Running with the Hayneses

Winter Training Update

I get asked all the time if I still run in the winter. The short answer is yes.

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The long answer, as any of my fellow winter runners know, is that even though running outside in the winter is a complicated dance that involves making calculated adjustments based on the temperature, wind chill, precipitation, snow depth, and road/trail conditions, being prepared with the right clothing and footwear makes it possible to run in just about any weather.

We had a period of time in December when everything, whether on the road or trail, was icy, so I got some good use out of my yaktraks! My preferred route for icy conditions is the flat trail that runs alongside the river near our house. I avoid hills at all costs when it’s icy because I don’t like having a perpetually bruised butt. :)

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As you can see, absolutely everything was covered in glare ice!

We started getting good snow in January this year, and once we got enough to cover the ice, I was able to run almost anywhere I wanted again (for a time). As the snow got deeper, I planned my routes so that I would run uphill on the road and back downhill on the trail.

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 Nothing like having the woods all to myself!

It’s been very cold so far this year, so the snow has stayed light and fluffy, and I was able to run on trails even with snow up to my knees!

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Since the beginning of February, we’ve had one snow storm after another, and now the snow in the woods is up to my waist. I am mostly running on the road now–even the snowmobile trails are rarely runnable because they don’t get packed well enough before we get more snow! I still prefer road miles over treadmill miles any day though, and I’m thankful that we live in a small town with lots of back roads and very little traffic.

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Long run on the road with Jaime and Peter

In addition to running, my husband and I are both avid cross-country skiers, and the combination of the super cold weather and the endless supply of fresh snow has made this the best year for skiing that we’ve ever had! Skiing is a great cross-training activity, so I will often ski on my recovery days or on a day when I just don’t feel like running (it happens to the best of us! :) ). On weeks that I have low running mileage it’s typically because I have high skiing mileage instead. :)

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Above all, winter for me is about taking it easy, scaling back my mileage and enjoying a slower pace. On weekdays I usually run no more than 5 miles a day–this allows me to get my run in before it gets dark and to spend less time in the frequently harsh winter conditions.

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 It’s been unseasonably cold this February, and below zero wind chills have been the norm. 

I value winter as a time to relax before the full-tilt days of spring arrive, and I try to take the cold and snow and ice in stride and make the most of this season in spite of it’s discomforts. After all, a quick run in sub-zero temps makes curling up by the fire with a good book that much more satisfying. :) So if you think of me on a particularly nasty day and wonder if I’m out running in that weather, the short answer is, likely, yes.

 

 

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K

We ran the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass last year for the first time and experienced what I called at the time the “most extreme weather and trail conditions” that I had ever raced in.

Ha.

It’s funny how quickly our perception of past events can change. We had some snow and wind to contend with last year, but after running this year’s race in the midst of a nor’easter complete with driving rain, gale force winds and storm surge tides, last year’s race seems like a walk in the park.

This year our battle against the elements began well before the race even started. Peter, Jaime and I had driven down to the Cape on Friday night and stayed overnight about 40 minutes from our destination. We woke up on Saturday morning to an inch of wet snow on the ground, and the roads were a mess! The 40-minute drive ended up taking us an hour and 10 minutes, and we got to the race 10 minutes after it was supposed to have started! It was a stressful experience, but it worked out fine–the start was delayed since almost everyone was pulling in late.

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Our view upon arrival.

We started the race at 7:30, and by that point the snow had turned to rain. The wind was fairly calm and the beach was fairly firm. Other than being wet, I thought the conditions were pretty good.

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The race start–photos courtesy of Joseph Collin.

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That’s me in the green jacket and yellow ear-warmer.

As we started, I immediately pulled to the front of the pack, running comfortably in the 9-minute/mile range. The course consists of 2 laps around a 16-mile figure-eight along the beach, through the sand dunes and on marsh trails. The start/finish is right in the center of the figure-eight, so we had access to aid there multiple times during the race. The first section of the course is a short loop of about 5 miles, and I found this part to be easy running with good footing both on the beach and on the back side of the dunes along the marsh trail. The only notable hardship this time through was a lake-sized, ankle-deep puddle in the parking lot, which I mistakenly ran through not realized how deep it was. Oh well, I wasn’t counting on my feet staying dry anyways. :/

I passed the aid station at the start without bothering to stop and continued on to the long loop of the figure-eight. This section consists of about 6 miles of trails through sand dunes and alongside the marsh, then about 5 miles back on the beach. Eleven miles is a long time to go without the possibility of aid, and if you’re alone, it can seem like forever.

