Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Endurance Society Launches into 2016!

2016 is around the corner and The Endurance Society has officially launched its events (including partner and community events!), new merchandise, list of inspiring partners, and tiered membership levels, which include receiving amazing merchandise in a unique crate delivered to your door!

Once again, Andy Weinberg and JackCary, co-founders of The Endurance Society, put a very unique touch on their events and products they offer.

AND. As you cruise through their gorgeous website, you come upon a once in a lifetime trek! The Everest Ultra: an 8 day trek to the base camp of Everest with Tenzing Sherpa! Oh my.

I participated in all of their events last year. You can read my experiences/see pictures by clicking on the hyperlink. I am so grateful to have joined in on all the events in their inaugural year!

The Events:
1. Extemus- A 50+ mile winter trek along the Long Trail!

Jack and Dan at Taylor Lodge along the Long Trail

2. Frigus- Snowshoe Race!

This year's poster!
Such a fun day!

3. Infinitus- Ultramarathons of various distances!

Fave pic I took at the end of the weekend last year!
An example of the hilarity among the pain!

4. Sine Nomine- no comment! Participants are bound to secrecy! Believe me, you don't want to know what we did. LOL! The craziest of crazy for crazies. :)

Membership Levels:
I can't even believe how generous the merchandise is for each level of membership. I have never seen anything like it.

Here is the link to their gorgeous site!!!!

1. Base Membership for $19
  • 10% off 2016 Endurance Society Events*
  • Welcome Letter (Parchment paper with wax seal)
  • Official Membership Card
  • Patch "The Endurance Society"
  • Sticker #1 "Round Seal w/Latin Motto"
  • Sticker #2 "The Endurance Society"
2. Ascent Membership for $49
  • T-Shirt (Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • Running Hat (Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • 15% off 2016 Endurance Society Events*
  • Welcome Letter (Parchment paper with wax seal)
  • Official Membership Card
  • Patch "The Endurance Society"
  • Sticker #1 "Round Seal w/Latin Motto"
  • Sticker #2 "The Endurance Society"
  • Discounts from our Partners*​*
3. Summit Memberhship for $99 (a damn steal!!!)
  • Hooded Sweatshirt (Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • Summit Flag (12" x 18" Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • T-Shirt (Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • Running Hat (Black w/Endurance Society logo)
  • ​20% off 2016 Endurance Society Events*
  • Welcome Letter (Parchment paper with wax seal)
  • Official Membership Card
  • Patch "The Endurance Society"
  • Sticker #1 "Round Seal w/Latin Motto"
  • Sticker #2 "The Endurance Society"
  • Discounts from our Partners*​*
  • Ships in Wooded Crate with Logo

here are the items!
click on this link to get to the merchandise!!!
(photo: The Endurance Society)

I could go on and on about my experiences and love for these events. Those who have participated...I know they leave Vermont having learned so much about what they are capable of. I know I do (I live here so I don't have to leave!). I continue to grasp these experiences and take all I can from them. Sounds selfish? Nope. This is what The Endurance Society offers. Life changing events. No comfort zone. Make you think on your feet. Make you think when in dark moments. Some events you finish, some you don't. You pull from what you learn from these events forever in your every day life.

Sign up for the crazy membership deals.
Sign up for an event.
Get beautiful merchandise.
Meet inspiring people who want to grow. And, hear their own life stories as you hike or run or snowshoe together.
Make friends for life.

I can't wait until 2016!!!!

Thank you, Andy and Jack, for providing more opportunities for personal growth!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Catamount Games

The Crew!
(All photos here are by Darrin Ingram unless noted otherwise)

Oh my, I AM TIRED.

A week after I made a mad dash between driving, flight, driving and then competing in a 2.5 day event, then driving, flight, driving, all in 4.5 days, I AM TOAST. Mostly emotionally. 

More so than my other events. Why? 

It has nothing to do with this amazing event and it's well thought out design and logistics and leadership but everything to do with where I am at in wanting to do multi day events.

