Twisted Branch 100k – 2019

2015 – 17:36:56 (Trained)
2017 – 18:01:38 (Sorta trained)
2019 – 18:53:38 (No training)

Start Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr/ GF Media

I’ve tried all approaches to Twisted. Training/no training. They all end up the same. Maybe this is the course I strive to beat. But so far – it just eats you up. As the wise Vidmar told me after I told him this same thing — “It seems to find, expose, and make us confront any vulnerabilities we might have going in. But, perhaps that is also its gift.”
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It was a rough few weeks leading up to this. 55 hour work weeks. I felt trapped and frustrated. And after spending the weekend before in the ADKs, I just wanted to retreat back. I considered the DNS. But of course as the week ended – things settled down. And a long day in the woods is all I wanted anyway.
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I was curious if this was still the hardest ultra I’ve done.

It is.
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Going into this – I had no running miles. But tons of time on feet. Weekends in the mountains. Italy trip and CUT112 still on my mind. I knew finishing wouldn’t be an issue. How would running that much go – after not running much at all?

So to start. My CUT112 buddy Adam was running too. And after sticking together for 112 miles before – we started this race together. With Abby by my side as well. The 3 of us cruised along for a while, until Abby got out her poles and left us in her uphill dust.
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Running actually felt ok.

We cycled through running, and hiking. Feeling like we were moving well and making good time. Feeling like I was running more than past years – but then again… I didn’t really remember. We found ourselves at 50k near 7.5 hours.

We both bonked hard on our way into Patch Rd Aid Station. My feet were hurting – and they never hurt like this. I fiddled with my shoes – the tongue kept getting sucked and scrunched into my shoe, putting pressure on my foot. I adjusted it, but knew it wouldn’t last.

Adam bounced back quick. I still felt depleted. But we’d try to run as much as we could to get to Bud Valley.

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Going into this – I didn’t care about finishing. During this – Definitely didn’t care about finishing. I was content dropping at Bud Valley. But told myself if Mertsock was there…. I couldn’t drop. And of course he was.

I was excited he was there. Smiled and waved as we ran in. Pretending I wasn’t dying inside.

I fiddled with my shoes again at Bud. And complained about my socks. I even looked at my spare socks in my drop bag – but changing them seemed like such a large task. I would survive with what I had. My shoes on the other hand – were living there last miles. And my feet were feeling there death.
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Spirits were good when Mertsock jumped in. But soon after the clouds rolled in and we were drenched. The rain lasted a while. The mud was not cool.
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My spirits didn’t last long. I was trying. My brain chemicals were gone.

I kept feeling like I couldn’t come back. I was defeated.
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I’d hear my breath get weezy. Tears would roll in my eyes. Nothing was wrong. Why was I freaking out?

I was frustrated that maybe this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. This wasn’t the stress relief I was looking for earlier in the week.

I was tired of eating Aid station stuff. I didn’t want anything. Tired of gels. and pickles. Even the real food didn’t look appealing. Although Lake David got me with Donut slices and coffee beans.

I was tired of feeling chased. I kept craving our “no mans land” – but every time we’d find our spot, we’d hear voices again. So many people. — Not that it wasn’t great to see how others were doing. I think we all just look for that time of solitude.

Photo by Mertsock at Lake David

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Panic attacks creeped on me basically the whole time from Bud Valley to Urbana. Without warning.

Luckily the 3 of us have done this before. We were re-living the CUT112. Adam and I racing. Mertsock pacing. Both of them knowing my deaths won’t last forever.
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My goal was to make it to Urbana. All I really wanted to do was run the stretch from Michelsville. My favorite 2.5 miles, no matter how I feel – I’ve always been able to run there.

I was not expecting to have a melt down. On the way down from Lake David – I couldn’t control the tears. I saw the Michelsville tent. Tried to stop crying. Nope. I couldn’t stop anything. I ran by the Aid saying “I’m just gonna go.” Ditching Adam and Mertsock. And for the first time – actually cried. As I ran away. It felt good. A little dramatic. But I felt free!

I heard Mertsock running behind me. And as the melt down ended and we navigated some fence and barbed wires, I was excited to get this done.

A little guilty for leaving Adam after he had stuck with me all day. But Mertsock assured me he’d catch up. And he did.
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We swapped Mertsock for Strat at Urbana. I was content with stopping here all day. But my current mood had me ready to finish at the beach.

I was slow again.

Mount Washington is never the worst of the course. Every year it’s always felt pretty good. Maybe you stop caring at that point? Or maybe the switch backs make it forgiving. The worst is the trail just after.

It takes forever to get down to Winding Stair road. I used to think it was the Triad trail. But Triad is quick. And fun switch backs.

