As a lapsed runner, the last bit of the habit I’ve yet to kick is the part where I search and sign up for races. I’ve given up buying running clothes and you know, going for runs but inputting my credit card info into sketchy race websites to purchase a 7am Saturday wake up call is a habit I just can’t quit.
I spent a weekend in Great Barrington, MA with my best bud Tricia. In a ritual scraping of the internet, I found a local race in support of Volunteers in Medicine, a Great Barrington based health charity, was going on during out stay. The race was hosted by a local brewery called Big Elm Beer. I conferred with Trish, she was in and so we signed up. Tricia is my original running buddy. You may remember her from recent adventures such as the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.
We got to GB late Friday night, around 11pm but I didn’t fret since the 5K didn’t begin until 10am the next day. It feels very on-brand to have a late start to a race hosted by brewery.
Remember the scene in Clueless where Tai (RIP Brittany Murphy) hits her head at a party and is out cold? Cher instructs Elton on how to care for poor Tai:
Cher: If it’s a concussion, you have to keep her conscious, okay? Ask her questions.
Elton: What’s seven times seven?
Cher: Stuff she knows!
So here I am. After not posting in months, using Clueless to warm you back up to me and taking Cher’s sage advice: telling you about stuff I know. Which recently is more about hanging out than working out. So I thought I’d share some “stuff I know” about spending an active summer weekend in Great Barrington, MA.
Where is it: Great Barrington is a town in Western Massachusetts about 2 hours and 15 minutes from NYC and 2 hours and 30 minutes from Boston
Why go: To become a relaxed country-version of your urban self without sacrificing the finer things in life
How do you get there: I recommend renting a car since you’ll want wheels once you arrive. Other options include bus (Peter Pan right which drops you off in GB center) or train (the closest Metro North stop is about 40 minutes away).
Where to stay: Find a cute B&B in Great Barrington or a town nearby (West Stockbridge, Lenox, Lee)
When to go: All year-round, though this post describes a summer weekend
Drive up after work. If you’re getting a late start and want to stop for dinner on the road, head to the Red Rooster, a burger and ice cream drive in in Brewster for a quick meal or if you’d like more formal dining, there are some great options along the way on Route 22.
Most training plans include a tapering period 2-3 weeks before a marathon. This means you run less, and slow the eff down in fitness and ideally in life. The theory is the work is done, your strength and endurance are built and it’s too late to try to work on speed. Now it’s time to relax and get/be healthy. The goal is straightforward: Show up to the marathon well-rested and eager to run.
I’ve heard the taper can make you go crazy. Some dub the moody response some runners have “Taper Tantrums.” I figured I’d have some issues here, but it’s not what I predicted. I expected to feel the desire to run more than I was permitted to and to feel frustrated and nervous about the lack of mileage, but au contraire. All I want to do is sit on the couch, forget running, take some naps and eat pretzel croissants from City Bakery. (I’m averaging three a week. Too much?)
I would like to interrupt this complaining with a gratuitous wedding photo!
I ran 4 miles yesterday at a 10-minute per mile pace (on the slow side for me) and it was a workout, not a casual jaunt in the park. Everything feels HARD. I’m still sore from the 21 mile run. Which was like, 10 days ago. So I’d say things are going only OKAY. I feel DONE.
Good morning. I conquered a 16-mile run last weekend. (The new longest run of my life.) Regular readers know, this is my first time training for a marathon. I knew the mental part of training would be hard, but I don’t think it’s possible to truly grapple with it until you’re in it. The physical challenge is easy enough to predict. Of course running for hours is grueling. Running for 20 minutes teaches you that. But the mind stuff? That gets exponentially tougher with increased time/distance. (You know, for me at least.)
It was so easy to write down the distances to create a training plan. Super easy – fun even – to add them to my Google calendar and to map out routes on Strava. But the night before I was slated to run 16 miles, I was in a state of disbelief. My 15-mile run was TOUGH even though it was entirely flat. The idea that I was going to run 16-miles in the Berkshires with no bathrooms and tons of hills seemed, quite frankly, preposterous.
running from MA to NY (and back)
On Saturday, the morning of the run, I woke up with no desire to get out the door. But I did, of course, get out the door. I committed to running the first miles at a very slow pace and that was very necessary since the first 3+ miles were straight up hill. I stopped a ton those first 3 miles.
This Sunday, I ran the Guido’s Gr8t Road Race in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
I signed up for this small town race in March, a testament to my neurosis that I felt the need to commit to a race that most definitely wouldn’t sell out (fewer than 90 people ran it) five months in advance. The first 75 sign ups were promised a tech-t, and I love a good race shirt. I was #3 to sign up. Awkward?
This 8-mile race was run by the Berkshire Running Center, a sneaker store in Pittsfield, Massachusetts that I’ve never been to. It started and ended at Guido’s, at high-end supermarket that I love in Great Barrington, not too far from Matt’s parents’ house.