Spent a restless night in East Stroudsburg, PA., a couple miles from the Delaware Water Gap (start). Kicked off at 3:54 am ET after waking around 2:30 am - got dressed, eat a Spring Energy Wolf Pack, and drove the first mile along the street before it entered into the woods to make sure I knew where to go. I eat a variety of Spring Energy gels religiously every 30 minutes, drank a sports mix every other hour, and took Salt Stick caps every 3 hours. I stopped for water around mile 21.2 and 42.8 - strong streams w/ good water flow using a Katadyn 3L water bag and filter to replenish my pack's 2.5L water bladder and a 4L excess bladder. Here was my plan - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14r287cyeveMqOWT4UJ0eFicVBc8xYzF….
The first 3 miles of the AT through New Jersey to Sunfish Pond were uphill and decent terrain. From there to High Point State Park, mile 43, the Appalachian Trail brings the technical work hard making you wise you were a mountain goat but mixes in a half miles stretches of smooth trail here and there to not totally break you. From High Point to Pochuck Mountain is a mix of trails and street that make you thankful for downhill and flat Earth. Miles 55 and 56, the climb up Pochuck, are a test of fortitude. Once I summited, that's when I reapplied Squirrel's Nut Butter to help stop/prevent further chaffing and hammered on a sea salt caramel chocolate bar. On the other side is another flat section, the Boardwalk, which was a place I used to regather some steam before the final assault to the finish. The Stairway to Heaven section, around mile 62/63 is a true grind and an exercise in bouldering. Halfway up I had to put on my headlamp and jacket as the night began to overtake any ray of sunlight. At the top I knew I was getting close but forgot, after studying the elevation map beforehand, what the features of the remaining miles were - just 1,000 ft to go. The subsequent 6 ridges were a true sufferfest as the trail resumed it's normally scheduled technical terrain. By now, after hours of calculating, math was on my side which kept me moving forward climbing the 7 ridge to the state line. I cried and laughed at the finish as the joy and all of the aches and pains came rushing in.
Getting back to civilization from the state line is a logistical challenge, with not many great options. I ended up back tracking 2 (ish) miles to a road crossing where a car, love, and food awaited - this took about another 1.5 hours. I'm super pumped that I was able to accomplish a huge goal for myself and set a bar for the next ultrarunner to crush.
Congratulations!! This is so incredible! My friend and I were doing the women’s FKT southbound on that same day — your time is absolutely incredible!! We are still debating as to whether or not northbound or southbound is better but don’t think we will be trying again any time soon !
Crushed it. Congrats. Hell of a run, especially unsupported.