Something else.

I keep finding myself in situations where I’m not sure I belong. Am I still a runner? Can I even call myself an ultra runner? Is it like “once an ultra runner – always an ultra runner?”
——————————————————————————————————-
I’ve got CUT112 coming up in just a few weeks. And I can’t remember the last time running felt “easy”.

My knees and feet are craving a break. I’m not running a ton – but they just aren’t recovering. I could probably try harder to help them.
————————————————————————————————-
Anyway. I used to love racing.

I found myself at Breakneck Point Trail Marathon almost a month ago. I was hoping once I got going I would get into it. And I did – I had fun. But I didn’t feel like being out there with the pressure of a “finish time.” I wanted to be out there on my own. I didn’t want this to end. But race pressure is for it to end fast.

I started with the marathoners. Hoping I’d suck it up and be one too. But shortly after – the half marathoners were already passing by. It could of been demoralizing. but all I thought about was why I was there.

Why was I there?

I didn’t belong as a racer. But I belonged as someone who took seconds to look around. I was someone who just wanted to be outside, and take in the long lost heat of a 75 degree day. I was craving the sweat drenched clothing, and technical downhill bombs. And as always the 955 foot crawl up the infamous Breakneck Point.

I got what I came for in the Half Marathon. Came into the finish after a solid 2 mile push at the end. I was content. I didn’t need excuses for not going back out for the full. I just didn’t want to.

——————————————————————————————————–
I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m doing something.

But maybe I’ve moved on to adventuring. Ultra adventuring.

More miles come when your not thinking about miles. Miles add up when you spend more time outside. The quickest way to get back to where you want to be – is making more time for it.

The end.

66 hour East Coast adventure

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Grand Canyon: Rim2Rim2Rim

I lost track of days while we were out in Arizona. Taking one day at a time. We explored Camelback mountain, Pixie Peak, South Mountain, Sedona, then what we all came there for: The Grand Canyon.

The night before our trek, I wrote some thoughts:

Tomorrow/in a few hours we traverse the Grand Canyon. A 48ish mile trek from South Rim, to North Rim, and back to South. Confusing weather will be both cold and comfortable. Snow/ice patches but mostly nice trail.

What am I thinking this adventures eve?

– I’m about to spend a solid and long day with a group of people who will be hard to leave at the end of this. A group of people I didn’t really know at all.

– I’m not sure how I got here. 1 month ago I had no plans of the Grand Canyon. Just a testament to great friends and opportunities. And just saying yes, and letting things happens.
Thank You Rochester Running Co!Β 


We started at 4am going down the Bright Angel Trail. Starting in traction due to a solid covering of snow and ice until about 1.5 miles down. It was in the 30s. And expected warmer down in the canyon.

We planned on having two groups. A lead group, and slower group. Our fearless leader Greg was sticking in the back, and planned to be the last out of the canyon for the finish. I was sticking with the lead group. Greg and I each had Garmin Delorme’s in case of emergency.

Grand Canyon trails are not all that challenging. They are smooth and groomed. And starting on a down hill and switch backs is amazing. Once in the canyon – It’s basically an awesome trail run. With real bathrooms every few miles! and water. Got it pretty good there. I was tempted to stay forever and be a homeless canyon dweller.

Things changed as we got closer to the North Rim. We crossed the RedWall Bridge, and soon after were getting showered by little waterfalls (from snow melt). As well as crossing over a bunch of rock slide sites. Many places had the paths washed out, and we had to hop over little boulders.

Redwall Bridge

Soon after we reach the Supai Tunnel. As we approached we start to see snow for the first time since the start. And immediately after going through the tunnel – we were trudging through snow.

Supai Tunnel

We had heard there would be snow on the North Rim. But assumed the trail may be broken by the time we got there. It took us a few hours to get from this tunnel to the Rim. We found ourselves breaking trail and post holing up to our hips.
——————————————————————————————————
Our original plan was to turn around at 1pm – no matter where we were. We wanted to make sure we would finish this thing today. And also make sure were making safety a priority.

We kept looking at our watch. We were so close. 1pm passed. We saw the other half of our group still following. So we kept going. I had no idea we were the ones breaking trail, till I took the lead, and half my body was buried. 1:30PM passed. We had one switch back to go. But I was stuck in a hole, and called the turn around. This was stupid.

It was not worth this massive effort. And also frozen feet. We were there – we just didn’t touch the sign. It would have taken another 30 minutes to go .2 miles. At this point – it had taken us 10 hours to reach the North Rim.
——————————————————————————————————-
Relieved to be heading back. But also slightly worried about the next 10 hours if my feet didn’t warm up.

Coconino Overlook

I was too cold to get any photos in the deep snow. I wish I had some tho. It was a mix of epic, hilarious, and frustrating.

