State of Training

Hi Mom!  I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile… life has a tendency to get in the way!  This post will serve as my review of the last four weeks of training.  Buckle up!

Threeweeks

I will start out by saying this is the hardest three weeks of training I have ever completed and I have mixed feelings about it.  When I look back at the data and recall how the long runs felt, I am so proud of my work.  However, I am sitting in my recliner writing this post of being “rested” this week due to a very bunched up hamstring and angry calves. More on recovery in a bit…

Each of the long runs was fun and special in it’s own way.  The 18.5 miler is known as “I have an angry beaver.” on Strava.  I started this run with Tony and Jess and within a mile, came face to face (or shall I say beaver to ankle) with a hissing beaver.  I screamed like a little bitch and ran the other way.  Check out the aftermath on my Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSqn7LdlBDr/?taken-by=spottedimages.

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18 miler through Straffordshire!

That run felt good overall and I had some gas left in the tank at the end.  I spent most of the time chatting and laughing and reliving the beaver experience.

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Post Beaver.  Could not stop laughing!!!

The following week, I did my longest solo training run of 21.5.  I say solo, because I have raced solo (50K) but training is a different beast.  Lots of time to think, lament, complain and work out problems.  This run also felt good, and while I felt like I was working, I didn’t feel overwhelmed.  The shoe sucking mud in the last miles was even entertaining!  I managed to run the last beastly hills of this run.

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Solo suffering at daybreak!  It was wonderful!

Finally, I capped off week three of the mesocycle with the TARC Spring Class Marathon.  This was a perfect time for me to “practice” for my Pineland 50 mile qualifier.  Here is what went right and wrong with this race:

The Good:

  • I went out at my pace and kept to it 11:40 average with a cadence of 158 and HR of 155 (all good numbers for me)
  • My appetite and fuel was on the money – used a combination of plain water, Skratch, BCAAs, fruit pie (cherry!!!), GU bites, Huma Gels, hermit cookies…  I would have eaten more if the run had continued.  Stomach worked like a champ as usual. I recovered with real food.
  • Core, shoulders, feet, glutes, quads and calves all felt great.
  • Spent minimal time at the aid station and practiced being largely self sufficient.
  • Worked out of my first lap funk and felt lap three was my best lap.
  • Finished 25 miles in 4:57… this pleased me because it brought my 50 mile (12 hr. cut off) within reach

The Bad

  • The weather (40s and drizzle) didn’t lend itself to warming up muscles and keeping them warm.  While my core was warm, my arms and legs went through various times of being chilled.
  • The hamstring.  That bitch.  Here is the deal… I think I strained it doing reverse lunges at the gym (yeah, no more of those during training) and running 27.5 didn’t exactly help my cause.  It tightened up in lap 1 (it felt reasonable before I started running) and went through various points of releasing and tightening during this run.  I paid for this all week.
  • Blisters.  My feet just haven’t toughed up yet.  They were damp for most of the 5:28 I was on course.  I purchased some Injinjis this week.  I am not blaming the Altras for this, rather my pathetic winter feet.
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Coach called me a Bad Ass…. with pacing like a metronome and an appetite of a Velociraptor!  TARC Spring Classic “Marathon” 27.5 miles later.

AFTERMATH AND RECOVERY

I am thankful again for Coach Chris.  I had a shitty recovery week.  My calves were angry for most of the week and that hamstring bunched up high near my seat bones.  Jessica beat the crap out of it during my 90 minute massage on Friday and I felt sore, but different on Saturday.  I have been given walk workouts this weekend until I heal.

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Smiling despite the walking instructions!

I woke up today feeling like running for the first time in a week.  My runs this past week (x2) were brutally painful and crampy.  My fingers are crossed I have turned the recovery corner and will get to run with week.  I have some MASSIVE runs in store and NEED my body to cooperate.  I have been sleeping as much as I can, moving around every day and rolling, stretching, doing Egosque work for my back and ankles and generally refueling.  I keep telling myself recovery will get better over time.  I try to stop rubbing my ass in the grocery store and other inappropriate places (losing battle).  I remember how excited I am about this training, the adventures and VT100.  I know a week from now I will feel more positive than today.  I am NOT injured, just sore and recovering!

