Monday, August 6, 2018

"The gods of the valley are not the gods of the hills, and you shall understand it."

"The gods of the valley are not the gods of the hills, and you shall understand it."
-Ethan Allen 


Ethan Allen wasn't talking about a track ultra when he made the above assertion, at least I don't think so, but it felt fitting in a quick write up about my experience at the Ethan Allen 24 hour ultramarathon, brought to us by Noreast Trail Runs. 

Signing up for a 24 hour being a perpetual "kids race" ultra runner (read that as 50 milers and less please) was perhaps overzealous with a minimal window of preparation time and a point in my life where responsibility is anything but minimal. Nevertheless, I took advantage of a generous registration offer and spent the next 10ish weeks scratching my head thinking "how the fuck do I prepare for something like this, let alone what is the goal here?" Circles around a track at my former high school in Bennington, VT was always sort of a punishment, one step up from the hamster wheel device collecting dust in the basement. I guess ultra running is a pass time full of "why's?" and "WTF's" so why should this one be any different. 

I took training for this as seriously as I could, but quite a bit less than other big races in the past. my peak weeks were minimal 30-40 miles at best, and a lot as trail and mountain (see Ethan's thoughts on that above...). Since preparing the human body to accept repeated steps over the entire cycle of the earth is relatively time consuming, I found the best way to manage it was to be in training all day. My key workouts incorporated my homemade commuter mutt of a bicycle, which took a lot of strain off of my joints and by the way, it got me to work and forced me to get up early...training all day, see the theme here?. While at work I am either functioning as a boat engineer, law enforcement officer, or straight up desk jockey. I made a conscious effort to remain on my feet from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed. The cycle commute conveniently passed by a high school track on my return trip home, this allowed me to do longer runs so to identify physical and mental challenges I may face in 24 hours of running. Here is what an average day looked like in my peak weeks of training:

0415: Wake up
0435: Mount the commuter mutt and pedal towards work
0535: STARBUCKS cold brew with a few shots
0545: Stand at my desk and answer every email in rapid fashion (thanks coffee and undiagnosed anxiety!)
0630: Eat hot sauce smothered breakfast sandwich and get back to work.
0800: Head offshore to do coast guard things
FAST FORWARD 
1600: Start pedaling in the other direction
1640: Stop at Pentucket high school and run in circles at a 9-10 minute pace for 2 hours or so
1800: Pedal to burrito joint
1805: Eat burrito while standing watching 24 hour news 
2300: Sleep
0415: Wake up
REPEAT

Race Day

I arrived to the venue about an hour and half prior to the start, and set up my minimalist aid station. doing so I met with Joe Viger, one of the premier race photographers in New England, and some other participants. I didn't exactly stack my home made aid station, and as it would turn out there were only a few key items;

Compression shorts/socks
Sunscreen
2 lb bag of swedish fish
2 lb bag of power pellets (Peanut M&M's)
2 ga of lean mixed tailwind
2 flasks of my maple/honey/sea salt concoction
Aleve
Hummus and crackers

Salming D5's
Salming Enroutes


Everything else seemed to just be an over preparation on my behalf. At the brief I was pretty excited to share the track with some legends of ultrarunning to include Ann Trason, Lance Parker, and Amy Mower. Also in the group were some extremely talented locals like Brian Teason. In addition to all of the awesomeness gathering at the starting line, I was joined by another Active duty Coastie and a Coast Guard Auxiliary member....in Bennington, VT, unlikely? perhaps. Cool? YES.
The Early Miles and Smiles 
Photo: Joe Viger

At the start I had a solid amount of encouragement from Bob Dion, a legend in his own right, and founder of Dion Snowshoes and Tim VanOrden another world class local and founder of Running Raw. My main theme for the morning was being self aware of what my limits may be and keeping my speed under control, as I would much prefer to trot at a quicker pace normally, and on the advice of friends I stopped early and often for walk and nutrition breaks. Going into a slower pace my hips are always my number one concern. My theory on keeping them loose was to run a quarter mile at a 7-7:30 pace whenever they felt tight and sore, this made for some funny sub 2 minute split times that left the timing folks confused.

The race had scheduled turn around times to switch direction, these were good milestones,and bolstered morale getting a face to face interaction with the other runners. Robert Kootz, a USMC vet and endurance extraordinaire, seemingly transformed on each of these laps and was by far the most enthusiastic person at those moments.

