Alta Via 1 Trail

Sunday July 14th – 10 of us left Rochester.

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

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

Lago de Braies at Pragser Wildsee

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

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

Greg and I at the start.

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

My favorite views often had these grassy rock fields.

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

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

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

Our favorite descent.

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoying a day of gradual climbs and awesome trails.

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

View from our bunk room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The end.

CUT112 – 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The steps of Castle Craig – Matt and I.

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

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

Bushwhacking a ravine due to getting lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About 17,000 elevation gain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUT112 – Mile 102

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

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

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

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

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

And I wanted my crew to see it too.

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

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

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

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

The end.

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

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

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

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

If there’s a bear…

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

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

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

But they’ve been getting done. Slowly.

Am I worried? No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2017

I woke up on August 20th. Wide awake after 4 hours of sleep. Headache. I moved a few inches. Everything hurt. My skin felt sore. Take the covers off – I’m covered in scratches and bruises. I crawl to the bathroom. My knees wont unbend. My foot doesn’t work.

I’d like to think my nutrition was pretty good throughout the day. Zero falls – I was really careful not to totally destroy my foot.

So why does everything feel so terrible?
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I crossed the Twisted Branch finish line for the 2nd time. I had high hopes of a daylight finish – since we started 2 hours earlier. But found myself out there for 18 hours – cause that’s just what happens.
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I could go hour by hour and section by section and say what happened. But it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Even when you go into this race knowing what to expect. Knowing how hard it is – and telling yourself it’ll be twice as hard as you think or remember. It’s relentless.

It teases you with a pretty do-able 40 miles. You can get to bud valley thinking “that could’ve been worse”. You run off to start the last 25 – maybe with a pacer now. I chose to go solo.

Then you hit climbs. Not the longest, or steepest. But they come after you’ve been running for a while, and you realize you have no legs.Β I think Brandon Stafford said it best. “That course is just so hard to get a rhythm and keep running. It felt like every 100ft there was an obstical that broke your stride enough to say. Meh… i’ll walk a bit.”
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I predicted 10 hours to get to Bud Valley (Mile 40)- I got there in 9:22. I knew the last 25 would be at least 6 hours. Β I wasn’t feeling a pacer. I knew getting to Urbana (mile 60) would be rough.
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I questioned finishing. Β I had no reason not too…. other than wanting to sleep. I also thought about Scott – I wanted it to be a great year for him, and I wanted to help his finisher #’s.

I also remembered I was out there because I needed this day. A day of nothing else to do but get to Keuka by foot. Quality alone time. Quality community time. And just be outside – on a pretty amazing trail.

Mile 40 – Photo by Mom

My favorite part will always be Mitchellsville to Urbana. Its only 3ish miles. But this trail is so fun. So runnable. Even after feeling like I had no running in me – It’s like everything went numb. I ran this section – and ran it “hard”. Compared to the 20 minute miles I had been doing – 10 minute miles felt like a sprint.

Felt so good to run downhills – hadn’t had any that felt good all day. I passed folks. Got to Urbana in 33 minutes.

Live tracking splits.

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I was lucky to find Strat and Jeff in Urbana. I knew it’d be at least 2 hours to do the last 4(or actually 6) miles.

Strat jumped in with me. It was nice having someone there for the dark hours.

We walked. Ridiculously slow. I just wanted to stop moving. But every bit of this race – I would flash back to the first year. These images were so clear, and kind of haunting. I missed it. And felt lucky to see it all again. Lucky to have been joined by MPF/RNR teammates. All having great and challenging day. The finish is always worth the struggle.

Definitely a twisted creation. Dare you to run this next year.
Thanks again Scott.
The end.
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What to do next?
Fast 50k September 30th on the Deleware Watergap – Watergap 50k
Hard Mountain Marathon October 14th in the Catskills – Cats Tail
PR your 5k in this downhill 5 miler October 28thAll Down Hill from Here

2015 Team Welden.

2015 Pultney road. I was lucky to run this section with one of my top favorite trail runners this year – Tommy! – Photo by John Green.

2015 training run – we found Phillip – AKA Copper – in the cornfield. And he ran 3 miles with us. I remembered him as I ran through those trails.

Twisted tree. Lucky to have seen it 3 times. Photo by John Green.

Hellgate 100k – DNF #2

Friday December 9th – I spent the day traveling down to Virginia.

The week leading up to this was full of not running, a lot of working, and very little sleep. Not that I didn’t have time for sleep – I just couldn’t.

