Thursday, June 27, 2013

Training as of late---My thoughts and ramblings

As of late, I have been running in the humid New York summer air. It is of course much cooler here than anywhere else I have trained at but of course summer is summer.  I have been getting in some solid workouts and have been hard at work with Confluence Running. Each week leading up to the big USA Mountain race, I will be heading to Greek Peak on Sunday's running up and down the ski slopes. THe course design at Cranmoore is very similar so it should give me a great advantage come race day.  I enjoy the fun of summer and the relaxation of these cool and calm evenings.  Of course like all things, summer will be over soon enough and then my fall ultra races will begin.  I have the Virgil Crest 50 mile or 50k then the Can Lake 50 where I hope to run a sub 6:19 time for a new course record.

For a nice Thursday--June 27---I am running twice today: so far my first run was 50 minutes on the trails at Cortland High School. I ran round and around the 5k course twice then headed back home. I love the shade Upstate New York has with all of the trees which makes running in the summertime much easier to endure.  My fitness is back to normal though I did twist my weakened ankle again but it is nothing serious luckily. I just have to be careful out there.  This evening at the store, I will have the chance to go out for a nice 45 minute run with our running group which will be a blast.  

I am also working on developing a professional coaching service for those individuals who would like a race-specific training plan, consultations with myself, a proper shoe fit, and finding a system that will ultimately allow for you to reach your goal healthy and happy so that we can work on the next goal.  I hope to provide some of the consultation and analysis from Confluence Running and will ultimately look to provide all the race knowledge and experience I have gained in road-racing, trail running, and snowshoe running to help you be successful.  I hope to show you the proper techniques for running the trails on technical surfaces or even smooth trails, fueling for those races which becomes more of a critical component the longer the distance, and all the product knowledge to help ensure all you have to worry about on race-day is to just enjoy the experience!  I have been enjoying running in a new place and look forward for more fun times.  

NBC Tower In Binghamton, NY, all the way on top of one of those big hills

If you would like to hear more about my COACHING SERVICE--- you can contact me at my email address. I would love to hear from you as I set up my system.

I am getting ready for the USA Mountain Running Championships up in New Hampshire this year. I am especially excited that the race is a down-up year.  That means that the course starts at the top of the ski hill meanders down the mountain and then will finish heading back up.  THe race is going to bring the best mountain runners from all over the country and even athletes from Mexico and Canada for the NACAC championships which is a trail/mountain running division or conference that is using the race as the host site.  Now onto the training.

Upstate New York has been infected with rain, rain...rain...rain...oh and more RAIN!  The rivers are bound to flood and the humid overcast skies have been exhausting.  One day lets have some normal summer weather.  When it is not raining, it is humid and overcast.  I have been running trails, up hilly roads, up and down ski slopes to better prepare myself for this big race.    In my travels I have found that Binghamton really does have some great trails off of South Mountain Road. The views are spectacular and the trails themselves are awesome. I am excited about running some fast ultras to begin the fall and I hope I can perform well at the USA championships!

I have been putting in the mileage with a lot of vertical lately. Today for July 4th, I went out for my run in the heat and humidity of the day. I ran the hills out along Cortland/Virgil Road which has a nice steady climb for a solid 1.5 mile jaunt.  I felt ok besides the sweltering heat of late. It reminds me of those humid Oklahoma mornings when the dew point is outrageous.  I was sweating a great deal but my Columbia Zero Q design shirt kept me very dry and the little nodes of the shirt that absorb sweat really do make you feel cool as a nice breeze blows on you.  I had my handheld and that allowed for myself to be nice and hydrated which is a must.  I finished the run with 15 miles and am hour and a half done and in the books.  My mileage this week is back at 90 which is stellar and I feel stronger than ever.  I hope that I can bring together a super fast performance at Cranmore and am even more excited for the Virgil Crest Ultra and the Can Lake 50.  Both these races are in my Fall slot for 2013 and both I hope to come out of them with course records and to get myself back on the map.  Cayuga Trails got me some attention but I hope that these events will confirm my level of fitness. At Cayuga Trails, I twisted my ankle pretty bad and that made me lose spots I normally would not have lost.  I feel that my fitness for 50 miles actually is pretty darn good and with proper fueling, I should be blazing some incredible times. I even hope to race in Idaho come next summer which would be an amazing trip.  Stay cool out there and happy trails!

