8 Ways to Survive Ultramarathon Training.

It was a 10k Tuesday around here…just enjoying some ridiculously awesome running temps. 51 degrees in Texas in May?! I will take it. Give me more cool cloudy mornings for sure. The hot coffee went down perfectly after those miles.

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So as my ultra marathon training is wrapping up and my 50 is near, I thought I would share 8 things that have been keeping me afloat! I have actually loved this season of building up the miles and it has shown me that I am definitely of capable of more than I ever thought possible. So if you are contemplating training for an ULTRA in the near future, here are some things I have learned.

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1. Learn to accept the roller coaster that is running. You will have bad days, crappy runs, days where you are on fire and loving training, and days where you want to sit on the couch with pizza and forget that you are a runner while watching The Real Housewives of Whatever. Been there done that. But at the end of the day you are out there, you are doing the work, and you should be proud of yourself. Every damn day.

2. Running buddies make these long runs go by a heck of a lot faster. The thing I love the MOST about being in a running group again is they have helped me to get my fire back. They are so awesome, so supportive and encouraging. Just like a running community is supposed to be. They have also given me a kick in the pants and helped me to power through when I’m just not feeling it. So very grateful for them.

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3. DO the back to back long runs. This is the single most thing that has helped to build my endurance. It has made me a stronger runner for sure. Slowly build those miles up and you will soon be doing the back to backs like it ain’t no thing.

4. Find a (realistic) training plan. There are so many ultra plans out there…I have used this one for my 50k and this as a guide for my 50. Notice I said, guide. I also used my recent 50k and my marathon in April as part of my training for the 50 miler. You don’t always have to follow the plans to a T. But they are a great way to stay accountable and on track.

5. Be patient with yourself and listen to your body. Do the work but make sure you are doing your easy runs. They count just as much as speedwork, intervals, hills and all of the other things you include in your training. Easy running, time on your feet and consistency is the best way to stay injury free, not burn out, and eventually work your way up to ultra status.

6. Nutrition is just as important as your training. Eat your complex carbs (I love qunioa and sweet potatoes), include your lean proteins and fruits/veggies. Cut out the processed junk as much as possible. Your body will appreciate you for it.

7. Get the right shoes/socks/gear/etc that works for you, not what works for someone else. Stick with the shoes that you know your feet love. I have been in Asics and my Newtons for years and I don’t plan on changing that much anytime soon.

8. Make sure your hydration system is on point. I am loving my pink Camelbak for long runs and I plan on wearing it for my 50 on Saturday. Throw some ice in there to keep the water cold and fill it up often while on the run.

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What are some things you have learned during ULTRA (or even marathon) training that has helped you in the long run? Pun intended.

Happy Juice, Irving Marathon and Weekend Recap.

Well hello Monday! Yes…I have to say it is an excellent day for some happy juice aka COFFEE. Hey, it’s my birthday month and Starbucks is a great gift. Am I right?! Just saying if you were wondering what to get me, now you know.

Oh yes…and it is MARATHON Monday! Who all will be watching the Boston Marathon today? *raises hand* Yes, I definitely will be. Um, I kind of wish we all lived in Boston and had the day off of work. Oh wouldn’t that be nice?

In honor of this special day and while we sip on a little coffee, let’s recap this past weekend! I had the opportunity to pace the Irving Marathon, basically in my own backyard! This was my 19th 26.2 and what a great day it was. Although I have been a pacer 3 times before this was my first time pacing the full gusto. So, I was a tad nervous but overall pretty confident I could complete the task and ready to run with a bunch of awesome folks!

Here are just some of the pacers. There was a half marathon as well and a lot of folks in my running club paced the 13.1.

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We lined up to the start, ready to go. I had a 4:15 gal in front of me and a 4:45 lady behind me so that was a nice gage too, to make sure I was staying on pace and on track.