Our groups stayed together most of the day. Re-grouping when we needed water at Manzanita. It would be about 8 miles till the next water – and food at Phantom Ranch. We ran this whole section. I was impressed.
————————————————————————————————————–
At Phantom Ranch we would be about 38 miles in. I was starving. But since we ran this last hour plus – I was not not coordinated enough to eat and run. I also knew we were getting real food at Phantom Ranch. What I didn’t know is that I would bonk hard.
————————————————————————————————————–
I ate an apple and almond butter at Phantom Ranch. And that was it. We got water and headed off. Still running. I was in the lead group. Being the tail and Jen setting the pace up front.

I knew I was going to have trouble with this one last climb out of the canyon. And I started to lose them. I was dizzy, and tried to take salt tabs, and eat again. I panicked because I had the car key. I didn’t want them to finish and wait for me and stand around freezing at 12am.

I kept moving. Knowing Indian Garden would be coming up. And assuming they stopped for water or bathroom.
———————————————————————————————————–
Thank god – They were there. I handed the car key over incase I couldn’t get my act together. We took off together again. But I was not recovered. I fell behind again.

It’s times like this I question things. But I couldn’t dwell too hard. I needed to get back in this group. What kind of leader ends up being the straggler?

I kept moving. I could always see there headlamps. Or hear there voices.

I passed the 3 mile rest house. Caught them at the 1.5 mile rest house. We put our traction back on, and took off for the home stretch. We knew we would go through 2 more tunnels. And counted down the half miles.

I was finally back. And we finished as a group. It was 11:58pm. We were all very chilled, and piled in the van and I drove us back to the lodge.

I turned around and went back to see group 2 finish.
They were only 30 minutes behind.
——————————————————————————————————
Pizza was waiting in our hotel room – Thanks to Katie our Media Coordinator. We sat around until 2am or so. Some people went straight to bed. Most of us were not hungry at all, just so sleep deprived.

Post ultra sleep was not great at usual. I was up at 5am. Made coffee and sat on the floor starting to pack – quietly making sure I didn’t wake up roomates. Usually sleep is something I care about. But not here. Not on trips like this. I’d rather spend every minute awake.

I’d rather still be in that canyon.
——————————————————————————————————
So that’s it. We worked for 20 hours to finish our little Grand Canyon (double) Traverse. Definitely slow due to ice at the start – and snow in the middle. But perfect conditions and temperatures the rest of the day!

South Rim 7,000 ft — North Rim 8,000 ft

What’s next?

  • Breakneck Point Marathon in April
  • 5k pizza challenge in May
  • CUT 112 mile May 31st – June 2nd
  • Italian Dolomites in July (75 mile traverse of Alta Via 1)
  • Twisted Branch 100k in August
  • A long list of other adventures in between!

Some Sums.

—2018—

2018. The most miles I’ve ran since 2015 (and I pretty much stopped running in October). 2116.33 Miles.

The most mountains I’ve hiked. Ever. 74 Peaks. 282.9 Mountain Miles.

The least amount of races since I started racing a ton in 2012.
9 races – and 274.5 race miles.

First 100 finish – 27.5 hours.

2018 – it’s been solid. But It’s time for a break.Β 

I’ve never taken a solid chunk of time off. “Off” meaning I still run randomly – but I don’t feel like I need to squeeze that run in before work – or during work. It won’t do any good.Β 

Instead I’m hitting Pursuit Performance 3-4 times a week. And running most on the weekends. And occasional short races. Not wearing a watch – cause it broke. And they are expensive. Not caring how far I go or how fast. Taking it easy — till…………

— 2019 —

This past June I crewed Ben Nephew in The Connecticut Ultra Traverse – And I fell in love with those trails. 

So I registered to run in next year – 112 Miles starting May 31st. 

The CUT112 – Is not a formal race. It’s free. But generous donations to Connecticut Forest and Parks are encouraged. The course starts at the border of Massachusetts and runs all the way down to the long island sound.  

I’m looking forward to this. I’m looking forward to another month or so of rest and strength building – then get into some training. 
———————————————————————————————————–
Also in 2019 – My third Twist Branch 100k. Because I’m committed to run it every other year. Also because It takes a year to forget how hard it is. 

The End. 

Brains

I spent last week thinking. And dreading. And self destructing. Pretty sure I was setting myself to be alone again because I didn’t think it was possible to have 1 thing AND the other.Β 

On a 6 hour drive to NYC, a switch flipped. I started thinking about the brain. And how it’s usually wrong. When do I ever let it hold me back? I don’t listen to it on runs. Or in mountains. Only in relationships.Β 

The brain is destructive. It wants you to stop when all you want to do is finish. It blinds you from what is right in front of you. It’s full of excuses and doubts.Β 

The brain fears being honest. It fears being judged. It fears what others will think of it’s thoughts. The brain amplifies and distorts something that is no big deal at all.Β 

You can’t trust your own brain sometimes. Because in the moment, it may be something too rash. Something you’ll look back on and regret.Β 
——————————————————————————————————
I didn’t want to go to NYC. I was quitting. But decided I HAD to. I knew I was being crazy. I knew I would feel different once I got these thoughts out.

I got stuck in traffic for an hour. A stand still.Β 

Within an hour I looked at a picture and felt nothing.