Carey Stoneking and I clicking miles off as the sun goes down. 
To the far right is the overall winner Emily Collins who covered 113+ Miles 
Photo: Joe Viger

Throughout the evening I had several highs and lows, and it was almost maniacal to be inside of my own head. I tried to take advantage of the high points and not dwell on the lows. Just before 9:00 PM Ashley brought me a burrito and I thanked her and apologized but got right back onto the track thinking that a 60/40 split would be fantastic for morale. So babe, here is an official "Thank You" you're the best for supporting my crazy adventures, and I Love You! The rest of the night consisted of constant grinding, and keeping myself moving forward relentlessly. At no point did I think I could stomach real food, so the Swedish Fish and Peanut M&M's served as my go-to.

At 22:46 hours I slowly hobbled to the triple digit 100 mile mark and earned myself an Ethan Allen 24 hour buckle. Despite my body not wanting to continue forward I was urged to keep adding mileage so as to not lose my slim second place position. Through the night I had progressively slowed down enough to ensure I would reach my goal of 100 miles but did very little else to go beyond that. In the final moments those of us still on the track were given a small flag with our bib # on it, and we placed them on the track when the final bell rang at 9:00 AM the next day. In all I covered 102.888 total miles in 24 hours, which was good enough for third place overall and second place male.
The Pile of swag from this awesome event, missing is the 
embroidered fleece pullover 

http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=57083

THANK YOU!

Ashley, Mom, Dad, Mike & Kim for coming by!
Adam Schalit & Eliza race Directors at Noreast Trail Runs
Joe Viger Photographer, and support crew
Salming Running North America (use coupon code HAMILTON20 at checkout)
Adam Schalit of Noreast Trail Runs and I celebratin' post race 
with a solid fist bump.

Moving Forward "Chubby Time"
Since my knees haven't been up to any sort of distance I have been keeping up with the bicycling. I have been mixing terrain, and added a new (to me) fat bike to the stable. Most of my rides have been road and gravel, but recently I have taken to the sand on the fatty! Happy trails!
 Plum Island Beach Ride, The New Fat Bike is a Mongoose Vinson
with Vee 4.7" Bulldozers and some other mods. Stay tuned for a 1X 
setup and studs.
The Multi Surface mutt amidst a 32 mile ride out to Great Neck, MA

"I'll see you somewhere over the rainbow"

Monday, June 25, 2018

PEAK Blood Root Ultra (30) Race Report, and "You're going to run for 24 hours?!"




PEAK
I am a little behind on this one but I think I ought to tell the story before I forget it. Well? 7,000+ feet of climbing, a wrong turn, hot weather and a podium finish are kind of hard things to forget. So back on Veterans Day I saw an offer for a race discount from Peak Races. Though, I have successfully distanced myself from most things Spartan, a good value ultra was hard to pass up. 

I got to the event held on Joe Desena's property around an hour before the race start. It was supposed to be a really hot day so I made a few adjustments to my carriage of water/electrolytes. The plan was about 70fl. ounces of water and to use Swedish Fish and my maple/honey/sea salt gu packs I have become a fan of. 
Image may contain: one or more people, sky, tree, outdoor and nature


Looking Old and Heavy at the Start of the Peak Ultra


At the start I bumped into fellow Salming Ambassador Matt "Iron Beast" Dolitsky. Matt is another few times over Spartan Ultra Beast, and we ran the inaugural 2012 event together (this blogs namesake). We both made the decision to run with the Salming Trail T5 which proved to be formidable against these mountains in the Killington foothills.  Soon we were off and I found myself in second place after a few minutes of uphill grinding. I seemed to make a lot of ground on the "powerhike" sections in the early miles. At this point I saw no other competitor in the 30 mile event, for about 16 miles. Going into the aid stations I got updates on the leader who was holding around 7 minutes ahead of me. I thought that I should just maintain and hopefully finish in this position.....and then....