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Photo from last year showing the sand dunes.

Last year the loose sand of the dunes destroyed me. This year I had a strategy: follow in the footsteps of the person in front of me. :) It worked like a charm, and I didn’t feel like I exerted any extra energy getting through this section. The majority of the dunes are right at the beginning of the loop, and after that there’s a long stretch on an ATV trail along the edge of the marsh. This trail is firmly packed for the most part, and it was a welcome relief to have solid ground underfoot again! During this section I enjoyed running and talking with several different people, and the time passed quickly.

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Photo of the marsh trail from last year–there was just a bit of slushy snow this year.

When I emerged onto the beach again for the final stretch of the first lap, I was immediately struck by how much the wind had picked up. I didn’t notice it as much on the marsh side because the dunes sheltered us, but out on the beach the storm was really picking up. I was soaked to the skin, had been for some time, and now with the wind cutting right through my wet clothes I got cold for the first time. I ran hard (probably too hard) to get out of the wind as soon as possible. I finished the 25K in 2:38 and in first place for women and around fifth overall.

At the race headquarters, I made a rather long pit-stop because I had to wait for the porta, re-fill my hydration pack and get an extra shirt from the car. LOTS of people were coming in behind me and dropping out as I did this, but I knew I wasn’t ready to quit yet.

As I headed back out for my second lap, the second place woman, Jenny, caught up to me, and we ran most of the short loop together. I was glad to have her company because the weather was getting increasingly awful, and I wanted something to take my mind off my misery. My extra shirt warmed me back up at first, but it was soon drenched like everything else, and I was colder than ever. I talked about dropping out when we got back to the aid station, but Jenny talked me out of it.

We bypassed the aid station without stopping (to avoid temptation), and set out through the sand dunes together. By this point the storm tide had come up so far that the marsh had flooded portions of the trail, and we had to do a little bush-whacking to avoid the icy water. Jenny pulled ahead of me as we crossed the dunes, and as hard as I tried to follow in her footsteps, I just couldn’t get my frozen legs to move fast enough. I gradually slowed to 10-minute miles and struggled to keep from despairing as I slipped further and further behind.

Soon she was out of sight, and I ran the rest of that lap completely alone, with no one in sight ahead or behind. I was cold even in the shelter of the dunes, and I was dreading the miles I still had to face along the ocean, taking the brunt of the storm. I wished like none other that I had just quit when I had the chance, but now I had no choice but to tough it out and get it done as quickly as possible.

As I walked up and over the sand dunes and onto the beach, I hoped that by some miracle there would be someone there waiting to drive me to the finish. No such luck. I ran on.

The tide was so high at this point that there was very little beach left, and since I had to run so close to the dunes, the sand was much looser, making my trek that much more difficult. The waves from the ocean lapped at my feet, and the thought crossed my mind that if I stumbled, I could very well fall into the path of a big wave, and I may or may not be able to get back up before being washed out to sea. For the first time ever during a race, I was literally afraid that I might be in a life or death situation. I was chilled to the bone, and it was hard to move my arms and legs, but I kept running as fast as I could make myself go.

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What was left of the beach by the end of the race. Photo by Robert Jensen.

Finally, with great relief, I saw the Ranger driving towards me. I knew I was close to the finish at this point, so I didn’t want a ride anymore, but I DID want confirmation of how far I had to go. Looking back, our interaction was quite humorous:

Ranger: Are you ok?

Me: How far is it?

Ranger: About a mile. Are you ok?

Me: *nodding, with a glazed look*

Ranger: Yes?

Me: *nodding and starting to run*

I felt better knowing I only had a mile left and that someone was out there looking out for me and everyone else still on the course. Soon I could see the finish area, and I ran across the parking and burst through the race headquarters door, greeted with cheers and a blast of warm air. I’m not sure I can imagine a more satisfying finish.