I was pretty terrified. Reading race reports. Getting advice from teammates. Hearing about the other cold years at Hellgate and “Hellgate Eyes.” I was way out of my league. Plus I hate being cold.
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I panicked about the clothes I had to wear. Got new gloves that were wind/waterproof but not bulky. New tights that were a bit thicker and also had pockets! Pockets are cool. Got my first SmartwoolΒ thing – a long sleeve base layer. New shoes – Merrel all out Terra’s… put a whole 6 miles on them before the race. Friends gave me boxes of hand warmers and toe warmers. Got a new headlamp so I’d also have a backup. I didn’t want being cold or unprepared be the reason I DNF.
shoes
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So yeah. I was terrified. I had a few simple goals.

1. Make it through the creek crossing 3 miles in.
2. Make it to sunrise (7.5 hours)
3. Make it to the 2nd cutoff (12.5 hours)
4. Enjoy it.
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I rolled into Camp Bethel around 9pm. Immediately found Chris, Ron and Hobbs inside getting ready. I had missed the Horton speech. It was cold. My toes had gone numb already. I was opening bags of hand warmers and they would disappear into pockets and gloves. Toe warmers already on. I debated on wearing my puffy jacket for the first half…. could I ever be too warm? I dont think so. But Chris was giving me looks like it was a bad idea.

Gettin ready in Bethel - photo by Chris O'

Gettin ready in Bethel – photo by Chris O’

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We left for the start around 10:30pm. My Mom drove me and new friend Tommy.

We wander around the Hellgate Trail Head for an hour or so – checking in, and disposing of drop bags.
bag
Horton tells everyone to line up about 15 minutes before the start. I take off puffy jacket 😦

Hobbs and I - photo by Chris O'

Hobbs and I – photo by Chris O’

I knew a lot of the first half would be on fire roads. Also knew that my feet would be getting wet in 3 miles – This was the thing I was most worried about.
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There was a good amount of water to avoid in the first few miles – each time thinking maybe that was the creek, and maybe it had dried up. But no – eventually I hear the water roaring, with no stepping stones in sight. I see others looking around – others saying “you just have to cross.” I of course start my way by almost falling in – I have a pretty bad rep with water crossings…

Cayuga Trails 50 - Water Fail

Cayuga Trails 50 – Water Fail

I reach the other side. Expecting my feet to be freezing, and was planning on having to change socks right away. But they felt fine? I decided to just keep moving and change later.
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I was very surprised at how comfortable I felt. I wasn’t cold. Well. I had feeling in my fingers and toes – pretty much all I worried about. I was glad I had no puffy jacket.

It was colder in some areas than others. I knew Headforemost Mountain would be the coldest. Also where my drop bag would be. I wore my sunglasses all night. I took them off briefly because I wanted to see the world in… not a yellow tint. My eyes felt cold when I blinked. I can see how they could freeze.
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A lot of the climbing was on roads. You could look up and see headlamps winding the mountain – Seeing where you had to go. The night was clear, and stars were bright – I would confuse them with headlamps. I turned mine off at one point – It was much darker than I expected. But the sky was awesome.

I missed a turn at one point. Found myself in a very dark area – trails weren’t too clear. I heard someone yell – and saw a string of lights pretty far away…. lame. I turned around.
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I wasn’t looking at my watch. I just wanted to make it to my drop bag to switch my vest. I was using an Ultimate Direction vest, and borrowed a soft flask from Mertsock. I should have tried it out first – I just cant do bottles in the front. It was driving me crazy. At some point the soft flask left. We had a few good sips – but I was relieved it had dissapeared (Sorry Mertsock – I will replace it πŸ™‚ ). Yes – I was much happier without water. I didn’t feel like I needed much, and everyones water was freezing anyway.

Other than some vest issues – I was fine. The cold was bareable – If it stayed like this, I would be good. Tho I knew I was still heading for the coldest part of the Mountain and the coldest time of the morning. But I was 20 miles in, and felt pretty fresh.
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The first cutoff was at 6:40am at Floyds Field – supposably mile 22ish. I kept watching my watch miles creep up. 22 miles…23..24…25…25.6. I finally reached my dropbag, and it was 5:45am. I didn’t want to stop, I could feel how cold it was… but had to get this vest off. I switched it fast… then decided I should change my wet socks here too – because everything was starting to freeze. I went over to the aid station to get out of the wind. My hands quickly became useless and numb. But socks were changed… I would be dry and would have water for the daylight hours.

I grabbed some food, and a cup of water – it was frozen. I was shivering. Hands and feet numb now. I had to get moving. It was 6:05am and I took off. It was a nice incline out of the aid station, I was running to try and warm up. My lungs were getting tight, I was so cold. I was panicking. I felt like I was about to get stuck – not being able to breath, and freezing. I knew the sunrise would be coming soon… I couldn’t be done yet. I turned around. I had to re-set. If I keep going in panic mode – I wont get very far… and the breathing thing would only get worse.
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Upon my return to the aid station new friend Tommy was there. I told him about my brief attempt to leave – and he told me to get warmed up, and come out with him when he’s ready. I said OK.