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The course itself is mostly flat, with just a couple of slight inclines…and 2 loops of roughly 13.1 miles. So we got to run with the half marathoners (who started 10 minutes after us) for a lot of the way and then we began our second loop out! We got real lucky because the weather was cool and breezy in the morning, kind of humid but cloud cover the entire way. The sun did come out towards the very end and I started feeling it around mile 18 or so. I held a really consistent pace a majority of the way and got to run with a bunch of fun people. There were a lot of first time marathoners running, and even 1 gal I ran with that was using the marathon as her training run for her 9th ULTRA in South Africa!

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Another dude was qualifying to join the rankings of the Marathon Maniacs…and of course it’s always fun to see someone jump on board the insane asylum with me! I was so excited to be there to see these folks hit new PRs and achieve their goals.

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I was nervous about hitting that 4:30 finish (especially since I was pacing solo) but in the end I NAILED it and came in right on target! What an exhilarating feeling that was. Overall I really enjoyed being a pacer for this race. And I was so thankful to have my Irving Running Club crew there with me! They are basically the best cheerleaders, crowd support and runners in the land.

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And really the cherry on top of the sundae was the post marathon recovery wine on my patio. Breezy beautiful day sipping on a little vino.

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I went on a little Sunday afternoon stroll…so happy to be recovering and hoping to get some decent running in this week! On to the next.

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How was your weekend? Did you race or run long? Tell me about it!

TGIFriday Faves.

Hello, good morning and happy Friday! I don’t know about you but I think it’s an excellent day for a dance party. The sun is shining bright here and the weather should be good for tomorrow’s Irving Marathon!! This will be my 19th full marathon & 4th time as an official pacer so it will be a FUN joyride. Time to pace some people to a PR. Woot woot!

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

What every runner should know about running hills. You know I always say this…they are mounds of opportunity. Haha I love me a good hill climb.

13 emotions everyone experiences in Sephora. And YES…I do get excited when I see a sale on lipstick and/or mascara.

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Egg white pizza bake…YUM. I may have to make this a weekend project.

-My champagne toast candle…my bestie actually bought this for me for Christmas but I’m still loving it. Smells like heaven.

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-Discovering new things on my Monday Dora the explorer runs after teaching at the gym. I am loving this view.

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What are you up to this weekend?
Running a marathon on Saturday!

Who is running Boston on ‘Marathon Monday’!? I know this girl is! If so…have a great race!!

I’m a Runner and 2 Days and Counting.

My Thursday morning started with a few shakeout miles with friends and some Starbucks dark roast coffee. Nothing like a boost of caffeine and endorphins to crank up the day!! It’s kind of taper time around here…I will be pacing the Irving Marathon on Saturday morning! Can’t wait. 2 days and counting!!!

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Speaking of endorphins, don’t you wish we could bottle up those bad boys and sell ’em? I definitely do. We would probably make a killing.

So I figured today would be a good day for some running humor…these videos always make me smile! Enjoy…and get out on those roads today and bust it out!

Tell me something random about your day! What is making you smile and/or laugh today?

7 Before 7 and Bucket List Races.

My favorite morning run hands down lately has been 7 before 7. We got it in this morning while watching a beautiful RUNrise on the lake.

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You truly cannot beat this view. My legs were feeling pretty good too especially after an amazing sauna/hot tub session…I spent 3 straight hours in Spa Castle last night. Pure heaven.

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So I was thinking about some races that I’ve got on my bucket list…I definitely want to run these in the near future. I know some of you have done these already so you’ll have to give me some pointers! Hopefully I’ll be able to check them off one by one.

Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon – San Diego, CA: I’ve actually run the half but I am looking forward to running the FULL this June! SD is one of my favorite cities hands down so looking forward to exploring it 26.2 miles at a time.

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Hachie 50 – Waxahachie, TX: This one is 5 loops of 10 miles on a partly trail, mostly paved route. A little repetitive but I do love me some looped courses. Plus it’s out in the country. Love me some country running.

