Tag Archives: ultrarunning

I have put myself in Time Out

Post TMB

I was very stressed during the TMB and realized on Day 4 on the steep ascent from Cormayeur to Refuge Bonatti that I needed a time out. The stress from a horrible job to a new job, from worrying about my mom, from a heavy training schedule was too much to sustain. I’ve been gaining weight over the last 1.5 years and need to get back to basics. A normal schedule with workouts 4x a week (extras are bonus) to gain strength back, at the right time work my nutrition and lose the weight, and have some time to add joy to my life.

I am in timeout until early 2023.

I want to get my sleep in order.

I want to read more books vs. watching movies.

I want to think about retirement.

I want to support my husband.

I want to spend time with my mom and sister.

I changed my participation in Ragnar VT from an ultra to a regular team which was fun and am not training for any more big races this year. I want to be strong like I was in 2019 in 2023 but need to regroup.

Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.

Tour du Mont Blanc – Breathtaking

July 17-22, 2022

This is an amazing trail every second of every day. The entire loop is ~105 miles with 32,500′ elevation gain. I ended up taking one day off as a mental/physical rest day and we cut short some of the trails from Flegere to Les Houches so ended up doing ~63 miles and 20,300′ elevation gain. Worked with Vagabond Trails who organized the lodging, guide and luggage transfers between hotels/refuges and did the hike with Sergio Cisneros (guide) and Adam Pelletier.

We got pretty dirty every day! Wildflowers were just beautiful, tons of waterfalls, amazing views, big uphills (although not technical like in NH) and some long, steep downhills.

I wrote a whole book on the experience and will just put a few pics here.

DAY 1: Les Houches to Refuge Nant Borrant (past Les Contamines), 11 miles, 3000′, 6:53 h

DAY 2: Refuge Nant Borrant to Le Chapieux 9.5 mi, 3320′, 6:28h

Went over the great Col du Bonhomme and stayed at Les Chambres du Soleil in Le Chapieux (a town only open in the summer).

DAY 3: Les Chapieux over Col de la Seigne to Courmayeur in Italy!

16.2 miles, 4957′, 8:15h

DAY 4: 20.8 miles, 6350′, 11:11h, Courmayeur to La Fouly in Switzerland up and over Grand Col Ferret

DAY 5: Laura spent a rest day in Chamonix (traveled there with a baggage courier from La Fouly!) while the men went on.

DAY 6: The team is reunited at Planet Montroc train station. 4.9 miles, 2690′ 3:46 then took a gondola down from Les Praz de Chamonix and bus to Chamonix.

Amazing. Introspective. Challenging. Have to go Back!

Another back to back weekend, Pack Monadnock and N/S Twins + Galehead 7/2 and 7/3… on Little Sleep

Another long weekend of back to back runs. Saturday run and up and down pack Monadnock 4x (again) but felt way stronger than last weekend. Didn’t have cramps, was consistent on each loop. Pack Monadnock gave me 10.08 miles, 3261′ elevation and took 4:05 hours.

That evening Kenny and I went to a Tedeschi Trucks concert – which was awesome! …. but allowed for little sleep (<3 hrs) before I had to get up early Sunday to drive up to the N/S Twin trailhead to meet Amy Wilson.

Amy and I did the N/S Twins + Galehead (most boring peak ever) which was 14.3 miles, 5285′ elevation gain and took us 10:13 hours on an 80F day. Pretty tired when we ended – has a long flattish part along a stream for a mile or so at the beginning and end.

N/S Twins – from S. Twin you could see the Galehead hut which seemed far away and had a brutal steep ~0.5 section just before you got there:

Galehead is the most boring summit I’ve been at so far, truly a waste of time except to mark it off the list!

The hike down to the hut was scary because I kept thinking we had to go back up! In reality, going up wasn’t bad at all – one foot in front of the other.

Up and Down, Up and Down… Pack Monadnock x4 on Sat 6/25/22

Being afraid is a great motivator. Three weeks until I fly off to Europe to do the TMB! I have three huge training weekends left.

10.5 miles, 3208′ elevation and 4:27 hours.

