Category Archives: Becoming Badass

2019 Killington Plan Details

killington 2019 bucket planning

Note:  This has been updated with lessons learned…..

2019 Killington Ultra Plan & Transition – Laura Kozel

Leave bucket night before/drop warm soup in morning along with foot gel and chafing stick.

OVERALL RACE STRATEGY:  26:30-27:00 AVG entire race, 1st lap 26”/mi, 2nd 28”/mi

  • Start time: 6:45, cutoff 2:30 in transition ~15 miles must be faster than 30”/mile, 6pm pipe lair, 7pm beater, 9pm course shut down (28”/mile)
  • Finish 26:00/mi=13 hours (7:45pm), 26:30/mi = 13.25h, 27:00/mi = 13.5 h, 28:00/mi = 14 h (8:45)
  • Ok to get assists on some obstacles (tall walls)
  • Burpee out of jungle gyms and ropes in middle of swing
  • Conserve on first lap – step up burpees


  • Eat 4:45  (oatmeal, milk, blueberries, 2 egg whites, 1c coffee)
  • Turnoff phone Bluetooth
  • Get to course ~ 6:00
  • Eat fuel for fire 6:15
  • Warmup 6:30


  • Changeout water bottles and bladder
  • Refill food and electrolytes
  • Eat chicken soup! Bring PB&J to eat


  • Critical spares bag – bring before race:
    • Contacts and solution
    • Fuel for fire for before race
    • Chargers for garmin watch, phone, headlamp, big battery recharge
    • Chafing cream
    • Foot lube
    • First aid in baggie –blister bandaid and moleskin, regular bandaid, antiseptic wipes, Scissors
    • Recoverite post race
    • Sunblock
    • Spare jacket
  • For hydration pack
    • First aid in baggie – liquid bandaid, blister bandaid and moleskin, regular bandaid, antiseptic wipes, Tylenol, TP
    • Water/tailwind
    • Spare jacket in baggie
    • Plastic cup
    • 4 gels (2 w/caffeine) + 2 cliff blocks (expect 8 hrs/leg worst case + 2 extra).  If decrease water during race, make sure compensate tailwind with food
    • 8×2+ spares Salt Stix condensed tabs
    • Three spare tailwinds in bags


  • Spare clothes: pants, shirt, long sleeve shirt, spare socks/shoes (altra lone peaks)
  • Critical spares bag:
    • Spare contacts & mirror
    • Hand sanitizer wipes
    • First aid – liquid bandaid, blister bandaid and moleskin, regular bandaid, antiseptic wipes
    • Toilet paper
    • Washrag in bag
  • Lap 1 bag (empty – dump whatever in it after)
  • Lap 2 bag
    • 4 gels, (2 w/caffeine) + 2 cliff block
    • 16+spares Salt Stix condensed tabs
    • Headlamp, Glow sticks
  • Spare food: Electrolytes, crackers, gels, RXbar,  PB&J (WHITE BREAD, honey, thin almond butter, banana) chicken soup & thermos, waffles
  • Garbage bag

Pacing – Not all Courses are Equal! & Stats

There are a lot of factors that influence your pace with the major ones being:

  • Road vs. Trail
  • Rocky/technical trail or easy trail
  • Hills or no hills
  • Obstacles
  • You’re better with training!!

I developed a simple way of comparing longer runs I’ve done to understand my pace in different situations.  One major factor is the elevation gain so I have calculated an elevation gain factor for each run which is:

elevation factor = total gain in feet/distance in miles

2019 History (arranged from flattest to most elevation gain/mile, T = technical rocky trail, O = included obstacles, pace is moving pace)

Pacing stat tracker pdf Page 001

Recovery (T+9), Some Big Thoughts and My Next Ultra Attempt in a Month

Last Thursday (T+4) I went out for an hour easy run – first one since race, Zone 2 and my heart rate bounced between 80 and over 150 – couldn’t maintain Z2 for the life of me.  Crazy.  I felt pretty hurt the night of the race going to bed after telling Kenny “DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF ME.”  I felt great the next day – a little stiff but honestly better than after the 2 Spartan Supers and after some of the weekend long runs.  My only pain was the top of my foot above my bunion which has taken over a week to not hurt all the time.  Felt worse on Monday – darn tired and emotional driving to work being proud and sad at the same time.    The following Sat, I did a 30 mile bike, 2000′ climb in total with some friends to family apple picking and they worked me! This included the biggest hill I have ever gone up on a bike (the first steep one).  This is the famous “Mt Vernon” hill….Note that a few hours later I was fast asleep in the middle of 30 people and worn out for the rest of the day!


I’ve pretty much been tired every night since the race.  Today I missed the standard Nashoba hill runs but did six in my neighborhood that used to be scary and were surprisingly easy!!  That is exciting as I used to only get to the 2nd mailbox…..and was pretty psyched a few months ago when I actually made it (barely) to the top.

I did have enough energy though to get myself into the Stone Cat 50k on Nov 2, which will replace the marathon I had been planning to run.  I want to be able to say I am an ultra runner.  Decently flat course – 3 10 mile loops and one month to recover and prep.

I also found a podcast I like:

and found two things in this podcast I’ve been thinking about:

  1. I think I like long runs and training because of the problem solving aspect.  I am always learning something, or doing something I have never done before, seeing new things, making new friends, getting super tired and beat up with bruises all over – I love it!  You run into the void not knowing what will happen and just do the best you can – it’s you against you and I am a formidable enemy.
  2. I disagree when they went on and on about how “nothing matters.”  I agree that petty worries don’t matter and that we are all pampered with not a ton of real serious issues – waking up after having my rib taken out proved to me how happy I was just to be alive and put things into perspective.  Plenty of stuff that doesn’t matter has bothered me over the years and I’ve tried to get better at dealing with it.  But a lot of things matter and they don’t have to be big huge things like the planet is being destroyed.  Just being kind to someone who’s having a bad day matters.


What you CAN do after shoulder surgery – An athletes’ guide to recovery

It was difficult to find any online material around what you COULD do after rotator cuff surgery so I created a guide to help athletes realize there are options, especially around training legs (important for all you trail runners out there!).  I do crossfit, so the exercises noted relate to crossfit lingo –

Exercises after Shoulder Surgery – crossfit spin

Here is a video I made just before six weeks when I could take off the sling with some advice:


Remember, do NOT watch youtube videos about people saying how horrible the pain is.  I did and it made me afraid to take off my sling 2 days after surgery.  Turns out, with good breathing to help stretch out the arm the first time, it felt good, not bad.  Remember when doing anything you are afraid of, to breathe – my husband did it with me and helped lower my arm down a very small amount each breath out and it was absolutely fine.

He also became good at doing my hair!

Also note and discussed in another blog post, do NOT do a trail run after taking off the sling and being “freed.”  I did the same week and did a total face/side plan on a gravel trail (luckily on my good side) that could have been catastrophic had I fallen on my hurt side…play it safe on the road to recovery.