I watched runners come and go. A group of us were de-frosting at the heater. Steam rising off gloves and glasses. Everyone’s water was frozen. Jackets were frozen from sweat. It was single-digits here. THIS is what I expected from this race – this is the cold that I feared. This was the stuff that I didn’t think I’d be able to handle.
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I was still at the aid station and it was 6:30am. I was pretty ok with leaving just before the cut off – I wished I could stay there till sunrise.

Tommy was finishing up with his shoes and socks, and grabbing some food. I was preparing myself for the 2nd attempt in the cold. Two other girls dropped here.

Tommy and I start our way to the trail. Immediately I’m shivering again. But I was pretty calm this time… Tommy did some talking, I tried to answer through my teeth chattering. We were running, and it was already starting to get light. Goal #2 was to see the sunrise… I was so excited.
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We had 5 miles till the next aid station, and so far it was all runable. We talked about our running, and mutual running friends. Then looked off to the left and saw red sky and beams of light… this was awesome.

We reached the next aid station pretty quick. We stayed together from this one too, at least for a while. Running had been feeling good, but walking I would get so tired. I was pretty confident in my ability to stay awake, or function on no sleep. I figured as long as I was moving – I wouldn’t be tired. Maybe it was the 26 hours awake so far – or maybe it was the lack of calories in the first half. Maybe both. I would be perfectly happy sleeping outside right now – it was beautiful out. Tho still cold.
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I told Tommy that he should take off if he felt the need. We knew we would be pretty close to making the 12:30pm cutoff. I was not as motivated. I didn’t know If I’d be able to stay awake for another 9 hours. But I told myself I would have to keep going if I made it.

Tommy had taken off. I was pretty happy being solo again. I didn’t stress about the cutoff. The trails were awesome. It was in these moments I asked myself some questions. Maybe the sleep deprived version of me had better answers. Definitely not the answers I had expected.

I heard voices then realized I almost nodded off. There was no one around.

I reached the aid station at 36ish miles. A tiny aid station – no crew one. No cars to hop in. I asked how far to the next one – they said 8 miles. I laughed.

This would be a long one. I stuffed my pockets with snacks. I’d need them to stay awake.
———————————————-
I was still pretty happy to be outside. I don’t think I would’ve stopped yet anyway. I was loving this race. Only wishing I wasn’t so tired. I felt great. I had some minor IT band pain after my wrong turn earlier – made downhills kind of lame.

My watch was dead – so I had no clue how many miles I had left till the Bearwallow cutoff. It was 10:30am – Thanks to my fitbit I could at least know what time it was. I had 2 hours to go 8 miles… more or less.
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I was pretty zapped energy wise. I kept waiting for the 2nd winds to come – they never did. Food didn’t help. Salt didn’t help. Even with the lack of hydration – I was well hydrated… (3x in 11 hours) – what the heck. I walked pretty much every incline – which meant a lot of walking. I’d run when I could. But never got a good groove. I’d get tired – then eat something, then get tired again. But I didn’t care. There were moments when the wind was gone and I felt warmth from the sun. I’d look around and could tell I was in the middle of something awesome.

I felt like I had gotten pretty far. Between 11:30am and 12pm – I was thinking I might actually make the cutoff. I had been on the trails near Bearwallow before – crewing for Hobbs last year. And the trails were looking familiar. They were getting more technical and rocky… and covered in leaves. I made an attempt to run more – but each time it didn’t last long. The leaves were pretty ridiculous – a foot deep and covering large rocks. Basically not runnable if you want to have ankles after this. But I still had 30 minutes… I had to be close.
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30 minutes came and went. Things looked familiar, then things looked like they would go on forever. I would be done when I reach the aid-station, and I was pretty ok with that.

I got to Bearwallow sometime around 1pm. My mom was there. We grabbed my drop bag and drove over to Boplets Gap – One of my favorite spots. I really wanted to get there via trail. But couldn’t leave without visiting it again.

Boplets Gap aid-station

Boplets Gap aid-station

I texted with Chris and went to find him and other friends at the finish line. I was excited to see everyone had survived, and speedy friends and team mates were finishing well.
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Overall times were not as quick as previous years. Everyone had a hard time with the last 4 miles of rocks and leaves into Bearwallow. They were calling this year “The Frozen Year.”