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I think he was trying to tell me he LIKES his Injinjis.

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How I did the Boston Marathon… fancy food and lovely beer while waiting for Jessica to be reunited with us.

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Post Boston Smiles… she rocked it later in the week coming in 2nd female at TARC!

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February 6-12 Training

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View from my Friday evening hill repeats

This past week represented the first time I was scheduled for five runs and mother nature was determined to make that hard!  While my mileage is lower than most of my running friends (some of which are training for Boston) I have restraints that come in the form of long work days, horse care and snow removal.  I learned how to plow this week.  My education consisted of my husband giving me a lesson on the “fishstick” controller and walking away.  I may have scared the crap out of myself last night in the backyard but I am determined to keep trying.  Anyway…. snow removal comes before workouts, so I have found myself low on time this week.  I got it done though!

Tuesday Gym Session: I have been bugging Tony long enough about his hypocrite ways regarding cross training that he FINALLY showed back up at the gym!!!

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He cried.  I laughed.  Our typical gym routine.

Wednesday Steady State Run:  I didn’t get away from my desk on this day, so I ran after work.  That day was 50 degrees, so I scooted home, put on capris and a long sleeve and headed out the door.  The air felt amazing and I had a ton of energy.  My instructions included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes at half marathon pace, and 5 minute cool down.  My three miles at steady state were 9:07, 8:58 and 8:53.  I was ticking away!  Warm air makes such a difference!

Thursday Double:  Huge snowstorm that day!  I didn’t make it to the gym due to the plow “lesson” so I did an afternoon living room tabata session (40 minutes: 20 sec on/10 sec off, one minute transitions between exercises – Hollow Rocks, Tricep extensions, push ups, jump squats, mountain climbers – I went through the list twice).  Three or so hours later, I headed out into the storm for 3.2 miles after I snowblowed and plowed the yard.  I would say I burned some calories that day!  The snow had lightened up a lot and I was able to run down the snow covered pavement in spikes.  It was dark and I was the only one out.  It was peaceful.

Friday Hill Repeats: Kingman was buried in snow, so the Dions got strapped on and I suffered through 2.6 miles and 230ish feet of gain for hill work.  My heart rate was as high as it was during my steady state run, so I was working for sure.

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Saturday Long Run:  I had the pleasure of being joined by some ladies (and Tony) for a Saddleback breakout.  The trail was non-existent so we took turns breaking it out on our Dions.  What took two hours last week took three this week.  7.9 miles and 1200 feet of gain on snowshoes.  I was able to run quite a bit.  I experienced an annoying foot cramp in my right foot which I think was simply a reaction to spikes and snowshoe running this week.  I failed to roll on Friday PM and paid for that the first two miles of this run. I stretched my foot and adjusted my straps and I was fine after that!

Sunday (take account) run:  Sunday runs have become a time for me to mentally and physically check in with my body and see how we did over the week.  While my mileage is low, my efforts are hard, so I am constantly taking account of how I am doing.  Sunday was 5 miles, on which I chose road.  I am still doing my stretches and exercises and pleased to report my feet and ankles did great on Sunday.  My legs were tired overall, but I still met my goal paces.  Another 300 feet of gain finished out my week.

  • Total Miles: 23.8 (2 in snowshoes, 1 in spikes, 2 on pavement)
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1936 ft.
  • Two strength workouts

In an effort to keep this post focused, I will leave you with that!  I’m forever grateful for my affiliation with Altra Running and Born Primitive for their amazing gear, as well as friends who keep me motivated, a coach who puts up with me and the health to train. So on that note, more to come from my week!  Besides… it’s time to go plow the yard again!

Enjoy my Born Primitive code when you shop!  LIFTNRUN15 for 15% off your order!

READY!

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Antibiotics are done.  The sickness is gone.  My energy level is cranking again.  I’ve run 14 miles in the month of January.  Horrifying, right?

