Coast Road in Tortola for the past couple days and, more than other places that I run, it bugs me to see trash right next to the ocean, about to go in to be gobbled up by an unsuspecting turtle and dolphin. I decided to search out a plastic bag, there is always at least one, and fill it as I turned around and jogged back to the boat. There is a one mile stretch between two dumpsters so I would have a place to dump it on my way through. I filled the first ice bag with bottles, cups, straws and other random pieces of daily life. Just when I was running out of room another plastic bag appeared and I continued to fill that one too. I found an empty gallon water jug and some plastic sheeting. I filled both bags, dumped them in the dumpster and headed back to the boat feeling like my little good deed did very little in the grand scheme of things. Those two little bags of trash barely nicked the surface of the amount of junk along the road, hidden in the mangroves and gutters. I have a secret little hope that, though I looked like a crazy bag lady collecting trash and running down the road, someone on their morning commute saw me and think twice about their plastic cup while they are sitting at the beach drinking a pina colada this weekend.

So this isn't the feel good Friday post I was hoping for. I know a few of you are running post baby and struggling through achy yucky runs. The important thing is that we're struggling through with little baby steps that feel insignificant. Because I love parallels I guess I could say the situation with our environment is the same. I have to make myself believe that little baby steps like picking up trash will eventually make some sort of difference. That's my Friday message, it's not a feel good one but a do something to make some good happen. Order your drink without a straw, pick up that trash that you see or bring your coffee cup with you instead of using a take away. Running, the environment, it is all about little steps, take a few this weekend.

These were taken in the harbor in Rovinj, Croatia and of the local dump in Vis. The way they dispose of trash is very similar here in the islands. Pile it up and when it's really big, burn it. No surprise that some of it ends up in the sea.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

goal setting and pace time

I have been reading Run Less, Run Faster as a training guide for this whole crazy endeavor. For Christmas my sister purchased the digital version as a Kindle book that I can read on my computer and iTouch. I don't really have a mailing address so receiving gifts and mail doesn't happen very often in my world. Thank goodness for our digital solutions to everything! I am using the guide as a 16 week marathon training plan ending on May 17. My 16 weeks start the last week of December and I have been using my time now to gear up for that. They have you jump right into the training and at the end of my first week the distance run is a 13 miler. The training platform is based on running 3 hard, quality runs per week with 3 days of cardio cross training using different muscles to your running muscles. I think the cross training and more focused runs will be a better fit for all of my island hopping and sailing. 
One of the prominent  themes in the book is the goal setting. They break down the 5K, 10K, 1/2 and full marathon into tables of 10 second increments. The coaches keep insisting that in order to set an appropriate goal you can't focus on a nice round number for your mile time. I had never really thought about it that way before. I was definitely mentally aiming for "around 8 minute miles." Since I have been traveling a lot I have not been racing all that much and don't really have an idea of my 5k race time. The last race I ran was a cross country 1/2 in the Marin Headlands out in California. It was a very hilly course with beautiful views. Though I was well prepared for the race and had run each part of the course in the weeks leading up to it, I managed to come down with a nasty head cold and wheezed my way up and down the mountain. Before that I ran a fast 4 mile cross country race and paced about 7:20.  
This morning with my Nike + strapped to my wrist I decided to try to focus on my mile pace. In the book, if you don't have a recent 5K race time, they say to use a track and do a specific work out. I'm sure there is a track around here, I just don't know where it is, and if you're allowed to run on it while school is in session. The training guide says to run 3X1600 with 1 minute rests and average the 3 miles into a 5K pace. My workout this morning was roughly the same. My intention was to run out for 3 miles and back for 3 miles with the first and last mile as warm up and cool down miles. I warmed up with a slow mile, stopped, stretched and ran 2 miles at what felt like a hard, maintainable pace. At 3 miles I stopped my watch and my self, stretched again and got ready to run back. I stopped and restarted my watch in order to get the 9'30 warm up mile out of the average pace calculation. The Nike website that my watch uploads to shows your mile splits so this was probably unnecessary but it made it easier for my own mental math. These were my mile times for all 6 miles. 
Using 8'20" (I find it very hard not to round up to a nice neat number) the tables in the book suggest a 5K pace of 25'54, 1/2 marathon 1:49'15 and a full marathon time of 3:38'29. 
I know I can run a half faster than 1:49 but I think this is a good base pace for now. I will rerun this workout in 2 weeks and see what my pace time is again before I start the really structured training. 
Here are a few photos from California and my last 1/2 marathon;

Muir Beach at sunset

Heading up hill #1 (that's me in the 2nd white shirt!)

Start of the Marin Headlands 1/2

Top of hill #1

Sunset run

California coast

View of the Golden Gate on a trail run 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chiropractor visit

I went to see a chiropractor. This is probably not a big event in most people's lives but I have been putting it off for awhile now. I believe that the spine is an important part of the body to keep healthy but I feel like chiropractors get paid by telling you to come back again and again. Surely, if it is not a chronic injury, a visit or two should be able to fix most problems. I am also not a massage person and though I love to talk about myself, I don't like doing it to strangers and medical professionals. I suppose with my job, lifestyle and all the running I have been lucky not to have any back problems so far. I decided, finally, to go see someone because of an issue that has been bugging me since September. On my second east bound crossing this summer I tweaked something between my shoulder blades and was experiencing a lot of pain lifting my head up off my pillow. Once it was up it was painful to look to the right, but nothing good happens on that side anyways, right? Being in the middle of the Atlantic, on some smaller Atlantic islands, and main land Spain (where I don't speak the language) allowed me to avoid going to see anyone for the next couple of months. Though I passed back through the States a couple times this fall I didn't manage to see a chiropractor there. I usually didn't have time and, to be honest, I am scared of doing anything medically related in the US without health insurance. I haven't been following the progress of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare and haven't signed up for personal health insurance that covers me inside the US leaving me with a very good travel insurance plan that covers emergency care. I'm sure it says something significant about the health care polices in the United States that I would rather wait and see someone in a 2nd world Caribbean island.

