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Catamount Ultra 25K: Race Day

Jun 27, 2019 4:56:00 PM

Skirack's Chloe Egan makes her way to the Catamount Ultra 25K finish line on June 22. Photo: Ironwood Adventure Works.

Well it’s Wednesday morning and I can go down stairs quickly again. The Catamount Ultra 25K (part of the Salomon Running Festival) was unlike anything I have ever done and proved to be just as difficult as I suspected. All in all I’m really glad I did it. Thinking back, the race exists in my brain as a series of four segments in which my running style got progressively wilder and slower.

The weather was near perfect last Saturday (June 22) at the start and I stood shivering next to my Skirack colleague Sara Falconer, feeling excited and ready to go. My legs felt surprisingly fresh and it seemed like my bizarre combination of post Vermont City Marathon rest, low-milage and hill training had done the trick. This actually proved true; at no point in the race did I feel under trained in a general fitness sense, although I did feel vastly under trained when it came to this type of race. Basically, I felt fit but slow if that makes any sense.

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Skirack's Chloe (front), Brittany (middle), and Sara (back) scramble up a steep hill, while on a training trail run at Lone Rock Point in Burlington, VT. They are preparing to race in the Catamount Ultra 25K/50K on June 22. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

I’m less than two weeks away from racing the Catamount Ultra 25Kon 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.

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Mountain Dew

Jun 3, 2019 4:56:41 PM

Skirack's Brittany (front), Chloe (center), and Sara (back) on a training run at Lone Rock Point in Burlington, VT. They are preparing to race in the Catamount Ultra 25K/50K on June 22. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

Trail running. The simultaneously more intense and more laid back version of road running. Back country running. I have to admit I don’t know a lot about the culture and sport, but I have my first Vermont summer in a while stretching out in front of me and I’m ready to dive in.

When I think of trail running, I remember reading Born to Run, a paperback I purchased from the downtown Borders and read during an angst-ridden senior year of high school. I recall a passage describing this phenom ultra runner’s favorite mid-race refuel. I read that she would pause to ingest a Mountain Dew along with a slice of pizza and my head exploded. I was afraid to eat mayonnaise on a sandwich six hours before my heat of the 800m at the Burlington Invite. Trail runners had to be a different breed.

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