2019

2019. If I had known the places I would go this year – I wouldn’t have believed it. Phoenix, Grand Canyon (Rim2Rim2Rim), Banff, my second 100 mile (112 miles) Traversing Connecticut by foot, Adirondacks almost every weekend (11 weekends/24 days in the ADKS), Catskills, 6 days in Italy — Traversing the Alta Via 1 trail, crewing friends in Virginia (pacing 33 miles of Yeti 100). Crewing and pacing Scott in Kentucky (19 miles of War hammer 100). Miles in Harriman State Park, and New Jersey. Peak count totalling 85 for 2019 –> 27 ADK High Peaks, 38 ADK non-High Peaks, 4 Catskill Peaks, and 16 other peaks ranging from Mountains in AZ, Italy, and CT.

I even did some races — Breakneck half marathon (Beacon, NY) , New Paltz Pizza Challenge ( πŸ˜… ), Sweeping Iron Mines (New Jersey), Twisted branch 100k, Philly Marathon. A couple relays — Mighty Misquito 99, and Cast A Shadow snowshoe relay.
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Italy brought me out of my shell for the first time in a long time – around a large group of people. I could spend everyday with that group.

I spent most adventure time with Strat – as we would pack up and drive to the Adirondacks late every Thursday night. Car sleep or no sleep and hike Friday/Saturday and head home. Never had to pack or unpack – as we just used the same stuff every weekend. (No Strat and are are not dating — as everyone always thinks so :p )

Mertsock would join us last minute any chance he could – and would lead us on the most epic trips.
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2019 had its struggles.

In 2018 everything felt hard. I always thought I was bad at hills. I was always the last one up a mountain – Strat always had to wait.

So early in 2019 – I felt weird. Running didn’t feel good. Something was out of whack. So I sucked it up and went to the DOC. Found out I was anemic – popped some Iron pills just in time to do CUT112 — and I felt the difference.

After the CUT things got weird again.

In June I was hit by some weird stomach stuff. A lot of Doctor appts, a lot of tests, no real answers. Even a colonoscopy. Everything said I was fine. But I couldn’t run. I did Devils path with some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I was scared how Italy would go… and it bothered me there. But not as bad. — I’m still figuring it out, and still have my bad days, but I’ve learned to control it.

Otherwise though – I love hills now. I love climbs. I don’t die every time.
My energy is good – and most runs feel good.
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In these adventures and mountain miles. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what I’m doing with my life. Surrounded by friends with real lives and family. And here I am – just all over the place.

I don’t share my life with one person. I share it with many. And I’m learning that that’s ok?
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I’ve lived my whole life thinking I had to have a boyfriend. I had to get married. Because that’s what people do. You live to fall in love.

I fell in love once. Since that ended I’ve fallen in love everyday. With people, with places. Nothing has stole my heart like the Adirondacks did this year.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to be with one person some day.
But for now I’m content.

It’s hard experiencing the best days of your life – knowing they will end. The love you feel in this moment will fade. But the memories last forever. You’ll miss the people the you spent these unlimited hours with. Forever connected by the experience of completing something you didn’t think you’d complete.

Managing to laugh at each other through sleep deprivation and energy depletion. To get stronger as the days and miles add up. Experiencing true exhaustion and hallucinations. Sleeping 10 minutes and it feeling like 2 hours.

No feelings quite like what you feel after completing 51 hours of the CUT112. Or 10 hours traveling through the heart of the Adirondacks. Taking steps and seeing things only the Birds, Moose, and Bears see. OR 75 Miles exposed traversing trails of the Dolomites, and walking with Italian cows. Waking up every morning to people you vaguely knew, but now have become family. And everyday trekking above the clouds.

To sum things up. I’m lucky. Lucky to have best friends and adventure partners. Lucky to have Strat and Mertsock – making life less lonely, and up for everyday adventures. Matt and Adam – however far away they are, they’re stuck with me for life. Rochester Running Co – Giving me opportunities to design as well as help lead adventures. Red Newt Racing and Mountain Peak Fitness – Always look forward to races and team gatherings. They continue to welcome me, support me, and include me in awesome adventures. #Trailsroc – Will always be where it started. Where I met my first training partners, my first trail races, and supported me in my first 100.

Here’s to more new adventures. More best days. And the ever expanding adventure family.
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2019 Totals:
Miles Ran: 1817 miles
Miles Raced: 401.7 (11 Races)
Mountains climbed: 85 Peaks
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Whats coming in 2020?

