Possums Revenge 56k Trail Race Recap.

Hi, hey and hello! What a marvelous weekend it was. I am here to recap some ULTRA trail racing!! Saturday I ran the Possums Revenge 56k (roughly 34.8 miles- I know right, odd distance but I love it!!) at Possum Kingdom Lake. Let’s review and see how it all went down!

First of all, I was all too excited to do this race because this was the first time I’d ever been to this particular trail. The trail system sits on a gorgeous lake with a ton of rocky climbs and scenic overlook. Honestly it was probably one of the most scenic races I’d ever done! PK Lake is a good 2 hours from where I live. Going out there kind of felt like I wasn’t even in Texas! We don’t have many beautiful lakes out here in North Texas so when you do find one, you know it is a real gem. A lot of folks even camped out the night before. I stayed at a hotel with some trail buds and we got up and got out there quite early.

The race had a 52 miler, 56k, 17 miler and then an 8 miler. The course was quite HILLY and very rocky, with a few stretches of trail that had all SAND! So a lovely mix of terrain that kept things exciting. I really was not sure going into this race how I would perform, especially seeing as I ran a 50 mile race 2 short weeks ago! So really I went out there to check out the trail, and also run with this particular race company that is putting on my 2nd 100 miler in December.

(source)

The 56k’ers took off at 7 am. Temps that day also soared well into the 90s, which made for an interesting late morning & afternoon. Actually due to the heat quite a few folks dropped out of the race completely. The heat actually made me wish a few times that I was running the 17 mile race but I toughed it out to finish the ultra. Mostly because I’m stubborn and I really wanted to get another ultra checked off the list. So I really took my time out there with the climbs and all of the loops that we had to do.

Just one of the gorgeous overlooks from the TOP…seriously heaven.

Often during this race I found myself alone in the woods again, with my thoughts. This part really is one of the reasons I truly LOVE trail ultrarunning. I’d see the occasional runner as it got hotter and later in the day, and we all gave each other thumbs up, good job etc. It is always fun too getting to know folks out on the trails. I always love meeting people from ALL walks of life. The volunteers at the aid stations were all top notch as well, making sure we had plenty of ice and water, as well as yummy snacks and pickles/electrolytes to keep us going in that heat.

When it was all said and done, this race was not quite as runnable as I thought it was, and I resorted to a lot of power hiking and of course tried to get some pics of the amazing scenic overlooks from the top.

Being alone with my thoughts out there was quite wonderful as well. Peaceful and really helped me to deal with facing the tough terrain and how that translates to dealing with adversity in my life as a whole. Running trails helps me realize how dang tough I am and how I am able to power though with determination. Also what I found interesting is all of the random thoughts and words that were floating around in my head as I made my way through the course. One word that kept popping up surprisingly was Kujichagulia– I swear I know to some of you that are at all familiar with Kwanzaa that this sounds strange as all get out- I mean really we are not even anywhere near Christmas?! I went home when the race was over to look it up because I don’t really celebrate that holiday but also because I couldn’t stop thinking about that word as I made my way up and down rocks and roots in the heat. The word actually means self-determination in Swahili which really was spot on with my mood that entire race. It took a ton of determination to get me through, and battle with my thoughts when things got hard.

At the end of the day I finished, I wasn’t the fastest out there, wasn’t the slowest. But I crossed that finish line with a smile on my face and feeling like I had won a lot of battles in my head that day.

Some days are days you just need to let go of the expectations, hold on and see where the day takes you. Relentless forward progress and self determination will get you far. Always.

Overall results here.

How was your weekend?! Run any awesome trails lately?

2018 Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon Recap.

Here it is!! Race recap time. I hope you enjoy reading race recaps. I like to separate my weekly running reports from the recaps because in my compartmental cray cray mind it makes sense. So, if you missed the weekly recap from earlier feel free to catch up and click here!

Let’s talk about the Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon!! I have done this race so many times my eyes kind of go cross eyed when I talk about it. We have gone though course changes, logistical changes and expo changes with this race in Dallas in the last several years. But somehow I keep going back, again and again! I really do for the most part love how organized Rock n Roll races have been over the years. Yes, part of me does wish that RnR Dallas also had a full marathon option. That said, the half distance in the spring for me is always a great speedy tune up going into summer training and ultra & trail racing. And you know I love me some ultras. BUT I do love to run a little faster from time to time! Hey, ultrarunners run half marathons too.

