Peak Blood Ultra 30 Mile Race Report

I found my people today!

What a great day.

The Peak Blood Ultra 30 Mile course was tough: two big climbs, so much mud, branches everywhere,  and it was 30 miles.

I went out knowing that I would walk most of uphills and that turned out to be a good strategy. The first climb seemed to last forever and when I finally got to the top it was like my legs forgot how to run. I’m so glad I tapered this week and started this race on fresh legs instead of using it as a training run. While the course was hard I never had the ache-all-over feeling I had at the TARC 50K a few weeks ago.

The best part of the race was the aid station people. They were so wonderful and kind and helpful.

The best part of the day was meeting two runners, Janine and Bob.

I started talking to Jeannine in the parking lot and she was clearly nervous. She told me how she randomly signs up for races and didn’t know how she would fare today. Sounds familiar; it’s me since 2007. Her new nickname is #1 since she finished First Female. Pretty good results considering she said she is primarily a road runner.

Bob and I started talking after the first climb. He had an M Dot on his calf but Ironman talk came later – he is running the Leadville 100 and the Leadville marathon this year. He raced the 100 last year but DNF’d before dark now he has a coach and going to the camp. I had so many questions about his race, nutrition, gear. We talked about Leadville and triathlon for most of the race. It’s so much more fun to run with someone to take your mind off the pain.

At the finish I teased the race director about the three mile loop at mile 22. The trail wasn’t even a trail; it was bushwhacking. Bob noted that it was very Barkley-ish. My legs are so cut up from the briars. Why would they put that so close to the end? WHY WHY WHY? The race organizers were so fun and engaging to every racer. Such a fun day. Plus, I was completely surprised to be told I was second female and got a plaque.

It was a good day on an interesting, unique course in the mountains of Vermont so close to where I used to live in Killington. Driving to Vermont is always such a pleasure since it seems like such a different world as soon as you cross the Connecticut River. And it brings back such great memories of living in Vermont, oh so long ago. I drove by the river on Route 100 and remembered it was where my friends and our dogs would play during the hot summer.

I will do  this race again. They change the course every year so running it once doesn’t matter. Despite cursing out loud about the mud and loose branches, I loved the course and the event. Highly recommend. It was an unknown adventure I signed up for since they don’t post the course prior to the race, and that is exactly what I got. Plus, I met some new training partners.

Tapering is hard

I’m doing a mini-taper this week preparing for the 30 mile Blood Peak race on Saturday. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into by signing up for this race but I know that it is going to be hilly, mountainous and ridiculously hard.

All I have to do is beat the cutoffs and finish. Just finish.

But tapering this week has been difficult. I’d rather run 20 miles than 4 miles today. Yes, I really wrote that. I’m antsy. I’m emotional. I have too much free time on my hands. I want to do weights (but I’m not). I want to swim and do yoga (but I won’t). I need my legs to be fresh. I’m not good with standing still. Grrrr.

So I will race on Saturday. A hard race. Not my A race. But a race that is #2 of the 5 races that I have chosen to define 2019. All I have to do is finish. All I have to do is not screw it up.

Week 16 Recap, Leadville 100 Training

It is the biggest mileage week: 56 miles ran. 62.7 when I include hiking. This may be why I felt like ca-ca today on my trail run. I’m waiting for Garmin to synch to Strava to get total vertical for the week.

This week I ran a 10 mile mid-week run. For the 100 mile training plan there are a few long-ish mid-week runs. This week I opted for a fast-ish road run but in the future it’s all trails, baby!

Saturday I drove up to New Gloucester to pre-run the Pineland Trail Running Festival’s course. The plan was to run a full loop – around 15 miles. However, the groups got split up and we lost the way. Plus, I was talking to some runners before the group run started and forgot to put gel/food in my hydration vest. I realized the error when I was suddenly starving at mile 6.

Along with lack of food and 100% humidity and the endless hills – I was, again, feeling like ca-ca. I decided to cut the group run short and headed back to the car for a grand total of 7 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain. My legs were sore. I drove in my car longer than I ran.

