How to Balance Ultramarathon Training with Life.

So I’ve written a post about finding a balance when you are training for a marathon (which can be a task in itself) but what about when you are training for an ULTRAmarathon? It can be tough to try and increase your workouts and/or your mileage with a busy career and social schedule. BUT as someone that actually enjoys running BEYOND the 26.2 distance I am here you tell you…than it CAN be done! And you don’t have to lose your mind, either. So for those ultra unicorns out there (or those of you that are thinking about training for a 50k, 50 miler or 100 mile race) here are a few things you can do to maintain your balance (and your sanity) while training for an ultra.

Be realistic about your training. Not everyone can run high mileage without injury. Bottom line. It takes patience, persistence and lots of ego free easy running to build it up slowly and safely. It has taken me years to be able to run 80-100 miles a week on a consistent basis. I never thought I would be the type of ultrarunner that I am today. Yet here I am. But, do what your body is capable of doing. Not what your friend’s body can do.

YES, you can run an ultra if you run 50-60 miles a week. Supplement some of those run days with cross training days. I know a lot of folks that do Ironmans and triathlons that dabble in ultra races. They can handle the workload and stress of ultra running, even though they may run less. Why? Because they are used to the endurance part of it. So, bike if you want to bike, swim, do YOGA. Strength train. The stronger you get your body the more you will be able to do without breaking down.

Put in the WORK. OK, keep it real time. Sometimes I may post on here and I may make it look easy in terms of how much I run. But trust and believe I work my ASS off. I (usually) never bitch about it. I have a good attitude about it. I actually LOVE what I am doing (imagine that?) I am not running because I want to look good in a cocktail dress (okay maybe sometimes) I run a lot and I teach classes at the gym and I work hard because I love it. I thrive off of it. Because I am competitive by nature and I like to kick my own ass. You have to have a certain type of grit I think to actually enjoy ultra running. Develop that GRIT and that mental capacity that it takes. Get up early. Run alone sometimes. Run when you don’t want to, on a day when it is cold and rainy and you would rather be in bed. Those are the days you will remember when you are running an ultra, or when you are on the trails ALONE going at it for 50, 60, 100 miles. Believe it.

Mix up what time of day that you run. Do you ALWAYS habitually run in the morning?? Go for a run at lunch sometimes. Can’t run at lunch? Go for some sunset miles. Run twice a day to get used to how you feel at certain times of the day when you are running. Especially with any distance over 50 miles (100k or 100 miler) you need to change it up to mimic how you will feel when it gets dark on the trail or whatever ultra race that you run.

Give yourself a BREAK sometimes. I mean this in all aspects of life. Take a rest day at least once a week. Go out with your friends WHO DON’T RUN. Talk about other shit that has nothing to do with running. Go to a nice restaurant and treat yourself to a good meal. Enjoy food! Enjoy life! Live is for living. Life is the reason why I run ultras, frankly. I love life and I love running and I want to be able to do it, for a long time. That is why I’m thankful for the trails, to be able to enjoy nature and soak it all in.

Where my ultrarunner unicorns at!? How do you balance ultratraining with life?

Weekly Running Report.

Happy Monday to ya! Hope you had an excellent weekend and that you have an even better work week this week!! I am here to recap some running – I was fortunate to be able to get in just over 80 miles total! YES…ultra training for the Hachie 50 miler is going smooth so far. Let’s do a quick recap and see how it all went down!!

Monday AM- 12.22 miles in my ‘hood, just enjoying the sunshine. The weather here is finally starting to turn for the better! Of course along with the Texas sunshine we get a touch of Texas humidity. But it is all good.

Monday PM- 3.03 mile cool down after teaching a class at the gym. Enjoying the darkness at 7pm before daylight savings time.

Tuesday AM- 10.02 miles with the breakfast club crew. Always fun getting in a little over 10 miles before 7 a.m.

Tuesday PM- 3.32 miles, 7:54 pace right along the lake in the evening doing some people watching. Lovely.

Wednesday AM- Lots of double run day action last week. 8.12 miles on hump day in the morning, nice and easy miles.

Wednesday PM- Happy hour miles with the White Rock Running Co-Op. 5.23 miles done and maybe a little Wine Wednesday involved after.