So, this year I was a tad tardy for the party and decided to sign up for this race EXTREMELY last minute. The email even came in saying registration was about to be closed and everything. But, I made it and was able to secure my spot. I’m pretty sure I was probably the last person in creation to sign up. Gotta love it.

I got my stuff at the expo and was good to go. I love the Sportstats cheers where they put your name up in big letters and bright lights! They know everyone takes pics of this for social media, ha. Good call.

Sunday morning I made my way to the race site! I’m thankful for the DART rail train system because it is super close to my place and takes me straight to the start area. Win win. I arrived about an hour or so early, met up with friends and took pics. We took off at 8 am, with a light mist of rain and mostly cloudy skies, tons of humidity but a nice breeze. The cloud cover was definitely on my side.

This course winds around some fun parts of Dallas, including Deep Ellum which is a cool eclectic part of town, winds up a steep bridge and goes into the Bishop Arts District and through Kessler park area up a crazy random intense hill. After that the race for the most part is flat, but the hill at mile 9 or so is a real BEAST! Since I’ve done this race so many times I knew it was coming. I braced myself for the hill that a ton of people power walked and hiked. I decided I was going to just steadily run it and it worked out in my favor! We then go back off into downtown and the race does this downhill on into the finish which I loved. I think my last lil mile split to the finish was something like a 6:40 mile! It felt amazing to finish so strong.

1:47:32 finish which for me was the fastest time on that course (course PR) and definitely faster than last year! Hey, I will take every bit that I can get. Not bad for signing up for a last minute race.

Afterwards I celebrated with friends and we had some delicious eats after and lots of fun pics were taken. I was so glad to be able to run this race this year with so many of my friends on the course. Whether they were running, or volunteering or just cheering at the finish…it was so cool to look back and see all of the friendships I’ve made in the Dallas community over the years. I think I was smiling from ear to ear when I approached that finish line. I just love this community of supportive people in my life, that get my crazy obsession and love for this incredible sport.

Thank you, Rock n Roll Dallas for yet another joyride. See you next year.

How was your Sunday funday? What do you love the most about the running community?

Race Day Pace Day…Cowtown Ultramarathon Recap.

Yes, you are getting not one but two shiny posts from me today. Kind of annoying, right?! Well if you know anything about me you know that I really enjoy recapping races. So, let’s chat about the Cowtown Ultramarathon today…and recap!

This was my FIRST TIME ever pacing a 50k race…which was super exciting. Last year I paced the 26.2 distance so this year was super huge for me. Actually this race alone is so special to me simply because I’ve run it so many times. This was my 6th year running it and actually the place that I raced my first ever 50k road race 2 years ago. Actually, 3 years ago I was signed up to run the 50k, it got canceled because of ice on the ground…and I ran it on my own a few days later. Literally, I got off from work early that day, went straight to the park and ran 31 miles till it got dark all by my lonesome. Who does that?! Me I guess. And I finished the whole thing, mostly because I trained for it and I’ll be damn if a little bad weather is going to change that!! Yes, I am stubborn as all get out. Anyway, I attribute that to the reason why I’m so gung ho about ultra distances to this day. There was just something about running beyond that 26.2 mark that TRANSFORMED my heart and soul. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Anyway, I was looking forward to this race all week long. I admittedly did no tapering whatsoever, really just used this pacing opportunity as a training run for the 50 miler that I am scheduled to run in May. So, I knew it would be a high mileage week and also that my legs needed to be tired to run a 10:30ish pace. As most of my readers know in the last year…I’ve gotten significantly faster and really a lot of my training has been more within the 7 minute to 9 minute mile range. Even my slow easy runs at this point are well under 10 minute miles. So, going into this I knew it would be a challenge to maintain that pace and not feel like molasses. But, I went ahead with it anyway and was excited for the ride.

Half pace bunnies in purple, full in white. ULTRA in yellow. 

Sunday, I got my pacer stick and met up with my pace bud, Jon. Jon and I actually both ran Rocky Raccoon 100 last year and I had done some running with him before. We are even Strava buds!! So, even cooler that I was actually pacing with someone that I knew! As a pacer, sometimes you are paired up with people that you have never met, and at times that can make it hard to mesh well and plan out your pacing strategy. I’ve been pretty lucky too in the last few pacing ‘jobs’ I’ve had, I’ve paced solo so I kind of could do what I wanted. But, this ended up working out great because Jon and I were on the same page.

