Saturday, June 16, 2012

laurel highlands ultra 70.5 mile

i guess i'd better get around to writing this before i forget EVERYTHING! first off, my biggest regret is that i didn't carry my camera. i was too freaked out at the start, worrying about cut-offs and stuff, that i didn't bother to pack it. so i found a few from google images, and i thank whoever i 'borrowed' them from.

what can i say - i went into this with a bad attitude. i had a some shit going on, other than running, that was messing me up. but that’s no excuse. i was scared that i wouldn’t be able to do this. i was convinced i wasn’t even going to go. i even went to crossfit on wednesday (for which i paid dearly i’m sure – and rest assured, i was kicking my ass more than anyone else could have for that moment of stoopidity.) once i decided to go, i was better. it sure took a long time to get my head into it though. it was derrick's words about ‘just being a run’, the captain saying, ‘we’re racing against time dora’, and alex sending me an email about great white sharks and retarded faces that finally helped me commit. good gawd!

i felt great at the start. the course was absolutely breathtaking. so beautiful. again, i am so annoyed that i didn’t take a camera. one of the kool things was that each mile was marked on a stone cairn giving you an idea of where you were on the course - and how far you still had to go!! it was a very technical course and i did my best to run it. i was with jd and steve for awhile, but they pulled ahead. i think we climbed for about the first 10 miles, and then ran along the ridge through a forest of ferns. i hit checkpoint 1 - 19.3 miles - with an hour to spare, so that made me happy.

i ran some of the course with jill homer - what a kool person! she's a good friend of my banff buddies leslie and keith, and i knew of her, but had never met her before. she had a nice steady pace, although somewhat klutzy, and it was nice to follow her for awhile! we came into checkpoint 2 together - 32.3 miles - and i was still feeling okay.

the next section is a bit of a blur. i don't know how some people can remember every little detail of a run - i have trouble with details in anything over an hour!! regardless, when i got to the 3rd checkpoint - 46.4 miles - jd and steve were there sitting on the grass. steve was pretty messed up - his stomach was bothering him - and jd had fallen 3 or 4 times. steve was planning on stopping but jd said he was still going to finish. i quickly refilled my water and grabbed some food and headed back out. i don’t know that my legs were really tired, but my feet were pretty sore. i think it was all the up and down, and going over rocks. i must have rolled my ankles a couple dozen times! but as i mentioned before, the scenery was so amazing that i managed to keep myself somewhat distracted. and i definitely remember running through tons of trail surrounded by mountain laurel. incredible!!!!!

i was starting to get whiny when i pulled into checkpoint 4 - 57.1 miles - but it was still light out! i thought for sure i would have been running in the dark by now. as i was stumbling around, refilling my pack and stuffing food into my face, this guy offered to pace me the last 13 miles. i had never considered a pacer, only having used one once before, and i warned him i was kranky. he said that didn’t matter and that if i got too bad he would just drop back a little. haaaa! and boy, did i get kranky. i think i cried a couple of times – i was sooo tired and just wanted to lay down. we’d run a mile, and i would yell that it was only a fucking mile!! when it got dark, i wasn’t running as much, as it was still pretty technical. after 5 miles, we hit this gravel fire road and coasted into the last aid station. the nice lady there made me a coffee and gave me a cup of potato soup! i jokingly laughed that my poor pacer probably wanted to let me get a mile or so down the trail before heading back out to leave me in my nastiness!

when i finally hit the 65mile marker, i started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. then 66, then 67. i still had a few hissy fits, but was closing in on the finish. with about 1.5 miles to go, this guy caught us. he was trying to get in under 20 hours – i had no idea what time it was. funny – that’s all it took! i just started booking it down this really nasty technical downhill riverbed. i can’t believe i didn’t kill myself! all i kept thinking was, don't fall, and i am so going to pay for this tomorrow! at the bottom of the hill, i caught 2 guys who were stunned at how fast i had run it. i yelled at them, ''where’s the goddam marker??'' they laughed and said i had just passed it. so i yelled again, ''come on boys, it’s only a mile. let’s go!'' i ran as strong as my poor legs would let me and made it in 19:43. i was so fucking happy i did the rocky double fist pump. i then lay down on the pavement and just let myself settle down. it was over. unbelievable!!

thoughts – this was good for my confidence. very good. i am sad that jd and steve didn’t finish, but even more so, and not in a bad way, glad that i did. i consider both of them very strong runners, and the fact that they didn’t makes me appreciate how well i sucked it up and finished. i think this was actually harder than haliburton.

as always, i want to thank derrick for getting me ready to run this. his coaching and understanding is beyond amazing. i wish i could have even a quarter of the confidence that he as in me! and the mighty one - great white shark - you kept me going. i don't know how many times i just wanted to lay down on the trail. love you both!!!

''Good luck this weekend! You have trained hard and are well prepared
for this moment. Rest assured that there is no way it will hurt more
than all the prowler sprints and burpees you've done lately. The best
preparation for pain is pain, and we both know you're tolerance is

When a Great White Shark goes in for the kill, it rolls its eyeballs
back in its head to protect them from being scratched. When you push
the prowler (low handles of course) and the rocks from the parking lot
are jumping up at you, that retarded face you make reminds me of that
great white shark going in for the kill. What's my point? During
your run, when you feel like you'd like to quit, roll your eyes back
in your head, make that retarded face and just keep pushing. Your
reward is that you can swallow a whole seal or sea lion... or pig, or
cow, or what ever, once you're done.''

Alex Possamai


  1. From the pictures it really does look like a magical place. Great job on the race!

  2. Your best race report ever! Sounds like a tough course,congrats.Good luck at Leadville, you might want to skip the Crossfit the week before that one. DOH.

  3. thanks ej! it was for sure one of the most beautiful trails i've ever been on.

    thanks digger! it was like 70 miles of escarpment. see you at limberlost!

  4. A great post! The pictures were wonderful! They remind me of so much of the Appalachian Trail - with rocks, roots, and mud. I'm glad you had a great run, and toughed it out. All of your hard work training is showing through. Best of luck at Leadville! I hope you take your camera, take lots of pictures, and enjoy it! Thanks for being such a good inspiration.

  5. hay lisa! very similar to the appalachian trail. thanks!!

  6. Loved the report, Kendra! Great job on the race! This one is on the 'must do' list for next year.

  7. Congratulations on under 20 Kendra! You're truly amazing.

  8. thanks sara! you will love it!!

  9. thanks lovely!!! i sure had to work for it!

  10. you so totally rock. The way you felt the those last miles is how I feel every day, at some point, on the ole TRR. There's one uphill section after an aid station where I've just started crying each time.... nevermind...
    Living vicariously through your adventures! thanks for doing them and writing about them.

  11. you cry, but you finish! you are amazing j !!!
    big hugs!!! and thanks!

  12. Dora
    great job on the race. It felt like i was running with you while reading the blog with the vivid description. Leadville will be memorable and a fantastic experience.


  13. thanks cy! you would crush this course. try the 50k ...

  14. Cool race, will put this 50K on my calendar for next year (he said optimistically). Well done on a great finish and good to see you out on the trail on the weekend. Glad you had the camera this time to get a shot of that very surreal experience - the grim reaper (not), thank god! (damn now I'm going straight to hell)


  15. aha! 4 nuns, 3 deer and a little brown guy doing a yard sale ... and no worries, you'll have lots of company!
    thanks onions!