Many on the Genny – Year 2

I had a song stuck in my head this whole race. More like 2 lines of a song.
—-This song—

Anyway. Year 2 of Many on the Genny.

I told coach I wanted to go for sub 8 hours. Secretly it was just an excuse for him to keep coaching me. I went into this race not caring a whole lot about time. Training hadn’t been feeling good. Limbs were hurting or achy. My insides were having their own kind of issues. (Girl stuff) I didn’t want to challenge the awesomeness of this race with any sort of disappointment. So plan was to just run. And keep moving.
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Many on the Genny is a 42 miler that runs around Letchworth State Park.

It will challenge you with a fast and runnable first half – then test you to keep running in the 2nd half, more ups and downs, long stretches with no aid, more remote. Each side of the park has it’s own personality – you get to see it all in a day. You get a Jurassic feel, then beautiful gorges, water crossings, fun single track. Yeah there’s some road running – but that’s just time in the bank.
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I ran the first 20 in about 3:30.

Early on I realized I needed to get on water and salt, or else I’d get behind. I wasn’t expecting to be sweating a ton. Expected a cool rainy day. But I was drenched, and it wasn’t raining.

I did a Huma+ gel in the first hour, and drained my water before the first aid. Took a salt tab sometime after – Drained my bottle again going into aid 2. Took another (regular) Huma gel between 2/3 hours. Going into Aid 3 (mile 20ish) I knew I would need something more. I had coconut water in my drop bag. So I grabbed that – and drank most of it. On my way out I dunked a potato in salt, and grabbed a pickle.
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I only managed a few bites of pickle. I wasn’t feeling any kinds of food.
I just wanted water.

I was pretty quickly out of water again. I knew It’d be a while till aid 4 – But I was also crashing. I struggled from mile 22. I’d be fine and just moving, then get random attacks of anxiety. It’s been a while since I’ve hit low points like that. But I would stop it early. I had been trying to work through a Lara bar (maybe got through half of it)- so i’d just chew on a piece of that. Then start running again.
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I got to Aid 4 – I think it ended up being mile 28? So thirsty. I had been out of water for a few miles.

I took 2 salt tabs here – and drank a full bottle of water. And a cup of mountain dew (that’s a first). Refilled my water. Grabbed a cookie to go.
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I knew it’d be a while till the RRC aid – about 8/9 miles. The water stop before that is a good distance too.

Figured I’d be good for a while now. I felt better. But still ran out of water…

The water stop ends up being right around mile 35/36.

RRC Aid #4 ends up being at Mile 37.5ish.
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Rochester Running Co had some dark chocolate ready for me. I was still struggling to want any sort of food. But I took the chocolate. Probably should have had more sugar through the day.

I took off from there. I felt great. I felt like I could run the last 4.5 miles to the finish. But then I was getting side stitches – not bad enough to stop tho. Then I started feeling randomly dizzy. Vaguely Nauseous. My lungs would tighten up. I stopped to walk as I fight off a panic attack. Drank some water. Not dying. Start running again.

Even though this last section is pretty short and runnable. I’m always hopeful that’s it’s shorter than I remember. But the trails bring you towards to Gorge – so you think your getting close. Then pull you away again.
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In the last mile – I caught up to two people I never thought I’d see again. Steven Daily passed me early on – he would have a strong race. Emily Flagg passed me when I was suffering round mile 30. She was just cruising, and feeling great.

Photo by Gustavo


I saw her ahead as we reached the last bit of trail going to the finish. I picked up my pace. I wouldn’t catch up. But then I got closer. I really didn’t want to sprint into the finish. I might be sick. But I was so close. I picked it up again. Ugh. I sprinted. I passed her in the parking lot. Got her by 7 seconds. Sorry Emily 🙂 🙂
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The weather held out. 100% chance of rain turned into just a cloudy humid day. I spent the day going back and forth with some awesome runners. Shared some miles with friends and folks that came out from Ohio.

The trails were in great shape thanks to Trail Methods and #Trailsroc. So many hours of maintenance. You could see all the work they did as you ran through.

