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.
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.
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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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


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.

CanLake 50 Miler

Saturday, October 11 –  I woke up at 2:48am (on my own), my alarm was set for 2:55am. Fast forward – My parents picked me up at 5:30am and we headed to FLCC in Canandaigua. I had decided that morning that I would start in my Nike Flyknits, and pack my Brooks PureDrifts in a drop back. But last-minute I decided I would do the opposite.

We started at 7:30am – I started with my friend Matt and we were pretty much together till I stopped for the bathroom somewhere after mile 9. I was running without a watch, which may or may not have been a terrible idea. It’s fine when your running in circles, but when your in the middle of nowhere I at least wanted to know what time it was. I had planned on being at the pacer pickup by 1:30 (mile 35) – but things were getting rough, and a lot sooner than I had expected. I had side stitches, and the thought of food was starting to make me sick… so I started using endurolytes.

I guess I should mention what I had used as fuel so far – I had a chocolate Cliff gel around mile 5 (I think), then half of a cliff bar around mile 14, then tried to eat the other half, but only got a few bites out of it. The rest of the day I wen’t off of water, pretzel sticks and coke or ginger ale from aid stations, saltine crackers. I successfully ate 1 donut hole, I would attempt to eat one again at mile 35 but spit it out. Also endurolytes – kept me alive.

Miles 20 – 35 felt like they took a ridiculously long time. At one point I asked a runner what time it was / what mile. – They said 11:22am and mile 23. Ugh. I knew I still had a couple hours till I would get to my pacer – and if I was feeling good I could easily get there before 1:30pm. But I knew I would be late. I started to focus on getting to mile 32 – I wanted to change my shoes!

Brooks PureDrifts…. I love them, I ran my first Ultra in them… but they were killing me in this. I felt like I could feel the texture of the pavement through the bottoms.


I got to the aid station at Mile 32 ish – and sat down with my drop bag. I pulled the PureDrifts off – thank god, no cramps in the process. And it felt like I wasted 5 minutes trying to tie my Nikes…. my fingers are useless after 30 miles and in gloves. I drank some coke at the aid station then took off. These next 3 miles were a bit of a turning point. Thank you Nike FlyKnit’s for being squishy – and also it was only 3 miles till I would see Kyle.

I started to get really sharp pain on my right knee – the side where it’s probably the IT band. I ran through it for a while, but at one point the pain was stabbing. So I stopped and pressed really hard and rubbed it for a second. Then started again, and it felt better. I picked up the pace when I started to hear cheering at the aid station – it was mile 35! I came over the hill and saw Kyle at the bottom, and I was about to lose it. I knew if I got all emotional I wouldn’t be able to stop… so I tried to suck it up. I ran past him to the porta potty – then drank a ginger ale… then failed at eating a donut hole.

Things were pretty good once I had Kyle – he had music playing from his phone… it was nice. I eventually had more side stitch episodes, then trouble breathing. I would start feeling good, we’d pick up the pace… then I would start freaking out because I couldn’t breath. Very frustrating. Deep breaths hurt, and made me feel sick… same thing happened during Mind the Ducks, but not as bad.
The last 15 miles with Kyle felt like they flew by. He did an awesome job pacing, however I had to tell him to stop talking about food twice. Also he’d be talking to me, or saying something that sounded like a question… and all I could manage at points were sounds. I would have wasted so much time without him.

We were strong the last mile. I fought the urge to have a panick attack, tried to keep breathing. Picked up the pace as we turned onto Marvin Sands to the finish. As we got to the finish, I didn’t see anyone… or hear anyone. Kinda bummed that none of our friends were around (I would later learn they were all there cheering – I was apparently just blind and def).


I walked around the parking lot for a minute after finishing with Kyle. Trying to get breathing under control, and not get all emotional. Stood around for a bit – and successfully stayed alive.

So I finished in 9 hours and 24 minutes. I was secretly hoping I would do better, but was happy with being under 10 hours. I know I could easily chop that time down. I wasted time changing my shoes, bathrooms were necessary, and a TON of time was eaten by side stitches and then panick attacks. In the moment it all feels necessary though, and nothing you can really do.

Overall though it was amazing. There were times I’d be running and taking in the scenery. You can’t run a race like this without looking around – that’d be a waste. It was the best run I’ve ever had with Kyle, I couldn’t have done nearly as well without knowing he would be waiting for me – then getting me through the last 15. My friend Matt went sub 9 hours – like a crazy person! But he was on a mission to propose to his girlfriend at the finish line 🙂

If you run – do this race – CanLake50

The end.