I’m less than two weeks away from racing the Catamount Ultra 25K on June 22 and this trail running business is still a mystery. I feel like I’ve been working on individual elements but I haven’t put the pieces together. I think I have endurance built up from my Vermont City Marathon half training, but it’s been a bit of a weird transition going from recovery back into 25K trail training in early June.
I know I can run 15.5 miles, but I have never ever run such a long distance on this kind of terrain. My coworker Brittany Beland, who will be racing the 50k - double my distance, has previewed the Trapp Family Lodge course and confirmed my suspicions. The first 6 miles of this course will likely be the most difficult kind of racing I have ever done. It’s going to be steep and slow.
One thing that has been going very well is crowdsourcing advice from my more experienced coworkers. There seems to be a consensus: I need to power hike. Power hiking sounds both very bad-ass and very difficult and will almost certainly address my biggest obstacle going into this race: I get extremely winded going uphill. I have always been like this. Even when I’m in great shape, running hills takes a lot out of me. I think this is because I’m an efficient road shuffler: I have long legs and a slightly slower turnover that translates well to flat terrain. In college, I made it through some 5Ks and 6Ks on difficult courses, Williams College particularly sticks out in my brain, but these races were always short enough for me to mentally keep pushing.
Racing on the Trapp Family Lodge terrain is going to be another beast entirely. With all this in mind I’ve made a plan, suggested by Boston Qualifier and Skirack biomechanics expert, Sam Hewitt. On Tuesday, I will power hike the Sunset Ridge Trail at Underhill State Park and see how it goes. I think this will be the best way to assess my fitness going into the last part of my training.
As the race gets closer, I’ve been debating about what to wear and how to hydrate. When I first heard that there were two aid stations I thought, “Oh, maybe I don’t even need to carry water.” I have a bit of a tricky stomach and I actually run best on minimal water so this seemed ideal but lately I’ve been reconsidering. I think with the heat and the difficulty of course, only taking water at these stations won’t be enough.
I’ve experimented by jogging around Skirack with two of the many hydration vests that we carry: Salomon’s Advanced Skin 8 and Agile 2. The Advanced Skin 8 has an incredible fit and can do everything. It comes with 2 soft flasks that balance out the front of the vest and also has room for an additional soft reservoir in the back. The Agile 2 is more minimal with pouches to hold 2 flasks in the front. Both seem like good options but I’ve decided to hold off for the time being and go with something else: running with a single 500 ML soft flask. I plan on storing the flask in the back of my running top, a spot I usually put my phone on long training runs, so I’m used to having a weight there. The road runner in me wants to be as light as possible and I think this will be perfect for this length race. I’m still in the market for a hydration vest that I can use for hot summer training and hiking, but I need to do some more research.
All in all I’m getting very excited to race with our little Skirack Catamount Ultra team comprised of Sara Falconer, Kyle Darling (both running the 25K), and Brittany (running the 50K). I am also running in the Father’s Day 5K this Sunday in Essex, but I’m not expecting my legs to have much speed in them at this point in my training. June 22nd is quickly approaching and I'm getting ready to think fast thoughts, or at least gritty ones!
- Chloe Egan,
Skirack Run Specialist
Click here to learn more about Chloe.