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.

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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.
———————————————————————————
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.

Looking at CT50. #3

My 3rd take on Cayuga Trails 50 mile is coming up in 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.
—————————————————————
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. Often it’s a battle. Often I feel like this is what I’m meant to be doing. Often it’s the moments I feel 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.

– 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.  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’


——————————————————————
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.

Burning River 100 – DNF

Packet Pickup

Packet Pickup

3am on Saturday August 6th, we left our hotel for Squires Castle.
The start line of Burning River 100.

3:30am at the Start. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

3:30am at the Start.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I was unsure if I had slept at all. Unsure of how running would feel.
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The first 12 miles were on road. The foot felt ok, but I was compensating a little. Running didn’t feel normal. I was wearing my Nike Hyperfeel trail shoes – which I thought would be good for the whole day, on and off the trail. But in the first 12, my feet were killing me. When my left foot was hurting more than my right foot (injured foot), I knew it was a shoe thing.

The first crew accessible aid station was at mile 11.5 – Polo fields. I meant to change my shoes. I forgot. I didn’t need food or water, so just kept going. I popped into some trails from there, then quickly realised I wouldn’t have crew at the next aid station. It would be 10 miles till I saw them again.

The shoes would go in and out of killing me and being ok. I hit a low point early. Somewhere after mile 15.  I was walking a lot. I know it’s 100 miles, but it was way too early for this kind of stuff. All I kept thinking is “Im not gonna make it.” and Mertsock was driving in from Rochester to pace me at mile 72…
It would be a waste of a drive.
——————————————————————–
So here’s some stuff.

There are things I expect in every race. I expect at some points running will feel good. I expect those feelings of “running is awesome!” I expect to be able to run the downhills – cause those are what I LOVE. I expect ups and downs, and breakdowns. I expect the unexpected.

I went into this 100 with doubts of how far I would go. I injured my foot 10 days before. Nothing serious apparently because running 100k on it seemed to do it more good than harm. But that was my first “injury” from a freak foot twisting event on trails. Still – It kept me from running how I normally run. My form was off. I couldn’t run any uphills OR downhills. Having a lot of issues from the start of such a big race – had expectations at an all time low. I didn’t expect to finish.
——————————————————————-
On to Shadow Lake – Mile 21.7

I saw Chris about a mile before the aid station – he was out getting in some miles. I told him I needed to change my shoes – which was good or I might’ve forgot again.

I sat down with the crew. I cried as we pulled my shoes off. They advised me to go with the Flyknit road shoes – which was a good call. I was sad. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to eat. Not that I didn’t feel good or anything – just was in a “what’s the point” mood.

I stood up and stared at the aid station for a bit. Stood some more. ok. Pickle. Cookie. M&M’s. Guess I’ll go.
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On to Egbert – Mile 26.5

I would be seeing crew again at Egbert. Only 5 miles away. My feet were feeling better, I still walked. A lot. I was in a dark place.

— I thought a lot about this dark spot. It was nothing about running. It brought up things in life. Things that convinced me that I’m the worst. That I’m a broken piece of human. —

I don’t remember much of this stretch. As I ran into the aid station Chris said I was looking better…. hmm ok.

Matt stuffed my phone into my Orange Mud vest – so they could track me via find my friends. Chris brought me food things I had forgotten about, which made me pretty happy. I wandered over to the aid station and took salt for the first time, and some pickles. I went back over and asked Jeff when I’d see them again….. 12 miles. Buh.
______________________________________________
On to Meadows – Mile 38.3

I walked for a bit out of Egbert. But I started running. Then I didn’t stop. I caught up to people who had passed me what felt like hours ago. I passed people I thought I’d never see again. Life wasn’t over. Thanks to crew. And carbs.

There was a long stretch on canal. Much longer than I expected. I was still cruising, it was sunny and hot. Things started hurting again, but I was still running. Part of me said this pace could hurt me later… part of me said – it probably won’t matter.

I rolled into Meadows around 12:30pm. Feeling like I could run till 72. I could make it to Mertsock. I could finish.

Chris handed me coconut water, and other things I hadn’t been thinking about. But he put them in front of me and I wanted them.

It would be 12 miles till I saw them again. 12 miles till Im half way done.
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On to Boston Mills – Mile 50

I lost momentum coming out of Meadows aid station. Feet were hurting. Right foot aching. Left foot had something going on under the Big toe nail. I got tired. Sleepy. I felt like I could lay out on the trail and be out. Something was missing. I walked a lot of the first 6 miles. I don’t remember the aid stations or what I ate in this stretch…. other than eventually eating 2 ginger chews cause I was bored. But it seemed within minutes of the ginger – a lot of pains went away, and I found myself running the next 6 miles.

