Monday, August 31, 2009

GLER Report

It was a great day for running. Things just seemed to work . . . and when they didn’t work, my brain was actually working to figure out how and what to change, and that worked. I had a PR 50K race at the Green Lakes Endurance Runs yesterday in a time of 5 hours, 36 minutes, 1 second. The weather turned out to be really perfect for running, sunny and cool with a nice breeze. I did stick with my pre-race plans with only one change. Last Friday I had done a short run with a higher concentration mix of HEED and found that it had worked quite well for me and so I had decided at the last minute to go with the HEED instead of Gatorade for the race. And it actually worked OK for me for the first two loops. So here’s how the race went down:

LAP I – 1:13:33. The first thing out of my mouth when I saw Joe was “way too fast”. I knew I had gone out too fast and would not be able to maintain that level of speed for the next three loops. Took a brief bathroom break, which helped to slow me down, refilled my bottle with Gatorade, ate a few Combos, and headed out for loop II. My feet, without being taped, were so far holding up just fine and the Brooks Cascadia 4s were feeling very comfortable.

LAP II – 1:23:13. OK, this loop was slower but still not slow enough. Remember I had wasted some time in the bathroom, so this loop was not the actual 10 minutes slower that it appears to be. I had lost track of Lorrie as she had gone on ahead of me when I made my pit stop. Plus, when I came in on this loop, Joe wasn’t there. At first I felt a bit scared to be “on my own”, but I knew that he was probably out enjoying some time on the trail for himself and I quickly got back into my own game. I downed a carton of vanilla soymilk, ate a few Combos, refilled my bottle with HEED, and headed out, my feet, legs, and mind still intact.

LAP III – 1:28:18. I enjoyed multiple times of seeing friends on the outs-and-backs and this time as I was heading up the hill through the woods I got to say a quick hello to Mark Thompson as he was heading in on what I believe was his last loop. Lucky dog; he looked great and was having fun. I was jealous. I came to the first aid station and was just about to pass it by when they offered me a popsicle. WOW! That really brought me back to life. By now I had switched to drinking just plain water and eating Clif Shot Blocks, which I found were also working really well for me. Still no sign of Lorrie; she must be having a good day, I thought. By now I had mentally started breaking the course down into do-able sections, which made it easier and seemingly faster (more mentally than in reality!). My legs were starting to get a bit stiff from the seemingly constant running, but I was still feeling good.

LAP IV – 1:30:55. Joe was back . . . and so was Lorrie. As I pulled into the aid station at the end of this loop, I was relieved to know that it was going to be my last one. I quickly changed into my “Diane’s Team” shirt for the extra strength she would give me to finish strong. Joe refilled my water bottle, I drank another carton of vanilla soymilk, grabbed some more Clif Shot Blocks, and walked out. Lorrie had headed out before me, but I just kept thinking that I would see her soon. But she just was never there! She must be running a super last loop! Again I refueled with a popsicle at the first aid station, and got a shot of energy. FINALLY I reached a slight peak where I could see over to the next one and there was Lorrie! I caught up to her, we talked and walked a bit together, and although I really wanted to stay and run with her, I also wanted to see what my body could handle. So I pushed on and tried to run harder. And I was stylin' in my Dirty Girl Gaiters!

So all in all, it was a really great day for running and hanging out with friends. Lorrie, Tam, and I relaxed and recovered with the post-race celebratory beers. Good sandwiches and snacks were provided and we talked with friends for quite a while after the race, cheering on those still coming in and those who were still going on. I really enjoyed this race, but it is what I would call a road runner’s trail race. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that there were no real technical trails or great climbs. Those are what I REALLY like. But I will get my taste of that in less than three weeks at the Iroquois50 Trail Race in Virgil – I know what awaits me there and there will be plenty of technical trails and hiking up long steep climbs. But it will be a good time, no matter what!

Thank you to Todd Baum, GLER race director, and to all of the volunteers who give up endless hours to take care of us crazy runners. They make these long runs so much easier and enjoyable. If you have never volunteered for one of these ultra races and would like to give it a try, your next opportunity would be at the Iroquois Trail 100/50 mile trail races. It’s crazy fun and the runners just love you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Lakes Endurace Runs

OK . . . it’s time to get ready to race! Since VT100 I have been recovering (which hasn’t really felt like recovery, since I didn’t feel like I burned myself out when I stopped at 83.6 miles). I have been trying to focus on running strong and figuring out my on-the-run nutrition plans. Sunday, August 30, is the Green Lakes Endurance Runs (GLER) (100K & 50K). I have never run this race before, so I am excited about doing something new. I was so tempted to go for the 100K, but I really think a strong 50K race will serve me better in my preparation for IT50. Here are some things that I have been working on that I feel will help me to have a successful race this weekend:

1. Hydration – I really like Hammer HEED, it tastes great and digests well for me. But for some reason, and maybe that’s due to something I am not doing right with it during the run, it just doesn’t give me the energy during the run that I have felt with other carbohydrate drinks. I have tried it multiple times and during short runs I feel like I can get by with it, but during an ultra it just doesn’t seem to do it. I really like the Hammer products and will continue to try to use HEED and figure out how to make it work for me, but for this weekend at GLER it’s back to old-school Gatorade, water, and NUUN tabs.

