Archive for the ‘adventure travel’ Category

After not posting for over two months, this is a good one. If you believe in fate, luck, or the universe, this is the story of stories. After a two frustrating summers in a row with injury, canceling my key races and developing a hateful attitude about New York, my job, blah, blah, this is almost unbelievable.

A sleepless last Saturday night I was surfing Craig’s List real estate ads first for the New York Adirondacks and Northern New Mexico. I have been doing this on and off for five years with big fantasies to sell my apt, leave my job, live simply and just make art and train and race in some beautiful place. Reinvent myself so to speak. Why five years? That is the first and last time I went to New Mexico. I was an artist in resident at the Santa Fe Art Institute and after the residency my then girlfriend Lisa and I rented this amazing round stone house in Abiquiu Every house I have looked at I compare to that landscape and that house. That year was a turning point in my artwork and my athletic prowess.

The house we stayed in was built by Pat Frazier and master stone mason Felipe Leyva. Pat moved to NM from California. She was a radiologist who took a vacation in NM; fell in love with it, bought some land. She eventually took a class at the Northern New Mexico Community College on how to build adobe and moved to NM full-time. She met Felipe and they began building houses. Pat gave Felipe 2 acres of land to build his own home which Lisa and I saw the beginnings of it back in 2005.

Back to Saturday night. I am looking through Craig List and I see this amazing stone, what looked like steps cut into a channel on two walls of earth meeting in the center with a sweet little casita. There is a photo of a chapel and kitchen and I am immediately thinking about Pat and the stone house. I read the ad, and not only is Pat’s name there but so is Felipe. It is the house he built for himself completely out of stone and adobe. I almost had a heart attack! I especially almost had a heart attack because I could not believe the price.  I immediately emailed Pat and told her how Lisa and I stayed there and how I want this house more than anything in the world.  I want to live there the rest of my life, dust my ashes there when I am dead.  I want to go there, set up a printshop, invite artists to make prints and my athlete friends who can train at altitude, (6k feet) not only running for miles, but  biking and swimming. The 5200 surface acre Abiquiu reservoir is only a couple miles away and mountains including the iconic view of Georgia O-Keefe’s Pedernal surround us.  Now how is it one can be so lucky as to live in the desert and have a reservoir a couple miles away that you can swim and kayak?

Now the obstacles. I must get all the money in cash, which is definitely not in my savings account. I need to do it immediately, buying it with a leap of faith sight unseen. A deal with another interested party needs to fall through and to top it off, it must all happen in one week. So I offered a little extra money. I emailed Lisa to tell her how she will not believe it. And while it never crossed my mind, when she said, “I love would to own a home there” I offered. Why not? So we will be co-owners. I wired a deposit on Monday, Lisa wired money to me, I took money from my retirement and it looks like I will wire the remaining cash on Friday.  I will fly down in a couple weeks to see our new two bedroom hand build adobe and stone casita. I want to sleep on the roof and wake to the sunrise.

To top it off  I will probably use  the most more than Lisa, staying there during my academic breaks in December, January, June, July and August. So what about all those other times? Felipe was going to move in with his son-in-law who lives a short walk away, but why not let him keep living in the house, care take it and work exchange to build a print studio? This way he keeps living in the home he built. He will be there to maintain it pay the electric and water bill and we will use it when we can.

In 2013 I get my next sabbatical and I have no plans of returning to my job. You will find me running in the mountains, swimming the Abiquiu Lake or in the studio.

For friends and friends of friends if you are wondering, yes you can rent it.


Read Full Post »

My last post ended with my run on the Alter-G and a new stress fracture. Today, three months later, 2 days shy of 12 weeks I am running.  Most days my foot does not hurt, except when I am walking my very unruly dogs who jerk me all over.  All this time off since May 26, the first break, has given me a lot of time to think, to lay on my sofa and be depressed and  be pissed off and think of what I want to change in my life.  Now it is fall and all those races which I thought I would run were cancelled, but I smartly registered for Boston the day I canceled my NYC marathon.