Image may contain: 1 person, tree and outdoor

Two Salming Boys setting off on a 30+ mile 7k' journey

I entered an "out and back lolipop" to which a few miles was a COMPLETE BUSHWHACK with flags hanging from trees every 60ish yards. While making a steady pace I must have passed the point where the bushwhack started and ran about two miles up a nearby ridge After not seeing a flag for over ten minutes I decided to backtrack and found my way to the turn that I had missed.  When I finally exited this out and back section the aid station informed me that I was now in third overall and about 13 minutes behind second place. With that I tried to stay positive, and kept driving on thinking I may be able to close the gap between us. As the miles built up and my left knee started bugging me, I decided that I should dial the effort back and do what I can to hold on to a top three position. 

Course from The Blood Root Ultra 30 The Eastern Loop was done twice.
The far West "Out and Back" was my extra credit mileage while lost!


I ended up walking SEVERAL of the last 8-10 miles, with the idea that if somebody challenged me for third place I would respond to it. At approximately 31 miles on my GPS I was descending a switch back and I  saw 4th place not far behind. I decided that I should truck the last mile or two since I had essentially been resting and walking an easy pace. 


I ended up finishing third overall behind two speedy Canadians. The course was rugged, muddy, and thorny! Never have I left an event this beat up! Even after a barbed wire incident at the Amesbury, MA Spartan Sprint in 2012 that probably should've required stitches. In all the Trail 5's from Salming proved to shed mud quickly with the Vibram MegaGrip outsole, and the wide toe box made for a comfy ride especially in the later miles.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1552191765



UP NEXT: Ethan Allen 24hr 

After being electronically introduced (read: Facebook) to Adam and Eliza I had the brief pleasure of a fist bump at Snowshoe nationals. Since then we have stayed in contact and he has kept me apprised of his new event management company's plans. Nor'East Trail runs (https://www.netrailruns.com/) is bringing some serious trail and ultra events right in my backyard of Southwestern Vermont. Among these races, ranging from 10k to 24HR, are events at Bromley Mountain, Dorset Peak, and to the Mount Anthony High School track in Bennington, VT. At the moment, I am committed to the timed event at the MAUHS track. The Ethan Allen 6/12/24 hour is shaping up to be an awesome event, drawing the attention of some legendary ultra runners! 

I am lost when it comes to flat ground running and this will likely be the furthest I have gone in a single day, and a HUGE learning experience. My goal is to reach the coveted 100 mile mark, which doesn't sound too bad because you have all day to do it, however the logistics here are daunting, and the training is simply confusing. Since I am a complete stranger to this type of racing I have elicited the help of others. The advice I have received is as follows:

-Walk early and often
-train slow...and walk during training
-stay on your feet as much as possible
-stay healthy!

I believe I am disciplined enough to do most of the above, however staying healthy can be a challenge with children, long work hours on the ocean , and lack of sleep. Thus far my key training days I am doing this:
-Cyclocommute to work at 0430 AM 15mi
-Work 12 hours without sitting down
-Cyclocommute home 15mi stopping at a High School track
-10-15 miles alternating between 10 minute miles and walking on a track

Doing this workout usually gets me home at approximately 8PM

The Commute "Queen Slipper to Clipper Cities"
My Homemade "Do-everything" bike has been part of me "Staying Healthy"



In addition to these types of workouts I have been doing a lot of hiking with my son. Brycen is now around 25lbs, and luckily for me he enjoys the ride in our backpack. Most recently we hiked around 11mi. climbing about 3,000' through Hell Brook on the A.T. He's a good training partner since he seems fascinated with the sights and sounds of nature. 

Trail Name "Banana" got his first exposure to Through Hikers 



The Weapon of Choice for the Ethan Allen 24. 
The Salming Enroute is a clone of the T5 with a 
Less aggressive outsole.

Happy Trails!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Running Swedish, Deep Trouble in Woodford, and the Treadmill Grind


I am proud to announce that for the year 2018, I will be representing Salming Running as a brand ambassador. I was drawn to a shared Facebook post saying that Salming was on an ambassador hunt, and I thought that it would be fun to review gear and shoes, and share it with the large New England running community I am glad to be a part of. I didnt really expect to be selected and was pleasantly surprised when I got an email from the U.S. CEO David Field inviting me to be a part of the team. As time goes on I will be posting reviews on gear. Once I have an adequate amount of mileage on the three pairs of Salmings I own, I will be sure to share my thoughts. Salming is a Swedish based company started by former NHL star Borjes Salming and began with court sports like handball and squash.. Their shoes all adopt a 5 point design philosophy (Light, Flexible Flat, Thin, with an anatomical Comfortable fit). I have found that all of this is true, along with the "No Nonsense" trademark slogan. To learn more Visit:

https://shopsalmingusa.com/

20% COUPON CODE: HAMILTON20


My Current Stable thanks to Salming (Left to Right)
Trail T5
OT Comp
Distance D5


DEEP Trouble In Woodford


This past weekend, I was fortunate to participate in the Dion Snowshoes (link below) National Championship. Every four years the Snowshoe National Championships are held in my backyard (well sort of) in Woodford, VT. Woodford is in a snow lovers sweet spot, and typically gets exponentially more snow than lower lying Bennington. In the weeks leading up to the 2018 race, Woodford received upwards of five feet of snow. Race Director Tim Van Orden certainly had his hands full since he had to plan MULTIPLE races from a "Kids Kilo" up to a Marathon. The deep snow added a complicated logistical element, to marking and packing down fast racing trails. Tim, put a solicitation out and a ton of volunteers came forward to help make this race weekend a complete success! I had the pleasure of volunteering a couple of hours, which wanes in comparison to volunteers like the RD, and Silvia Cassano, a local rep for the Bennington Area Trail System (BATS) and all around outdoor bad-ass. I ran the 10K and was over-matched by some awesome talent and conditions that just whooped me!  The deep snow made passing difficult, and the first 2 1/2 miles were a tough trek to the summit of Prospect Mountain. This was my first time on the rackets this winter, and in hindsight I probably should've strapped them up a few more times when I had the chance! I finished in 1:37 which put me just behind the exact middle of the 100 man field. I did find out later on Facebook that I won the military division...Yeah...I beat the other guy.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1446270272

After a punishing 10k I got to stick around and talk to Bob Dion of Dion Snowshoes, who gave me a few pointers on how to maintain my snowshoes and set them up for deep snow! He suggested using candle wax on the cleats and rivets, and also upgrading to the deep cleat. Dion Snowshoes are modular and easy to customize. 

Early Stages of the 10k National Championships

The Grind
It is hard to look back at a "middle of the pack" performance and put a positive spin on it. I can make all the excuses in the world, but I honesty don't believe I need to and here's why; This was a hard race, with even harder conditions. The 10k had over 1,200' of vertical climb, and the snow was knee deep at some points, despite the female 10k runners stomping it down. The reason I am satisfied with a lackluster finish is because this race brought some of the strongest snowshoe runners in the country (Including some international competitors) to Vermont. I don't think being average among the fastest is too bad!
Some of the Hearty Volunteers packing the singletrack
The day before Nationals. Tim VanOrden is leading
the way on antique snowshoes, Tim would go on to 
Make another National Team the following day!

I have been stricken to the cardio room at work standing several 48 & 72 hour shifts lately. It is hard to stay passionate about trail running when you simulate it on an electric contraption in a climate controlled room. I use the treadmill out of necessity, and don't necessarily advocate for it to stay in shape. Will it work? Sure. 

Looking Forward
I am currently training for the Peak Bloodroot Ultra in Pittsfield, VT. This race is on May 5th, and should be a tough one. I am doing the 30 miler, AKA "The Kids Race" while I would prefer to do the 50 miler AKA "The Slightly Longer Kids Race". I say kids race because this race is held in conjunction with a 500 miler. 500 is not, and likely will never be a goal of mine however, that's pretty radical. 30 miles is about the max I am willing to commit to with competing demands, and I'm cautiously building mileage and experimenting with some new nutrition ideas (more to follow on that, unless I vomit a lot at Bloodroot. In that case I'll talk about puke rather than my silly nutrition idea). 

Luckily I am back on the dirt. My last few workouts were close to home, where I can get a solid amount of vertical gain with half mile repeats while my one year old (Brycen is one! Holy Crap that was fast!) sleeps. On Saturday I managed to get 2,300' of climbing under the stars on our dirt road, and promptly cracked my St. Patty's beer afterward. 

