Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fast & Female 6th Annual Anchorage!!!!



Fast and Female 2014 CHAMP CHAT Anchorage Edition 
presented by Anchorage Women's Clinic
Fast & Female is Proud to Present an Afternoon of Athletic Inspiration and Fun Hosted by the Olympians Kikkan Randall, Holly Brooks, and Sadie Bjornsen for Girls 9-19!
WHEN: Sunday, September 28th from 12-3pm **Check In begins at 11:45**
WHERE: East Anchorage High School (Pool Entrance)
SCHEDULE: Welcome Activities, Exploration Stations, Ambassador Intros, Inspirational Stories, Dance, Poster Signing and a Farewell Hug!
NEW THIS YEAR for the High School girls there will be Breakout sessions to include injury prevention, nutrition, athlete panel & killer core session! The athlete panel will have professional athletes, college athletes and other athletes. Bring your questions and get them answered! 

Champ (ages 9-13)
11:45 Registration opens
12:00 - 1:30 Experience stations
1:30 - 1:45 Welcome & Ambassador Intros
1:45 - 2:15 Fitness & Dance
2:15 - 2:45 Healthy snacks & Inspirational Chats
2:45 - 3:00 Autographs & Farewell 
Teen Champ (ages 14-19)
11:45 Registration opens
12:00 - 12:45 Experience stations
12:45 - 2:15 Breakout sessions
2:15 - 2:45 Healthy snacks & Inspirational Chats
2:45 - 3:00 Autographs & Farewell 
Coach and Parent Seminar
12:45 - 2:15 Coach and Parent Seminar (guest speakers on injury prevention, nutrition and sports psychology)
2:15 - 2:45 Healthy snacks & Inspirational Chats
2:45 - 3:00 Autographs & Farewell 

WHO: Girls 9-19 who love sports! All abilities welcome, invite your friends too!
HOSTS: World Champion Kikkan Randall, Olympians Holly Brooks and Sadie Bjornsen, and the Amazing Ambassadors from APU Ski Team and UAA Collegiate Team!
RSVP: Register here on Eventbrite to let us know you'll be coming. All pre-registered participants will take home a special F&F keepsake. Online registration ends September 27th at noon. You can register the day of the event for $30. 
New this year! COACH and PARENT SEMINAR from 12:30-2.This seminar to open to both male and female coaches and parents. Guest speakers on injury prevention, nutrition for young athletes and sports psychology.  Parents will be able to join in for the snacks and inspirational talks portion of the main event as well. Please register online! 

**SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE** No questions asked! Please email Abby Weissman (aweissman@fastandfemale.com) for more information.

***COMPLETE POST-EVENT ONLINE SURVEY FOR CHANCE TO WIN PRIZES*** After the event we will send out a post-event survey. Everyone who completes it within 48 hours will be entered to win a Lululemon Hoodie and other prizes! Look for this email after the event!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Awesome and more Awesome.

So.... I will let you, the reader choose which part of this blog is "awesome" and "more awesome."  


First and foremost, it's only THREE weeks until our annual Anchorage Fast and Female event!  We've been putting together quite the afternoon for the girls of Alaska and we'd love help spreading the word. There is nothing worse than running into people after the event who would have loved to come but just didn't hear about it. 

We're looking for participants, volunteers and ambassadors - please sign up for the fun-filled, totally awesome day!  The registration link can be found HERE. This year (by popular demand) we're bringing back the parent/coaches clinic. New this year will be a separate break out session for high school aged girls with speakers on nutrition, injury prevention, a killer core workout and a panel of successful female athletes spanning NCAA to Professional Sports. Girls will get a chance to interact and get their questions answered. 

This is a MULTI SPORT event and every girl ages 9-19 is encouraged to attend!  If you'd like to volunteer we're always looking for help. 
Second.... this past weekend was awesome and I'm happy to report, I accomplished my goal of not racing!  There is a huge part of me that knows how much I'd like ultra racing but for now, it will have to wait. I certainly wonder how fast I could have run the 30 miles / 50k but I will have plenty of time later in life to test myself at this distance on feet rather than skis.  Skis are the focus right now and although my race "time" was a long 5:55 I kept a reasonable training pace (with the exception of the last 3 miles when I decided I wanted to get a sub-6 hour time) which should allow me to bounce back quickly and resume normal training right away.  For preventative purposes I will focus on roller skiing, ski erg, biking and lifting weights for the first two days post Kesugi. 

