The target all winter was the Boston Marathon, so 90-100 mile weeks and key sessions and bi-weekly long runs with one week per week 15-20 miles. All went well-ish. Come Late March I was feeling OK and starting to knock out longer runs at a decent pace but the winter was harsh. Even in the Mid-Atlantic States we had a bad winter, not lots of snow, just bad sequences. Snow, thaw, freeze; or freezing rain.
This is the World Record Ultra-running extraordinaire, Michael Wardian set last year in December of 2014. The pace per mile equates to roughly 5:59/6 minutes a mile. To run the time, a runner must split 45.0 seconds every 200 meters for the allotted 250 laps required for a 50k (31.1) miles while not using pacers or switching directions of the track.
In addition to Iain Ridgway racing at Breakneck, we had Denis Mikhaylove, who beat me two years ago at Escarpment and is one of few runners to break 3 hours on that course, Ryan Welts, former owner of several FKT’s in NH, and Carlo “the Jackal” Agostinetto, who just ran a 1:13 at the NYC half marathon. While Ryan had not gotten in much running due to all the snow up north, I knew he would be tough on the climbs
The trail season coincidentally began with the first real day of spring in the area. Since Warren Street’s friend Sebastien introduced me to the Breakneck Ridge Trail last summer, I’ve visited the trail a half dozen times, enjoyed it with dry, humid and icy/snowy conditions. I even loved to initiate a wonderful chase (I only started it, then the big dogs came to claim the territory) for the Breakneck/Beacon FKT...
My alarm sounded at 3:45 am. While I slept under 4 hours I was excited about the day of adventure that was in front of me and I jumped out of bed. I had attended a Mobility & Strength class at Run On Hudson Valley, led by Joe and Elizabeth Azze of Mountain Peak Fitness the night before, and despite a little lack of sleep, my body felt better than it had in a while.
The 2015 Mount Tammany 10 takes place near the Delaware Water Gap of NJ. It is a 3 mile loop that is ran 10x's, taking you up Mount Tammany 10x's for around 40 miles and over 12,000 feet of elevation gain! This year the runners had an additional challenge of a late winter storm that came in the day before.
The New Jersey Ultra Festival 50K is part of the NJ Trail Series. The race took place on Saturday March 21st, 2015. The Course is a trail behind the County Fairgrounds in Sussex County, New Jersey. During the week leading up to the race day of the NJ Ultra Festival a lot of the snowfall in the area had melted. By Thursday conditions were looking like a fast run.
It is fitting that I ended up doing a loop course race following the recent discussion of whether or not loop courses are defined as trail races. I can tell now that the Mt. Tammany 10 is definitely a trail race, and despite the 10 loops, you could not even call it monotonous. I was wishing for a little more monotony towards the end of the day (day, for a 40 mile race?).
The thigh muscles or quadriceps which are made up of 4 primary muscles (rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, medialis, lateralis) commonly have a lot of tension and adhesions (trigger points or knots) within them, especially in the large population of people who sit much of the day. This leads to short and weakened hip flexors, poor static and dynamic posture, trouble hinging from the hips correctly, squatting from the knees instead of sitting back with the hips and disengaged glutes. This can be seen all the way up to elite athletes or someone just looking for general fitness and strength.
When Ryan Welts from New Hampshire joined the MPF RNR trail running team I immediately thought it would be great if he led the next team adventure. I messaged him and he graciously accepted the task! We came up with a date, gear requirements, etc. and soon the trip became a reality and we were off to adventure on the 16 mile traverse of the Franconia Ridge.
Everyone has their bucket list and it's an ever changing list. It changes with age and what’s going on in your life and yet some places or events never change. About five years ago when I really started getting into the outdoors and trail running, I learned of all these amazing places: New Zealand, Patagonia, the dolomites, the PCT, AT, etc. How long would it take for me to travel to all these places while still trying to race, work and spend time with friends or even find friends who would want to go with you!?
As we embarked on our 4th annual winter adventure in the Catskills of New York, the trail conditions were relatively unknown. Each year the Slide Mountain Wilderness area has offered us something different, some years the trails have been covered in thick sheets of ice, other years snow but never deep enough to warrant snowshoes 100% of the time. This year was a whole different story….
Today, conditions were good for snowshoeing in the Harriman State Park area of New York. Some of us opted for the no snowshoe approach, but had to raise the effort quite a bit just to keep pace. Hiking poles & microspikes definitely helped but still were no match for the efficiency of proper snowshoeing.
We finally made our way back to Schunemunk Mountain State Park in New York! This is a very visible mountain from around the region. Its summit reaches close to 1,700 feet above sea level. For roughly three miles of the 25+ miles of trails in the park, there are two ridges running parallel to each other, separated by the valley of Baby Brook. It's a great training ground to work on your climbing and technical running.