Looked at the same picture and felt something.

It was wild. I had all these fears and all these reasons it wouldn’t work. Then I thought – How would I feel if these thoughts weren’t there?Β 

I would feel completely different. I wasn’t feeling anything because I was feeling stuck. I was gearing up for emotional abandonment.Β Β 
——————————————————————————————————-
Brains are what make people crazy. And we all are.Β 

We all have split personalities. We have one part of us telling us one thing. And another telling us something else. Just have to KNOW when your being crazy, and when you are actually feeling something.

But talking is key.Β 

Talking is hard. But also so easy – because the outcome is usually quite better than your brain expects it to be.

I wish I remembered my entire epiphany on that drive. It was good. And was like – I need to share this. But I don’t remember. Maybe some of it’s here.

Back to why you can’t trust brains – they forget.Β 

The End.Β 

Hard running from this one.Β 

Seeking Peaks

Simplicity and confusion
and 122 hours.

I knew this would be an epic year. Training and completing my first 100 mile. Running more than I ever have before, and my body putting up with it. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen after finishing my goal race. How do you top a 100 mile out west? 

The quick answer to this is — Mountains.

— This is a list of all the climbs I’ve done this year – Big or little. 

MAY

I agreed to join Mertsock and Strat in a Catskill Bushwhack. My first ever bushwhack. I was worried when it took us 4 hours to go 4 miles. And it was HARD hiking. Hardest I’ve done. But once on the trail from Big Indian, it was quick and easy and only 4 hours to go the rest 10+ miles.

May 20th 2018
 β€“ Catskills – 15.6 miles – 8 hours and 15 minutes
1. Fir (Bushwhack)
2. Big Indian (Bushwhack)
3. Eagle Mountain
4. Balsam Mountain

The next weekend Strat and I planned to do a bushwack in the high peaks. But due to snow/ice/monorails, we opted for hiking the Seward range. 

May 26, 2018- ADKS
5. Donaldson +
6. Emmons +
7. Seward – 17 Miles – 9 hours 12 minutes 

May 27, 2018  –
ADKS
8.Big Slide – 7.7 Miles – 3 hours 34 minutes 

May 28, 2018 – ADKS- Tupper Lake Triad:
β€” 2 hours and 10 minutes (Including drive time)
β€” 7 miles
10. 8:47am Start on Mt. Coney
11. 9:24am on Goodman
12. 10:30am on Mt. Arab

JUNE

June 3rd, 2018 – Connecticut
13. Ragged Mountain +
14. Higby Mountain- Crewing Ben Nephew during The Cut

June 17 2018
 β€“ Catskills – Devils Path – 25 Miles – 12 hours
15. Indian Head Mountain
16. Twin Mountain
17. Sugarloaf Mountain
18. Plateau Mountain
19. West Kill Mountain

June 29, 2018- ADKS
20. Seymour – 14.4 Miles – 4 hours 30 Min

JULY

Big Slide during Strat’s through hike

July 1st, 2018
21. Big Slide again for Strats through hike. – 7 hours

July 2nd
22.
Cascade finding Strat again during his through hike.

July 15, 2018 – ADK day trip
I met a boy and planned this epic date. It was indeed a great day – and wins best date ever – I think.
23. Panther Mountain
24. Blue Mountain
25. Bald Mountain

July 20, 2018 – White Mtns-  Presidential Traverse:
Strat and I had a perfect day in the Whites – by far my favorite hike–
β€” 10 hours 35 minutes
β€”
21 miles
– – – –3:28am start (No sleep/ drove straight to start from Rochester, NY)
– – – –Finish 1:32pm
26. Mt. Madison
27. Mt. Adams
28. Mt. Jefferson
29. Clay
30. Mt. Washington
31. Mt. Monroe
32. Mt. Franklin
33. Mt. Eisenhower
34. Mt. Pierce

July 21, 2018 – White Mtns – 9 miles – 4 hours
35. Mt. Tom
36. Mt. Field

Sunrise on Mt. Madison (Presi Traverse)

August

August 10, 2018 – Pemi Loop:
– With Strat and Mertsock – Counter clockwise
β€” 14 hours and 36 minutes
β€” 32.6 miles
– – – –3:14pm start β€” Drove straight to start from Rochester, NY
– – – -Overnight hike
– – – -Finish 5:32am (8/11)
37. Garfield
38. Mt. Lafayette
39. Mt. Lincoln
40. South Twin
41. Mt. Guyot
42. Mt. Bond
43. Mt. Liberty
44. Mt. Flume
45. Little Haystack
46. Bondcliff

August 11, 2018
47. Mt. Jackson – 6.3 miles – Still sleep deprived after the Pemi

August 25, 2018 – ADKS –13 miles – 6 hours
– Tackled these with Dan boy. He moved to NYC so were trying this long distance thing with some adventures in between.
48. Iroquois+
49. Algonquin+
50. Wright

August 26, 2018 – ADKS –
14 miles – 6 hours
51. Gothics+
52. Armstrong+
53. Upper Wolfjaw

Sunset on Pemi Loop

September

I’ve been away almost every weekend since May. Whether it was races or mountain adventures. I found myself craving some time relax – but when that time came around…. I couldn’t. 