SLIANTE!
Ran 2,300' of repeats on St. Patrick's Day in the NEW 
Salming OT Comp. The Michelin outsole handled 
our sloppy un-maintained road for 8.5 miles


http://www.dionsnowshoes.com/

http://batsvt.org/ 

http://shopsalmingusa.com

https://peak.com/

http://www.areep.com/events/ssnats/2018/2018_sr_men.txt

Monday, October 23, 2017

Updates!
With hurricanes, new assignments, and dad duty I have neglected to keep this page alive. There haven't been many changes in my training/racing world, nor to my present philosophy regarding running. I have been logging less mileage over the last few months, but much more vertical climbing. Chris Dunn at Ascend Endurance Coaching (Link below) blogged something along the lines of "when short of time..climb". This sort of advice is right up my alley as a busy new dad splitting my time and attention between a career in Coastal Massachusetts, and my beautiful family in Southwestern Vermont. In addition to the lower running mileage I have been cross training by road cycling and mountain biking. I feel like the bikes will generally treat my body better to keep me moving for years to come, that is if I keep them upright! Most of my road cycling has come in the form of my 15 Mile commute to work. It is pretty rare that I find pavement attractive even on a bicycle.

Racing
Mount Mansfield
I have only toed the line a few times since Loon in July. I ran the Race to the Top of Vermont with some pretty disappointing results. This was a tough climb from the Base lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort to the highest point of the auto road. This race doesn't reach the summit of Mount Mansfield, however with a little fuel in the tank I took advantage of my time on Vermont's highest peak and returned to my truck via the Appalachian trail. I ended up finishing 58th out of 380 something and about 5 minutes behind my goal time. The return trip on the A.T. was probably the highlight of my day.


Mount Mansfield ridge traverse after the Race

https://www.strava.com/activities/1155652897
Race For The Cure VT
Ashley entered us into a local 5k benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation. Initially we were going to run together however the race organizers outlawed strollers at the absolute last minute (on the starting corral). Luckily we had family available to hang with the "B-Man". Since I was no longer laden with a newborn and stroller I decided to treat the race as a speed workout. I was grateful to win in 19:31. Ashley ran an extremely strong race in her return after giving birth and finished in 26:31!


Race For the Cure 

Lynn Woods Summer Series
This Free race series (donation recommended) is held on every Wednesday night throughout the summer. In addition to a variety of distances to choose from Lynn Woods offers some very unique races. This year in addition to being a regular on the "long course" I participated in the 4 person relay with aR teammate Jeff Hixon, and a handicap race which was probably one of the most interesting trail races I have ever run. Our relay team "The Crispy Bits Of the Round table" was a strong team of mixed trail and very fast road runners. Our combined time was 1:04 minutes for a four person 10 mile trail race. We were tenth overall an celebrated afterwards with some adult beverages and sausages cooked over a coffee can sized camp stove.
Finishing my 2.5 mile trail loop 16:14

The handicap event gives middle and back of the back racers the chance to break the tape. At the start each runner is assigned a handicap based on results from the entire summer. Of those who showed up I was second to last to start, and trying to overcome a 28 minute deficit for a 5mi trail run. I HAD ZERO EXPECTATIONS HERE. My only goal was to hold off the one racer behind me with a 30 minute handicap (2 minute head start). This race felt like a losing battle until the very end when all of the runners bunch up a mile before the finish chute. My final time was a 35:38 @6:31 pace which was the second fastest that evening, however it was good enough for 37th overall with the handicap applied! This series is a ton of fun, and Lynn Woods trails have something for everyone. There are steep climbs, sketchy descents and technical singletrack.  

Biking & Hiking
I am really enjoying my time in the saddle, and as of today I have logged around 300 miles on the bike  and over 14,000' of elevation gain. As far as running I am around 1,233 miles and around 117,000'. 
The commute has really strengthened my legs I have nicknamed my 
98' steel Bianchi Trofeo "Serbatoio di Guerra"

Climbing is lovely...descending on a hardtail 2,000' is scary!

A 5 mile fall stroll with B-Man!


Links
http://ascendendurancecoaching.com/

lwrun.org

Monday, July 10, 2017

Backhanded by Loon #nosafeword

"There is no safe word at Loon"

Well that humble pie was tasty and filling. Seconds? no thanks I'm good! I am a little late on this report based on work obligations and my need to lick my wounds after a tough race.  Apparently frolicking through the Kittatiny Range at a "loiter" pace for the last four years hasn't done me much good! Perhaps I am older now, or bear more responsibilities outside of running up mountains than I did a few years ago. 