I started to get excited. I had run parts of this trail with Jeff last year when we were waiting for Welden at mile 50. So things started to look familiar. I knew it’d be a few miles till I saw everyone again. I was getting close… then Welden was there! He was hanging out on the trail maybe a mile or less from the aid station, and ran in with me. Told me Mertsock was almost there.

Got in to 50 in 11 hours and 35 minutes. Was feeling great. Jeff said he was ready to hop in if I wanted a pacer. I didn’t know. He told me it’d be 16 miles before I would see crew again. I knew I would hit a low point. I knew it could be bad. I didn’t know if it would be better or worse with someone there. If there is someone who has seen me at my worst – it’s Jeff.

So yeah. Lets see what happens.

photo by Chris O'Brien

photo by Chris O’Brien

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Grapes! at Mile 50. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

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On to Ledges – Mile 66.5

Jeff and I walked for a bit out of mile 50. Things felt like they had tightened up again, and momentum was gone. We had a long stretch on canal path that we walked a lot of with small run spirts. We got to a U-turn which put us back on some dirt, and started running more.

My big toe was getting hard to ignore. I was in a pretty good mood though. I was talking a lot. Happy to complain to Jeff about all things of the day and life. And he did an awesome job of listening.
____________________________________________
I expected my foot to be the reason I DNF. Then when my foot wasn’t getting any worse – I had no excuse. Could I DNF without an excuse. No. I would have to finish. I could walk all night – I was looking forward to the 24+ hour experience, whatever that entailed.
____________________________________________
Still to Ledges

We did some running. but I remember mostly walking. And at some point my mood had changed. My feet hurt. My toe was killing me. But it’s just a toe. It started to feel like the nail was getting looser – and something was definitely going on under it. I was also getting weird aches in my right upper calf.

We stopped at an unmanned aid station. I ate a gel and sat on a hill with my legs up. I could feel the circulation pulsing. It felt much-needed. It felt good.

Things didn’t change much from there though. Still had aches in my calf. Toe still hurt. I rolled my compression sock down – maybe it was a circulation thing. I was super low for a long time. Walking is so slow. Were not going to make it to Ledges before dark. We don’t have headlamps….

Then we heard voices. Our crew had ventured out on the trails from Pine Lane – where no crew was “allowed”.

We were very lucky to have them there. Got into the aid station. I wasn’t going to check out the toe – then Matt asked if we should look at it – cause… why not. I also wanted to get some different socks on.

It wasn’t too bad. Welden gave me a pin from his bib to poke at it. I poked under the nail – There was nothing. Poked at the side – some good stuff there. He cut open my flyknits to take the pressure off the toe.

At Pine Lane - Mile 59.7 Photo by Chris O'Brien

At Pine Lane – Mile 59.7
Photo by Chris O’Brien

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Toe poking and Flyknit removal. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

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

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

________________________________________________________
STILL – on to Ledges.

The extra space was weird at first, but felt good. Problem solved. We had headlamps. I felt good. Water and nutrition was pretty on point all day. I never felt like I couldn’t eat, was never dehydrated. Never felt sick. I definitely don’t eat enough. I forget that 4 grapes and 8 M&Ms, and a couple of pickles isn’t a meal. I would eat between aid stations – which I forget to do in other races. But it would usually be 1 huma gel – or a ginger chew. But everyone is different. I’ve always felt better with less stuff in me.

I wanted to run now. The tightness in that right calf now felt like it was coming from under my knee. Soon it was just under my knee. It felt like a knot – I kept trying to rub it out. Jeff poked at it a little.

WHY. I wanted to run. I can ignore this – does it really hurt that much?

I guess it wasn’t a matter of pain. It was more that the muscle made running not possible. It wouldn’t allow it. It made walking stupid. I was up for walking 30 miles if I could walk a decent pace. But this was so dumb.
__________________________________________________________

In 100k – My injured foot is healed. My toe fixed. My Popliteal broken.
__________________________________________________________
The journey to Ledges continues.

We had 6 more miles till we would see crew again. I could make it there by cut off – which was 11:35PM.

We were lucky to have a lot of road and canal miles after the shoe dissection. I was worried about kicking roots, cause I was doing that all day.

We would try to run multiple times. It wouldn’t be a run. It would be walking pace. I would convince myself that I could force it. We would try again. Nope. So we walked.

I told Jeff I would walk it into Ledges then probably be done. The thought of it was heart breaking. My first DNF. I felt like I would never get over it. It was unacceptable. But this entire race was not how I wanted my first 100 to go, and I knew it wouldn’t be. It was not how I usually run – but I did the best with what I had. And my crew helped me inch forward and problem solve along the way.