Greek Peak Ski Resort--Slope in Left corner--ran up and down those 7 times for a long 80 minute run

Nice long hill in Vestal, NY

Ultimate Direction Summer Hydration--THis stuff ROCKS!

Neighborhood in Vestal, NY

Binghamton Trails-South Mountain

South Mountain Trails

South Mountain Trails
My favorite Running Pouch--super lightweight

Amazing trails in Binghamton, NY

Running Cayuga Trails 50

Karhu--a sweet sponsor and love their new Flow series of shoes. They are light, flexible, have super soft uppers and look cool too!  Using the Karhu Flow Trail as a Fall Training shoe--(Trail.Road Hybrid shoe) and the Flow Light for my Can Lake 50 Race in October and other road races!

Karhu FLow Light--Sweet Shoe

Is Snowshoe season here yet?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Adjusting to 50 mile race recovery!--Vestal 20k!!!!

So, I am now in my training back from the Cayuga Trails 50 miler.  In the week after the race, I had moved into my new place in Cortland with my lovely girlfriend, Ashlee and had raced the Vestal 20k.  Just a word of advice on 50 mile post-race recovery: Running a race a week after a 50 miler is CRAZY!  On the same day as the Vestal 20k was Confluence Running's Grand Opening. We had all kinds of Reps in from Scott Sports, Newton, and Brooks. We had giveaways, clinics, and all kinds of fun. 

Training for the Vestal 20k did not happen if you take moving heavy objects up 4 flights of stairs as running.  With that all on my plate, it was hard. I thought I was insane for running the race. My body had not recovered though all of my serious tightness from the Cayuga race was almost all gone.  I was hoping a solid run at the race would help boost PR for Confluence Running-my main motivation for the race.  Race day came quick as I hopped into my car at 6 am and off to Binghamton. I made it to Vestal by 7:15. Race time was set for 8 am. I did my normal routine: I checked in at the race, signed up, went for the warm-up/bathroom break and stretched my sore body for an extensive day of racing.  People often talk about how the Vestal 20k is a rugged uphill race.  With all of the uphill training that I do, I found the Vestal 20k to be a great challenge though in my racing career, I have encountered much crazier courses but they often are on trails.

The race went out just fine.  I settled in with the group and was running with this one guy for about 800 meters then as I was in about 5:30 pace he quickly dropped back and then I was on my own.  Just myself, a cop car, and the lead bike.  We hit one uphill that I ran with technical ease...onto the next hill. With my fatigued body, it would have been really difficult I thought to run my pace but I was making it happen.  I crossed the first mile in 5:37 after running about 2 decent hills.  I settled into a rhythm as the Real Hills came into sight. With my uphill training, I could manage the hills, but my weakened body was showing signs of venerability.  As the hills came up one after the next, I was thinking..."Man, these are tough! And everyone's says that the last 10k has even more hills!"  It is then that I began to just maintain my pace uphill and let my body respond to the run. If I was going to slow,  I would slow. I did not have any extra gears.  By mile 5 of the race, I was tired. The rapid series of steep ups had taken its toll already.  I was slowing from my 5:37 pace per mile and felt like this run had become more like a fitness run for me than a race.  I just could not push myself the way I am used to.  I started thinking about why I signed up for the race: I wanted to prove myself to the Binghamton Running Community and to help provide some Confluence Running marketing since I was debuting a Confluence Singlet.
By the 10k point as we crossed onto Highway 26, there was the steepest hill that almost made me walk. I tipped-toed to 26 then prepared myself for the worst.  I was in survival mode and could only imagine a group of guys flying by me. I felt like I was running 7-8 minute pace.  I had the feeling I would be caught.

