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Lums Pond, XTERRA Atlantic, Race 3

March 14, 2014

Runner’s note: I wrote most of this post last year, after the race. Apologies for not posting sooner, to the many fans waiting to hear about the rest of the 2013 XTERRA Atlantic Series. I am just glad to be back posting again and wanted to finish this one. Also, the XTERRA series starts back up this weekend and I am amped about it!

On trails, you can get lost without ever losing your way. On trails, a runner can feel physically awful while loving the life all around. Recent off-road adventures have brought me a new level of appreciation for hitting the dirt.

Lums Pond Park, location unknown

Lums Pond Park, location unknown

So it was back to Delaware for race three of four in the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run series. The first two events had been terrific, and the next one promised similar fun with new challenges. The packet pickup and finish line area was nestled under trees at the edge of a beautiful, wide open field situated deep within Lums Pond State Park. Read the rest of this entry »

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My 30 for 30

February 13, 2014

There was no finish line, only a number on my watch. Nobody draped race foil over my shoulders to help maintain body warmth. Police did not block off a single road closed for this jaunt. The run had no set date, time, or even location. It was nothing but a solitary training run. The only mark was distance.

So on a random winter Saturday I ran 30 miles for my 30th birthday.

Ask me if it was fun… it hurt a lot. I walked some. Ask me again if it was fun… you better believe I loved every second of it. That’s how a lot of running goes. One step can bring anguish or a frighteningly tight calf muscle. Yet the next footfall has potential to reignite a burst of energy and propel you forward. Don’t get me wrong though, it was painful. I was woefully under-trained and maddeningly over-inspired. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seneca Creek, XTERRA Atlantic, Race 2

May 21, 2013

Sometimes you gotta go beyond the pavement.
You gotta go deep, way on back
Cross a few creeks and a couple little shacks
You gotta get lost way on out
Crickets and frogs, yeah you’re getting close now.
-Banjo, Rascal Flatts

The sun flared overhead as a last winter chill grasped at the early April morning air. My sneakers crackled over rocks and dirt while I ran a light warmup. With the first XTERRA Atlantic Series race caked in dirt under my laces, this was sure to be another fun challenge.

Volunteers manned the registration area and prepared the finish line as the morning activities approached. There would be a 10k and 5k traversing the wooded area of Seneca Creek Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I was ready to attack the longer distance. Though wary of my pained effort in the previous race, I was confident that my legs were better prepared and that the course terrain would be more forgiving.

Clopper Lake, Gaithersburg, MD

Clopper Lake, Seneca Creek Park, Gaithersburg, MD

Read the rest of this entry »

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Boston On My Mind

April 17, 2013

The 117th Boston Marathon will be remembered by runners and non-runners alike. Those who have run it, those who know people who have run it, those who have watched it, and those who had never heard about it until they saw the news, will all have their own memories of April 15, 2013.

As for me, part of my heart is always in Boston. I went to college in Boston. I met my wife in Boston. Many of my best friends and countless memories are in Beantown. I learned how to become a serious runner in Boston. I ran the Boston Marathon with a fundraising number, and my goal ever since has been to return as a qualifier.

It felt very weird that day for the obvious reasons. But it was also surreal because I only missed qualifying for Boston by 6 seconds. While a lot has crossed my mind since that day in Philly, this was never something on that radar. There was comfort in the fact that everyone I knew running and their loved ones were safe, but only for a moment as I watched the news updates. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brandywine, XTERRA Atlantic, Race 1

April 3, 2013

The race started with over 80 participants gliding along a nice downhill stretch. Grassy fields quickly relinquished territory as runners disappeared into the forest. Incredibly, the rest of the 12k course was all uphill… or so it felt.

Brandywine Creek State Park in Wilmington, Delaware, played host to the first of four events in the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Race series. Having never been there, I welcomed an opportunity to run trails in a state I knew only for its sales tax exemption and weird way of pronouncing Newark. The northeast coastline had experienced some rain and snow throughout the week, but when day broke on Saturday morning there was sunshine with only a slight wind.

Beautiful Brandywine - Wilmington, Delware

Beautiful Brandywine – Wilmington, Delaware

Read the rest of this entry »

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XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run Series

February 27, 2013

Some people prefer to pound the pavement while others prefer to watch reality television as they kick through miles on the treadmill. There is yet another group that includes those who skip off to the far reaches of nature to find even the smallest piece of passable off-road terrain. For trail runners, most any path will do. Trail running can be simultaneously peaceful and exhilarating. There is something to say for the quiet rhythm of feet crunching leaves, jostling pebbles, or sloshing through mud.

Until now, my racing choice has remained predictable: train on roads and trails, race on the blacktop. Not anymore. This year, I test out my trail chops. More specifically, I am participating in the XTERRA: Atlantic Trail Run Series, which includes distances from 5k up to a full marathon. This inaugural series is being put on by Adventure Geek Productions, a group dedicated to community and “the opportunity to come together, achieve fitness goals, and have FUN!” Read the rest of this entry »

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In the “PR Spotlight”!

January 30, 2013

One of the first running blogs I started reading when I discovered the online community of runners was Michele’s NYC Running Mama – she is down-to-earth, roots for the Yankees and (New York football) Giants, served our country, and is also really fast. The blog has a ton of great content about training, racing, mom-ing, and everything in between. Recently, she started a clever series called “PR Spotlight,” which would highlight and interview runners who had recently set a personal best. In recognition that we are all always learning, Michele is likely to feature a very diverse crowd, one in which I am now honored and humbled to be included.

My hope in doing this is to further enrich the dialogue and learning opportunities both on this blog and over on NYC Running Mama. In the feature, I share some of my running history and training tips that have worked thus far. My own PR at Philly is a good starting point for many of these conversations, but the goal is always to keep things as open as possible. Of course, please comment there to show support for Michele’s blog and my interview. If you feel so moved, come back here and leave a message or ask any questions you may have after reading the spotlight.

A huge thank you to Michele for including me. Now get on over and check it out!

http://www.nycrunningmama.com/2013/01/30/pr-spotlight-steve-l/

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