About Jessica Goldman

An underdog runner

Tully Pisgah Double

What a weekend! I entered some new territory and ran 22 miles on the Tully Trail Saturday and got up the next morning and ran the Pisgah 50k. Technical terrain and mountain running are not my strong points and I have been working really hard to improve my skills.

The Tully trail was crazy. Some of the climbs were so steep and rocky that I found them to be even more difficult than the Wapack course. Scrolling over my Strava data it looks like the grades were 30-49% in some spots. I was definitely using my hands for some sections. Either grabbing rocks to pull myself up or using trees on the way down to slow and steady myself so I didn’t wipe out. There was a beautiful section that had us on the edge of a cliff looking down at a massive waterfall. The footing was really tricky and I was thankful for the steel cable fence preventing me from slipping off of the side.

It was extremely humid and hot. I stuck with my goal of trying to run even splits in the first and second half. Occasionally the single track would lead to wide carriage roads where I could pick up some speed. I caught up with a guy named Bob at around mile 9 and we stuck together for a while chatting up a storm. At one point there were property markers out in the woods that had the same color as the course markings and I headed the wrong way a few times. Bob was running the “Half-Ass” so 11.6 miles. I said my farewells and continued on after we hit his last aid station.

There were a lot of huge downed trees in the next section and I had to climb over many of them and one of them left me no option but to crawl under it. The humidity and heat were so intense and I was running out of water because I was squirting some on my head so I didn’t overheat. I found a feather on the ground and stuck it in my visor hoping that it would give me some trail magic.

I finally came out to another aid station. They told me that the woman behind me was hanging in but she wasn’t feeling very well. I chugged some Gatorade and asked them to pour water on me so I could cool down. One of the volunteers mentioned that I was only 7 minutes behind the guy in front of me so I ran off to go find him.

It took me a while to realize that I totally forgot to refill my water bottle. Oh crap! I was too hot and already overheating. The next section spit out onto road in the open hot sun. I spotted Brett ahead of me and slowly closed the gap. I asked him if we had another aid station and he was pretty sure that there were none left until the finish. He was also overheated and bonking and I refused to take any water from him because he had so little. I started to ascend Tully mountain. The next mile had 700 feet of elevation gain. I started to feel a little bit woozy and that is when it happened. I PUKED!!! The first time ever in a race. And the contents that came out were chewed up grapes and red Gatorade that combined looked exactly like internal organs. OMG. Poor Brett caught up just in time to see it. We both notched it down a bit and finished the ascent. We came out to the most beautiful scenic area I have seen on a course. We were on open rock looking down at Tully lake and the beautiful foliage. I wish I had my phone to take pictures!

The heat was unrelenting and we still had 3 miles left and I had not a drop to drink. We ended up on a dirt road with some houses so kept my eyes peeled for people because I  wanted to ask for water. We were both in rough shape and our jaws hung open when we ran by a swimming pool. Ooh that would be nice. I was thinking of knocking on someones door to ask for a fill up when I heard something behind me. It was Bob!! He was behind us in his truck. I leaned in the window and said “DUDE!! Do you have any water?” He tossed me a bottle. Total lifesaver!!! Despite a wrong turn at the very end Brett and I crossed the finish line together.  (4:44)We were only about ten minutes behind Chris who finished first. 22 miles and 3,00 feet of climb! IMG_20170916_140851451_HDR

I was feeling a little sore and stiff the next morning. I met Tony before sun up and we headed to Pisgah for the 50k.


We got our bibs and race swag and shuffled to the start line. I found my friend Maureen and several other familiar faces.

I have to admit that Pisgah actually seemed easy after Tully. It was less technical and I was so thankful for the soft pine forest floor. I was told that we had 4,800 feet of climb but it was more gradual and the footing was better. Despite my fatigue I planned on trying to run even splits again. Don’t let anyone pass me in the second half and try to reel as many people in as possible. Slow and steady. Once again it was HOT. Someone said that it hit the 90’s. The humidity was so thick that breathing was tough and everything was sticky. My poor buddy Chris, who also ran the Tully Pisgah double, chafed so bad that his whole torso was rubbed raw. I stopped twice and washed off in a stream bed to cool down. My watch had a major malfunction and was giving the wrong mileage. Stay hydrated, hike the steeps and control the descents. It was a long day of making new friends and having strange trail conversations. During those 31 miles I discussed the topics of nude sports, civet cats that poop out coffee beans, dresses that match your bruises, what’s better? Washing with wet wipes or getting fire hosed?