Time to process what that means. And, I did a TON of processing while out in the wilderness of Kentucky, being challenged to the core. But first....

Summary of the Games:

The Catamount Games were so friggin' amazing. Hosted in the Red River Gorge area of the Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky and led by my friend, Darrin Ingram and Brett Barron, thirteen of us were treated to gorgeous caves, cliffs, rivers, huge rhododendron and wild magnolia that blanketed the forest, and steep and rolling, delicious climbs. The leaves were starting to change color and huge "elephant ear" shaped magnolia leaves were all over the trails. I was kind of obsessed with them. I was in awe of the way Darrin and Brett worked together. Always keeping their eye on the flow of the group, how people were doing, taking in the mileage that needed to be covered and mixing in the workouts as opportunities arose. "Alright, drop your packs and get ready for the next workout!" *gasp*!

The format of the Games was simple: The top male and female with most points wins. Points were given for each WOD, written test and the arrival at a certain points during the 50 miles of hiking. In theory, this format could even out the the playing field a bit. Some folks were better at the workouts, some better at heavy rucking and hiking and we were all stupid with the paper tests. Ha! Sixth grade math was not happening when sleep deprived and tired!

I won't get into the specifics of each WOD (too many to recall it seems! And, many of the workouts contained the words "devil", "blaster", etc) but here are a few of the highlights of my experience.

After a warm up WOD and passing the first test of figuring out where we were on the map (and our ticket to breakfast!), we hiked down the road and eventually came to the trail head of the wilderness. Here we took a test about cats (huh?) then another workout...and THEN we were treated to atlas stones. For those who don't know what atlas stones are, they are spheres of cement and are hard to manage. Women had 45 pound stones and the mens' weighed in at 65 pounds. Hellllo!!! I had never picked up an atlas stone in my life and now I was being handed a 45 pound one. We were told to haul this to where ever we were going. We had no idea how far or where we were going. So, some participants were getting very, very frustrated ALREADY and we were only one hour into the games. I heard lots of "fuck!" and the deep sound that an atlas stone makes when hitting the ground as we trudged along. WOOHOO! Let the mental game begin!

She was not at Catamount Games but she is strong and beautiful (you're welcome!)
and a good example of what an atlas stone is for those that don't know ;)

Cat test #1!
Games about to begin

3.5 miles with full pack and stone.

I tried carrying it in my arms while also shouldering my 35-40 pound pack. This shorty was carrying 80-85 pounds. Eventually, I was dropping the stone every few feet and having to pick it back up again and again and getting behind so Brett said I needed to figure out another way, so I put it on the top of my pack and he helped me hoist my pack back onto my shoulders. From that point, I was golden! I was able to cruise on at a good pace and made it to the river (the distance was 3.5 miles...a delicious 5k with 80-85 pounds) where we dropped the stones for the next two days. BUT. In the back of our minds, we knew we would be hauling those bitches out again. Which would be slightly uphill. I had to push that into the back of my mind. We had two full days (12 hours+! each) of WODs and hiking ahead of us. Oh, we had to do 30 ground to overhead presses with that damn stone when we arrived at the river. Took me forever.

30 ground to overhead presses with 45 pound stone.

Hold pack over ahead until fail.
Just one of the challenges of the weekend!

We spent our first night out in the wilderness after miles of hiking, many workouts, and bushwhacking that included a set up of the climbing rope. So gorgeous. We got caught in a thunderstorm up on the ridge we had just bushwhacked up so we arrived wet and soggy to the campsite. The rain stopped for a few hours which allowed us to set up a camp in the woods and start a fire. The rain started up again that night but it was fine. I was cozy in my new bivy (even though it completely  my money back!) and happy to have a solid nights sleep. I guess a big tree fell nearby and I never heard it. I was out like a light (and snoring...sorry Dave!)

bushwhacking through rhododendron!

our wilderness campsite

The next day we took a side trip to see some natural arches. So thankful for the bit of sight seeing as well. Of course, we were handed a soul crushing WOD at the view points but that's all part of the Games.

