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SRT Run 30 Miler

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On Saturday, September 9th, 2023, I had the privilege to stand at the start line of my first self-supported ultra-marathon. As it is known, the SRT Run is a race that follows the Shawanagunk Ridge Trail in the Shawanagunk mountain range in upstate New York. The SRT has three distances: 70, 30, and 13.2 miles.

Jodi Richard

September 18 2023
On Saturday, September 9th, 2023, I had the privilege to stand at the start line of my first self-supported ultra-marathon. As it is known, the SRT Run is a race that follows the Shawanagunk Ridge Trail in the Shawanagunk mountain range in upstate New York. The SRT has three distances: 70, 30, and 13.2 miles. All distances are self-supported, which means the runner must carry all water and food needed to complete the race. Thankfully, there were plenty of water sources to dip into along the trail, so I was never out of water. I over-packed food, which was fine because I balanced everything balance between my vest and waist packs. Plus, having more food than necessary in a self-supported race seemed like a smart strategy because you never know what could happen.
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The terrain in the Shawanagunks is challenging. There are many areas where I had to scramble up or down large boulders and short cliffs. The scrambling and climbing added to the race's mystique and made it more interesting than many other trail races. There were many times when I looked up or down a cliff and wondered how I would navigate that. I figured it out!

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The weather looked like it would be a significant issue leading up to the race, but on race day, our race distance lucked out and dodged the rain and thunderstorms. The trail was wet with patches of mud and standing water in many sections. Some rocks that constitute a significant part of the trail were slick. Others provided excellent footing. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell which ones were slick and which weren't until I stepped on them. That made things very interesting. After a few close calls, I tried to have at least one foot on dirt when I stepped on a rock to give me a foothold if the rock surface was slick as ice.The scrambling sections were fun! It was nice to climb or slide down these magnificent rocks, gracing this beautiful trail. I ran another local race, Manitou's Revenge, a 54-mile ultramarathon with challenging cutoff times and extreme terrain. The SRT 30 had very lenient cutoff times to encourage people to join the challenge, whether hikers or runners. These cutoff times allowed me to take in the course's beauty, take photos, stop and look around, AND take my time on those scrambles. By taking my time, I think I was faster in the long run because I approached each scramble calmly, thought it through, picked a line and didn't have to redo a climb because I ended up in a tight spot.It had been a while since I ran in that area, and I forgot the staggering beauty around every turn. It seemed that everywhere I looked, there was something beautiful to behold. Incredible vistas lead my eyes all of the way to the NYC skyline. Groves of pine and oak trees, fields of blueberry bushes and grasses, rocky sections with tiny flora growing out of cracks, and bubbling streams with waterfalls. I ran through one area thinking this was my favorite, only to run through another section and think, "No, THIS is my favorite," repeatedly.
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The SRT Run 30 miler was my first ever self-supported race, as I mentioned above. Prepping for this race was similar to going out for a long training run, although I have never had to run 30 miles in a training run. The race was truly self-supported because the race committee didn't even mark the trail. We were on our own to navigate our way from the start to the finish. Yes, I had the map on my phone, using two different apps to track me, but I still got lost. The worst time was within a mile of the finish when I made a wrong turn down a hill and had to climb my way out after slipping through a few backyards. Eventually, I wound up on a road that led me to where I got turned around. I almost gave up and followed the road back to the finish line, but I rallied and, with the help of a fellow runner, made it back on the trail and finished the race!I was shooting for under 11 hours, and getting lost for over 15 minutes didn't help me reach my goal, but knowing I would have finished in under 11 hours if I hadn't taken the wrong turn made this race feel like a true success. I trained perfectly for this race because I barely cramped and felt strong almost the entire time. I did have a rough spot between miles 25 and 26. I used my newfound nasal breathing skills to help me recover from the bonk. Thanks to the Full Power Breath class, breathing through the minor cramps, bonking, and steep uphill climbs helped tremendously. I believe the breathwork contributed to my solid finish: easily running on the flats and the downhills and walking strong on the uphills (other than the brain cramp that led to me getting lost near the end).
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My recovery after the race was shockingly easy. I expected to be very stiff and sore, but I wasn't. Did the rowing machine and versaclimber workouts help me prepare the muscles I needed for this race? Did I nail my nutrition and hydration? Was it the CBD/THC balm I used after the race? Was it some combination of all of those aspects? I don't know for sure, but I'll take it! I had a terrible run with races; so many DNFs for various reasons. I have crossed the finish line of three very different and challenging races this year.

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