I wanted to be outside. With nothing to do other than see how far I could go. And didn’t really want anyone else there. So I decided I’d venture to the High Peaks alone. And tackle Saranac 6.

September 15, 2018
Saranac 6: 
Solo – Self Supported
β€” 12 hours and 43 minutes (Including drive time)
β€” 29.5 Miles
54. 7:43am Start on Ampersand
55. 10:00am on St. Regis
56+57. 12:27pm on Haysack and McKenzie
58. 4:22pm on Scarface
59. 7:08pm on Baker
Finish 8:26pm at the Bell

September 21, 2018 – ADKS
60. Kane Mountain – 2.3 miles – quick run

September 22, 2018 – ADKS – 12.8 miles – 6 hours
– Met Dan in Albany and we drove up for some High Peaks.
61. Whiteface Mountain
62. Esther

September 23, 2018 – Lake George – 7 miles
63. Buck Mountain

September 29, 2018 – Catskills – 26 miles – 6 hours 57 min
— Cats Tail Marathon – Race
64. Panther Mtn
65. Slide Mtn
66. Cornell
67. Wittenberg
68. Cross Mountain

September 30, 2018 – Catskills
69. Hunter mtn – 2 hours – 5.1 miles

TOTAL: 72 Peaks
272.9 Mountain Miles
130 hours and 5 minutes
(5 days 12 hours and 5 minutes)

And still time for more – the years not over yet!

October

122 hours of some of the best days. Hours of simply walking on these rocks, that reward you for patience and hard work.

Hours of asking yourself – What am I doing? This feels terrible. Feeling like you can’t move, can’t catch your breath, and can’t slow your heart rate down. 

Hours that leave you drenched – not from rain, streams, or mist. But from your own sweat. 

Hours spent with the friends that make life so much better.
And couldn’t live without. 

Hours just so you can see something. Feel something.
And hear nothing. 

My First weekend home in a while. Months maybe. And all I am is confused. The rest of October is busy. Away every weekend. And It’s all planned. I cant tell which is my mind, and which is my heart. But ones telling me to ditch everything. And ones telling me to keep hangin on.

NOVEMBER (adding on πŸ™‚ )

November 4th, 2018
– Strat and I attempted to hike the Lake Placid 9er – starting at midnight. It was also Daylight savings – So we relived 1am – twice. On 2 different mountains.

  • We bailed – I was sick. But we hiked:
  • Cobble Hill
  • Mt. Jo
  • Catamount Mountain
  • Big Crow Mountain

DECEMBER
Coming soon – A winter White Mountain Adventure.



The End.

Antelope Island Buffalo Run – My 100 miler to kick off 2018

What really matters? 
Nothing. Just do things
– and be happy. 

Me. 

Many on the Genny – Year 2

I had a song stuck in my head this whole race. More like 2 lines of a song.
—-This song—

Anyway. Year 2 of Many on the Genny.

I told coach I wanted to go for sub 8 hours. Secretly it was just an excuse for him to keep coaching me. I went into this race not caring a whole lot about time. Training hadn’t been feeling good. Limbs were hurting or achy. My insides were having their own kind of issues. (Girl stuff) I didn’t want to challenge the awesomeness of this race with any sort of disappointment. So plan was to just run. And keep moving.
—————————————————————————————————–
Many on the Genny is a 42 miler that runs around Letchworth State Park.

It will challenge you with a fast and runnable first half – then test you to keep running in the 2nd half, more ups and downs, long stretches with no aid, more remote. Each side of the park has it’s own personality – you get to see it all in a day. You get a Jurassic feel, then beautiful gorges, water crossings, fun single track. Yeah there’s some road running – but that’s just time in the bank.
—————————————————————————————————–
I ran the first 20 in about 3:30.

Early on I realized I needed to get on water and salt, or else I’d get behind. I wasn’t expecting to be sweating a ton. Expected a cool rainy day. But I was drenched, and it wasn’t raining.

I did a Huma+ gel in the first hour, and drained my water before the first aid. Took a salt tab sometime after – Drained my bottle again going into aid 2. Took another (regular) Huma gel between 2/3 hours. Going into Aid 3 (mile 20ish) I knew I would need something more. I had coconut water in my drop bag. So I grabbed that – and drank most of it. On my way out I dunked a potato in salt, and grabbed a pickle.
—————————————————————————————————-
I only managed a few bites of pickle. I wasn’t feeling any kinds of food.
I just wanted water.

I was pretty quickly out of water again. I knew It’d be a while till aid 4 – But I was also crashing. I struggled from mile 22. I’d be fine and just moving, then get random attacks of anxiety. It’s been a while since I’ve hit low points like that. But I would stop it early. I had been trying to work through a Lara bar (maybe got through half of it)- so i’d just chew on a piece of that. Then start running again.
—————————————————————————————————-
I got to Aid 4 – I think it ended up being mile 28? So thirsty. I had been out of water for a few miles.