2. Food – this is a toughie. What works one day may not be the right thing the next time around. I know that I have gotten through marathons on just Gatorade calories and since I will be using that at GLER, maybe I won’t have to eat much solid. But I plan to have a multitude of options between my new fave Clif Bars, Clif Shot Blocks, salt & vinegar potato chips, and Combos. I am toying with the idea of chocolate and vanilla flavored soy milk for my protein needs. I love this stuff and I know that it sits well in my gut, but I have never tried it on the run. I know the golden rule . . . don’t try anything new on race day. I am going to break this rule, since although I am racing, I am also training for the bigger race – IT50. So in this case, I think it’s OK – and necessary - to try something new.

3. Dirty Girl Gaiters – excellent name! How can you not want to wear a pair of these? I just got another pair so I can get my mojo back with mismatched gaiters. I think I was getting too stuffy with the matching gaiters and all. Gotta keep things light and interesting! It’s not just about function – it’s also about style!

4. My feet – they actually have been doing quite well. I have tried taping them for some of my recent runs and it has worked well. However, I have also tried – most recently Joe’s 30K Mountain Madness run – running without them taped and had just fine results. I’m usually pretty good anyway up to 50 miles on trails. The calluses finally bubbled up and that tough outer layer came off, but I can feel the calluses quickly returning. For GLER I am planning on not taping my feet to start, but will have the moleskin ready if needed.

5. Sneakers – the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 6 has been my favorite trail shoes with the Brooks Cascadia 4 a close second. However, I have been putting more time on the trail in the Cascadias and found that I really prefer them over the Adrenalines. They are two different types of shoes which really serve two different purposes for me. The Adrenalines have more stability while the Cascadias seem to give me a better feel for the trail and are lighter weight. So the plan is to start out with the Cascadias and have the Adrenalines on stand-by if I need more support.

6. Joe – what else is there to say? I will have my best support-crew-cowbell-ringing man there to encourage me with each loop (four-loop course, so I will be able to see Joe often and get a lot of much-needed support!).

So if you want to follow the race, you can check it out via the live webcast. Just go to My race number is 151. It should be a super fun day! I am hoping to go under six hours, which is what my last 50K race was. However, never having been on this course, and depending on the weather and heat, it could be a total crap-shoot. We’ll see what happens!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


The “new” Mountain Madness is now in the books. To look out the window on Sunday, August 16, the day was beautiful with clear blue skies and sun shining. To stand on the road preparing to run either 14K or 30K in the searing heat and sun, the weather was a curse. The question of the day would not necessarily be who could run the fastest but who could run the smartest. We were all at the mercy of the weather and that would be the dictator of your speed. But there were also the hills . . . slam the downhills and you may likely kill your quads so bad as to not be able to climb the uphills powerfully. No matter how you looked at it, conquering this race would definitely be about strategy.

The next question would be who would have the better strategy? Runners competing in the 30K race would have to make a declaration prior to the start . . . were you a roadrunner or a trailrunner? This course had a mix of stuff that would suit both types, but which group would come out on top? Of the 24 finishers, 15 runners declared themselves as trailrunners with the remaining 9 heralding as roadrunners. There was a slight advantage in the numbers to the trailrunners – a tougher breed, I might add. What happened to all of the roadrunners? Still in bed or scared of the heat? The world may never know.

Anyhow, six of the top ten finishing places went to the trailrunners, who I am sure, loved the hills and the seasonal forest gravel roads. Top trail dog was Matt Tillotson, 16 year-old running phenom, who killed the course in 2:31:13. Not far behind was road-man Mark Thompson finishing in 2:33:00. Top trail woman Julie Staub finished in 2:51:36 with first roadie female Katie Stettler finishing in 2:53:28. Me? I finished fourth in the trail-ladies mix. Tough to say if knowing the course was of benefit or a curse. I always knew where I was and what I had left. This is my training ground, but I will never be fast on it . . . just consistent . . . and I am OK with that.

It was a fun day finishing off with a lawn-party at our home with those who were stalwart enough to hang-out until the bitter end. Burgers, beers, water, soda, and just good times hanging out with good friends. And very nice to be able to shower and nap prior to having to clean-up the party mess! This is the area where I run all the time, but it was Joe who realized what a challenging race it could make. Thanks, Joe! And thank you to all of our “regulars” who helped-out and to our neighbors who got their first taste of race volunteering.