We had a few runners along with us for the ride that actually ended up staying with us for a majority of the run. One gal (actually a girl that reads here!) Rebecca ran her first 19 ish or so miles with us until she found her friends before we hit Trinity Park. So it was really cool to run with her, and really kind of chat with all of the runners to hear their stories. Another girl that ran with us ran the ultra last year, and finished well over the 6 hour mark so she was looking to have a major PR. And that she did, she stuck with us up until mile 30 or so and she took off to victory.

I felt really good during this run, of course the legs got pretty tired past the 20 mile mark but I expected them to be (see previous post with weekly running recap here). Also it got pretty warm in the back half of this race, when we do a little out and back to get the extra 5 miles in before heading back to the finish line. Those last 5ish miles were basically ALL IN THE SUN, so we had banked a little time to take our time during this portion of the race. As far as the hills went, they didn’t really feel that difficult this time. I attribute that to doing lots of hill training and of course doing lots of trail runs in the last several months. It is amazing how when your fitness improves, things just feel a ton easier.

I took one salt tablet throughout the race, a few Gus and some gatorade. I also had a lil shot of beer (yes they were passing out lots of that) towards about mile 23 or so. The girl that PR’d had one too. HA…I was a great influence. But yeah, at that point in the race I have to say a little shot of a fizzy alcoholic beverage kind of helps. Especially when you are running an ultra.

We booked it to the finish line and actually had a little time to spare – 5:28 finish time right under 5:30. I like to leave a little wiggle room there especially for the runners who run with us so it turned out just perfect. Jon and I made a great team! He commented that it was the best he ever felt during an ultra race. And honestly, I feel that way too!! I really enjoyed pacing this distance and part of me kind of wants to do it all again next year. This was one of my most favorite pacing experiences to date.

50k – 31ish miles, dunski.

Thank you, Cowtown for showing us a marvelous time.

Pacers gonna pace. (yes that is my new favorite saying now, someone said it yesterday during the race and now I can’t stop saying it.)

See you next year. Congrats to all.

Any other Cowtown Ultramarathoners out there?? How was your race? Tell me all about it!!

Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon Recap.

So, do people even do race recaps anymore? Or do they actually READ them?! Hello…blog reader, are you out there? Well, that is okay, I am an only child and used to talking to myself. So much so, it is quite scary actually. Anyway – let’s do a quick review and recap of the Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon. I actually REALLY enjoyed this race! Much more than I thought I would. It literally was a last minute, impromptu decision on my part to run it. Mostly because it was FREE, and you know how runners like those words. So when Brooks Running granted me the opportunity I jumped at the idea. Even though, I’m still really running high-ish mileage and loving my 70-80 mile weeks. I figured, what the heck, let’s go out of town to run a destination race. Kind of love when that happens.

For this race I also had zero expectations, especially after my marathon PR just a few short weeks ago. I knew sub 4 would be ideal though, and to just go rock it out. So I arrived early Saturday morning, checked into my AirBnB and ventured on over to the Rock n Roll Arizona expo. The sunrise flight was absolutely beautiful. And I got to watch Bridesmaids for free. Sorry folks that were sitting next to me for my obnoxious laughter, that movie never gets old.

Of course I had to do a little photoshoot at the expo. Hello Brooks Running photo booth.

I grabbed my race number and was ready to go. I actually ate dinner super early in downtown Pheonix, laid out my race clothes and was in bed by like 8 pm. I’m an old lady at heart.

Race morning! The race started a tad late for my taste, but it was good because it allowed me to take my time, eat my Honey Stinger waffle for breakfast and ride up to the start. The COOL thing about this race is that the HALF and FULL marathoners started in a completely different location. I thought that was badass especially for a Rock n Roll race. All of the RnRs I have done (Las Vegas, Dallas, San Diego, New Orleans) seem to all just be kind of a cluster in terms of the race start. So to me this felt very organized. I lined up in my corral, corral 2, and we took off.

