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?

The Many Emotions of Ultra Training.

As you know running can evoke many different emotions…mostly those of euphoria and happiness…but it has its highs and lows! I did a post on this not too long ago but since training for the ultra marathon I have a few other emotions I’d like to share! See below.

The feeling of tired legs after running doubles. You’ve gotta love those double run days, right? Because every day is leg day. Frankly…high mileage running/ultra training requires your legs to not always be springy and fresh sometimes. It just comes with the territory. Cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it.

The feeling of intense RUNger after that 10 or 11 mile weekday run. Yes, I’ll have eggs and bacon and all of the foods for breakfast. Thankyouverymuch.

The emotion of signing up for that hot new trail race in a beautiful location. Because you must get that shiny new buckle to add to your collection. Who needs medals when there are so many amazing belt buckles?! I am just saying.

Knowing you have a big back to back long run weekend coming up. Back to back 20 milers?! NBD. Eat, sleep, RUN, repeat. Exactly in that order.

That feeling of hitting your highest weekly/monthly mileage YET. That feeling I must say is pretty darn incredible.

The feeling of always wanting ALL OF THE HOURS of sleep. Can’t get enough sleep. Can’t stop won’t stop. Work hard nap hard.

The emotion of running because you truly do LOVE it…not because you want to win a race, or to prove something to someone else. Because the simple act of running brings so much joy into your life. Body, mind and soul.

What are some of your emotions of ultra training, or just running in general?

8 Things No One Tells You About Ultra Running.

Running is such a glorious sport and even after many years I still feel like a student learning something new every day along my journey. But today, we are going to delve into ultra running a bit and discuss a few things no one really tells you before you start exploring distances beyond 26.2! So here it goes…

1. Ultrarunning is the ultimate test of your mental will. Honestly you can train your tail off but if you go into the race with even just a drop of insecurity, not completely sure that you are capable of finishing…well guess what? It’s very likely your race will result in a DNF. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Your stubbornness is what is going to get you to that 100 mile finish line. Believe it.

2. You will learn what your stomach can and cannot handle REALLY quickly. I learned during my 100 miler that I prefer more savory/salty foods than sweet. Pickles were my best friend. And so was sausage fresh off the grill. Yes, they made HOT food during that race and in the evening when it got cooler it was the best thing ever.

3. Hallucinations are really crazy/fun. You haven’t really done a race until you see trees floating in the distance.

4. A fresh pair of socks or a change of shoes mid race can truly be a game changer.

5. Sleep? What’s sleep? When you are racing against a clock in a 100 miler there is no time for such an activity.

6. You will meet some of the most amazing people you will ever meet in your life out on the trail. The trail and ultra community will truly treat you like family. Everyone is so down to earth, laid back…and they will help you get through those tough moments when you want to throw in the towel.

7. The longer the race, the more it will affect you emotionally. After running beyond 50 miles, being out there in the dark will just take a toll on you and really mess with you. You will fight whatever demons you deal with and even the most positive optimistic person will have those highs and lows.

8. But the highs and lows are what is the most amazing part of running these distances. You come out the other side a different person. And it makes you want to go back again and again. It’s kind of like a self discovery.

Any ultra runners out there? What are some things you wish you knew before you started running beyond 26.2?

Crazy Things Ultrarunners Say.

So yes, we all know about the quirky things runners do. But if you have been in the running community for a while, you KNOW this other group of runners. The ones who run the crazy distances, the trail races, the races in the mountains etc. This is a very small but interesting group of people! To say the least. Ha. Here are some things, in random order, that ultra runners say.

I’m just running a marathon to train for this ultra. Because running 26.2 miles is clearly not enough.

This weekend I will run back to back 25 milers, no big deal.

Just hydrating for this weekend’s trail race. Let’s go get some craft beers. I need the carbs.

50k? Oh that is just a few miles more than a marathon. It’s a baby ultra.

Let’s sign up for a 100 mile race just for fun.

It’s okay to use the bathroom in the woods. Everybody does that.

Is that a deer? Snake? Coyote? Oh just keep going…they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.

What are some other crazy things ultrarunners/runners say?