It was dark. It felt like it’d been a long time. I asked Jeff what time it was – he said 9:something PM. I was surprised it was so late. We still had a couple of miles till we would get to Ledges – at this pace, I might not make the cut off anyway.

The course finally turns onto a trail. I walk a few feet onto it….

I can’t. I can’t pick my feet up enough to do handle a trail. I’m walking too slow. I’m done. I never made it to Ledges.
___________________________________________________________
The Escape.

We walked the path till it got to a “road”. We had been talking to Matt, and he was only minutes away. There was some adventuring involved in our escape – but it may be better to leave out those details.

Matt and Chris had both told me I should sit, and take some time before I stop for good. But I could tell this was something that wouldn’t go away. I’m good at knowing when im being lazy and when something has potential to change. But I couldn’t walk. and I wasn’t about to walk at a crawling pace for a few more hours just to miss a cutoff, and make whatever muscle that’s being dumb that much worse.

Now that it’s Monday – and my knee is still just as tight and un-walkable. I feel pretty good about my choice to stop where I did.
___________________________________________________________

Chris had asked me about my goals for this race before.

I told him just to see how far I could get – based on the pre-race foot injury.

I also told him I wanted to be able to run again this month.

I achieved one – 64ish miles in 17 something hours. and I’m sure I’ll achieve the running again this month thing. Seeing as im signed up to pace Jeff for Twisted Branch, and also racing Lucifer’s Crossing the day after. 🙂
___________________________________________________________

It’s hard for me to drag people into these things and not finish or do what is planned. I want this stuff to be a great experience for everyone. But even in the unexpected and unplanned, and sleep deprivation – you learn things about yourself and your friends. Things that you need to work on, and things that just bring everyone closer together.
___________________________________________________________

Luckily we had Dan-o.

We met Chris and the rest of the gang at Pine Hollow – which would be mile 76 for Dan-o.
— I hadn’t seen Dan since the starting line – and was excited to follow him around the rest the night and morning.

I watched Dan-o come in – and take Welden. Then it would be hours before we’d see them again. Like 8 hours. I couldn’t imagine. It was getting cold.

I remembered picking up Daven here last year in the daylight – and 90 degrees – and running the next 20 miles… I couldn’t imagine this part at night.
________________________________________________________________
With hours to spare – we went to our hotel and got some sleep till about 3am. We would go catch Dan-o and his gang at mile 90. Then 95. Then off to the finish.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Dan-o at mile 90. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile - to the finish. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Walking to meet Dan for his last mile – to the finish. Photo by Chris O’Brien.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

The gang. Walking the last mile and getting dropped by Dan-o.

I knew I’d get dropped cause my stupid walking pace – but I was happy to be there the last mile. Happy to be at the finish. This race is awesome. Could use a few less roads and canals. but the trails are super fun.

Gang at the finish line. Photo by Chris O'Brien.

Gang at the finish line.
Photo by Chris O’Brien.

I knew some day I would experience a DNF. I knew 100 miles would increase the odds. I think I’m capable of a decent attempt. So until next time – this was fun.

The end.

_______________________________________________
Things I used.

Orange Mud vest – Hydra Quiver
with a Ultimate Direction Bottle – Hand Held
— I used the hand held bottle in the orange mud vest so I can use the little pocket on the bottle for easy to access things. For this race – it was chapstick.

Road shoes would be fine for this race – if it’s always as dry as it was this year.
I used Nike FlyKnits.

Compression socks as well as my trail shoes –  have been fine for other ultras i’ve done. In NY. But something about Ohio – maybe the Location, different elevation/humidity. Legs and feet handled them differently/seemed to be more swollen.

Huma Gels. Awesome as always. I used 4 or 5 during this race.
Picky Bar. I ate two. 1 about 2 hours in. Another… somewhere between 30 and 50. ALways great.

Pickles. I had a pickle at almost every aid station.

Salt tabs. Starting taking salt somewhere around 25 miles. With A LOT of water.

Salt tab and pickle combo. Combo for success.

Grapes. are awesome. Ate these at almost every aid station after 25 miles.

Peanut M&M’s. Grabbed these as I would walk back out to the trail.

Dark Chocolate – I found dark chocolate with ginger. It was awesome. Had this at Mile 50.

Coconut water. Had regular coconut water around mile 25.

Chocolate coconut water. Had this around mile 50.

Home made energy bars. With dark chocolate, molasses, honey, raisins, gluten free oats and rice crispies, coffee beans and coco nibs. Had this at 25 and 50.

Ginger chews. I ate 4 during the day. Out of boredom.

