“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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Time: 51 hours 36 minutes
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.