Burning River 100 – DNF

Packet Pickup

Packet Pickup

3am on Saturday August 6th, we left our hotel for Squires Castle.
The start line of Burning River 100.

3:30am at the Start. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

3:30am at the Start.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I was unsure if I had slept at all. Unsure of how running would feel.
The first 12 miles were on road. The foot felt ok, but I was compensating a little. Running didn’t feel normal. I was wearing my Nike Hyperfeel trail shoes – which I thought would be good for the whole day, on and off the trail. But in the first 12, my feet were killing me. When my left foot was hurting more than my right foot (injured foot), I knew it was a shoe thing.

The first crew accessible aid station was at mile 11.5 – Polo fields. I meant to change my shoes. I forgot. I didn’t need food or water, so just kept going. I popped into some trails from there, then quickly realised I wouldn’t have crew at the next aid station. It would be 10 miles till I saw them again.

The shoes would go in and out of killing me and being ok. I hit a low point early. Somewhere after mile 15.  I was walking a lot. I know it’s 100 miles, but it was way too early for this kind of stuff. All I kept thinking is “Im not gonna make it.” and Mertsock was driving in from Rochester to pace me at mile 72…
It would be a waste of a drive.
So here’s some stuff.

There are things I expect in every race. I expect at some points running will feel good. I expect those feelings of “running is awesome!” I expect to be able to run the downhills – cause those are what I LOVE. I expect ups and downs, and breakdowns. I expect the unexpected.

I went into this 100 with doubts of how far I would go. I injured my foot 10 days before. Nothing serious apparently because running 100k on it seemed to do it more good than harm. But that was my first “injury” from a freak foot twisting event on trails. Still – It kept me from running how I normally run. My form was off. I couldn’t run any uphills OR downhills. Having a lot of issues from the start of such a big race – had expectations at an all time low. I didn’t expect to finish.
On to Shadow Lake – Mile 21.7

I saw Chris about a mile before the aid station – he was out getting in some miles. I told him I needed to change my shoes – which was good or I might’ve forgot again.

I sat down with the crew. I cried as we pulled my shoes off. They advised me to go with the Flyknit road shoes – which was a good call. I was sad. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to eat. Not that I didn’t feel good or anything – just was in a “what’s the point” mood.

I stood up and stared at the aid station for a bit. Stood some more. ok. Pickle. Cookie. M&M’s. Guess I’ll go.
On to Egbert – Mile 26.5

I would be seeing crew again at Egbert. Only 5 miles away. My feet were feeling better, I still walked. A lot. I was in a dark place.

— I thought a lot about this dark spot. It was nothing about running. It brought up things in life. Things that convinced me that I’m the worst. That I’m a broken piece of human. —

I don’t remember much of this stretch. As I ran into the aid station Chris said I was looking better…. hmm ok.

Matt stuffed my phone into my Orange Mud vest – so they could track me via find my friends. Chris brought me food things I had forgotten about, which made me pretty happy. I wandered over to the aid station and took salt for the first time, and some pickles. I went back over and asked Jeff when I’d see them again….. 12 miles. Buh.
On to Meadows – Mile 38.3

I walked for a bit out of Egbert. But I started running. Then I didn’t stop. I caught up to people who had passed me what felt like hours ago. I passed people I thought I’d never see again. Life wasn’t over. Thanks to crew. And carbs.

There was a long stretch on canal. Much longer than I expected. I was still cruising, it was sunny and hot. Things started hurting again, but I was still running. Part of me said this pace could hurt me later… part of me said – it probably won’t matter.

I rolled into Meadows around 12:30pm. Feeling like I could run till 72. I could make it to Mertsock. I could finish.

Chris handed me coconut water, and other things I hadn’t been thinking about. But he put them in front of me and I wanted them.

It would be 12 miles till I saw them again. 12 miles till Im half way done.
On to Boston Mills – Mile 50

I lost momentum coming out of Meadows aid station. Feet were hurting. Right foot aching. Left foot had something going on under the Big toe nail. I got tired. Sleepy. I felt like I could lay out on the trail and be out. Something was missing. I walked a lot of the first 6 miles. I don’t remember the aid stations or what I ate in this stretch…. other than eventually eating 2 ginger chews cause I was bored. But it seemed within minutes of the ginger – a lot of pains went away, and I found myself running the next 6 miles.

I started to get excited. I had run parts of this trail with Jeff last year when we were waiting for Welden at mile 50. So things started to look familiar. I knew it’d be a few miles till I saw everyone again. I was getting close… then Welden was there! He was hanging out on the trail maybe a mile or less from the aid station, and ran in with me. Told me Mertsock was almost there.

Got in to 50 in 11 hours and 35 minutes. Was feeling great. Jeff said he was ready to hop in if I wanted a pacer. I didn’t know. He told me it’d be 16 miles before I would see crew again. I knew I would hit a low point. I knew it could be bad. I didn’t know if it would be better or worse with someone there. If there is someone who has seen me at my worst – it’s Jeff.

So yeah. Lets see what happens.

photo by Chris O'Brien

photo by Chris O’Brien

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

On to Ledges – Mile 66.5

Jeff and I walked for a bit out of mile 50. Things felt like they had tightened up again, and momentum was gone. We had a long stretch on canal path that we walked a lot of with small run spirts. We got to a U-turn which put us back on some dirt, and started running more.

My big toe was getting hard to ignore. I was in a pretty good mood though. I was talking a lot. Happy to complain to Jeff about all things of the day and life. And he did an awesome job of listening.
I expected my foot to be the reason I DNF. Then when my foot wasn’t getting any worse – I had no excuse. Could I DNF without an excuse. No. I would have to finish. I could walk all night – I was looking forward to the 24+ hour experience, whatever that entailed.
Still to Ledges

We did some running. but I remember mostly walking. And at some point my mood had changed. My feet hurt. My toe was killing me. But it’s just a toe. It started to feel like the nail was getting looser – and something was definitely going on under it. I was also getting weird aches in my right upper calf.

We stopped at an unmanned aid station. I ate a gel and sat on a hill with my legs up. I could feel the circulation pulsing. It felt much-needed. It felt good.

Things didn’t change much from there though. Still had aches in my calf. Toe still hurt. I rolled my compression sock down – maybe it was a circulation thing. I was super low for a long time. Walking is so slow. Were not going to make it to Ledges before dark. We don’t have headlamps….

Then we heard voices. Our crew had ventured out on the trails from Pine Lane – where no crew was “allowed”.

We were very lucky to have them there. Got into the aid station. I wasn’t going to check out the toe – then Matt asked if we should look at it – cause… why not. I also wanted to get some different socks on.

It wasn’t too bad. Welden gave me a pin from his bib to poke at it. I poked under the nail – There was nothing. Poked at the side – some good stuff there. He cut open my flyknits to take the pressure off the toe.

At Pine Lane - Mile 59.7 Photo by Chris O'Brien

At Pine Lane – Mile 59.7
Photo by Chris O’Brien

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

Save the toe. RIP flyknits. (actually I'll probably still wear these)

Save the toe. RIP flyknits. (actually i’ll probably still wear these)

STILL – on to Ledges.

The extra space was weird at first, but felt good. Problem solved. We had headlamps. I felt good. Water and nutrition was pretty on point all day. I never felt like I couldn’t eat, was never dehydrated. Never felt sick. I definitely don’t eat enough. I forget that 4 grapes and 8 M&Ms, and a couple of pickles isn’t a meal. I would eat between aid stations – which I forget to do in other races. But it would usually be 1 huma gel – or a ginger chew. But everyone is different. I’ve always felt better with less stuff in me.

I wanted to run now. The tightness in that right calf now felt like it was coming from under my knee. Soon it was just under my knee. It felt like a knot – I kept trying to rub it out. Jeff poked at it a little.

WHY. I wanted to run. I can ignore this – does it really hurt that much?

I guess it wasn’t a matter of pain. It was more that the muscle made running not possible. It wouldn’t allow it. It made walking stupid. I was up for walking 30 miles if I could walk a decent pace. But this was so dumb.

In 100k – My injured foot is healed. My toe fixed. My Popliteal broken.
The journey to Ledges continues.

We had 6 more miles till we would see crew again. I could make it there by cut off – which was 11:35PM.

We were lucky to have a lot of road and canal miles after the shoe dissection. I was worried about kicking roots, cause I was doing that all day.

We would try to run multiple times. It wouldn’t be a run. It would be walking pace. I would convince myself that I could force it. We would try again. Nope. So we walked.