30th overall. 4th Female. 42 miles in 8:46:07

Finish line hang out – photo by Eric


The finish line hang out is by far the best.

Things I used:
Orange Mud Single Barrel
Underarmour Speed Tire trail shoes
2 Huma gels
1 salt potato
1/2 Pickle
1/2 Lara bar
1 cookie
~140oz of water (=’s 4 liters of water (dang))
6 salt tabs
1 square of 70% dark chocolate (Thanks RRC)
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Whats next? I’ll be hanging around Whiteface this weekend. Other than that – nothing official. I think I’m gonna step back and hit lower mileage – more trails – and more adventures.
Oh except for one big thing in August. Potentially.

– The End.

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Antelope Island Buffalo Run – 100 Mile

It doesn’t feel real. It didn’t feel real when I crossed the finish line.

27 hours and 30 minutes. I was at the finish. I had worked so many hours for it – and now I was done?
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March 23rd at 12pm – I started my second 100 mile attempt on Antelope Island. Thanks to the sponsorship I received from #Trailsroc.
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I had spent the week before this in Utah. Just wandering around, and running easy miles. Getting used to the area, and new time zone. We (my parents and I) spent a good amount of time scouting out the island, and playing with the Bison.

Jason Vidmar (AKA dark Angel) got in Thursday – the day before the race. He would be there to help crew and pace.
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The night before We chatted with Daven. Went over some nutrition stuff, and some mental strategy.

Daven told me to find a Mantra. I wasn’t sure what this would be yet.
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I woke up Friday morning. No alarms. A normal night of sleep.
It was a normal morning.
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I started out in my #trailsroc singlet and RNR shorts. Then last minute threw on some arm sleeves. It was perfect out. But it was tricky weather – it’d be sunny, but cold. And stealthy wind.

The first 5 hours I told myself – If I go slow enough, I will finish. I thought I was going slow – but managed an 8 hour 40 mile.

The first 20 miles is where most of the elevation is. Such an awesome section. If there are trails I was meant to run on – it’d be these. I had so much fun – and likely why my first 20 was a bit fast. but worth it. I did these miles without any wear on the legs – it was all just time in the bank.
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The next 30 miles would be on the second half of the course. I passed through the start/finish – taking in my first bit of solid food. And headed out.

This would start out with a long 22 miles of pretty flat trail. I was running – but was starting to feel my first crash coming. I was struggling with a side stitch, and could only manage small bursts of running. I got to mile 27 at Lower Frary – where Jason and parents were waiting. Jason reassured me that what I was feeling was normal – and Daven had said I would feel like this.

Knowing that was so helpful. And took any stress or doubts out of my head.

Lower Frary was a main protein point. I took in Core Power protein, plus some coconut water. As well as a salt tab followed by a ton of water. I was definitely behind.

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I would start running again – next aid station was 5.8 miles to the Ranch. The side stitch was going away. I made up some time here and got there in about an hour. I did another salt tab followed by 8 oz of water. This was also my mandatory change spot – temps would start to drop from here. I put on a long sleeve. Jason piled potato chips in the cup holder of my chair. They had no salt potatoes – so this would due.

I left the aid – running. and Didn’t stop till I was already back to the Lower Frary Aidstation. This was a quick stop, and grabbed my head lamp here. I kept running as the sun went down. It was completely dark very quick – and found myself alone, with some howling wolfs (or something). I kept running till I got to the Mountain View intersection. It was a good climb to get out of these lower parts – so I walked.

The next section would be 6 miles around Bridger Bay. It was tricky finding the way here at night – some of the chalk arrows were misleading, or just not there. But I’d look ahead for something shiny – and it was usually right.

Going around Bridger was also deceivingly long. I could see the silhoutte of the mountain I was going around, and seemed like I’d never reach. It was also full of large rocks, and much different trail than the other sections of this race. I thought about the next time I’d be running this part – mile 94. That was gonna be a LONG 6 miles.

