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.

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Antelope Training – not dead yet.

There’s strength in failing. It can’t always be back to back weekends of 70+ miles. Some people can. I thought I could.

I’ve been taking my head out of running. If it’s on the schedule – That’s what I’ll do. That’s what comes first. No matter how much I feel like I’m crawling, I can always find that second gear. Well – That’s unrealistic. I find out I’m human. You gotta break down to build up. But break down without going too far.
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Ending February with 267 miles trained.
Compared to January’s – 272.4

I was on track to beat that mileage this month. But there’s times to push.
And times to listen to your body.

I weigh the thoughts of – Is this really that hard? How is my body really feeling?

Then I look at my heart rate of 170 and I’m going 12:00 miles.
Something’s going on.

Antelope is coming – 3 more weeks.
The training is in – just got to hold it together.

Antelope Training

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

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

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

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

#getrekt

 

Lone time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year. Again.

2018

Looking at 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

I’m taking training one day at a time.

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

The Empire State Triad

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year.

The End.

Twisted Branch 100k – 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mile 40 – Photo by Mom

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

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

Live tracking splits.

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

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

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

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

2015 Team Welden.

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

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

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

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.

Broken.

I use to think I was a broken piece of human. I use to think something was wrong with me. I still do.

I don’t like posting about my feelings. Unless they are things I feel during races.

Feelings in general… hmm. I think about this a lot.
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The problem is… I like everyone. I like people’s “flaws”. I like weird. I like awkwardness. I like random and ridiculous. There are people that are easy to be around. There are people that take a little more work and patience. There are people that make it easy to lose time, and stay out too late, and remind you how to get the most out of everyday.

Feelings are fun. and also dumb.
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I’ve reached a quarter life… if I live to 120.

What have I done with my life?

I did the normal stuff. School, collage, sports.

I’ve been in a relationship. Been engaged. Been single.

I work a lot. Sometimes I run a lot. I love racing.

Sometimes I’m good at being a friend. Sometimes I suck.
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I’m constantly surprised by people though. Folks are there when you least expect it. Reach out when you’ve had a bad day. We all come and go to the same stuff and don’t say much – but our actions speak more than words.

So now – this. I’ve wrote a post about vague feelings.
Maybe out of boredom?

I don’t know what I’m doing most the time.
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Feeling’s hard. I’d much rather get beat up at Rossi’s classes.

The End.

Inaugural Many on the Genny – 40 Mile.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supposably.

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

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

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

Still taking forever….

Photo by Jim McLaughlin – RRC tent / AS #5

I think it ended up being mile 37?

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

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

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

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

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

Finish Line Sky

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

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

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

The end.

Cayuga Trails 50 – 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Plan #2: Just run.

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

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

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

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

The end.

Photo by Joe Azze of Mountain Peak Fitness