It’s Stressful Being a Spectator, AAR Killington Spartan Ultra 9/14/19

Around 6:30pm I emerged from the muddy woods after 25.6 miles, 12,141′ of hill climbs and 11:48 hours at a 27:41/mi avg pace, alone with my headlamp, happy as I did absolutely the best I could but tired and sad (crying) I didn’t finish, to find my sweet husband along with a few others clapping for me at the timeout obstacle.  I missed the time cut by over 30 min. He told me how proud he was with such sincerity. He told me he had been there for ~4 hours and spent the whole day scared something happened to me while listening to the radios of the race officials as people were carried down the mountains with dislocated shoulders, twisted ankles, etc and seeing the tired faces of people coming in.

Later, he said he was so happy and relieved when he first saw me smiling come down the mountain into the base area right for a few obstacles like sand bag carry before transition around 1:45.

He had been watching all kinds of people at the sandbag obstacle right there curse, and sit down unable to move, and struggle carrying the bag up/down the hill, and said he was so impressed at what good shape I was in.  He said it was exciting and almost made him want to do it too:)

In retrospect, his being proud of me (and my coach) means way more more to me than how far I went or what I actually accomplished.  I have done it – learned to love the journey more than the result.  And unfortunately for Kenny, his sign still applies:


My own distinct memories of this run:

  • A man with a beautiful voice singing to me in the cold and rain as we hiked up a hill past transition on a lonely 2nd lap
  • A Wolverine, Duncan, who agreed to give up our college rivalries for a little comaraderie on the trail
  • My coaches note the night before that made me cry telling me that no matter what happens he is proud of all my hard work
  • I never hit a limit or was discouraged.  I got tired a few miles into the second loop but never thought about stopping
  • I learned early in loop 1 that you can’t afford to think about “doing it again” in loop 2 – ultra math doesn’t help so forget about it.
  • Going uphills are way easier when you walk uphills sideways 10 steps facing left, then turn and 10 right, slow and steady and sharing load between legs.  Nothing on my legs or knees got noticeably tired going uphill or downhill.  Now, the cumulative effect hit apparently me later but doing the many death marches wasn’t bad at all.  My feet – may lose the left foot big toenail.  The are on my right foot near bunion also still hurts a few days later – maybe larger toebox with Altras will help there.
  • I thought the Death March and the sandbag carries were not difficult
  • The Ultra loop had a steep uphill through a beautiful field with super tall wildflowers
  • Bring on the bad weather – I thrive in the worst conditions and the coldness and rain at the top was appreciated more than being a negative
  • My downhills had gotten way better with my rockster Inov8 X-Talon 260 Ultras allowing me to run while many slid down on their behind
  • Me and my fellow ultra runners found out about where/when the timeout was after it was impossible to adjust to make it.  I think we had 2 miles to go and only 30 min left.  We kept going anyway but knew we would get the hook.

What I will do differently next time:

  • Absolutely no regrets this race – thrilled with how I did – but will be a little smarter next time.  I want to be able to say I am an ultra runner but it will not be today.
  • Will not leave my light jacket in transition – should always have that in questionable weather.  I froze on second loop after swim and this may have slowed me down a lot.  Debriefed with coach today and had forgotten to tell him that.  I wasn’t sure why I was going so much slower than first loop when I felt great at transition – have no reference for “bonking” and was thinking I didn’t drink or eat enough.
  • I was starving on 2nd loop.  I should have eaten more food/grabbed my PB&J and eaten it on the run.  Just had chicken soup and didn’t really feel rejuvenated.  Definitely need extra gels for 2nd loop to account for unknown extra mileage or extra fuel needs 2nd half

My dreams second loop!! of my jacket and PB&J


  • I cut back my water after around mile 10 as I started to get dizzy and thought I was overhydrating….I may not have caught up on the extra carbs by eating more though.  Need to bring extra gels and figure out the right water intake based on temperature for my body or figure out why I got dizzy
  • Need to work on longer term strength/endurance with perhaps more mountain runs and get my upper body back in shape to be able to do all the obstacles to bring my pace down.  I ran at 27:41 pace and my friend finished at a 26:30 and had consistency between 1st and 2nd laps (while I slowed a lot).
  • Take better inventory of water and electrolytes before and after.  I just threw in extra electrolyte tabs and dumped my lap 1 water cleaning up.  Now that I want to figure out the dizziness thing, I am missing data!!
  • Do age group to get an extra 30-45 min for cutoffs
  • Every time you can, push a little faster as this could have allowed me to finish/wasn’t sure how to pace myself and as I was going faster than plan, I thought I would be fine.  By the time I realized I was going to time out, it was too late to catch up
  • I didn’t know how to time the second lap.  Next time, get the name of the timeout obstacle and time it from the start so you know how far to get there from transition, that way you can pace yourself to make the cut.  I didn’t know where it was/how far from transition to know if I’d make it or not until it was too late.

A little time history of the last week:

When I saw the race profile released around Wed, I got scared as it became real and showed 16000 ft!


But proper training and planning brought me back to calm confidence before the race:

Details of my plan here: killington 2019 bucket planning

Got there early to checkin Friday and had an amazing dinner at The Foundry:

Then after getting up at 4am to eat and prep for a 6:45 start, met everyone at the race:

Once again, had to face the wall to even get to the starting line – a wall that makes my arms shaky as I lift myself over it – what if I can’t get over it to even start the race?!?!

Nothing so different on obstacles (or burpees!)  – here are a few Kenny caught:

The day started out warmer than expected at around 53F but forecast rain before noon that would clear up a few hours.  I hadn’t really planned on a jacket and brought one in a plastic bag if needed (it was – at the top which had high winds and rain) but need to get a smaller one for next time.  Rain didn’t clear up and it got colder so leaving my jacket in transition bucket became a mistake (lesson learned).

This muddy hill prior to the Death March had been just field debris the first time I went down it and became a muddy nightmare the second.  and Death March.

It was a good day and I am proud of it.  I left with a DNF.  No medal.  No recognition at all in race results.  No recognition I did 10 miles more than the Beast.  I don’t need any of that to know what I did.  I raced further than I ever had before with twice as much elevation that I’d ever done under my planned pace.  I crushed the hills and downhills and never gave up (although a few tears were shed).  It quickly went from thinking ” I don’t really need to do it again” to “hell, yes I have to do it….”

The Race:

IMG_6555    IMG_6556



IMG_6558  IMG_6559

Post race emotions:  Felt proud even while timing out, then cried I didn’t make it, felt proud all night, woke up crying and tired and emotional.  Felt pretty good rest of day, then cried all night and en route to work.  Felt better then way better after speaking with coach….. I have gotten the post race blues and love the activity/discussion after a big race but miss the thing that brings so many people I truly love being with together.  Must plan more and keep the team theme going!!