The following are a couple of photos for the weekend. Thanks so much to Andrea and Dave who put a lot of time and soul into making this event happen. Everyone had an AWESOME time! 

All smiles pre-race. Woke up to sunshine after zero-viz, ultimate faith drive North Friday..... 
Harlow, Holly, Matias, Chris, Ben & Jim

 The official race map! Yep.... lots of good info. 

 Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and Healthy Futures Executive Director Harlow Robinson! 

 Buds.... 

 Christie 

 Around mile 12 or so? 


 This wonderful crew hosted an incredible feed station at the half way point! They had Gatorade, salt tablets, cookies, fruit snacks, oranges and more. Also included, killer cheering. Thanks all! :) 

 Looking back at Skinny Lake 

 Much of the ridge trail is marked by cairns. Little tarns are interspersed along the way.  We saw the Summit of Denali during the drive but for the race, it was hidden. Honestly it was probably better that way because the trail is incredibly technical. If you're rubber necking too much you'd trip and fall on your face! 

 Byer's lake had amazing high bush cranberries everywhere. I've never seen them so plentiful. These went directly in the freezer with the plan to make some Alaskan cranberry sauce at a later time... 

 Warm enough to jump in post race! 

The mountain made an appearance in all it's glory Sunday!  Iphone cameras don't even begin to do McKinley justice. It was incredible in person. I suppose you had to be there :) 

Special thanks to my husband Rob for taking all these photos, shuttling the car for racers, and carrying an extra bottle & some food for me. 

More soon. In the meantime have a great week! 
Cheers, 
Holly 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A glutton for punishment!

A quick post as I'm about to head out of town for the weekend. I believe that the infamous "Climb to the Castle" Roller ski race is tomorrow.... although I've heard rumors that it might not be re-paved in time? (I also hear many people may secretly be celebrating!)  One of these days I'd love to head to Placid and race the hill climb and I suppose that means I'm a true Glutton for punishment. However, tomorrow I have my own painful plans. Months ago I decided that I'd sign up for the second annual Kesugi Ridge Race. Kesugi is a gorgeous ridge paralleling the Alaska Highway. In good weather and clear visibility Denali and the entire Alaska Range is in full view. It's downright gorgeous. It's also 30 miles of undulating, difficult mountain terrain.  



 Katie on Kesugi - Panoramic! 


The race was limited to the first 60 registrants and this year it sold in the blink of an eye.  At the time I thought this would be a great goal - a good push to really get my running legs underneath me and a great transition to long distance training and racing; the theme of the upcoming winter. However, life happens and I have not gotten the mountain running miles that I need to tackle an obstacle like this. While I'd love to just put my head down and charge the race anyways I've learned my lesson a couple of times this spring/summer about racing. That is, if you're not properly prepared and race anyways you'll pay consequences by means of needing long periods of recovery. Or worse, you'll injury yourself and be paying the consequences (yet again) for months to come. 

Fresh off the plane from Europe and my Olympic racing season I decided it would be fun to race the 50k Oosik classic in Talkeetna. Even though I didn't "race" I skied it fast with Rob and friends. My elbows started bugging me 15k into the race but sometimes when I put a bib on my brain fails to think intelligently. I kept going. At the end of the race I couldn't undress myself as I couldn't lift my arms without searing pain. This injury did stem from a chronic injury but even so, it was dumb. 

The second example is Mt. Marathon. I had a hamstring injury going into the race and was unable to run flats 6 weeks ahead of time. Thus, I suffered big-time on the road and pushed myself deep, deep into the pain cave. Due to the lack of specific training and the heat it took me over a month to fully recover from that race effort. I'd like to think it was worth it since I was narrowly able to hold onto the win but even so - costly as far as ski training in concerned. 