I told Jeff I would walk it into Ledges then probably be done. The thought of it was heart breaking. My first DNF. I felt like I would never get over it. It was unacceptable. But this entire race was not how I wanted my first 100 to go, and I knew it wouldn’t be. It was not how I usually run – but I did the best with what I had. And my crew helped me inch forward and problem solve along the way.

It was dark. It felt like it’d been a long time. I asked Jeff what time it was – he said 9:something PM. I was surprised it was so late. We still had a couple of miles till we would get to Ledges – at this pace, I might not make the cut off anyway.

The course finally turns onto a trail. I walk a few feet onto it….

I can’t. I can’t pick my feet up enough to do handle a trail. I’m walking too slow. I’m done. I never made it to Ledges.
The Escape.

We walked the path till it got to a “road”. We had been talking to Matt, and he was only minutes away. There was some adventuring involved in our escape – but it may be better to leave out those details.

Matt and Chris had both told me I should sit, and take some time before I stop for good. But I could tell this was something that wouldn’t go away. I’m good at knowing when im being lazy and when something has potential to change. But I couldn’t walk. and I wasn’t about to walk at a crawling pace for a few more hours just to miss a cutoff, and make whatever muscle that’s being dumb that much worse.

Now that it’s Monday – and my knee is still just as tight and un-walkable. I feel pretty good about my choice to stop where I did.

Chris had asked me about my goals for this race before.

I told him just to see how far I could get – based on the pre-race foot injury.

I also told him I wanted to be able to run again this month.

I achieved one – 64ish miles in 17 something hours. and I’m sure I’ll achieve the running again this month thing. Seeing as im signed up to pace Jeff for Twisted Branch, and also racing Lucifer’s Crossing the day after.🙂

It’s hard for me to drag people into these things and not finish or do what is planned. I want this stuff to be a great experience for everyone. But even in the unexpected and unplanned, and sleep deprivation – you learn things about yourself and your friends. Things that you need to work on, and things that just bring everyone closer together.

Luckily we had Dan-o.

We met Chris and the rest of the gang at Pine Hollow – which would be mile 76 for Dan-o.
— I hadn’t seen Dan since the starting line – and was excited to follow him around the rest the night and morning.

I watched Dan-o come in – and take Welden. Then it would be hours before we’d see them again. Like 8 hours. I couldn’t imagine. It was getting cold.

I remembered picking up Daven here last year in the daylight – and 90 degrees – and running the next 20 miles… I couldn’t imagine this part at night.
With hours to spare – we went to our hotel and got some sleep till about 3am. We would go catch Dan-o and his gang at mile 90. Then 95. Then off to the finish.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile - to the finish. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile – to the finish. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

I knew I’d get dropped cause my stupid walking pace – but I was happy to be there the last mile. Happy to be at the finish. This race is awesome. Could use a few less roads and canals. but the trails are super fun.

Gang at the finish line. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Gang at the finish line.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I knew some day I would experience a DNF. I knew 100 miles would increase the odds. I think I’m capable of a decent attempt. So until next time – this was fun.

The end.

Things I used.

Orange Mud vest – Hydra Quiver
with a Ultimate Direction Bottle – Hand Held
— I used the hand held bottle in the orange mud vest so I can use the little pocket on the bottle for easy to access things. For this race – it was chapstick.

Road shoes would be fine for this race – if it’s always as dry as it was this year.
I used Nike FlyKnits.

Compression socks as well as my trail shoes –  have been fine for other ultras i’ve done. In NY. But something about Ohio – maybe the Location, different elevation/humidity. Legs and feet handled them differently/seemed to be more swollen.

Huma Gels. Awesome as always. I used 4 or 5 during this race.
Picky Bar. I ate two. 1 about 2 hours in. Another… somewhere between 30 and 50. ALways great.

Pickles. I had a pickle at almost every aid station.

Salt tabs. Starting taking salt somewhere around 25 miles. With A LOT of water.

Salt tab and pickle combo. Combo for success.

Grapes. are awesome. Ate these at almost every aid station after 25 miles.

Peanut M&M’s. Grabbed these as I would walk back out to the trail.

Dark Chocolate – I found dark chocolate with ginger. It was awesome. Had this at Mile 50.

Coconut water. Had regular coconut water around mile 25.

Chocolate coconut water. Had this around mile 50.

Home made energy bars. With dark chocolate, molasses, honey, raisins, gluten free oats and rice crispies, coffee beans and coco nibs. Had this at 25 and 50.

Ginger chews. I ate 4 during the day. Out of boredom.

I think that’s it.

oh yeah – 1 freezee pop.

Looking at Burning River 100

1 week from today I’ll be 5 hours into my first 100 miler.

I signed up for Burning River after a long run with Dan-o – we both talked about doing a 100 miler this year. We decided Burning River was good timing for Cayuga 50 to be a good training race.
So 100 Mile Training.

  • I still haven’t followed a training plan.
  • I wanted to do a 100 mile week, or 2… nope.
  • I wanted to do 70+ mile weeks… nope.
  • I got 2 weeks that were over 50. One week included Cayuga Trails 50, the other was a week in the ADK’s hiking and the Whiteface Sky Marathon.
  • I’ve already done 215 miles of racing.
  • The races I’ve done have been awesome, and hard.
  • I ran a trail marathon the weekend after a trail 50. Everything hurt.
  • I hiked 3 high peaks, and “ran” 2 more before racing a Sky Marathon on Whiteface. That destroyed me. Then raced a trail half marathon the weekend after and PR’d.

I had accepted that my low mileage would be ok. Maybe im just a low mileage runner? At least I wouldn’t be going into the race injured.

But then. I hurt my foot.

How’s that look for ultra training?

So yeah. 1 week and I somehow twisted my foot in a way to injure the top/side/arch… It feels a lot better just 3 days after… but it’s still swollen, and some faint bruising. I definitely can’t run on it yet.

Foot death.

Crazy how you can run all kinds of races. Hike and run for 24 hours in a week. But in less than 2 miles in one of the easiest places to trail run (Bay Park West), you ruin your foot? I had an awesome injury free streak going.

It’s weird. Im use to things just going away. But I keep waking up and it’s still there. I’m slightly concerned. But running a 100 will still happen.

Also – It could definitely be worse. I’ve just never been sidelined before, so I’m a huge baby and am going to complain about this!
So the plan for BR100?

  • Just run. and finish under 30 hours. but I’d love to be closer to 24.
  • I’ll have an awesome crew and pacers, and an awesome Dan-o that’ll be somewhere out there.
  • Try not to die. but if I do – I’m ok with death by running.
  • If I can’t run till race day, I’m just keeping up with strength training. Not much I can do now, other than repair my foot, and get more sleep.
    Goals in life.
  • Never DNF.
  • Never DNS.
  • Never be comfortable. I never what to be 100% about something. I have to go in with some concerns – you never know what will happen – in life and in races.
  • Stay consistent, but also be competitive.
  • Always try something new. You never know what you’re missing. It could be the one thing you needed!

So this year I’ve been a low mileage runner. But have done better at most races. I have to give credit to the Rossi strength training though. Low mileage plus increased strength = good running.

Also – I love racing a lot more than just running. I could go on a rant about racing. but I won’t. Maybe later. Maybe after Burning River… oh yeah….

… Burning River. I’m nervous. The end.



Cayuga Trails 50 – 2016

Im a bit behind on race reports due to months of hectic work weeks. But here it is!

June 4th was Cayuga Trails 50 and Marathon. Consisted of 2 out and backs – from Robert Treman State Park to Buttermilk Falls and back. I ran this for the first time last year, and knew the course and what to expect. This year I was running with the Red Newt Racing and Mountain Peak Fitness team.

I went into the 50 miler with no weeks over 50 miles of training. No speed work. A few back to back long runs. Lots of strength training with Josh Rossi at Fore Performance. And a few good races that pushed me a bit. The lower mileage had everything feeling good, definitely wouldn’t be going into this injured.

I kept my goals simple and expectations low – as usual. 1. Have fun / 2. Smile even if I don’t want to / 3. Don’t let new team down / 4. If everything feels good – beat 10 hours.
I was lucky to be going into this race surrounded by friends. Everyone from Rochester was running, or would be there.

The race starts with a photo of the MPF/RNR team.

Photo by Elizabeth Azze. Just a few members of the team.

Photo by Elizabeth Azze. Just a few members of the team.

The race also starts with a bunch of the ROC crew running together. I found myself going back and forth with Jeff and Dan Ward for almost the entire race. Dan Ward eventually lost me – and I eventually lost Jeff🙂

So now I’ll keep this short. I felt great. I only stopped at aid stations to fill water, or grab a pickle, or chocolate covered almonds, but would keep moving with food in hand. I fell twice, which resulted in cramping twice. But was good to go in a few minutes. It seemed like all of the Rochester runners had the same idea for this race – Have fun – and be happy. Everyone I saw was awesome. I loved seeing Sean Storie from afar screaming “is that Rekkerth!?!”.

