Cayuga Trails 50

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

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

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

2:30am came fast. Got ready. Coffee and oatmeal. Left for Robert Treman State Park by 5am.

Race start: No time goals. The week coming up to this day consisted of me figuring out what my goal should be. I needed a simple a goal. I wanted to think about it as little as possible. So I decided I wanted to feel good for more than half of this race. That was the goal.

Matt B taking pics of me at the start.

Matt B taking pics of me at the start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought of this when I felt good, when I felt sad. And every time it made it hard to breath. Everytime I thought about Mike Welden. Matt Bertrand. Chris O’Brien. Jeff Green. 4 people who were following me through the woods all day. Made it to every aid station – Twice. Never missed me. Overwhelming amount of love I feel for these people.

The cheers from #trailsroc made me totally forget I wanted to sit down. I told Ron I was freaking out. Told Matt I think I needed my gloves. Mike ran and got them for me. I stood there holding them with useless swollen, and wet hands. Matt failed at putting them on for me. Danielle Snyder succeeded. I don’t remember much of what was said there – but I remember it being pretty hilarious. I stole a salt tab, pickle, m&m’s and a couple of oreos – and was on my way again. It was gonna be a long 13 mile walk back to the finish… so I thought.
The trail back from Buttermilk aid station was pretty much all down hill. At some point I started running, and didn’t stop until I got to back to underpass. I was feeling good. Mike gave me the last salt tab. I think I had a few terra chips. Probably some more Oreos. Crew told me I could break 10 hours. I wanted to. It’d be close, but I knew the stairs were coming up soon. I told the crew I was about to go crawl up them – I was serious.

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

Photo by Matt B

Photo by Matt B

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

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

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

Photo thanks to creeper Chris :p

Photo thanks to creeper Chris :p

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

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


Eat and Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Eat and Run.

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.

Pre Canlakes 50 miler

I was asleep – and realised I had been sleeping for a while. So I opened my eyes in a panic and looked at the clock – 2:45am. My alarm was set for 2:55am. I was pretty relieved that I didn’t sleep through any alarms, and I was VERY awake. But I still layed there and waited for my alarm to go off. My first thoughts – “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo” and “I don’t want to do this.”

Now im drinking coffee and eating my pre-breakfast snack of homemade vegan rice krispies with peanut butter, molasses, and chocolate. Once those are gone i’ll go downstairs and make oatmeal – I’ve started using trader joes quick(er) steal cut oats. Pretty plain, but easy on the stomach. Plus I add honey and cinnamin 🙂 and chia seeds and hemp seeds, or flax if I have it.

I’ve never been so stressed the day before a race as I was yesterday. Im scared i’ll drink too much water and die – dehydrate and die – Kidney’s fail – die – There’s so much I can do wrong. But hopefully I don’t do stupid things, and hoping I feel the same sort of things as I did during the 12 hour. I hated the feeling of thinking I couldn’t run anymore, but the 2nd, 3rd, 4th winds felt amazing.

I’ll be seeing Kyle at mile 35 – from there he will run me to the finish. Im hoping Im not too much of a baby for those last 15, and hoping I can let him enjoy some of the run. I can’t wait to see him there waiting for me!

Right now it is… 3:53am. I will be leaving at 5:30ish. Race starts at 7:30am. Thanks for reading my pre-race ramble. I hope to live another day, so you can read a post race report.

– The end.

CanLakes 50 – one week

Next Saturday i’ll be running CanLakes 50.

Start time will be 7:30am, and so far the weather is looking…. ok. Start will be cold – 40 ish degrees, then a high of 57/60. Im sure that will change next week though. I’d rather it be warmer than colder…

Running this week has been pretty much non-existent. Too busy/ felt tired and no desire to run…. good thing the race is next weekend.

Here’s the general idea of the race course: (Around Canandaigua Lake)

There’s 4 major climbs – Coye Rd, Bopple Hill, South Valley, and Bare Hill. (Bopple being the worst at mile 15).


My game plan: Take it 15 miles at a time. I’ll start out easy with my goal to get to Bopple, and get UP Bopple without wasting too much time. After Bopple its pretty easy for a while, so i’ll do whatever my body feels like doing. My goal is to feel good for this 15, then suffer for about 5 miles…. Then at mile 35 I’ll pick up my pacer (Kyle). Then the last 15 will be hard, and goal is to just keep moving and try not to waste time, or die.

But. If I were to die from something – It would be running. I keep having all these weird problems… and no I haven’t gone to a doctor. But running makes me feel like there’s nothing wrong. I’d like to believe that running can cure anything – and maybe if I run long enough it’ll just go away. (I know – not true). I’ll probably make an appointment after CanLakes… but I would really rather just go on not knowing.

Time Goal: #1 – Less than 12 hours. #2 – If im feeling ok/ run the same pace I ran Mind the Ducks, I should finish within 10 hours. #3-(If amazing things happen) under 9 hours.

My goal throughout the race is to not be dumb. I usually get to a point where I don’t want to eat, and so I dont. I’ll have to force myself or else bad things would probably happen. At least this time around I will be equipt with Endurolytes. I don’t plan on using them until I think my body needs them, so probably around half-way or more.

I keep thinking about Mind the Ducks (12 hour) and how I felt during that…. I am dreading the part where it’s starts to get hard. I was pretty scared during Mind the Ducks – convinced my Kidneys were failing, convinced I was going to go to bed and not wake up the next morning. I joked about it during the race – but I was completely serious. My body went into shock after Mind the Ducks – I was freezing, uncontrollable shivering, rediculous melt down… hoping it doesn’t happen again. But with my race history – highly likeable.

