Saturday, August 6, 2011


For better or for worse, I've decided to go to run the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc later this month.

I've had three weeks of mixed training and mixed emotions about going but finally, I'm feeling better physically and mentally.  My biggest fear would be not to complete the race.  With a blow up at the Finger Lakes 50K I was definitely worried that I could bail out in the middle of the Alps somewhere in the middle of the night and who knows where.  But the last 2 weeks I've been running again and able to hammer it a bit.  Thanks to Doc Rob Rinaldi who I finally had enough sense to go visit just last week.  He figured out my foot problem may be the Baxter's Nerve which was very inflamed. With a special foot cocktail, it eliminated the swelling within days and made running on a flat foot bearable again instead of running on the side of my foot.  And I've been cross training a lot to keep the fitness level up as much as possible.

Two weeks ago it was bike, bike, bike and minimal running.  I racked up about 200 miles with a combination of road riding and mountain biking including a weekend at the Kingdom in Northeast Vermont where they have some awesome single track trails which are great for mountain biking and running.  The little town of East Burke is thriving with business around biking.  After taping up my foot, I managed to get in some mountain running up and down Burke Mountain including the fire tower.  After that it was a road ride around Lake Willoughby before settling in at the Burke Mountain campsite for the evening thanks to the efforts of Mr. Boffa.  Steaks, potatoes, Oreo cookies, beer, tequila just to name a few of the treats. The next morning another mountain run around Burke Mountain to be followed up with really fun mountain bike riding around the Kingdom Trails for 3 1/2 hours.  Then lunch from the East Burke Country Store for the ride back home to refuel before a run at the Forest and the Jedi Loop at Sleepy Hollow on my way home.  I was tired by the end of the day.

A week ago I received my foot cocktail on Tuesday and was feeling much better in the running department.  Still I continued with some good road riding and mountain biking including the Wed. night mountain bike races at Catamount. They have done a great job on the trails this year and it's just a blast to ride there at the races. I always have the worst start and end up in the back of the pack but slowly work my way up throughout the 3 laps.  The Tuesday night trail running races I'm still running conservatively as the foot hasn't been ready to really push it yet.  The end of the week ended up with a group run of the Mansfield Loop, a 26 mile adventure which loops around Mt. Mansfield.  We had an awesome crew with some of the best ultrarunners in New England to include Aliza Lapierre, Nate Sanel, Nick Yardley, Todd Archambault, Serena Wilcox, Scott and Joyce Holsten and Bob Ayers, Jr.  The weather was just right, warm but dry.  We started out at 7:00 am, which is a bit early for me but was a good choice as later in the day the heat increased.  We had 9 of us cruising around which was quite impressive as we ran along the ridge line up to the Chin to the top of Mt. Mansfield.

The Crew on top of Mt. Mansfield
Overall I had a decent run with some foot pain on and off all day.  It would come and go.  Probably the worst was the long haul up the Toll Road, about a 4 1/2 mile climb.  After about 2 miles in, the foot started to hurt and I limped up the remainder to the visitor center.  But after that I had some good moments.  All in all, a good week.  I was back up to running about 75 miles for the week and could see some hope that the foot was getting better.

This past week, still getting in some biking with another fun race on Wed. night at Catamount.  They've made some improvements on the Blue trail and it just flows better.  Again I was having a blast winding around the trees on banked turns.  I could hear myself laughing as I was going through the woods.  Running has also been better with more miles and harder workouts.  Tuesday night at the trail races I did take it easy and Joyce, Scott and I ran from the back of the pack but it turned out more like a Fartlek run sprinting when we had the chance to pass other runners.  Wed. night before the bike races on my run I sprinted all the hills, up and down and felt good.  Thursday night I returned again to Catamount and hammered the red course before running the Green/Yellow course with others later on, so another good night.  Friday was a 14 mile run in the heat of the day with Aliza on the big hills of Huntington and Richmond at a "slow pace".  There's never a slow pace when I run with Aliza but always a good run and a good test for the foot to be running on the hard surfaces.  Saturday, successfully ran the Ultra-Trail Du Mt. Mansfield aka the Mansfield Loop.  Felt good, ran it almost an hour faster than last weekend.  With some more miles on Sunday I could be back to the 90-100 plus miles for the week.  So with all that, I just made airline reservations to fly in to Geneva Switzerland on route to Chamonix/Mt. Blanc for the UTMB.  :)

UTMB, I'm on my way!!
  I have no idea how I'm getting around in Europe or where I'm staying but that will come in time.  If any of you have suggestions, I'm all ears.  Any help would be appreciated as I've never been to Europe before.  All I know is I'm psyched to be going and while I'm there I have to visit parts of Italy where the family comes from and also want to run through the Dolomite's, where there are some awesome pics of trails running through the mountains.

The Dolomite's of Italy.

Less than 3 weeks to go!  Remember, Impossible is Nothing!

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