There was a recorded low of 8 degrees – not counting wind. 90% finished last year (the hottest year), 82% finished this year (the coldest year).
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There are a few things I would do different.
1. Try to sleep before the start.
2. If it’s cold – don’t stop. Even if it meant not having water – It was cold enough that I would survive another 20 miles… probably.
– If I had kept moving through Floyds field I think I would have been fine. Or at least would have made the 2nd cutoff.
3. Should just stick with what I normally use – Orange mud vest. The ultimate direction one is awesome for carrying things – but can’t find a good way to carry water/ a way that doesn’t drive me crazy.
4. My face froze sometimes. Probably cover it more.

Things that worked well.
1. Home made energy balls. One of the few things I ate in the first half – and they were awesome.
2. Gloves and mittens over them. I could feel my fingers for most of the race.
3. Hand warmers. I think they worked.
4. Toe warmers – I think they worked too. I could feel my toes for the first 20 miles.
5. Pockets. Pockets are awesome – easier to use than digging through a vest.
6. Sunglasses. I wore them all night. And all day.
7. Palmers cocoa butter chapstick. If there’s one thing I hate – it’s post race chapped lips.
8. New Merrel shoes – All out Terra’s. Awesome.
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I went into Hellgate pretty terrified. Pretty sure I was way out of my league. Finding myself along side people that are running Western States next year. —> Yeah – what am I doing here?

I found myself here with a large group of friends and MPF teammates. As hard as I tried to be alone – I found myself surrounded. And welcomed it.

I had a great race. I did something I was terrified of – and it was only briefly terrible. I felt like I belonged after all — I wished I could say I finished.

I got 47 miles… and it was awesome.

I plan on attempting Hellgate again. If Horton lets me back πŸ™‚
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This experience would not have been possible without the Red Newt Racing/ Mountain Peak Fitness team. A number of them were out there and had great races and finishes. If you’ve been thinking about training with a coach or personal training – Mountain Peak fitness has some of the best and most experienced.
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Here’s some races to put on that 2017 calender.

Apr 15, 2017: Breakneck Point Trail Runs, Beacon, NY
Apr 15, 2017: Muddy Sneaker 20k, Naples, NY
May 20, 2017: Ontario Summit Trail Race, Ontario County Park, NY
Jun 3, 2017: Cayuga Trails 50, Ithaca, NY
Jun 18: Gorges Ithaca Half Marathon, Ithaca, NY
Jul 8, 2017: Whiteface VK, Wilmington, NY
Jul 9, 2017: Whiteface Sky Race, Wilmington, NY
Aug 13, 2017: Dam Good Trail Race, Letchworth State Park, NY

The end.

Whiteface Sky Race

A bit of a delayed race report. But here it is!
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After months of a hectic work schedule. A lot of 12+ hours days. I had a week of hiking in the Adirondack’s to look forward to.

I went up the week of July 4th to chase Jeff around in his quest to hike all 46. Then the Whiteface Virtical weekend was the 9th and 10th. I was registered to race the Sky Race – 2X up and down Whiteface and one alpine loop. Totalling 15 miles.
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The week leading up to this was full of unusual pre-race stuff. Hiking 3 high peaks, then “running” 2 more. Backpacking, camping and 3 nights of hammock sleeping. Plus I saw a bear!

Hammocking in Wilmington

Hammocking in Wilmington

I Volunteered on Saturday for the vertical K – Starts at the Base and runs up to the Summit Chair lift – about 2.5 miles and 3,300 ft.

Vertical K

Vertical K

Vertical K profile

Vertical K profile

Some people are crazy enough to do both the Vertical k and then the Sky Race on Sunday.

I’m not a fan of endless hills. But Mountains are different.

In true Whiteface weekend fashion – the weather was not cooperating. Saturday had lightning – which delayed the start about an hour. Sunday was drizzling, cold, and lots of fog.

Sky Race map

Sky Race map

Sky Race profile

Sky Race profile

The Sky Race starts with a 2.5 mile climb up to the Summit chair lift. It’s a nice grueling hike, which only took about an hour. You reach the top and have 2.5 miles of down to look forward to! The down is runnable, but steep and slippery in places. It was fun to be fast and careless thanks to the cushion of mud – and a decent that only took about 20 min.
————————————————————————————
I got to the base aid station with quads that were toast – but an alpine loop to look forward to. This is a 5 mile loop from the base of the mountain – which is all runnable. Running felt nice at first, but after a while my legs had nothing. I spent the last 3 miles of the loop debating on dropping. I was sure I’d be unable to climb the mountain again… no way.

After about an hour and 20 minutes on the loop… I reached the base aid-station again. I grabbed some food. Stood there for a while – told Strat this was hard. And started walking to the start of my second ascend…. what?
____________________________________________________________________________________
I saw Joe Azze on the way up – he snapped some awesome photos.