Scotie Jacobs probably saved the race for me at half way. I knew I was salty, I was just drinking water, and some Huma Gels. But he told me I need salt… and tossed a few at me, then stuffed 10 more in my Orange Mud vest, then told me to take 2 more soon. Thanks teammate🙂

Photo by John Green

Photo by John Green

Cayuga Trails 50 is a tough course – but extremely runnable. I’m not a huge fan of hills. But I love the ones here. They are spaced out to give you convenient walking/hiking breaks. And they end! Some are steep, but over quick. Stairs are… stairs – I like them, they’re fun. There’s long sections of awesome runnable trails – you’ll find yourself cruising for a while.

My Cayuga Splits:

Garmin dies just before the finish...

Garmin dies just before the finish…

I had no idea what my time would be as I was nearing the finish. I was feeling pretty good about beating last years time – but it felt very similar. I knew it would be close.

I finished in 10:06:43. (Last years time – 10:08:22) !

Finish - Photo by Elizabeth Azze

Finish – Photo by Elizabeth Azze

I was 56th out of 248
11th female out of 62
I’m lucky to have great friends and awesome teammates to share the trails with. So grateful to run with the Mountain Peak Fitness and Red Newt Racing team! You get to know people fast when you run ultras together. Can’t wait for more!

As usual – the #trailsroc aid station was the best. Loved seeing everyone – and hearing Eric yell things.
Check out the upcoming Red Newt Racing events!
– I wish I could do this one –> Lime Kiln
But it’s the same day as Burning River. Should be an awesome weekend – and probably won’t find many races like this one!

While your in event looking mode – check the the Trailsroc events too!

Oh yeah – p.s. 2 weeks till 100 time. I’ll do a pre 100 post.

the end.

Looking at CT50.

Cayuga Trails 50 mile is coming up next weekend.
I guess I usually write stuff before a goal race.

This is the first big race I’ll be going into – not having followed a training plan. I spent most of my time at work – working 50+ hour weeks… Also putting in weekend hours. So if working long hours then going for an 8 mile run counts as a long run – maybe Im more ready than I think.

I spent a lot of time doing Bikram yoga over the winter. I did a lot less running, but a lot more strength and cross training.

Ran a few marathons while training for a marathon in March. PR’d and qualified for Boston. Then switched over to Cayuga training. Which has been… ok.

Nothing like last year. I’ve had very few weeks over 50 miles. But I keep looking at this bar graph thing… and I see consistency, which makes me feel ok.

This years training.

This years training.

Races I did went well. Tend feel better during races than training runs. I ran a couple of hills that made me feel like I suck. Then I ran a couple of hills that made me think I’ll be ok.

What I feel good about:
– I’ve put in lots of strength training. (Thanks Rossi)
– Nothing hurts. Nothings sore. Definitely won’t be overtrained.
– consistent miles. Maybe not a ton of miles. But I’ve never had a break in training.
– First race with team MPF/RNR.

I’m excited to be on the trails with the new team, and pretty much all of Rochester. My running fam/crew from last year will be running… which will be awesome and different. I’m sure if there are low points – it won’t be long till a friend comes by.

I said I didn’t want to run this race again because I loved it so much.
But I couldn’t stay away.

This year will be so different, that comparing it to last year won’t be possible. It’s a new year, new race, more people… Cayuga is an experience that reaches deep. I can’t go into this race thinking about time, or the hard parts. You just have to run, take it in, don’t take yourself too seriously… smile when you’re getting frustrated. Laugh at yourself when you’re dying. Get the most out of the day in the woods with people you love! Then party after.

The End.

P.S. Thanks Ian

Water show award for last years spill.

Water show award for last years spill.

If you must… here’s the show.


100 time.

I remember the days when I had no desire to run 100 miles. What makes me think I can do this, when I could barely survive a 100k? When I can’t breathe in any distance over 50k?

I feel like one of these times I won’t have lung problems. I won’t freak out. Everything will just work. … hmm.

After Twisted Branch I had 100 on my mind. It seems like the next necessary step.

Why Burning River 100?

  • I ran parts of the course last year, and paced Daven.
  • The trails were awesome.
  • It’s in August. I like heat.
  • I loved everything about this weekend.
  • Dan-O is running too.
  • Good timing from Cayuga 50
  • It’s point to point.
  • Elevation isn’t crazy.


I am not a strong hill runner. I can run down them. But climbs that go on forever tend to kill me. So Burning River should be ideal for me.


What’s my goal?

I don’t want to just finish. I don’t want to be rolling in at 10am the next morning. I’d like to be done in a day. Or close to 24 hours. But if im in death mode, I’ll settle for 30 hours.

So what’s next?

I signed up for Cayuga again. I wasn’t going to. Then I did. Cause it’s awesome.

After that?

I dunno. Hiking and ADKs and stuff. and running I guess. Maybe Bikram. Then Burning River. Then I might be dead. We’ll see.

The End.

p.s. I qualified for Boston. Barely.

I like this picture. From Rock n Roll DC

I like this picture. From Rock n Roll DC




I ran 2235.75 miles.
I raced 322 miles (16 races)
I raced 4 Ultra’s (3 of them 50+ miles)… and ran 3 50k training runs.

Comparing 2014 and 2015:
2014                                    2015
Ran 1610.9 Miles                 Ran 2235.75 Miles
Raced 306.5 (24 Races)         Raced 322 (16 Races)

That’s the simple way of summing up 2015.

January – I started training with Mike. Each month we would hit 200+ miles. This is also when I started running with the crew (Mike, Chris O’brien, and Matt) – and Jeff Green appearances became more frequent.

February – Feb. 1st was the first run/meeting of Jason Vidmar. This is where I told him of our Great Range traverse idea, and he was immediately in.
– Ran Cast a Shadow relay with Matt and Kirsten.

Me, Kirsten and Matt

Me, Kirsten and Matt

March – Started doing Bikram Yoga.

April – Ran Muddy Sneaker. Also ran my first 50k training run – with Mike, Jeff, and Matt. Ran a 20 mile PR on the greenway with Mike and Jamie.

May – Ran 58 miles at MTD, and 2nd place. Watched Chris run Sehgahunda. Volunteered at OSTM.
Ran Cayuga Trails 50 — So far my all time favorite race. Cayuga was overwhelming, and the first time I didn’t want to come home. Cayuga will always be a special memory.

Final laps of Mind the Ducks 2015 with Coach Mike and Mertsock.

Final laps of Mind the Ducks 2015 with Coach Mike and Mertsock.

Photo by Matt B

Cayuga 50 2015 – Photo by Matt B

June – Ran the 2nd 50k training run of the year – with Mike, Jeff, Matt, and Josh. Ventured in the ADKS, with 4 days of hiking… 1 day being the Great Range Traverse – with Danielle, Jeff, Jason, Matt, and Kyle. (Ron and Mark joined for the pre-traverse hike).

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the backround.

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the background.

July – Found myself hiking in Taughannock Falls the day before FL50 with Jeff. Watched Jeff run FL50. Ran the 3rd 50k training run of the year – With Jeff, Mike, Dan-o, Matt, Josh. Ran O SPF (Trail Half). Watched Mike and Daven run Burning River 100. Paced Daven for 20.
— Burning river is when I discovered I loved to crew and pace just as much as I love racing.

Burning River finish

Burning River finish


Twisted Branch 100k – Me and Jeff

August – Ran the crescent trail with Dan-O, Jeff, Kendra, Lesher, Matt, Josh. Ran 10 mile sunrise run in OCP, then first slack line party – with Jeff, Matt, Josh, Jason, Ron, Chris, Mike Mertsock. Spent 2 days watching Mighty Mosquito and running 42 miles (35 saturday, 7 Sunday). Started Bouldering at Red Barn. Ran 20 miles with Jeff in Alleghany – after waking up at 3am to drive there. Bouldered on real rocks. Ran Twisted Branch 100k.
— I had a lot of time to think at Twisted Branch. I was not prepared for the emotions that day would bring. It started out as a joyous run through woods in the dark with friends. Quickly turned into a day of battles. Endless leg cramps. Couldn’t breath. Lung pain. Chest pain. Abandoning Jeff – who had stuck with me for over half. TB was soul sucking. I was pretty fine post 100k. But it took weeks to recover emotionally.