I had a bunch of people with the race cheer me on and said I had like a 2-3 minute lead at 10k.  That was pretty solid.  I kept moving allowing for the gravity of the downhills to take me through. I grabbed water at the aid stations and just hoped my body would not give out.  On 26 with all the cars flying by, running on the shoulder of the road was taking a toll on my knee.  I held it together counting down the mile markers as they came: 7.......8.......9.....10!  Once I made it to mile 10, I knew that I could still win this race.  I had picked up the pace from miles 8-10 knowing that with the downhills, others would be gaining ground on me.  I did not see anyone behind me and the big hill was coming up.  I came out onto a stretch and I thought that this long gradual incline was the "HILL" everyone was so worried about.  I also was amazed that the whole last 10k was primarily downhill with a bunch of small steep manageable uphills. I ran up that last hill and knew once at the top, that the race was mine.  I crested the top and then headed down into the neighborhood.  I then was able to pick up my pace and bring it home.  With a sigh of relief I crossed the line in 71:30 or so for the race.   I managed a tough run and stuck it out. And with the results, I managed an average of 5:47 which I will take anyday given my physical state.  It was an amazing race and the course was a great challenge for a road race. I know that the first 10k is the hardest portion of the race and if you can survive that portion, the rest is almost all downhill.  I would like to thank everyone at the race and my Karhu Racing Flats and Fits Socks that helped my feet feel great and allow for me to perform to the best of my ability.

Looking forward, I am happy I ran the Vestal XX. It is one of those races people love to hate and for myself, I see a great course with a great challenge.  I hope to be back next year, shooting for a 68-69 minute performance!

Amazing Binghamton Press Release on the race:

Race results for 2013 Vestal XX---

After the 20k--I had a slight Runner's knee issue that I have been able to improve.  Yesterday, I ran some great hills in Binghamton and then this morning began my preparation for the USA Mountain Team Race by running up Greek Peak and doing a series of loops.  I feel that both trail systems are very identical in terms of elevation and terrain. So if  I can master Greek Peak, Cranmore will turn out to be a huge success!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Cayuga Trails 50 Miler---Wet, Wild, Unforgettable--9th place finish in first 50

How to begin after such an incredible day yesterday.  For one, I can say that I am so sore that it is just silly.  My feet ache a little, I have a swollen ankle that limited my performance yesterday, and my legs make going up stairs and down stairs a living struggle.  I never thought I could survive and run 50 miles.  I always knew I had the ability to but even in the early miles of the race past the 50k point(31 miles approximately), I was worried a DNF was in the cards.  When I look back on my performance I am so thankful for such an incredible support group and everyone out there that helped keep me motivated all the way to the finish.

How the weekend began:  It was a Thursday as I was at the Finger Lakes Running Company in Ithaca setting up a display for the Elite athlete meeting at the store at 5pm.  Andrew, myself, and Claire all worked really hard to get the display all situated.  Before I knew it, it was 4 pm and people started trickling in. I met Sage Canaday and many others. I was then off to run once 5 hit in the pouring rain to get a little taper run in there. I tested some of the nearby trails off by the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve to see what would be in store for Saturday's race. I was slipping and sliding on any downhill and I immediately knew that the race would be a slower strength race instead of a speedier track type of trail run.  I had the chance to meet with my father and my girlfriend as we relaxed for a big day in terms of race preparation and registration. 
Number 45!

The Next Day::: I headed out around noon with my father to the running store for packet pick-up. By the time we arrived near 1, the store was quiet which I expected a busy store because of packet pick-up but I was told that everything cleared out early.
Here is a pic of the race shirt.  After loading up on some nutrition products, it was time to head to Wegmans and to Best Buy for some race-day groceries and for me a phone charger.  We went around town and what felt like a short trip became a long stretch around Ithaca. By the time we made it back home for some amazing raviolis, it was bed time at 8:30.  The next day was going to be a race I had been waiting for months on end.  This was my first big time Ultra race and I wanted to prove my worth out there.

What I call the Lara Croft Stone Obelisk right on the steps of Buttermilk Falls! (You can see the tiny steps on the far right of the picture)

Slick wet conditions

This course had some of the best visuals of any Ultra out there. If you like waterfalls and deep winding single track, this IS THE COURSE!

Watching the water cascade down

RACE DAY!!!!! 4:00am.... My alarm goes off as I slip out of bed. I am tired of course but feel well-rested.  I freshen up, lace up the Mammut MTR 141s, and my Mammut gear eat a cliff bar- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, my favorite and a yummy chocolate protein shake.  It is game time!  I load up into my father's van and off we go.  I have all the Gels, Chomps, and snacks I could ever need.  On the drive down, I am wondering about the distance...50 miles.....50 MILES.....50.....MILES???  What am I doing?  I can run a fast 50k but to do that then decide to run 20 more fast miles, well that is just insane!  My mind drones on with all of the crazy thoughts as I know that in a few short hours, I will embark on a Grand Adventure, the Cayuga Trails 50.

We make it to Robert Treman State Park, and of course the atmosphere looks just like every other ultra. We have the runners with calf sleeves, hydration vests, people clamoring and just being giddy, which at 5 am is pretty awesome.  I jog to the North Shelter for check-in and get myself ready.  It was cool to see all of the great sponsorship help with the event. Ultraspire, Tifosi, Chobani, Scott Sports, Swiftwick, GU,, Atayne and of course the Finger Lakes Running Company. Though I played a small part in the organization of the event, it felt great to see everything come together and to know that I played some part in shaping the race.  With that thought I chatted with many runners I have met leading up to the race at our store, the Finger Lakes Running Company.  With 20 minutes before the race start, I headed into the woods to use the bathroom one last time. I noticed the port-potty facility was full and it would have been too late so I pulled into the woods.  I of course waded through some deep grass and got saturated with moisture.  I came out and saw that Sage Canaday, the race favorite for the Men had the same idea.  I rung out my Fit Socks which as merino wool socks did so well with all the inches of rain, creek crossings, and wet...EVERYTHING!

It was time to take the line:

With the Blowing of the Ram's Horn we are off!!!!!

The race went out nice and fun for me. I am always used to a fast race that this event felt laid back even with the top-level competition.  I of course came into this race ready for a break-out race and was hoping for a top 5.  If I could average 7:30-sub 8 min pace for the 50 miles, I think that would do it.  Naturally, I am used to running much quicker even for a 50k so this pace seemed not too terrible. I settled into the 7-7:30 minute per mile pace as Sage, Jordan McDougal, and this Russian guy, Denis shot out into the lead. I was fourth at this point.  I just did my thing. I was nice and relaxed and kept the mantra of "50 miles is a long way, save it for the last 20".  I remained a pace I knew I could handle and with running the majority of this course throughout the year I have been here in Upstate New York, I knew what to expect for the most part.  The wet conditions made me have to be extra conservative. I tried running some of the steep downs with some speed and I nearly tripped over my feet several times. I knew that I had to take it easy.  The Denis guy would sprint at the top of every uphill and downhill and then powerhike the uphill section which I would catch him at the crest of each uphill. This pattern went on like this from miles 5-9.  I kept going my pace.  Then we came out onto the first section of steps and man was Lucifer Falls looking amazing. With the water crashing down and the mist splashing on you, any person would feel rejuvenated running in such a picturesque site. From here, we wove through the crowd out onto the trails across the deep stream and over to the Lickbrook Preserve, a section I had not seen.

NEXT SECTION: Lickbrook Preserve and FInger Lakes Trail-----I was still around 4th. Then finally, Yassine D caught up to me. I relaxed through the course as he was talking with the runners behind me. It was not until the next aid station where we all caught up.  At this point, we were out hanging out, Yassine, Sam Jurek, and Matt Flaherty. This was my group. We were the chase pack!  We had caught up with Sage at the Lickbrook Preserve aid station and it was cool to be running behind such a fast dude.  Then it went into the winding singletrack. Up and down we went.  I still had not run these sections so I felt a little off leading the group. I pulled us off of a sharp hairpin turn and asked if Yassine could take the reigns. He thought he could probably break-away so he went for it. Matt Flaherty, Sam Jurek, and myself gave chase.  It was near the Lick Brook Climb where we all caught up. Jordan was not feeling to good as we passed, and Sage was leading the charge up the climb while Matt was powerhiking really well. I kept pace with him as Yassine was tiring a little. My MTR 141's had the toe flex to make all the uphill running a dream. I felt like running uphill in the race was in fact the easiest portions of the race thanks to this shoe and some training in the hills!   Then after this section, Matt Flaherty left us to chase after Sage and that was the last I saw of him.  
Near the 18 Mile Mark In Buttermilk Falls! Feeling Great and making a move!

Flashforward to Buttermilk Falls-------I was waiting with Yassine and Sam for the Buttermilk Falls section of the race. I had run it many times and knew that this could be a nice place to make a slight move to ensure a smooth finish.  This section was near miles 14-19 or so and it was time. From the photo here, I made my move at Buttermilk Falls and with my father there to save me with nutrition if I needed it, I was ready.  The move began shortly after this road section. I went for it just relaxing on the downhill and flying down.  The terrain was still slick and though my Mammut shoes never let me down all day in terms of cushioning, grip, the whole shebang, I still did not want to risk my whole race.  

Coming out of the Buttermilk Falls steps, My father saw that I looked the best out of any of the others that had passed on by.  Now it was time to shoot for the turn-around.  I felt really good here. I had my space, I was feeling like my pace was solid and I could maintain the 7:30's I had set out.  I had run every uphill section and my legs felt just fine.  


I bombed a nice downhill section leaving Buttermilk into the Finger Lakes Trail and then (THUD)...I had twisted my ankle. I was immediately halted to a hobble.  I spent the next few minutes walking it off trying to regain my composure. I knew that I would be caught rather soon so I just tried my best.  My ankle had already began to swell to that of a tennis ball.  I could not really run the downhills as the downward pressure was too much for my weakened ankle.  I hobbled down the low stretches and then ran on the upswings.  Yassine caught me in about 8-12 minutes of running and he asked me how I was doing and I told him to pass because I twisted my ankle really bad and had to take it easy. It was hard to let him go. Here I was running the race of my life and I had a major hiccup.  Shortly, my body began to tighten up because of the overcompensating my left-side had to do for my ankle.  Soon, my whole body began to stiffen and cramp. I remember running in the Finger Lakes Trail section alone....bruised, beaten, defeated.  Would I finish? How much longer can I go? Am I seriously injured?  
These were the questions I asked myself in the stretch. I also twisted my ankle again with the pain shooting through my legs.  And then the Bonk came.  I was running on a slight uphill section and soon I slowed to a walk as my vision became blurry, I started breathing really hard, my ears began to ring, I was losing touch with reality it seemed.   I yelled to myself 
I had my Clif shots in my Ultraspire belt as well as about 4 Roctane gels and 2 in my water bottle.  Like a wild animal gorging myself for my very life  I gnawed at the Clif shots package with my teeth until  I could open a large-enough hole to get the shots out.  I pressed the package to my lips and the series began...ONE...TWO....THREE.....Down.....FOUR.....FIVE.....SIX...Down.  Shot blocks down!  Now onto the Gels!   I first grabbed the gels from my water bottle and ripped the tops off easily with my teeth and squished every last morsel of gel into my body. I washed down each gel with a nice swig of GU Brew.  Like a man rising from the ashes, with each and every gel I felt my life systems recharge. It was like someone unplugged me momentarily only to plug me in again.  My walk soon became a glide to a run. I was still tight but I could semi-run at 9 minute pace. I was moving.  Could I survive 50 miles?  My confidence came back to me. My top 5 finish was shot but maybe I could pull myself together for 28 or so miles at this point of running for survival.  

So how did it all end???????
The Conclusion: I never bonked the rest of the way. The combination of GU chomps, Gels, and my energy drink kept me feeling solid the whole way, only if I had a new body I would be good to go.  I could not believe how crucial that nutrition is. To be the best, you have to re-fuel like your life depended on it! What makes Sage Canaday one of the best ultra runners in the world? The answer is simple: he not only trains smart, recovers well but come race day he takes in the nutrition (gels and chomps) like a kid gorging themselves on candy so that he optimizes his performance level. I never realized how crucial it is to re-fuel as such. Once I was on-tap with my nutrition I felt great! I ran into every aid station loading up on the gels and chomps with my one cup water, one cup ginger ale, one cup coke, three shot combo that sent me on my way feeling strong. I was passed by a few guys though through it all still held it together.   I hit the last aid station asking how much was left. I was told just a 5k!!!  A 5k!!!!!!! I WAS ALMOST DONE WHOA! 
I fueled up one last time and made my final push. Let me tell you, the last 12 miles of any ultra are tough but this was a toughy at a 5k. My body wanted to quit at mile 18 with the twisted ankle and I willed myself a whole 32 miles. I was almost there.  I pushed the last uphill and then came to the field where the finish was, I did not know if we finished on the same side, I thought we might come around the opposite way. I ended up going back on course for an additional 3 miles before running into some guys the 10th and 11th place men who told me I was going the wrong way. I was not happy with that so I sprinted my legs to 6 minute pace the best I could do for my last mile to ensure I could hold off those guys behind me.  I had survived 8th place for hours on end that I could not finish out of the top 10 no way!  I came down the straightaway and say that I was passed by a guy I ran onto the trail that I asked if I was going the right way because I should be finishing and he told me he had no idea. You see what 50 miles of fatigue can do to a person!

I came across the line right at 8 hours.  I placed 9th in my first 50 miler in a super competitive field. As a new sponsored athlete in the trail running scene, I was happy to get myself into the top 10 after my ankle really altered my race.  Overall, it was an amazing experience. 

53 Miles--Finishing Strong in my Mammut Gear!

***** What we learn from ultras is that no matter how bad you feel in life, just believe  that you can keep going or rather just doing so can take those low moments and allow for us to crest into such magnificent high points.  All the athletes out there had some tough moments out there, we all at one point felt like we wanted to drop from the race. But often it is in those moments that we truly find ourselves and realize what the human spirit is made of.  Sure I run, but I do the activity because it is something so rudimentary, so simple yet so complex.  I want to thank all of my friends, family, and sponsors: Mammut, Acidotic Racing, Fits Socks, Karhu/Craft and Dion Snowshoes and the Finger Lakes Running Company.  Your support was motivation for me out there and I thank you for making my dreams a reality.

Sage the winner coming in at 6:47

The official results

Myself tired but happy after my 8 hour finish

Here is a link to a summary of the race and a sweet video!!!!

Here is a photo of me post 50 miles!

Making a move at Buttermilk Falls State Park!
The front group at the beginning of the race! (I am number 45)

Before the Start!

The closeup! I am number 45 next to Sage Canaday and Yassine Diboun

13 Seconds to Go!!!!

Photo of Matt Flaherty at the Buttermilk Falls Gorge Trail!

Another great video:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cayuga Trails 50 Mile Preview

This saturday will mark my first big-time ultra!  With athletes such as Sage Canaday, Jordan Mcdougal, Ben Nephew, Matt Flaherty and many others.  I did my last hard effort to get myself ready mentally for the race. It was a rainy day as I headed out to Greek Peak and the Finger Lakes Trail sections in the bordering state forests.  I took the Tuller Hill trail section because of its nice blend of steep climbs and sweltering descents.  It was quite the humid day with bursts of heavy rain in the forests.  The trail conditions were slick and muddy which is why I decided to run in my La Sportiva Raptors just for the sake of keeping my Mammut Trail runners dry for Cayuga Trails. I am feeling fitter than ever as the full trail section that on average normally takes me 80 minutes to complete I finished even with slow running through the deep mud in an hour.  As I rounded the last turn onto the main road, I headed to the Hope Lake Lodge Nordic Ski trails for a few more miles.  I ended up with a nice run and besides taking a gel and not paying attention to the flow of the gel (I squirted half the gel all over my hand), I really had a nice training effort. Now it is time this week to eat well, rest well, and just run to run so that come Saturday, I can ensure that I give my best overall effort. It is fun for me because I am a relative unknown in terms of trail running in the mainstream swing of things.  This race will be one of my first real opportunities at showcasing all of the hard work I have been putting forth on the trails specifically the last two years.  I went from a kid focused on running fast road 10ks that could handle small hills but would blow-up on big climbs.  It has been two years since my eye-opening experience at Mount Washington where hobbling up the mountain with a destroyed calf would teach me the technique and specific training necessary to handle mountain/trail running.  I feel that I have put in that level of intensity to my current training.  I worked hard on hills to strengthen my climbing technique and though I may not be running sub six minute pace up 1k of vertical, that does not mean that the intensity is not there.  The time is finally here to prove myself, to my sponsors, my friends, family, to the community of trail running.  This time is my time!

 My Fits Socks are some of the best socks I have ever run in for the trails. Not only do the socks fit perfectly, but they are soft, breathe well and dry super quick as the merino wool of the sock is able to repel outside moisture much better than your standard sock.

Right by Gatherings with my Acidotic Racing Head Buff!!!!

Fits Trail socks fit like a glove!

Now onto the official race preview:::::::

The gear lined out for the Cayuga Trails 50

Sponsors for the race:  Mammut, Acidotic Racing, Fits Socks, Ultraspire Hydration, Karhu/Craft Road Shoes(hanging out)

MTR 71 Shirt---A truly amazing shirt. I am used to racing in singlets though this shirt feels as dry if not drier than most singlets. Sweat just disappears with this shirt.  The Ventech fabric is soft, light, and super breathable.  Mammut also makes really durable product and it stretches well which can save you if you are ever to get snagged by a branch on a technical trail run.  A piece worth every single penny! I have never before ever had a piece of clothing that is able to make me feel so comfortable yet be so functional.  When running, you can feel the breeze in this shirt and the athletic cut helps to hold your body's natural figure nicely which in turn will reduce the amount of chaffing.  My go-to race top!

MTR 71 Shorts---I never thought running in any short that was not a split short was the thing for me.  I love to feel light and fast and hate when a short feels more like a heavy basketball short that blocks your full range of movement. Well, not in the MTR short. The length is perfect (feels like a 3-4 inch inseam) and the shorts are super light and have great stretch to them.  In other words, they fit like a glove.  Mammut apparel is light but also 

MTR 141 Trail Shoe By Mammut
This shoe is Mammut's mid-line shoe. What I mean by that is this is the best model for any interested trail runner that is looking for a solid trail shoe. Priced at 119 shows its versatility in terms of the market.  The shoe itself is absolutley outstanding.  The 141 comes in three colors for one, the pull lacing system really holds the midfoot well, and the toe flex of a Nike Free on an agressive but smooth feeling trail shoe make this model a MUST HAVE!  The shoe utilizes its basefit technology which hold the foot secure throughout the gait cycle and allows for a shoe that can take a beating but still fits like a racing flat.  THe Sonar outsole technology allows for ripples or little lugs that grip and hold on all surfaces and flexes so well. The Sonar tech. works well on asphalt, snow, mud, dry trails, and rocks and roots.  The MTR 141 also incorporates a sound toe bumper to protect against hammer-toe and sharp debris.  I really have been impressed with the shoe. Its cushioning is great for the longer distances but can function incredibly well in shorter runs, it can work on road surfaces but is a true alpine juggernaut.  The toe flex in such a stable and well-designed shoe is by far what makes the 141 a killer shoe. I have never seen a shoe with such a durable upper, outsole, and cushioning system be so flexible right where you need it.  When going uphill, this shoe is able to track and flex on the steepest of pitches and provide the best in a toe spring. My go-to Cayuga Trails 50 miler shoe! 

MTR 201 Micro Jacket
This jacket will be my warm-up piece for the pre-race and cool-down jacket for post race.  The one thing you need to take from this review is that Mammut makes the lightest equipment but also the strongest.  I have snagged this jacket on sharp sticks and branches and nothing has come to the jacket.  It is great for cold weather, warm weather, windy weather, wet and rainy weather.  All of Mammut's apparel focuses on temperature regulation so no matter the temperature outside, their apparel is able to function in different ways depending on the weather conditions.  With that said, Mammut apparel keeps you in the sweet spot of bodily temperatures where you stay dry, cool, warm, LONGER.  I run outside in the worst of conditions with a smile on my face because Mammut makes bad weather...FUN!

I have been very lucky to have a sock sponsor called Fits. The company is based in Tennessee where tons of my family are from so you know these are going to be great socks! Fits socks come with 5 size options to guarentee optimal fit while most sock companies come stocked with 4 sizes.  Fits socks have blended merino wool which allow for their socks to keep water and moisture out of your feet so that your feet stay drier for longer.  With trail running, Fits just fit so well. Yeah they look like long stocking but they stretch in the fibers of the sock allow for the socks to gently hug your feet and their softness is unparralled.  The closed toe creates a no-seam effect which blisters do not know how to form in these socks.  Fits " F3 Technology delivers a unique form FIT thanks to a deep heel pocket, specialized toe seam, and contoured leg" (  This 3 Fit system is so amazing and if you want durable, super-soft, and the best fitting socks you have ever worn, get a pair of Fits Socks--They ROCK!

I will be racing in my Acidotic Racing Visor (on right) in honor of my New Hampshire mountain goat borthers and sisters which our team is awesome. Chris Dunn is a great team owner and he is the MAN! My Mammut visor will be for the post-race.