4 Ways to Nail Your First Ultramarathon.

So I know some of you have been eyeing some races past the 26.2 mile distance..well if so, this post is for you! I thought I would share a few pointers that have worked for me when it comes to training for and racing ultras.

Mile 30 something of the Rocky Raccoon 100. Say cheese for the camera!

Here are some ways you can and will totally dominate your first 50k, 50 miler and beyond.

1. Stay consistent with your training. I wrote another post here about this very topic. I think this is kind of the number one thing that will make you successful not only in running but in life. Sure, we have days where we are not feeling well, too tired and need to sleep in, what have you but consistent training will always bring you results. Believe it.

2. Don’t worry so much about how fast you are going. It’s all relative anyway. As runners we tend to be pace obsessed but in the ultra marathon world pace is really not all that important. Time on your feet is definitely more crucial than how fast you are going. There are days for those quality workouts, tempo runs and etc but easy mileage and just being out there for long periods of time will get you where you need to be. Plus, not all ultras are created equal…trail races in the mountains vs a road race, totally different animals. Effort definitely trumps being speedy when it comes to running crazy distances.

3. Take the time to take care of yourself. That means ample sleep, eating the right foods for performance and etc. We all have to have a balance but making sure you are getting good sleep at night if you are running so many miles should absolutely be your top priority. I actually turn my phone off or on silent mode after a certain time of night and most of my friends and family know this about me. I do value my sleep simply because when I’m in training mode I’m all about getting up early.

4. Baby steps will produce results in the long run. Pun intended. So you have a handful of marathons under your belt? Well it would be a great time to sign up for that local 50k. A 50k is only a few miles more than a marathon so it is realistic and doable. Have you completed the 50k distance? Then perhaps you could start doing back to back long runs on the weekends, up your mileage safely and run a 50 miler. Each distance is an excellent stepping stone for the next one. Respect the distance and it will respect you.

Any ultrarunners out there with tips for the group?

Hachie 50 Mile Race Recap.

Hey there! How was your weekend? Hope you were able to do some fun things and kick back and relax a bit. I ran the Hachie 50 miler out in Waxahachie, TX and lived to tell about it! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

As some of you know I ran this same race last year, and I truly loved it so much I decided to go again this year! And of course, I had a time goal – which was to beat my previous finish time. I knew I would have to buckle down and focus on staying consistent with my pace despite the heat. It would be hard seeing as 50 miles is no easy feat but my training has been pretty on point lately so I went into this race fairly confident.

Saturday morning we lined up to the start and the gun went off around 5 a.m. It was super dark out still but we all had our headlamps and blinky lights flashing in the woods. It was kind of cool and fun to see all of the lights galavanting in the darkness.

So this race is a total of 5 loops, 10 miles each. I don’t at all mind looped courses, it is boring for some but for me provided that the loops are long enough it helps to be able to count down how far you have to go. Plus the aid stations were close to one another so that helped with the fuel and hydration etc.

The temps were probably what I fought with the most this year. It was nice and cool in the morning but warmed up to about 80 degrees during the later miles. Mile 45 in the straight up heat with the sun beating down my back was a killer. But I was absolutely so thankful for the amazing volunteers and how organized this race was. They made sure the water/gatorade on the course was nice and cold for us and they also provided us with icy cold towels to put on our backs.

When it was all said and done I basically blew my previous time out of the water with an 8 hour and 28 minute finish! A new 50 mile PR for me and good enough for 2nd place overall female! They gave me both a medal and a belt buckle for being a top finisher. Winner winner chicken dinner.

I have to thank my amazing pacer also for helping me out towards the end with the heat.

How was your weekend? What did you do?

A Few Reasons Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Run 100 Miles.

So today I thought I’d chat about something near and dear to my heart. The 100 mile distance! It’s definitely not an easy feat but I thought I’d share some reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) run a distance of this magnitude. Just some things to think about if you are thinking about hitting that registration button!

You can check out my 100 mile ultra experience here and here.

Do it for you and only you. I definitely think running this distance is not for the faint of heart. You have to go into a race like this knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you WANT to finish. Sure, it’s not going to be easy. But mentally, you have to just be ALL IN. You can train your ass off but frankly if it’s something you are not sure you want to do, it’s not going to happen for you. There are no bones about that. Be confident in your abilities and know that you are capable of making it to that finish line.