I am just so happy with all I’ve learned this year (remember crying in the basement when you couldn’t remove and put your rear tire back on? remember spending hours figuring out accessories required like cadence meters to use zwift or what trail shoes or or what hydration packs are….?  remember repeatedly falling while learning how to run rocky paths and crying on the side of the trail while people laughed at you? remember the first time you ran Z2 and thought how could this help me….and then realizing I had only run one speed for the last 30 years and maybe there was a better approach :)…..on and on).  I am a goal oriented person.  I am also always afraid so learning also means being afraid a lot or as I like to say to myself, means having courage a lot of the time because it’s extra hard for me.  I like being ordered around a little and being around people who know way more than I do and who will put up with me even if I slow them down. Remember the late night my coach tricked me and had me do 9+ miles of intervals that took an entire Friday night 🙂 Remember the absolute gut wrenching fear of running up Nashoba (my new best friend)?

enough rambling.  Ready to move forward with no fear.  to nourish the new friendships and to build on what I have done this last year and recover what I have lost thru my adult life with my shoulder and posture issues.  I will come out stronger in the end and keep working towards my best self.  I would love to feel like I am helping others as well and really enjoyed coaching my BLF (best little friend) thru the OCR course so perhaps I can help younger women get stronger mentally for work and physically for life…. a new career path!

There are only the trained and untrained.  who are you?  I AM TRAINED!  (Denzel Washington, Man on Fire)



Race Pace and Mental Preparations…T-7 days

Spent some time this week getting mentally prepared….remembering all the hard work I’ve done this year, all the friends made, how much I’ve learned and improved…


I also spent some time trying to figure out if my coachs’ recommended mile pace (26 min/mile 1st loop and 28 min/mile 2nd loop) was in line with what I’ve been doing on my last big runs.  I made this comparison to compare runs.  Critical factors:

  • Elevation gain/miles run –  Great comparative factor
  • Obstacles (bonefrog, boston super/sprint)
  • Super rock technical trail (and slowest times) (Skyline, mountain runs) vs. grassy run
  • Similar obstacle course on grass with elevation (Bonefrog)

Comparison looks like this and Garys’ recommended time of 26 min/mile 1st loop and 28 min/mile 2nd seems right on if not a little conservative.


I’ve got my plan and bin ready to decorate also – my plan is to get in/out of transition as fast as possible.  During tomorrow’s last longish run (90 min), I will eat chicken soup and try taping calves in preparation so its not the first time I do this in the race.


I am surprisingly not nervous about it.

AM JUST GOING TO GO OUT AND DO WHAT I DO…. work hard over a long time loving every second of it.

Old Speck..A Few (14) Notable Miles on the Appalachian Trail AAR 8/24/19

Last long run before the big race!  Tried to pick something with a ton of elevation and a goal of being out around 8 hours.  This weekend ( Aug 24) we were camping at Papoose Pond in Waterford, ME so I found Old speck about 40 min away and spent my Sat on vacation going up and down this 4000′ mountain twice!  I was pretty psyched because I had just finished Scott Jureks book North about his adventures and difficulties he encountered while he set the record for running the entire AT going north.  GREAT BOOK AND FANTASTIC SECTION OF THE TRAIL!


and I know cause I did it twice.

I was also researching trail apps just in case I got lost (as I did on Skyline) and chose Alltrails over Gaia GPS because of this feature (lifeline) to let your loved know you are OK while running.  Unfortunately, it only works if you have cell service, which I had for about 2 minutes the entire 7.5 hours I was on trail and if it isn’t sending out messages from me, turns out it was sending little notes like “she should have checked in by now” to worry Kenny 🙂

Well, this was a fantastic section of the AT and it was a seriously varied run, not just in the terrain which went from forest trail to very rooty to being absolutely beautiful with everything covered in green….but also emotionally as it was foggy and grey the first time I got to the summit and then beautifully sunny the second.  With all of these things going on, I don’t understand why anyone wants to play music while running/hiking.

What went well

  • Got in 6000′ in 7.5 hours – good prep for the big race although mostly hiking with all the rocks
  • Tried out my new Altra Lone Peak 4s which were awesome – I think I’ll like these better than the Inov8 Talon Ultra 260 because of the wider toebox and they recently handled better in loose rock on the Nashoba hill runs
  • Met an awesome trail runner – older guy running in pants with an enormously long, scraggly beard who told me the secret was to just watch your feet and plan where they go one step at a time.
  • People gave me compliments when I passed them a second time and they realized I was doing it twice
  • No blisters
  • No falls!!!  This is huge – am getting better each weekend with practice and hopefully stronger so less likely to trip

What didn’t go so well

  • Got super dizzy at the top after the 2nd ascent – I blame it on too many electrolytes.  Good thing I was followed down by these two folks and their dog – made me feel better if I fell or needed help having them there.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how peoples’ observations are such a matter of perspective.  A woman declared the trail very muddy and I was thinking it was dry.  Was it long, hard to do, steep….. am I obsessive or just training towards a goal…  I take peoples’ warnings with a grain of salt and realized that most of the times when someone says something was hard, it may have been challenging for them but I wonder how much they have challenged themselves.  I am trying to find out how I can push myself and do more than I thought – as I improve weekly, I realize that I may not hit a limit.  What if there is no limit?  That may be the biggest lesson learned this year; however, if there is no limit, it makes every workout challenging as you keep trying to beat your personal bests 🙂

Loved this hike and our few days at Papoose…this run earned me two breakfasts the next day!

The Doubt, 14 day countdown, Aug 30, 2019

Did I do a good job training or not?  Overall, I feel great about what I’ve done, the massive amount I’ve learned, the records/improvements I continue to make weekly, the solid effort I have done every week – I never half ass a workout.  But –

Sometimes I forgot to do things like askill workout or flexibility like crossover symmetry.  or to read the sheets carefully and just totally missed something.

Sometimes I purposefully didn’t do things – had issues on Wednesdays and often missed the Wed or Thurs bike ride.  Was just too beat down from work and got home just in time to eat and it was 9pm.  Spent a few minutes (literally) before bed with my awesome husband 🙂

How could I follow within +/- 5g a day a food plan for 7+ months yet struggle so much in maintenance?  Here I am, not sure what I should weigh, if I am eating too much (as I did gain a few pounds), or too little (I was tired and felt better eating more).  And I keep having this little Baileys drink too often….

I definitely do not have the body I thought I would have after this – no sixpack, weak arms due to shoulder issues.  Upper body strength has been my biggest disappointment as I am typically great at that but temporarily weak with the shoulder (right and left) issues.  I have recovered from left surgery well and know I’ll regain all but I can’t (won’t) do the overhead obstacles at Killington for fear of reinjury and not enough practice/strength.

I have also overcome major, major back pain by improving my posture, not doing any barbell two legged weight exercise and working single legged weights – I can run any distance and not be absolutely crippled at the end with back spasms like I used to be.  Its not totally fixed though as a recent “take my back for a spin with a bunch of empty bar front squats” resulted in having minor spasms and creakiness for about two weeks 🙂

I missed some of the crossfit workouts.  I struggled with enough hours in the day to do aerobic, crossfit, skills, flexibility and do my job.  Sometimes I made the decision to stay late at work to reduce the guilt there.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this last year and the process of getting better.  I have also learned how crazy happy I can be after doing something I was terrified about – ie Boston Super twice.  I was going to say give me the journey without the race except my friend told me the race is the “gift” you get at the end and I’ll take that too.

