2016

2016. Was interesting.

I ran 1966.81 miles
I raced 379.96 miles – 19 races (5 Ultras)
2 DNFs.

I did strength training with Josh Rossi the entire year.

I joined the MPF/RNR Trail running team.

Made a few good ventures to the ADKs and knocked off more high peaks.
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The year started out strong with group things and lots of friend runs.
– Beer Mile.

2016 Beer mile smiles.

2016 Beer mile smiles.

– Wegmans Marathon.

Wegmans Marathon on Wegmans 100th B-day. 6 Wegmans. 1 cake.

Wegmans Marathon on Wegmans 100th B-day. 6 Wegmans. 1 cake.

– G Street crew.

Rock N Roll DC Marathon - March 2016

Rock N Roll DC Marathon – March 2016

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I had some good races. Cast a Shadow 6 hour – 34ish miles. DC Marathon – I qualified for Boston here, then didn’t register for Boston. Cayuga Trails 50. Ontario Summit Marathon. Whiteface Skyrace. 0 SPF.  Also good runs at Belleayre Mountain Summit 10k, and All Down Hill 5 mile (18:38 5k).

Cayuga Trails 50 Mile.

Cayuga Trails 50 Mile.


Whiteface Sky Race. Photo by Joe Azze http://mountainpeakfitness.com/

Whiteface Sky Race. Photo by Joe Azze
http://mountainpeakfitness.com/


Sweet Trophies at Belleayre 10k - and an Overall win. MPF/RNR swept this race.

Sweet Trophies at Belleayre 10k – and an Overall win. MPF/RNR swept this race.

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I had my first DNF at my first 100 attempt. Burning River. Yeah, I was injured going into it. I didn’t leave without good memories though – The great toe debacle and shoe amputation.

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

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

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I jumped in to pace Rob at Twisted Branch. Then ran Lucifers Crossing the next day – probably my worst race in a LONG time… dead legs plus a few nights of no sleep.
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Ran Watergap 50k in October. It went well until I had good old breathing issues – but still sub 5 hour.

Watergap 50k.

Watergap 50k.


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Ventured to Virginia for Hellgate 100k in December. My second DNF @ mile 47, due to missing a cutoff. It was a record cold year, but it was awesome.
Gettin ready in Bethel - Hellgate 100k. Photo by Chris O'

Gettin ready in Bethel – Hellgate 100k. Photo by Chris O’


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Best races/weekends of 2016:
Whiteface SkyRaces. Cayuga 50. And Hellgate 100k. Hands down.
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2016 wasn’t without mistakes. I should have taken more time by myself.

But being alone is awkward. And kind of scary.
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So whats up for 2017?

1. Starting it off awkward and scary. But also kind of refreshing.
2. Im signed up for:

3. Another full year of Strength training with Rossi.
4. Another full year of Team stuff – I’m looking forward to joining more adventures.
5. Planning to spend a good chunk of time in the ADKs – Probably run Whiteface again.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of venturing out west for my next 100 attempt. Looking into September/ labor day week. Or stay local and run Twisted Branch again.

So yeah – Basically no big plans. Just take the year as it comes.
See what happens.

The end.

Looking at Burning River 100

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

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

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

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

But then. I hurt my foot.

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

Foot death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

100

100 time.

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

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

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

Why Burning River 100?

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

BR100

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

br100map

What’s my goal?

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

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

After that?

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

The End.

p.s. I qualified for Boston. Barely.

I like this picture. From Rock n Roll DC

I like this picture. From Rock n Roll DC

 

 

2015

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

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

That’s the simple way of summing up 2015.
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January – I started training with Mike. Each month we would hit 200+ miles. This is also when I started running with the crew (Mike, Chris O’brien, and Matt) – and Jeff Green appearances became more frequent.
FL50

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

Me, Kirsten and Matt

Me, Kirsten and Matt

March – Started doing Bikram Yoga.

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

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

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

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

Photo by Matt B

Cayuga 50 2015 – Photo by Matt B

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

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the backround.