DON’T do it for social media or for bragging rights. Because let’s be honest, most people on social media do not even really understand why someone in their right mind would even want to accomplish such a feat. It takes a special kind of crazy to run an ultra, specifically a hundo. Hey, if you are looking for likes on instagram, just go run a marathon. You will probably get more likes doing that anyway. 100 miles is not about bragging rights. It’s about proving to YOURSELF that you can push past those limits and achieve something incredible. It’s an accomplishment that no one can take away from you.

Do it to immerse yourself into nature. If you are a true nature lover like myself you can totally geek out on God’s great masterpiece. You will see the sunrise, sunset, trees and if you’re lucky maybe even some wildlife. It’s freaking amazing and makes me want to sign up for another one just to go explore some more incredible parts of the world.

Don’t do it to compare yourself with your fellow runners. It should always be you vs. you when it comes to running and racing. Because at the end of the day, there will always be someone faster or who can go longer than you. Sizing up yourself against others will get you nowhere. Be proud of every milestone that you make and keep moving forward.

Do it for the experience that you will truly remember for the rest of your life. When I signed up to run the 100 miler, I truly had no idea the impact it would make on my life. It’s truly like living a lifetime in a day. More than 24 hours of being out on a trail will really change you from the inside on out. It brought out emotions and feelings in me that I did not know I had. I made best friends with total strangers and remember so many amazing people who made my experience worthwhile. All of that is what makes this distance so special.

What are some reasons why you would sign up for a 100 mile race or an ultra?

Mother Nature Was Showing Off and Ultrarunner Staples.

Hey there! My morning started out a bit rainy and stormy but it quickly cleared and gave way to absolutely beautiful sunshine. Mother nature was just showing off today! 10.02 miles done.

So here are a few foods I absolutely love and think are great ultrarunner staples! When I was training for my 100 miler I made sure to include many of these in my diet! So if you are contemplating running an ultra (and staying healthy while doing it), take notes.

Avocados/nuts/etc. Healthy fats are the way to go. I love almonds (and almond milk!!), pistachios and generally could just eat avocados straight. Sprinkle a little sea salt/lime on there and boy you are good to go.

Lean protein. Grilled chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon etc are generally my go tos. They just keep me satisfied and full. Generally dinner will be chicken with a veggie and a complex carb.

Leafy greens- Spinach and kale are my two faves. Typically I’ll throw ‘em in a smoothie or will have a huge salad for lunch with cherry tomatoes and raw broccoli thrown in.

Greek yogurt. Typically I go for the nonfat kind and will throw on a bunch of fruit/maybe a few nuts or some granola. I love having this especially after a run. For some reason I crave things like yogurt/acai bowls and cold things post workout.

Sweet potatoes and butternut squash. I love everything spiralized and having these handy really helped me to not go crazy on the pasta and white refined carbs. I will throw on on some ground turkey and avocado, maybe some goat cheese and go to town.

Kombucha- I think it’s something about the probiotics I’m really digging with kombucha. As you know probiotics are fantastic for your digestive system. Plus it just gives me a ton of energy and makes me feel good. I drink kombucha probably twice a week…it can be pricey!

What are some of your go to runner superfoods?

5 Ways to Bounce Back from a 100 Mile Race.

I have to tell you, I could probably write multiple blog posts just on Q & A alone since so many folks have had questions regarding my 100 mile race not too long ago. It was an incredible (and long) journey, but I am so glad to say I have survived to talk to you about it! Someone said it perfectly when they said that to run 100 miles is to live a lifetime in a day. (and then some). It is truly something I will remember for the rest of my life. Here are a few ways I have bounced back from this crazy awesome race distance and some ways to recover and get back out on those roads (or on the dirt path).

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1. Motion is lotion! This is kind of my favorite saying right now. Honestly, the movement shouldn’t stop once you cross that finish line. I know, you will want to find the nearest chair or stretcher…haha possible but to keep the blood flow going you must move that body. I could barely walk to the car but I made sure to make my legs move around a bit right after I got finished. The more you are able to at least walk a bit the better your body will feel.