I think that’s it.

oh yeah – 1 freezee pop.

Looking at Burning River 100

1 week from today I’ll be 5 hours into my first 100 miler.

I signed up for Burning River after a long run with Dan-o – we both talked about doing a 100 miler this year. We decided Burning River was good timing for Cayuga 50 to be a good training race.
_____________________________________________________
So 100 Mile Training.

  • I still haven’t followed a training plan.
  • I wanted to do a 100 mile week, or 2… nope.
  • I wanted to do 70+ mile weeks… nope.
  • I got 2 weeks that were over 50. One week included Cayuga Trails 50, the other was a week in the ADK’s hiking and the Whiteface Sky Marathon.
  • I’ve already done 215 miles of racing.
  • The races I’ve done have been awesome, and hard.
  • I ran a trail marathon the weekend after a trail 50. Everything hurt.
  • I hiked 3 high peaks, and “ran” 2 more before racing a Sky Marathon on Whiteface. That destroyed me. Then raced a trail half marathon the weekend after and PR’d.

I had accepted that my low mileage would be ok. Maybe im just a low mileage runner? At least I wouldn’t be going into the race injured.

But then. I hurt my foot.

trainingMileage
How’s that look for ultra training?
————————————————————–

So yeah. 1 week and I somehow twisted my foot in a way to injure the top/side/arch… It feels a lot better just 3 days after… but it’s still swollen, and some faint bruising. I definitely can’t run on it yet.

Foot death.

Crazy how you can run all kinds of races. Hike and run for 24 hours in a week. But in less than 2 miles in one of the easiest places to trail run (Bay Park West), you ruin your foot? I had an awesome injury free streak going.

It’s weird. Im use to things just going away. But I keep waking up and it’s still there. I’m slightly concerned. But running a 100 will still happen.

Also – It could definitely be worse. I’ve just never been sidelined before, so I’m a huge baby and am going to complain about this!
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So the plan for BR100?

  • Just run. and finish under 30 hours. but I’d love to be closer to 24.
  • I’ll have an awesome crew and pacers, and an awesome Dan-o that’ll be somewhere out there.
  • Try not to die. but if I do – I’m ok with death by running.
  • If I can’t run till race day, I’m just keeping up with strength training. Not much I can do now, other than repair my foot, and get more sleep.
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    Goals in life.
  • Never DNF.
  • Never DNS.
  • Never be comfortable. I never what to be 100% about something. I have to go in with some concerns – you never know what will happen – in life and in races.
  • Stay consistent, but also be competitive.
  • Always try something new. You never know what you’re missing. It could be the one thing you needed!
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So this year I’ve been a low mileage runner. But have done better at most races. I have to give credit to the Rossi strength training though. Low mileage plus increased strength = good running.

Also – I love racing a lot more than just running. I could go on a rant about racing. but I won’t. Maybe later. Maybe after Burning River… oh yeah….

… Burning River. I’m nervous. The end.

 

 

Looking at CT50.

Cayuga Trails 50 mile is coming up next weekend.
I guess I usually write stuff before a goal race.

This is the first big race I’ll be going into – not having followed a training plan. I spent most of my time at work – working 50+ hour weeks… Also putting in weekend hours. So if working long hours then going for an 8 mile run counts as a long run – maybe Im more ready than I think.

I spent a lot of time doing Bikram yoga over the winter. I did a lot less running, but a lot more strength and cross training.

Ran a few marathons while training for a marathon in March. PR’d and qualified for Boston. Then switched over to Cayuga training. Which has been… ok.

Nothing like last year. I’ve had very few weeks over 50 miles. But I keep looking at this bar graph thing… and I see consistency, which makes me feel ok.

This years training.

This years training.


Races I did went well. Tend feel better during races than training runs. I ran a couple of hills that made me feel like I suck. Then I ran a couple of hills that made me think I’ll be ok.

What I feel good about:
– I’ve put in lots of strength training. (Thanks Rossi)
– Nothing hurts. Nothings sore. Definitely won’t be overtrained.
– consistent miles. Maybe not a ton of miles. But I’ve never had a break in training.
– First race with team MPF/RNR.

I’m excited to be on the trails with the new team, and pretty much all of Rochester. My running fam/crew from last year will be running… which will be awesome and different. I’m sure if there are low points – it won’t be long till a friend comes by.

I said I didn’t want to run this race again because I loved it so much.
But I couldn’t stay away.

This year will be so different, that comparing it to last year won’t be possible. It’s a new year, new race, more people… Cayuga is an experience that reaches deep. I can’t go into this race thinking about time, or the hard parts. You just have to run, take it in, don’t take yourself too seriously… smile when you’re getting frustrated. Laugh at yourself when you’re dying. Get the most out of the day in the woods with people you love! Then party after.