Wineglass Marathon – Corning, NY: This one is in NY and I’ve heard great things about it…plus it sounds like a cool destination with wine tasting and such.

Sevilla Marathon – Seville, Spain: I am a sucker for scenic courses and I hear this one does not disappoint. Plus Spain in general has been on my bucket list for travel so this would be a neat opportunity to run an international race.

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Kauai Marathon – Kauai, HI: This one has a small town feel (which I love) and of course it’s in Hawaii which is pretty much my most favorite place in the universe. Plus I have never been to this particular island before. Win win situation.

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Le Marathon du Medoc – Pauillac, France: From what I hear folks dress up in costume, try different French wines ALONG the course (yeah, crazy), and overall just have a good time. Right up my alley. Sounds like I will have to pace myself though. HA. Check out more about this crazy race here.

Big Sur Marathon – Big Sur, CA: Again I love me a scenic race and this one has been on the list for a long time. One day hopefully I will qualify for Boston and then I’ll have to do the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge.

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Boston Marathon- Boston, MA: Yes, the ‘SUPER BOWL of running’…it’s on the list. I’d like to qualify for it before I die…but first…I’ve got some more ultras to get out of the way.

Salt Flats 100- Wendover, UT: Speaking of ULTRAS…I have my eye on this one because of the cool looking terrain. Thanks to this girl for sharing her photos! I have never been to Utah either so it would be a good one to check off the list and also get some trail type running in. They have both a 50 and 100 miler to choose from.

Leadville 100- Leadville, CO: Some of my ultra friends have run this race and have good things to say about it. It sounds like some pretty tough terrain too so it would be a good challenge for me. I think I’ve reached that point in my running where I really want to push past the typical marathon mileage and really see what I’m made of with distance. Cray cray I know.

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What races are on your marathon/ultra bucket list?

8 Miles and Taco Tuesday.

8 miles before 8 a.m. rocking some miles with my IRC crew. We switched it up and ran a different way through the canal with a great view of the lake and sunrise at the end. It was a beautiful morning!

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I tell ya it’s never easy to get up so early for these runs but I’m always happy to get it done. I was in bed by 8:30 p.m. last night (no lie) so yeah…that kind of helps too.

So since it’s TACO Tuesday…I’ve got a fun vegetarian taco recipe I think you would enjoy.

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Butternut squash & black bean tacos…to be exact! Here is what you will need.

Corn tortillas
1 cup of black beans
1 cup of butternut squash, cooked & chopped (you can buy it pre chopped at some grocery stores)
Crumbled goat cheese
1 handful of fresh cilantro
Salsa/avocado to taste

As far as salsas go…I recommend this one if you can find it…it has a hot & fiery kick to it.

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Prepare/cook black beans and place on warm corn tortillas. Top with cooked butternut squash, then fresh cilantro and sprinkle crumbled goat cheese. Top with salsa and/or avocado then go to town.

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So tell me! What are your favorite kind of tacos?

What’s Next…Spring and Summer Races.

First of all I just wanted to give a shout out and huge THANK YOU to you all for your support…I seriously could not have asked for a better race day this past Sunday! For those of you that missed it, you can check out my Cowtown 50k recap here. That race really gave me huge confidence when it comes to ultras and I’m really looking forward to having some more great races this year. I will be taking the next few weeks to recover, do some easy running and then slowly ramping some miles/speed back up for upcoming races!

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This pic was actually from Rock n Roll Dallas…but it’s my favorite. I’m waving hello to you! 

So…here’s what we’ve got on tap for spring and summer.

-March 19th and 20th- My next race weekend will be Rock n Roll Dallas! In honor of St. Patty’s Day I’ll be running the Dash Down Greenville first on Saturday morning (5k) and then RnR Dallas (13.1) on Sunday.

Yes…preferably with my shamrock socks on. They just make things more festive.