My finish time was 5:40, and I was the 2nd female and 5th overall. Only 15 out of 50 people finished the 50K and that makes me mighty proud of this puppy:

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Peter and Jaime did the smart thing and bailed out early. I’m not any tougher than they are–they’ve both done 100-milers, and I don’t even want to dream of doing one of those–but maybe I can withstand the cold better. Or maybe I’m just plain stupid. Either way, I’m proud to say I stuck with something that pushed me further than I wanted to go and made me much more uncomfortable than I wanted to be, and I finished. This race will always be a reminder in the future when things get crazy that I can do hard things.

And I would just like to say, for the record, that THIS race had THE most extreme weather conditions that I have ever run in. And I hope next year’s race isn’t going to top it!

* * * * *

I’d like to include a big THANK YOU to Hammer Nutrition for giving me the opportunity to represent them as an athlete ambassador for a second year. I use many of their products on a daily basis, and after a little experimentation, I’ve found a fueling and supplementation “recipe” (see below) that I consider indispensable to my racing success. I really do notice a huge different in how I feel both during and after a race or a long workout when I use these products, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to email me or check out the Hammer Nutrition website, which has a ton of useful information on how to achieve your peak performance. Also, if you’re a first-time customer, you can get a 15% discount by using my customer referral code (213666) when you checkout.

Primary Fuel Source: I use a 50/50 mixture of Heed and Perpetuem mixed with water (approx. 100 calories per hour).

Supplements: During the race I take 1-2 capsules per hour of the following: Tissue Rejuvenator (relieves pain, inflammation and swelling), Endurance Aminos (decreases perception of fatigue, increases cognitive function), Anti-Fatigue Caps (prolongs endurance, assists in energy production, prevents muscle cramps, counteracts fatigue) and Race Caps Supreme (reduces muscle fatigue, enhances energy and endurance, boosts workload capacity).

Recovery Aids: After the race I mix one serving of Recoverite with water and take 1-2 capsules of the following supplements, which all enhance recovery: Tissue Rejuvenator, Endurance Aminos and Race Caps Supreme.

2015 Race Schedule

After my last race, the TARC Fells Winter Trail Ultra, I pretty much went on a race sign-up binge, and I now have so many races lined up for this year that I think I better write them all down so that I can keep track of them. :)

January 24: Cape Cod 50K

March 15: TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hr.

March 28: Twin State 50K

April 25: TARC Spring Classic 50K

May 16: Manchester to Monadnock 50M (pace Jaime)

July 18-19: Vermont 100M (pace Jaime)

August 1: Mascomaman 70.3 (maybe)

August 11-16: TransRockies Run 

October 5: Joe English Twilight Challenge 6 Hr. (maybe)

December 5: TARC Fells Winter Ultra 32M (maybe)

The TransRockies Run, a 6-day, 120-mile, point-to-point stage race in the Rocky Mountains, is our BIG event for the year. This race is way out of my comfort zone–I’ve never run even close to that many miles in a week, never run at high altitude, never run a stage race, never run a race that far from home, and certainly have never paid anywhere near that much money for a race! With that in mind, it was important to me that our other races for the year would be low-key, low-cost and as close to home as possible. Also, I haven’t registered for any races after the TRR yet because I suspect we’re going to want to lay low for awhile at that point, but I do have a couple in mind that I’ve put on the list in case the spirit moves. :)

Whether or not we do the triathlon is still up for debate. The date isn’t great for us, being so close to the TRR, but it’s a local, inexpensive tri, and if we’re going to do that type of a race, this is the one we want to do.

Other than that, everything is pretty much finalized, and I’m looking forward to the new adventures that lay in store for us this year!

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2015, here we come!

North and South Kinsman Winter Hike

Ever since “The Great Pemi Adventure” in the White Mountains last August, Peter and I have felt the call of the high summits. There’s nothing like the thrill of standing on the peak of a huge mountain and looking out over the valleys so far below. It feels like standing on top of the world, and that’s a pretty powerful feeling.

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 On Lincoln while running the Pemi Loop

We went back to the Whites a second time in October to run The Presidential Traverse, which was 10 times even more amazing that the Pemi Loop, and we were officially hooked.

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 On Washington while running the Presidential Range 

We left the Whites at the end of that day thinking that, due to the impending winter, we wouldn’t see the peaks again until next summer.

Then, it turned out we just couldn’t wait that long. :)

Neither of us have ever done any serious hiking in the winter, certainly not on any of the 4,000 footers. And being runners, we don’t have any real hiking gear, certainly not any winter hiking gear. But we weren’t going to let any of that hold us back.