September – More rock climbing. Ossian Mountain run. Ran Virgil 100 relay – with Jeff, Jason, Danielle, and Katie. Ran in Hi-tor with Ben, Ron, Mertsock, Jeff, Jason, Chris. Ran in Canada with Jeff. Rock climbed real rocks in Canada.

Virgil Relay Team photo - Jason, me, Jeff, Katie, Danielle

Virgil Relay Team photo – Jason, me, Jeff, Katie, Danielle

October – Spur of the moment ADK trip with Jeff and friends (Peter, and Liz). Watched Daven run Oil Creek 100 – with Mike and Jeff. Paced Daven for 13. Ran Watergap 50k and started 30 minutes late. Jeff stayed with me the whole race – paced me to a 50k PR and 2nd female overall, with the 30 minute penalty. Ran back to back 5k and 12k trail races the weekend after Watergap.

Water Gap 50k

Water Gap 50k

November – Ventured back to the ADKs for some winter backpacking. Met up with Danielle, Mark, and Stacey for a day of hiking. Hiked Phelps Mt. for the 3rd time this year. Then Jeff and I set out for some Lean-tos by Avalanche Lake. We Jet boiled bag food. Did 3 days of hiking on 2 Nalgenes of water (this water also used to boil bag food). Hiked Mt. Skylight. I froze. Winter is pretty. I moved.

On our way to Skylight

On our way to Skylight

December – Started doing Bikram again. Crewed Hobbs at Hellgate 100k – with Jeff, Chris, and Ron. Driving in Virginia is awesome. Crewing this race was awesome. Hellgate is in the top 5 best days of 2015. Ran a 5k PR at the Reindeer run. But still not sub 20. Started going to Fore Performance and doing Muscles for Mileage with Josh Rossi.

Thats all.

So now im figuring out what im going to do in 2016…

Run a marathon? on roads? yeah…

Run 100 Miles? yeah.

Run 4000 Miles? yeah. wait… probably not.

“You only live once” seems to be an overused statement. But it’s what I keep telling myself. It’s how I justify any crazy event. You know. Why not. In the end, all that matters is what you did, and how you lived. Do whatever you need to do to be happy.

2 years ago I started running with Matt Bertrand. Shortly after followed Mike W. Life is significantly better thanks to these 2. Thanks to the running fam. Which seems to keep growing. Thanks Chris, Jason, Mike M, Dave J, Josh, Daven, Jeff. Medved peeps. Trailsroc. Goose.

2016 should be good.
The End.


KILL ALL MILES – Virgil 100 Mile Relay

Virgil Ultra’s happened the weekend of 9/19 (Yes – 2 months ago). Consisting of a 50, 100, 100 relay, and a 50k. A month or so before – Jason asked me if I would be interested in running the Rochester marathon relay. I was like… Yes. But – It’s the same weekend as Virgil   I was planning on going whether I was running or not.

I suggested we run the Virgil 100 relay. Then we held off registering till we all survived the weekend of Twisted Branch 100k.

A few weeks before Virgil we finally cracked down – gathered people for a team. Registered. We (coincidence?) ended up with a team that was also the Great Range group. Which is proving to be the perfect group of people to spend unlimited hours with.

Team: KILL ALL MILES – consisted of 5 people. Jason Vidmar, Jeff Green, Katie Ann, Danielle Snyder, and me (Laura Rekkerth). Our relay strategy –> Pick names out of a baggy. Each leg was random. The same person could be picked multiple times in a row, but no more than 3 times. One person would do 4.
We knew doing a 100 mile relay would involve somewhere around 24 hours of running, driving, being awake. This year has been about getting the most out of every day, every weekend, every hour. Often including race weekends that span over 3 days, and very little sleep.
FRIDAY Sept. 18th
Jeff and I ventured to Virgil to pick up our teams bibs, and camp at the start. We set up our tents and sat on a hill looking at the clear sky and stars. It gradually got colder, and had to retreat into our tents.

As usual I couldn’t sleep. I layed there, and eventually was accompanied by messages from Captain/Coach Jason. He was going over race data, and also not sleeping. Facebook messages spanned from sometime before 12am, till sometime after 1am.
SATURDAY Sept. 20th
I woke up before my 5am alarm. Packed up my tent, put it away. Waited for Jeff to get up. We ventured to the pavilion, and spectated 50 and 100 milers getting ready to start. They took off at 6am – and would have 36 hours to finish the 100 miler.

50 and 100 mile start.

50 and 100 mile start.

Jeff and I now had 2 hours to kill before the start of the relay. Patiently awaited the arrival of our teammates.

Photo by Jason Vidmar

Photo by Jason Vidmar

Baggy draw #1 – Jason Vidmar was selected to start us off. In true Vidmar fashion he took off, and gave those first 6 miles almost everything he had. Jason was running from the start, to Hitching Post. about 6 miles.

Team photo - Jason, me, Jeff, Katie, Danielle

Team photo – Jason, me, Jeff, Katie, Danielle

Baggy draw #2 – Jeff was selected. I was jealous of this section, as I knew it had fun single track. Jeff was running from Hitching Post to Tens Kate – about 6 miles. The next person that runs would be up for the hardest section – Hurt Locker.

Jeff coming into to Tens Kate - befriending the competition.

Jeff coming into to Tens Kate – befriending the competition.

Baggy draw #3 – Hi Jeff. Your up again.

Hi Jeff

Hi Jeff

Bye Jeff.

Bye Jeff.

Baggy draw #4 – Laura (me). I would get to run 5 miles from the #trailsroc aid station to Rock Pile. Supposedly mostly down hill, and easy.

Waiting at the #trailsroc station - Jason captured my custom shirt design.

Waiting at the #trailsroc station – Jason captured my custom shirt design.

Jeff came in to the #trailsroc aid station – I was off. The trail was awesome. This section only took 42 minutes, which left minimal time for the team to get to the Rock Pile aid station. I saw Sheila Eagan and Michael Meynadasy as they ran the 50 miler, and Tim Raggets running the 100 miler.

Baggy Draw #5 – Jason Vidmar. However – I reached the Rock Pile, and at first glance had no team. But Katie came running out of the woods 2 seconds later, saying the others were still coming. She handed me her phone, and it was now her turn.

Baggy Draw #6 – It was starting to get late in the day, and Danielle was still waiting for her turn. We pulled a name. Not Danielle. She wanted to run sooner than later as she was not feeling well. So we decided she would go next. We waited for Katie back at the #Trailsroc aid station. Danielle would be running to TenKate Crossing – also meaning she would go down Hurt Locker.

The switch at #Trailsroc aidstation.

The switch at #Trailsroc aid station.

Baggy Draw #6 – Laura (me). I would be running from TenKate to Hitching post.

This section was also a lot of fun. I knew their was opportunity to get lost in this part – but Jeff gave me the heads up that the course stuck to the white marked trails.

Baggy Draw #7 – Danielle.

Danielle was up again, to run us back to the starting line at Hope lake. Headlamps would be needed as we started the second half.

Baggy Draw #8 – Katie.

Katie waits for Danielle at the start!

Katie waits for Danielle at the start!



Danielle on the move. Concluding the 1st half of the relay.

Danielle on the move. Concluding the 1st half of the relay.

So were back at the start. We have to do all this all over again!?
Baggy Draw #9 – Jason.

Jason started the race off for us – but had been patiently waiting his second turn. Now was his chance. He destroyed the section from Hitching Post to TenKate – Jeff and I had both ran this part, and Jason had the fastest time of the 3.

Team waiting for katie at Hitching Post

Team waiting for katie at Hitching Post

Jason. Definitely ready to kill miles.

Jason. Definitely ready to kill miles.

Baggy Draw #10 – Laura (me)

I was finally going to get my chance to #1 – run in the dark. #2 – Run up hurt locker. I was pretty excited. The section from TenKate to #trailsroc is no joke though, definitely one of the hardest runs. The team ended up waiting for me at the bottom of hurt locker, and Jason offered to join me for the last 3 miles. It was dark, and I accepted.

Baggy Draw #11 – Danielle.

Jason and I came into the #trailsroc aid station, and Danielle was off to the Rock Pile. While at #Trailstoc – Dave Justice informed us of the oncoming monsoon. But it wasn’t raining yet. It’ll hold off. Yeah…

Baggy Draw #12 – Jeff.

We waited for Danielle at the Rock Pile. It had started to rain. It started to rain harder. We had been talking about starting the “buddy system” – two people would run together for the rest of the relay. So I offered to run with Jeff back to #Trailsroc, then we would also continue on to TenKate Crossing. Knocking out 2 legs in one go.
I forgot to mention that Katie hurt her ankle during her 2nd relay leg. So our team was down to 4.
Jeff and I made it from the Rock Pile to #Trailsroc pretty easily – considering the trails were hard to see through the rain and fog. It took us just over an hour. We both felt pretty good, and would be good to keep going through the next section.