The race starts in Phoenix, winds around to beautiful Scottsdale and then ends up in Tempe. The whole time you get a killer view of the mountains and palm trees which I loved. HEY, we do not have cool landscape like that in Dallas! So I was in absolute heaven. At the start, temps were fairly cool, 50s and then climbing fast. The high was 80 for the day so you can imagine, the back half of this race was in the straight up SUN with zero shade. It was cool, again with low expectations I was okay with running with the sun. I ended up having to strip down to my sports bra around mile 23 or so on. The race was also mostly flat and fast with a few rollers towards the end. The rolling hills did not bug me at all. There was a LONNNGG stretch of bridge though at about mile 25 (again with the sun) that got me a bit. So it turned into a bit of a shuffle at the end which made me doubtful I would run under 4 hours. But my fairly even splits in the beginning saved me towards the end. I managed to slide in at a smooth 3:53:35, one of my fastest races out of 28 marathons. HEY, for running a last minute marathon with zero tapering involved, yeah buddy – I’ll take it.

After the race, I grabbed my bag from gear check, threw on my flip flops and did some more exploring before jumping on a plane that night. Super fun, super random, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Thank you, Pheonix. You know how to have a good time.

Anyone ever done Rock n Roll Arizona? How did you like it?

2017 BMW Dallas Marathon Recap.

Happiest of Mondays to you! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I ran the BMW Dallas Marathon this past Sunday!! And I have lived to tell you all about it. I’m a tad sore today, but hey I survived. Let’s get to the nitty gritty, shall we?

Although I’ve completed this particular race series many times over the 8 years I’ve been running distance, this was the 2nd time I had run the full marathon course, and my 27th 26.2. I actually think the course makes for an excellent half course, providing just enough of a challenge with some rolling hills mixed in, but mostly flat and fast and showcasing many Dallas gems. This was the 2nd year in a row I had run 26.2 as a BMW race, which was super cool and I really felt like BMW as a whole did a fantastic job with many perks that made the race special (pancakes, wine tastings and beer at the finish, and pretty medals this year). The expo was super organized too. I arrived on Saturday to get my race swag and of course had to take a quick photo.

I had dinner and then was in for the night. Race morning I took the DART rail straight downtown, which was nice since the rail system is literally right in front of my apartments. I can literally hop on and I’m there (or anywhere, it even takes me straight to the airport terminals!) within minutes. This was so nice not to have to stress and worry about logistics and parking. I got there about an hour early and had time to stretch, use the ladies facility and such. They had the OMNI hotel open for the runners so it was nice and warm inside and folks were having coffee and taking photos.

The race started at 8:10 AM with a corral start, and I was in corral B. Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi were both at the start to wish us well which I thought was super cool – that they would go out of their way to be present for such a local fantastic race like Dallas! After the countdown we took off and were good to go! I felt SO good at the start and took off with guns blazing. I ideally wanted to BEAT my time of 3:47 from last year, but with the course changes and added hills in the back half of this race I wasn’t quite sure of how I would handle things that day. So I just honestly ran by feel and held on as long as I could. I saw a ton of dear running friends from over the years at this race, and my mama even showed up as a spectator along the course. That is absolutely the great thing about local races, support all the way around. As someone who often travels to races without knowing ANYONE, this meant a lot to me to see my family (including runner family) and friends everywhere.

After the half marathoners split off the race ends up going off towards White Rock Lake, a lake where I’ve done many training runs over the years. The temps were cool that morning but then ended up heating up with highs approaching the 70s. Bipolar Texas weather I’m tellin ya! I honestly would have preferred more cloud cover that day and for it to have stayed cooler much longer. The breeze coming off the water with the lake did definitely help.

Leaving the lake at mile 20 something, we were faced with a big hill that kind of came out of nowhere. And of course this is always tough to endure with already tired legs. That hill really did knock the wind out of me and I ended up having to walk a bit at a couple of water stops. Slowing down that much made me doubtful that I was going to PR. My heart sunk in disappointment. I honestly used to NOT CARE that I didn’t PR, but after seeing so much improvement this year with my running (going from nearly 5 hour finishes, to consistent sub 4) I kind of expect to go into a race to have my best time. I chalked it up to it just not being a good day for me, and told myself I’d still be happy with whatever my time was. I’ve accomplished so much this year, from running my very first 100 miler to winning overall female at a few ultra races. I knew regardless of the time, I would be proud and it would fuel the next race to perform even better.

