Highs and Lows of Life and Running.

Hey there! Hope your day is off to a swell start. Yes, I said swell. I am going to bring that word back from the ancient times. I swear it will be a thing again. One day.

So I know of a few blogs that do the ‘highs and lows’ of their day or what have you. I thought it would be fun to do the highs and lows of life- and running. Because, clearly this is a running blog. And that is what we discuss.

Here are a few highs and lows of running that I have experienced lately in no particular order.

High- Finishing a 16 mile run before 7 something AM on a Saturday. Feels oh so good. Brunch was definitely earned that day.

Low- Having to get up at 4:30 in the morning to complete said run. On a Saturday. I love my early morning runs don’t get me wrong but on a weekend – yeah, I definitely took a late morning nap that day.

High- Teaching a spin class full of people. As an instructor that always gets me so pumped and fired up! It’s totally like a dance party on the bike. All I need now is disco lights.

Low- Having the sound system/stereo go completely OUT on you while teaching a spin class full of people. Yes, teaching indoor cycling without music is like watching paint dry.

High- Running 70, 80 and sometimes up to 100 miles a week during ultra training – and feeling like a super strong badass ultrarunner. It has taken me literally YEARS to get to this point. Feels so good to maintain that kind of mileage. You feel kind of like a superhero machine of sorts.

Low- Um, being hungry like ALL THE TIME. Gotta keep healthy snacks around to keep the engine revved up all day long.

High- Being back on the dating scene. I actually enjoy it and knowing exactly what I desire at this point in my life I feel is key. It was funny, when I was in my early 20s I put up with a ton of stuff and now my tolerance for B.S. Is just ZERO. I could write a book actually. LOL.

Low- The pickup lines some of these guys deliver. Like, really fellas. Does that work on women these days? Freaking hilarious.

High- Cooler weather (Hallelujah, Texas is catching on with the crisp cooler fall weather this week), festive fall beverages (you MUST try this Trader Joe’s harvest blend tea it is incredible), and the changing leaves. No doubt fall is my favorite time of year.

Low- Adjusting to said cooler weather on the run. It has been so warm and incredibly humid this year in Dallas and my body was actually starting to love the summertime temps. Now, I have to adjust the body back to being cold again. HA. Plus I am always cold especially inside buildings & at work. Yes, I keep a blanket permanently in my office.

What are some highs and lows in running (and life) for you 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?

Weekly Running Report.

Well hello there! I am back from my weekend adventure doing some ultra running in the piney woods! I will definitely be recapping that race this week but until then I thought we would recap last week’s mileage!! Let’s get straight to it!

Monday AM- 8.21 miles in the ‘hood to start the work week. I decided leading up to my 100k race to not do a ton of tapering (since I knew it would be a lot of hiking/running with the terrain), but just maintain solid mileage while backing off slightly. But I’ve always gotta have my Monday morning run. It is just something about that early run first thing before a crazy day that really gets me going. It is a therapy of sorts.

Monday PM- 2.11 mile cool down, 7:38 pace after teaching at the gym. Threw some strides in. It felt good to move faster that day.

Tuesday AM- 8.23 run club miles. Always fun chatting it up with the crew and then having some coffee after.

Tuesday PM- 3.02 miles after work around the lake. Nice and breezy but the humidity was still super thick.

Wednesday AM- I slept in and decided to do a little run at lunch. 4.21 miles in the straight up heat. I am thankful for the gym being right around the corner from work. Pop in the showers, cool off and I’m all good to go again. But man oh man am I ready for it to cool off.

Wednesday PM- 4.31 early evening miles watching the sunset. Had a little time to kill.

Thursday AM- Slept in till about 7 or so then went for a run. 7.21 miles done.

Thursday PM- 3.02 miles after teaching a class at the gym. Always a fun time doing some people watching at the lake.

Friday- REST DAY. Took a half day at work to drive out to East Texas and camp with friends for the Piney Woods Ultra. We went to the race briefing, dinner and took some pics.

How can you not love this view outside our cabin? Absolutely beautiful.

Saturday- Piney Woods Ultra day! Good gracious was it hot that day. Temps soared well into the 90s. I will save the recap because there are a lot of details. But it was a great race.

LOTS and LOTS of power hiking involved also on a deceivingly tough course. 62.02 miles done. Then Sunday was a well deserved rest day.

I was so proud to get in another triple digit week with the race included. Feeling a little stiff today but it was oh so worth it.

And there you have it!

How was your week? Have you done any trail running lately?

TGIFriday Faves.

Friday Friday Friday! Time to do a little long weekend happy dance. Who is with me?