The End.

P.S. Thanks Ian

Water show award for last years spill.

Water show award for last years spill.


If you must… here’s the show.

Lost and Found on the Great Range.

On January 1st 2015 I created an event for traversing the Adirondack Great Range.

This is something I’ve wanted to do since 2011. I had a failed attempt – and luckily only got to Lower Wolfjaw with 1 other friend. I don’t think either of us would have been capable back then.

The plan was to hike around the summer solstice – so we’d have plenty of daylight. So I chose June 25th – 29th. Plenty of days to choose the best weather. Cause good weather is cool. Also the Whiteface Skymarathon was that weekend – so lots of other runner friends were already planning on being there.
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Here goes: This is about to contain 4 days and about 30 hours of hiking. I might be able to condense it into an hour of reading. If you read as slow as I do. If your lucky it might take 15 minutes.
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Day 1 – Thursday – June 25th, 2015

Phelps. With Kyle and Jeff. We ran about 4 miles of this (round trip) from Heart Lake. Kyle hiked in his Luna Sandles. I totally underestimated the distance. Thinking it wouldn’t take much more than 2 hours. Took almost 4. A good pre-view of how the weekend would go.

Kyle hiked Phelps in his Luna sandlesIMGP1101
We got back to camp and were eventually joined by Mark, Matt, Jason, and Ron. Had some bagels and peanut butter for dinner. Came up with a plan for Fridays hike, since we decided we would be doing the traverse on Saturday. Jeff had mentioned an Avalanche Pass loop that went up Algonquin and Iroquois. I like loops. I liked the idea of a long scenic hike by the lake. It wouldn’t be too much the day before the Range. Right?
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Day 2 – Friday – June 25th, 2015

We met up with everyone around 7am. Trails were easy up by Avalanche Lake. Cool walkways and ladders and things.
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Eventually it gets more technical, with climbing and waterfalls and stuff. I hadn’t seen much of Kyle. He was either way ahead of everyone, or way behind. I was having fun. I wanted everyone to have fun. I hadn’t seen him smile, or laugh. How could someone look so miserable in a place like this? I was concerned. Something was up.

Hiking up waterfalls.

Hiking up waterfalls.

Long story short. Kyle was in a mental state that I recognized. I’ve been there. It was dark. It was the worst day we’ve ever had together. He was breaking down. It took every part of me not to join him.

There’s really no way of pulling someone out of their own head. I felt helpless. Things that you hold in on a daily basis get amplified. The truest thoughts come out. Honest things are spoken. It’s one of the worst places to be, but I think a necessary thing to experience.

Kyle and I hiked at the back of the pack up towards Algonquin. We eventually reached the others before they went over to Iroquois. Kyle started heading up Algonquin and was planning on continuing to the campsite. I was torn. Do I get one more high peak? And let Kyle hike alone? I went with Kyle.

Intersection between Iroqious and Algonquin

Intersection between Iroquois and Algonquin

Top of Algonquin

Top of Algonquin

We looked back at one point and saw the others already up on “Iroquois”. I thought… “that was fast”. So I dropped my bag and ran down Algonquin, and up what I thought was Iroquois. Got to the top, to find I would have to go down and up again… so I ran back over to Algonquin. I tried.

Kyle said he wouldn’t be joining us on the traverse Saturday. I still wanted to do it.

We ended up with about 13 miles of hiking. We got back to camp. Set up our hammock. Jason and Ron eventually came over, we talked to them for a bit. The rest of the crew got back. We started to figure out who was still up for the traverse, and how it was going to work.

At one point Kyle asked… so what time are we getting up? – 3am.

I was relieved. and slightly terrified. Kyle was gonna come. But I don’t think I could mentally handle another day like today. Once you reach the bottom though, you never hit quite as hard again.
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Day 3 – June 27th, 2015

The Great Range Traverse.

I woke up before my alarms, at about 2:48am. Started getting ready, and boiled some water for some french press coffee and hot cocoa. Kyle actually got up. So did Matt – who said he would be playing it by ear this morning.

Jason, Danielle and Ron drove up to our site. Jeff, Kyle and I piled into Matt’s car. We were on our way to Roostercomb trailhead. The sky was already bright at 4:30am. So much for needing headlamps.

We said fair well to Ron. Began our hike at about 5:15am.

The beginning - at Roostercomb trailhead.

The beginning – at Roostercomb trailhead.

I had hiked from here to Lower Wolfjaw before, and knew it would be the most annoying part of the day. It’s a lot of nothing. Nothing exciting. For 3.5 hours. We accidentally hiked up Roostercomb mountain.