We circled back into downtown and I looked at my watch which still had a little wiggle room away from last year’s 3:47 time and from my recent marathon in San Diego. After seeing this I perked up a little bit and moved a bit faster, my legs honestly felt like they could not move any faster and I just felt gross and dizzy. But I pushed it in and made it happen. 3:45:31 official finish time, seconds faster than San Diego and 2 minutes faster than last year! Hey, a PR is still an PR baby. I will take it, especially after feeling so off towards the end of this race.

This race really lit a fire in me to find a solid course to really knock it out of the park next year. I’m thinking of running a spring marathon, it could be somewhere in South Texas before it gets too warm. And of course, I will be back to my trails and ultras in 2018!! Cheers to a new PR and getting a kick in the pants to kick things up a notch in the coming year.

2018, I am ready for you.

How was your weekend? Anyone run a tough marathon course lately?

Oktoberfest 50k Trail Race Recap.

Hey there! Oh yes, you get not 1 but 2 stinkin’ blog posts today!! Say what?!! As promised I told you all I would deliver with the Oktoberfest 50k race recap. So here it goes!

Last Saturday was a fun morning on the trails. Lately I have really been enjoying getting off the beaten path and getting into a little deep woods therapy. Trail running for me is a totally different type of challenge, and one over the years that I have really learned to enjoy. It is SO different from road running and the mindset is one that not everyone can really adapt to. Often times, I hear road runners saying ‘oh, I don’t do trails’. But man, are they missing out!! Not only are you getting an amazing agility workout working different types of muscles that you don’t work on concrete, but it makes your legs stronger and actually translates to making you stronger out on the roads. Who woulda thunk it?! But yeah, once I learned that pacing and terrain was so different and really it is not even ABOUT pace at all…I started to really love this thing called trail running.

So back to Saturday, I actually won an entry to this race after winning 1st place overall female at the Piney Woods 100k a few short weeks ago. The race director asked me which distance I preferred and I knew at that moment that the 50k was where my head was at. Lately I’ve really loved the longer distances on trails, and because also I can be a tad competitive I typically want to do the longest distance offered. HA. So 50k it was. I signed up and was good to go. I knew my training was pretty much on par with this race especially since I’ve been running higher mileage. Also I was so excited to do an October race as I absolutely love the festive fall season.

I drove out to the country town of Farmersville, Texas and made my trek out to the trail. The start actually wasn’t so bad, 7 a.m. start for us 50k and marathon folks, and for the shorter distances a 8:00 a.m. start. This was actually the 2nd year that Ultra Expeditions has put on this race. The directors are wicked cool and surprisingly super organized. I absolutely loved Piney Woods so I knew no doubt they would put on a good Oktoberfest run.

7 a.m. & we took off. The first 2 miles of this route are actually paved until we hit the trails in the country, kind of in the middle of nowhere. This particular trail system, I was told they are supposed to be stretching out to go 100+ miles out which was pretty cool. So it was fun to be a part of that. The 50k course runs 15.5 miles out and back. I actually thought this would be incredibly tiring but it was fun and went by fairly quickly! Plus coming back we got to see lots of runners so that always helps because you can high five and say good job and all of that jazz.

I actually joked to a friend of mine who was out there running this race that this was probably going to feel more like a road race because it was described to us as ‘flat and fast’ and running along some rail trails. But boy, was I proved WRONG! After the 2 miles out things got REAL rocky and real rugged. I’m talking loose rocks and just lots of uneven terrain which proved to be tiring on the legs. So again, I had to re-adjust my mindset, get out of speedy road runner mode, and back into hippie trail run mode. Which was okay with me, especially after coming from running a 62 mile race not long ago. I took it easy out there, stopped at aid stations to refuel and such. And really just enjoyed the country scenery.

I made my way back to the start of the trail in over 5 hours, again, very fine with me. Once I finished the race director informed me that I came in among the top overall females! So fun and very happy with 3rd overall out of all of these ladies who completed the 50k course. It was a small race but there was some decent competition out there. So I felt good about that 31 mile finish.

The icing on the cake – my favorite cider, and having a bite of a grilled bratwurst afterwards. Absolute heaven.

So what is next?! Well, I am still playing on the trails but I’m back to some road races for the remainder of this year. I scored a free entry to run the Rock n Roll San Antonio half (thank you, Brooks Running!) and then running the BMW Dallas Marathon the following week. I am looking forward to being back on the roads and working on my speed again. It should be a good time.