The Goal

I have been thinking about what my goal is/why I am trying to run this Ultra race.  At first it was just a far away “hard” thing to do and a marathon on the road never had that much appeal to me.  I absolutely loved the 5K gone bad races at crossfit and Spartan seemed to be closest to that.

Now, after training and reading a ton of books from marathon/ultra runners I think my goal has evolved to be trying to find my limit and to see if in adversity, I will continue vs. fold.  Or if I fold, if I go back.  Need to prove I am tough – even if I often cry on the side of the trail or before a workout late at night 🙂

Problem is what if there are no limits?  Or is that the lesson?

Finding my Tribe over 23 miles of trail running – Vermont Ragnar Aug 16-17 2019

This is our STFU Donny Teams’ grand finish – it was awesome having everyone join me for the final few meters of my last 7.2 mile run:


  • 23 miles (15 mandatory plus extra green and yellow loops) – Record for longest run and trail run within 30 hours!  Avg ~13:19 pace vs 12:45 goal 😦
  • All loop times below, I ran loops 8, 16 and 24
  • One fall that ripped open my hand
  • One awesome bunkmate – Anne L’Heureux
  • New inov8 X-talon 260 Ultra shoes ready to go!
  • One  blister to manage from Spartan Super
  • Still suffering from poison ivy from Spartan super

I ran loops 1,2,8,16,24  (8,16,24 were my official yellow, green, red loops)



At first I was planning on 30 miles.  Started out with first runner, Teresa, and then Donna and did ~7.5 miles right off the bat from around 7:15am-9:00am.

Had about 5 hours between runs so got a cowbell and cheered on the other runners as they passed by our tents – I was voted the best cheerer!


Then learned how much harder it is to run, stop and restart.  Gary reeled me back to plan of running less than 26 miles… Had my first actual run (yellow trail) around 2:30pm and maybe because it was harder, maybe it was the pressure of having my coach with me but I had calf cramps and a tough time!  What drives the cramping??!?!!  I drank plenty, ate plenty of electrolytes and fuel and did not have a ton of elevation (or mileage) for this run….frustrating!


Went to recovery tent after, found the huge vibrators and compression pants and got some sleep before my midnight green trail run (~3 miles).


I was afraid (extra afraid after the herd of daddy long legs on the trail at first all climbing over each other) but had a great run, gained confidence and loved running the trails at night!  Passed a bunch of dudes too.

I ended around 1:00am and got some sleep until 6am.  My stomach hurt really badly (hung out in the port-o-pottys a while) but recovered before my 9am 7.2 mile final run, which felt great!  Near the end, I was met with my bowling shirt and everyone ran in with me!


And our team photos:


Went well:

  • Did the miles and could have gone on longer
  • New INOV8 X talons held up well, although with a little less support than the Salomon Sense Ride2s.
  • Blister management:  band-aid protection/treatment, then tape, then moleskin around it.  New blister avoidance socks.  Although had a worse one after the first run (before extra protection), nothing got worse after.  Moleskin!!
  • Loved nighttime trail running
  • Practiced carrying bladder and nutrition/hydration but got calf cramps  Pre race nutrition of steel cut oats ~2 hrs before with fuel for fire hour before worked well – as usual.  Realized I was undereating the salt stix so ate 4x/hour

What didn’t go as well:

  • Lost gas on the hills during afternoon 4 mile run and could have done more hills on the 7.3 mile run, which weren’t even that bad
  • One fall on first run.  Generally, I felt better navigating although trails weren’t that technical.   Anne says to look 5 steps ahead (just like music) to where to step and I practiced that.  Not sure how to minimize this….will as, PT
  • Calf cramps at 11 miles after hot afternoon run – I had taken plenty of salt stix and water and food.  Switched to Hammer Endurolytes and had a better 3.2 and then 7 mile run in the morning.  Wasn’t as hot and not sure if pre eating about 4 is what partially made me sick but I didn’t cramp as bad.  Made schedule with PT to teach me how to use tape and will work on more mobility in advance of run.
  • Between runs got to the point where I really didn’t want to eat.  Want to look into Cliff nutrition/real food vs. gels during runs

This was a fantastic time and I was plenty scared a lot but hit no limits and held my own – I am proud of that 🙂

Part of my goal this year was to find new friends with common interests and it was just great to be a part of these teams – my tribe – my self abuse directors!

Victory, Two Falls, Calf Cramps and the shoulder(s) survived! AAR Boston Super Aug. 10, 2019

I have to say I have never been more proud (and relieved) than I was when I finished the second loop.  Tearful and proud I did it.  I was pretty afraid the week/day before – I am always afraid – I have been on an emotional roller coaster all weekend.  I struggled Sunday (day after race) being depressed (scared of upcoming race?) and dealing with an HR issue at work…not sure if it is just post race blues or what.  I’ve been thinking back of how long I’ve been training – since before snow on the ground – and it just takes a long time to build up endurance and strength.  I still have a long way to go.  I still don’t feel like I’m ready for 14000′ of elevation climb.  I still am just recovering upper body back.  I have overcome major shoulder issues and improved great my very painful lower back pain (it used to really hurt every second and I was crippled after Sunday runs) and learned a lot about training, met new friends,  working everyday nutrition (listening to Scott Jureks’ books now), and learned race nutrition.  I have to say although I missed about a workout a week and had a low point 2-3 weeks ago missing them on T/W/R, I have been very consistent.  I made calls I stand by for work vs. training or gardening one day vs. doing the full 3 hr bike on my birthday and drank a few Baileys along the way but am proud of my effort.  I’m going into the last race to see what I can do – will I hit the wall the ultra guys hit when they just try to walk one foot in front of the other?  I think I want to hit that and see how I perform under real duress. I’m just going to go out and do what I do – slow and steady from beginning to end.


Per spartan website for Open results (does not include women/men who ran age group I think):

  • In “open” category: 1029/4531 overall, 133/1639 females overall, 4/95 age group (50-54)
  • Had I done true “age group” category, I think I would have come in around 6th but gotta get the bar muscle ups/wall/rig obstacles down first
  • First and second loop results per my Garmin – I used Garmin for HR:
    • Loop 1:  18:28/mile vs. planned pace of 18:45, HR 146/178 (dirt on Garmin??? – strangely high).  I typically start high though but it never really got down to normal
    • Loop 2:  19:06/mile vs. planned pace of 20:00, HR 138/152 (this is more normal, mostly Z3 training)
  • Two falls (both at beginning of second loop) which ripped open my hand, 240+ burpees

IMG_5625  IMG_5624  IMG_5626

I was a little surprised my second loop was so slow.  I fell twice near the beginning of the second loop – fatigue is horrible for that but then felt way better near the end and seemed like I was going faster.