Let’s get to this week’s faves!!

Hitting a whopping 414 miles in the month of August. HOLY CRAP!! I am one proud mileage mama. High mileage hard work pays off and I am so ready to rock the 100k in September. Also I am so ready for fall weather it is not even funny. It is getting cooler though in the mornings which I love.

There is just something about doing sunset runs lately (I am still a bonafide morning runner, morning runs FTW) but especially after a stressful work day. Running is like my pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the evenings. HA. I just love it.

This Grenache red wine from Times Ten Cellars. It’s like heaven in a bottle. If you’re local to DFW check them out, you will fall in love.

Yoga with Adriene. Do this post run yoga stretch and thank me later.

My peaceful runs on the trails. Can’t wait to get back out there this weekend.

That’s all for this week! Have a great Labor Day holiday!!

What are you up to this weekend?
Trail running, long running, yoga, followed by lots of R & R.

Weekly Running Report.

Hey there! Hope you had a good weekend. Today is fairly busy on the work side but I thought I’d check in with last week’s ultra run training!! I was able to get in a total of 93.8 miles last week. Let’s do a quick recap!

Monday AM- 10.11 miles in the ‘hood. Feels good to get in some good mileage before a busy Monday.

Monday PM- 2.02 cool down miles after teaching spin class at the gym. Double run days are the best days.

Tuesday AM- 13.37 miles with some hill work thrown in. It was crazy humid pretty much all of last week but with all the rain from south Texas came a bit of a cooler front for us up north. If you consider COOL to be temps in the 70s and 80s. Ha. I’ll take what I can get.

Tuesday PM- 3.21 mile cool down watching the sunset off the lake. I love ending my day with a little running and people watching.

Wednesday AM- 8.25 mile solo run with some speedy strides thrown in. It’s funny any run under 10 miles has felt like nothing lately.

Wednesday PM- 4.11 evening miles. I had some more time to kill on this day since I wasn’t teaching classes at the gym that night.

Thursday AM- 14.21 miles with my ultra runner friend. She is training for a 40 miler in September and of course I have the 100k in Tyler coming up. I’ve been enjoying my chats with her in the morning since we are both ultra run crazy. This race will be here before you know it.

Thursday PM- 5.02 relaxed miles after the gym. Nice little cool down but still with some thick humidity.

Friday- REST DAY

Saturday AM- 22.25 mile long run morning. Again with Harvey and the storm down south (we are 4+ hours away from all of it thank goodness) brought some cooler weather, all weekend long. It was one of those mornings where you just want to go outside on your patio with a cup of coffee, good cloud cover. I really enjoyed this run and the time on my feet.

Sunday AM- 11.27 trail miles at Cedar Ridge Preserve. Lots of folks out on the trail. I got in some awesome climbing with all of the rocks and roots. Trail running is such an amazing workout.

And there you have it!

How was your weekend? What is the weather like in your neck of the woods? 

Ultrarunner FAQs and a Roasted Chickpeas Recipe.

So as someone who runs ultras (as well as marathons, hey I still have love for my 26.2) there are a lot of random questions I get from time to time. I definitely get these from both runners and non runners! So I’m here to answer some of the most common questions I get from curious folks looking to know more about distances beyond 26.2.

Do your legs ever get tired?
Absolutely. It’s just kind of all a part of the journey though. You become REALLY…like really, really…good at knowing your body and all that it can handle. You actually become a machine of sorts. It’s pretty amazing how much your body can handle once you build up a base and are patient with yourself. Consistency really is the number one key. It pays off if you just listen to your body and respect the distance. All of this takes YEARS to really get down. So just hang in there.

How do you balance work life, social life and training?
I don’t have much of a social life. HA. I’m only half kidding! Honestly my social life revolves around running and my running buddies. I have a lot of non runner friends too don’t get me wrong. But the icing on the cake is having some amazing running buds and doing my social runs with them. I’ve really started enjoying doing trail runs with friends and just hanging out after. We get our lawn chairs out, kick back and have drinks and good convo. It is lovely. As far as work goes, work always comes first. I just have to MAKE time to run. So often times, that is early in the morning or after I teach a class at the gym, at the end of the day. Then it’s off to sleepy land. Mmm. Love to sleep.

When you run an ultra race, do you RUN the whole thing?
Often times a lot of these ultra races are run on trails, which is a good thing because trail running is much easier on the body than pounding the pavement. So with trails, as you know comes different terrain, rocks, roots and sometimes mountains. Which means some of it will involve some power hiking. But yes, some running too. I’ve also done some road ultras and those are lots of fun, if you like running in loops. Loops can be repetitive but I don’t mind ‘em.

You ran 100 miles?! Did you sleep during the race?
Um, that would be a negative ghostwriter. It’s literally you against a time clock so sleep kind of falls to the wayside. Don’t worry, your bed will still be in the same place when the race is over.

What on earth do you eat?
I eat a lot of things. I have to have fuel in the tank, ya know!? Check out my ultra runner staples post. I like to include a lot of these things in my diet. Avocado, veggies, lean protein. I actually really enjoy beans as well! I’ll mix them with jasmine rice or make my own little Chipotle style bowl with them.

I actually have a great snack recipe below – roasted chickpeas are amazing.

What you’ll need:

-2 cups of chickpeas, freshly cooked or canned
-A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
-a few squeezes of lemon juice (to taste)
-sea salt/pepper/roasted garlic

Preheat the oven to 400. Pat dry your chickpeas to get a lot of the moisture out and spread them out on a cookie sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and maybe some garlic powder or roasted garlic. Drizzle olive oil. Roast the chickpeas in the pan for 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to even out the spices. Squeeze some lemon juice or more garlic/rosemary or whatever seasoning is desired. Serve hot or at room temp.

Put them in a bowl and make a heart! Because that is fun too.

What are some of your favorite healthy snack recipes?

Weekly Running Report.

Hope your Monday is off to a great start so far. Last week was a solid week of ultra training mileage!! I was able to get in a grand whopping total of 80.3 miles last week. Let’s do a recap!

Monday- 8.2 miles of sunrise. The humidity has been off the charts high as of late but I got this run in before the busy hectic day.

Tuesday AM- 13.21 miles solo. Work has been super busy so I opted to just get up and run on my own on this day. Typically I do my Tuesday runs with the run club but I just needed the miles and solitude, you feel me? Running sometimes really is cheaper than therapy. It felt so good to knock this one out.

Tuesday PM- 3.02 evening miles after teaching a class at the gym. Blowing some more steam off from the day.

Wednesday- 8.11 miles to the tune of a lovely sunrise. The sunrise that morning I have to say did not by any means disappoint.

Thursday AM- Back with the run club. I got a bit of a head start before the group and was able to get some extra miles in. 12.25 miles total before 7 a.m.

Thursday PM- 4.05 miles, back on my double run day game. Feels good to be feeling good after a 100 mile week last week. I am so ready for September and the 100k will be here before you know it!

Friday- REST DAY. Glorious rest day, I do love you so. Sometimes. Ha.

Saturday- 21.32 miles of straight up hills and humidity. I found a golf course nearby with some nice rolling hills which is just perfect for my longer runs. Love it.

Sunday- 10.11 late morning miles after sleeping in, fun night out with friends on Saturday. Hashtag so worth it!

And there you have it!

How’s your Monday so far? Tell me what’s making you smile today.
An amazing 10 mile run this morning after the rain with a nice cool breeze! Still humid but I enjoyed a drop in temps before it heats up again this week.

Weekly Running Report.

Hello there! Life has been busy and I had a luxurious long weekend (burning off some extra vacation days at the J-O-B) but I am here to share my weekly mileage with you once again! Last week was another great week of running. Let’s recap!

Monday AM- 10.3 peaceful early miles. It always feels good to get it in on a Monday before the busy work day. Lately early Monday runs have felt more like therapy than anything else. Pretty relaxed pace after a weekend of back to back long running. Ultra training for this race has been going well.

Monday PM- 2.32 mile warm up before the gym, in the heat at a 7:50 pace.

Tuesday AM- 10.2 miles with the Irving Running Club. I get up pretty dang early on Tuesdays and Thursdays to meet the group. Definitely was wiping the sleep out of my eyes for half of this run.

Tuesday PM- 4.31 miles after work. This was as the sun was going down which was quite nice. Last week we had lots of triple digits so anything below that feels actually really nice. I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Wednesday AM- 11.35 miles, nice little mid week mileage. There may or may not have been a pit stop during this run for some iced coffee.

Wednesday PM- 4.11 trail miles with the Dallas Dirt Runners. Love getting some relaxed trail miles in.

Thursday AM- 10.2 IRC miles. We had a good little turnout that morning with everyone beating the heat.

Thursday PM- 3.02 mile warm up before the gym. I needed a little perk up before I taught my class.

Friday- REST DAY

Saturday- 17.37 miles…hills and humidity. Definitely a good run though.

Sunday- Back out on the trails with my trail group. 12.02 miles out at Knob Hills. Love getting off the beaten path.

And there you have it!

How was your weekend – did anyone else have a long weekend or staycation? Hows your training going?

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?