After hours upon hours of hills, twists, turns, bridges, rocks and mud, the trail dumped me out onto a road. I was so hot that my vision was hazy and I saw a tall person and short person flapping their arms around. Huh? It was Tony and Maureen!! They ran the short course and were hanging out waiting for me. I thought I had 3 miles left because my watch was broken but I only had .7 miles left to the finish line! I believe my time was 6:19:32. My friend Fred Ross got some amazing shots of the day. Including me receiving a certificate for the 2017 Tully Pisgah double! First place (and only) female to finish both courses. I have bragging rights for a year and someone will have to chase down my record if they want it next year. Who knows, I might be back to do it again!! Right now, time to recuperate and get ready for TARC 50 miler on September 30th. Woohoo! Thanks for reading my blog!



The Show Must Go On

This has been a very nerve wracking time with my family being in the path of the hurricane. But my mom is my biggest blog fan so I feel like I should do my duty and put up my weekly blog post for her sake. Hopefully this will all be over soon and she will come online and leave a cheesy comment about this.

I have a very high tolerance for physical stress but emotional stress is my kryptonite. I am supposed to be on a drop down week anyway but I really took a low mileage week with only 41 miles. I did conquer almost 5,000 ft of elevation gain in that though. I went to the Moose Mountain Reservation and ran on flooded trails that were like waterfalls.

I also got to go visit some good friends at the kat-walk & karo 5k for Maine brain aneurysm awareness. This year I walked with my friends Steve and Amy. Last year I ran and won a medal but I told Steve and his wife Helen to keep it. Helen brought my medal back to me this year and she had encased it in the most beautiful and intricate bead work. She is a survivor of an aneurysm and had to reteach herself to do her craft. She is a beautiful person and an incredible artist. I am so lucky to have the Hoad family as my friends.


After the event I got to go on a fun field trip with Amy to a kombucha tasting bar and I met her rescue birds Peg and Irene!

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So that is all for now. Just hoping that my family makes it through this Irma ordeal in one piece and things will be okay.  Next weekend is a big deal with 20 miles on Saturday and the Pisgah 50k on Sunday. Until then!

Out of my Comfort Zone

This was my first back to back training weekend for my next 100 miler. I needed about 45 miles total between Sat and Sunday. I did 25 miles on the Rockingham Rec trail yesterday and then went up to the Wapack trail race this morning. I was pretty nervous about Wapack. I struggle with technical trail and have been having trust issues with my right foot. This is a really hard race on its own, never mind doing it the day after a 25 miler. And when I looked at the participant history I realized that a bunch of hot shots usually toe the line. I was afraid that I wouldn’t make the cut off. To top it all off, today was when the spin off rain from Harvey arrived. It poured buckets all day.

The course is on a mountain range. You go up 4 mountains, Barrett, New Ipswich, Pratt and Watatic (twice! because it is an out and back)


The heavy rain turned the course into a mud slick and sections were so flooded out that you had to run through shin deep water. The rocky areas were very slick and it was hard to get good footing. At one point I was coming down Pratt with a few guys and everyone kept slipping, falling and screaming and making terrible sound effects. It struck me so funny that I started laughing. Why are we running up and down mountains in this crazy rain!? I somehow managed not to fall, I had several serious slips but I caught myself each time. I also let people ahead of me on the steep descents because I wanted to take my time and not get knocked down like a bowling pin by faster people.  Due to the storm I missed out on the good mountain top views but there were some beautiful fields of wild flowers that made me wish I had a camera.

I know that I was smart in managing the course because on the second half I passed a bunch of people and no one else passed me. I was slow going back up the steep climbs but it was due to the mud and not my energy levels. When I made it to the finish I was blown away to find out that not only did I win my age division (I won beer!)


But I was told that I was 4th place female! I wont believe it until they post results. I though a few more were ahead of me but it is possible that they dropped or got lost. It was very easy to take wrong turns, especially with a hard rain and wind in your face, looking for trail blazes was tricky. I also think that some of the markings may have been under water. I was told that 14 people didn’t show up because of the weather and I imagine that some did not finish, there was a lot of carnage out there. I was very happy that I  got to see my friend Chris Clapp who absolutely crushed the course. It was not a day to hang out after the race though because everyone was soaking wet and hypothermic.  Wapack my bags and go home! I stopped at a gas station and bought a jumbo pickle on the way back. Pickles have all of the electrolytes, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and they dual purpose as a microphone when you have a post race high and need to pump up the jams and sing your heart out on the ride home. Anyway, I feel great. I went out of my comfort zone and I feel like I learned so much from it. Thanks for tuning in! Time to eat.