I took 2 salt tabs here – and drank a full bottle of water. And a cup of mountain dew (that’s a first). Refilled my water. Grabbed a cookie to go.
—————————————————————————————————
I knew it’d be a while till the RRC aid – about 8/9 miles. The water stop before that is a good distance too.

Figured I’d be good for a while now. I felt better. But still ran out of water…

The water stop ends up being right around mile 35/36.

RRC Aid #4 ends up being at Mile 37.5ish.
—————————————————————————————————
Rochester Running Co had some dark chocolate ready for me. I was still struggling to want any sort of food. But I took the chocolate. Probably should have had more sugar through the day.

I took off from there. I felt great. I felt like I could run the last 4.5 miles to the finish. But then I was getting side stitches – not bad enough to stop tho. Then I started feeling randomly dizzy. Vaguely Nauseous. My lungs would tighten up. I stopped to walk as I fight off a panic attack. Drank some water. Not dying. Start running again.

Even though this last section is pretty short and runnable. I’m always hopeful that’s it’s shorter than I remember. But the trails bring you towards to Gorge – so you think your getting close. Then pull you away again.
—————————————————————————————————
In the last mile – I caught up to two people I never thought I’d see again. Steven Daily passed me early on – he would have a strong race. Emily Flagg passed me when I was suffering round mile 30. She was just cruising, and feeling great.

Photo by Gustavo


I saw her ahead as we reached the last bit of trail going to the finish. I picked up my pace. I wouldn’t catch up. But then I got closer. I really didn’t want to sprint into the finish. I might be sick. But I was so close. I picked it up again. Ugh. I sprinted. I passed her in the parking lot. Got her by 7 seconds. Sorry Emily πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
—————————————————————————————————
The weather held out. 100% chance of rain turned into just a cloudy humid day. I spent the day going back and forth with some awesome runners. Shared some miles with friends and folks that came out from Ohio.

The trails were in great shape thanks to Trail Methods and #Trailsroc. So many hours of maintenance. You could see all the work they did as you ran through.

30th overall. 4th Female. 42 miles in 8:46:07

Finish line hang out – photo by Eric


The finish line hang out is by far the best.

Things I used:
Orange Mud Single Barrel
Underarmour Speed Tire trail shoes
2 Huma gels
1 salt potato
1/2 Pickle
1/2 Lara bar
1 cookie
~140oz of water (=’s 4 liters of water (dang))
6 salt tabs
1 square of 70% dark chocolate (Thanks RRC)
————————————————————-
Whats next? I’ll be hanging around Whiteface this weekend. Other than that – nothing official. I think I’m gonna step back and hit lower mileage – more trails – and more adventures.
Oh except for one big thing in August. Potentially.

– The End.

If there’s a bear…

I use to love Carbon Leaf’s song “Live a life less Ordinary”. The next line is “Live a life extraordinary.” And I always thought yes.

Maybe I’ve accepted a life of alone (hopefully not forever tho ;p). But I’ve also accepted a life of adventure. I can say I take chances whenever I can. I put my body through the ringer – and will keep doing it. I’ll get the most I can. Miles on the legs. Adventures with friends.

I always say – if somethings gonna happen. It’ll happen. If there’s a bear – then you meet a bear. But you probably wont die. And if you do – well you were being awesome.
——————————————————————————————————
But what is real? What is the point of anything. Never be comfortable because anything can change in a second. Minute. Day.
——————————————————————————————————
I’ve been training for Many on the Genny – 40 mile – in 3 days now. But running doesn’t feel great. Easy runs feel hard. I wake up and ask myself – How do I even run?

But they’ve been getting done. Slowly.

Am I worried? No.

Whatever it is – it happens. The body fights for rest – and I’ll fight to give it.

I’ve been getting miles – but some have been adventure miles.
——————————————————————————————————-
So that brings me back to the bear. I’ve spent days in the woods the last few months. Days accompanied by nights outside my comfort zone.

Pitching a tent off some random trail. Hammocking in some random woods. Laying awake listening for foot prints of something heavy. Listening to trees fall, and thinking that’d be an awful way to go.

But all these thoughts that raise the heart beat get pushed aside. Because. It probably won’t happen. I’ll probably live. And there’s something about this rush, and this fear, all being part of the adventure.

Adventures so far this year:
Catskills – Bushwhack to Furr, Big Indian, then Eagle and Balsam.
ADKS – The Sewards, Big Slide, Tupper Lake Triad
CatKills – Devils Path
——————————————————————————————————-
Other forms of “The Bear” have been – just doing things. Not over thinking. Driving to Connecticut at 1am to Crew a teammate and sleeping 49 minutes in 2 days.

Is it worth the sleep deprivation? Health? Gas mileage? Risk of something happening?
– Yes
——————————————————————————————————-
What’s after MOTG?– Whiteface SkyRaces – I’ll be volunteering. After that? Something.

