Stephanie Dannenberg has been training for a 100 miler this summer. Since Habanero, Steph has learned a lot and chose a race out in Norton, VA , the smallest incorporated town in Virginia.
Cloudsplitter 100 this is it, what the whole shebang has led to: finishing the seemingly elusive 100 miler. Not only was this a 100 miler (you can’t say there is such thing as an easy 100), but it was a difficult and technical course. Cloudsplitter has 26,000+ feet of vertical and 26,000+ feet of loss and is buried on the eastern side of the Appalachian mountains. Cloudsplitter was held on October 13th and 14th, 2018. You probably can’t find two more different race than Habanero and Cloudsplitter.
What happened? The race was not without its hardships; from weather declining over the 39 hours she was out there:
- New Crew! (hello family)
- New Pacer
- Experiencing what was normal for 100 miles
- Torn Anterior Tibialis
The injury took a toll on being able to run downhill. Running uphill was the option. And we all know everyone loves running uphill!
Cloudsplitter was everything a trail can just about offer!
- Rope handles
- Steep climbs out of stream beds
- Mud slick as glass from the rain and runners
- Brutal miles
- Long treks up and down hill throughout
- Strong winds
- Numerous stream crossings not normally there
- Mud, did we mention mud?
The recent hurricane did the area no favors making the course more treacherous. Luckily there were some gravel roads. Although the grass roads were no longer grass. But how about the finish, something every ultra runner longs for?
Steph takes a step by step look back on the experience with a fantastic home town finish polishing it off. The best part was finishing the race with a full heart in her home state. Truly a race that gave the sensation it was all worth it. Local volunteers drove out to the bottom of the trail head to meet up with runners finishing to “bring them in”. There’s something magical about that.
Steph reflects on her family experiencing her first and second ultra marathon. Perspective shows people so much when you are present and doing your thing with everyone else out there, too, whether you are crewing, pacing, spectating, or volunteering. The coaching with Scott was done so different from what would be considered a normal 100 miler training plan. The plan had 6 weeks to really ramp up training. Scott and Steph knew going in that this was experimental, but used a good science base as the foundation. However, the base for this training was coming off a 100k ultra marathon, not couch-to-100. Training after Habanero was an even shorter period leading up to Cloudsplitter. The training was centered around quality workout and strength. Gotta get it done!
Why wasn’t there a big post-race let-down? Steph talks about this in detail and how it related to the training. But where to go from here when you’ve reached this goal? Pacing and crewing for Team BU at Bandera and the list goes on, although a lot are not obtainable at this time. However, there are some new opportunities on the horizon for this little athlete.
Check out Norton, VA here!
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