Looking at CT50.

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

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

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

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

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

This years training.

This years training.


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

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

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

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

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

The End.

P.S. Thanks Ian

Water show award for last years spill.

Water show award for last years spill.


If you must… here’s the show.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2015

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

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

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

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

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

I crawled into my tent. I layed there and could not sleep. I didn’t want to look at my watch, I didn’t mind. As a person that likes to be awake, I especially liked not sleeping in this setting.
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Saturday, August 29th.

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

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

Start photo - by Dave Justice

Start photo – by Dave Justice

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This would be Ultra #6. My first ultra only being 15 months ago. Each of them completely different, and one thing I’ve learned is you never know what will happen. I expected this race to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I never expected it to be mentally and emotionally the hardest day of my life.
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The race starts as expected. Nice and easy, long down hill in the dark. I’m soon surrounded by the people I’ve trained all year with. It starts to get light out, and we break apart. But it always seemed that none of us were ever alone. Jeff and I were together, and eventually heard voices behind us that sounded like Matt, Strat and Chris. The five of us re-united again, but it was still early.

Things start going south quick. I had been feeling twinges of cramps in my feet early on. I tripped or kicked a root, my calf seized up. I looked at my watch… it was mile 12. It’s too early for this. Miles 13 – 15 involved a good amount of climbing out of Naples. We hiked about 1000 ft in this section, and may have pushed too hard. I was toast. I took a pretty good spill in the Hi Tor area shortly after. Seized multiple leg parts. I layed, clutched my legs… here it was… break down #1 out of 20. I sat, Jeff sat with me. And that was it – we were in this together.
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After I picked myself up, we start running again. And soon realise we don’t see orange. We had missed a turn, and wandered onto some camp ground. A guy was there, and said this trail would lead back to orange, but we didn’t want to risk cutting the course.

Wrong way.

Wrong way.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by my Dad

Photo by my Dad

Shortly after – the distance between Mike and I, and Jeff and Bray grew. Bray eventually came up to Mike and I…. Said he didn’t think Jeff wanted a pacer. I wanted to go back. I looked back, I saw Jeff. I looked forward… Mike was still running. Mike was there for me. Completely torn…. This was the hardest part of the race. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. My Heart broke…completely. I couldn’t breath. I ran away, crying. Mike noticed I was emotional… he told me the low points would pass. But this was no low point.
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It took a long time for me to get over abandoning my friend. I should have went back. Everytime I thought about it, I couldn’t breath. But running felt good. Cramping was less frequent – until I would trip or kick a root. I had Welden and Bray… sometimes they ran together ahead of me… sometimes I was Mike sandwiched. Bray left us a few times to wait for Jeff at aid stations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things I used for fuel:

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

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

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

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

The End.

P.S. Save August for Twisted Branch 2016.

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

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.
9_31
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.
_____________________________________________________
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.

Muddy Sneaker 20k

The 16th Muddy Sneaker trail race happened yesterday. This was my 2nd year running it. This is probably one of the hardest races for me – a lot of super long climbs, not a whole lot of flat stuff, and some awesome down hills. It was a bit of an eye opener.

Start with team member Chris - in blue. Photo by Mike Lesher - http://www.iamlesher.com/

Start with team member Chris – in blue. Photo by Mike Lesher – http://www.iamlesher.com/

I went into this race with low expectations, I probably wouldn’t win. I did want to go sub 2 hours. I secretly hoped for 1:50:00. Around mile 10 I was at the bottom of a 2 mile climb to the finish, with 3 out of the 5 top girls. I had 2nd place in my hands. And that slowly ran away from me. In 2 miles they managed to put 1 – 3 minutes on me, and in the moment I didn’t care. I also got passed by fellow team Welden(er) Chris – He tried to coax me along with him. But I had given up.

I give up way too easily. Running uphill is uncomfortable, was I hurting that bad? No. My legs felt fine when I finished. My legs feel fine this morning. I got some hill work to do.

Results:

I was 22 overall out of 184
5th female out of 68
2nd in age group out of 10
12 miles – 1:58:33
Last year I ran this in 2:11:12. I won’t complain too much with a 13 minute PR. Just knowing that if I ran more of that last mile – I could have picked off like 5 more people. Next year.

Coach won this race. 1st place. Coached by a winner. He’s awesome.