I say all of this because here it is - a public statement for everyone to see. Help hold me accountable!  Even though I will be wearing a bib tomorrow I REFUSE TO RACE!  Yep, this is going to be a great Over Distance workout, nothing more, nothing less. It helps that many of my friends that I convinced to do the race are in the same boat. So, I'm hoping there will be some good training partners out there. 

As if I needed further proof to not push myself into race pace here are a few words from the race website regarding the effort needed and the potential conditions: 

"This is not a course for beginning trail runners. There are significant climbs and difficult terrain. If you have never traveled the course before, we strongly encourage you to do so BEFORE considering signing up. If you are signing up because you just want to see the trail, please go do it on your own time.  The trail will not be marked, so familiarity with it will be very important. Please do not over-estimate your abilities! The most common, recurring theme regarding weather descriptions reads "lousy weather, cold winds and poor visibility are common". The effort level for running this race is equivalent to running two marathons. If you have only run road marathons, but never tackled trail running, please do not sign up.  If you cannot run for 9 hours without stopping, you probably shouldn't sign up for this race. This course is not meant to be jog/walked. Power hiking the hills is probably the only walking you will be doing in order to make the time cut-offs. The time cut-offs are very strict and difficult to achieve. Running the Crow Pass Crossing in under the time limit or 50mile/50k trail race would be  good personal pre-requisites."

Earlier this summer Katie Ronsse Libby and I went to Kesugi and ran the second half of the course. Our first adventure included a hunter shooting a black bear a couple hundred feet from the trail. When we encountered him on the trail he was waiting for the bear to "bleed out" before going into the alder to retrieve his kill. That did NOT make me feel safe because if he had injured rather than killed the bear it could have come straight at us! (Yikes!) Alaska problems.... 

Here are a few photos from our trip: 

 In between Ermine Hill and Byer's Lake. 

 Bridge approaching Byer's Lake 

Running through the "Toadstools" 

RED red salmon. Can't believe how far from the ocean these guys are to spawn. Downright amazing creatures! 

So, hold me to it. I have big race goals for this upcoming winter and can't afford a super long recovery from this one. That said, tomorrow should be fun!  Have fun on your own adventures for the weekend, whatever they may be :) 

Race website with more photos: 

Cheers, 
Holly 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fulltime..... squared.

On Monday I had my first day of school in a year.  A good friend texted jokingly, "Do you have your first day of school outfit planned out?"  I replied, yes..... at least in theory. How about a hoodie and my favorite pair of black Lulu pants thrown over some dried sweat? This fall is bound to be busy considering the fact that I've chosen to get back on the education band wagon - all while still training full time. I realize that my plans, both academically and athletically haven't been widely publicized. It's not for lack of commitment or any uncertainty for that matter. Rather, simply waiting for me to wrap my own mind around the next year physically, mentally and emotionally.



I know that some of you were taken aback this spring with my decision to withdraw my name from the US Ski Team re-nomination pool.  Why would someone essentially "opt out" after I worked tooth and nail to get "in?"  While last season was a bit of a struggle at times I did have some bright moments and yes, two years ago there were those World Cup top tens that are oh-so-hard to reach. Sport and careers in sport are bound to have their natural ups and downs and rebounds do happen.

That said, this year after following the last Olympic cycle I knew that I was ready for a change - for a new challenge. My goal is to finish on the overall podium of the FIS World Loppet Marathon Series. To my knowledge no North American has pursued this path and I'm looking forward to taking on the task and sharing my pursuit.

While it's hard at times to think of not being at World Championships in Falun Sweden (not counting myself completely out...)  it's exciting to think about racing in new places, new formats, and against new competition. I absolutely LOVE distance skiing and in many ways, the longer the better in my book.  The racing not to mention the training required for this style of pursuit is right up my alley.  I was always disappointed the last couple of years when I couldn't ski as much as I wanted too for fear of getting too tired. When you're racing the World Cup full time for five straight months, often two races each weekend you cannot afford the time to get big training hours in. Hence, less time on snow and less skiing.  My new revised racing plan will condense my racing schedule, allowing for a longer training period and more time on snow without a necessary taper before Thanksgiving.