We chose a day with what looked like a good weather forecast, planned what seemed like a modest route, and set off into the unknown. When we arrived at the trailhead at Lafayette Place Parking Lot, we were greeted with a snow squall–NOT what we expected after a forecast of mostly sunny skies with a high of 28 and 0% chance of precipitation! We didn’t think much of it, figuring the random squall would pass quickly, and we’d have blue skies by the time we reached the first summit.

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We started out on the Lonesome Lake Trail–an easy, 1.2 mile ascent on a well-packed trail.

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The falling snow quickly coated everything, and we found ourselves in a winter wonderland.

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Lonesome Lake was looking particularly lonesome.

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From Lonesome Lake we decided to take the Kinsman Pond Trail because we wanted to see the pond, and because we had heard that the other alternative, Fishin’ Jimmy, was steep and icy. We only had YakTraks for traction, and while they work just fine on packed snow, they are not particularly good at keeping us upright on ice.

Unfortunately, Kinsman Pond Trail took us quite far out of our way, and later in the day we regretted the extra time this detour ate up. On top of that, Kinsman Pond Trail probably wasn’t in any better condition than Fishin’ Jimmy. The trail was packed, but it was not well-traveled, and it had been undermined by running water. There were many sections where we were essentially walking on a frozen snow bridge and had to be very careful not to post-hole through into the water.

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It was slow-going and seemed to be never-ending. Around the 4.5 mile mark, we finally came out of the trees on the shore of Kinsman Pond and were so relieved. Though that relief quickly turned to dismay when we looked up at North Kinsman towering over the pond and realized how far we still had to go.

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We followed the trail along one side of the pond, and then got on the Kinsman Ridge Trail to the summits of North Kinsman and South Kinsman. From there we found out that it was only .6 miles to the northern summit and another .9 to it’s southern twin. This trail turned out to be a breeze after what we had just dealt with coming up to Kinsman Pond. There were a few steep, icy spots, but for the most part we were able to hike without anything impeding our good progress.

We had been pretty warm up to this point, even taking off layers to avoid overheating, but at the higher altitudes we had to push the pace to keep from getting chilled. I also had to put my coat on over my hydration vest because the water in the exposed tube kept freezing. We were grateful to be sheltered from the wind below the tree line most of the time.

We reached the summit of N. Kinsman quickly, and yes, it was still snowing heavily. We laughed about the great “view” we had from the lookout and wondered whether or not we had actually reached the summit because we couldn’t see a thing.

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We continued on and soon found ourselves descending, so we figured we must be on our way to South Kinsman. This section also went really quickly and soon we were admiring the view on South Kinsman. :)

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Again, we had absolutely no idea if we had truly reached the summit, but another hiker checked his GPS and confirmed that we were in the right place. :)

We had to turn around and head back on the same trail at this point, and we crossed paths with a couple that we had met earlier in the day who kindly offered to take our picture.

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It didn’t take us long to get back to the junction near Kinsman Pond where we had to make a decision. Our original plan was to head towards Cannon at this point on the Kinsman Ridge trail, but it was already about 1:00 in the afternoon, and we still had a little over 5.5 miles to go if we wanted to hit the Cannon summit before heading back. Even though we had headlamps and plenty of food and water still, we didn’t want to be in the mountains after dark if we had a choice, so we debated for awhile before deciding to head towards Cannon and cut back at the next junction if we weren’t making good time.

This section of the trail turned out to be another part that wasn’t well-traveled, and we had to slow down considerably to navigate the rougher terrain. Also, for some reason our YakTraks kept falling off on this trail, and we wasted a lot of time stopping to put them back on over and over again. It kind of drove me insane.

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On the positive side, the snow tapered off around this time, and the skies cleared just enough to get a glimpse of the world around us.

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Looking back at the Kinsmans

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This is probably my favorite picture of the day.

We plodded on for 2.4 miles before we came to the junction where we could turn back towards Lonesome Lake. It had taken us almost 2 hrs. to travel that short distance, and we were still a mile from the Cannon summit. We decided that to be on the safe side, we should bail out while we had the chance.

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This was about as close as we got.