Here’s how the week played out:

I had to move a bunch of runs around due to running the Pineland course and then not getting all the miles in that I needed. I didn’t get two days off which is probably why my legs are wrecked but also getting a massage the day before a long run isn’t advised. But, again, I had to work everything in without ideal scheduling.

Next week is the Peak Ultra in Vermont. I’m starting my taper Monday and trying to keep keep the legs fresh before this mountain trail run on Saturday. And just 20 days until the 50 miler.

Mid Week Training Update, Shoe Review, Breakfast, Finisher Glass

Thursday, May 2. It’s been a good few days, training-wise. I’m eating well, completing my miles, doing weights and core.

Saucony Koa ST Trail-Running Shoes

I like the Saucony Koa. I ordered them a few weeks ago because I wanted a trail shoe that wasn’t zero-drop. I love my Lone Peaks but I also need to mix it up a bit. For the first time I read a bunch of reviews before buying online at REI. These had pretty decent reviews for the terrain I’m running on. I will need to run in them a few more times for a full report and grade – but I like them so far. I like how grippy they are. I’m not crazy about the lacing system. About seven years ago I had Salomon trail running shoes with this lacing system and I could never get them tight enough so I’ve never gone back to that brand.

The Pineland finisher glass.

I want this glass. At the end of the day on May 26 I hope it is in my possession. This is race #3 of the five-race series for 2019 to be my dream year.

Breakfast

I’ve never been much of a bacon fan. I bought it for the first time in a decade this week. I’ve added two slices every morning and it really fills be up and I’m not starving by 11 a.m.

So this is my update heading into the weekend, and doing the mileage I was supposed to do last weekend. The only problem mileage-wise is Saturday because I’m going up to New Gloucester to preview/run the Pineland course. I’m also getting a massage from my favorite masseuse who fixes all my muscle and tendon issues.

Today’s Run. Not super fast but on the hilly, rocky, wet trails.

Week 17 Training Recap

Average Resting Heart Rate: 51

Total Vert: 7,200

Miles: 45.7 (includes hiking)

Let’s start with the Good this week:

Total Vertical – 7,200 is the highest number to date since training started on January 21. I got in more hiking this week including an attempt at Whiteface in the White Mountains. While the snow is gone on the trails in Concord there is still plenty of snow and ice an hour north of me.

Resting Heart Rate – average heart rate is getting higher, to a better number. 47 is just too low even for a fit athlete. As I look at my watch just now Average Resting bumped up to 55. This means no dizziness and just feeling better all around. I’m not sure why it plummets like it does, and I actually think it may have something to do with humidity but I will continue to monitor.

Weight Training – I’m back in the weight room and I love the new routine. I started on a machine that will hopefully help me do a real pull up.

Hiking in the Whites – hiked in the Whites with Alex, his pup and Winnie. I love being in the White Mountains and we hiked into the Sandwich Range Wilderness. (Should’ve snapped a photo of the sign.) I always love being in a wilderness.

Injury Free – I’m injury free!

The Bad/Unfortunate

I didn’t hit the big mileage that I planned for this weekend. Saturday was a bust after running 11 miles on the Concord trails including Carter Hill (the photo above), falling and injuring my left pinky that doesn’t bend from being broken in 2014. I was nervous about the swelling and getting worse so I headed home. At 14 miles I called it. Once I was home I didn’t go out on another loop. Motivation was low on Saturday from the pain and cold temps. I need to work on this dedication/motivation issues when I need to finish training plan miles. Sunday started with a 4am wake up call and drive to the trailhead to meet Alex. The hike was awesome – not too steep at first and a bit of a monorail most the way. The mileage was supposed to be around 8 but we turned around at the first icy ledge that seemed like certain death for curious dogs. But the bad part is that I really thought I’d come home and run 13 miles and I didn’t. Hiking was the highlight of my week!

I had a head cold all week. On the weekdays when I knew I had to do mileage (a pro in the middle of the con statement), I did the miles but felt awful most of the time.

Today, Monday, April 29 it’s time to regroup and commit to miles, weights, stairs, hiking and night runs. My cold is over and I’m injury free. Time to get strong and get ready for the next 30 miler milestone on May 11.