I knew I could write my own training plan, but I wanted to be sure. I was ready to work with John Henwood when I read an article by Coach Roy Benson in Running Times. Something in it make me  call Roy and discuss my breaks and my approach back to racing. I was so taken by Roy that I wanted to work with him, to collaborate, his words, on my training plan. I have never felt such confidence in any coach or any training as I do now with Roy. I started the plan October 19th after clearance from my doc. It began with running a total of 110 minutes over four  days for the week. The plan incorporated my swimming and rowing workouts. I was thrilled to begin again and I just had to trust the plan and that I would come back. My first 25 minute jog  at a 9:00 pace felt like I was pushing a bolder up a mountain. I was not sweating, or heart pounding, it was just that my body did not want to move. In these last five weeks I have seen some  9:45’s  and even 10:00’s when I ran two days in a row. But my longest run was on Sunday, a full 60 minutes. The breakdown was 8:30, 8:40, 8:29, 8:31, 8:00, 7:19, 9:30, 7:53. That 8:00 – 7:19 I met a runner along the way and ran with him, though he left me at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge with a huge hill to climb and tired legs, that is where the 9:30 came in. It was rough, but I was so happy.

From now until the end of January I will be base building, no speed work, no repeats, a few steady state and a lot of general aerobic. I have it in my mind that I just want to have fun in Boston not worry about my time goals. I will leave my time goals behind, expect that I want a PR of course. Some really exciting news is that I will be doing a few long runs in Iceland. In January, I am flying to Reykavik to meet my Dutch artist friend Miek for some big hiking and a day at the Blue Lagoon.  then we are off to the Netherlands and our annual big sea walk, a 7 hour walk along the North Sea. It is Miek’s 65 birthday and I have not seen her in two years. She is a physical power house and I am really looking forward to our big walks. One year we were both guests of the Miskolc Museum of Contemporary Art in Hungary. Every morning we got up at 7:00 am, robustly walked 8k to the hot springs, bathed for 2-3 hours, then walked or jogged back to the studios to work. It was one of the most fantastic summers ever.

Read Full Post »

Finish of North Face Endurance Challenge

Finish of North Face Endurance Challenge

I just got home and I am grinning from ear to ear. Today was my first mountain trail race the 1/2 marathon at Bear Mountain, part of the North FAce Challenge Series. There is a five star ranking series on this race, elevation change 4 out of 5, technical terrain 5 out of 5, overall difficulty 5 out of 5 and scenery 5 out of 5. How hard is it to run a trail race as compared to a road race? I looked up the results from2008 the first over all male, Oliver Obagi ran it in 2:15, a 10:22 pace,  the first overall female professional ultra distance runner Nikki Kimball ran it in 2:25 an 11:07 pace. In the 40-49 year old women the first place women, Judy Stobbe ran it in 3:15.  The first place non-prof women was 2:52. This was going to be a hard race!

I do not have trail running shoes and the trail is all rock and rivers. At the last minute I decided to wear my hiking shoes. Heck I have no experience doing thing, I am not sure what to expect besides mud and rocks, and if it took Nikki Kimball 2:25, when her last road marathon was 3:08, I am going to be out there for a while. We were told that there would be 3 aid stations so we needed to carry provisions. OK I am ready.

All night I watched the thunder and lightning but by 9:00am race start it was just raining. A total  308 people, 234 men and 74 women,  lined up, I was standing with my friends Rachel, Claudia and Les. The horn went off and we ran, no walked, ran, walked. Hey, what is going on? It was a  crowded and the first mile as it went up hill people were already walking! To get around them and find some space that mile was a big chuckle taking  just under 12:00 minutes to complete. Wow if they are walking already it is going to be a long day. In no time though I found some space, I lost my teammates, one ahead two behind,  and I was just out for a trail run. I came across the first aid station and on to my first 1000 foot climb. Piece of cake, this really feels good. The pace got much quicker and I fell in with a group of dudes. From running cross country I know I can always kick their ass on the uphill, but they can kick mine on the down hill and that is how it went most of the race. But at one time it just got a out of hand. There was an 800 foot direct downhill of  rocks, suddenly the dudes were flying down the hill and falling, taking out each other like it was a bowling alley, sliding down the wet mud, hitting the rocks. It was a too much. I decided I need to run away from them which I did. I moved forward and fell into a group of older duded that I ran with most of the race. Now when I say older, most are still under 35. It seems that trail racing is a young guys sport, there were only 14 women in my age group. At New York road race there are often 300+. We had some big steep climbs, at certain points there was a string of men about 8 deep all walking. The trail was extremely narrow so I just fell in behind them and walked, took the time to eat a gel and drink my water, the pace was down to 14:00. But the time we got to the top, they were ready to rest so I motored on. One of them  emerged about one mile later and passed me.