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the background.

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

Burning River finish

Burning River finish

twisted.jpg

Twisted Branch 100k – Me and Jeff

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

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

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

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

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

Water Gap 50k

Water Gap 50k

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

On our way to Skylight

On our way to Skylight

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

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

Run a marathon? on roads? yeah…

Run 100 Miles? yeah.

Run 4000 Miles? yeah. wait… probably not.

“You only live once” seems to be an overused statement. But it’s what I keep telling myself. It’s how I justify any crazy event. You know. Why not. In the end, all that matters is what you did, and how you lived. Do whatever you need to do to be happy.
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2 years ago I started running with Matt Bertrand. Shortly after followed Mike W. Life is significantly better thanks to these 2. Thanks to the running fam. Which seems to keep growing. Thanks Chris, Jason, Mike M, Dave J, Josh, Daven, Jeff. Medved peeps. Trailsroc. Goose.

2016 should be good.
The End.

 

KILL ALL MILES – Virgil 100 Mile Relay

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

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

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

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

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

50 and 100 mile start.

50 and 100 mile start.

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

Photo by Jason Vidmar

Photo by Jason Vidmar

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

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

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

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

Jeff coming into to Tens Kate - befriending the competition.

Jeff coming into to Tens Kate – befriending the competition.

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

Hi Jeff

Hi Jeff

Bye Jeff.

Bye Jeff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The switch at #Trailsroc aidstation.

The switch at #Trailsroc aid station.

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

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

Baggy Draw #7 – Danielle.

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

Baggy Draw #8 – Katie.

Katie waits for Danielle at the start!

Katie waits for Danielle at the start!

Waiting.

Waiting.

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

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

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

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

Team waiting for katie at Hitching Post

Team waiting for katie at Hitching Post

Jason. Definitely ready to kill miles.

Jason. Definitely ready to kill miles.

Baggy Draw #10 – Laura (me)

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

Baggy Draw #11 – Danielle.

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

Baggy Draw #12 – Jeff.

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

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

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

Start - Rock Pile. Finish - TenKate

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

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

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

Waiting.

Waiting.

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

The Vid-Star!

The Vid-Star!

Team finish line photo

Team finish line photo

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

Team Splits

Team Splits

Overall results

Overall results

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

Post relay -- pre bedtime

Post relay — pre bedtime

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

Being spectators.

Being spectators.

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

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

Hi Natalie. She’s fast. She got 2nd.

Hope Lake

Hope Lake

Most of the spectating consisted of this.

Most of the spectating consisted of this.

I like panoramas.

I like panoramas.

RIP Virgil Crest Ultras.

The end.

The Road to Twisted Branch

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

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

Bar Graphs! ... are cool.

Training bar graphs! … are cool.

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

June 20th – We previewed the 2nd half of the Twisted Branch course (50k training run). It took us 8 hours. Looked something like this….
last50k
last50k2
How’d I feel after that? Terrible. Super intimidated. Do I really want to race this and die? not really.

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

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

July 11th – we went back out and ran the first 50k of the Twisted Branch course.
first50k
first50k2

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

July 18th – I raced 0SPF – Trail Half Marathon. Took 23 minutes off last years time. 13th overall – 6th female – and 3rd in AG. Trailsroc never fails at putting on an awesome race – or being the best cheer squad – or aid station.
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July 25th – I watched my coach run 100 miles (Burning River 100). I thought Cayuga was the best race experience. Turns out crewing and pacing are way better. There’s really nothing like watching someone run for 23 hours. And in the meantime watching other people run – and coming up with names for them. Like “confused guy”. Or “rough guy”. “white shirt guy”. “Yellow shirt guy”. Don’t judge us on our naming skills – Were an obvious bunch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So It’s August. This thing happens soon.

The end.

Cayuga Trails 50

I volunteered at Ontario Summit Trail Marathon (and half marathon) on Saturday. Watched my crew and other great people run, crush, and suffer through a brutal course and ridiculously humid and hot day. Hung out in the woods for 8 hours. Tried to keep hydrated while hydrating others. It was awesome.