Shoes:  Salomon Sense Ride 2 for first loop.  Overall felt great as trail shoes but got blister on right foot – see below.  Switched to Inov8 Flite 235 for 2nd loop.  Not good trail shoes – not much cushion but didn’t hurt me more!  Shoes are an issue!



Ate oatmeal around 5:30am and had a fuel for fire around 8:30.  Ran at 9:15 and did scoop tailwind with ~22oz water plus a cliff gel shot every hour.  I ate 4 salt stix per hour to try and ward off cramps but this did not work.  Also ate the banana on the course and at the end between loops.  Brought hydration pack which I only took off at the dunk wall – heavy load added to burpees!  After had 2 scoops of recoverite and an Rx bar and water.  Sensible dinner!


  • Burpeed out of the three rigs to save my shoulders.
  • Had a little help on obstacles requiring going up a vertical wall or getting onto a box.
  • Made it halfway across the wooden board with circular cutouts/chain/knobby grips we had at OCR training/couldn’t get feet to stick so was using knees and fell halfway.
  • Missed spear twice
  • Rope climbs more challenging at the end when you have cramping but made it up without much issue
  • All strength exercises super easy both times – atlas ball, bucket carry, sandbag, hoist, tire flip
  • Second loop I burpeed out of all rig/shoulder type ones I did on the first.  Walked around a few I did the first time that had a line and would have risked my shoulder (was happy it survived the first loop!) without doing burpees.

If I can just build upper body to get bar muscle up, practice wall climbs and the sideways wall obstacle, I could do all of them.

What went well

  • Finished without making my right shoulder worse.  It is sore/aches when I lie down but not hurt worse.
  • Met all goals for the race.  Wish I could have made it over more walls.  Shoulder issues really hindered my upper body strength training this whole year – left shoulder is absolutely pain free (surgery side)….
  • Used lacrosse ball on 1.5 hr trip to race on quads and back of shoulders – had some soreness/cramp from Xfit workout in right quad
  • Felt super great at the end finishing it!  Was very scared before/working mental toughness.  Didn’t have to really use any tricks to keep going as I felt pretty good the whole time/even on second loop.  I was tired/beat up later and the next day with bruises on knees and elbows – got a back spasm day after just doing a roller exercise.  Back feels pretty good but harder just to get up and down with knee soreness.  Also triceps sore –
  • Did 47 mile bike in record time the next day and felt great
  • Burpees were tougher than I thought they would be….although I had just done a crossfit workout Thurs (race was Sat) with 80 cal row, 100 jumping lunges, 100 burpees and mile run and had a little soreness from that…
  • Used sunscreen but forgot part of my back 🙂

What to do better next time

  • Figure out how to deal with calf cramps – more stretching?  I had started hydrating the day before and was well hydrated during race with 4 salt stix/hour
  • Need better shoes – Getting Altra Lone Peak 4 to use next week at Ragnar
  • I want to improve diet/move vegetarian and figure out the right maintenance calories for this training/am revamping my intake…. new blog on that coming out soon.  I am also cutting out all crap before the big race
  • Improved stretching daily
  • Must work upper body and get bar muscle up to do obstacles – will be goal for next year
  • Continuing to try to do crossfit symmetry daily with mobility
  • BRING LIQUID BAND AIDS for future falls/cuts

Last week:  Hit ~108 training miles although I need some penalty as some were on trainer 🙂

Next weekend:  VT Ragnar with 26 total miles!

Here’s a little glimpse of pre race training with bucket blowout carrying dumbbells up hills at Nashoba and my little bike hill training the next day…. doing two days of hills (one bike/one run), a bike tempo ride and running interval training with long weekend bike/runs to prep.


AAR 7/29/19 Not my best effort, dog days of summer and working out

GREAT THING:  I actually feel like a normal person without pain.  Soreness is all good but daily pain was awful.  This is the first time in over a year that I have been a whole person able to workout without shoulder injury, back pain or shoulder pain! Trying to be smart not to reinjure while working strength again….this will take a while/past Ultra race date.

Good things last week:

  • Right shoulder feels great so started pullups/was crippled from Fri-last tuesday.  Got pullups bars for work!
  • Did some two legged lifting at Crossfit, which ended up hurting my back over the weekend but nice to feel like a normal person again
  • Got worked on by Steph/massage therapy
  • Sacrificed some working out for work and for deciding to spend time doing what I love, gardening in my yard Saturday before my birthday dinner
  • Tried out new Salomon Sense Ride 2 shoes, which held up great during Wachusett Run.  Felt more support than Alta Superiors, only “pain” was on right foot where bone sticks out near big toe and it was fine.  Feet did not hurt at end of run.
  • Technical running getting easier
  • Love the long rides and running the best
  • Avoided chafing by going commando running/was horrible last weekend

Things to improve

  • Missed three workouts T/W/R  Was just tired in morning and after work although did Crossfit one of those days.
  • Don’t forget salt stix!  Cycling on last hard week of month was surprisingly difficult/only did 2 vs. 3 hours and was tired.  No cramping though/only difference was salt stix.  Other weeks did 3 hours and felt spectacular after – strange.
  • Fear of mountains – fear struck my heart lucking up at Wachusett ski trails.  Going to the top was actually relatively easy but its the bare slopes.  I think fear of heights vs. work but who knows?  I don’t want to be intimidated by the mountain.  I wanted to run up and down the slopes to prove who’s boss but the guys at the top told me it was against the law.(?)  I think back to Bonefrog, which I absolutely loved going up, and down, and up,and down, and up, and down….
  • I don’t do as well in competition as I do alone.  Don’t know how to fix this.  Maybe because I never feel like I start out strong and am always struggling at the beginning (even alone).  During the race, what helps me a lot is encouraging others whether they are slower or faster than me.  Gets my mind off of me.
  • Afraid of 14000′ and the time on feet at Killington.  I remember what I read about how your body will do what it is expected to and you will always feel tired at the end of any run as you know it is the end.  If you knew you were going further, your body would adjust.  Am counting on that.
  • Need to bring sun block and bug spray

Here are some pics from my Sunday run at Wachusett – no falls, no tears!  Salomon Sense 2 shoes worked well


AAR 7/21/19 HOT HOT HOT!! Records were broken, flies eaten,snakes jumped

Challenging weather – or PERFECT weather as David Goggins would say!  HOT HOT HOT and humid!

Fri night interval training: after setting PR for mile run in 7:48 min (best by 6 sec), could barely finish the next and was pretty slow on the last but solid effort!  Two flies in the mouth.

Sat bike:  Biked 42 miles – furthest ever (my tracking got messed up as I forgot to restart once en route) with Teresa Kimberley here in Hollis which is a record for duration, 178 min 1562′ elevation, 3:06, 14.1 mph.  One bee sting on leg, one chain incident, homemade pancakes by Kenny at the end!!