This photo is great. I feel like it captures how awful yet how awesome this race is.

The 2nd time up was brutal. As expected. Legs were toast. Back was aching. I was thirsty (of course didn’t carry water – it was too cold to dehydrate….. right). I really wanted a pb&j at the Summit. I came up to a girl who had passed me on the alpine loop, and we spent most of the ascend together. We would go back and forth. Taking turns stopping and just staring up… and thinking “whyyy… ???”

Then I discovered crawling. CRAWLING felt awesome. So much easier. I kept moving from then on. Told the girl to crawl. She was surprised too. Got to the top and saw Jan – got my pb&j. Started down, life was good.

I was excited to be done soon. Another “20” minutes – This down took me about 30. I could feel the trauma I’ve done to my quads. I pushed them through this last down just as careless. I thought about the DOMS that would follow for the next week…. always a good feeling.
————————————————————————————-
The Finnish was awesome. Surrounded by friends and team mates. Seeing MPF/RNR crew always helps to keep going – grateful for their support.

This is definitely one of the hardest races I’ve done – physically. Probably my favorite race from this year. Along with Cayuga Trails 50. I was destroyed for about a week after this. The first time I’ve gone for runs where running up hills felt better than going down.

View the details of my race on Strava
————————————————————————————-
If you’re looking for races to do next year – you should save these dates!

April 15 – Breakneck Point
June 3rd – Cayuga Trails 50
July 8th and 9th – Whiteface Sky Races

whitefaceskyrace2016

Photo by Joe Azze

————————————————————————–
What’s next for me?
I applied to Hellgate 100k. And got in. So that’s the plan for December 10th!

The end.

Burning River 100 – DNF

Packet Pickup

Packet Pickup

3am on Saturday August 6th, we left our hotel for Squires Castle.
The start line of Burning River 100.

3:30am at the Start. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

3:30am at the Start.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I was unsure if I had slept at all. Unsure of how running would feel.
_______________________________________________
The first 12 miles were on road. The foot felt ok, but I was compensating a little. Running didn’t feel normal. I was wearing my Nike Hyperfeel trail shoes – which I thought would be good for the whole day, on and off the trail. But in the first 12, my feet were killing me. When my left foot was hurting more than my right foot (injured foot), I knew it was a shoe thing.

The first crew accessible aid station was at mile 11.5 – Polo fields. I meant to change my shoes. I forgot. I didn’t need food or water, so just kept going. I popped into some trails from there, then quickly realised I wouldn’t have crew at the next aid station. It would be 10 miles till I saw them again.

The shoes would go in and out of killing me and being ok. I hit a low point early. Somewhere after mile 15.Β  I was walking a lot. I know it’s 100 miles, but it was way too early for this kind of stuff. All I kept thinking is “Im not gonna make it.” and Mertsock was driving in from Rochester to pace me at mile 72…
It would be a waste of a drive.
——————————————————————–
So here’s some stuff.

There are things I expect in every race. I expect at some points running will feel good. I expect those feelings of “running is awesome!” I expect to be able to run the downhills – cause those are what I LOVE. I expect ups and downs, and breakdowns. I expect the unexpected.

I went into this 100 with doubts of how far I would go. I injured my foot 10 days before. Nothing serious apparently because running 100k on it seemed to do it more good than harm. But that was my first “injury” from a freak foot twisting event on trails. Still – It kept me from running how I normally run. My form was off. I couldn’t run any uphills OR downhills. Having a lot of issues from the start of such a big race – had expectations at an all time low. I didn’t expect to finish.
——————————————————————-
On to Shadow Lake – Mile 21.7

I saw Chris about a mile before the aid station – he was out getting in some miles. I told him I needed to change my shoes – which was good or I might’ve forgot again.

I sat down with the crew. I cried as we pulled my shoes off. They advised me to go with the Flyknit road shoes – which was a good call. I was sad. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to eat. Not that I didn’t feel good or anything – just was in a “what’s the point” mood.

I stood up and stared at the aid station for a bit. Stood some more. ok. Pickle. Cookie. M&M’s. Guess I’ll go.
——————————————————————-
On to Egbert – Mile 26.5

I would be seeing crew again at Egbert. Only 5 miles away. My feet were feeling better, I still walked. A lot. I was in a dark place.

— I thought a lot about this dark spot. It was nothing about running. It brought up things in life. Things that convinced me that I’m the worst. That I’m a broken piece of human. —

I don’t remember much of this stretch. As I ran into the aid station Chris said I was looking better…. hmm ok.