I started the race very conservative knowing that I would be out of "Loon shape" but confident in my abilities to move swiftly. I felt great around the 3 1/4 mile mark and started to make moves, this was the tail end of the muddy Nordic section of the mountain where everyone was carrying good speed. I kept the forward progress up until descending the North peak crossing over the higher elevation black diamonds with names like "Yard Sale" and "Danger Zone" knowing the infamous "Boss" was the next right turn after cooking my quads on the downhill. Crossing the mat at the bottom of Upper Walking Boss I thought to myself "it's on" and started a power hike pace that I wouldn't keep up. The idea that I was passing more people on the toughest climb in New England mountain running was enough to give Photographer Scott Mason ( www.scottmasonphoto.com ) a smile, and sling a few smartass comments back at the heckling Ryan Welts. Great right?!

Feeling very strong moments before the descent. Photo Credit Richie Blake


"This sucks but I'm Having Fun!"



NOPE
Just past the Boss welcoming party came instant nausea, and vomit was inevitable. Luckily no photos of this incident have surfaced as of yet. There I knelt at 3,000 feet above sea level vomiting my guts out. UWB time: 16+ minutes.

The ugly metrics are below:

2017 
https://www.strava.com/activities/1064860606

2013
https://www.strava.com/activities/231217049


Does anyone know this guy? 2013 running the last section of Upper Walking Boss

I would love to relive the glory days and say "I used to run Upper Walking Boss in 13 minutes" but that still isn't too great! Furthermore, the course was shorter then. 

All isn't lost, I got to reunite with teammates, and friends that I said goodbye to four years ago at this same venue. Loon is a beast that I plan to continue to run as long as my legs will let me. The event has only gotten more epic as time goes on so I am looking forward to 2018 already! Chris Dunn and Paul Kirsch of Acidotic Racing have made this event an absolute must.

Onward
I'm taking advantage of the terrain I now have living exclusively in New England (VT/MA). Yesterday I tagged along for a tour of Baldy and Mt. Blue Job in Strafford, NH with Teammate George Joy. Today in an effort to finish up a Strava climbing challenge I ran 8 repeats at a local park totaling just shy of 2,000' of vertical gain which isn't too shabby for a coastal area. Thanks to teammate and friend Jeff Hixon, I am now registered to run the Lynn Woods trail races every Wednesday night. Last Wednesday I showed up a little late and was relegated to the "short race" a 5k(ish) to which most of us got lost, but I think i have the 1.77 mile race record :). Next week I hope to make it to the longer 6(ish) mile race.

Panorama shot atop Mt. Blue Job great views and conversation

Amesbury, Ma Powow hill is 331' above sea level. While not gargantuan in size, the views looking Northeasterly are pretty amazing. Today 7-10-17 Star Island, NH was clearly visible 18 miles seaward.

The Important stuff
My little mountain runner in training is days, (my prediction) from crawling and has popped three, razor sharp little teeth. Being a dad to the two greatest children on earth is more than worth the decreased performance! With that being said I still want set a solid example for them..."Don't call it a comeback"

Coming to the gnarliest trail near you!


-Happy Trails





Monday, May 22, 2017

Girls On The Run!

Busy Busy
In my last days here in New Jersey, I have struggled to get the mileage I would like. With last minute loose ends to tie up, training has fallen back some. When times get busy like this I usually try to force myself to sneak in both a morning and evening run. In the past I was able to get 50 mile weeks and still take a double zero on Saturdays and Sundays. Despite the shortage in valuable training I was fortunate enough to participate in "Girls on the Run VT". If you are unfamiliar stay with me here..

GOTR VT

WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY GIRL
CAN EMBRACE WHO SHE IS,
CAN DEFINE WHO SHE WANTS TO BE,
CAN RISE TO ANY CHALLENGE,
CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
CAN.

www.Girlsontherun.org
Fisher Elementary at GOTR VT 2017


Last week was Libby's 5k for Girls on the Run. This program is a fantastic way to build self esteem, confidence, and fitness in elementary school aged girls. The program is in all 50 states and seemingly grows larger every year. This was Libby's second year participating and the 26th year of GOTR. Over the last few weeks, elementary schools have offered an after school program specifically for young girls to prepare them for a local 5k race. The 3.1 mile distance may not seem a lot for a seasoned runner, but as an ultramarathoner nothing sounds worse than 5,000 agonizing meters. The volunteers track the progress of the girls and show them that they can run a grown up distance if they train for it. 