Photo by Mike Lesher - http://www.iamlesher.com/

Photo by Mike Lesher – http://www.iamlesher.com/

map
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In other news. I was recruited to run in a relay around Seneca Lake today – The Seneca 7. unfortunately a girl got injured in the race yesterday – so I am taking her place. I was looking forward to racing with Katie yesterday – Im sad she has to miss out on this one too.
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BPAC is next weekend.
Mind the Ducks in a few more weekends.
Cayuga in a month.

Questioning the probability of survival.
Definitely about to learn some things.

Think I got 2 hours of sleep last night.
About 4.5 hours the night before. Time to go race. Again.

The end.

Eat and Run

We all lose sometimes. We fail to get what we want. Friends and loved ones leave. We make a decision we regret. We try our hardest and come up short. It’s not the losing that defines us. It’s how we lose. It’s what we do afterward. – Scott Jurek in Eat and Run

I finally finished this book. Sadly – yes. It’s taken me over a year. I love the idea of reading. I like it when I actually sit down and do it. What gets me is that it’s stopping and doing nothing for an unknown amount of time.  My goal for this year is to read more often. I average about 1 book a year. In 2012 I might have read 2.

I finished “Eat and Run” last night while I couldn’t sleep. Read till about 1:30am. And woke up at 5am. It’s ok though because sleep is overrated. Read THIS – Article in OutsideOnline – Dean Karnazes averages 4 hours of sleep a night, and he’s awesome. His book “Run” is awesome too.

So reading is on the 2015 resolution list. So is nutrition.

I am officially registered for Cayuga Trails 50. So I figure serious training will take more than me just running hard and sticking to the training plan. I need to eat right. And get these internal issues figured out. So – Im cutting out junk. Starting yesterday. Staying away from too much sugar, and snacks after dinner. Everytime I do this I feel so much better. Currently, we actually don’t eat bad at all. Pretty much live off 12 different kinds of rice, sweet potatoes, beans (Mung Beans – my favorite), yogurt, fruit, veggies, oatmeal. We make wraps with hummus. Burgers out of portobello mushrooms. Rarely eat pasta. Rarely eat meat. Our downfall is sugar – cookies, chocolate, poptarts, cereal, trail mixes.

* Something I learned from finishing Eat and Run last night – There’s a herb that makes beans more digestible – Dried Epazote – Can be found in the Mexican food section of a grocery store. But heck yes – more digestible is always good. *

So after registering for Cayuga, I looked at the course and elevation. Pretty intimidating. Just means I gotta stick to the training.
elevation
course Map

This race makes me nervous in so many ways. 6am start time. Possibly staying overnight before the race = pre-race routine out the window? Whether or not my morning goes like other race mornings – There’s really not much control in an Ultra. If I can get through this winter, I’ll be good to go.

The Ultra distance forgives injury, fatigue, bad form, and illness. A bear with determination will defeat a dreamy gazelle every time.

– Eat and Run.

WTFUDGE? 0 Degree Winter Trail Festival

Yesterday was WTF – Winter Trail Festival – at Powder Mills Park. It consisted of 3 races – 15 miler / 10 miler / and a 5 miler (Each a 5 mile loop). I ran the 15.

The morning consisted of many dilemmas. Carry water? Carry a gel? What to wear / how cold was it really? Traction or no traction? It’s been a while since I raced… I forgot how to do things.

I decided I would wear a wrist pocket thing to hold my car key – and stuff a Cliff gel in there just incase. As for water – I had a feeling I would need both hands – so I stuffed the weird floppy Salomon cup in with the gel.

weird. but works.

weird. but works.

As for traction – I decided my trail shoes had enough grip – less is more.

The 15 mile start was at 10am – probably the best start time ever.

My plan was to stick with Dan O and Greg as long as possible. As I was sure we were pretty similar in pace. I passed Dan sooner than I expected and kept up with Greg. About 3 miles in was the first major hill. My legs felt like they had nothing already – so I didn’t try at all to run up it. Greg pulled away as I walked my way up. Sean was at the top asking how I felt – I said “this hill sucks” – and got running again. I quickly caught up to Greg, just in time for hell on roots (I think it was called?-which also had a rope). This climb wasn’t as bad to me as the one just before… maybe because it was purposefully ridiculous. And no expectations for anyone to run up it.