Matt stuffed my phone into my Orange Mud vest – so they could track me via find my friends. Chris brought me food things I had forgotten about, which made me pretty happy. I wandered over to the aid station and took salt for the first time, and some pickles. I went back over and asked Jeff when I’d see them again….. 12 miles. Buh.
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On to Meadows – Mile 38.3

I walked for a bit out of Egbert. But I started running. Then I didn’t stop. I caught up to people who had passed me what felt like hours ago. I passed people I thought I’d never see again. Life wasn’t over. Thanks to crew. And carbs.

There was a long stretch on canal. Much longer than I expected. I was still cruising, it was sunny and hot. Things started hurting again, but I was still running. Part of me said this pace could hurt me later… part of me said – it probably won’t matter.

I rolled into Meadows around 12:30pm. Feeling like I could run till 72. I could make it to Mertsock. I could finish.

Chris handed me coconut water, and other things I hadn’t been thinking about. But he put them in front of me and I wanted them.

It would be 12 miles till I saw them again. 12 miles till Im half way done.
______________________________________________
On to Boston Mills – Mile 50

I lost momentum coming out of Meadows aid station. Feet were hurting. Right foot aching. Left foot had something going on under the Big toe nail. I got tired. Sleepy. I felt like I could lay out on the trail and be out. Something was missing. I walked a lot of the first 6 miles. I don’t remember the aid stations or what I ate in this stretch…. other than eventually eating 2 ginger chews cause I was bored. But it seemed within minutes of the ginger – a lot of pains went away, and I found myself running the next 6 miles.

I started to get excited. I had run parts of this trail with Jeff last year when we were waiting for Welden at mile 50. So things started to look familiar. I knew it’d be a few miles till I saw everyone again. I was getting close… then Welden was there! He was hanging out on the trail maybe a mile or less from the aid station, and ran in with me. Told me Mertsock was almost there.

Got in to 50 in 11 hours and 35 minutes. Was feeling great. Jeff said he was ready to hop in if I wanted a pacer. I didn’t know. He told me it’d be 16 miles before I would see crew again. I knew I would hit a low point. I knew it could be bad. I didn’t know if it would be better or worse with someone there. If there is someone who has seen me at my worst – it’s Jeff.

So yeah. Lets see what happens.

photo by Chris O'Brien

photo by Chris O’Brien

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

———————————————-
On to Ledges – Mile 66.5

Jeff and I walked for a bit out of mile 50. Things felt like they had tightened up again, and momentum was gone. We had a long stretch on canal path that we walked a lot of with small run spirts. We got to a U-turn which put us back on some dirt, and started running more.

My big toe was getting hard to ignore. I was in a pretty good mood though. I was talking a lot. Happy to complain to Jeff about all things of the day and life. And he did an awesome job of listening.
____________________________________________
I expected my foot to be the reason I DNF. Then when my foot wasn’t getting any worse – I had no excuse. Could I DNF without an excuse. No. I would have to finish. I could walk all night – I was looking forward to the 24+ hour experience, whatever that entailed.
____________________________________________
Still to Ledges

We did some running. but I remember mostly walking. And at some point my mood had changed. My feet hurt. My toe was killing me. But it’s just a toe. It started to feel like the nail was getting looser – and something was definitely going on under it. I was also getting weird aches in my right upper calf.

We stopped at an unmanned aid station. I ate a gel and sat on a hill with my legs up. I could feel the circulation pulsing. It felt much-needed. It felt good.

Things didn’t change much from there though. Still had aches in my calf. Toe still hurt. I rolled my compression sock down – maybe it was a circulation thing. I was super low for a long time. Walking is so slow. Were not going to make it to Ledges before dark. We don’t have headlamps….

Then we heard voices. Our crew had ventured out on the trails from Pine Lane – where no crew was “allowed”.

We were very lucky to have them there. Got into the aid station. I wasn’t going to check out the toe – then Matt asked if we should look at it – cause… why not. I also wanted to get some different socks on.

It wasn’t too bad. Welden gave me a pin from his bib to poke at it. I poked under the nail – There was nothing. Poked at the side – some good stuff there. He cut open my flyknits to take the pressure off the toe.

At Pine Lane - Mile 59.7 Photo by Chris O'Brien

At Pine Lane – Mile 59.7
Photo by Chris O’Brien

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

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

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

________________________________________________________
STILL – on to Ledges.

The extra space was weird at first, but felt good. Problem solved. We had headlamps. I felt good. Water and nutrition was pretty on point all day. I never felt like I couldn’t eat, was never dehydrated. Never felt sick. I definitely don’t eat enough. I forget that 4 grapes and 8 M&Ms, and a couple of pickles isn’t a meal. I would eat between aid stations – which I forget to do in other races. But it would usually be 1 huma gel – or a ginger chew. But everyone is different. I’ve always felt better with less stuff in me.