Things started getting more exciting from Upper Wolfjaw and on. It became a series of scrambling, climbing and sliding down rocks. I had decided as soon as Kyle said he was coming – that I would always stay in the back. Trying to prevent any mental events by making sure no one felt like they were being left behind.

View from Armstrong.

View from Armstrong.

We really did have a random group of people. I didn’t know Danielle or Jason too well. Kyle was there. He doesn’t do much running stuff or know many of the running people. Matt, Jeff, and I…. not so random I guess. It was perfect though.

We left Armstrong Mountain, and before we knew it we were summiting Gothics. I thought Gothics had sweet cables and stuff? Part of me was disappointed, it wasn’t the Gothics I had hoped for. Until we started to descend. 🙂

Favorite photo of the trip.

Favorite photo of the trip.

Cables!

Cables!

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The summit to Saddleback came up pretty quick as well.

Saddleback.

Saddleback.

The decent from Saddleback was some of the funnest.
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Miles were slow, conversations were ridiculous and awesome. Hours flew by.

Hard to remember what peak is what now - I think this is Basin?

Hard to remember what peak is what now – I think this is Basin?

After Basin it’s a long stretch of hiking before you reach another high peak. We were on our way to Mt. Haystack. The talk of water being low started to come up. I was excited that we might actually need to try out one of the 3 water filtering things I brought.

We got to a trail intersection, and Jeff said we could drop our packs and hike up to Haystack quick. I liked the idea of not carrying anything for a bit – so heck yes.

We got to the top – to find out we were on Little Haystack, we’d have to go down and up again to Haystack. Thanks Jeff.

The view from Haystack was so good. Amazing. So far my favorite in the ADK.

On little Haystack, looking at Haystack.

On little Haystack, looking at Haystack.

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I was scared to ask Jeff what time it was on our decent from Haystack. I liked not knowing. Also had no idea how long we’ve been hiking. He eventually told me. 12 hours.

It was a long hike to Marcy. At this point we were playing it by ear, whether we would actually hike it or not. I was starting to see glimpses of the day before in Kyles face. We got to a trail intersection, and decided we would hike up to little Marcy and check things out. Everyone wanted to do Marcy. We’ve gotten this far – what’s one more.

Little Marcy was strangely windy. Real Marcy was not.
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Yayyy were done - now a 4.5 hour walk home...

Yayyy were done – now a 4.5 hour walk home…

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the backround.

3 of the best dudes and Marcy in the background.

It was getting late once we were on Marcy. 6pm ish? Headlamps and night hiking would most definitely be happening on our walk home.

I was secretly excited for it to get dark. The trails would be easy by then, and it would make things slightly more interesting. I was not prepared for everything to look completely different. It felt like it took forever to reach sections of a trail we recognized. We kept second guessing whether we were on the right ones or not – but we had to be. Pretty much everyone was out of water. I had given Kyle the last of my water at Marcy. At some point on the night walk, I started to feel really dizzy.
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I stayed with Kyle and Danielle for most of the hike back. Jason eventually joined us. Matt and Jeff were up front – and eventually took off running(!?). I figured Matt had decided he would run his Mile (He runs everyday and has a streak of over 500 days – Has to run at least a mile). Jeff was keeping him company. My nose started running like crazy. What the heck! I eventually looked at my hand to see it was all bloody. Random nose bleed. Dizzy. Dieing – probably.

We eventually saw 2 headlamps in the distance. Matt and Jeff!!! They came back for us. Turns out Matt had a mental freak out and wanted to be done – so he ran to the finish. Then felt bad. He’s awesome.
We reached the trail head at Heart Lake. A strange feeling to be done after almost an 18 hour day. This was by far the longest and best day I’ve ever spent in the woods. Days and weekends like this make me wish I could live off blueberries and sweet potatoes, and live outside. In a hammock. Run and hike everyday. Running is the job. Or as Matt, Jeff and I decided – we would become professional hikers.
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We walked back to the campsites. We still had to go back and get Matt’s car from Roostercomb trailhead – a 30 minute drive. So an hour round trip. It was already around 11pm. We took our time though – and ate left over pizza from the day before and the infamous garlic knobs (They were actually called knots – but over the course of the traverse became known as knobs).

Jason shuttled Matt and I back to Roostercomb. I made sure Matt didn’t fall asleep or drive us into a mountain. We watched Jason pull into a gas station, and 5 minutes later became worried that we should have waited for him. It had to be open…. right? (apparently all gas stations close super early there)

I was hoping Kyle and Jeff would still be up when we got back – I didn’t want to go to bed. We got back and Kyle and Jeff had made a fire. It was starting to rain though, so eventually we all retreated into Matt’s tent.

