About thedancingrunner

Marathon runner & group fitness instructor at 24 Hour Fitness. Passionate about family, friends, traveling. Loves destination races. Loves dining out, cooking in, being around down to earth people, writing, sunrises.

El Taco Loco 100k Race Recap.

Well what weekend it was! I am back to give you all the deets on my ULTRA race weekend – running El Taco Loco 100k. This race for me was quite the test as well as a benchmark for my upcoming 100 miler, the Loup Garou trail run. Let’s see how everything went down!!

Can I just say how thankful I am to finally have an ultra with phenomenal weather? After Brazos Bend 100 splashing through endless mud puddles- I was sure this one would be quite similar. From start to finish we were so thankful for pleasant temps for this race. We started bright and early at 5:30 AM, in the straight up darkness. My friend and I drove down to San Antonio (a 4.5 ish hour drive) the night prior and stayed in a hotel so Saturday morning I woke up fairly fresh and ready to roll. The gun went off right at 5:30 AM and off we went into the woods. Headlamps dancing in the darkness is kind of my favorite thing.

The course itself was fairly flat with a few rolling hills, but single track dirt trail and very runnable. There was rain the night prior so we had some muddy spots but overall, a dry and lovely trail with some beautiful shade. The loops were fairly longer, around 15.5 miles long that we completed a total of 4 times. Which was fine as I really enjoy the looped courses so I can do the whole countdown in my head. And instead of, OH I have over 30+ some odd miles to go (HA) I can just say “2 loops left”! Then 1 loop and so on. Makes things much more manageable when you are covering 62 freaking miles.

I met a few folks as we ran and we had a little pack of folks where we were sticking together a while. Towards the back half of loop 1 we all spread out a bit. It was so super dark for the first couple of hours and I was trying to adjust and get into a groove but had a bit of a hard time doing that during the first loop for some reason.

Maybe I was still waking up? Or not enough caffeine. Not sure. But…because of this I took not 1, but 2 FALLS on the first loop in the dark. Just tripping over roots along the trail and such. The dirt was soft so I bounced back up pretty quickly and kept on trucking. Both times I went down there were folks around that were sweet to check on me and make sure I was alright. That’s one thing I love about the trail community!! Everyone always has your back, always encouraging. And always groovy good vibes. I will forever love that.

Because of those not 1, but 2 falls on LAP 1, I will say I went into loop 2 feeling a tad discouraged. Still in the game, but not feeling super confident. I hadn’t done a ton of trail training this go ’round- although my weekly mileage was rock solid and consistent. But…..would my lack of dirt running affect my ability to stay in the game? Am I going to fall FOR REAL and really jack myself up?? Only time would tell. So, I continued to just keep trucking. Relentless forward motion. Knowing that I have successfully completed a distance of this magnitude (and THEN SOME) certainly helps.

Lap 2 went by like a breeze. Once the light came out and the sun was in the sky that was all I needed to get that boost of confidence back. My ULTRA trail runner muscle memory came back with a vengeance. I was rocking and rolling on that trail like no other. PLUS…I got to see my trail friends, who were out volunteering on the trail providing aid for all of the runners. That was honestly the boost I needed to keep moving forward.

I made it to the last (VICTORY) loop and the legs were starting to get heavy but I was in great spirits. I cranked up my tunes and the sun started setting as I hit mile 50 something. I knew the hardest part of this race was coming. Dealing with the darkness. And dealing with it, alone.

I went into this race with the knowledge that I would have NO pacer. This was the first time doing 62+ miles without one. But I knew as long as I could endure running alone in the woods at night for a short time I could make it. I kept trucking. It kept getting darker.

I entered a certain part of the woods and there were NO runners around. No headlamps, no noises of voices in the horizon. All of the 100kers were spread out all over the trail and I was alone. Just me and my thoughts and my tired body. Keep moving, don’t miss a trail marker. Don’t get lost. So tired. Can’t see. Headlamp is dim. Then, for a split second, what was that noise? A pack of coyotes in the near distance. Howling because they can and its at night.

