So why do I do it? Simple, I love sharing my running experiences with others as well as all the learnings that come along the way.
So here goes, time to kick it back off. I'm going to start with my most recent frolic in the tropics along with some of the highlights since my last post!
|My forever kid
p/c James Kao
September 2018 Mark Twain 50 F1-- won a coupon for Spring Energy (more on this later!)
October 2018-- Lost my very best friend in the world. The Baz.
Jan 2019-- HURT 100 F5
Jan--Joined Team Injinji Toe Socks the humidity of St Louis was trashing my feet... Not anymore!
Feb-- Black Canyon 100k James "Frenchy" proposed to me after the race!!
|YES! P/C Chrissy Marie
May-- Lakewood Colorado...my new home!
June-- Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120k F16--Highly recommend this race, absolutely beautiful!
Sept-- The Bear Chase 50 mi F1 on my 50th birthday
Sept— Joined the Spring Tribe!
Oct-- Married my best friend
Dec 7th-- Brazos Bend 100 & USATF National Trail Championship race F2
|I DO! P/C Rosie Burke
Jan 18th 2020--HURT 100 20th Anniversary Race And my Race Blog :)
Nerves were running high for me going into this years HURT. Mainly because I chose to race a 100 miler 6 weeks prior to the HURT.
And while it was my fastest 100 miler by over 2hrs in 17:01 it was flat (900ft vert) and absolutely wrecked my quads for a solid 2 weeks following the race!! In actuality my quads were feeling it after 25 miles (only 75 to go right...). And I was not sure why? I had been training for the flats and yet...
Fast forward to my training leading to the HURT. My endurance was there post Brazos, all I needed to focus on was my leg strength for the climbing. The HURT 100 has 25,000 ft vert!! Not something you can go into running only flats.
My 6 weeks leading into the HURT looked like this--
1st & 2nd weeks mostly recovery-- 30 miles, 4200ft vert
3rd-45 miles 11600 ft vt + weighted vest hiking
4th-57 miles 8900 ft vt + weighted vest hiking on the stair climber
5th-55 miles 9000ft vt + weighted vest hiking for some of the vert as well as on a stair climber
So there you have it, not a lot of miles and while I was ok with this, I had really hoped to get in more vert. Hence my angst. Would my mileage and my vert parlay into the endurance and strength needed not just to finish the HURT but to race it at the level I pressure myself to?? Time would tell.
The 2 weeks leading up to the HURT the posts started pouring in, just like the rain falling on Oahu. Give or take they were having about a month straight of nothing but rain. It was absolutely going to be a muddy, wet mess of a race. The RD was sending out emails to this effect and they were doing all they could to clear the course of debris from the high winds. With this information I decided to tweak my race gear...and went shopping for my first ever pair of gators. (Last year at the HURT it was muddy and rainy and I ended up stopping to change socks twice) I of course also came home with a new pair of shoes having fallen in love with the aggressive tread on the -- Hoka Mafate 2. And after a couple of runs they were added to my race gear. I would also be racing with Injinji compression toe socks a first for me. I have been running/ racing in Injinji for about a year and they have worked wonders on my feet. But this would be my first 100 miler with Injinji Compression. I had done some training with them and decided my 50 year old legs could use the extra support.
Joining for the HURT would be my husband :) aka Frenchy. He would be pacing the last 40 miles as well as crewing with my tiny islander, Becca, but only after the 1st 20 miles (no crew access prior). My race strategy was going to optimize having crew. No dilly dallying like years past. I know without a doubt if I had crew at Brazos I would have gotten under 17 hours easily. In looking for quick aid station transitions my plan was for 2 hydration vests and 2 soft flasks, both Ultraspire. My crew had a list of what to place in my vest and as I came into aid stations we would swap the old one for a new one packed full of my supplies and outside of snacking at the aid station I would be off, less than 5 minutes. Spring Energy was my fuel of choice. I used this during my 17 hours at Brazos and it worked the entire time. And while my crew would have extra socks, clothing, I had no real plan to use it unless it became necessary. For some reason I had images of me doing a superman style fall at some point in the mud.
I come back to this race year after year not because it is easy :) we all know it's not that! But because this race has taken hold of a part of my heart. The Ohana of the HURT, my family. IF you have run this race and finished it or not, you know what I am talking about. The people, the organizers, the volunteers become a part of you just like the roots of the forest. Yes this is a brutally beautiful course and yet when you leave it, it will have you wanting to come back for more.
|Pack off ready for the exchange!
|Yes much of this race was spent with my hands on my quads, pushing upward, into the night.
1st loop complete and 20 miles in.