Back in the swing of things

I shifted gears this week and tried to add vertical climbing and speed into my week. I did a tempo run and 800 meter repeats at the track. My track workout was terrible. They started mowing when I arrived and I got hosed down with grass and dust the entire time. I gave it my best effort though and despite my lack of speed I got a good workout. I have felt a little bit deflated from these hard workouts but I know as long as I get good sleep and eat well I will bounce back and get a boost pretty soon. To add to the vertical tally, I went to Pawtuckaway and ran repeats up and over North Mountain. It was so hot and humid that I ran out of water but I found a family out on the trail and they hooked me up with some ice water. (dreamy)

I got to do some group runs this week. A few of us make it to Bear Brook park and ran up and down Catamount and up to Bear Hill Mountain. That mountain deserves to be renamed because it was covered with ant hills and no bears were in sight. I will now call it Ant Mountain. A group of us went out and slopped around in the mud at the Dixon’s revenge course today.  I had to hustle to get the mud off of me and cleaned up in time for work. It has been a busy week and I am now in need of FOOD.  until next week!


Low miles in high places

When I ran the TARC Summer Classic 50k the two lead runners of the 40 miler finished before many of the 50k people. They were FAST! I asked them what their training strategies were and they both said that they pay little attention to training miles and just do as much vert and climbing as possible. I have been thinking about that all week and realizing that many of my running heroes train that way as well. Kristina Folcik- Welts, Leslie O’dell and Amy Rusiecki all eat mountains for breakfast. In the spirit of my new quest for vert I went and ran the Belknap Range Trails and hit all of the small peaks at Pawtuckaway this week.

Running technical trail is not something that I have a natural skill with. I tend to be more of a glider than a gazelle and I have to work really hard to pick my feet up. I can feel my muscles getting stronger though and I hope that between the running and strength training I will see some improvement before my next races. I still need to throw in my flat routes because my next hundred is mostly on a rail trail so I have been paying my dues on the Rockingham Rec trail as well.

And of course I found time to connect with the lovely peeps from SIX03 Endurance.  That is all of my news for this week, pretty low key..just savoring the days of summer weather. Thanks for reading my Blog!!


Trail Animals

I wasn’t really sure what it would be like to run a 50k race 4 weeks after Vermont 100. I went to the TARC (Trail Animals Running Club) Summer Classic with the goal of running a very conservative race. I dressed up like a cowgirl for no particular reason. I started off slow and made myself stop at all of the aid stations (3 for every ten miles) The course was actually a little bit tougher than I expected. I thought it would be like the Spring Classic but the climbs were bigger and there were more rocks and roots. It was very twisty and sometimes there was two way traffic with runners coming at you head on from the opposite direction. One section was super narrow and felt like a tunnel because you were walled in by tall greenery. The Trail Animal mascot was hiding in there and jumped out of the bushes when we passed by. Hilarious! runcollage



I arrived to the race late and didn’t even get to find  my phone to track my run but I guess it had 3,450 feet of elevation gain. I didn’t have any gadget to check but I wanted to run even splits. I did pretty well, my splits were :

2:01:29 4:08:32 6:15:15

The second lap I started to pass people. By that time I decided that I would try really hard not to let any other females pass me, I wanted to hold my place. I had been leap frogging with a few girls and I knew that they were close behind. I still stopped at all of the aid stations and ate fruit and drank tons of water and lemon aid. I had to stop and actually take off my shoe at one point because a branch was lodged under my heel, I was wearing gaiters but it somehow snuck in. Because the course doubles back I saw the lead female go by. And then 2 more, they were light years ahead of me. Even if this had been my A race I wouldn’t have come close to these women, they were really fast. A woman named Shelly was right behind me and I was convinced that she was going to catch up and pass me. On the third lap I tried to make every step count, I still walked the really steep and rocky sections but tried to push my pace. I ended up being 5th place woman, I guess another woman was way up in the front but I missed her going by. I got to see Shelly finish right behind me and thanked her for lighting a fire under my ass.


I had a great time and got to hang out with a turkey named Ted after the race.

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I felt really good this morning. I did a recovery run and was running an 8:30 pace by the end because my legs felt great. This week will be pretty low key, it is a rest week so I will be doing strength training and waiting until the following week to ramp up my miles again. I am anxiously awaiting race reports form all of my friends who ran Ragged this week! Thank you for following my adventures!

Back at it

Steady week of strength training and I  banged out 66.8 miles this week. I finished with a tough 20.7 miler today with tons of climbing. I was happy to have my friend Jason come along because that particular course crushes me every time. I plan on going back as many times as it takes to master it. Here is the elevation profile:


I also ran around with loppers doing some trail maintenance.  All of the squatting and lifting logs and trees was good cross training. I was also super excited that my friend Sara did her first technical trail run this weekend and she was amazing. I hope to have her along as company for more trail adventures in the future.

Not much more to report. I hope to have more exciting stories for next week! Thanks for following.