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It should be a good time to play around with speed for a bit! I really do love the half distance because I have done so many that at this point I can recover quickly and move on to bigger things. Plus this race is usually a good one with some rolling hills. And yes…I actually do love hills! Win win.

-April 16th- I’ll be PACING the Irving Marathon right in my own backyard! I am hoping we get some decent weather…this time of year is fairly unpredictable. But I love running in my ‘hood and representing the Irving Running Club.

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-May 7th- The Irving Marathon will be part of my training leading up to this big kahuna! The Hachie 50 out in Waxahachie, TX. Very excited for this one…again we will see if Texas weather behaves! This course will be mostly paved, part trail and super flat. Perfect for my first 50 mile race. I will walk the whole thing if I have to. Ha!

-June 5th- Rock n Roll San Diego. Absolutely love this course…I ran it a couple of years ago. Can’t wait to get back out to Cali.

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That’s all for now! Stay tuned…and happy training!

What races do you have on tap for spring and summer? Any ultras?

Cowtown Ultra Marathon Recap.

Happy Leap Day to you! I hope you are having a great Monday so far. This past weekend was full of running, relaxing and fun! I ran the Cowtown 50k on Sunday out in Funkytown…that’s Texas slang for Ft. Worth. Ultra marathon, baby! I am back in the ultra running game and it feels so good.

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Saturday morning I was up early for a quick shake out run with my Irving Running Club buddies. Most of us that were racing the next day did a nice and easy 5k while chatting and catching up on life.

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I also went to the expo to get my runner swag…love how they printed my name on my bib all festive and fancy.

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I am an absolute fan of when races have health and fitness expos because I can stock up on all of the runner goodies. This one was no different…I purchased some energy gels, got my shirt and even purchased some cryotherapy for later on this week. I have heard it is like a glorified ice bath…I will let you know how it goes.

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Race day! Sunday I got into my corral and we took off. This race was pretty massive so it took what seemed like forever before I crossed the start. I took a quick pic to pass the time.

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I saw a bunch of my running buddies along the course, ran with some folks I have not seen in forever, and even met some Marathon Maniac friends since I was wearing my shirt. A lot of folks this year were rocking the ultra which was so cool to see. I started off at a solid pace and was proud of myself for maintaining it for a majority of the race. The course is mostly rolling hills with a nice juicy incline at mile 9. I kind of always look forward to it and also look forward to running through the Ft. Worth Stockyards…it really is true to Texas/cowboy culture.

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The half marathoners split off from the full and ultra runners at mile 10 and then we go through some beautiful neighborhoods where lots of folks post up outside, play music and drink their mimosas while cheering us on. I love this course because the community really comes together to cheer on the runners.

After galavanting through neighborhoods, we go into Trinity Park which is really nice and usually this is where the sun comes out to play around mile 23 or so. Things were starting to warm up and I started feeling a little tired here. I took some more GU and (yes) a little shot of beer that someone was passing out. For some reason that mini shot gave me a boost of energy! I don’t know if it was the carbs or what…haha I picked up the pace a bit and kept it going. Close to mile 25 the marathoners split off and then the ULTRA crazies keep going and do a little out and back further down the trail. This is where it got real!

The little out and back part was pretty quiet but all of the ultra runners got to see each other heading back so we were all cheering each other on…we all knew we were fighting through the heat and humidity! At the turn around to head home they had a really neat aid station where someone had set out an RV and had sprite, pretzels, and all kinds of fun snacks for us to grab to get us through. I basically kept hydrating the entire day and sipped at all water stops so I grabbed some powerade here and kept it going.

We winded back around and I saw the awesome Irving Running Club crew cheering me on at the finish! A lot of them that were not running came out to volunteer which was so awesome. I really loved having all of that support on the course…something I have not had in a while since coaching with Luke’s Locker a few years ago.