Gorgeous arch! Cold up there that morning.
We were all yelling at Darrin to take a selfie with us in it!

Just about to get our asses kicked by the Devil's WOD or whatever it was called!
Looking at arches here...
(photo: Doug Strobel)

Eventually, we hiked to a suspension bridge, filled up our empty sandbags with river muck, hauled it uphill, and took a math test (I felt so was 6th grade level fractions). Then, we were treated to a rope traverse across a river! Darrin and Brett and couple folks set up the rope for us. We learned how to make a harness with the rope we brought, clipped in to the rope (I cried in fear as I was clipping in but I was fine once I let go and hung over the river). It was super hard as you needed really strong grip strength/forearm strength. Only three people actually made it totally across.

Filled up the sandbag with river muck then up the
hill we went to take a math test!

Harness demonstration!
I'm hanging over the river!
(photo: Dave French)
Justin keeping my feet dry for me!
Justin won the games for men!
Amazing young man and so helpful all weekend.
(photo: Dave French)

From there, we hiked and hiked our way back to base camp. We knew the whole time we would be carrying those atlas stones back to the trail head. I was completely distracted by that and our bodies were becoming increasingly more calorie deficient as food was running out for some of us. I was running low and trying to spread out what I had left. We climbed a steep approach to Indian Staircase (I bonked HARD here....needed quick sugar which Brett gave me and got me along for a few miles) and then down we went, rolling and flat miles back to the atlas stones at the river we left 36+ hours earlier.

It was starting to get dark...about 7pm. We rested and ate what we had and hydrated, packed that atlas stone into our backpacks, turned our headlamps on and started the 3.5 mile march back to the trail head. We were told we could drop the stones there and that getting back to general store would be a race and points awarded. And, in order to get the pizza we were dying for we had to pass in another test about cats!! I marched out with my friends, Dave and Sarah. Dave kept the pace and Sarah and I just moved. We were hurting but we really wanted to just get the hell out of there and drop those stones. We stopped a few times to sit down on a log and let the weight of the pack be lifted off of us for a few moments. We never once took the pack off in that 2+ hour trek. Sarah and I moaned and groaned and the three of us coaxed us to keep moving. Such relief to drop that stone!! Justin, Sarah, Holly and myself were the first to arrive with those stones. Sarah and I then took off and completed the test in the dark as we were walking back to the store. That sub-par pizza was so delicious!!!! That 3.5 mile trek out in the dark with that weight and stone was definitely my proudest effort of the entire weekend. I just kept one foot in front of the other and hammered in mentally. The night is my most favorite time to be out doing something like this.

Sarah and Dave!
We worked hard to get those atlas stones out!
One foot in front of the other!

That night, I slept by the fire. We were told to wake up at 6am and be ready. Darrin then presented us with infamous Leg Blaster workout:

5 Rounds for time:
20x air squats
20x in-place lunges (10x each leg) +
20x jumping lunges (10x each leg) +
20x squat jumps

There in the dark of the morning, I wept. I totally cried during this. My legs were tired. I was not sore but I was worked. I did not have the umph to do the jumping lunges so I did not do them. I had to scale almost every WOD that weekend. I was in the presence of very strong men and women and in awe of the speed and strength they had to perform the workouts!

After the workout, we had breakfast and were told that we were now on our own for the rest of the day, not required to move as a group to finish the final task. We had until 3pm. We were told to pack light with food and water and the map. The goal was to get to two spots along the trail that we had hiked the day before...11 miles one way back to the suspension bridge! At the bridge and at Cloudsplitter (a beautiful rock formation) there would be a hole puncher and we had to hole punch the map. Along the way, we also had to memorize a poem and recite it to Darrin. And, there was also a Sudoku-esq math puzzle to complete....all before 3pm.