Im debating on not using my Garmin for the race – leaning towards not. Knowing my pace or what time it is would add a level of stress that I don’t want.

Vegan update: Still Vegan

The End.

Mind the Ducks 12 hour

What a race.
Before Saturday, I had never ran longer than 4 hours and 15 minutes…. and that was during a marathon. My longest training run was under 3 hours. I never trained over 50 miles in a week….

I just ran 55.66 miles in 11:49.23!

I didn’t wear a watch, I didn’t keep track of my place during the event. I didn’t want any added stress. I just wanted to keep moving. So here’s a little report…

The first 4 miles were slow and crowded, and I didn’t mind. I talked and ran with an awesome runner – Liz, who ended up with 62 miles. She gave me some good advice for the run, as well as recovery. After the first hour or so I had no idea what lap I was on… until I was around a marathon. I created a tally sheet for my friend Natalie and I, and my parents were there to mark each lap.
I got a ton of unexpected support. The #trailsroc crew were there to cheer and took some awesome photos. They really helped the first half of the race fly by.

My plan was to run the whole time until I ran around to my friend Natalie, each time I saw her I would take a walking break and see how she was doing. I started dying a bit when I hit the 30’s, and took more walking breaks on my own. My friend Pat from work came – we had a little fundraiser going for him to help him get through his cancer treatments.

I was feeling like I couldn’t run anymore, so he walked a lap with me and I drank some gatorade. After that lap I stretched for a minute, rolled out my calfs, and tried to pick up a run again. I passed the clock and Gil, the race director told me I wasn’t that far behind… that I could catch up if I stayed steady. My first thought was “oh great… that’s not gonna happen” but then I got a second wind. I was able to run 4 more miles with no breaks. Here’s my splits – thanks to yellow jacket racing!
After that little spurt of energy I hit my second wall. I ran/walked some laps. Then trail runner friend Matt stopped by… this was probably when I was at my worst, but it was awesome timing. He walked a couple laps with me. Tried to run a lap with me, but I couldn’t do it… I was getting cramps, sidestitches, and not feeling great. We start talking about salt and salt tablets… and he convinced me I should probably try taking one. I was covered in salt, my shirt had salt patterns on it… I never knew salt was THAT important.

I get around to the main aid station and take 1 electrolyte tablet, and walk another lap while drinking water. I didn’t realize I was feeling better until Matt asked if I was…. and I was like… “actually…yes.” I didn’t think there was any recovering from what I had done, I was actually convinced I was dying… or I was probably gonna die once the 12 hours were over. Matt asked if I thought I could run again, and I tried. It was tiny baby step running, but I was moving again. I actually started to feel hungry… that was something I hadn’t felt at all, all day! I took another electrolyte tablet, and ate a donut bite at the aid station.

I couldn’t understand how even my feet were feeling better, nothing seemed to hurt anymore. Or at least nothing compared to how it was before. Darn electrolye tablets! I wish I had tried them earlier… but they are an amazing thing. I was able to run the last 5 miles till the clock ran out. and Those were probably the funnest miles! Kyle was there, and each time I saw him I would say… 1 more. Everyone was so excited for the runners still going, cheering loader each of the final laps. My last lap was #55, and I did it in 10:31… I finished and still had about 10 minutes to get another lap in and I probably could have… but I felt like that might be the 1 lap that would push me over the edge. Plus it was fun to see everyone else finishing.

About 15 minutes after having stopped, I started walking with Kyle and my mom… and something didn’t feel right. I felt dizzy, things were getting fuzzy… saw some stars. I ducked under the finish line rope and sat on a giant piece of bark… I think next to some dog poop, cause Kyle stepped in it. I thought I was gonna lose it, and didn’t know what do to. I was cold, I couldn’t stop shaking, and couldn’t stop crying… it got messy.

Long story short – eventually I got up with the help of Kyle and my mom. Got my goodie bag. and Kyle took me home… I was still pretty hysterical. Kyle had to carry me inside, I was still freezing, or in shock or something… couldn’t stop shaking. He made me a hot bath, and gave me chocolate chips. Then we turned the hot bath into an ice bath… We had a small bowl of pasta, I took 2 ibprofen and wen’t to bed.

I was scared of how I would feel the next day, still convinced I wasn’t gonna wake up. I thought I had destroyed my body. But I woke up, layed in bed… evetually got up. I was shocked… not bad! I was fine. A little sore, but Im pretty sure I’ve been worse. I feel like I’ll be able to run sooner than I thought, I expect a full recovery before Sehgahunda. Do I dare try to run Dirt Cheap in 2 days? I am thinking about it.

Here’s my full results:
12th overall – out of 125
6th female out of 67
4th in age group (39 and under)
I did 55.66 miles in 11 hours 49 minutes, and 23 seconds.

This race ended up meaning alot more to me than I expected. So much support. A guy came up to me after I finished and told me I was an amazing runner… really!? I didn’t know what to say. That’s something I don’t expect to here, and not something I ever considered myself. I try to run, sometimes I do well… I don’t really know what im doing. But thank you to that guy, I appreciate it! I wish I got your name 🙂

I could keep going but Im gonna hurry up and finish this. Anyone that cheered for me, I noticed – you got me through a long day, and pushed me farther than I thought I could go. My goal was 50 miles. At one point I didn’t care if I didn’t get there. But I ended up doing 55! I learned ALOT! ELECTROYLTES – those are important. Here’s some photos.

Photo Credit - Ron Heerkens

Photo Credit – Ron Heerkens

Photo Credit- Ron Heerkens

Photo Credit- Ron Heerkens


Pat's visit

Pat’s visit