Sun run:  17.68 miles total 99% running on Hollis trails (all but ~4 miles shaded) in very hot/humid weather.  12:27/miles pace in 3:40 hours.  Traded off hills for distance in shade today with the heat.  Furthest I’ve ever run by ~4 miles and am not crippled at all!  Ran last mile in 10:43!  One fly in mouth, jumped a snake, chased by one dog, one tick, two idiots in cars, two bathroom breaks at Silver Lake Park, one nice farmer who helped me when I went awary into his fields

What went well:

  • Hydration and nutrition – followed plan and used new inov-8 pack
  • Felt absolutely awesome on bike – not even stiff from riding/could have easily kept going
  • Did run in heat and humidity and practiced running tired
  • Carrying toilet paper for runs paid off
  • Didn’t do a lot of downhill running and feet felt good in the Altra superiors/not technical trails
  • Because right shoulder feeling better, started doing pull ups this week (crippled today)!!!!  Let’s get working that upper body now

What to do different:

  • Fix bike light situation/rear wasn’t charged.  Need USB power strip by door to keep lights charged.  Should get light for helmet
  • More mobility

Checkin on body composition/looks – nowhere near six pack which is discouraging – maybe not the best lighting but here I am:

AAR Skyline Trail 15.79 miles, Tears Were Shed

Maybe I was overly optimistic.  Dave Fatula was planning on finishing this trail in <4.5 hours starting at 5:45 am.  I thought I could do it and then still make the final OCR clinic at 11am.

Got up at 3:45 and we met at the trailhead at 5:45 down in Quincy, MA.  I knew right away I was going to slow him down and we parted ways around mile 2.  One day I am going to be able to keep up!  This is me and Dave around the halfway point when he was about 2 miles ahead of me after the turnaround:


This is a roundtrip trail ~7.5 miles each way – link on alltrails below:

I had two falls around miles 10 – tears were definitely shed and I thought the gentlemen from the “Dept of corrections van” might have been laughing at me when they saw me go down near the Ranger station.  Athleta leggings trashed:

Good things:

  • Planned and executed nutrition plan, had 5 hours worth of water and more of food.  I had brought extra knowing it could go longer and this paid off.  Even with a refill of one of my side inov-8 16 oz drink pouches, I ran out just before I finished but had extra food!  Lesson learned from Tough Mudder 🙂
  • Finished 15.79 miles – one loop of a Spartan ultra, on a technically very difficult trail with 4000′ of elevation.  The hills were the easy part, navigating the rocks was the difficulty.  This one loop finish is a great mental “cookie” as it is half the race and I know I can do that even if real race has more elevation.  I am not sure I would say I “ran” it but I did ran parts.
  • I felt pretty good after and that night.  Recall that months ago, I would have been totally crippled after 6 miles with back spasms.  Not that the back is fixed (I feel it during interval training for sure) but it didn’t hurt after the run or the next day and that is a GOOD THING!!  I was too tired to do much but way less than I have been after shorter runs.  It was a general fatigue and I did my best to eat to recover!
  • Avg moving pace was 21:16 min/mile over the 20 min/mile target pace on avg.


  • It was a cool trail with some beautiful scenery and varied terrain

Things to learn from:

  • I wore my Altra Superiors.  Tread was OK and I didn’t slip very much.  Issue was need for a slightly stiffer shoe for technical runs and that it is so comfortable, my foot moves around, which around mile 9 started to hurt on any downhills with my toes hitting the end of the shoe.
  • I need practice on technical trails, one woman just flew by me.  She stopped to talk though and said she has been doing this trail for 2 years – had speedcross shoes – and emphasized need for practice.
  • I learned issues will pass – my toes were hurting pretty badly then I hit a flatter trail and recovered.  Have to admit though that I was cursing all rocks after my two falls and toes hurt!

Heading out now for a 2 hr 40 min bike ride – will see how this affects it!

Thanks to my coach Gary for calling me and helping me fight fatigue, check-in as I missed the OCR clinic, as I drove the hour home from that race!

Tough Mudder 6-29-19 AAR

I was a last minute stand-in with a great “Herd of Dirt Turtles!”  ~7.5 mile obstacle course race in Charlton, MA.

  • Morning run to get my time in pre-race:  1 hour, 5.43 miles, 11:03 avg mile pace, 127 avg HR(Z3)/142 169 cad
  • Tough Mudder: 7.5 miles, 3:47:01, 719′ elevation, 12:59/mi moving pace.  Had huge thunderstorm near end so they had a few obstacles closed and about a 20 min wait before we finished when they closed the entire course.

Lessons Learned:

  • Bring enough food, etc and not rely on the course.  Just before we raced, they said this course has tons of food so I left all but 1-2 gels behind only to have 2 aid stations over the ~45 hours.  Besides the lack of aid stations, there were also unexpected long waits at obstacles.  I did not wear a hydration vest, just brought the gels and a bunch of salt stix.
  • Altra Superior shoes were fine for this but seemed to hold more water at first than my Inov8 F-235 lites/drained eventually.
  • Being on a team is way more fun than doing it alone and I liked the team obstacles where you had to help each other
  • I skipped all the heavy shoulder obstacles but did the wall climb overs
  • Loved the hanging down electrocution strips – got zapped on my bum at the very end.

Hills & Mountains for Training


from Anne:

  • Presidential traverse 20 mi
  • Cannon Mtn loop 11 mi  then ride tram down
  • Katahdan
  • south and north baldface
  • mount chocora loop trail

(from Dave Fatula)


skyline trail

Pemi Loop! Shut in by wind and rain on Lafayette Mountain and Garfield Ridge we finally saw the sky at Bondcliffs and through the descent back into the woods! 30 miles, 9,700’ elevation gain, nine 4,000 footers in the White Mountain National Forest in just under 15 hours.


Osceola (tough footing)




Nashoba Ski Resort (Westford, MA):  Do hills there every Tuesday morning 6:30am.  Each one is 0.20 miles and 250′.  Soul sucking but convenient and am among friends with weight vests, sandbags and buckets. Latest walk/run record is 3:11 on 6/18/19, 5:08 40 lb sandbag, 4:32 20 lb vest.  Hill steeper than it appears below.  My life changed the day my coach showed me hill climbing technique and I also realized that steady “walking” can be faster than “running.”  Also the value of pacing yourself – last week I had total muscular failure near top from going out too hard – have not had that happen before.  If I go steady, I like to be able to run the last 30 yards.






Wachusett Dam:  105′ each, nice loop to go up and down with.  First time I ever did it, only made it 75% of the way.  Separate post on this one elsewhere.

Neighborhood hills on Buttonwood:  0.23 miles, ~2:27

Pack Monadnock:  Did 6/2/19, 2.77 miles, 1:07:58, 919′ elevation.  Only took ~45″ roundtrip, too short and not hard at all

Mt. Monadnock: Did 6/23/19.  116 Poole Rd, Jaffrey, NH.  Took 2 hours roundtrip, 3.85 miles and 1800′ elevation.  Not much flat part to run – very rocky and a lot of rock clambering going up.  Need shoes with good tread for the rocks, which can be steep.  Slightly wet /got one shoe wet.  Tried out new Nathan vest (very sloshy) and Altra superior shoes (tread not good for this).  Took recommended route of White Dot trail going up from visitor center and White cross trail going down.