Sheer adrenaline and fear rushed though my body. I decided it would be time to make a phone call. I call my friend because I needed someone to talk to. Getting close to mile 60. My friend tells me his shift is almost over and to hang in there, a lot of runners have stopped at his aid station for food. He has to go. I’m terrified. Then…in the darkness…what do I see?

A light. A lone one, a lady’s voice. I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I see her light. She runs up to me and we both squeal with delight that we’ve found one another and how spooked we both were that we may have missed a mile marker or something. We start moving together and chatting the night away.

That finish line…I almost cry when I see it.

After turning things around with such a rocky start…I was not sure I would be able to pull this one off and keep my head in the game. But I made it happen. And I proved to myself once again that I am more than capable of doing the hard things. Overcoming adversity both on the trails and in my head and fighting towards the finish.

Falling in the darkness. It’s kind of like dark moments in your life. You can’t see it sometimes when you’re in it. But being on the other side, and perhaps seeing that glimmer of light along the way…that’s when you realize you can bounce back. And be stronger than ever before.

El Taco Loco, you showed me a lot and especially showed me…15 hours and some change later…that I’ve still got it. Plus hey, a shiny 100K PR doesn’t hurt, either.

Plus, yeah we got our tacos. And of course a shiny new buckle to add to the growing collection.

Official results will be found here.

How was your weekend? Anyone run a rockstar trail (or road) race lately??

Random Thoughts Thursday.

So this weekend is the El Taco Loco ULTRA race! I am definitely looking forward to the mini road trip to San Antonio (a 4+ hour drive) and just to get away a bit. Definitely much needed.

I love that my early morning run group is not even phased by the fact that I’m doing a 100k (62 miles). This morning they were all like “that is a SHORT one for you” HAHA. It’s okay, you can’t win ‘em all.

Granted it is more like training for my upcoming 100 miler. It will be a good way to gage if I’ve still got it, so to speak.

Forgive me for missing so many blog posts this week. I had a huge work load and just really didn’t care to post minutiae. Not gonna lie.

I still love y’all, though.

You know what I honestly need!? Just to be around good vibes and good people. So this race/road trip could not have come at a better time.

Can you believe we are THISCLOSE to Thanksgiving? 5 weeks away. I just want to skip it and fast forward straight to Christmas. Don’t hate if I put my pink Christmas tree up next week.

Share your random thoughts with me today!

TGIFriday Faves.

Hey there and happy Friday! I was able to get out for some lovely miles on this crisp fall morning. Running on a Friday with a friend and a pretty sky is pretty much my idea of heaven on earth.

Without further ado let’s get to this week’s faves!

Pumpkin spice cold brew from Whole Foods. This is absolutely my jam. I had one before my run the other day and then it was full speed ahead.

10 perfect trail running routes. Definitely need to hit up the Austin one.

The NYC Ghosts 12s! OMG get on my feet.

The curls are back! I think I may keep the curly hair around a bit for fall. It is my lazy look but I always get compliments. Wash and go is THE way to go.

And there you have it! Have a great weekend.

What’s on tap for your weekend?
Haunted house, then prepping and packing for next weekend! Woot woot.

Random Thoughts Thursday.

You guys THE WEATHER WAS EVERYTHING for this morning’s run! Like my legs even were in a good mood. And wanted to go faster. Even at the end of my run when I’m usually tired I had a surprising little “kick” in my system. This is seriously what I have been waiting for- for freaking months. Thank you baby Jesus.

So yeah, my happy place for morning runs I’ve decided now are temperatures between the 40s and 50s. Really just under 50 if we are getting technical. Just chilly enough that need some sleeves BUT I can still wear shorts and not freeze to death.

This is the last weekend of the State Fair of Texas and I am hoping I can carve out some time to go this weekend. Just maybe.

I’m kind of not tripping if I don’t go though. I think it’s just a been there done that and I’ve been so busy with friends and training for this race. The only reason why I would go is for the wine garden. And cotton candy.

You know what, when you start getting into your mid 30s you realize kind of how old you actually are. I have (green) coworkers that are in their 20s and let me tell you just the conversations that they have in general make me feel OLD. I’m an old soul at heart. What can I say.

But still young, you know? I like when people tell me I still look like I’m in my 20s. Black don’t crack, baby.

My friends want to go to a haunted house this weekend…the last one I went to I laughed the entire time. So we shall see if this one actually scares me.

Tell me your random thoughts today!
Ever been to a haunted house??? Did it SCARE you?

Weds Spin Playlist.

Finally I’m coming up for air to hit you with this week’s spin cycle playlist! Lots of hot new tracks and some throwbacks. Hope you enjoy!

Also check to see where I’m teaching classes and find me on Spotify!

Let’s go for a ride!

Now and Later- Mark & Kremont, Sage the Gemini: Warm up
Bam Bam- Laidback Luke: Accelerations
Mi Gente (Homecoming Live)- Beyonce, J Balvin: Rolling hills
Fun- Kaskade: Tapbacks
Turn Around- Flo Rida: Hill climb
Fallin’- Sick Individuals: Seated/standing run
Pure Water- Migos: Sprints
Tip Toe- Jason Derulo, French Montana: Active recovery
POM POM- Henry Fong, Lady Bee: Sprints
Fine By Me- Chris Brown: Rolling hills
Jump- Rihanna: Jumps on a hill
Gucci Moves- Jewelz & Sparks: Accelerations
Like This- MiMS: Hill climb
Hotel Room Service- Pitbull: Tapbacks
Love it Like That- Pink Panda: Hill climb
Hit the Lights- Jay Sean- Sprints
Tightrope- Janelle Monae: Jumps
Destination- Ruck P: Cool down

What workout tracks are you loving this week?

Weekly Running Report.

Hi there! Hope you had a lovely weekend. I’m here to recap some miles from last week!! I have been scaling back the miles a bit as I get ready for my next ULTRA race at El Taco Loco! Let’s recap and see how it all went down!

Monday- 5.21 sunset miles while doing some people watching. You know how some neighborhoods that you run in tend to be more friendly than others?! Well I ran in the friendly neighborhood this time. It’s actually where a lot more senior citizens seem to live and they are ALWAYS impressed by my running. Haha. Awesome lil confidence booster.

Tuesday AM- 8.12 miles with hill repeats thrown in there. Love the early morning breakfast club.

Tuesday PM- 2.31 miles after teaching spin. Ran when it was darker out. Starting to get back to doing some running in the dark for the ultra run prep.

Wednesday AM- 7.33 miles and picked up the pace towards the end. We had some lovely cooler weather towards the middle and end of the week which I absolutely loved.

Wednesday PM- 4.22 miles at night. Love me some double run days. Saw an awesome sunset.

Thursday- 10.12 miles. This is always my favorite day to run with the breakfast run club. Super motivated to get it in before a busy workday.

Friday- 4.22 lunch miles. Waited til lunch since we had some thunderstorms roll in. But it definitely cooled things down and made things more manageable.

Saturday- 10.12 miles on Saturday. It’s taper time so scaled back a bit. I hate tapering, by the way. (Would rather run all the miles, you know) but someone’s gotta do it.

Sunday- REST DAY. A much needed one.

And there you have it!

How was your weekend? What did you do?
A little salsa dancing, running, Sunday funday picnic-ing.

TGIFriday Faves.

Hey there and happiest of Fridays to you! It is FINALLY ‘fall feeling’ outside- crisp, chilly and delicious!! Yes, I said delicious. You can describe the weather like that, right? Thought so.

Scarf weather is the best weather. There I said it.

Let’s get into this week’s faves!

I love Courtney Dauwalter’s approach to ultra running and training. Couldn’t agree more.

Chrome nails. I’m obsessed. I think I will do a darker color next with the chrome. I love the shine.

All of the fall looks. Like this one.

A little funny for your Friday.

Have a good one! Be good or be good at it.

What’s on tap for your weekend?! 
Oh and best of luck to my friends running the Chicago Marathon! It popped my marathon cherry so I always get nostalgic around this time.

