Monday, September 11, 2017

Pine Creek Challenge 100 Mile Attempt. 80 miles finished by 20 miles short. DNF

The Pine Creek Challenge is one incredible race! I came into it as my first 100 miler and was greatly humbled by how the littlest of things can greatly impact your race.
I survived 80ish miles before having to tap out and DNF. I had severe muscle tightness in my quads as early as around mile 15 but thought nothing of it. It was until mile 62 that I could hardly run and was plagued with pretty intense muscle spasms. Nothing improved the situation: massages, salt, food, Hydration. I managed a shuffle up until mile 74 where I think I pulled a hamstring or muscle near there. Then even walking was almost impossible.
I was saved by a kind and generous woman on a bike that went to get help and then proceeded to push me on her bike to get closer to the next aid station with the help of my wife Ashlee Prewitt Crosby and my father who found me out on the trail.
I have left this experience extremely grateful for everyone that has shown true compassion for me. My Best lesson to share with you is to give that compassion back each and every day! You never know when that one kind act could change the life of someone for the best forever!
This race effort was dedicated to my cousin, Addison Haury who has been recovering from a near death car accident and my Best man,
Grant Offenburger who has had his fair share of adversity and challenges. Both of them inspire me.
Thank you to the RD, volunteers, the various people I met out along the trail for your encouragement and help.
Thank you to my crew and family of my Father and my Superstar wife, Ashlee! Thank you to the various companies that support such adventures like this: Janji NATHAN FITS Sock Co. Red Newt Racing Mountain Peak Fitness Boom Ambassador Redfeather Snowshoes Finger Lakes Running & Triathlon Company Confluence Running McDavid USA
I have now learned that to run 100 miles is a long way but it can be done. Run with heart and compassion with each and every step and with a little luck too, you can get to that finish line. I will be back at it again but I think a 50 miler or 100k sounds more like my type of race for now. Keep truckin!

All the Race Gear for 100 miles

Feeling Ready to go!

Beautiful views

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 Cayuga Trails 50 Mile: A Series of 5ths. Running on Full!

It is amazing how on some days, things just come together. We can put all of the pressure on ourselves to meet expectations, or we can just be free and truly live in the moment.  My 2017 Cayuga Trails 50 mile race was just me running to run, to finally beat-down a course that has beat me every time I have given it a go. On this one day out of the year, on the 5th time, I overcame all my demons and ended up with my best day yet. This is my story...

To give you a more general idea of my journey up to this point. Here is a quick recap of the past 4 years of Cayuga Trails.

Year 1-(What was I doing? And ankle sprain): I went out with the lead group (Too FAST) and twisted my ankle at mile 18 to suffer through to a top 10 finish.

Year 2-(Ouch Tom B broken ankle into survival): I had some of my best fitness coming into the race and with a near ligament tear, raced injured but hung tough for a 7th place finish.

Year 3 (Let's talk about stress baby): Had electrolyte issues and lost sight mid-race to have tunnel vision for about 3 hours. Dropped at 42 due to warning signs.

Year 4 (Fruit is good, fruit peels are bad): Came into race ready. Had GI issues with fruit peels from breakfast of apples and peaches. Caused body to force it back up and could not keep anything down after that and had to DNF at mile 31.

Year 5...

I came into the race trained but probably the least prepared that I have ever been in terms of peak fitness. It was not as if I wasn't training but I lacked key long runs beyond 20 miles, higher volume of hills, and strong tempos that I had done in years' past. I wanted to have a solid day out there. If that was just to finish, then I would take what I could get.

I ate oatmeal and bananas for breakfast (something I know has done well for me) and had my raspberry zinger tea.
Weather was going to be ideal with temps near 50 at start and 75 by end of day.
I felt rested and nerves were under control.

Pre-race gear:

I had my Vaporkar 4L Vest with Boom Nutrition gels, the Mcdavid Cooling sleeves, Fits Light Runner Low socks, Mcdavid Compression Calf Sleeves, Nathan Emoji Hat, and the Topo Athletic Terraventures

I joined my fellow Red Newt Teammates and other friends out on the trails and foolishly started to push the pace from the gun. I was leading the race with MPF/RNR mate, Ben Nephew as we hit the first big climbs of the course out along the Gorge loop and the stone steps and cascading waterfalls that make this course well-known for. Not my best moment pushing hard from the front and I knew that I could regret this later but proceeded to just go for it.

As we hit the next "New section of trail" that Ian (RD) set-up, I was amazed how rooty and technical this section was. As Ben dropped back (a wise move on his part), Chris Rauli (Eventual Race Winner) and I think Zach Merrin took chase right behind me. We kept together throughout the next aid station and after our first creek crossing, I had to stop to adjust the fit in my Topo Athletic Terraventures. I think I laced them too loose and my feet were shifting around too much so I took the minute to get the shoe re-adjusted. I was now on my own. I proceeded to run alone the next 23 miles enjoying the beautiful morning. I made sure to take down a Boom gel every 40 minutes and took in plenty of ample hydration. I had some bathroom breaks during the miles of 10-16 that made me lose about 5 minutes on Chris and Zach but kept trucking along.

I felt energized and strong throughout these sections. The early pace only started to tax me some around mile 24/25 as Brian Rusecki and Michael Owen came by me up the gorge as I was slowing some and power-hiking.

I took some time at the half-way point to fuel-up and during that time, Matt Flaherty and Zach Merrin came in and out of the aid station. I went out in chase hopeful my brief low patch would be over. And boy it was. I quickly regained my climbing legs and started to crush the next uphill sections. I was hitting them around 7:30 minute mile pace.

I started feeling really good hitting now sub 7 minute miles which at Cayuga have been unheard of for me unless it was the steep downhill. I soon saw Matt F in the distance and caught-up with him. He was having what looked to be a little but of a rough patch for him. I made the pass and kept on the accelerator.

From here on out, I ran the best I have ever run at Cayuga. I tackled the uphills well, ran the descents strong and hammered on the flats. Going up the Lick Brook Climb the second time, I noticed two signs: one for Altra and another for a pie. It was if someone just placed those out there for me. I picked them up and placed them into my pack as I worked-up the climb.

The rest of the race was running strong and feeling full of energy.  There was a few muddy sections that made running fast difficult but besides that, I felt like a man on a mission.

As I hit the last 5k, I knew that there was nothing that could stop me from finishing this race. I hit my last mile (downhill) splitting 5:23 as I hammered into the finish. I had tears of joy as I crossed that line as I had finally tackled Cayuga trails and won! I finished the race 5th ; the best finish that I have ever had at Cayuga trails. I felt incredibly strong 48 miles of the race and ran with the ability to rapidly change my pace at will which was something I had not been able to do in past Cayuga races.

This Photo Says it All!!!!

* I finished the race, about 53 miles on my gps in 7:57 for 5th place. I had run the race smart and hung tough all day long and powered to a strong finish. I never thought something like this would ever happen as I have been plagued with really tough races at Cayuga each and every year. Running into the arms of my Superstar wife, Ashlee was one of the best moments ever. She has stuck it out with me through 5 tough years at this race, waking up at 4 am to get to the event and staying all-day to watch me beat myself up on the course. My success here was a team effort. With the help of my family and crew, the awesome volunteers (especially the BATS aid station), and all of the kind words of encouragement out on the trails, I was able to feel more motivated than ever before.

If at first you don't succeed...
TRY again. 

For me, the 5th time was the charm. On my next race, maybe it will take me 50 times before I get it figured out. That is part of the beauty of running an ultra. 

Congrats to Chris Rauli for running an incredible race out front to take the US Champ title. Well-deserved! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Herald of Victory Toga Marathon: WR for fastest Marathon in a Toga!

So how do you end up running a Marathon in a Toga?

Great question you ask...

Here is the story...

Start the Year Tough: World Snowshoe Championships and Breakneck Point Trail Marathon

Let us start talking about how the World Snowshoe Championships went.

I was excited for the race in that for the first time it would be held in the US.
Location: Saranac Lake, NY

I was not able to get a ton of time on snowshoes before the race (maybe 2 runs) but felt confident in my snowshoe running ability.

The World Championship course was expected to have record snow. Little did they know, that the week leading into the race, the 6 feet of snow base they had melted to the point where the race almost did not go on.

Now enter the World Championship Snowshoe race as more of a Tough Mudder than anything else.

Race temps were near 60! That's right 60 degrees.

I had a great family support with my delectable wife, Ashlee and my wonderful Father along for the ride. I also had my really cool Redfeather ColeVapor Snowshoes that have my name etched into them.


We were able to have some fun in the Lake Placid area before and even after the race. We went to many of the cute Adirondack shops and was able to get a true Authentic Adirondack Winter Experience.

The race though  was my worst executed snowshoe race of my career. The course was reduced to an 8k and volunteers shoveled what little snow they had around the clock just so the series of races could even go on.

My hats are off to the incredible volunteers, the town of Saranac Lake and US Snowshoe Director, Mark Elmore for putting everything together.

Fast mountain and ultra runners such as Zach Miller and Joe Gray were toeing the line and my hope was to place in the top 15 and maybe even the top 10.

I made the mistake of getting boxed-in at the start as the course funneled runners through a very narrow track. I almost tripped and went to about 50th place. Looking back at the run, I should had remained relaxed and gradually worked my way through the crowd. But instead, I wasted more than my fair share of precious energy to surge back into the top 10 places. I was running through deep mud off of the icy trail path. With each step, mud was being kicked-up and kept hitting rutted-out sections more reminiscent of a potholed road.  I hit hard paces around 6-7 minutes a mile to catch-up.

I soon linked-up with Jared Burdick, a teammate of MPF/RNR and we kept pace together.  I then began to make a move. By the end of the first loop, I was feeling gassed. I tried to hammer the next uphill section but could not. The mud, ruts, and panic of being farther back wore on me. I felt that with ever step, my legs felt like lead, especially my right foot. Jared soon passed me as well as many others.

I laughed after falling face-first into a mud section that have virtual rivers on the once icy trail. I thought to myself, "This is not a Snowshoe race!". I brought it home and finished in 25th place in 34 minutes. I was off from my goal of 15th place and under but I was happy to be in one piece.

As I headed to the car, I later found that I had lost a tailpiece from my awesome Colevapor Snowshoes by Redfeather. I took the shoe out of the bag and chunky mud came right out of the shoe. It turned out that I was running with what felt like a 50 lb weight on my right foot.

This still with a bad race was a great weekend. Teammates: Jared ran to 13th place and Matt Lipsey ran to a stellar 8th place.

To conclude the weekend. All of the power in Lake Placid went out and its was sheer pandemonium in our hotel. We were hit with 8 inches of fresh snow and ice overnight and as the whole town shut down, the only place available for food was at the hotel. It felt like the end of the world but nothing that a few post-race adult beverages couldn't solve.

The next morning we dug out and adopted two adorable dogs: Ozzy and Daisy!  A true adventure that I will never forget.

Team MPF/RNR post World Champ Snowshoe Race. Credits: Ashlee Prewitt Crosby

Breakneck Point Trail Run: Marathon

I finally mustered enough courage to give this race a shot. I had run some of the trails through here and was truly amazed with how unique and challenging they were. This would be a solid rust-buster of a race for me to kick-off my schedule.