Knowing I would have a little time here in Tortola I asked a friend who she recommended here and was able to go in and see Dr. Nicole yesterday during work. She sat me down and talked to me about my health and daily life and what she was aiming to do during the adjustment of my spine. We also talked about running,  knee pain and Osgood Schallters. She adjusted my spine starting with my legs. My left leg was shorter than my right, showing her that my sacrum was misaligned. She proved this to me by bending my legs at my knee and observing that my right leg was able to bend more than my left. After the adjustment they both had the same amount of bend. She adjusted some more of my spine and found a lot of "heat" (inflammation) in my L3, T6 and a few of my C vertebrates. She also insisted on seeing me again this morning. All day yesterday I kept waiting for the miracle moment when I could touch my chin to my chest without feeling the muscles in my back complain. It never came and I woke up this morning with quite a bit of pain in the same area as always. I had decided to skip the appointment this morning until I talked to Ben last night. He uses a chiropractor for a chronic injury in his upper back and neck and goes many times a month. He reassured me that there would be no magic moment when I felt totally cured, especially after only one adjustment, and encouraged me to go back this morning. After getting the boat ready for charter I begrudgingly shoved some cash in my pocket and headed to the office. Dr. Nicole did another adjustment, cracked a few more bones and twisted my neck. She also requested that I don't run today. I skipped yesterday and decided not to run this morning since I had so much discomfort sleeping. I wasn't happy to hear her recommend a swim for today but I will fit one in after work and run in the morning. She wants me to go back one more time on Friday before I pick up my charter. I'm still undecided if any of this makes a difference or if it is just a frivolous expense.  I know there are lots of alternative medicine practices out there and have heard people swear by all sorts of things from acupuncture to pilates. Do any of you use a chiropractor or another type of therapy in conjunction with your training?

Here are some photos from that crossing taken in Faial, Madeira and Barcelona
Gaudi in Barcelona

Gaudi in Barcelona

Running in Madeira

Boats in Madeira

Pico over the rooftop in Horta

Red Rock in Madeira

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wicked Windy

Happy New Year to everyone! Here in the BVI the celebration that happens on December 31 is Old Year’s Night and it celebrates all the good that happened last year as well as hopes for the year to come. I like both mentalities and I was lucky enough to share NYE/OYN with Ben and some other very good friends at BEYC.  I was on charter with a large family who had 7 children that were too young to celebrate with us but a couple of the adults joined us for a glass of champagne as the steel drums played Auld Lang Syne at midnight.
After leaving the North Sound we headed for Anegada. We had a great sail there and headed off to the Atlantic facing side of the island to get some big life snorkeling in. The next morning I managed to fit in a run with one of the guests. Since it is a barrier island Anegada is totally flat, a nice change to the hills of Virgin Gorda. We dinghied ashore and headed for Cow Wreck Beach. We were aiming for a 6 mile run at a 8:30 pace and we kept each other on track. It is always nice to have someone to run with and running with someone from a completely different world from mine always makes for interesting conversation that keeps the miles ticking by. Being on charter can make it difficult to find the time to run or a road to run on, depending on the islands we stop at. I tried to swim for 30 minutes most mornings as some cardio cross training and, thankfully, one of the moms was tranining for a marathon and IronMan, so it wasn’t just me that wanted to put in some miles.

We sailed for a total of 8 days around the BVI hitting the snorkeling highlights and staying in quiet, secluded anchorages. I had the opportunity to show off some of my favorite spots that are a little bit off the regular, bar hoping route. The breeze has been up since before Christmas and continues to build. The last night on anchor we had 35+ knot gusts hitting us, which made for a sleepless night and an early morning departure to a final, quieter snorkel spot. Anchoring in Great Harbor, Peter Island allowed everyone one final swim in the clear Caribbean water and the running mom and I a quick jaunt up the hill to the Sunset Lookout. There’s only one road on Peter Island and it goes uphill past the wind turbine and to a northwest facing lookout and back down to the resort. We hit 5 miles as we returned to the beach. Charters are my job and everyone likes when a job is finished but I was sad to see these guests leave. My job and lifestyle introduces me to so many people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet, it’s a part of it that I really appreciate.
These guests were from three families from all over the US and they get together as a family a few times a year. It is very refreshing to see parents take an active role in their children and to have those children respect and enjoy the family time together. Seeing a big family sail together and play together reminded me a lot of my own family and made me miss them more than I already do. I really do feel lucky to have such an amazing family. I don’t know if distance makes the heart grow fonder, if that was true I would have the world fondest (is fondest a word?) heart, but it certainly gives me the perspective I need to recognize that every piece of me is made up of the morals and beliefs that my parents and sisters taught me and continue to teach me.

 The wind is still up right now, howling over Frenchman’s Cay and through Soper’s Hole as I write. Hurricane Hercules is in the North Atlantic and is reported to be one of the worst storms in history. My living and hobbies depend on the wind but too much of anything can be a bad thing. A big blow like this one reminds us to respect the elements and nature. The sunny Caribbean can be a scary place when boats can’t hold their anchors and mooring lines break. The Northeast is getting slammed with some more snow and freezing temperatures.  As for running, all of these things can slow your pace down or drive you back inside before completing a run. I know it’s a whole lot easier for me to battle some strong gusts when running, than for you who are jogging though snow and ice, but get out there and don’t look at your pace. My oldest sisters always said that winter running was just for maintaining. And when it gets just too damn cold, you can all come run with me!