How is your week going? Run any marathons (or ultras) lately?

Piney Woods Ultra 100k Recap.

Hey there! I thought it would be a great day to recap my wild adventure in the woods from this past weekend!! The Piney Woods Ultra was a fantastic race, I mean who wouldn’t want to run 62 miles on trails from sunrise to sunset?! HA. It was no easy feat, but I did it and have lived to tell you about it. So let’s get straight to the recap.

I took a half day at work on Friday and made my way to East Texas to do some camping with my buddies at Tyler State Park. I was so excited to run somewhere new for a change, after doing a lot of my training out on the trails and roads in the Dallas area. Tyler is about 2 hours outside of from where I live. So it was a nice little road trip and it felt so good to get away. We stayed in one of the shelters out there in the park, which looks like a cabin with electricity and etc. I absolutely loved staying in the shelters out there. It was kind of like a GLAMping experience! And if you know me you know I am all about that. I ended up purchasing a cot just for this trip and I’m super glad I did. I will definitely be putting the cot to use for future camping trips with my fellow trail run peeps. I love my trail running fam.

We went to the race briefing, to dinner and then were in for the night. I actually got some great rest and then we were up and at ‘em for the 7 AM start. We had an earlier start, then the 50K/25Kers started at 7:30. The 5K/10K peeps were at 8 AM.

Look at all of the beautiful people that started the 100K! We had 3 girls total in our tribe, including myself. I was a tad nervous since both of the other ladies were fairly seasoned trail racers. But hey, even if I got last place – I’d still be in 3rd place, right? That was fine by me.

The horn blew and we were off into the sunrise. The temps were warm that day, with the humidity soaring through the roof. The only help we had that entire day was the shade of the beautiful piney wood trees, which truly helped. The course was a 7 mile loop, with an extra baby .75 mile loop attached to it, which he had to do a total of 8 times to hit our 62. I went through the first few loops fairly easily, stopping at all aid stations to grab a bite to refuel and then to refill my water bottle when needed. This race was brand new, so they had a few kinks to work out but I have to say they did an excellent job with keeping the aid stations stocked with pickles, mini PB&J sammies, electrolyte drinks, and all the goodies. The volunteers were also amazing. Some of my trail run club friends ran the shorter races, then stayed to volunteer all night long. And that, my friends is what the running community is all about. I can’t tell you how amazing these folks are and how much they helped me all through the night.

I think the hardest part with running these ultras over the 50 mile distance is dealing with the course and terrain when it gets dark. This particular course was deceivingly tough because it was fairly runnable in some parts but then there would be random roots and stubs that just come out of nowhere to trip you up or grab at your ankles, along with loose rocks on rolling terrain. That definitely made it hard to maintain a solid pace so I ended up having to resort to a lot of power hiking. Because of this, as well as the temps skyrocketing to 90 something degrees with humidity, we saw A LOT of people quit. Before sunset, the other 2 100K girls dropped and it was just me by my lonesome. I ended up being the ONLY chick still out there, enduring the conditions. So it definitely would have been understandable for me to just quit too. But that, I did not. I went out there and did what I said I was going to do. Because I am stubborn as all hell but that has helped me get through the toughest parts of my life thus far. Relentless forward progress! That is what it is all about.

There were many times during this race, especially during the hottest parts of the day, that I wanted to throw in the towel. But then I would think about the days that I ran twice a day, during the hottest parts of the day, out there alone. Running for no one but myself.

Running from my demons. Running from my fear. Running to happiness. Running to feel a sense of accomplishment. To be able to plop down on the couch with an adult beverage at the end of the day because dammit, I earned it. Running away from anger, and being upset about what happened at work or whatever that was completely out of my control. Running because others that I am close to cannot. To feel strong for myself, and for my family. All of these things roll around in my head when I am out there, on the trails all alone.

And when it got dark, my trail friends were there with me. Watching me and helping me get through it. These are the moments when I realize, that I am not alone in this life. There are people along for the ride, on this journey with me. That care, and that are cheering me on, and that want me to succeed and do well. And I want the same for them. The running community is a beautiful one, and it has saved me from a lot of heartache in my life.