So after a long day, we found ourselves back on the Lonesome Lake Trail again, though we had not previously traveled this section, and again we found it to be a gentle grade and packed smooth. It took us about an hour to make the 2.4 mile descent back to the parking lot, and had we known how quickly we’d be able to do this portion, we probably would have continued on to Cannon. The thing is, it could have easily taken us twice as long if the trail had been rough, so being inexperienced and possessing a healthy fear of being stranded on a mountain overnight, we didn’t want to take any chances. My mom expressed her gratefulness. :)

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Lonesome Lake was slightly less lonesome this time around, and we got to see the shoulders of the mountains in the background.

I think I was lulled into complacency by the easy trail because heading down from Lonesome Lake I fell hard on an icy ledge that I could have easily avoided. I’ve got a nasty bruise on my elbow and hip to show for that one.

We ended up back at the parking lot as the sun was setting. We had done about 12 miles in a little over 7 hours and summited two more of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers. People have started asking us if we plan to do all 48 of the 4,000 footers in NH, and while that hasn’t been a conscious goal of ours, I think it is quickly becoming one. :) We might have to buy some winter gear after all!

Looking Back at 2014

I love looking back at the end of the year and enjoying the many memories that Peter and I have made throughout the year through the various running adventures that we’ve tackled together. This year had it’s highs and lows, but in the end I am sitting here feeling exceptionally blessed for all that we were able to do and see.

At the end of January, Peter, Jaime and I ran a 50K on the beach in Cape Cod. It turned out to be a very cold, windy day, but the scenery was spectacular, and it was one of the most fun events I’ve ever done! I’m planning to do it again this year, weather permitting.

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 Cape Cod Race Recap

I had plans to do 3 more races in the spring, but I missed them all after randomly injuring my foot in March. It was a complicated injury, and I was mis-diagnosed by an orthopedic, then mis-treated by a physical therapist before finally being put back together again by a chiropractor. Meanwhile, I was unable to run a step for 8 weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever had such a debilitating injury, and the first time I’ve ever had to sit out on a race–I sincerely hope it will also be the last.

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Instead of running I did a lot of yoga, swimming and biking.

I was finally able to start running again in mid-May and started gradually rebuilding my strength and endurance. I had a half Ironman scheduled for the end of June and was not at all sure I’d be capable of running 13 miles by then, but as it turned out I was ready just in time. This was my first triathlon, and definitely one of the most epic races I’ve ever done (right up there with the Boston Marathon)! I went into the race thinking that it would be a one-and-done experience, but after finishing the race I wanted to immediately sign up for another one! :)

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Ironman 70.3 Syracuse Race Recap

Next up on our race schedule was going to be the 6-day TransRockies stage race in August, but Peter and I decided to defer our entries for a year since I was still a long ways from being able to handle that kind of mileage. And just like that, we found ourselves without any race plans for the rest of the year! :/ It was a position we are not used to being in, but I was hesitant to sign up for fall races because I wanted to build my mileage back up carefully and without the pressure of a race hanging over my head.

So instead of racing, we spent the rest of the summer running for our own pleasure. My brother came for an extended visit while he was between jobs, and we had one adventure after another together. It was the best summer ever.

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Lucky, Jaime, Peter and I running the Ascutney Basin trails.

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The three of us crewed for Jaime (and I later paced her) while she ran the VT100 in July. Read more here.

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On top of Pisgah Mountain in Pisgah State Park. Read more here.

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In August we ran the 31-mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains. Read more here.

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Lucky came to Maine with us for Labor Day, and we ran in Camden Hills State Park with my niece, Grace. More here.

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In September, we did a 2-day, 42-mile run on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail. More here.

By September I was back to my normal, ultra-running mileage and feeling stronger than ever, so I figured it was time to return to the racing scene. Jaime and I spontaneously entered a nearby 6-hour race held on a very rainy night, and though neither of us had a good race, we managed to tie for first overall female.

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Joe English Twilight Challenge Recap

In October we went back to the White Mountains for our biggest adventure of the year. We ran the 19-mile Presidential Traverse just after the first snow of the year. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect day, and the combination of the snow with the fall foliage made for the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.