Random Thoughts Thursday.

This week’s cooler temps y’all have been absolute HEAVEN! It is simply what I’ve been waiting for. I think we have one more day though in the 90s (today) and then its downhill from here. Downhill in a good way.

Peep this forecast. PATIO WEATHER YAAAS.

Lately I’ve been really craving reflective solo time just to gather my thoughts. Like on runs, and just in general. You know? I think I could benefit from just meditating in general. The only child in me really likes to be alone probably too much. I mean, some would call me an introvert at times. I like to think of myself as more of an ambivert.

I LOVE this pic of me from the Chicago Marathon and plan on making it my hashtag TBT today. Best of luck BTW if any of y’all are running Chicago this weekend. That race is near and dear to my little black ultrarunner heart. It was my first marathon and it was on 10.10.10. I mean really, can it get more awesome?! I think not.

I keep saying I’m going to make fall sangria and I’m going to make it happen. This weekend. I’m craving it big time. First big miles, then big delicious sangria.

Share your random thoughts with me today!

Where my AMBIVERTS at?! 

Weekly Running Report.

Hey there! It is time to recap some miles from last week! It was a great week of running and I was able to get in 63.7 miles. Feeling good, feeling great. Let’s see how it all went down!

Monday- 5.22 sunset miles. It was quite warm and humid all week last week but it felt good to run after a stressful day. I can see how some runners like to run after work mainly just to unwind. Mostly I am a morning runner if I am not doing a double day but I definitely can appreciate some good evening miles for sure. This run was more of a recovery run after putting in lots of miles over the weekend.

Tuesday AM- 8.32 miles in the AM with the run club. Threw in some rolling hills which was lovely. Nothing like attacking those hills early in the morning before the world wakes up.

Tuesday PM- 2.22 miles after teaching spin cycle. Doing some people watching. Over 10.5 miles total for double run day.

Wednesday- 7.12 miles with sunshine and shade. I ran later in the morning when the temps were about 90 degrees at the finish. I pushed it in the heat which felt good and a good detox.

Thursday AM- 7.31 peaceful miles. Faster finish with strides at the end.

Thursday PM- 3.32 miles after teaching class at gym.

Friday- 10.12 miles. Felt awesome on a Friday and there was a cool-ish breeze in the air which I very much enjoyed.

Saturday- 20.12 miles back with the run club. It always feels good to get in a long run with friends. Kicking off the weekend right.

Sunday- REST DAY. And an abundance of sushi. Much needed.

And there you have it!!

Plus, I am happy to report I ended September with a grand total of 263 miles. Good stuff.

How is your running going? Looking fwd to anything in this month of October?
THIS RACE. Because, tacos. Still need to hit up the fair also.

TGIFriday Faves.

Hey there and HAPPY Friday!!! I got in a glorious solo run this morning and it was just what  I needed. Hello, check out that crazy sky. Crazy beautiful.

Um also, it is National TACO DAY. Oh my goodness! And on a Friday. We are most certainly hashtag blessed.

Speaking of tacos I am getting oh so excited about my upcoming ultra race. I even hear talk that there will be tequila at this race. HA! I don’t think I’ve ever taken a shot during a run (I’ve done beer during an ULTRA) but I may just consider it for this one?! Maybe at mile 50 or something you know, to relieve pain? Hmm.

Let’s get to this week’s faves!

Fitness cruises are coming. Hmm. I just may be down for this. Honestly I stepped away from cruises for a while because I got violently ill on the last one. But this may be the game changer.

Not racing a fall marathon? 5 things to do instead. Old article but I just found it and I’m loving it.

Smoky cider mezcal margarita. Right up my fall-loving alley.

Honeycrisp apples are back. I seriously love apples in the fall. Even the red delicious ones. I mean eating an apple may be just the boost of energy that you need – more so than some energy drink perhaps? Maybe. I’m down with that.

And there you have it!

Have a great weekend!

What’s on tap for your weekend?
Enjoying the last bit of HOT TEXAS weather (it is supposed to cool down next week a little! Hooray), family and friend time, of course run time.