Views along Wes White Hill Road
When I grow up I want to be an ultra runner…….Up until yesterday I had never run over 26.2 miles. So I was very happy to have successfully completed my first 28 mile run that included some very good hills! This is in preparation for my first ultra run. On September 25th I am running my first 50K (31 mile) trail race. The event is called the VT50 and you can run 50 miles or 50 kilometers. You can also mountain bike 50 miles. Right now I am in the thick of my training and will be peaking out next weekend with a 30 mile run! After doing the 28 yesterday, I’m confident I will do fine with the 30 mile distance. I thought I’d blog about what it was like to run that distance for the first time and the routes I chose to make it challenging. After our run during the afternoon, I took a few photos to share.
More views along Wes White Hill Road. I love running here!
Because the 50 miler and 50K race are extremely hilly, my coach Jack wanted me to include some good hills like Wes White Hill and the Notch Road into my upcoming long runs. These are two of the steepest hills I have ever run with grades around 9-10%, maybe more on the Notch Road! And luckily (depending on how you look at it!) both hills are close together and only a few miles from my house! Lucky me! Using a handy little website called Mapmyride.com, I came up with this route here!
When doing a long run it’s so nice to have company even for part of the distance! At 8:45am we met up with Sarah at the Round Church who was so great to come up from Montpelier! Thanks Sarah! We also met Aliza, Jess, Chris and Bob. At about 9am we headed down Cochran road which was a nice warm up before tackling the very steep Wes White Hill road. We all went up at our own pace and re-grouped at the top about a mile or so later. I was chatting with Sarah and we were going at a nice easy pace. I was feeling good but knew running up too fast wouldn’t be so helpful at the end of my 28 miles. The Wes White Hill Road is really gorgeous with views of mountains and ponds. And then you run along a bigger pond with a mountain that almost comes right down into the pond. Very pretty! It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were running a nice brisk pace and chatting. I love to run and socialize! It does make the run so much more enjoyable and it goes by quickly!
Unfortunately, Scott was not enjoying himself as I was. He ran 16 miles and that was his longest run to date. The pace was a bit fast for him and he wasn’t feeling well yesterday. He fell behind on a few hills and then would catch back up on the down hills. But after a while he was getting farther behind. I was now worried and was going to let the group go ahead and run with him. However, Aliza said she would go back and run with him. She is an angel and I so much appreciate what she did! I also knew her ribs were hurting and I was worried for her. So I knew a slower run with Scott might not be the worst thing. And Scott adores Aliza so it worked out well. Thanks again Aliza!
Huntington Gorge along Dugway Road. This is another favorite road to run!
Once I knew Scott was in good hands with Aliza, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy my run with the rest of the crew. I was really enjoying the company and the pace on the Mayo and Dugway roads. We were doing a nice quick pace and it felt great. However I kept thinking of Jack wanting me to run slower on my long runs. And I knew running faster on Dugway might make it tougher on the Notch Road. But it was fine and we arrived back onto Cochran Road feeling good (mile 13).
At this point, I said bye to Sarah who headed back to the Round Church to finish up with 16 miles. Jess and Bob were also done at this point. I did an energy gel and also took more electrolytes before going up the Notch Road which was probably helpful. Luckily Chris wanted to get in about 20+ miles so he ran with me up the Notch Road. This is a challenging climb! It’s very steep and it goes on forever. According to my Garmin it started at mile 14 and finished up close to mile 16. After we’d almost crest one hill, I’d say we were done. And then it was more climbing. This pattern happened a few times! One spot was so steep we practiced our ‘power walking’ just a small bit. Ultra runners do this sometimes up mountains so I figured it was OK to practice.
Notch Road! So much steeper than it looks!
Chris is super strong and he is an amazing athlete. I felt lucky to have his company pacing me up the Notch Road. As we finally got to some level ground we were setting a nice pace (8:20 mins/mile). However, I was feeling a bit tired from the big climb and said I would need to slow it down to about 9 min miles to make the rest of the journey. Luckily we both felt better running a little slower. Once we got to the top of Stage Road, Jess picked up Chris at mile 21. They had to go to a wedding that afternoon so they were pressed for time. Otherwise Chris would have done the whole run with me. I was still grateful to have his company for that time!
After we parted our ways, I was still feeling good. I met Scott driving back up the road and drank a bunch of his regular water. My sports drink (in my Nathan pack) was really helping me with the run but I was craving clear water! Then I did another energy gel and made my way down Stage Road. The last mile of that road is very steep and it was very hard on my quadricep muscles. This was the most uncomfortable part of the run! Once back on Cochran Road my legs felt much better on the flat and rolling pavement. The last 3+ miles were not too bad. My legs were fatigued at this point but I’ve been worse. I could tell my legs are getting better with longer distances. At one point I looked down at my garmin and saw 26.4 miles and I felt rather joyous! I was now running my longest distance! I was feeling decent but I decided that just under 9 minute miles was good enough. I wasn’t feeling like a superstar but I wasn’t dying either. I also kept thinking of my running Coach Jack who was doing a 100 mile race in France (UTMB) and totally rocked it! That gave me some inspiration as I ran my last few miles. Thanks Jack! I was thinking about you running over the mountain passes! The funny thing is that our neighbors saw me running my last few miles on Cochran Road. Stu said I didn’t look like 100% out there!
Scenes along the Notch Road
Overall it was a very good run! It was tough but great training for the VT50K! My legs were very fatigued after the run but today they are doing much better. If it wasn’t so rainy and windy today (Tropical Storm Irene is here!) I would love to go for bike ride!
So here it is Sunday morning and Irene is finally showing up in Vermont. A nice rainy morning is a great excuse for a good brunch and coffee at home. After our long runs yesterday, we were both craving waffles! So I modified one of my vegan recipes and came up with something really good!!
Here is the recipe!
- 1 cup of white flour
- 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups of plain Silk Soy Milk
- 1 cup of Silk Vanilla Almond Milk
Mix together the dry ingredients and then add the Oil, Soy & Almond milk (any combo of non-dairy milk will be fine)
Heat up your waffle iron, and make sure you use some good non-stick spray (Natural Directions Canola Oil cooking spray is good and has organic canola oil).
These were great! With Earth Balance vegan butter and real maple syrup, the waffles were top notch! We could have fooled non-vegans with these!