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I finished the 31 miles in 5:12…a PR for me from last year’s 50k. I was thrilled with that time considering the heat and humidity at the end!

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I had so much fun at this race and I’d definitely recommend anyone who is looking for challenge and to push their limits a bit to put this race on your bucket list. You will not regret it! I am looking forward to running some more ultras this year. And of course…MORE 26.2s and such! Stay tuned.

How was your weekend? Did anyone rock a long run or race? Tell me about it!

3 Days to 50k and Running Funnies.

I’ve been seeing all of these funny running posts on Pinterest and I thought I’d share some with you today. Just because I feel like at times runners tend to take themselves too serious. Myself included. And hey…we all need to laugh at ourselves every now and again…right? Right.

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Yes…now this chart is absolutely spot on. True story indeed.

I ran a few miles with the Irving Running Club this morning…2nd to last taper run before this weekend’s 50k. Excitement is definitely brewing! Can’t wait for the 31 mile/50k joyride. 3 days, baby!!

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Hopefully you’ve encountered some of these running struggles a time or two…and if not you can just laugh at my struggles. You are welcome.

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Tell me something random about your day today!

Enjoy My Excitement, Pacing the Alamo Half Marathon and Wknd Recap.

Hey hey hey! Happy Monday to you! Anyone else excited that it is National Margarita Day?!? Well…I am. So if not, you can just join in with me and enjoy my excitement.

The Rihanna gif seemed appropriate there…just go with it.

Go enjoy a skinny margarita after work, maybe? Just because you deserve it. I am just saying.

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Let’s recap this past weekend’s activities!

I took a road trip down to San Antonio for the Alamo Half Marathon…as an official pacer with the Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics crew. We had a ton of fun, they are all crazy like myself and like to have a good time while running.

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So Saturday evening was pretty chill…after the 4.5 hour road trip, me & mama checked into the hotel and hit up the expo where I grabbed my race gear and official PACER shirt. Love the bright red color…I think I definitely need more red in my wardrobe.

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We stayed at the Hotel Indigo…love this place because it sits right downtown and you’re a short walk from the Alamo and gorgeous Riverwalk with all of the restaurants right on the water.

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After hanging for a bit (my mom used to live down here when she was young and her old roomie still lives down here, so we linked up with her for dinner) we called it a night.

Sunday funday runday! I made the short mile drive to the start line and linked up with the crew. Of course we had a photo shoot, because that’s what Maniac Fanatic Pacers do.

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I was pacing the 2:30 group…which as most of you know…is pretty much significantly slower than I typically run for a half marathon. This in itself proved to be the ultimate challenge. Because when you are pacing 1:55 and 2:00…which I’ve done before, it’s just SO MUCH EASIER to run your actual pace and kind of go on cruise control. This was interesting because it was like, ‘Ok…am I going too fast? Slow down…wait…too slow? Speed up…ok…just right’…this was pretty much my dialogue the entire time to myself during this race. But aside from that I met a bunch of great folks that stuck with me for a few miles. A couple of them wanted to PR and run just under a 2:30. I guaranteed if they stuck with me, they would do just that. One gal was running her first half just 3 months after having a baby…it was great running with so many folks that had awesome goals they wanted to accomplish.

We went through some neighborhoods, the army base which was really fun because some of the military folks were on the course cheering us on. That in itself was super motivating. The course itself was mostly flat with maybe 1 actual hill. Overall I enjoyed the course and it finishes right inside of the Alamodome stadium where they have shows and concerts. Very cool. I ended up finishing right under that 2:30 mark, just as I had promised my runners and we had some PRs in the group. On a fairly warm and humid day too. I was proud of everyone for sticking it out.

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After the run…chillin’ at the Riverwalk before heading back on the road. Tex mex and queso for the win.

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How was your weekend? Have you ever been a pacer for a race before? What’s next on your race calendar??
50k…is NEXT weekend! Let’s go, strong legs!! Bring it on.