March: Mount Tamanny 10
— Something got in my head and made me think this was a good idea.

June: CUT112 again
— Even though we finished the entire course last year – It was marked as a DNF, since it was outside the cutoff. I’m going back for a faster attempt.

July/August: Italy — Helping lead the Alta Via 2 trip
— Potentially staying for 2 weeks and leading Alta Via 1 as well.

Beckhorn Prints: Strat and I are starting something.
— Stay tuned. Or check out instagram.

The End.

Alta Via 1 Trail

Sunday July 14th – 10 of us left Rochester.

Monday the 15th – we arrived in Venice.
Delayed 1.5 hours and 3 buses to catch.

We arrived to Pragser Wildsee by foot – walking the last 2 miles to Lago de Braies. And would find this to be our trips only encounter with rain.
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DAY 1: 12.12 miles
6 hours 22 minutes
Elevation 4,970ft

Lago de Braies at Pragser Wildsee

Casual start – since we did not have a very long day. But the trail from Pragser did not ease us into climbing.

The switch backs here are steep. And rocky. But we’re greeted by large rocks, open fields, and wild flowers. And lots of cows.

Greg and I at the start.

Rochester Running Co asked me to help with this trip back in January (along with the Grand Canyon). And of course I would say yes. I had no vacation time. But I would make it happen.

My favorite views often had these grassy rock fields.

Day 1 ends at Rifugio Lavarella. The Rifugio with the most cows of the trip. We would find it hard to fall asleep. Maybe because of the cow bells. Maybe because of the time change. We were living 6 hours in the future.

DAY 2: 13.33 Miles——————————–
8 Hours
Elevation: 4,770ft

This was our groups favorite day. The trail was a little more forgiving to start. We were exposed. To paths, rocks, climbs, and no escape from the sun. We would start running any parts that we could. We started bombing downhills. The best technical running I’ve ever seen.

Our favorite descent.

A few of us went on a little detour to Refugio Lagazuoi. Involved some extra climb, a lot of switch backs, and World War II tunnels. We thought we’d get some water while up there – but it was not potable, or filterable. But mostly just detoured to say we were on the highest point of the trail.

Greg and Michelle on the way up.
Highest point of the trail! 8500 ft.

Greg and I would run down the switch backs from here. Our first of many fun descents.

We would end the day at Rifugio Averau. My favorite so far. High in the mountains. Good food. And cheap glasses of wine. We had a bit of fun – the next day would be our easiest and shortest day.
—————————————————————————————————————-DAY 3: 13.45 Miles
5 Hours 20 Minutes
Elevation: 2,526ft

As expected – no one felt great starting this trek. Thankful for the downhill start, and easy hiking. We eventually started running – and to everyone’s surprise – it felt OK.

Enjoying a day of gradual climbs and awesome trails.

We would end the day at Rifugio Passo Staulanza. And arrived early enough to sit down for lunch. Hit the Spa (for real). And have our nightly family dinner.

View from our bunk room.

DAY 4: 18.4 Miles—————————————————————————————-
8 Hours 42 Minutes
Elevation: 5,000ft

The next 2 days would be our longest, and most difficult. But we were ready after our easy day and night of recovery.

Day 4 was almost my favorite. The trails never disapointed. I was where I wanted to be. I could stay here. Only wishing my insides would feel normal.

For a few months before this – I’d been having weird stomach issues. Pretty intense pain sometimes. Lots of tests and no answers. I guess If nothings wrong, I can push on. But frustrating to have to hold back at times.

It bothered me here. But it’s been worse at home.

I questioned my ability to lead. But I felt strong. I felt a little unprepared – as I didn’t know much details about the trail. But I was here – and I’d do my best. If only as support, a friend, and an extra body that’s capable and can carry a GPS device.

But I melted. 3/4 of the way done. I waited for Drew who took a pit stop. But inside – something was wrong. We were climbing through a steamy forest. Drew arrived and passed me, and I trekked on. Soon after found myself unable to catch the group.

JohnAlex saw me and told me to drink water – told me I was a faucet. I was drenched. I drank some water – soon to find, that was the last of it.

I kept moving in the back. I hit a dark spot. I needed calories. But had no water. Depleted in every way. The tears rolled in.

What kind of leader am I?
If anything… I guess I can demonstrate death and redemption.

Greg waited up for me and donated his water. And we finished up together.