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Presidential Traverse Recap

For my 31st birthday later that month, Peter and I went to Bear Brook State Park to celebrate by running 31 miles. It was the first time I’ve run my age, and I hope to make it a yearly tradition!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

I decided after that to squeeze in one more race for the year and signed up for the TARC Fells Trail Ultra in December. It was probably the best ultra race of my life, and I ended up coming in 10th overall and 1st female in spite of the extremely difficult terrain, inclement weather and multiple wrong turns.

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TARC Fells Trail Ultra Recap

Looking back on my year of running, it’s easy to see that it was full of some of the most unique, exciting and fulfilling experiences that I’ve ever had. It didn’t go at all the way I planned for it to go, but I’d say that it turned out even better than I could have imagined.

I’m forever grateful for my husband, Peter, and my good friend, Jaime, for their constant companionship in any adventure I dream up. And for my brother, Lucky, who was unexpectedly dropped into our crazy, ultra-running lifestyle and yet happily joined us for so many epic trail runs. You guys have made this year of my life especially rich, and I am thankful for you!

I’m looking forward to what 2015 has in store for us!

TARC Fells Trail Ultra Recap

The race directors describe the TARC Fells Trail Ultra as “a nightmarish course of rocks and roots with a bit of elevation thrown in”. When I registered for the race, I was sure that this was an exaggeration–how hard could a trail in the middle of the Boston suburbs be? I soon found out, about .25 miles into the race to be exact, that it was every bit as nightmarish as they said. The trail was extremely technical, was downright treacherous in the wet weather, and since I rarely had the luxury of taking my eyes off my feet, it was also terribly difficult to follow the course. And even though there weren’t any significant climbs, the constant ups and downs on steep, rocky ledges took their toll.

I signed up for the 32-mile race, which would require 4 laps of the 8-mile Skyline Trail loop. We all had the choice of running the loop in either direction, but I chose to go clockwise on all 4 laps because that way I would have more steep uphills and gradual downhills, which play to my strengths.

Lap 1

The weather was fairly pleasant at the start with mild temps and misty air, but there was the looming threat of rain. I started the race at the back of the pack because I was finishing up my race preparations as we were called to line up. As a result, I spent the first couple of miles carefully watching for opportunities to pass slower runners on the narrow singletrack trail. Then, just like that, I was alone with no one in sight ahead or behind me, and my mental focus slipped. I spent the majority of my first lap worrying about falling on the slippery rocks, worrying about getting off course, worrying about how slow my pace was and just generally not enjoying myself. The trail was much more difficult than I was expecting, and it was totally psyching me out.

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 * All photos by Douglyss Giuliana

I came to the halfway aid station and was briefly cheered to see that I wasn’t the last human on earth after all, then I headed back out into the woods alone again. After that the trail got a bit easier, and eventually I came to a flat, wide trail and really got into a good running rhythm. I was going along nicely, thinking about how great it was to finally be able to really run, when I suddenly realized that it had been a long time since I’d looked for a trail marker. I started looking, and those white blazes that were supposed to mark the trees every 30 yards were nowhere to be seen. Somehow my nightmares had come true–I was lost.

I started back-tracking and soon ran into more people who had made the same mistake, which made me feel a little better about myself. When we finally found the point where we had missed the turn, I figured that I had just added over a mile to my race. This could have been devastating, but it was more of a realization that I was not the only one out there having a tough time. Other people were getting lost and slipping on the rocks, too. I told myself that this race was not about finishing fast, but about surviving long enough to finish. That change in focus shifted my mood, and I was able to relax and feel more comfortable.

Lap 2

Going into lap 2 I was feeling much more confident now that I was semi-familiar with the trail, and I also was happy to have the company of a runner going a similar pace. We leap-frogged a lot throughout the rest of the race, and it was good to have a buddy as well as a motivation to push my pace. I missed a turn early on this time around, but quickly realized that I was off course and didn’t lose any significant time.

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I enjoyed the fact that I sort of knew what to expect from the course now. I knew that the first 4 miles were pretty treacherous–lots of ups and downs on steep, slippery ledges–but that the second half of the loop had less ledge, some flat double-track and long, gradual downhills. I knew that the aid station was actually closer to two-thirds of the way around the loop, not halfway. I knew that there were too many big puddles and streams to bother trying to keep my shoes dry. I knew that I had to watch for that tricky turn near the reservoir, and I knew that from there to the end it was easy running.