The poem that brought  me to my knees.
More so than any mile hiked or WOD that weekend.

Justin and Mike taking the final test.
I'm drinking cup after cup of crappy coffee in the background!
It was the first coffee I had in three days and I did not care how bad it was! :)

map of our trek!

This is when I broke down. I took a look at the poem and started crying. I was tired physically and mentally. The poem hit me so clearly spoke to my path over the past 10 years since Faye's death. I was exhausted. At this point in an event, I can usually take that pain and grief and use it to power me. "I've been through the worst. I can do these next 10 miles or so." Thing is, this was the first time I just did not want to do that. I was done. I had cried for that 1.5 hours to the river and did not have the mental energy to keep going on with that small group I was with. I just needed to go back to the base camp. Being out there for 4 more hours bushwhacking was not want I wanted. I was done. It was clear to me that I wanted to be done. More clear than anything else. I told folks to keep going and I was fine to head back alone. I cried the 3.5 miles back and felt relieved. I was walking up the road and I saw Darrin and started crying again. He came up to me and hugged me and I told him how his poem opened me up raw emotionally and that I just wanted to be done...that I appreciated the entire weekend and what I learned about myself. He told me that many folks had broken down during his events just a I had. And to be proud of what I did. I took a load off and waited for the other folks to slowly return over the next few hours.

Top finishers!
Justin and Holly!
So impressive out there all weekend.
Final goodbye pic!

Women of Catamount Games Fall 2015!!!
I witnessed some crazy impressive physical strength that weekend, both women and men. I witnessed folks dipping their toes into backpacking for the first time in their lives...something I have done for 20+ years. I think folks learned so much about what they are capable of in those 2.5 days, just as I have over the past 3 years of participating in multi day events.

And, this is what brings me to my "epiphany" of the weekend.

I went into this event testing myself...wondering if this could be the end of my interest/participation in multi day events.

And, I think I am done for a while. I need a break. When you can't mentally rise up to finish, then you need a break. I participated in 3 multi day events this year and ran logistics for one other. That's FOUR EVENTS THIS YEAR! That's too much for me. I've decided to volunteer and crew others at these type of events. The training is intense. The time taken to train is intense. The balance of it all. The time away from family and friends. I have been cruising at this pace for 3 years. I need to slow down for a bit.

On that note, you HAVE to join in on one of the Catamount Games. They are wonderfully executed. You learn about the area of the country you are competing in, you learn about yourself, you get to go many miles out into the wilderness and see what many don't! That for me is witness new wilderness.

The Winter Catamount Games are set for February 2016 in Frozenhead State Park in Tennessee and the sign up is open now! Here is the link!

Do it.

Thank you, Darrin and Brett, for an amazing experience! Much love to you both!!!

Dave French, thank you for the invitation to this event and for all the damn driving you did!!!

Anyone need a bomber crew member?Talk to me. 😘


The shirt I wore the entire weekend! I put that up with my
other multi day endurance race bibs!
Lots of hours and miles and sweat and tears in those bibs!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Infinitus 48 Hour Ultramarathon!

What an amazing weekend. Andy Weinberg and Jack Cary/The Endurance Society pulled off an amazing inaugural ultramarathon event! They had everything: 8k, 88k, 48 hour, 72 hour, 888k. Something for everyone! I'm going to break this recap down into these categories. Lots of pictures!
  1. My training
  2. My race
  3. What I feel I did right
  4. Lessons learned and what would have made my miles easier
  5. The People