Everyone sat outside at the Rifugio, and ordered lunch. And confused the waitress. A lot of soups, cheese sandwiches, and french fries. I was still depleted, and sat in food depression. I would wait till dinner.
——————————————————————————————————————DAY 5: 19 Miles
10 Hours 50 Minutes
Elevation: 4,724ft

Our earliest start. No breakfast. We were up and moving by 4:30 AM. A little worried I would hit a wall again. But I wouldn’t let that happen. This is redemption day.

Every day there are parts of the hike I would never forget. Everyday is something I hadn’t seen yet. This day had us climbing steep and rocky. And on the edge of the world.

Just because you tire one day, doesn’t mean it’ll happen everyday. Just because you struggle at one thing, doesn’t mean you’ll struggle forever. You can hit a wall, and keep moving. And sometimes just moving is enough motivation for others to keep going as well.

Kathryn told me I was a power house. But also showed how to be human.

I remember Elissa saying it was motivating seeing me slow down. Everyone at some point – needs to catch a breath.

We were on our longest day – and also our last. I wasn’t ready to stop living in these mountains. I would miss these trails. Running with these people. Family time at the Rifugios. Top bunk every night. These mountains filled with rock fields, wild flowers, and roaming cows.

We live everyday only seeing people for limited time. We just spent 8 days and every hour together. This group could have done many more. I would never tire of their company. I would miss it.
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Total Miles: 75+ish
Total Time: 5 days / 39 hours and 14 minutes
Total Elevation: 21,990ft
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Thankful for Rochester Running Co trusting me to co – lead. Thankful for Greg who planned such an awesome trip. And amazing job coordinating transportation, with bus schedules, train schedules, and flights.

This was a trip of a lifetime. But the people made it that way.

I wrote in my little journal once. After day 1. I questioned why I was there. Feeling undeserving. And un-leaderly. But then again – why am I anywhere?

I go where I want to go. I take opportunities. And every time – it’s what I’m meant for. Mountains, multi-day treks, technical trails, sleep deprivation, and being human.

The end.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2019

2015 – 17:36:56 (Trained)
2017 – 18:01:38 (Sorta trained)
2019 – 18:53:38 (No training)

Start Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr/ GF Media

I’ve tried all approaches to Twisted. Training/no training. They all end up the same. Maybe this is the course I strive to beat. But so far – it just eats you up. As the wise Vidmar told me after I told him this same thing — “It seems to find, expose, and make us confront any vulnerabilities we might have going in. But, perhaps that is also its gift.”
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It was a rough few weeks leading up to this. 55 hour work weeks. I felt trapped and frustrated. And after spending the weekend before in the ADKs, I just wanted to retreat back. I considered the DNS. But of course as the week ended – things settled down. And a long day in the woods is all I wanted anyway.
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I was curious if this was still the hardest ultra I’ve done.

It is.
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Going into this – I had no running miles. But tons of time on feet. Weekends in the mountains. Italy trip and CUT112 still on my mind. I knew finishing wouldn’t be an issue. How would running that much go – after not running much at all?

So to start. My CUT112 buddy Adam was running too. And after sticking together for 112 miles before – we started this race together. With Abby by my side as well. The 3 of us cruised along for a while, until Abby got out her poles and left us in her uphill dust.
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Running actually felt ok.

We cycled through running, and hiking. Feeling like we were moving well and making good time. Feeling like I was running more than past years – but then again… I didn’t really remember. We found ourselves at 50k near 7.5 hours.

We both bonked hard on our way into Patch Rd Aid Station. My feet were hurting – and they never hurt like this. I fiddled with my shoes – the tongue kept getting sucked and scrunched into my shoe, putting pressure on my foot. I adjusted it, but knew it wouldn’t last.

Adam bounced back quick. I still felt depleted. But we’d try to run as much as we could to get to Bud Valley.

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Going into this – I didn’t care about finishing. During this – Definitely didn’t care about finishing. I was content dropping at Bud Valley. But told myself if Mertsock was there…. I couldn’t drop. And of course he was.

I was excited he was there. Smiled and waved as we ran in. Pretending I wasn’t dying inside.

I fiddled with my shoes again at Bud. And complained about my socks. I even looked at my spare socks in my drop bag – but changing them seemed like such a large task. I would survive with what I had. My shoes on the other hand – were living there last miles. And my feet were feeling there death.
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Spirits were good when Mertsock jumped in. But soon after the clouds rolled in and we were drenched. The rain lasted a while. The mud was not cool.
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My spirits didn’t last long. I was trying. My brain chemicals were gone.

I kept feeling like I couldn’t come back. I was defeated.
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I’d hear my breath get weezy. Tears would roll in my eyes. Nothing was wrong. Why was I freaking out?

I was frustrated that maybe this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. This wasn’t the stress relief I was looking for earlier in the week.

I was tired of eating Aid station stuff. I didn’t want anything. Tired of gels. and pickles. Even the real food didn’t look appealing. Although Lake David got me with Donut slices and coffee beans.

I was tired of feeling chased. I kept craving our “no mans land” – but every time we’d find our spot, we’d hear voices again. So many people. — Not that it wasn’t great to see how others were doing. I think we all just look for that time of solitude.

Photo by Mertsock at Lake David

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Panic attacks creeped on me basically the whole time from Bud Valley to Urbana. Without warning.

Luckily the 3 of us have done this before. We were re-living the CUT112. Adam and I racing. Mertsock pacing. Both of them knowing my deaths won’t last forever.
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My goal was to make it to Urbana. All I really wanted to do was run the stretch from Michelsville. My favorite 2.5 miles, no matter how I feel – I’ve always been able to run there.

I was not expecting to have a melt down. On the way down from Lake David – I couldn’t control the tears. I saw the Michelsville tent. Tried to stop crying. Nope. I couldn’t stop anything. I ran by the Aid saying “I’m just gonna go.” Ditching Adam and Mertsock. And for the first time – actually cried. As I ran away. It felt good. A little dramatic. But I felt free!

I heard Mertsock running behind me. And as the melt down ended and we navigated some fence and barbed wires, I was excited to get this done.

A little guilty for leaving Adam after he had stuck with me all day. But Mertsock assured me he’d catch up. And he did.
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We swapped Mertsock for Strat at Urbana. I was content with stopping here all day. But my current mood had me ready to finish at the beach.

I was slow again.

Mount Washington is never the worst of the course. Every year it’s always felt pretty good. Maybe you stop caring at that point? Or maybe the switch backs make it forgiving. The worst is the trail just after.

It takes forever to get down to Winding Stair road. I used to think it was the Triad trail. But Triad is quick. And fun switch backs.

But this pre-Triad trail…. had me angry. I was angry at the mud. Angry at this little hill that Strat and Adam bounced up. But I was stuck walking in place. So mad. I cried. Cause I don’t know what else to do with emotions.
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It was relieving to reach Winding Stair rd. And we ran our way to the Triad turn. And kept running our way through the switch backs. I looked and saw 10:46 pm – 14 minutes to beat 19 hours. (which we actually had 10 more minutes cause of late start) But I asked Strat –

“Think we can finish in 10 minutes?”
— Strat “Yes”.

“Really?”

I believed it. We cranked a few extra gears. Rolled in at 10:58pm.

Another by Mertsock at Lake David.

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Part of me never wants to do this again. Part of me thinks this course is just not meant for me. Then the stubborn part of me wants to see if I can do it….

Guess we’ll see in 2 years. Staying true to every odd year.

Next year I’ll bring back the lights.
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Twisted. A super runnable course. Sneaking over 10,000 feet of gain in 65 miles. All via the best trails in the Finger Lakes.

Something makes this course so challenging. Harder than 100 milers. Harder than staying awake for 51 hours.

Some seem to figure it out. I just don’t know. Sure is awesome though.
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Thank you Scott. Your creation is one of a kind – and the best and hardest on the east coast. Thank you Twisted Crew – for all the hours of hard work and support along the course. Thank you volunteers for helping me survive, and all the high fives and cheers.

Thank you Adam for sticking with me – no matter how many times I told you to leave. Best company and great friend to spend the miles with.

Mertsock for pacing us for 20 miles. Keeping me moving even while my brain had lost all hope. Attempting shoe fixes mid trail – resulting in broken laces – but using Macgyver skills to pin things together and make it work. Always the luckiest to share miles with you.

Strat- For transporting everything and everyone. And pacing us the last bits from Urbana. Telling us we’re crushing it- even when it felt like we were crawling. And pushing us when we felt we could run.

Chris-O – For spending your birthday with your run fam. Lucky to have you all over the course. And especially at the end. Thanks for laughing at me and supporting me like always!
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What’s next?

Pretty sure Im adventuring every weekend.

But then a road marathon in November. yes. A marathon. Cause it’s been a while. And we’re getting G-Street back together.

The end.

CUT112 – 2019

“Think of everything we just accomplished. How far we’ve come.”- Adam

“Have we accomplished anything? All we’ve done is walked. We haven’t done anything. But yes – we moved pretty far… lol” – Me

A piece of dialogue somewhere between mile 90 and 112.
Of Connecticut’s Blue blazed Trails.

Views like this began early in the race. And throughout the entire thing.

We started Friday May 31st at Rising Corner, MA. The Border of MA and CT. We walked over the border to start our journey across Connecticut at 8am. Friends Matt Kornaker and Adam Raszewski were running as well – and we planned to stick together.

We had a solid crew – Jason Vidmar and Scott Parr were there from the Start – with our own 007 in the form of Mike Mertsock joining in later.
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Now. I don’t know how to recap this.
51 hours and 36 minutes to traverse 112 miles.

I had no plans of finishing. A week before this – I wasn’t sure I would even start. But a trip to the ADKs got things feeling good again – and I’d give it a shot.

It was nice having the 3 of us. There were maybe 20 people running the “event” – but very early on it was just us. It was our race – our adventure – we kept track of pace to meet our finishing time goal – but even as that slipped away, we didn’t stress.


Our first overnight was during Castle Craig. Potentially one of the hardest sections – and confusing to navigate. It felt like we were going in circles. Long climbs, then long downs, then longer climbs when we thought we were almost out of there.

I was bonking hard. Just thinking of that bridge our crew would be waiting on – and how I would curl up in a ball when I got there.

Every low would get distracted by something cool. We would come up on trapp rocks, overlooks, little caves, towers, and this – Castle Craig.

We climbed the stairs to the top – and thought about staying 30 minutes to watch the sun-rise. Matt and I layed on the cold metal steps with our legs up. I could do this forever. Vidmar looked down and laughed.

The steps of Castle Craig – Matt and I.

The journey was full of laughs. We laughed at each others suffering. Matt with the chaffing. I couldn’t walk behind him without cracking up.

The boulder launching of mile 20 – when we got lost and bushwhacked up a ravine. We lost some time and Matt and Adam lost some blood – my fault.

Bushwhacking a ravine due to getting lost.

We talked about ridiculous things. Tick checks every 5 minutes. Adam found 6 on him during this. Who knows how many more when he wasn’t looking.

When we died at mile 55. And again at 101.

Our brains telling is to stop because we were doing long term damage to ourselves. I imagined poison ivy reaching my hands as I touched my eyes and everything else. I imagined how bad the next days would be with puffy eyes and rashes over my face. I felt my kidneys burning and yes – uterus leaving. I got girl problems at some point during this… TMI. I thought about this being a good enough excuse to stop. But every time we got up again – I felt pretty good.

There were no excuses – I felt like I had endless miles on my legs.
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The Higby Mountain demoralizer.

Our lowest point of the trek. I was scared we traumatized Mertsock, who witnessed our brains and bodies go to some dark places. We walked in silence. I would disappear.

I was so impressed with my brain this whole adventure – until now. I was sad. Too sad to want to go on. Too sad for ice cream that was waiting at the bottom of this mountain. I wanted to disappear. I choked on a bug. And broke down.

I would come in an out of the mental breakdown. I started talking to Adam. Told him I was being sad. He was out of it too. We got to the bottom – The parking lot of Guida’s Dairy. I was excited for ice cream again. But quickly got overwhelmed – and retreated to being horizontal.

I wouldn’t be able to go on if I didn’t eat anything. I was too sad to want anything still. But inched over to the peanut m&m’s. And grabbed a protein drink. My brain was back quickly after that.
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I wasn’t tracking our mileage. But I kept track of time. I would get excited at hour mile stones. The longest treck before this was 27.5 hours.

I was excited to see what 30 felt like. Then what 40 felt like – as we went into our second overnight. Then 48 hours – officially moving for 2 days.

Things definitely get a little weird when sleep deprived. I saw pink balloon houses – which were tree’s with pink flowers as we got closer. Things moving in the woods, were usually just our shadow. I saw Matt in front of me 95% of time. He was not there.

Thank god we had Mertsock pacing us. Because my eyes were glued to the ground. I would not be able to coordinate looking for blazes with walking.
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I began to get too sleepy. I told Adam I didn’t think I could keep going if I’m this tired. I barely wanted to stand. As we got to our crew at mile 90 – I layed down and covered my head. I heard Adam lay down shortly after – and crew saying “wake him up in 5 minutes”. We were at Arties bar.