For the first time ever, I am not nervous about it.  Well, maybe a smidgen.  I am having a case of watching everyone else put down huge miles and wondering when my body will be ticking well enough to do it too.  Mostly, I am so excited about doing the work that I am sad that I am NOT doing it.  All that being said, my job for the last few weeks was to get healthy and get through my trip without any detrimental effects.

I can’t believe I have already left and come back.  This trip is my FAVORITE away game of the year.  I am fortunate enough to hang with some amazing people (50 or so of them) and work my butt off for three days.  The mountains in North Las Vegas are breathtaking and make me smile.  I want to run them!!!

I was cleared to workout on Sunday and hit the treadmill for a hill run.  I felt pretty good and the cough is gone too.

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My Altra Lone Peaks 2.5 and 3.0 headed to Vegas with me.  I worked all three days in my 3.0 (two of those days exceeded 12 hours) and had ZERO foot pain.  They perform well on trails, mountains and concrete.  Altra is my choice for all things work related when boots are not required.  I could not be more proud to be an Ambassador for 2017!!!

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Today, I HIIT the gym (see what I did there?) and got to hang on the new rowers Ben got in! I have loved rowers for years, but sadly PF doesn’t have them.  I love that Ben is working them in to our workouts.  Once again, this solidifies I am at the right gym, with the right trainer!!!

I made a quick decision today to snowshoe race on Saturday!  Wooo! Tony and I are taking on a 4.5 mile course and I will do my best to not dry heave and cry for the duration of the race.  I get to rock my new Acidotic Racing nordic shirt and rep my team.  Guess what will be on my feet??? Yup… Altra Lone Peak  NeoShell 2.0.  Check them out!!! I am scheduled for a 40 minute run tomorrow and three hours Sunday.  I would say I am officially back on track.

What I am eating this week:

I love Onnit products.  I started taking New Mood again and believe it helped me beat jet lag.  I have been sleeping like a champ and waking well rested.  I also started using their MCT Oil.   I have been adding this oil to coffee and protein shakes and I swear it gives me energy.  Probably in my head :).  If you don’t know what bulletproof coffee is, look it up.  This oil is a major component.  I do not add the butter… but this oil.  The Vanilla is amazing!!!

What I am reading:

Cheesy romance novels!  I love Fern Michaels and started re-reading her Texas series on the plane.  And in my hotel room.  And now back at home.  Don’t judge.  We all have our things.

So that’s it.

Well, until Sunday when I register for the VT100 Endurance Race.  HOLY SHIT!  I can’t stop smiling.  I am so excited about this endeavor.

#altrarunning #acidoticracing #aR #onnit #embracethespace #zerolimits #100miles

Down with the sickness…

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This pants did not do well snowshoeing!

The worst thing that can happen to a runner next to injury is illness.  Good luck telling us to stop… we will usually run dehydrated, with lung issues and even through stomach issues.  I have heard it all and done most of it myself.  I was doing so well until this last Wednesday when the sick bus hit me, face on.  Sore throat, nasal issues, sinus pain and now drainage… so pleasant.   I lost two training days midweek per Coach Chris.  I had to wait out the sore throat and tiredness.  This week was the last hard week of my mesocycle, so I really wanted to make the most of it.  I did the best I could by treating myself well and being careful during my sessions.

All that being said, I had a badass weekend!  Let me start by saying the Egoscue Method stretches for feet and ankles ARE making a difference in my flexibility.  For the first time in two months, I have more mobility and have been pain free for two days.  I don’t believe in miracles, but I do believe in self care so I am keeping this up!  I am also still riding high on becoming an Altra Ambassador!  Have you checked out their product yet?  I am not saying they are for everybody, but my feet, legs, ankles – everything – have never been this happy.  If you want to learn about the Altra story, I highly recommend this podcast on Trail Runner Nation.  Its with Altra founder Golden Harper.  I listened to it on one of my runs last spring around the time I switched.

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So, this week’s training felt GOOD.  My legs are so happy, like they suddenly woke back up. This is my longest mileage month since July and I am eager for more.

What I am reading this week:

Through WordPress and Instagram, I met fellow blogger VT Runner Mom.  Check her out! She’s training for VT100 too!