My legs felt great. And yes, as advertised areas of serious MUD holes. But no issues with shoes or socks or gators. They were all doing their job. Only concern was sinking my heels in the mud and pulling up, almost lost a shoe. Downside of newer shoes is having them a bit loose to prevent hot spots. Something to just be aware of. My crew gave me a new hydration vest, and a soft flask of coconut water to go and I was off. I would see them next in 7ish miles and the plan was the same. In and out just like clock work. Minus a few diva moments if something was not JUST right. With this type of looped course involving out and backs you always have an idea on your placement. At this point I knew my placement, after 27 ish miles I was sitting 3rd. But waaaay to early to be concerned.
|End of loop 2 and looking slightly crazy!
P/C my Frenchy
Next AS Nu'uanu, no crew allowed and I am told as I am leaving that I am now sitting in 2nd. The lead female has having stomach issues and was still there.
Again, too early to think about place, with A LOT of the race left to be ran. And so while not fast, the miles ticked by, I loved seeing all the familiar faces of both runners as well as volunteers and so far this body of mine was holding up to all the mud, roots, slick rocks/boulders....
|Cruising through the roots and bamboo...NOT!!!
P/C Paul Smith
|Ya I gave up rock hoping after the 2nd loop!
P/C Paul Smith
So I backed off on my Spring Gel as my stomach wasn't tolerating it. A first for me. One of the great benefits of Spring Energy is that it is real food and does not have the sweet paste like consistency of other gels. With rice as an ingredient it mellows the gel and allows it to be tolerated late in a race. But maybe not 100% of the time :) and so I snacked on bland rice balls (lightly salted and actually kind of good).
Happy to pick up my Frenchy at mile 60! Yay me!! I was still sitting in 2nd and working out the kinks in my stomach but, everything else was a go.
Going into the race I was a bit concerned on how it would all go down with Frenchy as my pacer. It is not the easiest to have your spouse as your pacer. Just ask anyone who has done it if you don't have personal experience. It can just get too real.
So we chatted about my concerns prior to the race and I was feeling good about our plan. We decided he would lead on the hills and I would lead when it was flat or downhill. This gave me a better view of the ground as well as it let me set the pace for our running. While James was concerned that I might drop him, he did not have to worry about that :) And I promised him I would not complain and that I would be ready to push with what I had left when he joined me. And I did. The last loop of the race I pushed, I had held 2nd place for most of the race and aside from an injury, that is where I wanted to finish. Frenchy kept me up to date on what was happening with 3rd place. She (Suzanna Bon) was 45 minutes behind me leaving mi 80, at mi 87 she was 35 min behind. I would see her on the out and back and she was moving well...and so I kept pushing. At mi 94 she was 24 minutes back. James pushed the food (yeah stomach was better and so was my Spring Energy, Oatmeal Wolf pack with 300 calories!! Love it!!), the fluid, and with words and love. He would say, Suzanna would run this...and so I would run.
The finish, ring the bell, kiss the sign, F2. (Suzanna 13 minutes back, shout out to this lady for her amazing race)!
|This felt good!
How I love this race and all involved!!
Side note-- Frenchy had put in for lottery and did not get into this race. His words after not even one loop...No thanks :)
Go ahead and ask him his thoughts on the race now....
|My crew/pacer! I could not have done it with out you two, thank you!!
Whew! Not so painful, hope you enjoyed the read!
What went well--
Shout out to my sponsors you are all on my team for a reason!!
Training Plan-- As it turns out, trashed quads from a flat race make for strong quads once recovered, legs felt strong the entire race!!
Frenchy-- If you're looking for a pacer...you can't have him :) truly could not have asked for a better partner out on the trails, pushing me to find the little bit of extra something to give to my race! Thank you bebe
Spring Energy- I made a few meals out of this. Oatmeal Wolf pack 300 calories, real food with fruit. If you have not checked this stuff out hit me up for any questions or a discount code!! It is truly a game changer.
Injinji Compression- feet were sore after 32 hours but whose wouldn't be :) NO sock change!! NO blisters, NO black nails.
Ultimate Direction Gators- Did not have to take my shoes off even once, kept everything out!
Squirrels Nut Butter-- Small amount of chaffing on my back...only because I did not start with it!! Side note you can gel your hair with it prior to braiding if you forget your hair paste ;)
Patagonia trail running gear-- Perfect ultra gear! Even for a race with minimal gear!
Ultraspire- Waist lamp/ Soft flask/ Hydration vest- Nailed it, no issues
Julbo-- Sunglasses not needed for this race (mostly dense forest) but they certainly were needed for our beach recovery!!
Picky Bars-- A great pre/post anything snack! Not to forget their oatmeal and granola :)
Hoka One One-- While I am still waiting for Hoka to pick me up as an athlete :) These shoes just do it for me. I typically race in the Speedgoat but for this race traded it in for the Mafate Speed 2 and just wow. Almost out of the box perfect for this race!
What could have gone better--
No mud :)
|We are in Hawaii after all! Post race beach time.
Frenchy and I return to Croatia in April!! Let the training begin!