2. Hydration is still important. Sure you have been eating and consuming liquids throughout the race. So much so that you actually get TIRED of it. But make sure you replenish your body post race. Especially with electrolytes. Honestly I would consume wine, beer etc in extreme moderation for at least a day or so. 100 miles can really beat you up and deplete you and the last thing really I wanted was alcohol. I thought that would be quite the opposite (I was craving wine actually when I finished my 50 miler). But yes, water…NUUN or Gatorade, all of these things will help you recover faster.

3. It will be hard to get comfortable when you go to bed that night. My body was shaking, my feet were swollen and so fatigued, it was unlike any type of post race feeling I’ve ever felt before. I personally did not do an ice bath, etc I just let my body recover naturally and the muscles just rest on their own. Compression may help but elevate your feet and just let things rinse themselves out. After that first night post 100 miler, my body pretty much slowly got back to normal. Sore but the same ole same. So…get through the rough 1st night and you will be good.

4. Don’t feel bad about eating ALL of the foods. Chances are it will be crazy hard to replenish all of the ridiculous amount of calories you burned during the 100 miler. But if you’re hungry (RUNger…the struggle is real) eat whatever it is you are craving. I don’t like sweets as much as I used to when I was younger but I crave all of the salty foods. A burger (my meal of choice post race), sushi, a loaded salad with a ton of pickles…haha YUM. Try to get some wholesome foods back in you though but some that are satisfying and will fill you up. Protein, veggies, avocado etc.

5. And remember, recovery looks different for everyone. If you are a seasoned marathoner that also has a few ultras under your belt like myself, recovery will be a lot easier for you. It all depends on the person’s body and ability to bounce back. Just be sure to listen to your body and what it is telling you. I’ve gotten really good at knowing when to push and when to pull back. But this is from years of patience, experience and training. It’s all a balancing act.

Ultrarunners, what are some ways you have recovered from a 100 mile race?

100 Thoughts During a 100 Mile Race.

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1. Ahh, early morning. So peaceful…look at all of the headlamps dancing in the dark.

2. Roots, roots and more roots. Make sure not to trip and fall.

3. Some of these runners make trail running look so easy. Gliding across rocks and roots without a care in the world. Hashtag goals.

4. Nice and easy, start slow. You have all day.

5. Understatement of the year.

6. Let some of these ‘fast’ people pass you. I bet you’ll be passing some of them later.

7. Ahh, a little daylight! What a beautiful trail. I couldn’t see it before but now it’s so pretty.

8. Hydrate hydrate hydrate.

9. Oh, look at this dirt road, a little easier to run on than that rooty rocky part. Let’s pick up the pace a bit. Feels awesome.

10. Don’t get too confident now. Reign it in a bit.

11. Oh. Huge uphill climb. I’ve done so much hill training I just want to run up every hill.

12. But everyone is walking. Hmm. Should I walk up the hills too?

13. Save energy? Yes, good plan.

14. Aid station goodies. Let me grab this oreo. Sugar rush. Looks good at the moment.

15. Hydrate hydrate hydrate.

16. Relentless forward progress. Oh so inspirational.

17. Man, good thing I really like running.

18. I kind of love looped courses. A little redundant but I love seeing peeps while I go.

19. Good job, old dude, you are rocking it. You are also going way faster than me. Hashtag goals.

20. Boy, this stretch is long and there are no aid stations out here. At least there’s a lot to look at.

21. I sure do love bridges on trails. I just want to sprint every single bridge.

22. I have to use the ladies room.

23. Pull over and just go for it.

24. I feel about 5 pounds lighter. Okay, keep trucking.

25. I feel like me and this girl are drafting each other. I just passed her and now she’s passing me.

26. I wonder if she’s ever run a hundred miler before.

27. Most of my friends have never done this.

28. Most of my friends probably think I’m insane.

29. That’s okay because I am sometimes.

30. Finally back to another aid station! They are playing disco music. Can I stay and dance? Have a glass of wine and sit down? Probably not such a good idea.