Also, for the first time in years I'm looking forward to holidays at home!!!!! What?! Waking up Christmas morning in my own bed? Unheard of! Shortly after the holiday I will jet-set over to Europe to race my first marathon. Right now that's planned to be the Dolomitenlauf in Austria January 18th. (Check out my proposed racing schedule under the "schedule" tab.  More on my racing calendar and the challenges I will face later.... )

Regarding my academic plans... A few years back I began a Masters of Counseling program at APU. I've been dabbling in classes the past couple of years and last year, I took the entire year off in preparation for Sochi. After my recent hiatus I'm ready to get back on the horse and pursue my education. Through my personal trials and tribulations I've discovered that I'd like to go into the field of sports psychology. I've worked with one myself the past year and it's been a really cool experience. In the pursuit of sports there is the physical training and preparation that we're all very familiar with but there is also a huge mental & emotional component that is often over-looked and in my opinion under-trained.

The best athletes that I've been exposed to are the people that have a combination of natural talent, work ethic and grit, and the mental game to survive the challenges sports through at us.  Much of psychology and counseling focuses on the "disease state" and works to help those with problems return to "normalcy."  However, my area of interest is how do we take someone who functions at a normal level and make them great? How can I help them achieve excellence? How can we use a mental edge to create champions, be it literally or figuratively?

Rob 

 Now that I'm beginning my routine, spending lots of time in front of a computer and will face regular deadline I promise to be more informative about my whereabouts, my plans, my training, and my aspirations. I look forward to sharing my new challenge with you, my readers, family and friends. Thanks so much to everyone whose supported me in the past and those who continue to do so. While it's scary to break away from the US team with a coach, my personal wax tech, a traditional racing schedule and the funding it provides I have an unblinding faith that my new challenge will come together.



 Long days in the saddle, on my feet equate to good marathon training :) 

Always inspired to train in new places and thankful for my fitness which allows me to get there!
Kulane National Park & Reserve - Yukon, Canada. 

In the meantime Rob and I finally took the chance to get away a bit this summer and enjoy a training camp out of town in preparation for the grind of the next few months. We packed the truck and took our bikes, running shoes and (my) roller skis to the Yukon. We biked in Kulane National Preserve, Carcross and Whitehorse. I had hoped to run the Chilkoot Pass Klondike Gold Rush Trail but flood conditions kept me from doing so. Instead I settled on a great roller ski from Skagway 3300 up to the top of White Pass. One workout, two countries, passport required.



With the exception that my body is one large bruise from numerous mountain bike falls my bones are in tact and I'm happy and healthy. I'm excited to study, excited to train, and excited to be involved giving back to my community without over extending myself. Kikkan, Sadie and I are midst planning for our fifth annual Fast and Female event in Anchorage Sunday September 28th.  If you're a local check it out and please help us spread the word!

Enough from me. Happy Labor Day everyone. Have fun, be safe and take time each day to reflect on the numerous things you have to be thankful for.

Cheers! 
Holly :) 


Nothing like a good 12-hour day bike/hiking the "Cottonwood Loop" with our good friends Katie and Justin.
A portrait of Rob.... 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July..... Hope, Salmon, PSAs, Valdez, Eagle Glacier & the Chugach!

Catching up via photos! It's been a busy month as you can see...... 

Hiking with Rob....  undisclosed location near Hope :) Amazing work whoever spent hours or maybe days (?) putting this together! 


The big guy hiking gorgeous ridges.... 


Film project highlighting amazing recreation opportunities in the Chugach National Forrest with Alaska Teen Media Institute: 


Me, Barae, Rosey & Aviva


Recording PSAs (Public Service Announcements for Healthy Futures and the "Play Everyday" campaign with Kikkan: 



 I helped with dip netting for the first time in 3 or 4 years!  Although the 22-hour day just about killed me we successfully filled the freezer. (Smoking happened on a different day) Lots and lots of work but oh so tasty and worth it! 


4th Annual "NAWTA" camp which was deemed "North American & Norwegian Women's Training Alliance" thanks to the presence of Norwegian National Team member Celine Brune-Lie!

 

Post 2-week training camp most of the girls camp to Hope for "relaxation camp!" Here we are on Hope Point. 


 Girls and Fireweed.... 