Matt’s tent. Had a hinged door. A bucket for dirty sneakers. Light switch controlled lights. AND a cot. And a sleeping bag, with another sleeping bg opened up so to act as a blanket. As we sat and talked and drank cider and beer, I would notice Matt inching closer to the pillow. Eventually we looked over and Matt was out. The 3 of us sat on the floor of his tent until Kyle was folded over, and Jeff was horizontal. I wasn’t tired. Or. well – it was more like I didn’t want the day to end.
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Day 4 – Sunday July 28th

The original plan for Sunday was to watch people run the Whiteface Sky Marathon. 19ish miles on the slopes of Whiteface Mountain. This included watching Jeff race after the full 3 days of hiking. Plans changed when Jeff decided he wasn’t going to race. Also when the weather decided to be terrible that morning. Instead we met up with Jason, made sure he didn’t run out of gas (it was also his birthday) – and went out to breakfast.

We took down Marks tent. Witnessed tent homicide. Ron’s tent got stabbed (It was leaking and were given instructions to throw it out).

We said bye to Matt. He left his bachelor pad at the site incase our tents were too wet. We ended up using it as storage.

Mark stopped by to get his tent – He had just been running on Whiteface. Told us tales of 40 mile/hr winds, pouring rain, and hand numbing cold. He reported that many of the racers cut it short due to the conditions, and that it was a ridiculously hard course.

Eventually Jeff and I decided to hike/run one last high peak. So we picked Cascade – pretty quick and easy. Under 2 hours and 5 miles round trip.

Cascade in a cloud.

Cascade in a cloud.

The run down from Cascade was one of the coolest runs I’ve done. We were running down a creek bed. Lots of water, mud, rocks. I was wearing hiking pants that were falling down and a button up long sleeve shirt. Less than ideal running clothes. Just adds to the randomness of this trip and epicness of things.

We made a fire. It wasn’t raining (It was supposed to rain all day). Then boiled some water via Jetboil. We had 2 boxes of starwars mac and cheese, and pretzel bagels. Plenty for Kyle, Jeff and I. We toasted our bagels like marshmallows. Kyle and Jeff ate their mac and cheese with spoons. I used a fork.

Our fire was awesome. Another night a didn’t want to end.
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Cliff notes.

  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need. If you don’t need it someone else probably will. – I gave Kyle half of a nalgene of water, 1 full bottle of water, and half of my Gatorade bottle. Leaving me pretty curious about how much water I actually drank. I almost brought 1 more bottle – and should have.
  • Bring food. Real food is even better. We stopped at each peak and would eat something. And at one point actually called it “lunch”, which was cool.
  • As proved by Kyle – you don’t have to be a runner or hiker to be able to complete the range. He does have a running and endurance back round though, which is something you’ll never lose completely.
  • The Traverse is definitely not something anyone can do though – well at least not in one day.
  • The Traverse is more of an obstacle course.
  • Jason is officially THE nicest guy I know.
  • Jeff is an awesome trail guide. And loves maps. And is almost as easy to talk to as Matt.
  • Danielle is a super strong hiker, and strangely daredevilish.
  • Matt bought pants. Wore them for the traverse. Destroyed them. Returned them.
  • Danielle found a stick, used it for a while. She got tired of it, and Jason decided he would carry it to the end. Until Jason discarded it – and Jeff couldn’t let it go. The stick made it half way through the range, but the rock climbing and scrambling became too much for it.
  • Casualties from the Great Range – Matt’s pants. The stick.
  • Kyle was awarded MVP of the Great Range. Mostly because he kept his winter hat on the entire day.
  • No one died. No broken limbs.

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I seem to be gathering multiple days that qualify as “best days of my life”. Cayuga was one. This ADK weekend was totally. I was glad Kyle could finally experience one of these epic adventures with me. It makes it hard to have normal weekends, when all I want to do is spend days in the woods. I also like being around people? what?

There are two other tales of this hike on the Great Range. Read Matt’s story – which is probably the freshest, as he spit it out within 2 hours of getting home. Or read Jeff’s video game style, with accurate drawings of how the day unfolded.

I think thats all.

The end.

 

 

Corporate Challenge. Cayuga. Stuff.

Cayuga is in 3 days.

I’m pretty tired of thinking about it. I’m nervous. I feel weird. The last couple days I’ve felt randomly dizzy.

I managed to run pretty well at the Corporate Challange on Tuesday. I wanted to get a decent time, without killing myself. I kept the effort level low, and managed to feel great for almost the whole race. I picked it up the last .5 mile which resulted in feeling a bit puky at the finish. Other than that tho – the best I’ve felt for a 5kish race. Usually I feel like im sprinting for 3 miles and want to die.