31. Okay, don’t linger at the aid station. Let’s get up and go.

32. Wow, I still have a GPS signal out in these woods. Incredible.

33. Oh, I just got a text. Busy right now sorry running a 100 miler. Kthxbye.

34. Back to the runnable dirt road again. Sprint sprint sprint.

35. Yeah, so sprinting on a trail is more like my easy pace on the road. HA. Such an athlete.

36. The sound of birds chirping…so glorious.

37. They say there are alligators out on this trail. I kind of want to see one.

38. Or a coyote or some wildlife or something.

39. Is that a snake??? No, just a stick.

40. Better yet a root. Don’t trip. Don’t fall. No injuries.

41. Hey crew! Dallas Dirt Runners are rocking this aid station. Ricky Bobby theme. Shake and bake, baby.

42. Check out that sign. It says if you’re not first, you’re last.

43. I’ll definitely be last then. I’m okay with that as long as I finish.

44. A porta potty! Finally a place to take a whizz in peace.

45. Porta potties are ridiculously disgusting.

46. Alright, let’s go.

47. Legs are getting a bit heavy. Let’s do some power walking up this hill.

48. Mmm. Caffeine would be good right about now. Time for a GU.

49. Gu is really a gross product. I mean, it goes down easy I guess.

50. I feel like I have texture issues with GU.

51. Whoops, almost tripped over that root. I said almost. But I’m a gangsta.

52. I’ve got this.

53. Just got a text from someone saying ‘Go Chelsea, Go!’ I don’t recognize the number. So thanks, absolute stranger.

54. I don’t think anyone should ever do something like this for instagram likes. Way too much work. Just run a marathon. You’ll get just as many likes for that. Maybe more.

55. Some of these people are running with friends who are also running the hundred miler. Nice! Killing it.

56. I need more crazy friends.

57. Uh oh, that girl just DNF’d. Did not freaking finish.

58. Eff that, ain’t gonna be me. I’m a gangsta.

59. It’s getting dark. Time to bust out the headlamp.

60. Headlamp is a bit dim. And my batteries are at the next aid station. 7 miles to batteries! Awesome.

61. Nice girl is lending me her batteries. Thanks, nice girl.

62. Ultrarunners. They are nice.

63. I need more crazy friends!

64. I am crazy. A little too crazy for my own good.

65. 7 pm. some of my friends are probably getting ready for a fun wild night out.

66. And I am in the forest, running alone. Gotta love that.

67. I’m kind of bored. Definitely ready for my pacer.

68. Almost time to pick up my pacer.

69. Loop 4, here we go. The Dallas Dirt Runners selected my pacer for me because I don’t have enough crazy friends. Hi, Kevin.

70. We’ve met, once. Running with basically strangers, so fun.

71. He’s kind of cute too. I’m just saying.

72. Running with cute boys is fun. I enjoy it.

73. Sweet, another bridge. Let’s sprint again.

74. Another uphill. Time to walk.

75. My feet are numb.

76. Glad I changed into these shoes but I don’t think much is going to help at this point.

77. They are cooking hot food now at the aid stations. Ramen noodle soup? No, I can’t do it. Mashed potatoes?

78. HELL YES. YUM.

79. I love me some carbs. How do some women not eat carbs? Beyond me.

80. Carbs are heavenly runners food.

81. Wow, I have never run this far ever in life. Pretty incredible.

82. GPS signal is still going strong! But the phone is about to die.

83. Thanks, wonderful pacer boy for lending me your portable phone charger. You are my guardian angel.

84. Back to the aid station. Hydrate. Eat. Repeat.

85. Ugh, kind of tired of eating.

86. Hey, there’s a park bench. Could I just lie down and forget that I’m doing this for a little while?

87. Why am I doing this again?

88. Getting emotional. So many emotions. Tears. Not sure why I’m even crying.

89. There are people that probably don’t think you can do this. Do it to prove them wrong.

90. I’m really good at proving bitches wrong. Yes, do it for them and for you.

91. Alright, stop crying. Man up, or woman up.

92. You’ve so got this.

93. Ahh, daylight again.

94. Am I really still awake?

95. I cannot feel my legs.

96. It’s kind of awesome.

97. Keep moving or you are not going to finish.

98. All of the expletives and bad words.

99. I am SO FINISHING THIS.

100. Done and done!! That buckle! I’ve never seen a more beautiful piece of hardware in my life.

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What are some thoughts during a run/ultrarun/race?