Good things:

  • Pack Monadnock is only 30 min from home…. I got to go to a plant store on the way home!
  • Great practice running downhill on a flat surface, which is faster but harder on the legs than walking down a technical trail. I had calf cramps after one loop I think because of that….
  • Love the Wapack Trail!!!
  • Beautiful day
  • Felt super strong going up the first time, calf cramping on the 2nd, ran up hill on the 3rd for fun and had a good final hike up trail final loop

Lessons Learned:

  • Miller state park is not busy in the summer – I thought it would be full and there was plenty of parking all day
  • Road is mostly shaded and quick to run down. Could do the loop up Wapack and down the road to the pedestrian crosswalk in 1 hr.
  • This hike has great views!!

And when I got home, my sweet husband made me a chicken, asparagus and frozen daiquiri dinner! Just in time to go to bed and get up at 5am to do the Kinsmans the next morning…..

Played Hookie and Crushed Franconia Ridge 6/21/22!

Madeleine Ryan and I run ridges. We traversed Kilkenney last year for 22 miles, 8k elevation and now set out to cover 5 mountains across Franconia Ridge. We weren’t even tired when we were done! We dropped my car at the Lafayette Campground Mon night and Tues morning drove to Lincoln Woods Trailhead off of Kancamangus Highway. A mere 9:35 hours, 14.3 miles and 5489′ of elevation later, we popped out by my car!

We passed up and over Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette! Four of those add to my NH48 passport book – big day.

Loved the trails up (Lincoln woods and Osseo) and disliked the Bridle Path trail down post Greenleaf Hut. Really washed out and technical – it was slow going. Loved the part along the ridge and the best views so far in the Whites were those of the Pemigewasset region. On the other side of RT93 below, Cannon actually looked small!

A look in the rear view mirror where we had come from – the 4 mountains behind us.

Nothing scary the entire route with amazing views.

On the ridge, we learned about the chocolate chip cookies they made at Greenleaf Hut….the thought of THE COOKIES sustained us down Lafayette to the hut. We were not fans of the Bridle Path (very long) trail but were very happy with our day!

Laura 1, Rocks 1 Mt Madison 6/11/22

10.4 miles, 7:24 hrs, 4541′ elevation, Pace 42:43/mi, Moving pace 26:53/mi

I was supposed to go halfway with a group doing the Presidential Traverse and get picked up on Mt Washington by my coaches wife, Leslie; however, plans went awry when the clouds/wind rolled in while we were on Mt Madison.

As usual, I was the slowest one and the main group went ahead to Mt Madison hut. I would have been alone on the ridge in the fog, cold, wind and decided to try Mt. Adams and then head back to car. It was crazy how fast the clouds came in.

You can see the Mt. Madison hut and then moments later the cloud cover. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to navigate back and see the cairns. What a pile of rocks – slow going and you can see how clear it got by the time I turned around and came down!

LL: Bring compass and note direction on top of these mountains. Also had this fear on Mt Washington as clouds can be thick.

Mt Adams is just next door and after some attempt, the rock pile won (See Mt Adams below)…. This was a good day for me with a pretty good distance and some major elevation I hadn’t done yet. Longest flat run was 13 miles former week where I had to walk the last hour and only other real mountain ascent had been 5/29 Cannon at 4.3 miles, 2283′. Happy with a good step up in training!

On the way down, I was passed 3 times by folks from the Hut with heavy loads on their back. I don’t know how they go so fast! Was a little depressing. Started on trail at 4am and ended up around 11am so headed over to Littleton to Schillings for the best pizza in the world!

Other lessons learned:

  • Bring more substantial food if hike is >5 hours
  • Bring compass
  • Always have wind jacket, rain jacket, extra clothes in NH. I was OK with a light smartwool and wind jacket , temps ground level around 70F and had expected to possibly get to high 40s at top so had extra midweight smartwool if needed. BRING EXTRA PACK

The Epic Ragnar Zion 5/13-14 2022 After Two Years!

Two teams traveled to Vegas, then drove a few hours out to Zion Park for Ragnar. Over 3000 runners over 2 days at 6400′ elevation and temperatures fluctuating from 32F to over 85F.

New: GoPro – making movie for the team, first use of gators, first runs done at such high elevation with really no issues

I was runner #8 so although our team started ~9am, I didn’t run until 4pm, then 3:30am and then finished the race around 2pm!