Skyline Trail – Blue Hills 7/13/19  Super Technical Trail, 15.79 miles, 6:12:54

21:16 moving pace, moving time 5;35 (rest was crying on side of the path), HR 126/170, 4170′ elevaion. Fell twice





Wachusett Ski resort  (7/28/19) Can get a variety of courses from the North Face Endurance Races:

Started at ski lodge parking lot but opposite area from lodge, Balance Rock Trail.

I followed 2/3 of the half marathon choosing to go straight up to the top. 11.02 miles, 3:42, 2507′ elevation (to summit twice plus up a short ski lift once).  Hot day.  18:13/mi moving pace

Trails way less technical than Skyline with clambering only on short stretches near the top.  Bicentennial trail although wrapping the bottom is technical – Visitor center for bathrooms/water



Hydration and Shoes

SHOES:  I had not realized how many different shoes there are for various non-road surfaces!  Here is my journey – which continues:

After sliding down the grassy slopes multiple times during bonefrog in my Inov8 F235Lites (fave crossfit and road running shoes), I decided I needed some shoes with tread for future races – not an easy task to find.  Evidently, trail running is a niche activity so the typical stores (all sporting goods, REI, EMS, specialized running stores etc) don’t carry many of them. Locally, I did find a few good trail shoes at Runners Alley in Manchester, NH.  In general, I recommend ordering online via zappos and just returning the ones you don’t want.  The issue is that you may end up keeping all the pairs like me 🙂

1st Test: Altra Superior (shown at top):  wide toebox, zero drop, good for hard packed trails, not so different from my inov8 f-lite 235s, except they weren’t beat to hell – I had forgotten what any cushion felt like.  I took these out of the box and ran a 9 mile interval workout without issue.  Used for run up Mt. Monadnock and it drains well but sucked on rocks/tread is not that great.  I had forgotten what any cushion felt like!

However, I used these shoes for 15 mile technical trail run on Blue Hills Skyline trail and they about killed me – toes got jammed into the end due to lack of midsection support and hurt like crazy and no stability support in the midsection for all the rock scrambling so…..


2nd Pair: Salomon Sense Ride 2 – Used on Wachusett 16 miler and did well on rocks and also on the scree at Nashoba hill runs; however, despite good socks and lubing my feet, I got a bad blister on the inside of my bunion on the right foot halfway thru the Spartan Super 8 mile race so…..

3rdPair:  Inov8 X-talon 260 Ultra (0 drop) – the 260s have a wider toe box than apparently other inov8s (although note the F935 Lites were very wide and awesome):  Ran 23 miles at Ragnar VT with no new blisters or sore spots and also 14 miles with 6000′ elevation at Old Speck Mountain without issue.  Overall working well but have to check drainage.  Needed to retie laces during run even with a double knot.  Note I’m not a huge fan of the speedcross method of lace tying also although they seem to stick better.

THESE SHOES WERE ROCKSTARS AT THE 2019 KILLINGTON ULTRA.  Could go up and down the grass, debris fields AND MUD without falling when many were sliding down on their backsides.  Tops of toes sore with one big toenail turning black.  Right foot top of bunion area painful but no blisters and the pain wasn’t enough to have affected the race.

4th Pair: Altra Lone Peak 4 – these felt similar structurally to the Sense Ride at the running store although a wider toe box.  After the beatdown on Skyline Trail, I got the Sense Rides that felt slightly more solid.  I bought these with the X-Talons and just decided to not return them (a burgeoning shoe fetish).  Shoe laces are short and harder to undo/do than the others.  Used on a 6 mile flat trail run and loved them – need to check them out on a technical hill.  Update 10/6/19:  After a 17 mile trail run, these may have less padding then the Inov8 xtalons as the bottoms of my feet hurt.

Ran with these for my first Ultra, Stone Cat 50k Nov 2, 2019 and they were great.  had a slight amount of toe pain afterwards but no hurting on bottom of feet or blisters, etc.  These are the best shoes for rocks, etc.


Now that I am over 2 hour runs, am trying to do a better job with carrying water.  I had a 3 hr run last weekend so got the Nathan hard plastic waist bottles (each ~10 oz) ~$50 seen below and ran in a loop to refill every hour.  Mixed water with 1 scoop Tailwind and split between the two drinking every 15 min.  Was weird at first as you have to hold your elbows slightly out so they don’t hit bottles but was fine this week – no issues at all with waist carrying.

For this week, I wanted to plan a 4-5 hr mountain hike so needed a bladder.  I went to Runners Alley in Manchester, NH (good store) and got this basic $70 Nathan 1.5 bladder (as the small hand carry bottle alone was $40 I just upped the size). Several issues:

  • Evidently I forgot to get rid of all the air so it was horribly sloshy
  • The hose you drink from when hanging down, leaked whenever pressure was put on bladder.  I ended up tucking it upwards to help with this after my leg got wet.

Hike ended up being way shorter than planned (2 hr vs. 4-5) so I mostly just used the waist waters and a little of the bladder.



Then I purchased my Inov8 Two in one pack which, in addition to having a 2L hydration pack, has two 18 ml side water bottles and an extra, clip on storage area I can carry my shoes with to XFit during a bike ride or extra clothes on a hike.  This pack gets me 5 hours worth of water!  Have been using it for weeks now without issue.  I only wish the side pockets were more contained – feels like stuff can fall out.  I just use them for trash and keep food in my pants.

After researching for the Ultra race, I spent a whopping $85 to get 3 spare bottles (one bladder and 2 side bottles) so I can put them filled with tailwind in my transition bin for halfway changeout.



This note from my coach means a lot to me.

I’m far from perfect and miss a workout almost every week – not due to laziness but typically am exhausted or make a work priority call (and still have ~10 others) – but if you don’t #showup, you have no chance of getting better.

My dream is that these real athletes will call me up one to to train thinking of me as an equal.  #stillhavetoearnit

Pic is me and my coach, Gary Lombardo, who has taught me so much this year!  I will be forever grateful

AAR Last Month – Lessons Learned June 17, 2019, 89 days until Killington Ultra

Lessons Learned last month – documenting lessons learned is a great idea from reading Meb Keflezighi’s book “26 Marathons” along with David Goggins:

  1. Get race experience when you can:  I almost didn’t do Bonefrog because my shoulder was hurt from the Spartan Sprint the week before.  I didn’t realize that it was also a great “mini death march” with total of 3200′ elevation racing experience, 2 more times practice swimming in cold water, practice seeing other obstacles, and a good 2.5 hr race where I cramped in my feet at end from not eating enough salt stix/fueling properly.  It also gives you confidence – I know now what 3200′ at once feels like and know that I can do it with energy left over.
  2. Breaking up mileage makes them easier:  ie. Clovis done May 5 13 miles done in 2 mile segments broken up by 30 burpee jumping pull ups.  Had tons left at the end of this – way easier than running 13 straight miles
  3. Sometimes walking is faster than running:  ie. Nashoba hills.  I was so depressed that running up was so hard.  2nd time I did it, Gary taught me some hill technique and I mixed up running/fast “hiking” and beat my running time.  Walking is not a bad thing and sometimes faster.
  4. Get used to thinking about quitting and what you will think about to not do it.  This occurs to me every single Tuesday when I’m on Nashoba and the other guys leave before I do…..I could just go now and not do the last few runs up.  I always finish because I can’t live with the shame only I know about quitting.  Once you decide you have to do it, you quit worrying about it so much.
  5. Value of body butter:  Picture at top of this blog is my upper arm from a rub I got from a short sleeved in a 2.5+ hr run.  Things that never hurt before can become an issue with time on the road.  Use body butter anywhere anything rubs!
  6. Focus on form when tired:  One of my most hated workouts is interval training.  For two reasons – I am so much slower than high school (ie. 4:00 800M vs. 2:35 or a 7:55 mile vs. 5:47), and it hurts way more.  In the middle of doing some 200s, I started thinking about form and lifting up with knees/feet up vs. back and it made it easier – maybe because I just took my mind off of the pain.
  7. Don’t be afraid to win if you feel good:  think of the district meet when I could have crushed the competition in the mile but was afraid I felt so good and fell back (also not wanting the season to continue/lacked confidence I could keep it up).  Go for it with smarts, especially at the end and fight for every spot.
  8. Prepare in advance for food/water:  Carry what you can with you vs. having to stop somewhere to get it.  Just in case you find a good water fill area, bring extra tailwind, etc so you don’t have to circle by homebase.
  9. How you feel doesn’t always equal how you perform:  Keep trying even when you feel bad.
  10. Clip ins:  As you get going, don’t clip in too early and get stuck trying to unclip with no forward momentum.  Peddle without clipping in until you are going strong.  Recent bike ride last weekend…I thought I had the clip ins down great from unclipping in trainer and then fell down in a driveway. (see pics below)
  11. Get real trail shoes vs. road running shoes (and they are hard to find):  My standard Inov8s just don’t cut it going down grass or rough rock.  Ordered Altra Superiors and waiting for Salomon Speedcross 5 to get some real shoes with tread.
  12. Never hang straight down from any bars without you scaps – this is how I hurt my “good” right shoulder/not using good form.



Victory – First OCR Races AAR 5-19-19

The ice cold water was refreshing – you can’t think about it, just plunge in and go under the barrier or keep swimming – someone said 44F was the temp yesterday at the Bonefrog event.  After Activity Report from Spartan Spring (4 miles) and Bonefrog Challenge (6 miles):

Went well

  • Did all obstacles but monkey bars, spear and rings at Spartan Race
  • Felt good at the end of both and no lower back crippling – this is huge/need to keep up one legged exercises and fixing my posture
  • Sandbags super easy at both events
  • Was afraid of walls but went over all the spartan ones (even the terrifying one you had to go over before the beginning of the race!!) – Bonefrog ones were taller and I didn’t try with my hurt shoulder
  • Did well on 3200′ hills at Bonefrog using new hill technique – like this race a ton better as there was more true racing in the woods, smaller crowd, parking near event
  • Bonefrog results:  64/311 everyone, 3/10 age group (50+), 11/94 females.  And I was only a few minutes off the the other age group women.  Being that I am not in that great of shape yet, where do you find the tough competitors?

Could be better next time

  • Brought plastic bag for gross clothes for Bonefrog!
  • Washed mud out of shoes at event vs. leaving shoes on porch for a week
  • Need shoes with better shoe grip – slipped going downhill at Bonefrog
  • Need shoes with better lacing – had to retie during race
  • Had foot cramps at end of Bonefrog – need to fuel properly during race
  • Lead front shin on left leg got sore using it as a lead leg uphill – need to practice going sideways up in both directions
  • Need help with high walls
  • Hurt right shoulder pretty bad hanging on one arm – may avoid those forever.  Saw both my PT guys and it isn’t torn but will take a little time to heal up.  This was a bummer – I want to wake up sore and not hurt for one day between my shoulder and lower back!!!  Working it….
  • Bonefrog was 3200′ elevation and Killington is 14000′.  Need to work hill endurance!  Compared to the other folks, I passed a ton of folks going up but got creamed coming down.  Need to work hill technique going down 🙂
  • Lonely to do by myself – better with friends!  I think I’ll like the Ragnar races and want to do more team events

Pics from Spartan Sprint (4 miles) below from May 11, 2019:


Spartan bruises:


Bonefrog pics (6 mile Challenge race) May 18, 2019:




I am looking out my office window at a blooming magnolia with my cat getting ready to do a few ROMWODs and then go out for a long run.  I am grateful for:

  • Being healthy and able to work and play
  • Having learned so much this last year
    • Finding a coach who has helped me learn value of Heart rate training
    • Leadership of my team at work – paying attention to people, recognizing more when they are out in the field, helping more
    • How to climb a rope
    • How to run uphill – conquered Nashoba after a crushing week of not making it and then learning some skills.  Revisiting again how mentally tough (or not) I am – at least the second time I went and was determined to try to make it.
    • Running skills
    • Recovering my shoulder
    • Being OK with postponing some strength while I fix some core issues and finding someone to help me with lower back pain/posture/root cause
    • Being able to change habits and acknowledge weaknesses to strategize around them
    • How to ride a bicycle
    • Wading my way thru apps and gadgets to find out the best way to track training
  • My husband, who listens to me saying the same things over and over and always telling me I can do anything I set my mind to, supporting me when I’m in time out, and who takes care of me
  • Looking forward to applying what I’ve learned athletically to my music – adding variability (and per W. Marsalis, mimicking color and people and feelings)
  • My job and manager – there is trust there that I appreciate and I hope integrity
  • New Orleans – went to French Quarter Fest although was a little lonely by myself in a huge crowd.  Found some dancers, listened to music, ate some wonderful breakfasts at Envie, did yoga at the Cabildo, found an awesome gym and continued all my training and PT while on the road

Am trying to not take everything so seriously yet be disciplined and humble.  To be OK with what I can do and to be OK if I mess up once in a while whether it be diet, missing a workout, making a mistake at home or work…

Keep the faith,



Ben Bergeron had a great podcast on getting along with others and a section of empathy with sympathy … Chasing Excellence episode #63.

Hump Day is Hill day – Wachusett Dam 4/3/19

Last time I ran here, I made it up ~75% of the way and totally gassed out.  My buddy was showing off hopping every two steps up and came down to walk up with me.  I was out this time to make it to the top and made it 7x!

Total elevation gain ~755′.  Note that the death march in the spartan ultra is around 1.25 miles with 1700′ elevation (~26% incline) so is 2.5x what I just did just less incline and longer.

The entire course I think is around 6500k elevation gain so 10x what I just did (that seems more daunting!).

A little progress with a lot more to go.  A few more pics from yesterday: