Halfway through 2016 Laura Kline has already had an amazing year with some impressive performances on the road and track.
In February she ran an indoor charity stair race that took her up 41 floors in just over six minutes to record the fastest women’s time before entering a more typical race – the Central Park Half Marathon. There she finished in 1:24:43 to win the women’s race. Despite winning this event Laura didn’t feel this one of the highlights of the year as she had bigger events to come!
50k of road running pain
In early March she entered the 50k Road National Championship race in Caumsett, which she felt was one of the most important races of the year. The race consists of ten 5k loops on a relatively flat course. Laura had been considering a marathon but entered this as a last minute decision. The only woman to beat Laura also broke the Masters World 50k Record, while Laura noted that “running 50k on the road is quite painful”.
…and 50 more on trails
In April she entered the Washington 50k which is part of The North Face Endurance Challenge. This was a very different 50k race, through Algonkian Park using trails which take in breathtaking scenery and challenging surfaces and elevation. “I wanted to race a trail ultra in the spring to better prepare me for my 50 miler so I chose this” explained Laura.
The course describes: “…up to three miles of tiptoeing and hopping along bluffs high above the Potomac River. Portions of undulating trail in the river basin offset the time it takes to cover this section. In Great Falls Park, is highlighted by intense elevation changes with steep but manageable climbs up to 300 feet and the technical rock hopping is an exciting change of pace.” Added to this, the weather played a part.
“Due to heavy amounts of rain leading up to the race the course was mostly thick mud! I led this race from start to finish and felt great throughout thanks to the 50k race in March. It gave me the confidence I needed that my training was on track for the 50 miler.”
Laura’s 4:36 on the challenging course gave her first place in the women’s event.
Over the next few weeks she was first female the Leatherman’s Loop Trail 10k and then entered a Duathlon, in which she also finished as the first lady.
Shortly afterwards she returned to Duathlon with the Cary Classic National Championship Long Course race. This 5 mile run/30 mile cycle/5 mile run event left Laura 3rd in her age group and 6th female overall. Despite placing in this high-profile race, Laura was disappointed with the result.
A few weeks later in June she took on the Cayuga Trails race, part of the National Championship. “Cayuga Trails 50 was one of my key races for the year” Laura told us recently. “It's hosted in beautiful Ithaca, NY. It was the 50 Mile National Championship again and this year brought some tough competition from the west coast. Last year I finished 4th overall and was hoping to better both my time and placement this year.”
Laura also wrote a race report for her site https://laurajkline.com/ which shows how much she enjoyed this tough but well organised race.
“I was in 3rd place through mile 20 before moving into 2nd. I held on to this spot until mile 45 where I dropped back into 3rd. However I finished 23 minutes faster than last year – mission accomplished!”
Anyone who has trained for competitive cycling, swimming or running will know the demands of the sport and the challenges that it brings, which leave many people wondering how multisport athletes such as duathletes and triathletes organise their training.
A future on two feet
“After racing Cayuga” said Laura “I realized that if I dedicated myself more to ultra running I could perhaps reach my potential in that sport. So now I will ride solely for cross training and focus my efforts on ultra racing for the remainder of the year.”
Upcoming target events for 2016 include:
1) Loon Mountain Race – USATF Mountain Running Championships on July 3rd. I race this more for the challenge and fun as short course racing is not my focus right now
2) The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario 50k – July 16
3) The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile Championship – December 3rd
4) 'I'm still looking for an ultra to race in Europe in the fall'
No Meat Athlete is a great running resource. Full disclosure: 50% of any book you buy on there goes to support this website but there's also a ton of free resources there.