But this pre-Triad trail…. had me angry. I was angry at the mud. Angry at this little hill that Strat and Adam bounced up. But I was stuck walking in place. So mad. I cried. Cause I don’t know what else to do with emotions.
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It was relieving to reach Winding Stair rd. And we ran our way to the Triad turn. And kept running our way through the switch backs. I looked and saw 10:46 pm – 14 minutes to beat 19 hours. (which we actually had 10 more minutes cause of late start) But I asked Strat –

“Think we can finish in 10 minutes?”
— Strat “Yes”.

“Really?”

I believed it. We cranked a few extra gears. Rolled in at 10:58pm.

Another by Mertsock at Lake David.

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Part of me never wants to do this again. Part of me thinks this course is just not meant for me. Then the stubborn part of me wants to see if I can do it….

Guess we’ll see in 2 years. Staying true to every odd year.

Next year I’ll bring back the lights.
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Twisted. A super runnable course. Sneaking over 10,000 feet of gain in 65 miles. All via the best trails in the Finger Lakes.

Something makes this course so challenging. Harder than 100 milers. Harder than staying awake for 51 hours.

Some seem to figure it out. I just don’t know. Sure is awesome though.
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Thank you Scott. Your creation is one of a kind – and the best and hardest on the east coast. Thank you Twisted Crew – for all the hours of hard work and support along the course. Thank you volunteers for helping me survive, and all the high fives and cheers.

Thank you Adam for sticking with me – no matter how many times I told you to leave. Best company and great friend to spend the miles with.

Mertsock for pacing us for 20 miles. Keeping me moving even while my brain had lost all hope. Attempting shoe fixes mid trail – resulting in broken laces – but using Macgyver skills to pin things together and make it work. Always the luckiest to share miles with you.

Strat- For transporting everything and everyone. And pacing us the last bits from Urbana. Telling us we’re crushing it- even when it felt like we were crawling. And pushing us when we felt we could run.

Chris-O – For spending your birthday with your run fam. Lucky to have you all over the course. And especially at the end. Thanks for laughing at me and supporting me like always!
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What’s next?

Pretty sure Im adventuring every weekend.

But then a road marathon in November. yes. A marathon. Cause it’s been a while. And we’re getting G-Street back together.

The end.

CUT112 – 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The steps of Castle Craig – Matt and I.

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

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

Bushwhacking a ravine due to getting lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About 17,000 elevation gain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUT112 – Mile 102

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

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

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

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

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

And I wanted my crew to see it too.

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

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

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

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

The end.

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

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

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

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

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 πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
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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.

If there’s a bear…

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

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

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

But they’ve been getting done. Slowly.

Am I worried? No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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.
——————————————————————————-
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.
————————————————————————————————
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.
————————————————————————————————–
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

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*Β 
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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.Β 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.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mile 40 – Photo by Mom

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

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

Live tracking splits.

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

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

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

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

2015 Team Welden.

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

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

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

Looking at Twisted Branch 100k – take 2

It took a long time to forget the emotional trauma of the inaugural Twisted Branch. I finished. But never expected to be chasing cut-offs and battling my body to the finish line. The things that happened along the way were hard physically – but I had more emotional issues. –>(My report from 2015)

So I’m back. Thanks to friends.
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One week from now I’ll be 6 hours into my second attempt. Trying to kill me with a 4am start time!!

My last real run was O SPF – on July 15th. 13ish miles. The day after I ran 6 miles super easy…. and decided I would need to take a break if my foot would ever hold up for Twisted.

I’m currently ellipticalling, Bikraming, and Josh Rossi classing (at Fore Performance) my way to the start line.

I’ve been seeing Dr. Nick – Chiropractor at Simply Health Chiropractic. He’s been doing laser treatments 2/3 times a week, to help reduce inflammation. I’ve been trying to be good about doing recovery stuff on my own – but I still forget.

Goals for Twisted:
– I really don’t know
– Not have so many problems.

Would I have a pacer? – I’m currently not planning on it.
I love racing alone. Although my pacers from 2015 were awesome. If I somehow acquire 2 pacers again – I wouldn’t turn them away.
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In typical big race fashion – work has picked up again. Which means long days, late nights, little sleep. Less training. At this point my training goals are just getting more than 5 hours of sleep. And when I can work out – sweating as much as possible.

As always – I’m excited to have nothing to do other than spend the entire day in the woods. Totally expecting an 18 hour day. I wouldn’t mind a daylight finish though.

photo by John Green – 2015


As of right now – My foot definitely feels better. I’ve gone for a few runs. I don’t think it will ever be pain-free – I think I’ve just traumatized it too much, and ignored it too much. ha

Maybe some day I’ll get it checked out – but for now, I think it’ll be ok.
As long as I don’t kick any roots.

The end.