I was starting to get pain from my shoes in my right foot – there was weird pressure on my ankle. So I decided I would plan on changing shoes at mile 50.
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Speaking of shoes. I struggled with what shoes I would wear. It had rained all day the day before so I knew trails could be wet or muddy. I brought like 4 pairs. But still wasn’t confident – so I got a pair of Altra’s while were were in Utah the week before. NEVER ran in Altras before. hah. But decided I did’t want to start in them.

I started the race in my Under Armour Speed Tire (don’t judge – I found them on clearance) which are actually really awesome. And have a built in gator. And semi water proof. Were perfect for the trails in the beginning. And light. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles in them before this either. But whatever – they worked.
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As I came down the road to the start/finish/50 mile point – the wind had picked up, and was pretty brutal. Had not felt it until this section. Finished the first 50 miles in 10:40.

Jason was in the tent – I would be picking him up as pacer here. But first I changed shoes. Got some food. I was still wearing shorts – and had planned on them being ok for all of this. But as I sat – I got cold. And Jason convinced me that pants would be the smart option.
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We started out for the second 50. Time to do what I just did all over again. I figured most of this would be walking. But we actually ran a good amount up until Elephant head. I was feeling pressure on my toes, and they gradually got worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t run, even tho I wanted to. Down hills were rough because my toes would hit the front of the shoe. I was bummed that we couldn’t take advantage of a realllly great and long downhill after the Elephant head out and back.

This was a low point for me. I was sad. Sad that a couple of toes were keeping me from running. They are just toes – I should be able to ignore them right? Who needs them. But then I’d kick a rock. And cry. (ok only cried once) I tried to keep calm – because I knew if I let it overwhelm me it’d only cause breathing problems. I was just frustrated. Jason kept saying cheesy motivational things, and Dad jokes. And told me to reach Zen state and maybe the pain would go away. Jason’s the best.

The frustration didn’t last long. Because I looked around. It was everything I had hoped for. It was a clear night. Full of stars. An awesome crescent moon reflecting over the Salt lake. We watched it as it got lower throughout the night. I didn’t want this to end.

Photo by Jason Vidmar


We talked about the plan to relieve these toes. I didn’t know If I could wait till the start – this loop was 20 miles. Jason threatened to cut open my brand new Altra’s. My mom got them for me for my B-day — they couldn’t die yet!

As we got back around to Elephant head for the last time (we go through this aid 6 times). My toes were actually not as bad. I thought maybe I kicked enough rocks that whatever was there had popped. Or I had actually achieved Zen state.

So we continued on back to the start/finish. I was really excited for these trails again – I loved running them the first time. I hoped we’d be able to run them again. And we did – we cruised through 4 miles of trails, and got to mile 70 – 17 hours.
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It was 5am. Exactly the time I predicted being here. My parents were back with a blister tool kit. and We went to work on the toes.

I would leave Jason here and make my way to Mountain view aidstation solo. We would re-group there and see if I wanted him to join again. Toes felt better. But I was feeling sleepy. And cold.
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I got to mountain view. I found myself in my parents car hiding from the wind. Also found myself holding coffee and a box of donuts….. hmm. Pretty happy about this. But I got out, and Jason joined me to make sure I didn’t fall asleep. We walked. I closed my eyes and walked. Jason finally convinced me to take a gel, and it actually helped.

Sunrise from Mountain View. Photo by Jason.


We got to Lower Frary – finally. I took in protein, and gluten free cookies here. I would leave Jason here again. I felt like I’d be able to start running, energy was coming back. I was reaching a weird mental state. I didn’t want to carry anything. I was wearing a pack but not eating or drinking anything from it. So I left it at Lower Frary. I ran and made good time to the Ranch for the last time.
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Ranch was mile 85. I got water, and ate some cheese quesadilla. But it was warm so I dropped all sleeves and gloves. And ran out – waterless, sleeveless, headbandless. But least I had my sunglasses again.

Not that I approve of pictures of me eating, But it’s part of the story. Photo by Dad.


A few miles into leaving the ranch – the wind had picked up. It was brutal. I was soooo cold. I looked for my parents car – hoping they would be along the road somewhere. SAVE ME. Nope.

I was cold. So I ran. Probably helped my time overall. But even running didn’t make me warm enough. I couldn’t wait to get to Lower Frary for the last time. And put on some clothes.
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I was feeling a big crash coming. I was thirsty. I was cold. I was getting a side stitch. That’s what I get for dropping everything.

I got to the aid, and put EVERYTHING back on. Including hydration. I took in an entire Core Power protein. And some other food. and made my way out to mountain view for the last time.
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I was right when I felt a crash coming. I was crashing hard. The protein may have been enough to completely shut down the system. I was sleepy again.

I was cold. I was walking. The wind was brutal. But it was also so nice out. I put my hood up. Had my sunglasses on. No one was around. I cried.

And it wasn’t a bad cry. It was a cry I had held in early in the race. That I was so happy to be here. A cry I held in everytime I thought about finishing. A cry because I was going to finish, and that I would miss this place. Tears dripped down my sunglasses. I smiled. Well – I’m awake now.
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Jason was waiting at the mountain view interection. We had planned on running Bridger Bay to the finish together. We were quickly greeted by some Bison.

Mile 94ish – Photo by Jason.


We would try to run a few times around the rocky sections. I wanted to get to the finish. I figured it’d be a 28 hour day. I got warm as we were running, and again reached mental state of not wanting to carry anything. I shed my jacket and hydration. And as we got off the trail and onto the road – I dropped them. It was only road left till the finish – and we ran the final stretch.

I finished 100 miles in 27:30:27

Had to collect a sticker on each out and back to Elephant head – to prove you made it.


Nutrition I used:
4 Huma gels total
3 bottles of coconut water
3 bottles of Core Power protein
6 gluten free cookies
PB&J
Peanut M&M’s
Potato chips
2 quesadilla’s
2 Justin’s almond butter packs
1 chocolate covered almond
3 salt tabs
2 potato’s
1 donut
Few sips of coffee
A ton of water

Gear:
Orange mud single barrel
Under Armour Speed Tire trail shoes – first 50
Altra Timp trail shoes – second 50
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We sat around the finish for an hour or so. Got post race Buffalo stew. Still didn’t feel like I should be done yet. Finishers were coming and going – not really sure who was a 50 miler and who was a 100. I met 2 people from NY out there. I had talked to Kristen Roe before making this trip – we were the only east coast 100 milers. I ran into (literally) a 50 miler from Buffalo as we crossed paths on the trail. Small world.
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I feel eager to do another 100. Everything about this race was perfect. I felt good the whole time. No stomach issues. My legs always felt fresh. Usually at some point I feel like everything hurts – that didn’t happen. My biggest battle was blisters, and feeling sleepy. And just being cold. My low points weren’t even that low. And now only a few days later I feel completely recovered.

It all just seems like I got off too easy. Or I should have ran more.
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But that’s my first 100 finish. Unscathed. I can look back and love every minute of it. It was perfect. I could say I wish it wasn’t so cold. But pretty sure the cold kept me moving. Now I don’t know if I should rush into another – or take my time and find another awesome one to do next year. This year is still plenty busy with awesome races and adventures.
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It was more than just training to get to this 100. The support from EVERYONE was pretty overwhelming. You forget how much training you actually do – till people remind you. You don’t believe your ready for this till friends tell you – you put in the work. Then hearing that your coach and friends are checking in throughout the day – are the simple things that keep me going.