What I am eating this week:

Lots of chicken and veggies.  And some bacon.  I did make these last night for NYE (I can’t taste anything but hubby said they were amazing):  Maryland Style Crabcakes

I am down two pounds this week which was not intentional.  I know my body well enough to know its too soon to be shedding.  I am at a healthy, strong weight and need to increase calories to keep up with my new work load.

In total, I did one gym workout:

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I did a total of three runs for 14.2 miles and 1800 ft. of gain.  Most of that gain was breaking trail up the BRT on my way to Quarry and Straightback Mountains.  I did almost three hours in my new Dion snowshoes and I fell in love!  Tony and I laughed a lot on this adventure.  This keeps me moving.

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This coming week is an active recovery week and then I am traveling for work.  I am relying on the plan to keep me motivated.  Work is also amping up for me this week, so I am going to have to work hard to keep my head screwed on the right way.  Thankfully, my workouts are my happy place and set the stage for my whole day!

2017 Altra Ambassador!

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I went out on a limb in November and applied to the Altra Ambassador Team.  I learned yesterday morning that I was selected out of more than 2000 applicants!  I am floored, honored and still a little shocked!  I am not a professional athlete, but I am an amateur ultrarunner with heart and soul.  I believe in this product (anyone who knows me has heard about my experience) and I am thrilled to represent them in 2017!

My Altra journey started in early spring of 2016.  I can honestly say I have tried many types of shoes, platforms and brands in search of MY shoe.  I tried to switch to a low drop platform a few years ago (INOV-8) and just couldn’t do it.  I had the typical experience of calves that just couldn’t handle the transition.  I spent two years in Pearl Izumi running shoes.  Their E-Motion shoes claim to be somewhere between 3-7 mm of drop depending on how you land.  I truly believe a combination of cross training and careful transition got me into the Lone Peaks I now love (and own many pairs of… to include the new ones stashed under my desk at work 😉 ).  And let me remind you, I have battled significant right ankle issues for nearly three years.  These shoes feel better than anything I have ever tried.  I even converted my husband!  He wears Lone Peaks to do finish carpentry work and his Neoshells to salt walkways.

The best part of my experience with Altra?  All the places they took me in 2016!  I can’t wait to see where we go in 2017!!!

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#altrarunning #acidoticracing #trailrunning #ultrarunning #vt100

Winter has arrived!

 

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This week has brought old man winter in with a vengeance!  I personally think he’s a little early!  This was technically week 1 of my four week mesocycle with Chris guiding the ship. Last week (the first week of 100 training) technically fell on a “rest” week so the real work started this past Monday.  Honestly, the timing was perfect given the traveling I did.

I did my usual two days with Ben in the gym.  He consistently challenges me, works with me on modifications that specifically benefit me as an endurance athlete and keeps it FUN.  I am just not the person that can sculpt her own workouts.  I’m finally at a point where I can keep it going and choose workouts that are pertinent when I travel, but I need my Ben :).

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I took advantage of an opportunity presented to me and I now get to run on my lunch break!  For those of you who know what I do for work, this is UNHEARD of in most agencies.  My progressive bosses are allowing me to choose to use my traditional lunch break TO GO RUNNING!!!!  I was able to take advantage of that Wednesday and it was wonderful!  4.92 miles on my lunch break and honestly I went back to my desk much sharper than usual.  My current path in my career field has me sitting a lot so this is great for me.  Can’t wait til spring!

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Desk job occasionally means I stop at the vending machine…

As for Friday…. no way in hell was I running outside for my “hill” workout.  It was -1 air temp when I woke and that was without the howling wind.  I made due on the treadmill and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.

Saturday’s run in a synopsis – shitshow.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun, because it was.  Jessica guided me on a 13.3 mile run in the snowstorm.  It was 13 degrees when I bundled up and headed out to meet her, but I stayed warm the whole time.  I finally invested in some expensive gear I have been pining for.  It was time.  700 feet of gain, breaking trail for most of that mileage and I my hamstrings were crying.  Several hours later I am feeling good.  All positive stuff!!!