My stomach was not awesome. As Saturday went on, my stomach felt more like poop. It became the only thing I worried about for Cayuga. If my stomach could feel normal again, I’d be good to go. I eventually left Ontario Summit Races to drive to Ithaca and picked up my race packet. Matt B followed me. We then drove to the motel (Grahaven) which was super awesome, and the rest of the crew eventually arrived. Next step was food. I was scared to eat because of the state of my stomach. But burritos happened anyway.

I convinced Matt to drive us to wegmans. I bought some Kambucha and pepto. Kambucha does amazing things. Sleep happened sometime around 12am, or later… don’t remember.

2:30am came fast. Got ready. Coffee and oatmeal. Left for Robert Treman State Park by 5am.
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Race start: No time goals. The week coming up to this day consisted of me figuring out what my goal should be. I needed a simple a goal. I wanted to think about it as little as possible. So I decided I wanted to feel good for more than half of this race. That was the goal.

Matt B taking pics of me at the start.

Matt B taking pics of me at the start.

I started easy. Felt comfortable through the first 2 aid stations. Just after getting through the underpass aid station, you run through some water. I proceeded without caution. Unknowing that it would be 3 feet deep. I fell. Both calf’s cramped up. I couldn’t move. I sat in the water holding my legs, while I was surrounded by photographers, and runners asking if I was ok. Apparently my face of pain, looked like I was laughing. Two guys behind me grabbed me by the arms and helped me up, told me I had to keep moving. People are awesome. That was mile 7/8ish. I was convinced my race was over, I was in for a day of suffering.

About a mile or less later, you come to the first huge climb. My calf’s were still tight. I used the 550 ft climb to stretch them out, which actually worked really well.

First 8 miles. (GPS was off by 3 ish miles by the end of the race)

First 8 miles. (GPS was off by 3 ish miles by the end of the race)

It’s hard to remember little details after that. Around mile 12 you go down the 500 ft of stairs. My only thought was that I would eventually have to go up this twice. Great.

Eventually I stopped being conservative, and would run hard when I felt good. Walk hills when I had to. Walk stairs.
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I found myself being able to run for long stretches. There were long periods of downhill running, which was super fun. Most of the course was completely runnable. All of it was beautiful. I took in every second of it – loved almost every minute.
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My goal of feeling good for 50k was succesful. But barely made it. I fell apart between underpass aid station and Buttermilk the second time. I wasn’t looking at my watch at all until now. I looked and expected to see 36 or so miles. My watch said 32. It had to be wrong.

There was a distinguished moment where I felt tired. Sleepy. I knew it was a food thing. It started pouring. I got cold. I got sad. Where was Coach. Where was buttermilk? Why is this taking so long… I thought about my crew. I thought about #trailsroc. All I wanted to do was stop, and curl up in a ball and cry.

I was a mess. I really didn’t want people to see me like this. I knew any minute I would get there, so I’d pull myself together, but fall apart again. Things started looking familiar, I heard things. I was close. I turned a corner and Mike was waiting for me. He asked me something, I managed some noises and tried to smile. Saw Matt B next, then Chris and Jeff. There was one thing I kept thinking about coming up to this. I think this is a Dean quote.

“The ultramarathon doesn’t build character, it reveals it…. no communication is ever more real, no expression ever more honest.”

