Saturday was my first time racing at Team Amp’s Six in the Stix Trail Race. It was a hot and sticky morning in NH do running in the woods sounded like a perfect idea. Before the race I quietly warmed up on the trail and this was one of the first things that I encountered . . .
A little ski jumping anyone?
I was hot before the race got started and felt antsy to get going. The energy of the racers was high as we entered the woods and I quickly found my pace as we entered the woods for some uphill. The woods were cool and the footing was soft.
Every time I get on the trails I feel like a kid on an adventure through green fairy land. The air always feels refreshing and the woods always seem magical even when i am pushing the pace. How do you feel when you are on the trails? Racing or just out for a fun run?
This race was my favorite distance. I know I can push hard through the finish and have begun to find my speed. The downhill came at about 3 miles in. I have been working hard on my downhill running. I’ve found it’s best to stay loose and let gravity take over. Running down is all about watching your footing while at the same time being just on the edge of out of control.
The race finished near the ski jump on the track. The loop around the track was a little jolting after being on the trail but I pushed to the finish in 49:56. I ended up third in my age group which landed me a spot on the “podium.”
The prize was sweet-maple syrup! Yes, please!
I hope to hit the trails again soon for another awesome trail race.
Happy running and get out there hit the trail!
Trail running and racing is one of my favorite things to do. My first real experience with trail running began when I moved to Barnet, VT and began running on the Kingdom Trails with a bunch of runners who like to call themselves the Kingdom Krazies. We would spend countless hours running the endless trails, uphill and down, up the mountain, through the winding beautiful Vermont wilderness. How could you not fall in love with trail running? Racing on trails means going fast and the additional challenge of navigating the rocky/root covered terrain (roots sometimes being referred to as chicken necks which I think is hilarious) sometimes made slick by the rain. Racing on the trails brings a huge endorphin rush but at the same time a weird sense of calm that comes from the intense focus required for the fancy footwork as well from the crisp fresh air in the woods and sounds on the trails.
I welcome the adventure that awaits tomorrow. What adventures do you have planned?
Sunday was the first annual Littleton Bike and Fitness “Sufferfest” at Cannon Mountain. It was a cloudless day and hot. I arrived at the start at the Franconia Inn where around 100 mountain bikers and runners prepared to tackle the daunting trail and mountain course.
Bridget and I met up with some of the other Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks before the start. Of course we had to show our chick power in our cute Skirt Sports skirts. What is more bada$$ than a strong woman racing to the top of a 3,150 ft mountain?
The race started with mountain bikers first followed by eager runners. Not sure how to pace this and still unsure of my post-marathon legs I decided to race and have a blast. The first part was on beautiful trails through the woods. The air was pretty motionless and hot. I was definitely glad I chose to bring my camelbak.
The trails wound around until we came out of the woods at the base of Mitersill adjacent to Cannon Mountain. At that point the climbing commenced and running turned into a steady power hike. I was definitely happy to be on foot and not on bike. The mountain bikers had to hike too either pushing bikes or carrying them. They definitely endured the true “sufferfest!”
It was very hot on the way up so I was happy to be able to cool off along the way with fresh mountain water from the cold mountain streams. The volunteers handing out water were definitely busy and very appreciated!
I was thrilled to finish in a time of 1:33.28 and was psyched to find my friend Bridget the overall women’s winner in a blazing time of 1:13! The cheering at the top was extra awesome with super chick Tricia giving the racers energy into the finish line. Toni chick pushed hard to the top making a stellar comeback from a donkey related shoulder injury this winter (true story!).
Overall the race was a blast! The tram ride down was definitely welcome though (we rode in ketchup). I will definitely be back for more next year!
Tomorrow it is me against the mountain (for the first annual Sufferfest). I am looking forward to racing up Cannon Mountain tomorrow. This will be a race just for me. No expectations. Get out there have some fun and run my own race. It is often easy to forget that part of running and racing . . . but that is my first and only goal tomorrow. Finishing the race at the summit will be an added bonus with the views as the reward at the end! (and I might even get to win some of our Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs at the race like I did during Winter Wild).
The race begins in Franconia, NH at the Franconia Inn and ends at the top of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch. You can pick your “poison” for the race, run it or ride it (mountain bike). The race will be a grueling 6 mile climb with an elevation gain of 3,150 feet. For trail enthusiasts and mountain runners this will be an exciting challenge and may even be referred to as “fun.” I’ll let you know how much “fun” I had post-race if I am still able to stand on my own two legs which are still in recovery mode post Vermont City Marathon. I am hoping some of the other Pete & Gerry’s Organic Chicks will join me on the mountain!
This race definitely has some cool features not to be missed:
It is primarily a trail race (albeit a trail race that only goes up!?!?)
If you are running perhaps one of the mountain bikers might let you hitch a ride?
When you EVENTUALLY arrive at the finish you will be rewarded with sweeping views of Franconia Notch and beyond.
It will NOT be snowing! (and if it is I think I may need to move somewhere tropical)
If you actually make it to the summit you can officially call yourself a bada$$ for rocking this awesome challenge.
You might win some egg-cellent raffle prizes that include some EXTREME PROTEIN to refuel your body post race!
You do not have to run or ride back down! The Trams often referred to by locals as “ketchup & mustard” will be there to bring you back to earth the base of the mountain.
***DISCLAIMER: If you do not like condiments then you are all out of luck and will have to run or ride back down.
SO who’s in? Are you up for the challenge? If so please register here on active.comand I’ll see you at the top!
I am proud of myself for all of my hard work and for not giving up at the Vermont City Marathon on Sunday. I know after running this race that I have extreme mental toughness and also the physical strength and aerobic capacity to run a marathon. My finish time at the marathon was 3:45.28. For me this was a 10 minute PR which is a tremendous accomplishment. I was 26th in my age group (35-39) out of 160 women, 153rd female out of 1,085, and 626th out of 2,418 runners.
I did not achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston (at least not yet that is). For me it was not meant to be at this race. For me this race was a learning experience which we must all go through in order to achieve success. I am proud of myself because even though I did not reach my ultimate goal I know that I left everything out on the pavement on Sunday.
My training this fall, winter, and spring was incredible. I trained my a$$ off! I was focused, I was driven, I stayed positive and overall I learned a lot about myself. Training for this race gave me confidence and inner-strength to be able to reach for my dreams. We all need goals and to reach for the stars.
On race day I wanted to go for it and did not feel stressed about the actual race but found myself lacking focus that morning and consumed by outside thoughts. I need to remember to run my own race
. Rather than sticking to a solid race plan of going out with a nice even pace of 8:10-8:20 and then working towards negative splits during the second half of the race I went out way too. I allowed the energy of the other runners, the crowds and the easy feeling of my gait to sweep me down the race course at a pace that would not be easy to maintain during the crucial last 6.2 miles. I made the rookie mistake of “fly and die.” I knew I went out too fast but for some reason could not slow myself down. I did not allow my friend Bridget who was pacing me to do her job of reminding me not to go too fast at the beginning.
My body was challenged on race day also due to nutrition and hydration issues. I took in plenty of GU along the course, along with bananas, watermelon, oranges, and water ices however I did not eat the “real food” that I needed and I did not eat early enough. My metabolism races so fast that I could have used an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich at around mile 5 and then every 4 or 5 miles after that. Around mile 19-20 the race course weaves through neighborhoods that have excellent crowd support but also are in direct sunlight and by that time the temperatures had climbed somewhere into the 80’s with no breeze. I had been alternating between water and gatorade at each aid station however the loss of electrolytes was too great and by mile 21 I felt myself bonking. My legs were wobbly and I began to zig zag. Thankfully Bridget was by my side to keep me focused. At the next aid station I was made to drink about 6-7 cups of gatorade (next race I will drink gatorade/NUUN at each station). My legs were cramping and then we had to walk for a while. Seeing the pace group leaders come by I knew my goal was passing but I still wanted to finish. At this point I had to focus on the finish line and on Bridget. I needed to focus on her energy and the energy of the other runners on the course. I had to find my “om,” to keep my emotions calm and just listen. I listened. I listened to my breathing, to my foot strikes. I listened to Bridget’s voice. I listened and I believed what she was saying and somehow found the last ounces of strength in my muscles and made my legs go. Crossing the finish line was not pretty and the end of the race experience required an extended stay at the lovely Medical tent in order to get my fluids back in balance.
Not the way I wanted to finish and not the final outcome that I had hoped for but I am PROUD. I have been able to stay positive and have done a lot of reflecting and revisiting the experience and know that in the end this race has made me a much stronger person and mentally tough runner. There will be other races and I am going to go after my dreams.
What dreams are you chasing?
Next race on my schedule: “Sufferfest“run by The Littleton Bike Shop in Littleton NH and sponsored by Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs our family farm. The race starts in Franconia, NH and ends at the top of Cannon Mountain. The course is 6 miles with 3150 feet of climbing. Who wants to join in the fun????