Monday, October 6, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the BEAR 100

I ran The Bear 100 last weekend and it was amazing. I went to grad school in Logan, UT where the race starts and always knew I wanted to go back and run the race. Green Canyon to Bear Lake is a gorgeous area with amazing trails and unbelievable views. My mom and I signed up for the race last December and have been getting ready ever since. My training wasn't as on point as I would have liked but I put in the miles over the past couple months so I felt prepared. I was just excited to get back to UTAH!

Here's the short version of the race....


- First 10 miles were the best, long climb up to one of the highest points of the race but the higher you climbed the better the views got.

- Non-technical trails... after running in the Northeast for the past few years it was great running on rockless trails

- Amazing volunteers- at each aid station I had my dropbag before I even needed it, everyone was so helpful- someone even helped me with my gross toe blisters! THANK YOU!!!

- Long, gradual downhills were super fun!

- Met some GREAT people out on the trails, one of my favorite things about trail and ultra running is the community, people are so helpful and great out on the trails. 

- Watching about 5 male elk tearing down the woods about 10 feet from the trail while I was all by myself. The elk were so loud! It was terrifying until I realized I wasn't going to get trampled, then it was pretty neat :)

- Altitude... actually didn't effect me! I had a minor headache and stomach ache but overall it wasn't too bad, I was really worried about this coming from New York to the race so I was really happy I didn't get too sick or have any breathing problems.

- Climbs... I was really worried about the elevation gains but it wasn't horrible. The climbs were long but the trail was overall pretty runnable. My quads didn't quite get trashed, my feet hurt more than my legs. 

- Finishing with my MOM! So amazing to run the last 25 miles with my Mom, she pushed me so much the last part of the race... finishing with her was the best!


- Blisters... DAMN blisters!! I have never had problems with blisters, ever! I think the combination of my feet swelling with the altitude and my shoes a little more narrow than normal killed my feet. I had blisters on every toe and all over the soles of my feet. It took so much time to take my shoes and socks off at every aid station and take care of my feet. I think I could have taken quite a bit of time off if I didn't have to worry about my feet. 

- Cold/Rain vs Hot.... The first day was super hot, which I didn't quite mind, I would rather hot than cold. The evening was great when a cold front came through with a couple thunderstorms. Once the rain started though, it got cold. From the early morning and on it was a challenge to stay warm and dry. I luckily had enough clothes in dropbags that it wasn't terrible. Thank goodness for my trashbag dress that I wore most of the early morning and Saturday

- Hallucinations... By the end of the race I was starting to see things in the woods... trees that looked like people, trees that looked like animals, trees that looked like cars, trees that looked like aid stations. Nothing crazy but was a little odd and a little alarming

- Taking time by myself at aid stations. I miss having a crew to help take care of me... I like being a little bit spoiled :)


- MUD! The last 10 miles were so muddy and slow... trying to stay upright was a huge challenge. At that point in the race I was so physically and mentally drained that it was very frustrating to keep climbing and descending in all the mud. The last 20 miles would have been a totally different race if it hadn't of rained. 

- Blisters IN the mud.... trying to walk/run in the mud with the blisters were the WORST! That was the one time I wanted treking poles to help me go downhill in the mud. 

Overall the race was AMAZING. The volunteers and aid stations were great- so helpful, especially because I didn't have a crew or pacer. The views and trails were absolutely gorgeous, I was smiling because it was so pretty for the majority of the first day. To look around and have mountains everywhere was overwhelmingly amazing :) Once it got dark and cold it started to get tough mentally... luckily I ran with a lot of great people that helped me through the hard times. I would highly recommend this race, the race had a laid back feel to it but also very supportive and positive.

Starting Line

Kansas City gals ready to go!!

After the first climb... Logan, UT down below

So runnable! And gorgeous views all around

 Momma Bear and her cub before the race!

Post Race!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jay Peak 50k... second time around

I ran the Jay Peak 50k again this past weekend. It is one of my last races/ long runs before the Bear 100 and it went great! All I remember from the last time were UPS and DOWNS... it was constant climbs, which is why I signed up again this year- perfect training for a mountainous 100 miler. I went up the day before to check in and hang out around the mountain. Took the tram to the top to get some pictures- gorgeous views all around. Glad I went up the day before too because the day of the race you couldn't see a thing from the top because of the clouds.

The next morning I woke up in my tent around 4am with lightning and thunder and quickly got up and packed everything up before I (and my tent) got drenched. By the time I was finished and jumped in the car it was pouring. I arrived at Jay Peak Resort with the rain still coming down... it was going to be a long day! But then with about 5 minutes to the start it stopped! The rain was gone but the humidity stayed, it was about 70 degrees and 95% humidity the entire day. It was also super cloudy... no views at the top. 

The course changed a bit since I ran it two years ago at the inaugural race. There were more single track and a few more ascents which I think slowed down everyone's times. The race starts at the bottom of the ski mountain on the cross country ski trails- about 2 miles then comes out to the real ski trails- STRAIGHT UP!

After about a 1/4 mi of this hill we go back to single track on the Long Trail for another 1/2 mi or so to the top of Jay Peak. It was windy and cool up there.... great volunteers froze up there all day! Then you start the rest of the course which is basically up and down and out and backs all over the mountain. Great views and I love being able to cross paths with people on all the out and backs- makes it a bit more social and fun to see the same few people all day. 

View from one of the climbs

Quite a few fire road type trails with big climbs

The leaves were starting to change colors already!!!

The race has 2- 15 mile laps so the second lap we lost a ton of runners and it really thinned out. The race for me went pretty uneventful- I wore my Hokas for the first time and absolutely LOVED them for the downhills- NO knee/quad pain! Either it was the training or the shoes :) I used Tailwind for the first race and it went great as well- no nausea/GI issues... win win! I also ran the same pace for my first and second laps, which is a huge improvement for me! I really try to start slow and get faster as the race goes on and I could tell I was really picking up the pace towards the end of the race. I was really happy with how I felt and ran this race- it was a great confidence boost for my training for the Bear 100. I also finished 3rd place female! Woo!!  Bring on the Bear!!!

Super muddy but my Hokas worked well!

Runner "tan lines"... also wearing my new Recovery Oofos Sandals :)

Great race but the most uneventful finish line!!

SUPER close to Canada!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bear 100 Training!

One great thing about moving to Albany is we are now within a 2 hour drive of the Catskills, Adirondacks, Green and Birkshire mountain ranges. Love having them so close! I have been trying to get to one of those places at least once a week to get in some elevation training for The Bear... no 5,000 foot climbs, but close enough :) A few pics of what my training has been the past couple months...

Vermont 100 pacing-

Paced for 30 miles at VT100- loved going back! My third year going to VT100- once to crew, once to run and this year to pace and volunteer, loved it!!!

Was able to see a lot more of the course in the daylight compared to when I ran last year :)

Someone made a runner nap area 


High peaks

Had to carry Lucy down this ladder

Was able to knock out a few 4000 footers... Upper and Lower Wolfjaw, and Armstrong. Can't wait to go back for more. 


A bit hilly and technical

Favorite running buddy :)

Mt Greylock 

In the winter, this is the ski slope- steep!!

Great overlooks on the top... highest peak in MA