Looking at CT50. #3

My 3rd take on Cayuga Trails 50 mile is coming up inΒ less than 2 weeks. The last 2 years it has been my favorite trail race.

2015: I ran 10:08
2016: I ran 10:07

I like the idea of being consistent. but – ultimately, sub 10 hours would be sweet.
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Each year this race comes during the busiest times at work. Which means my training suffers. My sleep suffers.

This year I’ve pretty much given up. I haven’t been running. I mean… I ran a marathon trail race Saturday. but … training miles have been pretty sad. At least I know I can make it 25 or so.

I’m dead. I don’t want to run. I’m burnt out. My body died a few weeks ago – was pretty much incapable of doing anything.
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A few positives:

I’ve been consistently strength training with Josh Rossi at Fore performance. If I have any success at all this year – it’s thanks to them.
— I’ve had solid training runs thanks to races. (Ontario Summit, Breakneck, pacing at GA Death Race).
— Friends have gotten me out on some good runs.
— Friends are awesome.

I’ve got a few things to be excited about:
I get frustrated with training – but I love racing. And still look forward to them, no matter the miles I’ve put in.
— Racing allows me to have nothing else. Nothing to do other than run. When it’s just me and my mind, and some friends in between. OftenΒ it’s a battle.Β Often I feel like this is what I’m meant to be doing. Often it’s the moments I feelΒ nothing else matters. Low points are hard – quitting is tempting – but always remind myself that I really have nothing better to do.

— I go into every race with no expectations. Because something always happens. At the end, there’s always a story.
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The season of adventure is just beginning.
And I’ve already had a few awesome ones.

First run of the year. 1.1.17 ❀

2016

2016. Was interesting.

I ran 1966.81 miles
I raced 379.96 miles – 19 races (5 Ultras)
2 DNFs.

I did strength training with Josh Rossi the entire year.

I joined the MPF/RNR Trail running team.

Made a few good ventures to the ADKs and knocked off more high peaks.
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The year started out strong with group things and lots of friend runs.
– Beer Mile.

2016 Beer mile smiles.

2016 Beer mile smiles.

– Wegmans Marathon.

Wegmans Marathon on Wegmans 100th B-day. 6 Wegmans. 1 cake.

Wegmans Marathon on Wegmans 100th B-day. 6 Wegmans. 1 cake.

–Β G Street crew.

Rock N Roll DC Marathon - March 2016

Rock N Roll DC Marathon – March 2016

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I had some good races. Cast a Shadow 6 hour – 34ish miles. DC Marathon – I qualified for Boston here, then didn’t register for Boston. Cayuga Trails 50. Ontario Summit Marathon. Whiteface Skyrace. 0 SPF. Β Also good runs at Belleayre Mountain Summit 10k, and All Down Hill 5 mile (18:38 5k).

Cayuga Trails 50 Mile.

Cayuga Trails 50 Mile.


Whiteface Sky Race. Photo by Joe Azze http://mountainpeakfitness.com/

Whiteface Sky Race. Photo by Joe Azze
http://mountainpeakfitness.com/


Sweet Trophies at Belleayre 10k - and an Overall win. MPF/RNR swept this race.

Sweet Trophies at Belleayre 10k – and an Overall win. MPF/RNR swept this race.

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I had my first DNF at my first 100 attempt. Burning River. Yeah, I was injured going into it. I didn’t leave without good memories though – The great toe debacle and shoe amputation.

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

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

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I jumped in to pace Rob at Twisted Branch. Then ran Lucifers Crossing the next day – probably my worst race in a LONG time… dead legs plus a few nights of no sleep.
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Ran Watergap 50k in October. It went well until I had good old breathing issues – but still sub 5 hour.

Watergap 50k.

Watergap 50k.


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Ventured to Virginia for Hellgate 100k in December. My second DNF @ mile 47, due to missing a cutoff. It was a record cold year, but it was awesome.
Gettin ready in Bethel - Hellgate 100k. Photo by Chris O'

Gettin ready in Bethel – Hellgate 100k. Photo by Chris O’


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Best races/weekends of 2016:
Whiteface SkyRaces. Cayuga 50. And Hellgate 100k. Hands down.
——————————————————————
2016 wasn’t without mistakes. I should have taken more time by myself.

But being alone is awkward. And kind of scary.
__________________________________________________________________
So whats up for 2017?

1. Starting it off awkward and scary. But also kind of refreshing.
2. Im signed up for:

3. Another full year of Strength training with Rossi.
4. Another full year of Team stuff – I’m looking forward to joining more adventures.
5. Planning to spend a good chunk of time in the ADKs – Probably run Whiteface again.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of venturing out west for my next 100 attempt. Looking into September/ labor day week. Or stay local and run Twisted Branch again.

So yeah – Basically no big plans. Just take the year as it comes.
See what happens.

The end.