Elevation gain <500′ for green, yellow trail and 1000′ for red (it seemed worse because it was very steep). Beautiful views, some sandy tough trails but a really great experience.

Had another very fun (albeit cold waiting ) run in the dark with the best smores I’ve ever had afterwards! First night everyone froze when it got down to 32F….I was toasty in my new Zenbivy sleep system!

Some really beautiful views starting from Vegas out to the event:

Ryan and I were the best cheerers and I brought my largest cowbell!

Cannon – First Big One This Year 5/29/22

I was scared (as usual) bug did Cannon last weekend – first big mountain and another of the NH48 this year! Steepest hike (elevation/distance) I’ve ever done. I actually passed people!! This hike has the best viewed I’ve seen so far with a wonderful (not scary) flat trail around the top that is just great.

Started around 9am and finished at noon (45″ ahead of the alltrails estimated time). This trail had 4 unique sections:

  1. gravelly to start
  2. Rocky – very wet trail. I would NOT do this hike if there was any freezing possibility with the wet/steep rocks. Not really an issue with Long Peak treads. No exposure.
  3. More Pine soft paths
  4. A short rocky part to get to tower and another flat trail at top

Took 1.5 hrs to get to overlook, became flatter around 1818′. Then a short scramble (not scary) to peak.

Beautiful day from the 70s to 80s. Ate 2 cliff bars and side water bottles. Poles useful but not for entire path (a little tricky in parts and needed hands). Note there was no parking fee for the lot by the tram unless you took the tram. Hiking entrance is the far left of the parking lot thru the dirt lot.

Definitely recommend this hike but it is runnable only for short distances at top and near bottom. Fantastic views! Was out of breath going up but not tired at all when done – encouraging.

#Seenlocal #Seensolo at Beaver Brook 6-14-20….Growing Forward

“In his book On Trails: An Exploration, Robert Moor writes, ‘In the end, we are all existential pathfinders: We select among the paths life affords, and then, when those paths no longer work for us, we edit them and innovate as necessary. The tricky part is that while we are editing our trails, our trails are also editing us.’ The choices we make, make us. We get to edit our paths, innovate them. We get to choose the story we tell about our lives—and the paths we choose, the story we tell, changes us too.”

Here I am again, at another crossroads in life.  My company announced its’ “wind down” last week and I am not sure if I will have this job for a week or a year still.  I am back in a “comfortable” place I have been frequently the last 11 years after I left the “safety” of GE and excited about what is to come.  It is the first time in a while I’ve had a “normal” transition out of a job, vs. ending a consulting engagement where you really aren’t part of the company and its nice to be with friends going through the same transition.  NEC has been the best team I ever worked with.

When I started trail running last year, I saw the movie “A Star is Born”, which broke my heart thinking about my friend Gunter, and listened over and over to the song “shallow” which talks about diving into the deep end and never meeting the ground.  I felt like that all last year – being afraid…committing to something I didn’t fully appreciate or know how to do.  I had set a goal, the Killington Ultra, having never done anything like it and just determined to trust my coach and try.  Finish or leave my body on the mountain – and this doesn’t mean failure, it meant doing my very best and not giving up ever.  Through all of last year, I found new friends, a love of trail running and the fun of problem solving myself.

I found the introductory paragraph and the following in a running blog:

https://www.crowathletics.com/the-caw/2020/6/12/defying-gravity-by-kelly-grogan?fbclid=IwAR3jRZzlFQF4O8wcWBfCIvSdCiri2Y_J0NNo9RFsJXsCqTAzBjy-9xViRAg

The author talks about finding someone with the “…spirit of approfondement—if I may borrow that marvelous French word that translates roughly as ‘playing easily in the deep.'”

You follow your heart, be happy about what you have, who you have in your life, and grow forward.  Learn to be good being in uncomfortable situation – it is something I hire for now.

Today was a beautiful, cool sunny day and I did my Sunday run on some new trails at Beaver Brook.  It was spectacularly beautiful.  As I think about updating my resume, I realize I need to rethink this as I am not the same person I was four years ago – better I think, I hope and definitely changed. And not afraid at all to go deep.