Turnagain Arm in the background. If you haven't done this hike before (Hope Point) I honestly think it's one of the MOST beautiful in all of Alaska. 

Lauren and I went to Valdez on behalf of GCI, one of the APU team's sponsors to hep put on a kid's camp and customer appreciation event. Not too shabby when you get to fly in a corporate jet. 


Lauren displaying one of the giveaways for the kids


Some of the kids at the start of our Park Strip obstacle race: 


Last but not least, Max Romey's latest work..... his pre-trailer release on Mt. Marathon. It's a pretty sweet video, especially when you realize that there are two more videos coming! Stay tuned for links and Kickstarter info on those. 


Thanks for checking in - Happy Summer! 
Cheers, 
Holly 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Mount Marathon Race Report

(Sorry for the long post - not trying to bore anyone to death!  A quick picture scroll is completely allowed!) 

Friday was my 6th Mount Marathon race. After taking last year off (to avoid injury pre-Olympics) I was excited to toe the start line of Alaska's biggest race yet again. However, the forecast wasn't looking good.... for the racers at least. The 30-40 thousand spectators love the sun but for the athletes, and particularly myself, the heat is bad, bad news. Pre-race I thought our group of women had the potential to at least threaten some of the records - either overall or age group but with the temps in the high 70's (which means high 80's on the mountain) it seemed virtually impossible. My time ended up being a minute slower than my PR and Strabel, the men's winner was a full two minutes off his best time even though he's arguably in the best shape of his life. I know some accomplished and highly trained runners who were up to 5 minutes off their best time. The heat was unforgiving and I'll tell you, four days later my legs are still screaming in pain and soreness. 


Part of me wonders if I suffered any permanent, irreversible damage to my legs during my exertional rhabdomyolysis episode of 2009 or perhaps I'm just genetically pre-disposed to struggle in the heat.  My win in 2012 was a minute faster and felt exponentially easier than a few days ago. Funny thing is that I spent Friday night in Seward and woke up Saturday (July 5th) to a cloudy, overcast, 55 degree day that would have been PERFECT for racing. I have no doubt in my mind I could have gone up to 2 minutes faster had it been 20 degrees cooler. 

PRE-RACE & PREDICTIONS: I was honestly a bit anxious going into the race because of an injury I've been dealing with this summer.  Somehow I managed to pull my medial hamstring 6 weeks ago and have had to modify training quite a bit. I was unable to do any fast running on the flats, jumping, or downhill training. I knew this wasn't going to serve me well in the race and I was down playing the injury and holding my cards tight. A SPECIAL "thank you" to my awesome PT Zuzana Rogers at Advanced Physical Therapy who worked with my 3x/week to get this injury under control. I knew this was going to be a challenge because both Christy and Najeeby are former road racers and Christy was speaking openly about her love of downhill running. With my injury I was unable to train this aspect of the race - their strengths. So, I trained like I usually do, as a cross country skier :) 

Going into the race one of the local news networks called me the "pre-race favorite."  I thought this was slightly unfair seeing that Christy Marvin was the defending champion and had won NINE straight mountain races leading up to this year's big show..... but, I've run into this phenomena before. Because I have the title "Olympian" on my name I've found that people expect me to win or at least excel in anything I do. Honestly, I think this is not only unrealistic but unfair. I'm human. I can be out of shape. I have been incredibly out of shape. If you saw me trying to run down Fourth Avenue I looked HORRENDOUS.  In the future I hope that this doesn't stop me from entering events. 

Race Start taken from high on the mtn. Photo: Danielle Bailey

Photo: Jim Jager

Aubrey Smith! Photo: Danielle Bailey

Photo: Danielle Bailey

Photo: Danielle Bailey

UPHILL: I've raced very little this summer. First and foremost because I needed a physical and mental break after a strenuous Olympic year. Second, I skipped some races I wanted to do because of my injury. I also needed the extra time to get in shape! It was a low snow year here in Anchorage and many AK runners had been on their feet since late winter/early spring. I felt behind! 