1420 Miles for the year so far – 200 away from my total last year.

Stay tuned.

Antelope Island Buffalo Run – 100 Mile

It doesn’t feel real. It didn’t feel real when I crossed the finish line.

27 hours and 30 minutes. I was at the finish. I had worked so many hours for it – and now I was done?
——————————————————————————
March 23rd at 12pm – I started my second 100 mile attempt on Antelope Island. Thanks to the sponsorship I received from #Trailsroc.
—————————————————————————–
I had spent the week before this in Utah. Just wandering around, and running easy miles. Getting used to the area, and new time zone. We (my parents and I) spent a good amount of time scouting out the island, and playing with the Bison.

Jason Vidmar (AKA dark Angel) got in Thursday – the day before the race. He would be there to help crew and pace.
——————————————————————————
The night before We chatted with Daven. Went over some nutrition stuff, and some mental strategy.

Daven told me to find a Mantra. I wasn’t sure what this would be yet.
——————————————————————————
I woke up Friday morning. No alarms. A normal night of sleep.
It was a normal morning.
——————————————————————————
I started out in my #trailsroc singlet and RNR shorts. Then last minute threw on some arm sleeves. It was perfect out. But it was tricky weather – it’d be sunny, but cold. And stealthy wind.

The first 5 hours I told myself – If I go slow enough, I will finish. I thought I was going slow – but managed an 8 hour 40 mile.

The first 20 miles is where most of the elevation is. Such an awesome section. If there are trails I was meant to run on – it’d be these. I had so much fun – and likely why my first 20 was a bit fast. but worth it. I did these miles without any wear on the legs – it was all just time in the bank.
——————————————————————————
The next 30 miles would be on the second half of the course. I passed through the start/finish – taking in my first bit of solid food. And headed out.

This would start out with a long 22 miles of pretty flat trail. I was running – but was starting to feel my first crash coming. I was struggling with a side stitch, and could only manage small bursts of running. I got to mile 27 at Lower Frary – where Jason and parents were waiting. Jason reassured me that what I was feeling was normal – and Daven had said I would feel like this.

Knowing that was so helpful. And took any stress or doubts out of my head.

Lower Frary was a main protein point. I took in Core Power protein, plus some coconut water. As well as a salt tab followed by a ton of water. I was definitely behind.

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I would start running again – next aid station was 5.8 miles to the Ranch. The side stitch was going away. I made up some time here and got there in about an hour. I did another salt tab followed by 8 oz of water. This was also my mandatory change spot – temps would start to drop from here. I put on a long sleeve. Jason piled potato chips in the cup holder of my chair. They had no salt potatoes – so this would due.

I left the aid – running. and Didn’t stop till I was already back to the Lower Frary Aidstation. This was a quick stop, and grabbed my head lamp here. I kept running as the sun went down. It was completely dark very quick – and found myself alone, with some howling wolfs (or something). I kept running till I got to the Mountain View intersection. It was a good climb to get out of these lower parts – so I walked.

The next section would be 6 miles around Bridger Bay. It was tricky finding the way here at night – some of the chalk arrows were misleading, or just not there. But I’d look ahead for something shiny – and it was usually right.

Going around Bridger was also deceivingly long. I could see the silhoutte of the mountain I was going around, and seemed like I’d never reach. It was also full of large rocks, and much different trail than the other sections of this race. I thought about the next time I’d be running this part – mile 94. That was gonna be a LONG 6 miles.

I was starting to get pain from my shoes in my right foot – there was weird pressure on my ankle. So I decided I would plan on changing shoes at mile 50.
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Speaking of shoes. I struggled with what shoes I would wear. It had rained all day the day before so I knew trails could be wet or muddy. I brought like 4 pairs. But still wasn’t confident – so I got a pair of Altra’s while were were in Utah the week before. NEVER ran in Altras before. hah. But decided I did’t want to start in them.

I started the race in my Under Armour Speed Tire (don’t judge – I found them on clearance) which are actually really awesome. And have a built in gator. And semi water proof. Were perfect for the trails in the beginning. And light. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles in them before this either. But whatever – they worked.
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As I came down the road to the start/finish/50 mile point – the wind had picked up, and was pretty brutal. Had not felt it until this section. Finished the first 50 miles in 10:40.

Jason was in the tent – I would be picking him up as pacer here. But first I changed shoes. Got some food. I was still wearing shorts – and had planned on them being ok for all of this. But as I sat – I got cold. And Jason convinced me that pants would be the smart option.
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We started out for the second 50. Time to do what I just did all over again. I figured most of this would be walking. But we actually ran a good amount up until Elephant head. I was feeling pressure on my toes, and they gradually got worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t run, even tho I wanted to. Down hills were rough because my toes would hit the front of the shoe. I was bummed that we couldn’t take advantage of a realllly great and long downhill after the Elephant head out and back.