Results:
chase

I ran for Team CatPrint. This was our top 4 – we had about 14 total team members.
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I designed these shirts:

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T-Shirts printed by Crazy Dog T-shirts

Cheetah close up:

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Were awesome and printing things – Check out CatPrint.com!

I convinced our company to do the corporate Challenge last year, and I hadn’t been there 1 year yet. They let me put it together, and be the team captain. And then they asked to do it again this year. Hopefully it’s a yearly tradition. It is a whole day thing – we end up spending 12+ hours together (work + corporate challenge). A big time commitment. But it’s awesome.

Im volunteering at Ontario Summit Trail Marathon Saturday. Hopefully watching other people run will take my mind off running Cayuga. Ugh. Im super excited for the weekend. The hanging out, and cheering for people part. But Cayuga – ready or not… here I come… I guess.

Mind the Ducks 12 Hour

I woke up at 3:15am, after going to bed somewhere after 11pm. I sucked at sleeping… it was hot… we were dumb and didn’t turn the A/C on. I made the usual pre-race stuff – Coffee. Then eventually oatmeal. I sat at the computer. Thought about how much I didn’t want to run in circles.

I wen’t out fast. Had to keep reminding myself this was not a goal race. I died. Came back to life. Had the best coach, crew, and best spectators, friends, people cheering all day. I was told the temperature got up to 92 degrees. It felt hot. I handled it well for the majority of the time. I sat down twice. Once because I was starting to freak out, and breathing was getting hard. And my feet hurt. Chris rubbed them. He’s a keeper.

Miles 1 through 34

Miles 1 through 34

I think things started going downhill after I hit 50k… Or that’s when things got hard. The foot pain actually seemed to get better, but I started battling sidestitches, and breathing was still hard.

Miles 35 through 58.686

Miles 35 through 58.686


I didn’t think I was going to make it out of the 40’s. 40 – 50 took forever. I sat down again, because things got fuzzy. Blackness and dizzy. Coach sat with me. Definitely dying. But it was all familiar.

#trailsroc kept things fun. They’re awesome. Ron took awesome photos.

Matt told me he ate some magic pickles. So I ate some pickles. They are magic.

I walked some laps with Matt, and we ran some. I was dieing, but I wasn’t alone.

Finally getting to mile 50 was a turning point. I started running more. Mike (Coach) joined me for the last hour. We did the unthinkable and ran the entire time. I’ve had a lot of great hours in my life… but that 11th hour, was one of the best. Pain seemed to go away, sidestitch ignored. I wanted to be done – then we finished lap 57 and still had 15 minutes to go. Lame. One more.

Final laps with Coach and Mertsock.

Final laps with Coach and Mertsock.

I finished 5th overall out of 139, 2nd female out of 74, 58 laps = 58.696 (11 hours 55 min). Officially the longest and farthest i’ve ran.
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What I ran on for 12 hours?
A Picky Bar (Blueberry) – Water – Diluted coconut water – Saltines with molasses – More water – More diluted coconut water – A lot of diluted coconut water – a lot of water – 4? Endurolytes – Newmans Ginger O’s – 2 popscicles – A couple pretzels – A couple tortilla chips – Half of one of Meagan’s blueberry muffins – 4 half’s of pickles – Gingerale from the aidstation a few times.

Things I learned – Coconut water is awesome. And pickles actually work.

I felt good overall during this. I felt pain and nausua, as expected. But I have definitely felt much worse. The breathing thing… I don’t know. It’s happened in the last 3 Ultra’s that were 50 or more miles. But it was not nearly as bad for this one – so maybe it’s getting better.
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Mind the Ducks last year was a turning point. It was my first Ultra. Now I’ve ran 4.
That’s the first time I saw Coach.
That’s the first time a friend came to watch me race (Matt) – and we had JUST started running together.
That’s the first time I completely broke down.
That’s the first time Kyle carried me cause I couldn’t walk.

A lot has changed.
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Recovery gets easier and easier. Saturday night after the race – I kept walking around, took a bath, rolled my legs. I felt 95% normal the next day. A lingering side stitch was about it, and minor foot pain in the morning. But as I got moving it definitely didn’t feel like I just ran an Ultra.
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I was nervous about running this before Cayuga 50. Only a couple weeks away. Whether Cayuga goes well or not – It won’t be because of this race. Bad races happen. And I seem to be unscathed from the weekend. So moving on – May 31st…. should be interesting.

Sorry this was long.
The end.

Kyle and I after the race.

Kyle and I after the race.


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