We took our time grabbing food at the aid station. We would now be running from #trailsroc AS to TenKate crossing, which included going down hurt locker.

It was still raining. It was still misting and foggy. Pretty early on we realised we hadn’t seen a flag in a while. And we’d been going down hill. Long story short — We turned around. Ran/walked back up this hill. Went a different way. Eventually saw some flags. I started dying. We kept thinking Hurt Locker would be coming up any minute. I was beginning to think Jeff would have to finish this one without me. Just as I was reaching panick mode – we heard cars. We saw lights. There was no hurt locker… no ski hills. We messed up. (Thank God).

Start - Rock Pile. Finish - TenKate

Start – #trailsroc. Pit stop- #trailsroc. Finish – TenKate

Jeff and I felt terrible for cutting the course. But were so happy to be done. We found Danielle and Jason getting ready at the car. They were pretty surprised to see us so soon. A few minutes later, Ian walked by and we told him what happened. With bigger things to worry about, and being the awesome dude he is… he let it slide. Plus the relays were so spread out, that cutting an hour out of our section wouldn’t have changed anything.
Danielle and Jason were up for the section from Tenkate to Hitching post. Jeff and I decided we would drive over the next aid station and wait it out. We were soaked. Cold.

SUNDAY Sept.22
The next run would be to the finish. Who would it be? Jeff and I were feeling pretty much… done. But could slug it out if needed. We waited – about 2 hours? and eventually saw the headlamps coming in. Jason looked excited and ready to take us home. Danielle was battling the stomach issues she’d been suffering through all day – she was done. Captain/coach Jason once again proves his awesome selflessness, and takes on the solo run to the finish.
We arrived back to an empty Hope lake. No one at the finish. No one in the Pavilion… at first. Then we were greeted by a cool guy volunteer.



Jason ran the final section in about an hour and 12 min.

The Vid-Star!

The Vid-Star!

Team finish line photo

Team finish line photo

Our relay finished in 19 hours and 24 minutes. Started at 8am, and finished at 3:24am. Good for 2nd place.

Team Splits

Team Splits

Overall results

Overall results

The team then decided we would gather our sleeping bags, and stay in the pavilion. We claimed a picnic table – Jason and Danielle had sleeping pads and slept on the floor. Jeff and I each claimed a side of the picnic table bench — Somehow managed to not fall off.

Post relay -- pre bedtime

Post relay — pre bedtime

We got up early and watched the top 100 milers finish, as well as a couple of relay teams.

Being spectators.

Being spectators.

The team decided we would go grab breakfast at Perkins – then get on the road. But Jeff and I decided to drag this thing out longer — After breakfast we returned to Hope Lake to watch Natalie and others run the 50k.

Hi Natalie. She's fast. She got 2nd.

Hi Natalie. She’s fast. She got 2nd.

Hope Lake

Hope Lake

Most of the spectating consisted of this.

Most of the spectating consisted of this.

I like panoramas.

I like panoramas.

RIP Virgil Crest Ultras.

The end.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2015

Now that a few weeks have passed – Race reports have been rolling in. Instead of reading my sappy mess, you should check these out.

Jeff Green – Actually all you need in life is Jeff Green, and his reports. Read this and you’ll be happy forever.
Rob Feissner – Never ran further than 33 miles. Race was over before it started. He pulled this race off like a pro with his positive and relentless attitude.
Mike Mertsock
– Knows how to race, knows what he’s capable of. Before this race he said he wanted to push himself harder than he has before – he did just that.
Jason Vidmar – Continues to be the nicest guy I know. He’s a marathon runner, on his way to the dark side of ultra running.
Chris O’Brien – Great friend and teammate. Never ran an Ultra before – so he chose the hardest one and battled his way to the finish.
Matt Bertrand – Had constant knee issues the 5 weeks before this race. He wen’t into this injured – never doubting that he would finish. He never stopped moving, took 2 minutes or less at aidstations. Ran/walked/hiked perfectly in order to make the cuttoff at the finish line.
Dan Lopata – You would normally see Dan as the course sweeper, or volunteer. He chose to run this one, to challenge himself. He, as well as half of the other racers, found himself chasing cut-off’s.

Ascend Collective – Check out the masters of photography, and their photos from Twisted Branch.
Friday, August 28th.

I convinced Jeff to give me a ride to Ontario County Park – I had decided I would join the crew in camping before the race. We picked up Mort. Got to OCP and drove aimlessly until we saw The Feisners, the Lopata’s and Josh. Eventually we found our correct site – home of Chris O’brien, 5 cars, and too many (cool) people.

The night was clear and dry, I set up my tent without the rain fly. Jeff, Strat and I played Frisbee until we decided we should prepare to run this thing tomorrow. We sat by the fire, surrounded by fellow racers, pacers, and crew members. They started trickling away into tents around 9pm.

I crawled into my tent. I layed there and could not sleep. I didn’t want to look at my watch, I didn’t mind. As a person that likes to be awake, I especially liked not sleeping in this setting.

Saturday, August 29th.

At some point I woke up. In all the “not sleeping” I was doing, I was having dreams that I couldn’t sleep. I opened my eyes and was completely happy. Looked at my watch, it was 2:08am. I was wide awake, but layed there until 3am.

I was soon joined by Chris, Strat and Jeff by the cars, as we sat, and did pre-race things. One thing I lacked to think about was how long it would take to walk over to the start. As I walked back to camp from the bathrooms, cars had left. So I started walking, looking at my watch it said 4:50am. I started running. Made it with a few minutes to hang out at the start, and off we went.

Start photo - by Dave Justice

Start photo – by Dave Justice

This would be Ultra #6. My first ultra only being 15 months ago. Each of them completely different, and one thing I’ve learned is you never know what will happen. I expected this race to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I never expected it to be mentally and emotionally the hardest day of my life.

The race starts as expected. Nice and easy, long down hill in the dark. I’m soon surrounded by the people I’ve trained all year with. It starts to get light out, and we break apart. But it always seemed that none of us were ever alone. Jeff and I were together, and eventually heard voices behind us that sounded like Matt, Strat and Chris. The five of us re-united again, but it was still early.

Things start going south quick. I had been feeling twinges of cramps in my feet early on. I tripped or kicked a root, my calf seized up. I looked at my watch… it was mile 12. It’s too early for this. Miles 13 – 15 involved a good amount of climbing out of Naples. We hiked about 1000 ft in this section, and may have pushed too hard. I was toast. I took a pretty good spill in the Hi Tor area shortly after. Seized multiple leg parts. I layed, clutched my legs… here it was… break down #1 out of 20. I sat, Jeff sat with me. And that was it – we were in this together.

After I picked myself up, we start running again. And soon realise we don’t see orange. We had missed a turn, and wandered onto some camp ground. A guy was there, and said this trail would lead back to orange, but we didn’t want to risk cutting the course.

Wrong way.

Wrong way.

As we ran back up the trail looking for orange flags, we saw Rob Feisner. We caught him just as he was missing the turn we had missed. Glad to save him the extra mileage, and welcomed his company. Rob stayed with us for a while, told us how he had a bad morning. He was the LAST person to cross the start line, but was working his way towards what we be a better day, 24th overall and 16ish hour finish.

I had forgotten to return my headlamp at the first aid station, and was carrying it up until my spills in hi-tor. I noticed I was no longer holding it. Must have dropped it. But really – Jeff had it.

We finished the 1st half in 7ish hours. Things were ok at Italy Turnpike aid station – mile 29ish. Things were definitely going south though. We were 10 miles from Bud Valley. 10 miles from picking up pacers. 10 miles from still having 20+ more to go. I looked at my watch… we could make it to Bud Valley by 2:30pm.

With Jeff by my side, we had some good stretches of running, good stretches of dyeing. I lost track of cramps and break downs – but that was all me. We got to a quick stop aid station around mile 35. We sat in some chairs, there were other runners sitting, taking their time. I had M&M’s and tailwind by accident. And a PB&J. and more M&M’s. We left eventually, and set off for a long 4 miles to Bud Valley.

We came to a short steep up hill to a road, and had to pick ourselves over a guard rail. We sat. Looked at my watch. We could still make Bud Valley by 2:30pm. Jeff had actually been keeping track of cut off times – turns out bud valley was 3:30pm. We realised as we sat… we would be chasing cutoffs the rest of the night, and started moving.
Bud Valley was the emotional turning point. Mike Welden was there, waiting for me. He would be my pacer. Mike Bray was there, he would be Jeffs. My parents were there, I can’t even remember if I talked to them. Danielle Snyder – is like my spirit animal – always there… always makes things better. Mike started walking towards the woods, trying to will me away from the aid station. But Jeff was still there. I started walking towards Mike. I walked backwards. Heart breaking as the inches grew between me and the person that stuck with me through over half of this. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t leave. I wanted Jeff to come. I went back – Jeff and Bray followed.