I thought of this when I felt good, when I felt sad. And every time it made it hard to breath. Everytime I thought about Mike Welden. Matt Bertrand. Chris O’Brien. Jeff Green. 4 people who were following me through the woods all day. Made it to every aid station – Twice. Never missed me. Overwhelming amount of love I feel for these people.
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The cheers from #trailsroc made me totally forget I wanted to sit down. I told Ron I was freaking out. Told Matt I think I needed my gloves. Mike ran and got them for me. I stood there holding them with useless swollen, and wet hands. Matt failed at putting them on for me. Danielle Snyder succeeded. I don’t remember much of what was said there – but I remember it being pretty hilarious. I stole a salt tab, pickle, m&m’s and a couple of oreos – and was on my way again. It was gonna be a long 13 mile walk back to the finish… so I thought.
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The trail back from Buttermilk aid station was pretty much all down hill. At some point I started running, and didn’t stop until I got to back to underpass. I was feeling good. Mike gave me the last salt tab. I think I had a few terra chips. Probably some more Oreos. Crew told me I could break 10 hours. I wanted to. It’d be close, but I knew the stairs were coming up soon. I told the crew I was about to go crawl up them – I was serious.

I ran most of the way to the epic stair climb. I hugged the side of the stairs, using my hands to take the weight off my legs. Walked up sideways. Told innocent bystanders to not mind my ridiculousness. Where were photographers now? Why didn’t I crawl up the first time? This was so much easier, and the stairs flew by.
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I couldn’t remember if there was another aid station after the stairs, or if I was in for the home stretch. But soon enough I was at Old Mill aid station. I flew by the crew. Heard Mike say some words like “take it” or something. Ok. I didn’t stop. Ran by the aid station. These last few miles were all downhill… supposedly. I wanted sub 10. There were hills. I ran up them. Then there were more stairs… I looked at my watch. Not gonna happen. But I tried to get as close as possible.
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I had passed this guy from Toronto after the last aid station – and he eventually caught back up to me. He asked me what I ate at the last aid station to make me fly by him. I said nothing. But I said I had a pickle earlier. We ran together for the last 2 miles, and I pulled ahead of him for the finish. Finishing didn’t seem real. This day didn’t seem real. Finish time said 10:08.

Photo by Matt B

Photo by Matt B

Things I fueled with (I can’t remember what order):
Picky bar was first (after 45 minutes).
Water. A chocolate cliff gel. Half of another picky bar.
Oreos. M&M’s. Salt tabs and more water. Lots of water.
1 pickle. Terra chips.

Things I learned:
– Being able to laugh at yourself, and find humor in the hardest obstacles is a powerful tool. The minute you feel sorry for yourself, you lose.
– I recognised that my emotional state was a lack of calories.
Knowing this helped me keep moving, and once I replaced the sugar and salt,
I was good to go.
– Make simple goals.

Things I should have done different:
– Eat more pickles.
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After I finished I went to return my tracking chip. USL.TV had live tracking and broadcasting of the event. They asked if I would do a quick interview. I struggled with the idea of talking… but sure. Why not. I did plenty of embarrassing, and ridiculous things already… whats one more.

Photo thanks to creeper Chris :p

Photo thanks to creeper Chris :p


I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support I had at the event and from home. I learned that Kyle and his parents were all watching the live tracking, and videos. His parents had seen me on the screen a few times.

If Facebook could explode – it did on Sunday. I wanted to sit there are “like” every single comment. Thank every single person. But a “like” and thank you didn’t seem like enough. Instead… no words. No words can describe the weekend, other than … Not real. Rochester is awesome. #trailsroc and Medved, Roads are poisen, Trailmethods – Thank you – I’d be a lonely runner without you.

Corporate Challenge. Cayuga. Stuff.

Cayuga is in 3 days.

I’m pretty tired of thinking about it. I’m nervous. I feel weird. The last couple days I’ve felt randomly dizzy.

I managed to run pretty well at the Corporate Challange on Tuesday. I wanted to get a decent time, without killing myself. I kept the effort level low, and managed to feel great for almost the whole race. I picked it up the last .5 mile which resulted in feeling a bit puky at the finish. Other than that tho – the best I’ve felt for a 5kish race. Usually I feel like im sprinting for 3 miles and want to die.

Results:
chase

I ran for Team CatPrint. This was our top 4 – we had about 14 total team members.
CatPrint_results

I designed these shirts:

tshirts

T-Shirts printed by Crazy Dog T-shirts

Cheetah close up:

catprintdotcom

Were awesome and printing things – Check out CatPrint.com!