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Tomorrow calls for some easy running (4 miles) and it’s supposed to be raining and 51.  I hope I get to wear shorts!!!!

Tales of 2016 and how I became an Ultra Runner

I’ve made a massive personal commitment to 2017 in the form of completing not only a 50 miler, but a 100 miler as well.  Some (ok, many) think I am insane.  That’s mostly from the non-running crowd.  My ultrarunning friends and staunch supporters simply smile, shrug and ask what the plan is.  I am a mix of insanely excited, nervous and a little overwhelmed.  To help with those feelings, I have chosen races, have started to plan how to handle personal commitments and hired a coach!  Chris Dunn and I get to work on December 1, planning out my next 8 months.   In order to move forward in blog land, I feel the need to recap some of the most excited experiences I had in 2016:

  • Pineland 50k
  • A pemi attempt
  • Tony’s VT100 finish

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Not a day goes by when I don’t think about these experiences.  Each uniquely different experiences, they brought me a newfound respect for this awesome sport.  As I attempt to tell the story, you will see images of some of the best moments of this year!

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Pineland 50k (Memorial Day weekend)

I rolled into this race well trained and incredibly eager.  I knew I would finish, I knew I put in the time on my legs and I knew I could set a comfortable pace that would help me complete it well.  What I didn’t realize is how well I would do.  My longest weeks were 33 mile averages.  I had a Belknap out and back and Wapack 21.5 as prep runs.  I quit booze and cleaned my diet to peel down to 124 lbs. for race day.   I also continued to cross train HARD from October 2015 until race day (I heart Athletic Instinct and trainer Ben Higgins!) Finally, I transitioned into Altras two months before race day.  Zero drop and I agreed with each other.

Tony was running the 50 miler to qualify for VT100 and his goal was to catch me.  He started two hours ahead of the 50K field.  My crew (Amanda and Julie… my wonderful mules), set me off at 8:00AM.  Weather was cloudy and not overly warm.  In fact, I started in a long sleeve.  I committed months prior to using the Galloway 2 min on/30 second off method for long runs and used it on race day.  I had a 11:40 average for 31 miles, fueled on mostly liquid (Skratch) and ran without music or company for the entire race.  My favorite part of this course was seeing my crew every 4 miles or so.  They smiled, they laughed, they made fun of me and most of all, made me feel strong and special.  I saw them for the last time at mile 25 and when they offered me my music, I said no way…. I was going to get this thing done.  I had a huge smile on my face.  

finishlineI rolled into the finish at 6:02 and Tony never caught me.  I had one moment, about 30 miles in, when my legs were tired and I reminded myself I would never get to run my first ultra again… I embraced it and pushed on.  It was such a motivator to know I was going to do it!

Once we got back to the lake house, I put on my leggings, cracked a few PBRs and danced for the crowd.  Tony cried and yelled at me.  

Pemi Attempt (June 19)

I write about this attempt because I learned a lot about my body on this day.  I did over 25 miles and 7500 ft. of gain this day on my attempt to knock out the most difficult loop in the Whites.  What I learned somewhere between Galehead and Garfield was profound… I wasn’t recovered yet from Pineland and I failed at fueling on this day.  Tony was awesome, he never really knew how much I was bonking and I bonked HARD.  It was my first ever bonk and it was actually a good experience.  I made some huge fueling changes after that day and realized I needed a bit more than three weeks of recovery to take on this vicious beast.  My only regret is not getting another attempt in this year, but life took over.  2017 will see me back out there!  I ran down the Skookumchuck Trail, determined to not let the Whites beat me that day.  I made a smart decision to bail just below the Lafayette Summit… my mountains are still there!

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Pemi Loop – Lincoln and Lafayette in the background.  I didn’t make it there that day but will on my next attempt!

