Feb 28th 2015, Frigus 60k Snowshoe race The Endurance Society, which comprised of two 30k loops with 1 aide station about half way between each lap, 1st lap had to be completed by 3:30pm and 2nd lap we had till midnight. Start of the race was -4 with a high of 19. A huge concern of mine was what to wear during the race because I didn’t want to wear too much and overheat and in contrary I didn’t want to wear to little and freeze, so I started each lap out with a thermal under layer and carried my jacket behind me.
I hear race director Andy Weinberg yell out for everyone to get to the starting line, at this point I’m still trying to figure out how to put these darn snowshoes on my shoes seeing how this was only my second time doing this! I finally get them on and head over. “5 min till the start off the race” I hear Andy say, while he’s giving his pre-race speech I dozed off and just remember thinking to myself “Here we go Amanda here we go, you got this”.
The start of the race was underway and off we were through the mountains of Vermont,The Frigus 60k had finally started. I kept a good pace at the start probably a bit faster than I should have but I was just thinking to myself how awesome this journey was going to be. At this point I felt amazing as you do at the start of any race everyone’s around you, your adrenaline is pumping and you just want to go. I was around my friend Richard Scharfenberg and my goal was to stick with him for the remainder of this lap, we hit the first assent I looked down at my watch more than half way up the mountain and noticed I hit a 28min pace climbing at this point I was so afraid of the cutoffs I started to get worried and we weren’t even 2 miles in yet. Once this hill was over with Richard got far ahead of me andI told myself “Amanda you need to stay with him, you got this, keep fucking going and run” so I started to run at the straightaway’s and slight descents at a 11min pace, I finally caught up to Richard and made sure I stayed with him.
The trail was absolutely beautiful we rounded this one corner and the mountains in the background were amazing!After that we headed back into the trail and continued onward. Nutrition wise I was doing pretty well eating every 45min to an hour, most of the time I didn’t want to take my gloves off so I wasn’t eating as much as I should have, my nutrition was not on point like I had planned, a main concern of mine was making sure my hydration line didn’t freeze because the start of the race was-4 so I kept blowing the water back into the line every time I would drink, I also put the line under my arm pit so it could stay warm as possible, this was working well for me all day. As we were on the path I see my dad there and I was so happy to see him! The three of us then ran down to the aide station and LET ME TELL YOU those maple cookiesWERE AMAZING!!!!! Gave me the energy I needed for the next assent! I was so paranoid about the cutoffs I made sure no more than 5 min were spent at this aide station wanted to get in and out! So off we were, still feeling amazing body and mind was ready to finish the last half of this loop! We hit another long ascent, which slowed our pace down, but overall we were making good time, we started to run afterwards and everything was great,until I hit mile 12.5 I was losing so much energy, I was getting cold because my pace slowed down significantly, and my left knee started to bother me. I told Richard to go ahead as I needed to get my electrolytes, and slow my pace.I took my pack off, drank my electrolytes, put my jacket on and I was feeling much better except for my knee. I wasn’t happy at this point because I WANTED TO RUN SO BAD I am an ultra runner and at this point I was stuck to power hiking/walking! It was an easy straight away and I should have been running butI couldn’t due to the pain. I just could not wait to finish this lap.
At this point I’m thinking to myself “How in the WORLD am I going to go out for a second lap this is fucking painful!” “Amanda you have to go out, you can do this there is no other option,TOUGHEN UP”. So many people were passing me at this point and I was getting so angry with myself and my knee, I just wanted to run but knew I had to save myself for the second lap because IWAS going back out. A mile before the end of the 30k my dad met me I told him my situation and he says ”Amanda you can’t go back out with that knee pain” I told him word for word “Daddy I gotta try” and then we finished the last mile or so, I got a bit of energy and ran the last .3 to the aide station with himAND BOY WAS I HAPPY TO GET THERE my mom and sister were a big help and encouraged me which helped give me that extra push. My adrenaline was at an all time high, I was a bit frazzled at this point trying to get my nutrition together/fill my hydration pack/put a new thermal long sleeve top on ext. ThenI noticed that I LOST MY GLOVE, I lost my glove when I was eating on the trail so my awesome sister gave me her thick ones and David Bohmiller as well gave mea pair of his, I was very thankful at this point for I would have been in trouble second lap with out them. Andy then came up to me and asked me how my knee was doing, and I’m like“It hurts but I’m going back out Andy I’m going to do this”. So after I get my things together I runout the door, put my snowshoes on and I started to run back out in the trails.Here we go! Second lap WOOOOO!! My knee pain was gone due to the adrenalin rush from the stop. I was .5 miles in the second lap and BAM knee pain strikes, at this moment I was thinking to myself “SHIT FORGOT TO TAKE THE TYLENOL I’m anIDIOT” So now I was starting the second lap with the pain. I thought about turning around but there was no way I could get myself to back track. At this point I just had to be smart about my pace because I knew exactly what was ahead, I had a LONG, LONG way to go so I power hiked up that hill again and just took it one stride at a time. Once the assent was over, I remember on the first lap I was running at a great pace at this point, I wanted nothing more than to run I was getting so frustrated that I was stuck to power hiking DOWN a hill!
