Thursday, August 19, 2010

Moving Again and Straight Thugging

One of my favorite things in the whole world is playing baseball with my dad. But I have a particularly jarring memory of this etched in my mind.

A couple of years ago, we were out in the side yard, tossing around a baseball. As the game progressed, we moved further apart, whipping the ball through low-hanging trees. We laughed and celebrated with a liberal supply of air high-fives and affirmative head nods. My dad tossed a pop fly, and I leaped into action. Before I landed, I launched the ball off again, regained my footing, and froze. I watched in terror as the baseball spun toward my father’s shin, and I heard a sickening smack as it struck bone. “Oh, my gosh. I just maimed my father,” I whispered breathlessly.

My dad shook his leg and dropped to pick up the ball. “Ow,” he acknowledged, a smile spreading across his face. “Great speed. Now let’s work on your aim.”

I stood there in disbelief. And that was the day I realized my dad’s skeletal system is probably made of iron ore.

All that to say: I have strong bones, too. (Thank you, Dad!) I do a lot of road running, but I am happily injury-free and able to enjoy higher mileage than I otherwise could.

Maylon Madness was last Saturday! It was awesome, even though I didn’t run one step. I got to help out, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cutting up bananas, and driving the monster van. The van was a veritable swag wagon. It was the biggest vehicle I have ever driven, and it made a beeping noise when I put it in reverse. Legit. The interior was lined with decorative lighting, and gangster music played lightly over the sound system all day (because I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off). I was straight thugging.

Rick and Jennifer McNulty run the NJ Trail Series and have a growing number of race events spread across the state throughout the year. MM was a trail race in northern Jersey, just past Jefferson High School in the Mahlon Reservation. There were several options: 25K, 50K, 75K, and 100K. It was a collection of great people, all out celebrating an unseasonably cool day on the trails. Congratulations to all the runners! And shout-out to Mike Lynch, my local mentor in the sport and one of the funniest people in America.

My own training has just started to pick up again after a brief running-detox period. I feel good now and am ready to get back into it. Two days ago (my first day back), I doubled—31 miles in the morning alone and 5 faster miles in the evening with friends. The past two days I have taken advantage of Vernon’s mountains and done some hill training.

Let me just say, Vernon is beautiful. If you are looking for a romantic getaway location/place for you honeymoon, do this: Hop off the New Jersey Turnpike at exit 11. Drive north through the buffer region called Morris County until you reach Sussex. (The sign says “Sussex County: People and Nature Together.” Charming and FACTUAL.) Travel north-northwest until the ratio of cows to people increases, and then look around. You are in the Switzerland of America. Vernon Township. There are lakes and mountains. It is beautiful! The Appalachian Trail runs through, and there are more wild turkeys than people. We have no sidewalks, and the closest real store is a Wal-Mart 20 minutes away, three towns over. (Vernon is also the site of Running with the Devil—the 6- or 12-hour runs up and down the ski slopes in July.)

Yesterday, I went out on the Appalachian boards. After passing into the forest, I turned right onto the dirt road, crossed a bridge, and came out on Maple Grange (next to the old horse race track). I turned right again at the emu farm and heard some kids chatting in Discovery Years Pre-School. “Idiot!” a little boy screamed. “You’re a big idiot!” Oh, man. If that kid were a Moran, he would have gotten his mouth cleaned out with soap. When I was a child, those types of verbal attacks were illicit. They were considered the gateway drugs of debasive vocabulary, and I guess we didn’t want them to become a casual part of our household lexicon. I am thankful for that. But now that I’m old, I can say whatever I want. What up, Mom?! I can call anybody an idiot these days. I just don’t want to. It seems so mean…

Tomorrow, I am moving up to Yale to get started on my Masters. I am not especially excited about running in New Haven, but I will hopefully find trails nearby. I am also not excited about being a student again. Ugh, school. Just kidding. I FREAKING LOVE SCHOOL. Learning is my favorite thing.

See you later, beautiful Vernon! You're a real babe of a town.

Next up: North Coast 24 (September 18th). I can’t wait! I am going to find some shorter local races to prep myself for speed. And that’s it. I have to go pack for moving now…


  1. $abrina,

    Best of luck as you start a new chapter of life in CT. I know there are cool trails up there (somewhere) and that you will be tearing up the New England ultra scene in no time. We take our son to Denison next week and I know he is as excited to start college as I was 30...ahem...years ago. Enjoy the ride!

  2. WHOOOOOOO, Master's program! You gonnna rock it. And rocket. Up trails. If that fails, you can always run stairwells in the Yale library, if only to say that you did. :)

    Go, Bean. You're awesome, and your blog is my favorite.

  3. Sabrina, it was great to hang out with you for the day at Mahlon Mayhem. I wish you the best of luck at NC24. I know you can do well at the race. Good Luck up in CT too.