Lap 3

I made a quick stop at the aid station to re-fill my hydration pack and decided to leave my gloves with my drop bag since I had carried them for two laps without needing them. Unfortunately, it started raining steadily soon after I started my third lap, and soon my jacket was drenched and clinging to my bare arms. I had been comfortable and happy with my clothing choices up until that point, but suddenly I was freezing and my arms and hands were going numb. I wished I had kept my gloves! I drank some hot broth at the halfway station, but that didn’t do anything to warm me up, and I knew I needed to keep running or I’d get even colder. Then I remembered that I had stashed my arm warmers in my pack after taking them off earlier in the race. It took me a few minutes with my numb hands and wet arms to get them on, but it was worth it because I immediately warmed back up and was comfortable again.

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Other than that minor hiccup, this lap went really well–I wasn’t getting tired, I wasn’t in pain, I wasn’t sick of running, and I think it’s because my nutrition intake was spot on. I was using my own mixture of Heed and Perpetuem as my primary calorie source and just supplementing with a tasty treat at each aid station. I was also experimenting with some of Hammer’s supplements to help keep me going strong and steady. I had never used them before in a race, but I think they worked like a charm! In case you’re interested, these are my secret weapons: Anti-Fatigue Caps, Endurance Aminos and Tissue Rejuvenator.

Lap 4

As I set out on my last lap I had a pretty good notion that I was either in the lead or close to it for the women’s race. As always, this fueled my competitive spirit and made me push hard for that last 8 miles. I celebrated every time I went through a particularly nasty section by telling myself, “That’s the last time I’ll have to do that!”

I crossed paths with Peter near the end of my lap because he had chosen to do the last lap of his 40-miler counter-clockwise. It was nice to see him, but he wanted to stop and chat, and I was in conquer-and-destroy mode. I yelled out something about trying to win the race and told him I’d see him at the finish! :)

I ran the last couple of miles pretty hard, knowing that I was almost done and the terrain was easy. I finished in 7 hours and 20 minutes, and was happy to discover that I was 10th overall finisher and the 1st woman!

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This is the first time that I’ve actually won a race–I’ve tied for first, and I’ve come in second or third many times, but I’ve never had that top spot all to myself, so that feels pretty satisfying. :) I had a great race, and after getting out of the funk I was in during the first lap, I really enjoyed myself. It was a challenging race for sure, but that just makes crossing the finish line that much sweeter!

 

 

Thanksgiving with the Fam and Race Prep

Yikes, I neglected to post last week! But that’s because I was hanging out with this adorable little man all week! :)

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My sisters and their husbands were all here for Thanksgiving week, and I got to meet my nephew, Landon, for the first time! He had a great time with all his aunties and uncles, and I think it’s safe to say we spoiled him rotten! :)

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 Landon with his mommy and aunties!

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Landon with his daddy and uncles!

When we weren’t snuggling Landon, we did our usual Haynes thing and partook in all manner of physical activity. :) Since we got 10 inches of snow the day before Thanksgiving, that involved A LOT of skiing and snowshoeing, as well as running and some T25!

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Our backyard during the snowstorm.

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Skiing through the woods the next day.

Most of our snow has melted now (sad), and the sibs have all gone back to their homes (very sad!), but Peter and I have a big race that we’re looking forward to this weekend! I’ve been preparing in small ways all week by planning out what I’m going to wear, packing my drop bag and breaking in my new shoes.

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There’s nothing like a new pair of Hokas! :)

The build-up to this race has been a little stressful for me because I injured my Achilles 3 weeks ago and for a little while there I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth even attempting to run 32 miles this weekend! Thankfully, the injury healed quickly–in just 12 days I went from not being able to run at all to running 15 miles with no pain. Unfortunately, since this happened so close to race day, I didn’t dare try to squeeze in another long run, so I’m not quite sure what 32 miles is going to do to me, but I feel pretty confident that I am ready for it.

We’re also not at all sure what this race course has in store for us either, but if the trail conditions there are anything like what we’ve got here, then we’re in for a nasty mix of snow, ice, mud, puddles and running water. Oh, and as an added bonus, it’s supposed to rain all day. Good thing we have plenty of experience training in these exact conditions. New Hampshire winters are not for wimpy runners! :)

32 miles of running through the worst that nature can possibly throw at us? We’re ready! :) See you on the other side!