Back in November, I decided I was done with running for a bit. I was bored with it and I wanted a change. Yes, I was going to do an ultramarathon with no running. I was going to hike it instead! I am a strong hiker so I set my mind to getting my body even stronger for hiking. So, I started rucking with bricks. I had no one telling me how to train and was going to get strong the way I wanted to....meaning, I WANTED TO ENJOY MY TRAINING AGAIN! I did not want to follow a program and I had to be gentle with balancing my time with family so I decided no long training runs on the weekend but some solid hours a week of rucking....2-3 hours at a time, building up the number of bricks I carried every month. I started with 2 bricks and ended with 7 bricks by February. There were many cold -20 nights I would put Aida to bed and suit up at 8pm and ruck until 10pm in the snow and cold temps. Great mental training, by the way, to tuck your kid in, leave a warm woodstove after a long day and blast outside in the freezing cold! I also purchased a used weight bench for $25 and lifted in my basement. It was fun! By March, I learned of Crossfit Waterbury and joined up. So many racers I know are crossfit members and I knew it would only help me. And, did it ever!!!! I never had ONE OUNCE of muscle soreness during or after the race! Quads, glutes, IT band, ankles, hips, back, feet, upper body. NOTHING. Amazing! Again, I hiked the entire 78 miles and never ran a step. That was my strategy going into this. I knew running this course would tear me down so that is why I trained the way I did. It worked!!!

7 of my friends!
my $25 weight bench from the 1980s!
Sears and Robuck brand!!!
I spent hours and hours rucking in the woods
on my dirt roads at night from November to May. The majority
of the hours were in the dark. This is a rare daytime ruck in the woods.

Crossfit Waterbury!
I joined in March. Best thing ever! I know it contributed to my success!

My Race:
My race "began" the first day the 888kers started their 10 day trek. I drove over for their 8:08am start and was so inspired to see those 10 individuals getting ready after a probably fitful night of sleep; taping feet, packing their running packs, eating last minute snacks before their first 10 miles of the 550. I took that energy and it fed me until I started 8 days later. I say my race started then because I started to get into my head game...which was STAY PRESENT. I carried that for the next 8 days.

I took a quick trek over on Saturday to see how the 888kers were doing and to introduce Aida to the scene. She quickly made her way to the pond and  played with the fish and salamanders with Andy's daughter, Jade, while I spoke with racers as they came and went over those few hours. I brought some pizza and Gatorade and enjoyed the afternoon, getting a feel for what the racers were vicariously through there trail stories, fatigue and foot issues. It had been three days for them at this point.

home sweet home for the weekend!

It was a LONG 8 days waiting for the 48 hour race to start! There were 36 of us signed up, a few did not show. I showed up Thursday afternoon, chatting it up with the 72 hour folks as they came and went...their journey started that morning. I set up my tent in the field and brought my food bin, gear bin and cooler into the ski center. I laughed a ton with other 48 hour folks that were slowly arriving, and by 9pm, I went to sleep. Big couple days coming up. I slept great! Quiet....peepers were loud....I could hear a bit of the folks who were up hanging out by the bonfire (I'm too old for that...I needed my hours of sleep), I was super present and did not worry at all about the 48 hours ahead of me so I just drifted off.

cover to my gear bin! reminders were very helpful every time
I came back from a loop!

kick ass bib number!!! And my morning coffee before the race.

I had signed up for the 72 hour initially so that is why
I am on the 72 hour leaderboard :)

Race Day! Up and at 'em at 5am! I had some food and coffee, registered with Andy at 6am, got my number (48!!!) and got my pack settled for the first 10 miles. What I loved about this event was it is a 26 mile distance of two loops: a 10 miler and a 16 miler. I loved the mental challenge of getting ready for the "happy loop" of 10 miles, which did include a 1.5 mile UP stretch up Romance Mountain...but once you were up there it was smooth sailing. LOVED IT. I could smoke that loop in 2:45 or 3 hours and be happy. The challenge came when you arrived back at the ski center, everyone wanting to say hello and check in on you (thank you!) but for me with no crew, I had to buckle down and think about what I needed for the next 16 miles. The first time I did the 16 mile loop, it took me 5.5 hours to complete. I was in heaven with my music. The heat was not too unbearable, the bugs were vicious, but the loop was gorgeous. My goal was to not get my feet wet in that first 3 miles of the 16 mile loop...super muddy and wet. I just used my poles and guided myself around the mud bogs. I got to the river crossing and walked a short ways down and rock  hopped...again, keep the feet dry! We were super lucky the river had receded and the muddy sections started to dry out for us...I do realize we had that going for us as the 888kers had it pretty rough for more than a few days.