I convinced our company to do the corporate Challenge last year, and I hadn’t been there 1 year yet. They let me put it together, and be the team captain. And then they asked to do it again this year. Hopefully it’s a yearly tradition. It is a whole day thing – we end up spending 12+ hours together (work + corporate challenge). A big time commitment. But it’s awesome.

Im volunteering at Ontario Summit Trail Marathon Saturday. Hopefully watching other people run will take my mind off running Cayuga. Ugh. Im super excited for the weekend. The hanging out, and cheering for people part. But Cayuga – ready or not… here I come… I guess.

Mind the Ducks 12 Hour

I woke up at 3:15am, after going to bed somewhere after 11pm. I sucked at sleeping… it was hot… we were dumb and didn’t turn the A/C on. I made the usual pre-race stuff – Coffee. Then eventually oatmeal. I sat at the computer. Thought about how much I didn’t want to run in circles.

I wen’t out fast. Had to keep reminding myself this was not a goal race. I died. Came back to life. Had the best coach, crew, and best spectators, friends, people cheering all day. I was told the temperature got up to 92 degrees. It felt hot. I handled it well for the majority of the time. I sat down twice. Once because I was starting to freak out, and breathing was getting hard. And my feet hurt. Chris rubbed them. He’s a keeper.

Miles 1 through 34

Miles 1 through 34

I think things started going downhill after I hit 50k… Or that’s when things got hard. The foot pain actually seemed to get better, but I started battling sidestitches, and breathing was still hard.

Miles 35 through 58.686

Miles 35 through 58.686


I didn’t think I was going to make it out of the 40’s. 40 – 50 took forever. I sat down again, because things got fuzzy. Blackness and dizzy. Coach sat with me. Definitely dying. But it was all familiar.

#trailsroc kept things fun. They’re awesome. Ron took awesome photos.

Matt told me he ate some magic pickles. So I ate some pickles. They are magic.

I walked some laps with Matt, and we ran some. I was dieing, but I wasn’t alone.

Finally getting to mile 50 was a turning point. I started running more. Mike (Coach) joined me for the last hour. We did the unthinkable and ran the entire time. I’ve had a lot of great hours in my life… but that 11th hour, was one of the best. Pain seemed to go away, sidestitch ignored. I wanted to be done – then we finished lap 57 and still had 15 minutes to go. Lame. One more.

Final laps with Coach and Mertsock.

Final laps with Coach and Mertsock.

I finished 5th overall out of 139, 2nd female out of 74, 58 laps = 58.696 (11 hours 55 min). Officially the longest and farthest i’ve ran.
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What I ran on for 12 hours?
A Picky Bar (Blueberry) – Water – Diluted coconut water – Saltines with molasses – More water – More diluted coconut water – A lot of diluted coconut water – a lot of water – 4? Endurolytes – Newmans Ginger O’s – 2 popscicles – A couple pretzels – A couple tortilla chips – Half of one of Meagan’s blueberry muffins – 4 half’s of pickles – Gingerale from the aidstation a few times.

Things I learned – Coconut water is awesome. And pickles actually work.

I felt good overall during this. I felt pain and nausua, as expected. But I have definitely felt much worse. The breathing thing… I don’t know. It’s happened in the last 3 Ultra’s that were 50 or more miles. But it was not nearly as bad for this one – so maybe it’s getting better.
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Mind the Ducks last year was a turning point. It was my first Ultra. Now I’ve ran 4.
That’s the first time I saw Coach.
That’s the first time a friend came to watch me race (Matt) – and we had JUST started running together.
That’s the first time I completely broke down.
That’s the first time Kyle carried me cause I couldn’t walk.

A lot has changed.
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Recovery gets easier and easier. Saturday night after the race – I kept walking around, took a bath, rolled my legs. I felt 95% normal the next day. A lingering side stitch was about it, and minor foot pain in the morning. But as I got moving it definitely didn’t feel like I just ran an Ultra.
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I was nervous about running this before Cayuga 50. Only a couple weeks away. Whether Cayuga goes well or not – It won’t be because of this race. Bad races happen. And I seem to be unscathed from the weekend. So moving on – May 31st…. should be interesting.