Maybe next year there will be some new challenges incorporated to keep THE MADNESS alive!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's still Madness - just in a new form!

The madness continues! The 24th Annual Mountain Madness runs will be held this year on Sunday, August 16. When the race director was unable to direct the race again this year, it looked like The Madness might be coming to an end. But, thank goodness, it didn't happen. Joe Reynolds stepped-up to the plate and is keeping The Madness going - just in a new and different form. The Madness races have always been run on trails out in Virgil, however, Joe wanted to bring something new and different and introduce a new locale to runners. Come on out to the hills of Newfield! But it is still being called Mountain Madness, and once you get out on the course you'll know why. The climbs are amazing, the decents most excellent, and the views out of this world! And something new this year to keep things interesting . . . a challenge. When runners come to pick-up their numbers they will be asked to declare themselves as either a trail runner or a road runner (since you can make your decision during the race of which race you will be running, all runners will be asked to make a declaration before the start but the challenge applies to the 30K runners only). The race course is on roads, however many of them are seasonal roads of dirt and gravel (and potholes and mud)! There are paved sections, too, but trailrunners, don't be scared! There is plenty of dirt & gravel shoulder to keep your feet and legs happy! Manned aid stations will be located approximately every three miles with one or two unmanned stations along the way - liquids available, but you will have to slow down if you want them from these spots! Even though there is plenty of aid, you will likely want to carry your own - the August heat and sun (as well as the climbs!) can drain you before you know it! Don't waste yourself on the early hills because there will always be plenty more. So the challenge is . . . which type of runner will prevail on this course? Some sort of trinket will be given to the winning side (see the entry form on to find out who gets the awards).

There are NO CUT-OFFS; take as much time as you wish and enjoy the run! We're in no hurry . . . we're already home! The usual post-race snacks will be available after the race, but if you wish to bring something to grill, our grill is your grill. Non-alcoholic beverages only will be provided, but feel free to bring your own favorite post-race recovery brew. And if you want to enjoy a night under the stars and wake-up just feet from the starting line, bring your tent and camp-out in our yard on Saturday night - we just ask that you arrive before dark.

Intrigued? Take a picture-tour of the course HERE. Come on out and put a little madness into your running!

More Pics From My Vermont Adventure

Here are some more pictures from my Vermont 100 adventure. The first year that I went to Vermont for the race we drove through Wilmington and there were these adorable painted bears all over town. This year as we drove through Bennington we noticed that their theme was mooses. All over town were these beautiful painted mooses. I have never seen a real moose, but I suspect these painted mooses were pretty close to real-life size! CLICK HERE to see these beauties!

And thanks to my friend, Will Danecki, for being out on the course and giving me great support. CLICK HERE to check-out some of the pics that Will snapped.

Monday, August 3, 2009


It seems so long ago that the Vermont 100 went on, even though it's been only two weeks gone! I still wonder "what if?" Could I have been able to struggle through? I feel so good now. But I guess I have come to the conclusion that I feel so good now because I stopped when I did. I did not push myself over the limit. And I really think that I am glad that I didn't.

I have gotten back in the saddle, so to speak. I have been doing some cross-training and getting some good rides in on my bike. What a powerful feeling to put the chain in the big ring and just fly! I have even gotten back out running and did a little run/hike with Joe on the trails in Virgil and had a really nice time. And I have gotten my mind back into racing and am looking forward to getting in some stronger runs.

Next on the list is the Green Lakes Endurance Runs 50K. I have never run this race before and so I am looking forward to it. It is a 4-loop course, which will give me ample access to my fuels and I can hopefully find a good combination that will keep me energized. At this time I am in first place in the Western NY Ultra Series standings for Open Women. This is somewhere I have never been before! A good finish at GLER will keep me there. Just a little something to keep me focused and going.

I have also changed my entry from the Iroquois 100 to the 50-miler. I still keep going over it in my head that I can do the 100; I have the training under my belt. And then I look at all the other things going on right now and I come back to reality and realize that I need to focus on so many other things right now and it would be totally selfish to focus my efforts on the 100. So I am looking forward to this being my 100 for next year. I think the timing will be right and the layoff will be good for my soul. I hope to get out to Virgil soon to tackle some of the trails that I have never been on which are part of the race course.

So for right now, it's time to enjoy what's left of the summer. Next up: Mountain Madness, which is Joe's race. This will be really cool this year because it is being staged out of our home, so it will be like hosting a big party with running in the middle! Our neighbors are also getting involved with helping, which is really cool to have some new faces out there.

Things are looking up!