I arrived back at the ski center and got myself going for the 10 mile loop. I wish I had put bug spray on because it was prime bug time(5pm-8pm) and I was going crazy swatting them! I have never witnessed that in all my years hiking! I got in my zone, got back to the ski center, refilled everything with food and water and my secret weapon can of Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso drink (for when my sleep cycle was going to hit around 11pm!) and was back out on the trail at 9pm! I knew I would be out there until at least 4am so, I had my two Ipods and lit outta there! I was so happy! I love hiking alone in the woods at night. The trails were very well marked, the bugs had gone away with the cooling of the temps (which it really did not cool down all that much but it helped), the moon was out, Jack's freaky props in 8s were everywhere, and at one point, I was sitting in the middle of the trail around midnight, eating a Cliff Bar, drinking the espresso, and listening to loud music....just totally in my happy place. I hiked on and got back to the ski center by 4amish. I had left when the sun was going down and returned when the sun was coming up. I checked in....2 full marathons done! I went to my tent and slept an hour, got back up and packed, popped a couple blisters, taped my feet, changed sneakers and socks and headed back out for the 10 mile loop at about 6:15am. I was hoping to be back by 9:30am with a goal of being back out on the 16 mile loop by 10am. As I started out for the 10 miler, I could feel the heat of the day already. I tried not to think about another day of heat so I just put my music on and moved.

I think this was after my first 10 miles!
(photo by Mark Mccaslin)

first loop done!

Heading out for mile 62
photo: Bigzig Soboleski

I got back to the ski center, 62 miles done, and I totally lost it. I started crying, I was freaking out about heading out for 16 miles in that heat! I don't do well with it and especially with barely any sleep and 62 miles done, I knew it would hit me hard. I did not want to see anyone (family) so I had Jack call home and tell them to stay put. I headed out crying and eating a bagel with cream cheese lol. I got to the 3 mile aid station and saw Jack dropping off water and we chatted a bit. I headed out and slogged the friggin' Leicester Hollow Trail....bug central!!!! My calves started to tighten along this long, flat-ish stretch so I took some salt tabs and ate some salty food. I got to Chandler Ridge Trail, which is the start of the accent up to the top and all of a sudden I felt REALLY BAD....I think my blood sugar was dropping....I was really hot. I was scared of heat exhaustion. I had been alone on these trails for 70 miles at this point but I did not want to be alone feeling like that. I was pretty scared. BUT! All of a sudden, two 888k pacers, Gary Davis and Victoria Petryshyn, came along and gave me quick energy foods, and then my friend, Fran, came along and gave me some cold Campbell Soup (salt!!!!). I sat in the shade and rested and finished up. I had 8 miles to go so I had to buck up and make it out. My calves were so tight! Not muscle overuse pain, but TIGHT! It was hard to walk. Fran's humor helped me slog out those last miles, I dunked my head into the lake along the way, and we made it back to the ski center at around 6pm.

78 miles done.
My calves were so locked...I have no idea how I was walking!
Fran and Mike P! Love those two big guys!
(photo Mark Mccaslin)

