Traits of Ultrarunners.

Runners- we all have a reason. Am I right?! But when it comes to going BEYOND the 26.2 distance, what is it that makes an ultrarunner want to stay in the game? Are there certain personality traits that perhaps they possess that your otherwise “just for fitness” runners don’t? I thought today we would explore that. And, as an ultrarunner myself I thought I would share a few things about me…and why I enjoy pushing the limits time and time again.

It’s real MENTAL, bro. I think for me what brings me back to ultrarunning again and again is the fact that running for me is a super personal, super mental thing. More so than physical. I mean truly running and life for me go absolutely hand in hand. Runner’s World kind of said it best here.

(source)

We are just kind of weird and quirky in general. I mean truly I have to tell you I’ve never met a more eclectic group of people than my ultrarunner friends. We truly are unicorns of sorts. We sign up for 50 and 100 milers on a whim, just to run with our friends or just to have an adventure. We will also do weird things like run our AGE on our birthday…and ish like that. Solo. Not even for a medal or anything? Just cuz, you know. It’s our idea of fun. And stuff like that.

We tend to have more addictive personalities. I know personally this is something that is in my genetic makeup. But…running has probably saved me from having some more unhealthy addictions for sure. There are a lot of ultrarunners in fact, that say that running is more of a healthy addiction from them. I mean, we are talking serious…like former drug addicts and such that found running and got off of things that nearly ended their life. Thankfully I can say I’ve never been addicted to things that dangerous. But I do have that kind of personality. And I am oh so thankful for ultrarunning and for being able to channel that kind of energy in a very different way.

We are probably more TYPE B than your usual type A runner. Sure, doing loads of speedwork…having a super strict training schedule may work for some runners. But I think ultrarunners think of running as more of a lifestyle, a lifelong sport we can just do forever as opposed to for a temporary PR or running to fit into a cocktail dress. We love running for the friends, for the adventure. For the sake of running. We will run a 50k and then maybe a marathon the following weekend (or next day, whatevs haha) just to hang out with our buds and knock down a few cold ones. You know what I mean. It’s more about the lifelong journey than anything else. And that…is such a beautiful thing.

Ultrarunners…yeah…we are crazy like that. But we are madly in love with pounding it out for miles and miles…just cuz we are strong. Just cuz we can.

And that- I never ever take for granted.

What are some more traits of ultrarunners…or just runners in general?!

Random Thoughts Thursday.

It has been raining and storming here off and on pretty much ALL.WEEK.LONG. Then the high humidity has made me feel super sluggish for running but still getting it in. I’ve still just been enjoying this whole “not training for anything” thing. You know. It has been so good for me mentally.

The storms are gone today though! And no rain for the next couple of days. Saturday is looking like pool day PERFECTION. 90 degrees…oh yes freaking bring it on. I just got a new bikini too.

I do have some more races I have my eye on. Oh…and the STARS ABOVE ULTRA is coming up in June, yay! But…I don’t really consider that a race since it is free. I am running the 6 hour one. Like last year. Should be a good time. I keep forgetting it is on my calendar actually. Oops. Good thing I’ve still been running like a mad woman. 

I just signed up for a 100 miler in December! YES…most of you knew I had my eye on another hundo. Brazos Bend 100 and RR100 were a blast. Well…I have decided to leave Texas and head straight for the bayou! Should be a good one and I hear it is a well supported race out in Louisiana. And they have whiskey on the course and stuff. I mean…whiskey while running? Can you go wrong!? Maybe…ha. Or maybe it would be a good little boost when I am feeling tired at mile 70 something.

Has anyone been watching DEAD TO ME on Netflix? I can’t remember if we’ve talked about this or not. I am not far in the series yet but I pretty much love all things Christina Applegate. Also I got both my mom and dad hooked on this show last week. We were all sitting there watching it at the dinner table on Sunday when I visited them. As I do (try to do) every Sunday. I’m a good daughter like that you know. And then my mom signed up for Netflix too. It was a great bonding experience. Haha.

I also realize that I was just talking about the fact that I canceled Netflix not too long ago but I saw the trailer for that show and literally re-joined. Just to see the show. I know. Such a sucker.

Share some random thoughts with me about your week!

Weekly Running Report.

Hi there! Hope you all had a marvelous weekend. I am here recappin’ some miles from last week! Last week was a great week of running with a grand total of 72.2 miles! Let’s recap and see how things went down.

Monday AM- 5.32 miles to get the work week started. Seriously I am always in a better mood on Monday if I can squeeze a morning run in. It’s always so hard to get out the door (especially if I participate in any kind of Sunday funday debauchery but oh so worth it)

Monday PM- 5.02 miles to hit the double run day miles. Beautiful evening getting some people watching in.

Tuesday AM- 7.21 early miles, a bit of a progression run with a climb and fast finish thrown in there. Very good run. Ventured away from my usual route.

Tuesday PM- Run after teaching spin. 3.2 miles done. Watching the sunset.

Wednesday- 6.32 miles, pretty quiet solo a.m. miles listening to a podcast. My fellow Bravo fans am telling you if you have Spotify go binge listen to Watch What Happens Live on the run. Guaranteed entertainment.

Thursday AM- 5.22 miles after a bit of a Wine Wednesday fun night. I am surprised I even woke up for this run. Keeping it real.

Thursday PM- Double run day miles. 3.32 miles at lunch with some faster miles thrown in there.

Friday- LONG RUN FRIDAYS are my favorite. 20.12 miles with good company. It is funny how with ultra training 20 miles feels like just another day.

Saturday- I had to work on Saturday. Boohoo. But still got to squeeze in a run. Shaking things out from Friday. 6.35 miles done.

Sunday- 10.13 miles, amazing weather. Rain came in Saturday that brought in a baby cold front so it was in the 40s/50s that morning. Then sunshine. Just perfection.

Delicious brunch was also had. Blackened chicken with grits, eggs over easy and cajun hollandaise. YAAAAS. This place has HIP HOP brunch and will be my new Sunday hangout.

And there you have it! Hachie 50 miler I am so coming for you.

How was your weekend? Did you partake in any brunch delights?

Ways to Feed Your Wild (Running) Side.

So, runners. We tend to be TYPE A people. Always chasing after those PRs, that BQ. Trying to be your best. Be the fastest. Top the Strava leaderboards. Chasing the next challenge. And those goals are amazing to have. Sometimes, I do feel like I’ve done it all. 100 miler? Check. Sub 4 marathon? Check. Sub 3:50 marathon?? Check check check. BQ? (Getting there. Still a few minutes off. So sue me. I’m young and have time.)

But…have you ever thought that there was SO MUCH more to running? So much more than doing every race, than posting every Instastory with some brag worthy post about how you got another medal on #medalMonday. If I can be honest, my medals (I have too many of them) from 10 years of marathon running are all collecting dust in a massive box. My ultrarunning buckles too are in the drawer as we speak. And since the last time I’ve moved, I haven’t taken the time to put anything back up. But really, what or who would I be putting them up for? Probably to post something on social media about how many medals or 100 mile buckles I have. Lately, I’ve taken a step back from constant racing…and guess what?! I’m really enjoying it. I am doing races that I love, and that I really want to do. I am really loving where I’m at with my running right now. Anyway, so if you are that runner that is a chronic road racer. And perhaps. Craving some adventure? Then this may be the post just for ya…

Here are some ways you can feed that wild side and start really revving up…and LOVING your running again.

Take a RUN on the wild side, literally. I’ve been getting back into running through the trees and the trails. And after stepping away from trails for a bit, I feel like I’m ready to get back off the beaten path. It is incredible what a little deep woods therapy can do. Don’t know where to start with trail running? Check out this post if you are beginner.

Go out for a run with absolutely NO DIRECTION, route wise, at all. Literally go run and make up a route on the fly. I cannot tell you how many awesome runs I’ve had where I’ve had no clue what my route was going to be that day. The other day actually I discovered some rolling hills in my ‘hood that were super hidden. And now I feel like Dora the Explorer or some ish.

Sign up for a mountain race! I know that may sound a little outlandish if you are used to a humdrum 5k 10k in your neighborhood. But expand your horizons! It doesn’t have to be an ultramarathon race. Believe it or not they have 5k 10k mountain races as well! Soak in the amazing views. I signed up for a 25k in the mountains in September and hey, it’s West Texas mountains but still! Some uncharted territory. Can’t wait.

Go nocturnal. I absolutely LOVE night races, especially because it is something different from the norm. Read my Fossil Valley race recap if you want some inspiration. This is especially great in the summer, when it’s just so blazing hot and you’re seeking some cooler air. A relay with friends could be even better.

What are some other ways to feed your wild (running) side?

Random Ways to Successfully Train for (and Finish) a 100 Mile Race.

As someone who has run a handful of 50 milers, a 100k and 2 100 milers I thought we would chat about some random ways I keep my training up leading into a successful 100 mile race! This post is not for everyone because I know plenty of you have no desire to even run a distance of that magnitude (YET – evil laughter) but just in case here are a few things I do that are very random leading up to race day to arrive to the start and the finish feeling like a rockstar…

-Don’t pay attention to anyone else’s training advice. I know – wait, don’t take advice? Why would you say such a thing?! Because honestly 100 mile training is oh so different – and looks different often times – with everyone. Not everyone runs high mileage. Most don’t. Most will tell you that running 100 miles is not a good idea. Guess what? They are not doing it. You are. So put your head down and work your ass off and forget the rest. 

Be stubborn. About your goals. About yourself. Have that GRIT. Develop that stubborn ability to stick to what you say you are going to do. Your word. Commit to yourself. That one trait alone- I promise you- often times is what WILL GET YOU TO THE FINISH of a 100 miler. 

-If you don’t believe you can do it? Guess what. You won’t. Visualize yourself finishing this race. It is going to take guts. Power hiking. Running. Shuffling. Crying. Blood. All of the gross things affiliated with an endurance event WILL happen. Bet on it. Bet on high highs and LOW lows. Emotions, physical pain. All of it. 

Run ALL THE TIME. All day, all night. In the dark. Alone. When you are burned out. When you hate it. When you love it. Eff your feelings. Nuff said.

Eat the rainbow. Eat carbs. Fuel your body. Ladies. Ultrarunning is not for supermodels. Take calories in so you can use that energy. Don’t eat garbage. It will make you feel like garbage. But eat a balanced diet. I cannot tell you exactly what your diet should look like but mostly avoid the processed crap. Eat plants. Good fats, lean protein. Ok? Great. 

Find an ultra training plan that works for you. Whether its online, or a coach. There are plans out there. Here is one. And another one. Tweak them to your lifestyle if you must. But do the work. 

-Enjoy the ride. 

Any more ultrarunners out there? Let’s share battle stories. I’m always looking for my next hundo adventure. 

Race Day, Pace Day! Cowtown Ultra 50k Recap.

Hey there! I thought I would do a quick RECAP from one of my favorite races!! The Cowtown ULTRAmarathon! This is the 3rd year in a row that I’ve been an official pacer for this race. See the last two here and here. And honestly I love it SO much that I want to forever be a pacer for this race. Being a pacer is a job I take uber serious and I am oh so passionate about! It is all about helping people reach their goals and having fun while doing it! So allow me to share my experience with you.

For this race, I didn’t do a full taper mostly because I am keeping my mileage up in preparation for the Hachie 50 miler, which is in May. So this race was more or less for training, to get some strong miles in and enjoy pacing all at the same time. I have been happy with the way my training has gone lately. The legs are feeling back to their full strength post Brazos Bend 100 miler and I am ready to get some faster running in. So, when the opportunity presented itself to pace the 5 hour ultra, I definitely was excited and jumped at the offer. Some of you know that I paced the 5:30 ultra last year and had an absolute blast. So this was a great role to be in…I was actually the LEADER of the ultra pack as you can see here from the Cowtown website. That was definitely something to be proud of.

I got my things ready the night before, went over my pacing strategy and was good to go. Those pacer bands definitely come in handy.

My pace buddy and I linked up on Sunday morning bright and early! Amy is an accomplished ultrarunner as well. So it was cool to share battle stories with her. We had a couple of peeps that stayed with us along for the ride and since Amy is a local running coach/celebrity she knew EVERYONE on the course. It was quite funny to see but I loved it because we felt a little like celebrity pacers. Local celebs, of course.

7 a.m. rolled around and we were ready to get going! We took off into the beautiful sunrise and I felt super good that morning. Honestly the weather was IDEAL for a P.R.!! We went off into the rolling hills that Cowtown is known for. I’ve done this race so many times that I know the route like the back of my hand. So I knew where to expect each climb and utilized this in my pacing strategy. We banked a little time to use in the back half of this race, especially where the marathoners turn off and finish their race. Their turn is where we continue going and finish up the ultra, which is a little tough to see people finishing and you have to keep going. Also the last 5 miles is in the straight up SUN with no shade. And the sun was certainly shining that day. But we had a nice cool breeze that kept us feeling good. We hit the turn around and Amy and I grabbed a snack at the aid station and made our way back. And YES…they had a beer out there for me. And I had a sip. It was a nice carb boost that I needed…at mile 27. HA

Overall this race was absolutely fantastic and we finished in perfect time, just under 5 hours which was awesome. I took on this pacing gig with the intent to help others but also to help myself – the pace coordinator had a ton of faith in me and let me go ahead and lead the pack for this one. This actually ended up being a 50K P.R. for me! My previous 50k time was 5:12 so I was ecstatic to beat my previous time. So race day PACE day was a huge success on all fronts.

And of course we had a photoshoot and more celebrating and all was well in the world. Go team.

Can’t wait to do it all again next year.

How was your weekend?! Did anyone run COWTOWN (half, marathon, ULTRA?!) You are all rockstars to me! Congrats to all who raced.

Ways to Prepare for Back to Back Ultras.

So I know some of you haven’t quite taken the leap into ultrarunning land but for those of us that enjoy the pain train BEYOND the 26.2 distance, this one is for you! As someone who has done many ultras over the last few years I thought we would discuss a few ways you can mentally and physically prepare for some back to back races! Here are a few ways I like to get my body and mind ready.

It helps if your ultra races are spread at least a month or two apart. One of the most important things is recovery time when it comes to back to back racing. And even more so when the mileage is greater. So let your body recover and charge your batteries before jumping into the next one.

Training wise, make sure you include back to back long runs in your schedule. There are a lot of training plans online that are free that will include this as well. So find one that is tailored to your lifestyle. But the back to back long runs will make you such an efficient runner…a powerhouse of sorts. Time on your feet is crucial.

You may want to decide which race you want to be more of a harder effort. For instance you have a 50k and then a 50 miler 2-3 weeks later, perhaps focus on racing the 50k harder and then running the 50 miler at an easier effort. Or, you could utilize the 50k as more of a training run and then race the 50 miler. It all depends on what your goals are. But it is a fun way to play around with the distances and then lessens your likelihood of injury. Win win.

Stay on top of your stretching/massage work. I’ve said this in many other posts over the years but massage therapy has literally saved my running life and prevented me from injury in such a major way. I really want to say it is one of the things that keeps me healthy and strong. I use my flex spending account benefits with work and helps with being able to pay for it on a monthly basis. But if you can’t afford consistent sports massages make sure you stay diligent with foam rolling. And also yoga. It should become a staple in your fitness routine. Strength training is just as crucial. I would say include that as well as cross training at least 2-3 times a week. You don’t have to be an olympic lifter either. Even bodyweight exercises like planks/pushups/core work are beneficial.

Where my ultrarunners at?! What are some other ways you can prep for back to back ultras? Or back to back races in general…all runners feel free to chime in!

My Year of Running 2018.

Oh yes, you are getting not one but TWO posts from me in a day!! So I figured we would do a quick recap of a fabulous running year since I always like to do these posts. It’s always great to take a look back and see all of the fun racing, running and training experiences! So herrrre we go…

Best race experience?
Oh wow, that is a tough one. But I am going to have to say my most recent one, which was my PR at the Brazos Bend 100 miler. My 2nd 100 mile trail race to date! I fought super hard dealing with such a muddy, tough terrain and I was just really in the GAME mentally and physically. I definitely plan on going back to this race soon and hopefully when the trail is dry to run a killer fast time. Yes, it is fun being a ultrarunner unicorn.

Best run?
I would have to say my most favorite run would be any of the runs I did in the summer with my running group! This was my first year to do the “Run My Hood” series with my club, the White Rock Running Co-Op. I have to say out of all of the running clubs I’ve been involved in, this one is my absolute favorite. Simply because we all work hard AND like to have a good time! The best of both worlds. Anyway, for RMH we did a route in a running buddy’s neighborhood, then that said running buddy would usually host a post run brunch/pool party in their backyard. And yes we basically did this EVERY Saturday in the summer. It was SO much fun! I can’t wait to do it all again in 2019.

Best new piece of running swag?
Probably my BCG hydration pack I bought from Academy. It is just so functional and comfortable to wear. I’ve worn it during a FEW ultras (including my 100 miler) and it just worked out so well. I definitely recommend it especially if you run trails!

Best piece of running advice you’ve received?
This. Actually I just LOVE all of John Muir’s quotes. It sums up very much how I feel about running and what makes me happy about this sport.

Most inspirational runner?
I have to say any badass woman that runs ultras and absolutely crushes it is my ultimate inspiration. I’ve been listening to the Ultrarunner Podcast and think Ailsa MacDonald is a beast. She WON her first 100 miler, at Sinister 7. And, she actually kills it in road races too!
Plus she’s jacked and from what I see on her IG is a wine lover (like myself) check out the podcast here.

If you could sum up your year of running in a few words, what would they be?
Exploratory
Wide Open
Reflective
Introspective
Unshakeable
Boundless

How was your year of running? Answer any or all of the questions!

Weekly Running Report.

Hi, hey and hello there! Hope your week is off to a smashing start. I am here to share some of last week’s running workouts with you! Brazos Bend 100 is right around the corner and I could not be more pumped up. Let’s recap and see how last week went down.

Monday- 7.20 miles watching the sunrise. Great way to start Monday, on my favorite lake enjoying the view.
Tuesday- 10.03 miles with my early run crew, again starting at the track with them and then ending the run solo. A lot of them are training for different races but I love being able to find a group that runs early and knowing they are out there and we are all getting it done. Miles for breakfast.
Wednesday- 8.12 miles of hills in the ‘hood. I kinda forgot how my neighborhood has some hills hidden in it. It was so nice mixing up my usual neighborhood route and doing some exploring.
Thursday- 10.21 miles, again with a beautiful morning RUNrise. RUNrises equal a happy Chelsea.
Friday- 7.32 miles. Running on my rest day, always fun. Actually I’ve been playing around with which rest day that I like better. I think Friday still wins because it gets me ready for a weekend of long running. But sometimes Sunday can be a nice rest day option too. Anyways, I just felt like running through the entire week. LOL. This week leading up to my race I will take Friday off.
Saturday- Back with the WRRC run club. 16.01 miles done and we changed up the route a bit again which I always like. Our run club is pretty big on Saturdays so I always like running with different people and learning about them and what makes them tick. Fun fun.

Post run obsession. Tuna poke bowl with all of the good stuff. I could eat this every day. But especially awesome after a long run.

Sunday- 3.21 nice and easy miles. Actually this definitely felt like a rest day. The weekend was absolutely beautiful. This time of year down in Texas is my favorite. Highs were in the 70s. Patio weather at its finest.

And there you have it!

Plus, we ended the month of November last week with a whopping 330 monthly miles. It has been a great few months of training as you can see. Keeping those miles high and legs fired up for what is to come.

How was your running week last week? Any races coming up?
BB100 – my 2nd 100 miler and I am super stoked.

Random Thoughts Tuesday.

Are you tired of hearing from me twice a day yet?! Honestly I don’t know how some folks blog consistently twice a day. That is definitely tough to commit to when you have work and such on the agenda! But this week is not as hectic (next week will be) so I’m here with some random thoughts today!!

I will be off work the next few days (hello again extra long weekend) so thought I’d check in before I go on a bit of a hiatus. Let’s do some rants/confessions/randomness #onaTuesday!

Lately I’ve really been loving Brazilian lounge music as background music when I’m working. Am I the only one that has to have music while getting work done? I am in an office with 2 other office mates so it feels awkward to not make noise every once in a while. I have to have some noise going while I type. I mean, nothing too jarring…just some jazz or something.

Is it just me or are you tired of people making “Cardi B noises”? I hope that made sense. If not…look it up (hahaha) If you are a Cardi B fan you know exactly what I mean. I’ve also noticed in particular most (women- okay female millennials) tend to do this after a few drinks. It is actually pretty annoying. I love Cardi but come on…we all want to put duct tape over your mouth with the unnecessary bird sounds.

One day, I just want to get up and make myself a full fledged fancy breakfast. Like bacon, eggs, toast…fruit salad, the works. I want my kitchen to smell like breakfast. Since I run early in the morning, I NEVER do this. And usually my busy girl breakfasts consist of a protein bar, boiled egg, banana…coffee. Always coffee. Maybe since I have the next few days off…I will make myself a breakfast. We shall see.

So I just signed up for an invitation only, psychotic HOT race in August…this one is actually at a friend’s place (girl that takes my spin class) she is a crazy awesome ULTRA runner and is a race director for some ultra runs in the area. This one is actually on her property (!) and it is a 2 mile loop (!!) for as long as you can do it. I’ve done loops like that before and actually like them. So I’d like to run 20+ miles out there and see how it goes. But supposedly people stay out there ALL weekend (yes that would be for 48 hours) and run. I would imagine you can take a nap…she said people chill, take a break, eat…come back and keep going. All. Dang. Weekend. And you thought me running for 100 miles in a day was nuts. Anyway, we shall see how this goes.

Having said that…I am looking forward to being lazy on my days off the next few days. I have a few plans, but the thought of pool time, running…and then sleeping. Sounds absolutely incredible.

What are some of your thoughts this week? Any other crazy ultra runners out there like me!? All of my regular runner friends think I’m insane so I’ve accepted that but I want to be able to relate to my fellow crazies every now and again.