VT100 Pacing for Fish (July 16)

vtimagesBuckle up folks… this one is going to be long.  I somewhat regret not writing about it right away, but I know the most profound memories have stuck!  This was a very special race for Tony, as he had attempted Virgil the year before and DNF’d due to digestive issues.  We all felt his pain that night and I could not want to help him finish this race more.  It was my secret goal to get him  through the finish line.  I took the entire last 30 miles of pacing duties, mostly because I am selfish.  My brotha’ from anotha’ motha’ needed me.  I needed to do this.  We trained so many months…. Hell, years, for this experience.  Lise, Tony and I were a team.  Shit was real this time.  We were like a well oiled machine.  

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I also had the pleasure of driving our friend Jessica out to VT.  I also got to drive her home after she gutted out her finish.  She is so freaking strong.  More on her race later.  We got out to the start of the race (also our camping area) early on Friday.  We wanted to set up camp and get settled so we could relax.  All went well.  I set up the Taj and we hung out, eating, chatting and relaxing.  I loved the horses that were also set up on our area.  VT runs an equine endurance event side by side the runners and it rocked!  When I can’t run anymore, Lise and I will be doing that!  

We did our best to settle into “bed” as our runners needed to be up around 0300.  Tony and I decided I would not see him off (which proved to be good luck!) and I slept in til 0430.  Lise and I headed to breakfast then we started our crew duties.  Vermont is a beautiful state and we got the hang of the crewing quickly!  Tony was doing well, playing it conservative and did good during the heat of the day.  My favorite memory from the aid station around mile 60 was trekking down this insanely steep dirt road and waiting for him.  I peed in the woods, chatted with some other crew members and watched the pretty horses.  He finally came into view and I ran the last ¼ mile up the hill with him.  We were running next to two beautiful greys and he was yelling at me to stop touching the ponies!  I can’t help it!!!  I could see he was getting a little tired, so I told him we were getting the FUCKING PARTY STARTED at the next aid station!  He perked up and went on his way.  I was beyond excited to start pacing.  I wasn’t tired, I was well fueled and eager.  As someone who spent years working overnights, I have an innate ability to rally and stay up despite exhaustion.  

Jessica rolled into this aid station not long after Tony left.  She was coming apart and crying and I immediately hopped in to help.  She was not having the race she hoped for and it broke my heart.  I helped Scott pull her together and get her rolling again.  It was the last time I would see her until the morning.  It also strikes me as amazing how tight knit the ultra community is… whether you know the runner or not.  Scott barely knew Jessica or me, yet it was like we were all old friends, getting her up and running again.  It’s a very selfless sport in many ways.  That I love…

Lise and I drove to the aid station where I would pick Tony up at mile 70.  He was running well ahead of his 24 hour goal time.  I was dressed and ready to rock this shit.  Or at least entertain the hell out of him for the next 30 miles.  At 7:00PM, we started our amazing night journey.  In our usual fashion, we started chatting and didn’t really stop for the next 7 hours and 6 minutes.  Rather than bore you with a mile by mile recap, here is the best of the best:

All of the watches

Tony rolled into mile 70 and I was wearing a bright white Timex old school watch plus my Garmin, on different wrists of course.  My logic was I wanted to know what time it was the entire time we were out, plus have the data on my watch so I could calculate a pace that would get him sub 24 if he stayed strong.  This turned into me saying “I have ALL of the watches!” for seven hours.  The coolest thing about having that watch was when I looked down and realized sub 24 was going to happen and knowing how much he could slow by and still make it.  Information I didn’t share.

Ponies! Chickens! Donkeys! Dogs!

I like to yell out when I see animals.  I did this…. Over and over again.  Mostly for entertainment value.

I have to pee (and laughing at Fish as he ran ahead)

I eventually lost my dignity and started peeing in the road in the middle of the night.  It was dark.  Rainy.  And I didn’t give a shit.  Vermont roads are dirt and quite narrow in some places.  I distinctly remember stopping to pee and when I started to run after Tony, I began laughing and was unable to stop,  I am pretty sure he thought he was moving fast…. But he was lumbering along like a 90 year old man with chicken wings flapping in the breeze.  I still giggle when I think of it.

Are you cold?