Mertsock had called this last section “a project.” It was indeed rough.

I was content with being done here. But heard Adam get up and start looking at the elevation profile. Talking about the next few sections. Dang it Adam.

About 17,000 elevation gain.

I got up. The next section was only 4 miles. I could make that one – but thinking after that, I would be done. We started walking again. We were stiff and cold. And walking at a 1 mile per hour pace.

“I can’t do this Adam!”
“This is too slow! hahaha” – Me
“I know sorry – I can’t move” – Adam
“No – I can’t go any faster either….hahaha” – Me
“OMG this is going to take forever.”

We got moving though.
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The next 4 miles seemed much longer than 4 miles. And as hills were supposed to be decreasing- still seemed like we had to climb a bunch.

This section had an important turn that we could not miss (else we’de be headed back north). But ofcourse – we missed it. It didn’t take long for Mertsock to see we were off course. And he took off to scout.

It was still dark. And as we wait for Mertsock’s return – we see his headlamp wayyyy up on the ridges we came from. Then suddenly back down and over, and up. He was on Mission Impossible 3.

He found where we had to be – and had us follow him on a little bushwack. Our very own 007sock.
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We got to our crew again shortly after. And I was awake again. Ready to keep going. We had one long section left through the Timberland Preserve. 6.8 miles. Then we would only have 3 short ones. Then done.

Energy began to be short lived. As we were walking I would get tired again. I was prepared with snacks to keep me awake. But only the act of chewing was working. As I finished one bite. I’d be nodding off again.

Mertsock had even started sleep walking.
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I imaged the ground I’d be able to lay on again – once we got to the cars. I didn’t care if it was 2 minutes. My eyes needed to close for more than a couple seconds.

It was a long section. And as we finished – I bee lined for the pavement. Scott covered me with his sleeping bag. I heard Adam lay down shortly after. And heard “10 minutes.” I was out.
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I woke up on my own. And stayed still.

“What was I doing?” – I can’t remember.

I layed as I tried to remember where I was. I was outside. I was doing something…..

Then I remembered Scott and Mertsock were there. I peaked out of my sleeping bag. They were sitting looking at there phones. “Oh good – they didn’t see me”. I covered my head again.

Then I felt panicked. They must’ve been waiting for hours! I felt so bad. Mertsock must be so tired. I flung the sleeping bag off and sat up.

Scott had saw me peak the first time. Dang it.

CUT112 – Mile 102

They woke Adam up. And I was amazed it was only 10 or so minutes. I was ready to get this done. we were at mile 102. And only 10 left. A good chunk of it would be road at the end.
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Scott was with us now – and took us all the way to the end. We even had to take 2 elevators – to get over a railway station.

The finish didn’t come easy. It was long and drawn out. But we ran the last .2 miles to the beach. And running felt good.

Crew waiting at the finish line.
Adam and I – Finished – and with Belt Buckles.

I was excited to get some time with crew. I had been wanting to finish – because they came so far to help us.

We lost Vidmar the day before. Who had to return home for work. And Mertsock and Scott would have to leave later this day. Matt had paced us in the first half but dropped at 100k – and stuck with us as crew.
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It was everything I hoped for. I wanted to see all of these trails after crewing it last year. We would finish a section – we would be dead – But my motivation was always – I wanted to see what’s next.

And I wanted my crew to see it too.

When Mertsock told me this was one of his favorite adventures. And he enjoyed every minute. That was everything. I would die happy.

How often do you spend 24 – 60 some hours straight – with the people you can’t get enough of.

This is one for the history books. My heart needs nothing more but to remember the hours I spent here.

Gotta venture through the dark to appreciate the light…or so someone once said! – Jason Vidmar aka Dark Angel. 

The end.

We didn’t get an official finish. Cut off was 45 hours.
But we will return next year for redemption!

Start: 5/31 8:00 AM
Finish: 6/2 11:36 AM
Miles: 112
Time: 51 hours 36 minutes
Elevation: 17,000
Calories: Almost 15,000

Thanks to Art Byram and everyone involved in this “Fat Ass” event. All donations go to preserving these Blue Blazed Trails – and so we can keep attempting this every year.

Thank you for the support – and recognizing our finish. Even though it was outside of the cut-off. Thank you for one of the best weekends of my life.

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?”
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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.
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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

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.
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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.