Racing to finish their 5K, Mendon Peak in the distance.

Teamwork, and friendly encouragement made for a STRONG finish.

The girls on the back stretch...not pictured...the dopey stepdad
running and trying to take pictures....

Our event was in Rutland this year, along with several other schools. I am not sure of overall participation but I would estimate well over 600 kids plus parents and spectators. Ashley and I both registered to try to keep up with these fierce girls. Before the event the girls have the chance to purchase GOTR swag ranging from superhero pink capes to face paint. At the start the small group of girls Ashley and I were running with took off on us and we spent the first few minutes locating our front running adolescents. The course was thoughtfully designed, and wasn't an easy run. The Rutland fairgrounds boasts a half mile (8 furlongs for my gambling degenerate friends) horse track. This track was circled twice during the 5k, allowing parents and spectators to see and cheer on their kids at two separate points. The homestretch had Ashley and I running sub 7 minute miles to keep up with our little group of showoffs (who only showed signs of fatigue away from the watchful eye of any spectators).

Prior to the final event, Libby had a 5k PR of 44 minutes. She literally smashed that time completely out of the park finishing in 35:23 with an average pace of 10:53! Our tracks are below...

https://www.strava.com/activities/984827517

Some Tired Girls rocking their newest race hardware.

In the film "Finding Traction" Ultra Runner Nikki Kimball has a casual conversation about Girls on the Run with the GOTR VT that really resonated with me.  During her FKT attempt on the 273 mile Long Trail, Kimball insisted that one of the GOTR girls would come along and break her record in the future. I completely agree after seeing the support and encouragement these kids gave each other. I encourage anyone who has a daughter to get involved, or support this program! 
Happy Trails.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Decent Week

Last Week
Last week I had the pleasure of taking a lot of days off for a minor (yet cringe worthy) medical procedure. I'll let you use your imagination here. Upon trying to "saddle up" again (Pun Absolutely intended) I took a trip out to Palmerton, PA for my Southernmost run on the Appalachian Trail. I did a 12.2 mile double loop, on Blue Mountain from route 248. Some was Northbound from here and some was Southbound. The route included what must be the slowest measured mile in PA. This section was somewhat technical, link to the Strava page and some photos are below:






Really Sweet View here, but craggy.

Bypassed the Devil's Pulpit on Blue Mountain 

58.8 Miles This Week
Rod Farva, sarcastically said it best "Watch out for this guy."  Really I had a great week mileage and recovery wise. Midweek, I tried to hang with some hard 5:45-6 minute pickup speed work (on pavement), and the weekend yielded some solid trail mileage. Saturday consisted of a local loop near the Jersey Shore (I didn't run into "Snookie" or "J-WOW"..sorry if that is disappointing). Wells Mills County Park in Forked River, NJ was a nice spot to try to move fast on some flat trail. Overall this parks outer loop AKA Penn's Hill Trail, is 8 1/2 miles and has a lot of short steep climbs and slippery wooden footbridges to fall off of. I managed to grab a course record there by about 5 minutes. This won't stand for very long as I really think it could be dropped below an hour. Link below:


Following a fast effort, today I sought some elevation. I really didn't find it as my run encompassed more than 16 miles and a measly 1,300' of elevation gain. I ran from Wind Gap, PA to Fox Gap, PA on the Appalachian Trail. Short of one very hard climb in the first half mile the rest was pretty flat. My pace was super slow, but for good reason...see below!


"Wolf Rocks" offers a bypass since it is very slippery especially in the rainstorm today, however
I heard banjos and gunshots that sounded pretty close to the bypass loop so I opted for slipping and falling off of a mountain over being turned into a handsome rug or skin suit.

"It's runnable"....We have all said it, but if you like your ankles and teeth you may want to take it easy.

Obligatory....

"Just 910 more miles to Katahdin"

Since this 16.7 miles offered about 1.5 miles of unobstructed running, I am satisfied with a 3:05 Gap to Gap to Gap run today.

Onward and Upward
In other news I will be back in New England where the mountains are taller in about three weeks. Happy Trails!