Jessica Velez: Reflections on my 70-miler

This is a guest post by Jessica Velez who participated in the 70-mile division of the 2019 SRT Run.  I was at checkpoint #5 when she arrived with only a few minutes to spare, and based on her pace at that point I didn’t think she would make it to checkpoint #6, but she did, this time only seconds before the cut-off, strained, blistered, and sopping wet.  Given the risks associated with rain, darkness, and cooling temperatures I offered her the option to drop here and get a ride to the finish, but she barely acknowledged me, instead got to work replacing the batteries in her headlamp, and then headed off into the dark, wet forests for the final 6-mile stretch, arriving at the finish in 29 hours and 49 seconds, and along the way demonstrating the values of determination, self-reliance, and endurance that we seek to celebrate with this event. — Ken.
Why did I do it? It wasn’t for fun, I wish I had the level of fitness where 70 miles would be fun. When I run marathons- they are fun, I socialize, take in the views, people watch- I actually have a lot of fun with marathons. I signed up for a 70, because as I finished my 50 miler at Rock the Ridge in 2017- I felt like I could have done more. I wanted to challenge myself and see if my body was capable of the “more”. Why did I choose the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT) race specifically? Simply because it was local and scenic and priced extremely reasonable.

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Jessica Velez: Reflections on my 70-miler

Ben Leese’s 2019 SRT Race Report

Note:  Ben Leese won the 70-mile division of the 2019 SRT Run with a new course record of 16:28:16, eclipsing the prior record by almost two hours.  More info on the race at www.srtrun.com

Ben’s 2018 SRT race report here

Shawangunk Ridge 70 miler

Last year was my first attempt at the SRT and my first attempt at running anything longer than a marathon.  After missing my goals at a succession of road races over the preceding couple of years I was thrilled to achieve my main objective of grinding out a finish.  But the experience was brutal.  The distance was of course a big part of that, but I’d made a number of rookie errors as well and as soon as the chafing had healed and the toenails had regrown I began to think about ways to improve in 2019.

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Ben Leese’s 2019 SRT Race Report

4,000 Miles Barefoot

On May 27, 2019 I completed a slow-paced trail run in the Catskills, which incidentally marked my 4,000th mile of barefoot training.  I reported previously on the 3,000th, 2,000th, and 1,000th miles, and this post is my latest update on what has turned out to be a fascinating journey.

The story of the last thousand miles is a return to running, after a series of injuries in 2016-2017 that limited me mostly to hiking, and then a gradual recovery in 2018.  But the main theme is getting better, and slightly faster, especially on rocky trails.  And what fun it is to get better!

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4,000 Miles Barefoot

United Airlines NYC 1/2 Marathon

I’m still a relative newcomer to barefoot running, having started the practice four years ago, a short period of time when compared to forty years running in shoes.

Over the last twelve months I’ve started racing barefoot at distances ranging from 5k to 1/2 marathon, almost ten events, and each one a memorable experience not only on account of the variety of surfaces, but also because of the reactions of my fellow participants.

On March 17th, I woke up at 5:38 AM, a few minutes before the alarm was set to ring…

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United Airlines NYC 1/2 Marathon

Random Notes from Dallas

Apologies to anyone who might be following this blog, I haven’t had time to post in a few months, having started a new job recently.  The work is interesting, my new colleagues friendly, and it’s exciting to have the chance to make a difference.  As an aside, the job requires frequent travel to Dallas, which is a change of pace from the Hudson Valley and a nice place to spend some time in the winter.  True, there have been a few cold days with rainy gray skies and temperatures in the 30s (perfect hypothermia conditions if you were wandering around outside), and sometimes the northern wind comes howling across the flat open prairie so hard it might knock you over.  But a few days later, the sun’s back out, the winds have calmed, and the temperature’s soaring into the 70s.  And the next morning I’m surprised when the car thermometer reads 24 F…

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Random Notes from Dallas

Turkey Trot 2018

On November 22, 2018 I completed the Art Van Turkey Trot Chicago 5-mile race, coming in 3rd out of 70 in my age group and 119 out of 2180 overall.  My son Philip finished #8 in his age group and my wife Sue, who ran the 5k, finished #6 in her age group.

Two small successes:  a decent performance on my part, and seeing family members running too.  Successes so small as to be practically meaningless.  Each of our runs accounting for little more than 30 minutes of effort.  Yet it occurs to me if a person could achieve small successes on a regular basis — a successful race, or contributing something small to a big project at work, or making some little observation that helped a friend or family member, or spending time on a community project — such tiny little successes could add up over time to a productive life and a permanent positive impact on the world. . . .

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Turkey Trot 2018