I hobble into the ski center and sit down. Many folks kept asking me how I was, did I  need anything, you gotta get back out there, can I help you pack your pack, can I fill your water. I was feeling loved but in my head, I could not see how I was going to walk another marathon. I could not flex my calves! And, it hurt to even touch them. Not muscle soreness, but something different I had never felt before. Beth, a racer and massage therapist, felt my calves and said my soleus on both legs was completely locked. I didn't really know what that meant so I asked and she and two other folks agreed that it was probably due to an electrolyte imbalance of magnesium and potassium. And, if I go on like this, my Achilles could pull out. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!? So, they gave me magnesium pills and I drank my last Starbucks Doubleshot thingy which has a ton of potassium in it. I sat it out a bit to see if they would unlock. It was a few hours before they even started to release. I watched 100 milers finish as well as 88kers. I watched racers feet get worked on. I hung out with many folks in the ski center while a raging thunderstorm hit and witnessed brave racers who went out in it to get there final 16 mile loop. I got to chat with friends with whom I had death raced with in the past. We were all having a good time, addressing our sore bodies and blistered feet and having a beer, and sharing stories of our adventures on our loops of Infinitus. We all had such different experiences!!! I then decided I was done. Mentally, I could go back out there and get one more marathon. But, why would I risk injuring myself? Yes, I worked hard for months. Yes, my brain was still in the game. But, I know my body and there is no way I felt the need to push it. I told Andy to mark me as done and I got my medal. I stayed up until 2am-ish with folks then hobbled out to my tent and got some sleep. I was totally at peace with my decision! I had done 78 friggin' miles!

And, I will try for it again next year!

78 miles done....
(photo by Mark Mccaslin)

What we do seems insane to others. It's just "normal weekend stuff," to quote Jack Cary.
"I was a marathon short of 100 miles." I mentioned to my workplace when I emailed in my work schedule for the week. Two different coworkers responded the same way: "do you realize how strange that sounds to those that don't do what you do? One marathon to us is a big deal and you are out there attempting 4 in 48 hours!!!!" To me, it was a game of numbers. I am goal oriented and my mind was focused on one foot in front of the other and getting back and having the satisfaction of marking my time after each loop on the leader board. Kind of like each time I completed one of the 48 4,000 footer peaks in New Hampshire....coming back home and marking the date in the back of the guidebook next to the peak's name.

What I felt I did right:
  • my training
  • my foot care
  • staying out of the mud and water
  • being alone almost the entire time. I could focus on me and my goal.
What I learned:
  • hot days mean having even more electrolytes than I had. Death Races are different in that you stopped often enough but an ultra of this length, you are moving constantly and your body depletes way faster. I knew this but it was a solid reminder!
  • bring quick energy like the Cliff Baby food things that saved my ass on Chandler Ridge. And a can of Campbell's Soup! Salt! Thanks Fran!
  • I crewed myself, but I think having one person to crew would be super helpful when the hours are ticking....just one person to focus on you when you can't think.
  • I used a Camelback hydration pack that is 15 years old. It works and fits me great! But, I can see how the Nathan packs provide conveniences like having your snacks right there and your iPod. I had to take my pack off each time to get to food. I guess that is not a bad thing because it forces you to stop and rest...and look around at the surroundings! I also carried my iPod on my hip in between my skin and my running shorts since I had no pockets. It got sweaty and annoying sometimes but I worked with it. I had it in my pack but the cord was pissing me off around my neck so I put it on my hip. 
The People:
Again, Andy and Jack attract the most amazing athletes and individuals to their events. I mean, who comes to Vermont in prime bug season and when the seasons are still changing to run for 10 days, 3 days or 2 days!? It friggin' snowed and was so cold the first few days and then it was in the high 80s and humid by the end of the week. I continue to make amazing friendships with like minded folks who come to Vermont from all over this country. I could post a picture of everyone from that race but here are a few!!

Greg Salveson
The only 888k finisher.
Strongest ultra runner I have ever seen.
AND! When I was on my 16 mile night loop, I was able to see him on his last few miles
of his journey!!! How lucky was I!?!?! Big hugs were given out there in the dark!
(photo: Mark Mccaslin)
Here's Greg in race mode. Swear to god he had that smile every time.
Jeff Seymour.
Pretty much one of my favorite people I have met over the past couple years.
He finished that 100 mile in 48 hours strong! Here he is finishing Sunday morning!
Love you, Jeff!! Wicked proud of you!
(photo: Mark Mccaslin)