Thank you #trailsroc – for getting me here. And following me through this journey.
Thank you community for EVERYDAY support – whether or not i’m racing – people are the best.
Thank you parents for the best birthday in the history of birthdays. Support from them is no surprise – as well as Dad blowing up facebook.
Thank you Daven – for pushing me to my limits, and guidance. And for sharing your knowledge as well as Rogers knowledge of Nutrition, and race strategy.
Thank you Jason – for making the trip to Utah, and being more sleep deprived than I was. But somehow managing 40 miles and who knows how many hours. Getting me through the darkness offering support, as well as humor and just being an awesome friend.
Thank you to Strat – who always helps me during training – making sure I don’t fall apart – and putting my feet back together again.
Thank you to Chris (Running Inside out Podcast) for making me talk about these things. And forever will be a training partner/run fam.
And thank you to the Mountain Peak Fitness/Red Newt Racing team – always supporting teammates going after it. Looking forward to the races to come this year!
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Ending March with the most miles I’ve ran in one month – 279.63
From December 17th – when training started – till March 31st – I’ve ran 928.53 Miles

I wonder why recovery was so easy – And Daven reminds me that I was TRAINED for this. That my body was ready for it. And it was meant to do this. I believe it.
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Every winter #Trailsroc offers to award $500.00 to runners who will represent them well. All you need to have is a big goal race – and they will give financial support as well as training and encouragement. In return – you wear the #trailsroc shirt at the event – write up a recap – and share your stories with the community and world.

This was a LIFETIME goal. It was also my birthday. #trailsroc gave me so much – and probably the best week of my life. If you have a grand adventure in mind – share it with them. Apply to be an ambassador for 2019!

Photo by Jason


Photo by Jason

Antelope Training

One full month of training down. And I’ve officially ran the most mileage since 2015.
I ended January with 272.4 miles. — The most I’ve ever ran in 1 month!
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I started to ramp up mileage in November to prepare for the real training to start in December. I contacted a friend and very successful and talented ultra runner (Daven) asking if he would have interest in coaching me to run this thing.

After mulling it over – He agreed. And said training would start now. Starting in Mid December was shaky. I was figuring out how to shift running as a priority – rather than working too much and not sleeping.

I ended December with 181.9 miles. However half of it was elliptical.
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January came with dangerous wind chills, and a couple of snow storms. I shifted runs around, so I could get the most out of the longer stuff. Daven has me on roads, with 2 speed workouts a week.

I could feel the toll it was taking on my body. I would end some runs feeling like death. My feet hurt. I would question how I would be able to run for hours again the next day. But I’m finding recovery stuff actually works. I go to bed and hope for the best – wake up and it’s not so bad anymore.
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I’ve been struggling with pain in my right heel. And as of 2 weekends ago – my left arch. Sometimes I can’t tell if they are getting better. Or worse. But I’m trying to be smart. They actually felt pretty good after ending last weeks biggest mileage week. I’ll take that as a good sign.
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So far – This training stuff is awesome. It’s helped me simplify. Before I do anything else – I do my run. Or go to the gym. Running comes first. Which is also putting myself first. I’m not committing to anything other than training – and showing up to work on time.
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Less than 2 months to go. A lot more running to do. Just hope my feet hold up.

#getrekt

 

Lone time.

I’m going on 3 years alone. I struggle with feeling broken. Alone is my comfort zone. And I’m scared that I’m doomed to a lifetime of it.

I’m lucky to have friends and parents and co-workers. A number of places to go if I ever needed somewhere or someone. When did I become so obsessed with “me time”? I run for hours by myself. You’d think that’s enough.

*I promise I wont make a habit of these feelings post. Just sometimes I think. And sometimes I’m bored* 
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I blame ultra running.

I was sucked into a world of freedom and adventure. Long hours in the woods. Weekends with friends. Experiences and life long memories. The things that mattered most. The things that I miss most everyday. The moments I want to last forever, but I know are so temporary. How do you come home after the best days of your life?

Maybe some day I’ll get tired of the unknown. Maybe someday I’ll want comfort, and normalcy. Maybe someday I could spend most of my time with one person again. Either I’m just not ready, or I still haven’t met them yet. Life is simple. But has to be so complicated.

I’ve met plenty of great people. But I get attached to the ones I can’t have. And run away from the ones I can.
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I think about being alone. And I’m ok with it. I believe I can change some day.

But I wish I was back in that cabin in the ADKS. Or in that van with strangers. Or by that fire. Or on that mountain.

