"Its not what you look at, its what you see" Thoreau

"Its not what you look at, its what you see" Thoreau

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stage race - 3 Day Syllamo....WOW!

"The more intense we feel about an idea or goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment". At the top of one of the Syllamo Mountains!

Liz and Sean practicing down hill flying

My first Master's win - yikes!

My teammate Sean - notice the blood on the leg! Sean was super runner and super crew man for the whole quad group! Thanks Sean!

A week late at sending out this race report - but still a fun story to be told and once again, another learning experience.

I had been training for a flat, fast 100 miler which I was never able to make due to my flight being cancelled and no other way to get across the country. Bummed. But when one door closes another opens and another race awaits - completely different in many ways. The 3 Day Syllamo! Very challenging stage race which is a whole new experience for me - will elaborate on that more further down....

The reason for me doing this race is my Montrail teammate Sean Meissner - the all time race sales man, gathering all he can join in on the fun. Arriving in Little Rock, Arkansas, do I find out I am not the only one he has convinced to do this race. The two others in the quad group are Liz and Rob. Both truly amazing people and athletes (Rob, yes, you...who never has done a trail race, further yet a 3 day race - my word!).

Arriving on Wed night was a good idea. Liz and I were awesome roommates (can be tricky when you don't know the company beforehand - but all worked out great). Thursday came and went fast with just enough time to gather supplies, get some rest, pick up packets, check out the course, and fuel!

And now, for the race:

3 Day Syllamo

Day 1 - Shoes: Rogue Racers

With all the excitement, we get to the race as one of the first to arrive! Day 1 - a 50k. but no, it turned out to be more of a 34 mile race, but then you add on the points of getting lost and maybe for me it was a 35-36 mile race. This is a race that you have to pay attention to flags, markers in order to stay on the course. Day one consisted of an out and back course, 100% single track. Total of 9,750ft climbing and descending. I don't think there was a flat portion of this race. Very technical with roots, rocks, small creek crossings, just beautiful. Temperature was perfect although for me it was a little warm coming from New York and snow! Day 1 was a challenge and all I could think was "If Sean is thinking this is easy, I have some serious work to do" In addition, "Hills, my word, the training for these hills is not adequate!" So, I enjoyed the race and knowing there were two more days, didn't push the limits. The beauty of the course is what kept me excited to go back out the next day.

Day 2 - Shoes - Mountain Masochists (rocky course!)

Time flew from Day 1 to Day 2. And the part of waking up the next morning with a little soreness and thinking I have to do this all again is so new to me. So, some stretching, repacking my fuel backpack and just a "bring it on attitude" was what kept the smile going. After the hills on day 1, I could only imagine what the hills on day 2 would bring. So the 50 miler was more of a 56 miler due to again, getting lost. Is there a class I can take for navigating because this is becoming a bad habit! This day was a 10,454 ft climb and descent with 99% single track. A bit hotter today, in the 70's with the sun beating down. Sauna training might have helped! Met lots of interesting runners today (conversations get a bit crazy on the trail - running induced hemorrhoids, races people have done, yodeling at the top of mountains...and on and on...) Bigger creek crossings today and longer climbs and descends (good Western States training). Felt a bit more out there today. The aid stations were more stocked today - loving the potatoes and the last two aid stations with ice. The heat is what held me back today. But, day 2, I finished, and with a smile or maybe a grimace! Rob and Liz came in together and they were super happy and looked super awesome. Such a great team together. Sean was not only super athlete in second place both days, but super crew man for all of us. Putting us in the creek, pounding the fluids, the food...just all around awesome. Came home that night with little time to spare and to get ready again....for....

Day 3 - shoes - Fairhaven

I woke up this day and thought - "what the heck is this, groundhogs day except little variables like being a bit more sore!" Here we go again. Both Liz and I were restless all night and the talk of body functions was becoming a main topic among all of us. But, as I hobbled to the car and to the race and noticed that I was amongst many hobblers, it made me feel better about getting back out there again. Sean, he was flying with energy and excitement, Rob, he was fearless, Liz , she was ready to rock with her baseball cap on backwards looking like a bad a***! Bring on this last day! Day 3 was a 20k - but without getting lost (yeah) - it turned out to be closer to a 15 mile day. Day 3, 3,300ft climb and descent with 99% single track. So, I savored the last day. Felt a bit beat up and unprepared for all of these hills but was good at fueling, keeping good form, good attitude and of course, kept moving forward. A different kind of atmosphere knowing that this was the last day! Bittersweet? In many ways....

Crossing the finish line was wonderful! Really, just a big wow of a weekend. Meeting up for an after party, new friends to share new stories. Atmosphere was great.

Staged races are a challenge. The importance of fueling and pacing and good mind set all come in to play. And as I have said to my WR girls - true JOY is to Just Outdo Yourself -and I did, but next time...will try to do it better!

Hopping on the plane to New York, within hours later, I fell sound asleep. There were many startling moments as I awoke throughout my sleep "where am I?" "what trail am I on?" "why am I sitting?" yes, these staged races sure do stay with you for a while. Will I do it again? Most definitely. I can see Sean, why these are your passion - 2ND place, well done.

And, my first race as a Masters with a win in the Masters division- that was shocking!


  1. Speaking of pre-race fueling on Thursday, how 'bout those sweet potato fries and okra?

    It was a true pleasure to hang out with one of my favorite people for a nice, long weekend playing in the Ozarks. And remember, Jill, that was just a warm-up for the year!

    Remember, keep drinking until you pee clear!

  2. yay, congrats on the masters win. the courage to go out and start again everyday... wow! way to go jill

  3. Hey Jilly Girl - did I talk about bodily functions...little 'ole me? Thanks for being such a great roomie and for reminding me why I love these ultra adventures. I can't stop smiling when I recall the great times spent with the Fab Four (did I just make that up?)