For some reason I expected the pace to be fast from the gun. When it wasn't, I was surprised. So, I settled in right behind Christy to see what would happen. At the base of the mountain we took the roots and Jeebs (Najeeby) made a last minute ditch to the Cliff. When the trails came together Jeebs was a good 25 feet ahead of us and kept that gap & lead for the first 1/4 of the race. I kept an eye on her and my ears open, trying to listen and interpret how hard Christy was working - specifically compared to my own exertion. Just beyond Squirrel tree I passed Christy to chase Jeebs down. I thought we would hike together for a bit but all of a sudden found myself alone.  At first I panicked - was it too early to be attacking this race alone? While there is no real "draft effect" in mountain running it's really nice to be able to hike behind someone and follow their footsteps and route choice. At this point I didn't know if Jeebs and Christy would end up banding together to chase me down. But, you can't over think it.... I just decided to go and go hard. 

Because of the warm temps there were people lining the mountain offering feeds & water.  Folks were offering drinks and/or to pour cold water down your back or on your head. THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who was out doing this. On such a hot day it was crucial for all of the racers and I ultimately think it helped keep many people - myself included, out of the hospital. 

Someone made the comment to me that I didn't have my usual "Holly Race Smile" so I must have been working hard. I'll admit, I was in the zone. So I'm really sorry that I can't thank individual feeders personally. I don't remember who you are!  But THANK YOU! 

I stole a glance at my watch half way and decided that I was feeling good enough to turn the jets on a bit. If you're going to go for it, go for it, right? I had a good top half of the climb and somehow managed to round the summit rock with a two minute lead. Some people thought the race was said and done but I have enough experience with Mt. Marathon to know that it's not over until you cross the finish line, literally. I had my work cut out for me.... 


Photo: Todd List Photography

Photo: Danielle Bailey

Near the top  Photo: Andrew Dougherty

Photo: Andrew Dougherty


DOWNHILL: I think I was quoted directly after the race as saying that I felt like a marionette trying to run down a mountain. I felt great on the uphill and wasn't expecting my legs to feel as flooded as they felt once I hit the high-speed scree.  The complete lack of snow this year also meant that we had to stay on our feet for the entire race and robbed us of the high-speed snow glissade which I happen to like quite a bit. I did my best to lean into the hill but felt myself relying on the breaking ability of my heels to much; not the technique I was going for. It's one thing to practice the downhill at speed and it's a hole nother ball game to race the downhill after a hard uphill in the sweltering heat. The scree and "gut" felt slow and un-coordinated but not disastrous.  People along the way were cheering, "no one in site" & "you've got it!"  But again - Mt. Marathon isn't over until it's over. 

Then came the road and things immediately got really painful.  Everyone who watches the race automatically assumes that the 38 degree step pitches of the mountain are the most difficult part of the race but that actually couldn't be further from the truth.  A friend told me last night that he was standing with a high school boy who was commenting on racer's running form once they hit the road. Now I'm not a pretty runner to begin with but if you saw the last five minutes of my race one would probably never think that I was the race leader. Again - you don't know how bad this hurts until you try it for yourself.  

I think that Rob could tell that I was in the world of hurt and lucky for me, he sprinted down the mountain with a full backpack in time to dose me with cold water one last time. (Thoughts and flashbacks of 2009 were a bit too close & personal....)  

Most of the descent ends up being pretty quiet and it's not until you round the Cliff that the explosion and  noise of thousands upon thousands of people hit you. There is also a cop car waiting at the bottom of the Cliff for the leader to follow and warn spectators that race leaders are entering the city streets.  And now begins possibly the longest 5 minutes of my life. I felt like death. My legs wouldn't move. Rob told me I looked horrible. Strabel told me I looked like a race walker that wasn't racing. Both of these statements were entirely true. It was ugly.  The worst part is that I had no idea where Christy was - or how fast she was catching me. I usually have a rule of not looking back but in this race, I looked over my shoulder many times - only to learn nothing. I either couldn't see her or I was too delusional to differentiate her charging stride from the tens of thousands of people that lined the course. People also told me that when I looked back it was a quick flick of my head and shoulders but instead my entire body turned and I almost started running uphill.  I don't remember this but pictures reveal that I was "running" from side to side, rather than a straight line. (This is funny when you consider how little time I had to spare) 

Despite the intense pain I was experiencing I'm impressed with my ability to remain positive in the moment. A large part of this I attribute to working with a US Ski Team Sports Psychologist over the past year. I've spent time with Pam working on affirmations and positive mantras. So, for example, I was thinking "you can do this" rather than "S***, she's going to pass you!" This stuff is really powerful and I plan to write about it more later when I share with you my professional and academic aspirations (soon!) 