I miss laughing all the time.
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There are times I compromise. I give up. Hide. That’s ok. In the end, the steps back don’t matter as much as all the steps forward. I’ll keep trying. I’ll do the things I need to do. And what I think is right. Never know what’s next.

Be happy about the day. Enjoy the trails alone or with the people you love. Run easy. Low effort. High will.

Happy New Year. Again.

2018

Looking at 2018:

I was lucky enough to receive a sponsorship from #Trailsroc
to run a 100 Miler out West.

So I’m registered to run the Antelope Island Buffalo Run – In Utah – In March.
On my Birthday actually 🙂
Check out this persons Strava of the course.

I’ve started training. And I’ve asked for help (yesss a coach).
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I went into the majority of races this year undertrained. As in – I didn’t train.
It was a nice break – but I’m excited to be back again.
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Why Antelope Island?
It mostly just seemed perfect.

  • It’s in Utah
  • It’s on my Birthday.
  • It starts at NOON. Who needs 4am start times- I’ll be running all night anyway.
  • Elevation isn’t crazy 7670′ vertical gain.

So yeah – My ideal 100 – Runnable, all trail, late start, out west. With the added plus of looking at mountains and dodging Bison for ~30 hours. Only negative – It might be cold (30-50’s). But I’ve spent 13 hours in single digits before… and only minorly died. Also it’ll feel warm compared to this winter so far.

I’m taking training one day at a time.

Currently struggling with the usual foot problems – with the addition of some heal pain. Hoping the heal thing just goes away – It’s come and gone before. But I’ve been mixing it up with roads/trail/elliptical and Bikram yoga.
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In other news. There’s this awesome thing happening in 2018

The Empire State Triad

3 of the best Ultra’s in NY State. I’ve ran all of them. 2 of them are my all time favorites. One of them is just brutal and beautiful, and worth spending your entire day on the trail.

June 23 – Many on the Genny – 40 Mile
July 21st – Cayuga Trails – 50 Mile
August 18th – Twisted Branch – 100k

Don’t do just one. Do all 3.
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Quick look back on the past.
2017:
I ran 1674.1 Miles
and raced 383.4 (15 races)
Completed 6 Ultras – (not including the Ragnar Ultra).

1600~ miles is about what I ran in 2014. But I raced the most miles yet.
Definitely #undertrained.
—- — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
More History – cause numbers are fun.
2012: Ran 1270.1 / Raced 180.4 (18 races)
2013: Ran 1227.66 / Raced 232.2 (24 races)
2014: Ran 1610.9 / Raced 306.5 (24 races)
2015: Ran 2235.75 / Raced 322 (16 races)
2016: Ran 1966.81 / Raced 379.96 (19 races)
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I don’t have any plans yet other than this 100. 2 more months.

Happy New Year.

The End.

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. 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.  I wasn’t feeling a pacer. I knew getting to Urbana (mile 60) would be rough.
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I questioned finishing.  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.

Inaugural Many on the Genny – 40 Mile.

First. 2018 Many on the Genny is already open. Nothing to think about there.
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As for 2017. I’ve now done 15 ultras. I have favorites.
But MOTG is the current leader.

Why? It was perfect.
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I was kind of dreading the race. The day before – part of me didn’t want to go. I was planning on starting – but pretty certain I wouldn’t finish. I thought I was injured.

My foot felt pretty awful after running a Ragnar (ultra team) trail relay the weekend before. The Papliteal on my left knee was also aggravated – which is what took me out of my 100 attempt last year. I could run on the foot – but if the knee thing happened again, there was no way.

I love Inaugural races. Especially when trail friends are the race directors. So I had to start – and just see what happens.
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I did no preparing. I would wear my Orange Mud vest – but figured I wouldn’t be out there long enough to need much other than water. I didn’t have any gels, or bars to pack. But I did have chocolate covered almonds. So I carried those and some salt tabs.

I started out easy. Often running with friends. The first 20 was a lot of back and forth, and never really alone. It was all on trails I’d never ran on before. Along the gorge, by waterfalls, through water crossings. Great single track, awesome downhills – all runable.