Photo by my Dad

Photo by my Dad

Shortly after – the distance between Mike and I, and Jeff and Bray grew. Bray eventually came up to Mike and I…. Said he didn’t think Jeff wanted a pacer. I wanted to go back. I looked back, I saw Jeff. I looked forward… Mike was still running. Mike was there for me. Completely torn…. This was the hardest part of the race. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. My Heart broke…completely. I couldn’t breath. I ran away, crying. Mike noticed I was emotional… he told me the low points would pass. But this was no low point.

It took a long time for me to get over abandoning my friend. I should have went back. Everytime I thought about it, I couldn’t breath. But running felt good. Cramping was less frequent – until I would trip or kick a root. I had Welden and Bray… sometimes they ran together ahead of me… sometimes I was Mike sandwiched. Bray left us a few times to wait for Jeff at aid stations.

As the running increased, breathing was becoming more difficult. I could no longer take deep breaths. I would focus on breathing…. but it hurt. It started to feel like I was breathing through a straw. I became stressed, and breathing was audible to Mike. He told me to stop. I was angry, I kept running. Mike kept telling me to stop.

I did finally. Breaths were short, sharp, and hysterical. I had stabbing pains in my ribs. I hunched my way over to Mike and a log. We sat. I was dyeing. Mike secretly wanted to pull me at this point.

We sat for a good 5-10 minutes. Then started walking. We still had 4-5 miles till Urbana. Bray caught back up to us and I was eventually ready to run. Running felt good again, breathing was better. We caught up to Matt and Jason, and Chris and Dave. We passed them, we ran hard. Trails were awesome in this section – flew down the hills. Ran all the way into Urbana, just as it was getting too dark for no headlamps.
I took my time at the Urbana aid station. My headlamp was MIA (I would later find out that it saved Jeff’s life). Josh gave me his. I put on a long sleeve, as I had been feeling cold. Stole some pickles from Matt’s pickle stash (Thanks Meagan). Was about to start running again… then realised – I need to hug Josh. So I did.

It was 8:30pm as we left Urbana. Supposedly only 4 miles to the finish. Mike and Bray said it’d be an hour. I said 2 hours…. at least. We walked, it was dark. We knew we would be climbing soon.

I had been doing terrible on climbs up until now. My legs would cramp. Or I felt dizzy. There were times Mike walked behind me, to make sure I didn’t fall back. I had been dreading the climb out of Urbana. At the rate I’d been going, it would take an hour.

The climb starts right around mile 60, and it’s about 886ft. Steady climbing until mile 62 or so. But it went well. I didn’t mind the climb. I was alone. Mike and Bray were a ways ahead, but close enough for me to hear Bray complaining.

We get up this thing, pop out of the woods and were greeted by the moon.

The finish line was elusive after this point. It was so close, but so far away. Always seemed like we had 2 more miles to go. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t run without tripping (tripping = cramping). We hiked. We can eventually hear the finish line music, but it would still be about 30 minutes till we got there.

The new Triad Trail was pretty awesome. The switchbacks would have been cool to do in the daylight. The finish line was straight out of the woods.

I cross a road. See the lake, see the finish with tons of lights, and people. Im greeted by Eric. Then Danielle. Danielle gave me the details on everyone else, including Jeff. Where was Jeff!? I didn’t think he was there. But eventually she said – “oh, he’s right over there”.

I walked over. Managed a word…. “Jeff.” Hugged him, and sobbed for the 20th time. Then we sat and talked. I heard Matt finish shortly after, then Chris right behind him. Roger Oskvig shoved food at me, and tried to make sure I wouldn’t freeze to death. But I was good. I went over and hugged everyone. Matt, Chris, Danielle, Jason, Dave, Jeff’s parents. It was weird to be done.
People I need to note:
Jeff’s parents. We saw them more than anyone else during this race. Everytime I saw them, no matter how I felt, I couldn’t help but smile. They are so supportive, so positive… they were also usually a sign that an aidstation or road was near by.

Ben Metcalf. Helped Mike out all day with crewing. I would see him out on the trail, waiting for us. Always a welcomed site, and once again – couldn’t help but smile at his presence.

Jason Vidmar and Dave Justice. Two marathon guys that were there to pace 2 other runners. But I would discover them helping me, throughout the day. Two guys that are now unknowingly part of club Welden. Two guys on their way to the darkside. Welcome to the family you two.

Josh Stratton. DNF’d at 50k. I would start seeing him at every aidstation, and as sad as I was that he didn’t finish… I Ioved that he was there. He’s so positive, and has a smile that makes you forget life has problems.

Danielle Snyder. Ofcourse Danielle was there. Ofcourse she made things better. I didn’t require any technical help at this race – like getting gloves on cold wet hands. But if I did, she would’ve been the one to pull that off. Her words, and company was all needed this time.
I was 32nd out of 47 finishers. About 87 people lined up at the start.
6th female out of 11
64/65ish miles in 17:36:56 (course cutoff was 18 hours)

Things I learned:

  • As proved by Matt and Rob Feisner – this course can be completed with less than ideal training – with the right amount of mental strength and determination.
  • Matt can run with no knees.
  • I never felt tired or fatigued. The mind and heart were willing, the body just doesn’t cooperate sometimes.
  • Sometimes the adventure trumps finish time and place… or finishing at all.
  • Team Welden + Jeff + Jason + Dave =❤

Things I used for fuel:

  • Oatmeal for breakfast
  • Picky bar in the first hour and a half
  • pb&j (x3)
  • 1 pickle at mile 12, then not again until 40 and 60.
  • nutella and jelly (x2)
  • Oreos (x4???)
  • M&M’s (x???)
  • Chips of some kind
  • water
  • salt tabs

If there’s one thing the course lacked – it was pickles. Jason had bought some and left them at a few aid stations. But most didn’t have any. Pickles are awesome. Everything else was perfect though – Scott Magee pulled this off amazingly.

Coach told me never to think of this race as a failure. I was like… yeah – no way. This was the best race of my life. I experienced things to new extremes. I was out there for almost 18 hours, and never wanted it to end. Jeff and Mike both saw the terrifyingly emotional side of me, and didn’t run away. This race made friends and the community feel more like family. I felt love, pain, heartbreak. I cherish the experience I had, even if it was rough.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Post Race
We ventured to Mikes Lake house only a few minutes from the finish line. People trickled in, and gathered around the living room with post race drinks and food. We stayed up until 3am or so, and eventually passed out on the floor. It was over. There was no sense of great achievement. Just a sense that this was some kind of turning point.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
A little side note : I asked Mike to Coach me in December 2014. Shortly after, I signed up for this race. Twisted Branch would be what we worked towards all year.  I soon found out that Dan O, and Jeff Green signed up. Then I Met Chris and found out he was with Mike too. Then Matt and everyone else signed up.

We all do different races throughout the year – but this one, brought everyone together. Im beginning to feel like home isn’t the old yellowish house I live in.

Home is running silently with Mike. Neither of us being good at all at small talk. Home is 8+ hour training runs, with a group of friends I can never tire of. Home is any amount of time with Jeff Green, Mike Welden, Matt Bertrand, Chris O’Brien, Josh Stratton. 5 People that have showed me nothing but love, friendship, and support. Makes you question what love truly is. These people are my life.

The End.

P.S. Save August for Twisted Branch 2016.

Strength doesn’t come from physical capacity, it comes from indomitable will – Mahatma Gandhi

The Road to Twisted Branch

Sometime in November/December 2014 I signed up for Twisted Branch 100k. The race is point to point – beginning at Ontario County Park (Naples, NY) and finishes on the shores of Keuka Lake (Hammondsport, NY). The race is scheduled for August 29th. Currently only 28 days away.

My training has been pretty consistent. Even though I feel like I’m a slacker – The month of July was only a few miles short of my mileage for May – 247.8 (highest mileage month ever). In May I RACED 127.9 miles. July I only raced 13 (total mileage = 242.7).

Bar Graphs! ... are cool.

Training bar graphs! … are cool.

May 9th – I ran 58.7 miles in a 12 hour race (Mind the Ducks) – Pretty much a 12 hour training run.
May 31st – I ran Cayuga Trails 50 Mile. That was goal race #1.

