Vegan Power 50k Race Report: The Fastest Loser

The Vegan Power 50k was yesterday (check out my preview here). It was a great day for a race! At the start, the temp was in the high 40s, and it climbed into the 70s later in the day. The trail conditions were dry and fast.

The race started promptly at 7:00am, and a new-to-me runner took off up the first climb. I let him go pretty quickly, as his pace was a bit uncomfortable for me. Within minutes, he was out of sight.

I dropped into a comfortable pace and cruised through the first few miles. Around mile 4, my toe caught a little stump, and before I knew it, I was on the ground. Ouch! I got back on my feet and finished the first loop (out of six) in about forty minutes.

Long story short(er), I ran the second, third and fourth loops in about 40 minutes each as well. First place was out of sight, but I was still on pace to run right around four hours. I started to run out of steam on my fifth loop, and it took me about 43 minutes. I was toast on my final loop, and it took me about 47 minutes.

My final time was 4:10:29, which was good for second overall. It was the third fastest time ever on the course, and it was the fastest losing time ever 🤷🏻‍♂️

Tyler Wolfe took the win for the fellas in an incredible 3:58:29.

Michelle Pratt took the win for the ladies in 5:12:57 (second fastest time ever on the course).

Full results are available here.

For coming in second, I received a cow. The winners got pigs!

The SHVP crew was out in force!

My next race is Cayuga Trails 50 on July 21st.

When is your next race?

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Race Preview: Vegan Power 50k

The Vegan Power 50k is Saturday. This is one of my all-time favorite races. Great people. Great course.

Let me set the stage – the course is a 5ish-mile loop in the Berkshires (Massachusetts) that you repeat six times (there is a 25k running concurrently that is three loops). There is roughly one hill per loop so it looks like a fast course – but it’s not! The course is riddled with twists, turns, roots and more roots! Everybody falls – it’s like a rite of passage on this course.

I’ve run the race twice before – 4:19:41 in 2015 and a sizzling (if I do say so myself) 4:08:49 in 2016. The latter was nearly a perfect race for me, and I’m pretty convinced that I can’t break four hours on this course…

But that doesn’t mean I won’t try! I have much less mileage in the bank than in other years. My high week for the year is only 60 miles. I’m also super light on long runs – I’ve only run more than 15 miles twice this year. And I’m slowly getting over bronchitis. Enough with the Debbie Downer! In general, I’m pretty fit. I’ve gotten some decent speedwork in this year, and I had a pretty respectable run at the Mountain Goat 10-Miler.

So my plan is to do my best! I’m using this as a building block for Cayuga Trails in July and Eastern States in August. I’ll be running in the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra – one of my all-time favorite trail shoes, and it is perfect for this course. It’s going to be sunny with a high around 80 degrees. I’ll be throwing back Tailwind and Huma Gels every now and again. I’m looking forward to catching up with the awesome BURCS crew, as well as my friends with Strong Hearts Vegan Power.

Check back next week for a full report!

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Race Recap: Mountain Goat 10-Miler

The Mountain Goat 10-Miler was yesterday. My main goal was to break an hour. I was under an hour in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and I haven’t run the race since then. However, I’ve run it enough times over the years to know where I need to be on the course in a given time if I’m going to make it under the one-hour mark.

In short, the course has two big hills. They are about 250 feet of vertical each, which is pretty decent for a short road race.

I settled in over the first mile running near many familiar faces. The first climb was pretty brutal for me. I was more tired than I should have been, and my lack of fitness really frustrated me. My friend Laurel (she finished first) went by and offered some encouragement – it was just what I needed, and I had a really good reset.

I ran the downhill hard and hit the halfway mark in 29:44. I was on pace to run under an hour – unfortunately, almost everyone positive splits the Mountain Goat.

The second climb felt a little better, but the clock doesn’t lie, and my splits were actually a little slower. I dropped a 5:23 mile at mile 9, but it was too little, too late. I ran hard to the finish in 1:00:18. That is my fourth best Mountain Goat. With that being said, I’ll take it. I really think I left it all out there yesterday (and the soreness in my legs confirms that fact).

The race is a great experience. The course is challenging, and much of the course is lined with crowds and/or bands.

My splits were:

  1. 5:33
  2. 6:13
  3. 6:21
  4. 5:45
  5. 5:40
  6. 6:02
  7. 6:38
  8. 6:19
  9. 5:23
  10. 5:45

Don’t read too much into them, as they were largely dictated by the hills on the course.

Full results from the race are available here.

My next race is the Vegan Power 50k in June. When’s your next race?

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Training/Racing Update

Training

My training has been okay. I just wrapped up a 57-mile week, which is my high mark for the year. I haven’t been doing nearly as much mileage as the last few years. I’ve been eating about the same though, and you know how that goes. Still, I’ve been doing some decent speed workouts, and I’m determined to shed that winter weight, preferably sooner rather than later.

On April 18th, I ran 3 x 1-mile (on the road in my trainers) in 6:12, 5:52, 5:36… meh. On April 20th, I ran 2 x 1-mile (road and trainers) in 5:27, 5:33… better! Most recently, I ran 1 x 2-mile (road and trainers) and my splits were 5:53, 5:42.

Long story short, I’m running okay. Not great, but not terrible. This sets up an interesting scenario for my next race.

Racing

I’m running the Mountain Goat on Sunday. It’s a local, 10-mile road race that encompasses two of the bigger hills in town. My Mountain Goat personal best is 57:21 (2014), but this year I would be pleased with anything under an hour. I don’t run a ton of road races anymore, but I still think they are an excellent way to gauge your speed and overall conditioning. Check back next week to find out how it went!

When is your next race?

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Race Report: Ridge Rumble 50k

On Saturday, I ran the inaugural Ridge Rumble 50k. It was my first trail race of the year. In fact, it was my first trail race in about six months. However, it was on my home course, and the race director is a good guy, so I couldn’t say no.

I’ve been averaging about 45 miles/week this year – a bit less than in the past. I’ve done some speed work, which is great, but going into the Ridge Rumble, I hadn’t done a run over 15 miles since October.

The truth is, I just haven’t felt like it. My motivation has been low, I gained some weight, the weather has been crap and life has been happening.

Race morning was cold for mid-April. I believe the temperature at the start was 26 degrees and it was windy. It did not warm up much throughout the day. Oh, and it snowed on and off throughout the race. I ran in pants and a coat and mittens – pretty much full winter gear.

Basically, the course is 3 loops – 10.4 miles each – and the race director tried to incorporate as many hills as possible in Green Lakes State Park.

I ran the first loop with Laura Kline and Chris Compson. We finished the loop in about one hour and twenty-five minutes. Chris started to pull away from me right around the 10-mile mark, and Laura got away a few miles later. My lack of long runs was looming large. Around mile 13 or so, I started to walk. It wasn’t much of a power hike – more like a head down, feeling-sorry-for-myself stumble. I decided I would probably drop down in distance to the 20-miler.

After plodding along for a couple of miles, I started to feel better. My stomach settled and I got some energy back. I started running again and I was moving along well. At one point, I was moving really well – so well that I blew by a turn and ran an extra half mile (see below) – oops!

I was frustrated because I thought I might still be close enough to get back into the race, but it was my own fault. I kept moving and I finished the second loop in about one hour and forty minutes.

I was running again so I decided not to drop. Long story short, my third lap was also one hour and forty minutes. My final time was four hours and forty-five minutes. I was the 3rd fella and 4th runner overall. My friend Laura took the OVERALL win! Full results are available here (with some minor glitches).

My next race is the Mountain Goat (10 miles) on May 6th. At some point, I need to get healthy (physically and mentally). I need to shed a few pounds. I need to get more sleep. I need to figure out a way to do long runs on a somewhat regular basis.

When’s your next race? Anyone doing Boston?

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2017: Year in Review

It’s been about four months since I posted here – oops! We are almost a month into 2018, and I haven’t quite closed the door on 2017 – oops again!

To be honest, it wasn’t a great year with regard to running. Let me take you through some of it.

My first race of the year was the Syracuse Half Marathon. That actually went pretty well. I ran right around 1:17, and that included a pee break lol. Not too bad!

My next race is where things went south. At the Traprock 50k, I took a hard fall (see above), and I did a number on my ribs. Ouch. If you’ve ever injured your ribs, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, don’t!

Despite being banged up and undertrained, I gave it my best shot at Rock the Ridge 50-Miler. However, it was not to be. I dropped out about half way through.

My year was starting to go to shit, but by May, I was finally running again. In June, I had a good run at the Cayuga Marathon. After leading for 26 miles or so, I got passed with about .2 to go. It happens. Overall, it was still a solid effort.

At Western States 100, it was the year of ice and fire. Snow, ice dams and freezing cold streams gradually turned into 100-degree canyons and the warmest night ever for the race (the low temp was the highest ever).

I ran well for 70 miles… and okay for another 10 miles… and then the wheels came off the bus. The last 20 miles were not pretty. I was undertrained, overheated and somewhat inexperienced. However, my friend Laura helped get me to the finish line.

I didn’t do much for the next month.

In August, I came out of retirement and dropped a 3:42 at the Green Lakes 50k. That was good enough for second place. This was one of my best runs of the year.

The following month, I participated in the Free to Run 50-Miler. After batting with my friend John for 45 miles or so, I finally shook him. I went on to take the win (falling just short of the course record). This was probably my best run of the year on some of my favorite trails with some of my favorite people!

Two weeks later, I threw down a 17:16 5k. Not my best race of the year, but not my worst.

For a variety of reasons, I did not complete any other races in 2017. It wasn’t a great year. The injury in April really threw everything off a bit. With that being said, I ran a couple of decent road races, as well as a good 50k and 50-miler. I’m going to do my best to stay healthy in 2018, and I think I will have some good results. Check back soon to find out what I have planned!

****** It has been brought to my attention that I forgot one of central New York’s premier events. In July, I participated in the 0SPF Half Marathon (trail) in the Rochester area. I was hoping for a podium spot, but a late surge by elite trail runner Mike Welden (258) was too much for me to handle. I settled for 4th overall in a highly competitive field.

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Race Report: Free to Run 50-Miler


The Free to Run races are some of my favorites. First, they support Free to Run, which is an amazing organization. Second, the races are put on by BURCS. This means challenging, well-organized races with excellent support. Third, these races bring together an amazing community from all over the world!

This year, I traveled to the race with Zahra, who is now famous after being featured in Runner’s World. She was looking to finish her first 50-miler, and I knew she would be able to do it (spoiler alert: she did it!).

I saw many friends before the 5am start, and I looked forward enjoying the trails with them. After the start, I found myself running with John, and we were both content to stumble along in the dark together.

The course is a 12.5 mile loop that you repeat 4 times. It’s mostly singletrack and a few sections are moderately technical. Oh, and the 50-mile course has eight climbs that are close to 1,000 feet each and nearly 10,000 feet of total elevation gain.


Somewhere around mile 20, I took a pause and let John go ahead. My legs were off for a bit, and it caused me to lose my mental focus. I think his lead grew to five minutes or so. Around mile 30ish, things really started to come back. I was flying on the descents, and I knew that I was surely making up time. Sure enough, I caught up to John around mile 37 or so. We were now 75% of the way through the race… and right back where we started (literally and figuratively).

I left the aid station first and slogged my way through the 1,000-foot climb. I glanced over my shoulder at the next aid station (mile 40ish), and John was still there. At mile 44ish, same thing! I couldn’t shake him. The good news for me was that there were two big descents left and only one big climb. I think this played into my favor, as I was still floating down the hills.

I pushed to the finish and managed to take the win in 9:23:23, with John finishing just a few minutes behind me. My friend Farahnaz came through in 12:27 (3rd female and 8th overall) and Zahra finished in 16:56 (7th female and 16th overall).


I ran in the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra, which I’m completely in love with. I survived on Tailwind, GUs and Clif Shot Bloks.

Full results of the race(s) are available here.

I can’t say enough good things about this race, the BURCS running community and the amazing work of Free to Run.

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