Sorry this was long.
The end.

Kyle and I after the race.

Kyle and I after the race.


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Listen to your running Coach.

It’s not very often i’ll re-post something, or share something on Facebook. But when Picky Bars shared this article from Runner World, I actually read it. I like Lauren Fleshman. I like that she made mistakes. I like the advice that’s in this. So you should probably read the whole thing – but im gonna pick out the cool stuff.

Why you should listen to your running coach? – By Lauren Fleshman

  • Consistency wins. The key to becoming great, he [University of Colorado coach Mark Wetmore] said, isn’t found on the edges of training, diet, science, or technology. The key is consistent, uninterrupted training.
  • I went on to lose eight pounds… I lived like a Kenyan (that is, my fantasy of a Kenyan’s life). I severed relationships. I stopped listening to my body. I tried to will myself to the next level.
    The very week after running into Wetmore at Stanford, I broke my foot, and his words haunted me for three years until things finally clicked.
  • Back when I was a little softer, stayed up late with friends occasionally, slowed my paces down or skipped a run when I was extremely tired, I was a force.
  • Being consistently “pretty awesome” beats “amazingly awesome” because amazingly awesome rarely makes it to the starting line.
  • There’s no magic training program. “Stop looking at what everyone else is doing all the time: It’s annoying, not to mention it makes you incapable of optimizing what you’ve got.”
  • Eat more bacon. It took me years to realize that you don’t have to have a “bad list” of foods so long as you eat appropriate portion sizes.

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I’m still trying to figure out the food thing. I say im going to cut out sugar, or junk food all the time. When in reality “junk food” is usually trail mix. Trail mix isn’t the worst thing in the world. (I have an addiction). When your running for a few hours day – or 12 hours a week… food isn’t something you should put a limit on. Variety and portions tho – that’s important.

I would normally skip a run if I felt extremely tired. I listened to my training plan instead of my body this winter, and slugged out a 15 miler after a week of feeling exhausted, tired, and probably dehydrated from tons of Bikram yoga. The week after I was sick. When you start running and immediately want to stop… it’s probably more beneficial to go take a nap.

The winter helped me slow down a bit. You don’t always have to run fast. Slow easy runs doesn’t mean you’re a slow runner – probably just means your smart.
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If you haven’t tried Picky Bars – you should. I joined the Picky Club… last year? I dunno – a while ago. They’ve been a part of every long run, or every race so far this year. I have yet to feel anything but normal after eating one before or during a run. I had one during our 50k training run this past weekend (5k+ elevation), yes there was also a lot of hiking…. but I never once felt like I was hitting a wall. Which was a first. I’m excited to truly put them to the test in a week or so – during Mind the Ducks 12 hour. Then Cayuga 50.

Matched my hair to my Picky Bar.

Matched my hair to my Picky Bar.

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So yeah. Listen to your running coach. If you don’t have one – get one. (J/K). If you don’t have one, usually there’s smart people around to listen to. Just because one week feels terrible, doesn’t mean you’ve lost fitness, or taken steps back in training. It’s all part of the process apparently. Like Lauren said “I am finding myself increasingly reflective of my early runner years, able to see which seemingly insignificant moments turned out to be critically important turning points.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this year goes. Thanks to having a coach – I’ve already ran over half of last years total mileage. I ran my first 65+ mileage week – pretty much all on trails. I’m about to run 2 ultras in 1 month. Here’s some cool stuff from Strava to look at:

Last weeks Mileage

Last weeks Mileage

Last 4 weeks

Last 4 weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m currently enjoying cutback week (the beginning of every month). I’ll be racing Medved Madness this weekend. I felt like I needed one more trail race to feel better about going into Cayuga. Rather than going into it after a bunch of road stuff. We’ll see.

That’s all. I’m late for work.
Not really.

The end.