So here I am, on the trail, second loop, by myself, in the middle of the mountain, basically in the middle of nowhere on a trail with no one in site, it was very lonely my hair was frozen and i was literally giving it all i had with each step i took, I was singing and talking to myself trying to be my self-motivator to finish this race! I forgot what mile I was at but just after I crossed the bridge I started to cry, the pain was so intense I honestly had no idea how I was going to finish this race, at this point I couldn’t bend my left knee, I was literally dragging the heel of my snowshoe and powering with my right leg i kept repeating "Pain is temporary Amanda tomorrow you're going to be just fine, pain is temporary" Thankfully I had trekking poles. I was praying to God at this point to give me the strength to finish this race, my body was screaming for me to sit down and quit so bad. I thought I was the last one on the course because there was a lot of people who didn’t go out for their second lap, so I knew at this point that no one was coming behind me, my only option was to keep going forward. The first half of the second loop was by far the lowest point of my entire race, I would get random spurts of energy and the pain would subside so I was able to speed up a bit but every time I did the pain would just get intense so at that point I came to the conclusion that running was now out of the option, I WAS GOING TO FINISH THIS RACE whether I was running, walking or crawling, I am not a quitter!
It felt like hours were going by I was still all alone on the mountain just me, the trail and the cold silent forest, my pace was so slow I had to stop again to put my jacket on I also put my headlamp on at this point because I knew I wouldn’t want to stop again and do it later when it got colder. I also refueled at this point I was just so determined to get to that half way aide station, I knew my dad was going to be there to finish the last 9 miles with me, again I kept talking to myself to take my attention away from the pain, then finally I hit the snowmobile trail and from that moment I knew I only had 2.5 miles till the aide station. A few min after hitting the trail I heard snowmobilers in the distance whizzing by and all I’m thinking is “Please see me please see me don’t hit me!”because I was coming around a corner when I heard them. Anyway I was SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY to see the snowmobile trail because I was that much closer to the aide station that I longed for.
.5 miles after that all happened I can remember hearing someone screaming behind me it was faint but just enough for me to hear, so I turned around and I see this guy running towards me flailing his arms, I’m thinking “Who the hell is this guy!?” because before I was convinced that I was the LAST person on the trail so now I’m all worried, but once I noticed his bib number I slowed my pace because I knew he was trying to get my attention. AND WHAT DO YA KNOW!! Billy Mckenna caught up to me! He says “You are fast as hell”made me feel good even though I was so mad at my self for how slow I was going.But anyway! I was so incredibly happy to have someone else there! We hiked 1mile together and my dad was there as well so the three of us hiked the last mile to the aide station. At the aide station someone told me that “ Someone left PBJ pop-tarts for Amanda” I WAS SO HAPPY it was the best news at that moment!! Greg Tappin You’re the best!!! Jane Boudreau Coffey was there and gave me a huge hug and at that point I knew that everything was going to be okay! Race director Jack Cary was also there who was very encouraging also told Billy and I that there was another female who went out for her second lap and also a few other people behind us, I was shocked this whole time I thought I was the last person!
At that moment I don’t know what happened but this incredible amount of energy overwhelmed me and I was SO ready to finish, I looked at Jane and told her “I’m going to do this”. So off we were Billy my Dad and I back out on the trails. We hit the first assent, which was ALOT longer than I remembered but regardless we were making great time; our pace was impressive giving how we both were feeling leading up to this point. The sun started to set, so I turned my headlight on, and had the light guide my way through the dark bare forest. There’s really nothing like racing in at night, just you out there with your one little light guiding your way everything else in the distance pitch black, it’s an amazing feeling. The temperature started to drop significantly, my core temperature was fine, my hydration line however not so much! I was diligent ALLDAY but this one time I forgot to blow the water back in to the pack it froze instantly. I was disappointed with myself because I tried to avoid this issue all day but it is what it is. I was also starting to get frustrated at this point because this trail seemed NEVER ENDING I just wanted to reach the reservoir and it seemed like it kept getting farther and farther away, felt like it was longer than the first time around! But overall it was amazing being accompanied by Billy and My dad it kept me going! No matter what you just have to keep trucking along because you’re always capable of 10 more steps.
There comes a point in every Ultra race, no matter how awful you might have felt all day or how much pain you were in, you get this surge of energy that’s so hard to describe. But I can honestly say the last 9 miles were the best miles of the entire race. I was so determined and focused out there I wanted nothing more than to reach that finish line, not even a freaking bear that I kept picturing coming after me would stop me from finishing this darn race! After 11 hours and 45 min since starting this wild journey the finish line was finally in sight, all I can remember was sprinting to the finish line and all that god-awful pain had suddenly disappeared, everything leading up to this one moment was worth it Andy and Jack then handed me my 1st place female finisher plaque and the emotions at that moment were indescribably, it was an incredible moment that I’ll never forget, it was over, it was finally over.
Placement: 1st placeFemale, 5th place over all 11 hours 45 min. Meant the world to me to have the best crew I could ask for Meant so much to have my dad out there I always looked forward to him meeting me an mile inward from each aide station not to mention he trucked the last 9 miles with me! Also the support of my mom and sister Adriana who were at the end of the first loop helping me at the bin drop. Meant more to me than you all know! Also to my race family who’s love and support throughout the entire day kept me going I love you guys!!!!!!
Everyone should check out The Endurance Society--->> http://endurancesociety.org/ upcoming races this year!!!
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