This was a low point for me. I was sad. Sad that a couple of toes were keeping me from running. They are just toes – I should be able to ignore them right? Who needs them. But then I’d kick a rock. And cry. (ok only cried once) I tried to keep calm – because I knew if I let it overwhelm me it’d only cause breathing problems. I was just frustrated. Jason kept saying cheesy motivational things, and Dad jokes. And told me to reach Zen state and maybe the pain would go away. Jason’s the best.

The frustration didn’t last long. Because I looked around. It was everything I had hoped for. It was a clear night. Full of stars. An awesome crescent moon reflecting over the Salt lake. We watched it as it got lower throughout the night. I didn’t want this to end.

Photo by Jason Vidmar


We talked about the plan to relieve these toes. I didn’t know If I could wait till the start – this loop was 20 miles. Jason threatened to cut open my brand new Altra’s. My mom got them for me for my B-day — they couldn’t die yet!

As we got back around to Elephant head for the last time (we go through this aid 6 times). My toes were actually not as bad. I thought maybe I kicked enough rocks that whatever was there had popped. Or I had actually achieved Zen state.

So we continued on back to the start/finish. I was really excited for these trails again – I loved running them the first time. I hoped we’d be able to run them again. And we did – we cruised through 4 miles of trails, and got to mile 70 – 17 hours.
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It was 5am. Exactly the time I predicted being here. My parents were back with a blister tool kit. and We went to work on the toes.

I would leave Jason here and make my way to Mountain view aidstation solo. We would re-group there and see if I wanted him to join again. Toes felt better. But I was feeling sleepy. And cold.
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I got to mountain view. I found myself in my parents car hiding from the wind. Also found myself holding coffee and a box of donuts….. hmm. Pretty happy about this. But I got out, and Jason joined me to make sure I didn’t fall asleep. We walked. I closed my eyes and walked. Jason finally convinced me to take a gel, and it actually helped.

Sunrise from Mountain View. Photo by Jason.


We got to Lower Frary – finally. I took in protein, and gluten free cookies here. I would leave Jason here again. I felt like I’d be able to start running, energy was coming back. I was reaching a weird mental state. I didn’t want to carry anything. I was wearing a pack but not eating or drinking anything from it. So I left it at Lower Frary. I ran and made good time to the Ranch for the last time.
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Ranch was mile 85. I got water, and ate some cheese quesadilla. But it was warm so I dropped all sleeves and gloves. And ran out – waterless, sleeveless, headbandless. But least I had my sunglasses again.

Not that I approve of pictures of me eating, But it’s part of the story. Photo by Dad.


A few miles into leaving the ranch – the wind had picked up. It was brutal. I was soooo cold. I looked for my parents car – hoping they would be along the road somewhere. SAVE ME. Nope.

I was cold. So I ran. Probably helped my time overall. But even running didn’t make me warm enough. I couldn’t wait to get to Lower Frary for the last time. And put on some clothes.
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I was feeling a big crash coming. I was thirsty. I was cold. I was getting a side stitch. That’s what I get for dropping everything.

I got to the aid, and put EVERYTHING back on. Including hydration. I took in an entire Core Power protein. And some other food. and made my way out to mountain view for the last time.
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I was right when I felt a crash coming. I was crashing hard. The protein may have been enough to completely shut down the system. I was sleepy again.

I was cold. I was walking. The wind was brutal. But it was also so nice out. I put my hood up. Had my sunglasses on. No one was around. I cried.

And it wasn’t a bad cry. It was a cry I had held in early in the race. That I was so happy to be here. A cry I held in everytime I thought about finishing. A cry because I was going to finish, and that I would miss this place. Tears dripped down my sunglasses. I smiled. Well – I’m awake now.
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Jason was waiting at the mountain view interection. We had planned on running Bridger Bay to the finish together. We were quickly greeted by some Bison.

Mile 94ish – Photo by Jason.


We would try to run a few times around the rocky sections. I wanted to get to the finish. I figured it’d be a 28 hour day. I got warm as we were running, and again reached mental state of not wanting to carry anything. I shed my jacket and hydration. And as we got off the trail and onto the road – I dropped them. It was only road left till the finish – and we ran the final stretch.

I finished 100 miles in 27:30:27

Had to collect a sticker on each out and back to Elephant head – to prove you made it.


Nutrition I used:
4 Huma gels total
3 bottles of coconut water
3 bottles of Core Power protein
6 gluten free cookies
PB&J
Peanut M&M’s
Potato chips
2 quesadilla’s
2 Justin’s almond butter packs
1 chocolate covered almond
3 salt tabs
2 potato’s
1 donut
Few sips of coffee
A ton of water

Gear:
Orange mud single barrel
Under Armour Speed Tire trail shoes – first 50
Altra Timp trail shoes – second 50
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We sat around the finish for an hour or so. Got post race Buffalo stew. Still didn’t feel like I should be done yet. Finishers were coming and going – not really sure who was a 50 miler and who was a 100. I met 2 people from NY out there. I had talked to Kristen Roe before making this trip – we were the only east coast 100 milers. I ran into (literally) a 50 miler from Buffalo as we crossed paths on the trail. Small world.
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I feel eager to do another 100. Everything about this race was perfect. I felt good the whole time. No stomach issues. My legs always felt fresh. Usually at some point I feel like everything hurts – that didn’t happen. My biggest battle was blisters, and feeling sleepy. And just being cold. My low points weren’t even that low. And now only a few days later I feel completely recovered.