I didn’t mind the road sections – a great opportunity to bank some time, and just take it easy.
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I skipped the first aid-station… I hadn’t touched my water… or almonds yet. And I was nearing 2 hours in. oops? but I felt fine.

I ate a pickle and a potato and Aid-station #2. Started taking salt tabs and excessive water intake somewhere between there and mile 20 (Aid Station 3).

There were only 5 aid-stations, but I found the spacing to be pretty perfect. Enough time for me to drain my water, then refill soon after.
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I caught up to Kendra and Greg (and Charlie) after the 3rd AS, and ran a few miles with them. They lost me on some hills though, but I was happy to be alone.

Now on the other side of Letchworth – I had run some of these trails before for Sehgahunda. A bit more rugged and technical. Probably 100 creek crossings. Still great single track, and still all pretty much runable. It was here I started thinking – everything is great.

This is my kind of race. Hills that don’t drag. Trails that you can coast on. Mostly single track. You forget how awesome Letchworth is until you see it all in a day.
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My goals for today:

  1. Start.
  2. Make it to mile 35. Even if I had to walk there.
  3. 35 was my finish line. And I guess I’d keep going if I got there.

I got to the 4th Aid Station – Mile 30ish. Still feeling good.

Usually I hit some kind of low point in the 20’s. But nope. Legs felt fine. Had energy. Always felt like I could run. I only had 5 miles till I reached my goal. Only 1 more hour.

Supposably.

It was this section that was the hardest for me. I was getting impatient. I was running low on water. I was out of water around 34 – but had to be there soon. Until I came across water jugs on the ground… Not a good sign.

I filled my water. Life was good. Where was AS 5?? Whatever. I didn’t really need anything now – Just the water.

The folks at the Rochester Running Co tent promised me chocolate and pickles. I was still impatiently running to get there. This is taking forever. But I’m still running. I think this is the most running I’ve done in an ultra??

Still taking forever….

Photo by Jim McLaughlin – RRC tent / AS #5

I think it ended up being mile 37?

Jonathan handed over some chocolate. I snagged a few pickles. Water refilled. And I left as they blasted “The Final Countdown.”

5 more miles? Nah. I’m gonna say 3 more miles. Yeah – Eric and Sheila wouldn’t make this a 40+ race.
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The trails looked familiar. I was still convinced I only had a few miles left. Then reality would set in… but I was still running.

Still running and felt good. Definitely the most miles I’ve ever “ran”. Definitely the best I’ve ever felt. It was in these miles that I remembered the day – and decided… I love everything about this race.
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I know the trails leading into the Mt. Morris Dam pretty well. And was excited to know where I was exactly. Only a mile or so left.

You pop out of the woods into the parking lot – and round your way to some open grassy picnic area. The Finnish was through some wood gate – where I got high fives from Eric.

40 miles is a great distance. Or 43. or whatever it was.
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I hung around the finish seeing friends, and waiting for others to come in. Rochester friends. Buffalo friends. Even Zayne from Connecticut. This race got everyone out – and everyone together, for a pretty perfect day.

Finish Line Sky

Thanks Eric and Sheila for everything you do.
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What’s Next?
Twisted Branch 100k… in 5 weeks or so.
If you need something to do mid August – this is a point to point trail race. It’s tough. It’s awesome. Pretty sure there’s always a full moon. With a 20 hour cutoff this year – I think finisher numbers will be high.

Get in while you can! or come watch me suffer.
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Cool running people and their websites – check them out:

#Trailsroc
Trail Methods
Rochester Running Co
Goose Adventure Racing
Medved
Running Inside Out
Mountain Peak Fitness
Red Newt Racing

The end.

Cayuga Trails 50 – 2017

My 3rd Cayuga 50 finish. My 14th ultra (8th 50+). It’s crazy how quick they can pile up in just 3 years.
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I woke up at 2:15am Saturday morning and drove down to Ithaca.

I was not feeling great. I was under trained. I was mostly worried about my foot – If I tweaked it all again, I would likely be done.