A very happy Hilary running the trails

A very happy Hilary running the trails

I was smiling whole race. It did not matter if it was up hill, down hill, running though shin deep water, over a mile of sharp rocks. Okay the rocks did really hurt, in this particular spot there was 4 miles to go, I had a major blister under my left bunion and the rocks were killing it. But I got off the rocks, and onto a beautiful wide path and running all alone in that last three miles, I managed to clock some 7:30’s. I took it easy, I never felt stressed, never tired, never frustrated. It was beautiful the whole way. Early on I got my fall out of the wall, tripping on a rock or my feet on a downhill. I rolled up like a little pill bug, did a complete left to right should hip roll and came right back onto my feet. One women that I did see early on, immediately asked if I needed help, the dudes just kept going. I am glad I ended up beating them all, HA! It was around mile 4.5 that I fell because my shoes were already soaked and they got very loose. I stopped after that to tighten them up. This is probably one of the downsides of running in hiking shoes, but they  protected my feet, that and my crew style wool socks. With my skinny legs and short black socks I looked like a little old man but the knees down.

I am checking out my GPS, I had 5646 of ascent and 5730 decent. The course was changed from last year and made easier, I mean faster.  My friend a 5X iron man, runs every intense race and tri across the country and many in European races said this was by far the hardest course she had ever run. It did take me a long time, 2:39, but I am totally happy. Out of 308 runners I was very middle of the pack, 172. Of the women I was 30 out of 74 and of the 14  40-49 year old’s a solid 7th.Judy Stobbe who won my age group last year with a  3:15 ran a 2:29 this year and came in 5th. She may be more experienced this year, but most likely this was a  reflection of the course change. The majority of the women, 32 of them were 21-29. Of the 234 men, 95 were 30-39. There were only 2 men over 60 and no women. At 44 years of age I am an old timer in this crowd. Was it slow, sure, but I had a great time.  I was not racing, I was experiencing. I was learning how to trail run, what it is like, and let me tell you. I may never go back to the road again. This was a blast. I love being covered with mud and dirt and smelling like some god awful swamp creature. I am wearing my scraped leg and bruised write like a badge of honor. I had plenty of energy to run hard the last couple of miles, and picked off 5 guys in my last mile. It took me an hour longer than it would have taken me on the road, but it was so much more fun you can’t imagine. I honestly was not ready to leave the woods, I would have ran it again. Speaking of that, next year I am doing to 50K. That is in preparation for the Trans Rockies, a 6 days, 113 mile multi-stage race through the Colorado Rockies. I got an email just last week from a women asking me to be her partner – you bet I could easily get used to this.Hilary at Finish of 1/2 marathon

Read Full Post »

Scotland 10K, Central ParkPouring rain, 46º and over 7,000 runners. I do not know the total because the results are not posted. I raced today in New York City’s Central Park for the Scotland 10K. It was a giant mud bath in the baggage area and pretty darn cold, but overall a fun day.

A lot  happened in the past two months, which I will share with you for two reasons. One, people are asking me how I got faster, thinking it was all the speed training over the winter and two, knowing that we runners go through all kinds of crazy self doubt, self abuse, and obsessing, I will share my crazies and what I did about it.

To put things into pespective, I needed something to focus my training on. In January met my coach, Kelsey of Front Runners, who helped me lay out goal times for all my races, and dates when I need to hit them, 5k, 4 mile, 10k, 1/2marathon all looking toward my fall NYC marathon goal. Worrying that if I miss one goal on any of these races, my marathon 11 months away will be crap. I would get so worked up before a race that I could do little else, no social life, no working in my studio, just sitting at home with my dogs reading about how I can run better. When I was not running or reading, I was strength training. Hell, I could not even watch a movie without doing leg lifts during it. You get the picture; I was having a mental breakdown. I was  fighting myself and got in a rut like a stuck looping CD.

Late breaking news: 7603 runners, 3584 women, and 285 in my age group. I came in 11th place in my age group, missed 10th by 2 seconds, 70.7%AG. Out of the 3584 women I came in 144. I beat old PR by 4 minutes and 7 seconds! Average pace 7:23.