Lap 1 - Just before Ski Hill

Lap 1 – Just before Ski Hill

*Estimated Lap 1 time = 50:56 (I tried to do math)

I stayed with Greg as we finished our first loop and into the 2nd. He kept saying I could pass him. There’s a section of the course where I could fly for a bit, so I waited until then. In lap 2 my legs felt great. I even ran up a part of the horrible hill. As I came around to finish lap 2, I could hear the #trailroc crew cheering. Pretty sure I heard Eric say “…your coach hates you.” Probably true. 🙂

*Estimated Lap 2 time = 49:40

My legs still felt pretty good going into Lap 3. Until mile 13ish. That hill… is terrible. I had no desire to walk up it. I wanted to crawl. I was thankful there was no one at the top. I was by myself. Took my time getting to the top, and started to shuffle along. I got some speed back thanks to the downhills, and tried to look unscathed as I ran by the aid station for the last time.

I made my final ascend up Hell on Roots. Screw the rope. It was slippery. I crawled. Grabbed roots / trees / snow… Made my way to the top and once again started to shuffle. Now my legs felt dead. I got speed from downhills and straightaways, but had nothing for any sort of incline.

I made my way around the field for the finish and could feel my calf seizing up. I heard Eric saying if I finish hard I would beat my coaches time from last year. (Lies). I couldn’t tho – I tried to hold my pace – any harder and I would cramp up.

*Estimated Lap 3 time = 53:30

I finished – got highfived and congratulated. What? I didn’t even realise that the entire race… I didn’t see any other females – except for those running a different distance. There were only 8 females running the 15 miler, out of 41 total. But I’ll take it – here’s the results:

3rd overall out of 41
1st female out of 8
15 miles in 2:33:09

bwahh?

bwahh?

And this is weird… —>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To give you an idea of how many people were running – there were also 43 finishers in the 5 miler, and 45 in the 10 miler. Pretty equal number of people in each race.

map

I have a lot to thank the folks from #trailsroc for. Without them and Medved and all these other trail things popping up – I would probably be on an entirely different running path. They have built a seriously awesome trail community in Rochester. With the new company Trail Methods – I see things only getting better. Thanks for the support.

WTF is awesome – #trailsroc is awesome. Everyone I’ve been meeting recently is awesome. I missed my two favorite running people yesterday. Matt – was moving his life. and Coach was a slacker – and missed me win. He gets away with it tho cause he’s a whole nother level of awesome.

I say I want to win stuff. Do I think it’ll actually happen? No. If I have a chance – I’ll go for it. This was cool.

The end.

Pre Mendon 50k

Guess what time it is? 4:07 am…

Which also means it’s time to talk about how this was a terrible idea.

It’s cold, raining, and windy. All 3 of those together = miserable. Im pretty sure.

weather

I signed up for the 50k based on the idea that I thought it was going to be 51 degrees, and probably not raining. I learned my lesson about trusting the 10 day weather forecast – that changed fast.

Im not ready at all for another Ultra. At least not mentally. I keep thinking… meh 50k – much less than 50 miles. But still… it’s at least 30 miles, which is a lot of miles. And a lot of hours being wet and cold.

My IT band still hurts. I haven’t been running much in an effort to heal it…. so yeah – we shall see how that goes.

Im running out of negatives – so here’s a few positives…

  • This is my last attempt at placing in the Trail Runner of the Year Series. Im currently 5th. and Yes, I would have to pretty much win overall female in the 50k to jump to 3rd (99.9% chance that won’t happen)…  but you never know – if amazing things happen, i’ll go for it.
  • 90% of my runner friends are either doing the 50k or one of the other distances. So that will be fun.
  • I like running in circles. (This race is 5 10k loops)
  • This will be my first 50k. And first Trail Ultra.
  • My goal is to finish under 6 hours. Which would be faster than my trail marathon time at Sehgahunda.
  • I don’t want to DNF (it would be a first)… I can handle IT band pain, feet hurting, being sore, etc. I can even handle being cold – for an hour or 2…. but 6 hours? Not so sure.

A lot can happen in 6 hours… this should be interesting.

The end.

Ultra Recovery

1 week after the CanLake 50 miler – and Im up at a ridiculous hour again. For once I think I was actually sleeping pretty well, until my alarm woke me up at 3:15am.

This morning Kyle and I will be running the Inaugaral race for Flour City Race Works. Ossian Mountain Run will be at Swain Ski Resort, and were doing the 8 miler. Am I recovered from the 50 miler? I think so.