But plan #1: Just start.
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I rolled into the Robert Treman parking lot at 5:15am. Grabbed my bib. The weather was perfect, only slightly chilly.

I stood around with the team, and talked to long lost friends. Love races that bring everyone back together again.

Mountain Peak Fitness/Red Newt Racing team – Photo by De’ Vang

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Plan #2: Just run.

I started. I knew the course. I still had that 10 hour time goal in the back of my mind. But I wasn’t going to stress about it. I wanted to enjoy the trails as much as the last couple years. I didn’t want to taint the experience at all by a bad day.
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I found myself playing tag with the same runners for most of the day. Did a good amount of running with them on the way out to Buttermilk. The way back we started spreading out, and would usually re-group at aid-stations.
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The course was slightly different this year. We didn’t go down the massive staircase – instead had more runnable stuff, and some nice downhills. Ian added a lolly pop loop before the 1st aid-station… which was ok. Added a bit of climbing, and some muddy slippery creek descents. But it was short, and didn’t have to worry about doing it on the way back.

Still got to enjoy the stairs on the way back too.
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I love Cayuga because it’s so runnable. The single track is some of the best. The climbs are big, but over quick. Tons of stairs – whether it’s on trails, or by the gorge. I’ll never get bored of those trails. I have yet to get back to the start and not want to go back out.
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I finished the race with a new friend Zayne. We were back and forth all day from the start. After the Old Mill aid-station I felt like I had fresh legs and started picking off runners. I caught up to Zayne – who was also looking like he had some energy, and we took off. We ran everything. The hills, the stairs. Finished the last 3 miles in sub 30 minutes – and crossed the line together. Some of the funnest running yet.
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Results:

17th Female
84th Overall
50(+?) miles in 11:53:04

Almost 2 hours slower than the last couple years (crazy). But I enjoyed it. I finished un-injured (ran a 9 mile shake-out the next day) and ready to run 2 more ultras this month. Sometimes it takes running a ton of miles to get you out of a running funk.

The end.

Photo by Joe Azze of Mountain Peak Fitness

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 Smartwool 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 🙂 ). 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.
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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 🙂
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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.

Looking at Hellgate 100k

In 13 days I’ll be running Hellgate 100k.
It starts at Midnight – In the mountains of Virginia.

Unlike most races – you couldn’t register until just about a month ago. And it involved sending in a paper application to be reviewed by Dr. David Horton and comittee. 145 runners were selected – 28 females and 117 men.

hellgate_map
There’s about 12,000 ft of gain? I think – over 65ish miles.
hallgate_elevation

This will be much different from most other races I’ve run. No getting there a day or two early. No hotels or sleeping before the start. No need to worry about waking up early or breakfast. None of the usual crew.

I’ll be rolling in around 8/9pm for check in – then catching the ride to the start.

I’ll have one drop bag that I’ll get to see twice. I’ll have friend Hobbs and RNR/MPF team mates racing as well – my guess is I wont see any of them after the start. Hope to catch up with them at the finish If I don’t take the full 18 hours.

It will be cold. The trend for VA seems to be low’s in the 30’s – highs of 40’s/50’s. It’s currently looking cold and rainy for the 10th.

Usually I’d be more worried about being cold. But this years been about doing things outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes that means failure.

I’m looking forward to the long day in the woods. Looking forward to the sunrise after long hours in the dark. I’m pretty confident in my ability to perform on no sleep – but it’ll be interesting to really put that to the test. Looking forward to friends and teammates and my mom(!) at the finish. Hopefully I wont torture her by looking deathly or pretending to be hypothermic.

I’ll have 18 hours to finish. 6 hours and 40 minutes to get to mile 22.5. And 12 hours and 30 minutes to get to mile 42.5. My main goal for this race is going in un-injured. And being able to breath for the majority would be nice.

Maybe I’m looking for some clarity. Maybe I’m looking for some answers. Maybe I just figured out a way to get some real time to myself. It’s hard for me to not include others in my race plans – as I know friends and crew love this sort of thing. As always – it will be interesting to see what happens.

The end.