When it was all said and done, I did it. People dropping all around me, I stayed in the game. I went there and did what I said I was going to do. 100k, you have been conquered.

1st place female and the ONLY female to finish. Finish time 19:03:04 – hey, I wanted to be finished just before the nightclubs closed. Trail party all night long.

Girl power.

Thank you Piney Woods Ultra for the deep woods therapy.

I needed it.

How was your weekend? Have you ever received any life lessons from running a race?

2017 Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon Recap.

Hope the sun is shining down your way and you’re having a great Monday! The weather is crazy beautiful in Dallas today. I am loving it! Let’s recap Sunday’s race, shall we?

As some of you know I was so thankful to get the opportunity thanks to Brooks to run the Rock n Roll Dallas half marathon on Sunday. I absolutely love this race and try to run it just about every year! Since completing a few ultras in the last year (50k, then my first 50 miler last May and my first 100 miler this past February) its funny because the 13.1 distance feels kind of short to me now. But that’s perfect because I was able to work on my speed and push the pace a bit!

I made my way to the health and fitness expo on Saturday to pick up my race swag. As always the expo is crazy packed with people so we made our way in and out of there. I am loving the race shirts this year with the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background. Nice little touch.

Race morning me and my homegirl Tracy hitched a ride with a sweet friend who offered to give us a ride to the race site. I was so very grateful for her friend for giving us the ride because the traffic and parking was crazy. We did a little warm up and of course had a little photoshoot, because that is what runners do.

We are kind of a big deal.

We lined up to the start and went our own ways. She is my training buddy but is a tad faster than me so I was off on my own. I turned my music up and was off. Coming off of running the 100 miler just last month I just knew I wanted to push the pace a bit and definitely try for sub 2 hours. I would have been happy with 1:59:59! I honestly did not taper AT ALL for this race. I just love to run and have been doing a lot of it. I got in a total of 67 miles last week, doing a few two a days. So I kind of wanted to test my legs and see how they would do without a taper.

Temps were soaring that day, getting into the 80s. Perfect poolside weather! But not the most ideal for racing. It was crazy humid too and the course is a tad hilly. So I had a few obstacles in my way but I did not give up and fought the heat and humidity. I had several miles well under a 8 minute pace but once we hit the hills at mile 9 combined with the temps I felt like toast. Then the race heads back downhill into downtown and I was able to pick back up where I’d left off with the pace. I honestly did not know how I’d do since I finished this race in 1:54 last year but I totally exceeded my expectations and ran it in under 1:50. Hello, 1:48:23! Course PR for me so I was a happy camper.

Such a fun day overall and I am so thankful for these strong legs for carrying me though. 13.1 number 31 is done.

How was your weekend? Did anyone else run Rock n Roll Dallas?

2016 BMW Dallas Marathon Recap.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I sure did. I gave myself an early Christmas present…a fabulous new marathon PR. Let’s discuss, shall we?

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So the weekend started off pretty mellow. I scaled back the miles last week leading up to Sunday’s race. Friday I did a little shakeout run and then Saturday I rested the legs. Me and my homegirl Tracy went up to the Dallas Marathon expo to pick up our runner swag. I loved the graffiti art on the wall.

Saturday night I laid out my clothes and I was ready to go. Gotta love this shirt. Running wild. That is me indeed.

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Race day! Tracy and I got up extra early, got a ridiculously awesome spot right by the race site in downtown Dallas and then walked around to find our Irving Running Club buddies. Here’s just a few of the crew. We had lots of runners doing the half and full marathons that day.

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I lined up to the start ready to go. Temps were pretty chilly, with a light misty rain and a bit of humidity. Not the most amazing conditions, but not too shabby either. I was loving the chill in the air. The start was really awesome too, they had some fireworks going off, and a few Olympic runners (Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi just to name a few) were there as well. Meb did a little speech and sent us on our way.

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I started off running with my girl Tracy who was going out with guns blazing. One of the things I loved the most about this training season was doing a lot of my training with her. She is a bit of a faster runner so she really pushed me and motivated me to keep up. I’m so thankful for her! I had to pull back a bit because I knew for me I was starting out a bit fast. I reigned it back into a solid pace that I knew I could hold for a while. I also tracked myself so I was getting alerts on my phone on how I was doing, my estimated finish time and etc. The first few miles literally seemed to fly by. I loved seeing my friends and runner family out on this course. Running in my hometown is absolutely the best.

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I clocked my first half at around 1:51 and some change feeling good. And honestly feeling like I could still hold strong through the second half (something I’ve definitely had trouble with in the past). We went through White Rock Lake and over some hills which I also felt strong on. I felt a bit tired around mile 20 but I knew I could push through still and bust that wall down. I took a salted caramel gu and just kept trucking. I also had my hydration pack with plenty of water so I didn’t really stop at many water stops this time, only to take in a few sips of gatorade. Just keep trucking…relentless forward progress…is what I kept saying to myself for most of this run.

I will just say this. I went into this race with the intention to PR. I knew without a shadow of a doubt, despite the weather, and whatever obstacles I would face that day…that it was going to happen for me. Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I believed I was capable of this strong of a race. After a few years, and after my previous fastest time, finally the stars aligned and it was my moment. I wasn’t sure if it would be under 3:50. Honestly, I would have been ecstatic with that time as well! But I flew into that finish line with a solid 3:47 and some change finish. Smiling from ear to ear. I did it. And my goodness…does it feel oh so good.

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There is nothing sweeter than a new marathon PR.

26.2 number 22 complete.

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How was your weekend? Did anyone run the Dallas Marathon or any other fun race? If so…congrats!

2016 Marine Corps Marathon Recap.

Well hi there! Sorry for the race recap delay. I am finally back from my Washington DC getaway! Hope all is well in your world. Let’s do a little marathon race recapping, shall we?

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I had such a marvelous time…so fun getting to see college friends and many friends who I consider more family than anything else. This was my 4th time running this race and my 21st full marathon. It’s actually one of the only marathons I’ve run more than once! I just love the challenge of the course, the marines cheering you on every step of the way, and the organization overall. It is hands down one of the best 26.2 experiences around.

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So since I arrived late on Friday we got up fairly early on Saturday to head to the race expo. I loved the change of expo location…the National Harbor which is absolutely beautiful. I kind of wished I had more time to explore this area but I loved it.

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I grabbed my race number, took some pics with Marines and I was ready to go.

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Sunday funday! Race morning was quite the early morning for me. Since I stayed with a girlfriend who lives right outside of DC she was gracious enough to take me straight to race headquarters to jump on the shuttle for the race. This process was actually much more organized than I thought it would be. Since the Metro rail stations opened late a lot of people had to do the shuttle thing that morning to arrive to the race on time. It actually all really worked out and I preferred this honestly over taking the Metro! It was much faster and security check in was a breeze. I got there about an hour before the start and got a pretty pic of the sunrise and cool flyover before the race.

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We got the ready set go and we were off. It’s usually close to 30,000 who run this race every year and we all kind of start together. So the start was slow and it’s a lot of weaving in and out but eventually the crowds thinned out and I made my way through.

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I definitely had a strategy for this race going in. I wanted to ideally get close to the 4 hour mark this time as I knew my training had been pretty on point this go round. And honestly it has been over 4 years since my injury that I had gone sub 4 so even saying that to people as far as my goal scared the living shit out of me. But that was definitely in the back of my mind for the day. I started off strong with my pace and held on solid for a majority of this race. I fought through a couple of side cramps and random issues but I felt good mentally and physically through about mile 22 or so.

Once I hit Crystal City around miles 22-23 there was a ton of energy which really helped when I was feeling super tired and not into it. Then the race kind of winds back around and we end it with a huge climb on to the finish. The Iwo Jima hill ya’ll…it is nothing to mess with. It’s basically a death march with all of the spectators watching so you kind of have to keep your game face on. Around this time I stopped looking at my watch because I knew I was just tired and super ready to be done. When it was all said and done…I came here and did what I have been wanting to do for over 4 years now. Finished with a freaking sub 4! Hallelujah and thank you baby Jesus. Nearly AN HOUR faster than my last Marine Corps Marathon. Yes, I said an hour. That is not a joke.

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I feel really good about that time and it makes me smile. Considering also the random DC heat wave things went better than expected for sure.

I also have another opportunity to really crush it in December when I run the Dallas Marathon and I am hoping for some cool amazing weather.

26.2 number 21 is a wrap. Mission accomplished.

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Anyone else have some races coming up? Best of luck to those of you racing the NYC Marathon this upcoming weekend!