The day after CanLake 50 – I was sore. But I forced myself to do a lot of walking, then Kyle beat my legs up… especially the IT Band. This helped a lot, and felt pretty normal after. Monday (2 days post Ultra) I wen’t for a recovery run, and managed 4 miles – each mile felt better than the 1st. I wen’t to work after the run and felt like I was cured from the Ultra soreness. 3 days after the Ultra – I ran 5 miles and felt completely normal. 5 days after the Ultra I ran a Hill workout with Matt and Mike. My legs got tired pretty quick – but still, It didn’t feel like I had run 50 miles in a day just a few days ago.

It’s weird how fast the body can recover. But also leaves me thinking that I definitely did not run hard enough. I am still having IT band issues – which im slightly worried about for todays race. I won’t be trying anything too crazy as this race is going to be hilly, cold, rainy, and covered in leaves (slippery). It’s been a while since I’ve done any trail running – thanks to all this road Ultra stuff.

Oh yeah – so what’s next?

I told my friend Matt at the start of CanLake 50 that this race would either be the end to Ultra running, or just the beginning. At one point during the race I was like “yeah this is the end / Im gonna stick to running in circles” – but once you get past the point of suffering, is when the real Ultra starts. And it’s awesome. So – I already have some ideas for next year. This may include a 50 mile trail race…

Im also contemplating a 50k trail race that is in a couple weeks – Mendon Trail Run. Depends on the weather though.

It is now 4:28am – just finished my coffee and some molasses cookies. Now to make oatmeal and get ready for this race. Takes over an hour to get to Swain…. and a 7:30am start… the things we do for friends that become race directors.

The end.

3 races 2 weeks, moving and Ultra training

So life exploded these last couple weeks with 3 races, moving into a house, and attempting to train for an ultra…. all while still working 40 hours. So here it goes:

1. I am offically off the wait list for Canlakes 50 mile!! annnnnd – it’s only a month away…

2. I had 2 good weeks of training – followed by 2 sub 20 mile weeks… who needs quality training for an Ultra, right?

3. Dirt Cheap Trail race #5 – was Wednesday Aug. 20th
– I came in 38th overall
– 3rd female overall
– 2nd in AG
– 5.1ish miles in 50:14

4. We made our first big attempt at moving on Saturday August 23rd.
– Only had the Uhaul for 4 hours
– Also didn’t have any help – just me and Kyle.
– We had to make multiple trip with our cars after returning the Uhaul – and ended our last trip at 11ish PM with the doggies. 

5. Dam Good Trail Race was the next day – August 24th – At Letchworth Park
– I got 2 hours of sleep – Thanks to it being the first night in the new place, and the dogs also kept us up all night. 
– I still managed to run ok, the legs felt tired tho.
– I was 29th overall out of 144
– 6th female overall
– 2nd in AG
– 13.3ish miles in 2:08:43

6. I still haven’t been to a doctor – I tried… but no one is accepting new patients. So I gave up.

7. We finished moving the rest of our stuff Saturday August 30th – and scrubbed the apartment in hopes of getting our security deposit back. 

8.  I ran Virgil Monster Half marathon – August 31st 
– It rained the entire time
– It got muddier and slippery-er as the race went on.
– The race started out hard with the first 3 miles pretty much uphill… then it got fun. I didn’t even mind the rain or mud that much. I was glad I decided against running the marathon tho!
– I was 17th overall
– 5th female overall
– 2nd in AG
– 13ish miles in 2:26:14

These next couple weeks will be very important for Ultra training. If I can get a couple more solid long runs I think i’ll feel better about how Canlakes will go. 

Photo credit IAMLESHER.COM from Dam Good Trail Race

Photo credit IAMLESHER.COM from Dam Good Trail Race

 

EVL-9 Trail Race

Sunday I ran the Evl-9 trail race in Ellicottville, NY. It was held at Holiday Valley Ski Resort. I was expecting a torturous climb and a hard race – but it was all completely runnable! It was challenging, but just enough to still be fun.

We started out on a gravel road, and ran about 2ish miles up the mountain on a gradual incline. Then we ducked into the woods, onto the funnest single track I’ve ran yet. One of those races where you can just let loose – you feel like your going too fast, but it’s just the down hill momentum. There were still a couple up hills, but knowing that eventually you have to run DOWN to finish kept me going. Super fun race. Im thinking I’ll be running even more Eastern Grip races – next one is Dam Good, at Letchworth. Then 8 in the Rough. Here’s a video of the start – It was recorded by remote helicopter of some kind.

Here’s my results:

39th overall out of 131
7th female overall
4th in age group
9ish miles in 1:22:40

The End.