It took everyone once of strength in my body and my brain to get across the finish line and when I did, I immediately collapsed right in front of the hard charging Christy Marvin. She was gaining on me FAST and I gave up anywhere between 45-1 minute of my lead on the 3/4 mile road alone.  Christy had an AMAZING downhill nearly two minutes faster than mine and her split rivaled many of the top men! After talking with many racers it seemed like the people that had good uphills suffered on the down and vice versa. It was hard if not impossible to excel at both given the hot conditions. That said, I was incredibly impressed with Christy and had the course been 25 yards farther than it was, she would have certainly passed me! 



Photo: Danielle Bailey

Photo: Jim Jager

Photo: Zuzana Rogers

The "Gut"
Photo: Freeze Frame Photography

 Photo: Glynn Strabel


Chasing the cop car with the ER in the background... Photo: Rebecca Mcgee


Photographic evidence that I did what I don't like to do! Photo: John Browne

Following sequence from KTVA.... 


Gave it my all.... 

THE AFTERMATH: The finish pen is a bit of a blur as I was still pretty delirious. Once the interviews has subsided I was tasked with walking back to my car which was virtually impossible. Luckily a friend with a razor scooter was nearby and I stood on it while Rob pushed me 6 blocks uphill to get some dry clothes and my bike so I could coast down to the river to soak my legs. I also found Zuzana who gave me a leg flush immediately which helped a ton. I went from not being able to move to being able to limp around at a slow pace.

From there the afternoon & evening unfolded in it's usual manner. My annual ice cream bar tradition, talking to too many people and virtually missing my shower opportunity, etc. etc.  Today, as I sit here at my kitchen table it's been four days since the race and my quads are still incredibly sore to the touch. Not 2009 sore but alarmingly so.  I'm impressed by MM racers who are already out hiking and have resumed normal training. I'm still a couple days out from that. I know that by nature we're highly motivated people but I'd really urge people to take the rest their body deserves.  If you push this race will beat up your body and resuming training prematurely will only take you backwards.

Yesterday we started our annual women's ski training camp up here in Alaska. We have the girls from the US Ski Team here in town training with many of the other top domestic women in the field. We also have a special guest, Celine Brune-Lie from the Norwegian National Team. While I'm training with the group I'm modifying workouts to give my legs the recovery I know they need. On Sunday we'll fly up to Eagle Glacier for a week of on-snow training and my goal is to be 94% functional by that time.

Thanks for hanging with me through this crazy long post. If you made it this far you must be an endurance athlete! :)

Photo: Rob Whitney 


Top women, left to right: Ann Spencer, Christy Marvin, Me, Najeeby Quinn, Junior Overall Allie Ostrander & Denali Foldager. 

Photo: Chris Jones


APU Takes BOTH cups! Photo: Chris Jones


Here is Beth Bragg of the Anchorage Daily News' account: 


Also, here is a replay of KTVA's live TV coverage of the race in the form of a 1:28 minute YouTube video. It must be said that I'm REALLY disappointed that two networks showed the 3pm men's race LIVE on TV while the women's race was only available via Internet stream. Whatever happened to equality? Anyways.... someone pointed out that this is good treadmill material if you're in need of something like that :)  And yes, KTVA did a great job of putting this together. Thanks to their dedicated reporters and photographers, many who were covered in dirt & sweat from head to toe by the end of the day! 

Last but not least, congratulations to ALL the finishers of the 2014 Mount Marathon Race. There were many little battles out there and I'm happy to report that I haven't heard of any serious injuries!  Thanks to all the race organizers, sponsors, volunteers and water dumpers.  There are too many people to thank to thank folks individually but you know who you are! 

Cheers - have a good one! 
Holly :)