I wanted to run now. The tightness in that right calf now felt like it was coming from under my knee. Soon it was just under my knee. It felt like a knot – I kept trying to rub it out. Jeff poked at it a little.

WHY. I wanted to run. I can ignore this – does it really hurt that much?

I guess it wasn’t a matter of pain. It was more that the muscle made running not possible. It wouldn’t allow it. It made walking stupid. I was up for walking 30 miles if I could walk a decent pace. But this was so dumb.
__________________________________________________________

In 100k – My injured foot is healed. My toe fixed. My Popliteal broken.
__________________________________________________________
The journey to Ledges continues.

We had 6 more miles till we would see crew again. I could make it there by cut off – which was 11:35PM.

We were lucky to have a lot of road and canal miles after the shoe dissection. I was worried about kicking roots, cause I was doing that all day.

We would try to run multiple times. It wouldn’t be a run. It would be walking pace. I would convince myself that I could force it. We would try again. Nope. So we walked.

I told Jeff I would walk it into Ledges then probably be done. The thought of it was heart breaking. My first DNF. I felt like I would never get over it. It was unacceptable. But this entire race was not how I wanted my first 100 to go, and I knew it wouldn’t be. It was not how I usually run – but I did the best with what I had. And my crew helped me inch forward and problem solve along the way.

It was dark. It felt like it’d been a long time. I asked Jeff what time it was – he said 9:something PM. I was surprised it was so late. We still had a couple of miles till we would get to Ledges – at this pace, I might not make the cut off anyway.

The course finally turns onto a trail. I walk a few feet onto it….

I can’t. I can’t pick my feet up enough to do handle a trail. I’m walking too slow. I’m done. I never made it to Ledges.
___________________________________________________________
The Escape.

We walked the path till it got to a “road”. We had been talking to Matt, and he was only minutes away. There was some adventuring involved in our escape – but it may be better to leave out those details.

Matt and Chris had both told me I should sit, and take some time before I stop for good. But I could tell this was something that wouldn’t go away. I’m good at knowing when im being lazy and when something has potential to change. But I couldn’t walk. and I wasn’t about to walk at a crawling pace for a few more hours just to miss a cutoff, and make whatever muscle that’s being dumb that much worse.

Now that it’s Monday – and my knee is still just as tight and un-walkable. I feel pretty good about my choice to stop where I did.
___________________________________________________________

Chris had asked me about my goals for this race before.

I told him just to see how far I could get – based on the pre-race foot injury.

I also told him I wanted to be able to run again this month.

I achieved one – 64ish miles in 17 something hours. and I’m sure I’ll achieve the running again this month thing. Seeing as im signed up to pace Jeff for Twisted Branch, and also racing Lucifer’s Crossing the day after. πŸ™‚
___________________________________________________________

It’s hard for me to drag people into these things and not finish or do what is planned. I want this stuff to be a great experience for everyone. But even in the unexpected and unplanned, and sleep deprivation – you learn things about yourself and your friends. Things that you need to work on, and things that just bring everyone closer together.
___________________________________________________________

Luckily we had Dan-o.

We met Chris and the rest of the gang at Pine Hollow – which would be mile 76 for Dan-o.
— I hadn’t seen Dan since the starting line – and was excited to follow him around the rest the night and morning.

I watched Dan-o come in – and take Welden. Then it would be hours before we’d see them again. Like 8 hours. I couldn’t imagine. It was getting cold.

I remembered picking up Daven here last year in the daylight – and 90 degrees – and running the next 20 miles… I couldn’t imagine this part at night.
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With hours to spare – we went to our hotel and got some sleep till about 3am. We would go catch Dan-o and his gang at mile 90. Then 95. Then off to the finish.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile - to the finish. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile – to the finish. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

I knew I’d get dropped cause my stupid walking pace – but I was happy to be there the last mile. Happy to be at the finish. This race is awesome. Could use a few less roads and canals. but the trails are super fun.

Gang at the finish line. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Gang at the finish line.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I knew some day I would experience a DNF. I knew 100 miles would increase the odds. I think I’m capable of a decent attempt. So until next time – this was fun.

The end.

_______________________________________________
Things I used.

Orange Mud vest – Hydra Quiver
with a Ultimate Direction Bottle – Hand Held
— I used the hand held bottle in the orange mud vest so I can use the little pocket on the bottle for easy to access things. For this race – it was chapstick.

Road shoes would be fine for this race – if it’s always as dry as it was this year.
I used Nike FlyKnits.

Compression socks as well as my trail shoes –Β  have been fine for other ultras i’ve done. In NY. But something about Ohio – maybe the Location, different elevation/humidity. Legs and feet handled them differently/seemed to be more swollen.