After what is probably thousands of miles together, Tony still manages to put other runners ahead of himself.  ** This is the nicest thing I will say about him during this post. ** I failed to actually own a raincoat with a hood (don’t ask… the one I got was a great deal) and the thunderstorms eventually soaked it through.  I ditched it between storms at the last aid station and wouldn’t you know it started to pour again.  So here we are, 2:00AM, thunder and lightening and I am in a t-shirt.  Honestly, I was fine but Tony kept asking me if I was cold.  I think he was just crazy.

Holy fucking rain

The rain.  The storms.  The lightning.  It was epic.  And we were all in the middle of it.  In fields.  I think it’s still one of my favorite memories.  The storm continued after we finished and I sat in my tent drinking beer and hoping I wouldn’t drown.  I would like to add we were in the middle of the worst drought in 80 some odd years… until this night.

Oops… that last mile was too fast

If I had to point of my biggest error as a pacer, it was the mile I pushed him too hard.  He follows me well and my pace was too fast.  Mile 79 for Tony, a 10:50 pace.  It was after that mile I realized he wasn’t going to be able to manage that, so I made him walk/run at intervals.  We Gallowayed the shit out of that race.

Old Tony and the walking dead

Tony held up really well….. But many runners didn’t.  I dubbed an old man hippie “Old Tony.”  He looked miserable, was alone and I was honestly worried about him when the storms hit.  When the storms did hit… holy shit.  The lightning made the fields look like the walking dead.

Soup!

The last ten miles of this race are just cruel.  After going “downhill” for awhile, runners basically climb their way to finish over a series of nasty climbs.  The magic for Tony was hot broth/soup.  It was literally his savior.  Every time Lise gave him soup he woke but up for a few more miles.

Juan Pablo

I am not even going to explain this one… suffice it to say I dubbed Tony many nicknames and he called me horrible things.  It was hysterical and I laughed for thirty miles.

Body parts

Tony lost his dignity at some point and his method of reapplying lube at aid stations left people scarred for life.

Horrible pacer (couple in the woods)

My brotha’ from anotha’ motha’ actually told a pair of runners I was a horrible pacer and was trying to kill him.  More laughter.

Stuff I yelled:

RUNNER!!!!! (more on this in a moment)

Root… rock… root… rock…

Lise and Tony…. Her inspirational push at Bill’s

One of my favorite memories of this whole race was at Bill’s.  Tony was sitting in a chair and Lise was just simply amazing.  I gave them some space for her to talk to him and motivate him.  The raw emotion of that moment is something I won’t forget.  What a wonderful woman she is and I am still in awe of how strong she was that day.  Not only did she navigate solo, but she was AMAZING as the night went on.  Love you Lise.

Oh my god… we are going to do this

Two miles out, Tony started to come alive.  Like, he started running!!!!!  It was pouring, the trail was underwater, we were climbing again and he was getting stronger by the moment.  I started crying.  I was ahead of him and struck by the raw reality of what he just did.  I can’t even describe what it did to me.  I was crying for him.  I was crying for Lise.  I was so happy for both of them.  I couldn’t believe I got to do this.  I won’t ever forget what it felt like to bring him into the finish line.

Lise could hear me a ½ mile out

I started yelling, loudly as we got closer to the finish line.  I yelled “RUNNER” whenever Tony and I needed to pass and we started picking off people left and right.  I feel like we passed thirty runners in those last two miles.  A half mile from the finish, I could hear the cowbells and I started hooting and hollering!  If you know me, you know I don’t have an indoor voice and this was no exception.   Lise told me later she could hear us coming.  I am tearing up again thinking about what it felt like to be with Tony before the finish line.

FINISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well.  He did it.  23:06 and pouring rain!  

HOLY STORM (beers in my tent… did we do that???)

I drank Founders IPAs in my tent in that hellacious storm.  I literally could not believe what we just did.

The morning after….

Tony hobbled around.  We found Jess in the med tent after her finish.  I ate Cheetos, drank a Starbucks cold coffee drink and danced around the field.  Little did I realize this whole experience would plant the seed for where I am today…. Day one of my very own VT100 training.  I am going to draw on this experience during my training when I need to dig deep.  The displays of courage, humility and guts I witnessed all weekend was so inspiring! It was then I realized I belonged to the ultra family.

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