How do I feel? Pretty fuckin’ awesome.

Tim Schafter

This is what I did.  I asked for help from Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D. Professor at West Virginia University. She is a certified consultant, CC,  with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, AASP, and an advisory board member with the USA Cycling coaching education committee and is the cycling psychology editor for Peak Conditioning for Cycling. She is owner of Mountains, Marathons & More and holds an elite level USA Cycling license and has earned a Level II endurance specialization from USA Track and Field. She has coached for over 10 years at the high school, collegiate, recreational, and elite levels in cross country, track and, for the past 7 years, road and mountain cycling.

I spoke with Kristin once a week for the past 4 weeks and what she is helping me do is reframe my goals and motivation for running. Obviously we can’t control the weather, who shows up or how fast we run on race day. But I learned to make a strategic plan, to list what I can control that is not goal oriented such as I want to be in the top 10.  Plus I would learn to plug myself back into the process of running. For example my old way of pushing myself during as race was by saying, “keeping going, good job, your strong” all valid self talk but it was not working.  Now I map out the course, decide how I am going to run each mile and experiment. That’s right experiment. Not worry about the outcome but pick one or two things to try during a race. In my last 4-mile race it was to push my speed up hills. A scary prospect, but why not try and put a bunch of energy in the uphill to push the pace. The result, I took one full minute off my 4-mile time. Today my plan was no time goal; in fact my watch broke this morning so I did not wear one. I would stay in constant awareness of what my hips and shoulders are doing and relax my abdomen. I would not tighten anything and I would use the momentum of my hips, all 33 1/2” of them, to swing my leg through. The result, more than 4 minutes off my best 10K time and I never felt like I was pushing hard or working against myself as I “normally”  feel. I did not have the usual vomit feeling at the finish and I did not get cramps in my psoas. At the top of the Harlem Hills I was able to make a mental note to practice the east hills. I was not pushing as hard as I could, in fact I was not pushing at all, I was using my hips and shoulders to propel my legs and take note of how everything feels, that was my goal. That’s it. The last 200 meters my legs were getting pretty heavy and very cold, but no problem it was an experiment that yielded a positive result! I am far more body aware, I was tuned into everyone around me and for the first time I did not run myself into the ground but I ran much faster.

This is so cool, Thank you Kristen!

More about how I am learning about my hips in the next post and who else is helping me that.

Read Full Post »

This month I have a bit of it all, 4:30am walks with my new puppy, 8pm training runs at the New Balance Armory Track, New York Road Runners Thursday Night at the races –  track race,  an exhibition opening  February 7th and school started.  Plus it is cold.

I feel like hibernating at this time of year, it is cold, last Saturday my 12 mile run was done at -4 degrees, today was almost balmy at 26 degrees, but never the less I don’t like it. Tomorrow is NYRR 1/2 marathon but I am skipping it. Right now my focus is to get quick and all my short runs would not make for a good 1/2 marathon time.

Hilary at the track meet Two weeks ago I got my nerve up to run at the NYRR Thursday night at the races. This indoor meet is for track racers, those speedy folks that run sub 5:00  miles. One man in the 45-49 age catagory ran a 4:28 mile! Clearly speed is not just for the 20 year olds! I thought there is no way I am going to race on that track, despite the fact  I train on it twice a week. Well I am super happy to report that not only did I race that night, I raced this week as well. I ran the mile, 3k, and 1500 meter all on a 200 meter track. Let me tell you, running 15 laps around a small highly banked track is not for the faint at heart, but I did it and ran a 12:48 3k, and  I was not last, but I was lapped. It did great things for my humility and my self esteem, all very positive, it also made me very sore. But I figure it will make me  stronger.

I am also training my new lab puppy, “Homer”  who is now 16 weeks old ans 23 pounds. As you may suspect he is a handful but very sweet. The dogs crawl all over me during yoga which you can see in the video. House-training is not so exciting. The last walk is at 11pm and the first at 5am, sometimes earlier, so I am quite sleep deprived these days. But I think he is going to be a good running partner.

On February 7th I have an exhibition opening in Brooklyn at a new gallery. I have a lot of work to do before that day, I am way behind. But it is going to look spectacular! Everyone is welcome. My info is not up on the website as of today, Jan. 24 but it will be soon. Hilary Lorenz Watercolor

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: