28 September 2015

Burning Man Ultramarathon 2015 Race Report

Start of the 2015 race; photo by Jeff Clark

What can I say about the Burning Man Ultramarathon? It was fun. It was dancing and shots and heckling and dust (oh so much dust) and sweat and love and fun and the most gorgeous sunrise ever and poson-race quesadillas and port-a-potties and everything. It doesn't matter who won, it matters who ran, and I ran, and my experience was wonderful. (Of course as the RD I care who won, but I'm not writing about that here. For that race report, you'll have to look to Ultrarunning magazine.) I had my usual bathroom troubles, ran pretty much the entire time, laughed a lot, got hugs and high fives. I finished in the dust and it was the very essence of Burning Man.

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race Report (2015)

I wasn't sure how I was feeling about Hinson Lake 24 Hour, but I decided to go with how I was feeling.

Lately, I've been struggling with some issues unrelated to running, and it's impacting most things, including running. The summer was a blur of busy-ness for Burning Man, including tons and tons of planning for the Burning Man Ultramarathon. In the end, I'm glad of the time I invested, but at the same time, it's a lot of time where my mind can't focus on other things. Like my own personal racing. When life is a constant busy blur, often dominated by unhappiness, it can be very difficult to focus on athletic pursuits...or creative dreams.

I made the decision to do what I could. 50 miles was what I thought I'd do, though maybe just 50k. And if I was killing it, running really well, why, I'd finish the whole damn thing.

And I really lived by that, and didn't feel bad one bit for my decision.

My visits to NC have always been surrounded by my sister, but with her two kids that I'm becoming increasing attached to, it was difficult to leave them and run a race. But I did it, as I'm an ultrarunner.

As I drove to the race, it was pitch black and pouring. Not the best way to approach a race. I had grabbed a random handful of CDs leaving NYC, not even looking at them, and one of them was the Beatles Anthology. "Let It Be" came on and I burst into tears, thinking of how horrible it was that John Lennon was shot and what kind of world we livee in. Um, not the best mood to approach a 24 hour race with.

When I got to the start, it wasn't pouring, but definitely raining. I caught up with old friends, chatted. I told a few people of my intention to "only" run 50k or 50 miles, and many echoed my sentiments. Others applauded me for being in the moment I needed to be in. The kindness of others, like Dan, kept my personal items sheltered from the , and good friends cheered me on the entire time.

And OFF. I felt good, and took off at a decent pace. Not as fast as usual, but GO. I enjoyed the good old Hinson Lake course, and chatted with friends. I thought about how much I loved the ultrarunning community. It was fun.

After about ten miles though, the race felt harder than it should. I knew I wouldn't go 24 hours. 50 miles was all. Maybe even 50k? But not 24 hours.

The course is a loop of abt 1.55 miles, with a few small hills (that feel like mountains after a while). Local running store/club Vac and Dash decorate the course with hilarious signs ("Mt Hinson," "Ooooh we're halfway there ooooh living on a prayer," "98 Miles to South of the Border," "Jerry's Food Castle"), and the vibe is FUN AWESOME PARTY. People may have even been taking shots or drinking beers. It's one of my top three fave races (with obviously the Burning Man Ultramarathon being one, and Vermont 100 being number two).

I decided to have a fun day. I'd catch up to a friend who was walking, or someone who was walking and wanted to chat, and I'd take a break to chat and catch up. I stopped to pee when I needed to. I ate frosted pumpkin cookies and cupcakes and pumpkin chocolate chip bread and potatoes. I laughed. I did the Ray K shuffle with the legend himself. (He'd kill me if he knew I said that.) I had fun.

me and shannon at the start of the race. i'm representing the black rock city 50k!!!

Around mile 25 or so, I ran into my friend Shannon. She was only going to do 50k, so I finished 50k with her. I decided I felt like I could go longer, but I didn't feel like doing 50 miles. So I chose 40 to be my ultimate mileage.

It was great to chat and catch up with Shannon, and she really pushed me. She's an amazing runner (123 miles in 24 hours) and an animal activist (the woman loves and rescues dogs). We caught up on love and life and career and running and community. It was grea.t

Post-Shannon, I ran, I chatted, I walked occasionally, I ate good foods.

And then I finished. 40 miles. I don't remember the time, but really, I don't care. And honestly, I ran more than 40 miles, though I couldn't tell you the exact amount. Who cares? I was there. I ran. I had fun with friends. 

It wasn't my fave Hinson Lake, but it was the one I needed to have.

27 September 2015

Gunks Fatass 50k

On August 8th, my friend Jeff and I decided to organize a low-key fatass 50k/25k at Lake Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk. I was feeling pretty low-energy, but excited to run in my fave place ever.

A small crew met up on the train and then we got rides to the park. People were gathered in the lot, and Jeff and I gave intros, directions, and a low-key GO!

You start up the black trail and head to Lake Awosting. It's an uphill for much of it, really pretty. I chatted with Karen about love and work, and we all met up around the lake. I love the lake, so it was great to refresh memories of the college days....awwwwww.....

Because of some construction on trails due to a fire, I believe, we rerouted, missing my fave view ever. But there were other nice views.

I really don't remember the trails being so hilly, but I guess they are. Anyway, we ran, and enjoyed the gorgeous day. It was pretty sweaty and humid.

After a loop, we regrouped in the lot. I was feeling pretty low energy, so I decided to just run some extra....but prob not the full 50k. Others didn't even want to go as far as me, so we split up into groups. We ran up to Awosting, over to the "beach," and chilled out in the sun.

We ran back, and ended up on a gorgeous, trafficky ride back through town. We picked up Wayne and his bike on the way, and headed to the train back to the city, where we could eat after a long, pretty, hilly day.

Pajama Run 6 Hour Race Report

A bit delayed of a race report, but better late than never, right?

I ran the BUS Pajama Run for fun only; a week after VT100, it's hard to put in big miles here. So I mainly run to have fun, hang out w friends, and enjoy running loops for 6 hours in Astoria Park. I did have some competitive friends, but I was there for the watermelon and miles.

The race has a real awesome old-school feel. The race fee is fairly low, there's pizza at the finish, and everyone who runs over an ultra gets a trophy. Instead of a shirt, you get pajama shorts (because the run is 5pm-11pm.....get it, PAJAMA RUN????).

You run loops of around a mile in Astoria Park in Queens. The park is on the water, so lovely views, with some hills. Because it's NYC, the people that are in the park make things interesting....great people watching while running!

I ran a bit in the beginning with Menachem and Mary, but they both had issues, and I ran into my old friend Hiroshi. We ran together until around 28 or 29 miles. I also got a surprise visit by my friend Caroline, who ran a few laps with me with was great.

I was feeling tired and sweaty at the end, when Wayne showed up. I was so happy to see him, it really boosted my spirits. 

Then I finished, I think I was 4th or 5th or 6th woman, and I ate pizza. Wonderful night.

21 September 2015

Vermont 100 (2015) Race Report: Top

It's been a while since I ran 100 miles at Vermont. I had a rough race. I had my second slowest Vermont. Funny - I didn't feel like death marching, though I probably was at times. My pace was waaaaaaaay slower earlier in the race. (Even in my slowest VT100, I still came into Camp Ten Bear in the light....it was dark, scary dark this year.)

me and the legendary john geesler

I didn't want to run Vermont. I wanted to stay at home and eat tacos and read poetry and drink tea. Unfortunately, I didn't do that, though I still did have some fun at Vermont. 

The summer turned into a blur post VT100. I didn't have time to write a race report. Now, months late, I want to write one, but many details are fuzzy. Thus, I'll do a top ten: the worst and best of Vermont 100!


  1. Aid stations. They're great. Grilled cheese while running? Pancakes for breakfast aid stations? YES PLEASE.
  2. Views. Super duper pretty. Just gorgeous.
  3. Interesting course.
  4. My pacers were amazing. Fun. Wonderful. Cheerful. Great.
  5. Nothing like running for glow sticks. Kind of like a rave, and you hallucinate naturally.
  6. My pacers giving me amazing baked goods.
  7. Great, friendly runners.
  8. The volunteers are so nice. Neighbors even random left lemonade at one spot.
  9. Lovely sunrise.
  10. Horses.

  1. Hills. OMG the hills. Seriously. How are there this many hills - and why do we come back?
  2. The rain. We hid out at an aid station from the rain during a horrendous downpour.
  3. My asthma sucked all day.
  4. OMG the hills. Seriously.
  5. Mud. Juicy, delicious mud.
  6. The hills.
  7. Lack of sleep.
  8. The hills.
  9. Worrying about weight gain/loss (yep, I did both).
  10. The hills.
I made a few realizations....too many 100s destroys Cherie. I'll be focusing more on 50 milers for a while...I feel way too burnt out. I'll stick with one 100 a year....and yes, Vermont 100 miler will be it!

11 September 2015

Burning Man, and Life

I owe a bunch of blog posts. My summer has been insane. A friend asked how my writing was going. It wasn't. My summer switched to prepping for the BRC50k, which went off beautifully. But doing so many things by hand....the medals were a crazy step process of spray painting both sides silver, then doing pink lightning bolt stencils on one side, black stencils on both side, a sparkle pink and sealant layer on one side, then threading the ribbon, then sewing the ribbon, then sealing the ribbon. So yeah, my summer kind of got crazy.

But I'm catching up. Doing the results now, and soon will be ready to dive back into life: yoga, running, writing. As I'm catching up, watch the Dream. That's why we go. It's more than a dream.