Courtenay Guertin.
First Place 48 hour with FRIGGIN 169 MILES!!!
I saw him fly through the woods a few times with only one water bottle every time.
He is a machine and such a nice guy. Congrats!!
(photo Mark Mccaslin)

Rebecca Daniels Hansen
419 miles!!!
I don't know a woman as mentally tough as her. She is my idol.
And, Andy teases and torments her more than anyone else at these races!!
And she keeps coming back :)

Here's another one of Rebecca in race mode
with Jack instead of with the clown.
Unless you think Jack is a clown, too :)
(photo by Mark Webb)
Friggin' Billy McKenna.
He rolls up to the race in a used limo he recently bought
wearing this suit. And, he blasts out 141 miles and gets 2nd place
for the 48 hour race. Dude is classic, strong, and gives zero fucks. :)

John Spelko.
69 years old. Blasted 100 miles in 72 hours.
I love John! Super strong!!!! Great job!
(photo Mark Mccaslin)

Canadian dudes! Loved these guys! You were awesome,
Mitchell Wood, Shannon Hulme and Jamie Boyle!

My friend, Mark Webb, tirelessly took care of many, 
many battered feet over three days!
Thank you!
(Photo: Lisa Madden)

My go to items for the 48 hour I participated in:
  • My music.
  • And, Starbucks Doubleshot Energy. Three of them.
  • My music.
  • Oh, and MY MUSIC.  ;)
Items on the trail all in counts of 8s (there are so many more I can't remember!) See some photos below!
  • rubber duckies
  • no smoking signs
  • water guns at the river crossing
  • barbie doll head/torso in jars
  • barbie doll legs
  • mens underwear
  • handcuffs
  • garden gnomes
  • roosters (?)
  • bows used for presents
  • flowers
  • masks on trees
  • oven mits
  • one large freakin clown
  • one large doll
  • numerous signs varying on the #8 from elementary school worksheets (friggin Penguin with the #8 on his fat little belly pissed me off every time I saw it on Chandler Ridge Trail!)
  • Miles- 78
  • Hours- 34 out of 48
  • Elevation change in those 34 hours- ~10,000 feet

Additional photos for archives and laughs!!!

creepy clown and Jordan Wirfs-Brock (888k racer)
at the top of Romance Mountain stretch!
(photo by Jordan's crew, I think)

Jack's creepy barbie dolls
Photo: Ryan Peters

Photo: Ryan Peters

Photo: Ryan Peters

Photo: Ryan Peters

Photo: Ryan Peters

Photo: Ryan Peters

Billy McKenna and Jack and Andy and the clown
that Billy just carried down after his 141 mile and the race ended.
This picture perfectly captures the vibe of the weekend.
I love this tribe of lovable freaks!

Aida made me a sweet congrats poster for when I arrived home Sunday morning!

I grabbed the box of leftover c section abd pads n' stuff from, like, 8 years ago
and doctored my feet for a few days.

The traditional "Andy starting line!"
"It's over here!" as he is spray painting the grass or snow.

They had to say something nice about each other.
Jack and one of his babies. There were 8 of these lit up by night lights on the trail.
He is the creative genius behind all the signs and trail props that kept us
either entertained or pissed off depending on how far along in the
race we were! 

Voodoo doll and the Infinitus course map!

Trail sign

Aida loved this sign and totally got the joke! lol!

Andy was so damn excited about having a cannon "with a really cannon ball!!"
start the 88k race!
(photo Mark Mccaslin)

1am on Sunday morning and we are all up waiting for 100 milers and 88Kers
to come in. Andy was entertaining as he was up past his bed time.
So funny.....I did not want to go to bed but needed it!

I love them for challenging us!
(photo by Sloan Weinberg)

Elevation profile per 26 mile loop
Provided by Greg Salvesen,
the only person to finish the 888k (550) course in 9 days!!!

So there it is! Infinitus 2015 in the books! Already looking forward to signing up for Infinitus 2016!!!