June 20th – We previewed the 2nd half of the Twisted Branch course (50k training run). It took us 8 hours. Looked something like this….
How’d I feel after that? Terrible. Super intimidated. Do I really want to race this and die? not really.

June 27th – We completed the ADK Great Range Traverse. Which put me in a “completing stuff with friends is fun mode”. I know coach thinks I can do well… or “win”. If I try to do that I’ll likely be in tears, and not in a good place mentally. So im not gonna try to do anything.

July 4th – I watched Jeff run his first 50 miler – Finger Lakes 50. While Mike and I ran the “course” backwards incorrectly… somehow ended up with 20 miles out and back – when it should have been a 15 mile loop.

July 11th – we went back out and ran the first 50k of the Twisted Branch course.

I felt better about the 1st half. Much more runnable than the 2nd. Just as much elevation though. Just as dead at the end. And took almost as long.

July 18th – I raced 0SPF – Trail Half Marathon. Took 23 minutes off last years time. 13th overall – 6th female – and 3rd in AG. Trailsroc never fails at putting on an awesome race – or being the best cheer squad – or aid station.

July 25th – I watched my coach run 100 miles (Burning River 100). I thought Cayuga was the best race experience. Turns out crewing and pacing are way better. There’s really nothing like watching someone run for 23 hours. And in the meantime watching other people run – and coming up with names for them. Like “confused guy”. Or “rough guy”. “white shirt guy”. “Yellow shirt guy”. Don’t judge us on our naming skills – Were an obvious bunch.

We were also cheering for Daven. Eventually we got a text from his dad saying he could use a pacer. Matt and Jeff shuttled me to the 70 mile mark, and I jumped in. My first time pacing. Daven’s first ultra with a pacer. Cool. unfortunately this meant I would miss 40 miles of Mike running. But pacing Daven was probably the coolest thing I’ve done yet. Good company, and an enjoyable 20 mile run. And maybe I helped by being there? Maybe not – 4 hours of silence can be annoying.

Oh yeah – and Daven won. Cause he’s super cool. and Coach was inching his way up the entire day – finished in 17th overall, and sub 24 hours. __________________________________________________________________________________

August 1st – (Today) – Ran with a fun group of people on the Crescent Trail. Managed 18/19 miles. Seeing most of them again tomorrow at crazy hours (4amish) to run the start of Twisted Branch in the dark.

Everything that’s happened gets me more excited about running. Running longer. Adventuring further. Sleeping less. It’s the one thing im 100% about. It also makes it seem like everything else is falling apart.

Life’s confusing. I don’t know what im doing. Somehow I manage to make it to work everyday. I fear Kyle might disown me eventually. I’m the closest to “bankrupt” I’ve ever been. But I have this thing where I don’t care about money, cause it’s lame. You should be able to do whatever you want. Much like my thoughts on sleep (a waste of time). Both are equally bad advice. I used to care about things. Now I just care about people. Im contemplating 100 milers – something I had no interest in earlier this year. I used to be so organized, and punctual. Now it’s just chaos. Lovely chaos.

So back to Twisted Branch. Do I have a plan? No.

Thinking of combining the first half and 2nd half is pretty terrifying. I could compare it to Cayuga – I mean, it’s only 10 miles more right? yeah. Cayuga was super runnable though. Cayuga hills were steep – but they were over quick. Twisted Branch is a soul sucker. The kind of hills that just beat me down. They never end… then turn a corner, and continue to never end.

I guess I could be semi-optimistic and say there are more runnable sections than hills. I’m just a wimp. I like rolling stuff. I like downhills. Or if im on a mountain – going up is cool. When I want to run – not cool.

So how’s this gonna work? The thing that’s worked best so far, is having simple goals. Forget cut off time. Forget any time goal. Forget the competition – it will be good. I’ll try to stumble my way in, but the course is rugged and hilly – it’ll be a long day. I will break down. I’ve accepted this is just part of the journey. Hitting bottom, finding what’s important, then bouncing back.

I’m beginning to think I don’t want to spend that day alone. Normally I love the point in a race when everyone is spread out, and I’m in no-mans land for hours. Maybe I’d be all about some “me time”. But im beginning to think of it as an adventure. And who’d I want to adventure with… hmmm.

I’ll have a “crew” – but I don’t think I’ll need them for anything other than seeing their faces.

So It’s August. This thing happens soon.

The end.

Lost and Found on the Great Range.

On January 1st 2015 I created an event for traversing the Adirondack Great Range.

This is something I’ve wanted to do since 2011. I had a failed attempt – and luckily only got to Lower Wolfjaw with 1 other friend. I don’t think either of us would have been capable back then.

The plan was to hike around the summer solstice – so we’d have plenty of daylight. So I chose June 25th – 29th. Plenty of days to choose the best weather. Cause good weather is cool. Also the Whiteface Skymarathon was that weekend – so lots of other runner friends were already planning on being there.

Here goes: This is about to contain 4 days and about 30 hours of hiking. I might be able to condense it into an hour of reading. If you read as slow as I do. If your lucky it might take 15 minutes.

Day 1 – Thursday – June 25th, 2015

Phelps. With Kyle and Jeff. We ran about 4 miles of this (round trip) from Heart Lake. Kyle hiked in his Luna Sandles. I totally underestimated the distance. Thinking it wouldn’t take much more than 2 hours. Took almost 4. A good pre-view of how the weekend would go.

Kyle hiked Phelps in his Luna sandlesIMGP1101
We got back to camp and were eventually joined by Mark, Matt, Jason, and Ron. Had some bagels and peanut butter for dinner. Came up with a plan for Fridays hike, since we decided we would be doing the traverse on Saturday. Jeff had mentioned an Avalanche Pass loop that went up Algonquin and Iroquois. I like loops. I liked the idea of a long scenic hike by the lake. It wouldn’t be too much the day before the Range. Right?
Day 2 – Friday – June 25th, 2015

We met up with everyone around 7am. Trails were easy up by Avalanche Lake. Cool walkways and ladders and things.
Eventually it gets more technical, with climbing and waterfalls and stuff. I hadn’t seen much of Kyle. He was either way ahead of everyone, or way behind. I was having fun. I wanted everyone to have fun. I hadn’t seen him smile, or laugh. How could someone look so miserable in a place like this? I was concerned. Something was up.

Hiking up waterfalls.

Hiking up waterfalls.

Long story short. Kyle was in a mental state that I recognized. I’ve been there. It was dark. It was the worst day we’ve ever had together. He was breaking down. It took every part of me not to join him.

There’s really no way of pulling someone out of their own head. I felt helpless. Things that you hold in on a daily basis get amplified. The truest thoughts come out. Honest things are spoken. It’s one of the worst places to be, but I think a necessary thing to experience.

Kyle and I hiked at the back of the pack up towards Algonquin. We eventually reached the others before they went over to Iroquois. Kyle started heading up Algonquin and was planning on continuing to the campsite. I was torn. Do I get one more high peak? And let Kyle hike alone? I went with Kyle.

Intersection between Iroqious and Algonquin

Intersection between Iroquois and Algonquin

Top of Algonquin

Top of Algonquin

We looked back at one point and saw the others already up on “Iroquois”. I thought… “that was fast”. So I dropped my bag and ran down Algonquin, and up what I thought was Iroquois. Got to the top, to find I would have to go down and up again… so I ran back over to Algonquin. I tried.

Kyle said he wouldn’t be joining us on the traverse Saturday. I still wanted to do it.

We ended up with about 13 miles of hiking. We got back to camp. Set up our hammock. Jason and Ron eventually came over, we talked to them for a bit. The rest of the crew got back. We started to figure out who was still up for the traverse, and how it was going to work.

At one point Kyle asked… so what time are we getting up? – 3am.

I was relieved. and slightly terrified. Kyle was gonna come. But I don’t think I could mentally handle another day like today. Once you reach the bottom though, you never hit quite as hard again.

Day 3 – June 27th, 2015

The Great Range Traverse.

I woke up before my alarms, at about 2:48am. Started getting ready, and boiled some water for some french press coffee and hot cocoa. Kyle actually got up. So did Matt – who said he would be playing it by ear this morning.

Jason, Danielle and Ron drove up to our site. Jeff, Kyle and I piled into Matt’s car. We were on our way to Roostercomb trailhead. The sky was already bright at 4:30am. So much for needing headlamps.

We said fair well to Ron. Began our hike at about 5:15am.

The beginning - at Roostercomb trailhead.

The beginning – at Roostercomb trailhead.

I had hiked from here to Lower Wolfjaw before, and knew it would be the most annoying part of the day. It’s a lot of nothing. Nothing exciting. For 3.5 hours. We accidentally hiked up Roostercomb mountain.

Things started getting more exciting from Upper Wolfjaw and on. It became a series of scrambling, climbing and sliding down rocks. I had decided as soon as Kyle said he was coming – that I would always stay in the back. Trying to prevent any mental events by making sure no one felt like they were being left behind.

View from Armstrong.

View from Armstrong.

We really did have a random group of people. I didn’t know Danielle or Jason too well. Kyle was there. He doesn’t do much running stuff or know many of the running people. Matt, Jeff, and I…. not so random I guess. It was perfect though.

We left Armstrong Mountain, and before we knew it we were summiting Gothics. I thought Gothics had sweet cables and stuff? Part of me was disappointed, it wasn’t the Gothics I had hoped for. Until we started to descend.🙂

Favorite photo of the trip.

Favorite photo of the trip.



The summit to Saddleback came up pretty quick as well.



The decent from Saddleback was some of the funnest.
Miles were slow, conversations were ridiculous and awesome. Hours flew by.

Hard to remember what peak is what now - I think this is Basin?

Hard to remember what peak is what now – I think this is Basin?

After Basin it’s a long stretch of hiking before you reach another high peak. We were on our way to Mt. Haystack. The talk of water being low started to come up. I was excited that we might actually need to try out one of the 3 water filtering things I brought.

We got to a trail intersection, and Jeff said we could drop our packs and hike up to Haystack quick. I liked the idea of not carrying anything for a bit – so heck yes.

We got to the top – to find out we were on Little Haystack, we’d have to go down and up again to Haystack. Thanks Jeff.

The view from Haystack was so good. Amazing. So far my favorite in the ADK.

On little Haystack, looking at Haystack.

On little Haystack, looking at Haystack.







I was scared to ask Jeff what time it was on our decent from Haystack. I liked not knowing. Also had no idea how long we’ve been hiking. He eventually told me. 12 hours.

It was a long hike to Marcy. At this point we were playing it by ear, whether we would actually hike it or not. I was starting to see glimpses of the day before in Kyles face. We got to a trail intersection, and decided we would hike up to little Marcy and check things out. Everyone wanted to do Marcy. We’ve gotten this far – what’s one more.

Little Marcy was strangely windy. Real Marcy was not.

Yayyy were done - now a 4.5 hour walk home...

Yayyy were done – now a 4.5 hour walk home…

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the backround.

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the background.

It was getting late once we were on Marcy. 6pm ish? Headlamps and night hiking would most definitely be happening on our walk home.

I was secretly excited for it to get dark. The trails would be easy by then, and it would make things slightly more interesting. I was not prepared for everything to look completely different. It felt like it took forever to reach sections of a trail we recognized. We kept second guessing whether we were on the right ones or not – but we had to be. Pretty much everyone was out of water. I had given Kyle the last of my water at Marcy. At some point on the night walk, I started to feel really dizzy.
I stayed with Kyle and Danielle for most of the hike back. Jason eventually joined us. Matt and Jeff were up front – and eventually took off running(!?). I figured Matt had decided he would run his Mile (He runs everyday and has a streak of over 500 days – Has to run at least a mile). Jeff was keeping him company. My nose started running like crazy. What the heck! I eventually looked at my hand to see it was all bloody. Random nose bleed. Dizzy. Dieing – probably.

We eventually saw 2 headlamps in the distance. Matt and Jeff!!! They came back for us. Turns out Matt had a mental freak out and wanted to be done – so he ran to the finish. Then felt bad. He’s awesome.
We reached the trail head at Heart Lake. A strange feeling to be done after almost an 18 hour day. This was by far the longest and best day I’ve ever spent in the woods. Days and weekends like this make me wish I could live off blueberries and sweet potatoes, and live outside. In a hammock. Run and hike everyday. Running is the job. Or as Matt, Jeff and I decided – we would become professional hikers.
We walked back to the campsites. We still had to go back and get Matt’s car from Roostercomb trailhead – a 30 minute drive. So an hour round trip. It was already around 11pm. We took our time though – and ate left over pizza from the day before and the infamous garlic knobs (They were actually called knots – but over the course of the traverse became known as knobs).

Jason shuttled Matt and I back to Roostercomb. I made sure Matt didn’t fall asleep or drive us into a mountain. We watched Jason pull into a gas station, and 5 minutes later became worried that we should have waited for him. It had to be open…. right? (apparently all gas stations close super early there)

I was hoping Kyle and Jeff would still be up when we got back – I didn’t want to go to bed. We got back and Kyle and Jeff had made a fire. It was starting to rain though, so eventually we all retreated into Matt’s tent.

Matt’s tent. Had a hinged door. A bucket for dirty sneakers. Light switch controlled lights. AND a cot. And a sleeping bag, with another sleeping bg opened up so to act as a blanket. As we sat and talked and drank cider and beer, I would notice Matt inching closer to the pillow. Eventually we looked over and Matt was out. The 3 of us sat on the floor of his tent until Kyle was folded over, and Jeff was horizontal. I wasn’t tired. Or. well – it was more like I didn’t want the day to end.
Day 4 – Sunday July 28th

The original plan for Sunday was to watch people run the Whiteface Sky Marathon. 19ish miles on the slopes of Whiteface Mountain. This included watching Jeff race after the full 3 days of hiking. Plans changed when Jeff decided he wasn’t going to race. Also when the weather decided to be terrible that morning. Instead we met up with Jason, made sure he didn’t run out of gas (it was also his birthday) – and went out to breakfast.

We took down Marks tent. Witnessed tent homicide. Ron’s tent got stabbed (It was leaking and were given instructions to throw it out).

We said bye to Matt. He left his bachelor pad at the site incase our tents were too wet. We ended up using it as storage.

Mark stopped by to get his tent – He had just been running on Whiteface. Told us tales of 40 mile/hr winds, pouring rain, and hand numbing cold. He reported that many of the racers cut it short due to the conditions, and that it was a ridiculously hard course.

Eventually Jeff and I decided to hike/run one last high peak. So we picked Cascade – pretty quick and easy. Under 2 hours and 5 miles round trip.

Cascade in a cloud.

Cascade in a cloud.

The run down from Cascade was one of the coolest runs I’ve done. We were running down a creek bed. Lots of water, mud, rocks. I was wearing hiking pants that were falling down and a button up long sleeve shirt. Less than ideal running clothes. Just adds to the randomness of this trip and epicness of things.

We made a fire. It wasn’t raining (It was supposed to rain all day). Then boiled some water via Jetboil. We had 2 boxes of starwars mac and cheese, and pretzel bagels. Plenty for Kyle, Jeff and I. We toasted our bagels like marshmallows. Kyle and Jeff ate their mac and cheese with spoons. I used a fork.

Our fire was awesome. Another night a didn’t want to end.

Cliff notes.

  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need. If you don’t need it someone else probably will. – I gave Kyle half of a nalgene of water, 1 full bottle of water, and half of my Gatorade bottle. Leaving me pretty curious about how much water I actually drank. I almost brought 1 more bottle – and should have.
  • Bring food. Real food is even better. We stopped at each peak and would eat something. And at one point actually called it “lunch”, which was cool.
  • As proved by Kyle – you don’t have to be a runner or hiker to be able to complete the range. He does have a running and endurance back round though, which is something you’ll never lose completely.
  • The Traverse is definitely not something anyone can do though – well at least not in one day.
  • The Traverse is more of an obstacle course.
  • Jason is officially THE nicest guy I know.
  • Jeff is an awesome trail guide. And loves maps. And is almost as easy to talk to as Matt.
  • Danielle is a super strong hiker, and strangely daredevilish.
  • Matt bought pants. Wore them for the traverse. Destroyed them. Returned them.
  • Danielle found a stick, used it for a while. She got tired of it, and Jason decided he would carry it to the end. Until Jason discarded it – and Jeff couldn’t let it go. The stick made it half way through the range, but the rock climbing and scrambling became too much for it.
  • Casualties from the Great Range – Matt’s pants. The stick.
  • Kyle was awarded MVP of the Great Range. Mostly because he kept his winter hat on the entire day.
  • No one died. No broken limbs.


I seem to be gathering multiple days that qualify as “best days of my life”. Cayuga was one. This ADK weekend was totally. I was glad Kyle could finally experience one of these epic adventures with me. It makes it hard to have normal weekends, when all I want to do is spend days in the woods. I also like being around people? what?

There are two other tales of this hike on the Great Range. Read Matt’s story – which is probably the freshest, as he spit it out within 2 hours of getting home. Or read Jeff’s video game style, with accurate drawings of how the day unfolded.

I think thats all.

The end.