Huma Gels. Awesome as always. I used 4 or 5 during this race.
Picky Bar. I ate two. 1 about 2 hours in. Another… somewhere between 30 and 50. ALways great.

Pickles. I had a pickle at almost every aid station.

Salt tabs. Starting taking salt somewhere around 25 miles. With A LOT of water.

Salt tab and pickle combo. Combo for success.

Grapes. are awesome. Ate these at almost every aid station after 25 miles.

Peanut M&M’s. Grabbed these as I would walk back out to the trail.

Dark Chocolate – I found dark chocolate with ginger. It was awesome. Had this at Mile 50.

Coconut water. Had regular coconut water around mile 25.

Chocolate coconut water. Had this around mile 50.

Home made energy bars. With dark chocolate, molasses, honey, raisins, gluten free oats and rice crispies, coffee beans and coco nibs. Had this at 25 and 50.

Ginger chews. I ate 4 during the day. Out of boredom.

I think that’s it.

oh yeah – 1 freezee pop.

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.
_____________________________________________________
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!
————————————————————–
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.

 

 

Cayuga Trails 50 – 2016

Im a bit behind on race reports due to months of hectic work weeks. But here it is!

June 4th was Cayuga Trails 50 and Marathon. Consisted of 2 out and backs – from Robert Treman State Park to Buttermilk Falls and back. I ran this for the first time last year, and knew the course and what to expect. This year I was running with the Red Newt Racing and Mountain Peak Fitness team.

I went into the 50 miler with no weeks over 50 miles of training. No speed work. A few back to back long runs. Lots of strength training with Josh Rossi at Fore Performance. And a few good races that pushed me a bit. The lower mileage had everything feeling good, definitely wouldn’t be going into this injured.

I kept my goals simple and expectations low – as usual. 1. Have fun / 2. Smile even if I don’t want to / 3. Don’t let new team down / 4. If everything feels good – beat 10 hours.
____________________________________________________________
I was lucky to be going into this race surrounded by friends. Everyone from Rochester was running, or would be there.

The race starts with a photo of the MPF/RNR team.

Photo by Elizabeth Azze. Just a few members of the team.

Photo by Elizabeth Azze. Just a few members of the team.

The race also starts with a bunch of the ROC crew running together. I found myself going back and forth with Jeff and Dan Ward for almost the entire race. Dan Ward eventually lost me – and I eventually lost Jeff πŸ™‚
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So now I’ll keep this short. I felt great. I only stopped at aid stations to fill water, or grab a pickle, or chocolate covered almonds, but would keep moving with food in hand. I fell twice, which resulted in cramping twice. But was good to go in a few minutes. It seemed like all of the Rochester runners had the same idea for this race – Have fun – and be happy. Everyone I saw was awesome. I loved seeing Sean Storie from afar screaming “is that Rekkerth!?!”.

Scotie Jacobs probably saved the race for me at half way. I knew I was salty, I was just drinking water, and some Huma Gels. But he told me I need salt… and tossed a few at me, then stuffed 10 more in my Orange Mud vest, then told me to take 2 more soon. Thanks teammate πŸ™‚

Photo by John Green

Photo by John Green

Cayuga Trails 50 is a tough course – but extremely runnable. I’m not a huge fan of hills. But I love the ones here. They are spaced out to give you convenient walking/hiking breaks. And they end! Some are steep, but over quick. Stairs are… stairs – I like them, they’re fun. There’s long sections of awesome runnable trails – you’ll find yourself cruising for a while.

My Cayuga Splits:

Garmin dies just before the finish...

Garmin dies just before the finish…

I had no idea what my time would be as I was nearing the finish. I was feeling pretty good about beating last years time – but it felt very similar. I knew it would be close.

I finished in 10:06:43. (Last years time – 10:08:22) !

Finish - Photo by Elizabeth Azze

Finish – Photo by Elizabeth Azze

I was 56th out of 248
11th female out of 62
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I’m lucky to have great friends and awesome teammates to share the trails with. So grateful to run with the Mountain Peak Fitness and Red Newt Racing team! You get to know people fast when you run ultras together. Can’t wait for more!

As usual – the #trailsroc aid station was the best. Loved seeing everyone – and hearing Eric yell things.
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Check out the upcoming Red Newt Racing events!
– I wish I could do this one –> Lime Kiln
But it’s the same day as Burning River. Should be an awesome weekend – and probably won’t find many races like this one!

While your in event looking mode – check the the Trailsroc events too!

Oh yeah – p.s. 2 weeks till 100 time. I’ll do a pre 100 post.

the end.

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.