It all just seems like I got off too easy. Or I should have ran more.
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But that’s my first 100 finish. Unscathed. I can look back and love every minute of it. It was perfect. I could say I wish it wasn’t so cold. But pretty sure the cold kept me moving. Now I don’t know if I should rush into another – or take my time and find another awesome one to do next year. This year is still plenty busy with awesome races and adventures.
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It was more than just training to get to this 100. The support from EVERYONE was pretty overwhelming. You forget how much training you actually do – till people remind you. You don’t believe your ready for this till friends tell you – you put in the work. Then hearing that your coach and friends are checking in throughout the day – are the simple things that keep me going.

Thank you #trailsroc – for getting me here. And following me through this journey.
Thank you community for EVERYDAY support – whether or not i’m racing – people are the best.
Thank you parents for the best birthday in the history of birthdays. Support from them is no surprise – as well as Dad blowing up facebook.
Thank you Daven – for pushing me to my limits, and guidance. And for sharing your knowledge as well as Rogers knowledge of Nutrition, and race strategy.
Thank you Jason – for making the trip to Utah, and being more sleep deprived than I was. But somehow managing 40 miles and who knows how many hours. Getting me through the darkness offering support, as well as humor and just being an awesome friend.
Thank you to Strat – who always helps me during training – making sure I don’t fall apart – and putting my feet back together again.
Thank you to Chris (Running Inside out Podcast) for making me talk about these things. And forever will be a training partner/run fam.
And thank you to the Mountain Peak Fitness/Red Newt Racing team – always supporting teammates going after it. Looking forward to the races to come this year!
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Ending March with the most miles I’ve ran in one month – 279.63
From December 17th – when training started – till March 31st – I’ve ran 928.53 Miles

I wonder why recovery was so easy – And Daven reminds me that I was TRAINED for this. That my body was ready for it. And it was meant to do this. I believe it.
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Every winter #Trailsroc offers to award $500.00 to runners who will represent them well. All you need to have is a big goal race – and they will give financial support as well as training and encouragement. In return – you wear the #trailsroc shirt at the event – write up a recap – and share your stories with the community and world.

This was a LIFETIME goal. It was also my birthday. #trailsroc gave me so much – and probably the best week of my life. If you have a grand adventure in mind – share it with them. Apply to be an ambassador for 2019!

Photo by Jason


Photo by Jason

Antelope Training – not dead yet.

There’s strength in failing. It can’t always be back to back weekends of 70+ miles. Some people can. I thought I could.

I’ve been taking my head out of running. If it’s on the schedule – That’s what I’ll do. That’s what comes first. No matter how much I feel like I’m crawling, I can always find that second gear. Well – That’s unrealistic. I find out I’m human. You gotta break down to build up. But break down without going too far.
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Ending February with 267 miles trained.
Compared to January’s – 272.4

I was on track to beat that mileage this month. But there’s times to push.
And times to listen to your body.

I weigh the thoughts of – Is this really that hard? How is my body really feeling?

Then I look at my heart rate of 170 and I’m going 12:00 miles.
Something’s going on.

Antelope is coming – 3 more weeks.
The training is in – just got to hold it together.

Antelope Training

One full month of training down. And I’ve officially ran the most mileage since 2015.
I ended January with 272.4 miles. — The most I’ve ever ran in 1 month!
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I started to ramp up mileage in November to prepare for the real training to start in December. I contacted a friend and very successful and talented ultra runner (Daven) asking if he would have interest in coaching me to run this thing.

After mulling it over – He agreed. And said training would start now. Starting in Mid December was shaky. I was figuring out how to shift running as a priority – rather than working too much and not sleeping.

I ended December with 181.9 miles. However half of it was elliptical.
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January came with dangerous wind chills, and a couple of snow storms. I shifted runs around, so I could get the most out of the longer stuff. Daven has me on roads, with 2 speed workouts a week.

I could feel the toll it was taking on my body. I would end some runs feeling like death. My feet hurt. I would question how I would be able to run for hours again the next day. But I’m finding recovery stuff actually works. I go to bed and hope for the best – wake up and it’s not so bad anymore.
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I’ve been struggling with pain in my right heel. And as of 2 weekends ago – my left arch. Sometimes I can’t tell if they are getting better. Or worse. But I’m trying to be smart. They actually felt pretty good after ending last weeks biggest mileage week. I’ll take that as a good sign.
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So far – This training stuff is awesome. It’s helped me simplify. Before I do anything else – I do my run. Or go to the gym. Running comes first. Which is also putting myself first. I’m not committing to anything other than training – and showing up to work on time.
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Less than 2 months to go. A lot more running to do. Just hope my feet hold up.

#getrekt