“It hurts up to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse.”
This quote can relate to many things in life, especially Ultra running. This past weekend my family and I ventured to the Jay Peak Trail Run in Jay, VT. Driving up on Saturday, the sky was blue, the air crisp, two eager boys in the back, ready to tackle their 5k.
What I like about the this weekend is we make it a mini vacation, with a side order of running. The facilities are top notch, rooms are gorgeous, we were lucky to get one overlooking the mountain this year. Great restaurants, a general store, and don’t forget the amazing Waterpark to get your splash on or relax in the giant outdoor hot tub! A must do on Sunday night to soak your tired muscles…….
The boys enjoyed their 5k, but were eager to get to the waterpark afterwards, what kid wouldn’t? The waterslides and lazy river are so much fun…….we had many races against each other…we came to realize that whoever rode down the slide with hubs, was clearly going to win!! Hehehehe
We grabbed a nice lunch at the Pub, it was the most beautiful, picture perfect VT day. Not a cloud in the sky, near 70….you couldn’t imagine any bad weather coming in on the horizon. Yet we knew, they were calling for frigid temps and lots of rain…..EWWW… After getting our packs ready and laying out our gear, tailwind, simple squares for the morning….we chilled and put on a movie and settled in for the evening. Our alarm would be going off at 5:30am.
BUZZ, darn alarm…..I jumped up and started getting breakfast together and making our oatmeal….WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?!?!?!?!? What I thought was oatmeal was some sort of pancake batter thingy. I made mine ultra thin and you can see hubs made his thick. Thank goodness we bought english muffins….
We walked down to the start, it was cool, no rain yet. Some people had rain jackets, others just a tank top and shorts. I decided to go with my Skylight Inknburn tech and Mermaid shorts. I love me some Inknburn……. I don’t love being too hot, I heat up rather quickly while I run, but I did pack a rain jacket. Hubs and I always laugh when we stand around at the start, because as we look around, we have packed the whole house into our packs, and others have nothing. I always feel like I’ll need something and I want to be ready, but boy, I gotta learn to minimize!!!
And we were off on our 35.5k, adventure… so a 22 miler with two loops. Each loop has an elevation gain of approximately 3500+ feet. They label these races as Quad Burners and that is 100% true!!! We start off meandering by the lodge and up into a nice slightly elevated groomed trail….climbing roughly 700 ft. Then the BEAST climb, pretty much up the face of Jay. The third mile has an elevation gain of 1200+ ft! In ONE mile!!!! I could feel my legs burning a bit, but the rain was holding off so we could see the majestic view below us!!!
As we reached the top of that climb, we entered the “mossy forest”…as I aptly named it. Gorgeous, rugged, gnarly, rocky, rooted trail. After this brief climb you are almost to the top where there is a cool lodge building. Teenaged boys handing out water, bananas, and such. They looked so cold! Thank you to all the volunteers for being out in the frigid temps to help us runners!!! Much appreciated!!!
From there, lots and lots of downhill to reach our out and back down the Long Trail. This is a hard section for me, because as you are making your way down, all the front runners are hiking back up, FAST. It’s difficult mentally knowing it’s about a mile down and then the same mile back up….but there is a cool aid station at the bottom and oh did those Oreos taste AMAZING!!! Thanks ladies……
From the top of the Long Trail section, it’s pretty much a coast home for the last five miles. Nearly all of your massive climbing is done in those first 6 miles, don’t get me wrong, the last five miles aren’t flat, but there are more sections that are runnable. Numerous runners had trekking poles, I think they would have been extremely helpful on the steep downhills, it was hard at times to hold yourself back. As we headed into our tenth mile, the rain started coming down. Luckily we had our rain jackets stuffed in our packs….they kept us warm and somewhat dry, even though our base layer was wet…I did feel warm enough. With eleven miles done, we had the midway aid station at the starting area, and then it was back to the intense climbing and repeating the loop again…….I actually enjoyed it way more the second time, I was tired and my quads were barking, but I knew what was coming ahead and that after six miles, we would be in the clear.
*This is the “mossy trail”…..haha hubs called it an awful trail as a joke…we just kept laughing at the conditions……I have to say it was an epic day! 40’s and rain and mud….best trio for an ultra!!!
I just love this race! I totally recommend it, it’s not easy, but you know you’ve done something after you conquer Jay!!!!!!!!!!! We’ll be back for sure in ’18!!!!
Looking ahead…….I may have, accidentally, maybe, uh, hmm, signed up for my second 100!!!!! AHHHHH…..I’m really pumped for this one, because I will be meeting up with all my RunFar friends. We will be racing the Javelina Jundred in the beautiful desert of Arizona this upcoming October. Hubs and I are flying out together (thank you Mom and Dad for hanging with the boys…..and we get to celebrate our 26 year anniversary of being together to boot <3) Looking forward to meeting the amazing folks at Aravaipa running who put on the JJ100, and to finally meet my fellow RunFar athlete/friends face to face. I’m so proud of what RunFar stands for. Running for them is a constant reminder of our veterans serving our beautiful country. I want to continue being a voice, sharing their message…….getting veterans the help they need with PTSD and mental trauma can hopefully save lives and saves families. RunFar’s mission is to raise awareness about veteran suicide and PTSD while providing scholarships to the children of fallen United States Military service members that have taken their own life. Please take a moment to check out their website, grab a sweet RunFar trucker hat/shirt or send a few bucks their way…every little bit helps…..thank you….
I leave you with a cool video from RunFar….enjoy and keep inspiring others…..
Click on above link to see what RunFar athletes are up to in October…….
See you on the trails…………
A wee bit windy at the top!!!!