Thursday AM- 8.25 miles in the early morning, I did a few miles with friends and then finished up solo.

Thursday PM- 2.22 mile warm up before teaching spin class at the gym. I was feeling speedy so I threw in a few strides. I even saw 6 minute something miles on my watch at one point. Score.

Friday- Running on my rest day. 4.12 miles around the lake done.

Saturday- 17.12 mile long run with WRRC. It was CRAZY HUMID that morning, fairly pleasant weather though. But the humidity about knocked me out. 8:40 overall pace. Legs felt tired on this day.

Sunday- 7.13 miles before brunch. Just getting it done. The real MVP of Sunday- almighty breakfast pizza. Gotta love it.

And there you have it!

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

Weekly Running Report.

Happy Monday to ya! This will be one of those wham bam thank you ma’am posts. There’s a ton going on today so just recapping you on the running front!! I was able to get in 71.6 miles last week. Yes…some double run days leading up to the Hachie 50 mile race in May!! Ultra training is going well. Let’s do a quick recap!

Monday– 6.32 miles after running the Cowtown 50k the day before. Legs were still feeling stiff but of course some nice & easy running always helps. Motion is lotion.

Tuesday AM– 11.05 miles with my breakfast club crew! I did some quick miles with them and then finished up on my own. It is finally starting to feel like spring.

Tuesday PM– 3.23 miles after gym. It’s something about running right after the sun sets that I love. Just had a few things mentally that I needed to process.

Wednesday– 8.22 miles around the lake. My lake runs lately have been everything. Really love the solo time.

Thursday AM– Legs were finally feeling back to normal. 11.32 miles with some strides thrown in. Felt good to get that one done.

Thursday PM– 2.22 mile warm up, 7:40ish pace before teaching class at gym.

Friday– REST DAY

Saturday AM– 15.03 mile long run with the White Rock Running Co-Op, 8:35 pace. A few of them are talking about running the California Int’l Marathon in December and I’m lightweight jealous cuz I want to run it too but it is 1 week before my 100 miler. BOOO. So I’m thinking about an earlier fall marathon instead. I’m heavily leaning on St. George plus I’ve never been to Utah!! So we shall see. I need to start making some 26.2 decisions.

Saturday PM– 4.22 miles in the evening doing some people watching on the lake.

Sunday– 10.03 miles with a light misty rain and humid as all get out. But I threw some hills in there so felt good to get in another double digit run.

And there you have it!!

How was your weekend? Is the weather as lovely there as it is in Dallas? It’s 70 something degrees and sunny today!

Weekly Running Report.

Happy Monday to you! I am here to recap some fabulous running from last week!! It was a bit of a SUPER week mileage wise – 91.8 miles to be exact! Let’s recap and see how it all went down.

Monday AM- 10.22 morning miles enjoying the cool breeze off of the lake. Getting in over 10 miles before the work day even starts is kind of my favorite thing.

Monday PM- 3.32 miles after teaching spin. I was clearly on a roll that day. Love my double run days.

Tuesday AM- 7.12 miles after the rain. Y’all, we had a ridiculous amount of rain last week down in Texas. It truly felt like springtime with the rain and humidity. So it was a lot of me having to wait until the storms pass to get out there and bust it out. It ended up being a good run during that lull in the storms.

Tuesday PM- 3.22 miles after the gym. Running on some tired legs.

Wednesday AM- 7.25 miles. Humid and breezy. I did love the morning breeze though as the frigid air is starting to get a tad warmer. Back to wearing shorts on the run.

Wednesday PM- 4.12 miles to end the day. It rained again during this run but there was something about running in the rain that was cleansing to my spirit. I know I sound like a total hippie saying that, but oh well.

Thursday AM- 11.05 miles, back with the breakfast club crew. It felt good to get back to running without torrential downpours of rain.

Thursday PM- 4.03 miles done. Of course I had to throw some strides in there for good measure. It felt good to see 7 minute miles back on my watch.

Friday- REST DAY

Saturday- Last day of crazy rain for the week. I ended up running at lunchtime. I was selected as an official PACER for the COWTOWN ULTRA (first time pacing a 50k race, but I have paced a few times both half and full marathons) on Sunday and needed my legs to be good and tired for the pace I was supposed to be running. So, 10.23 miles done the day before the race.

Oh – and I told y’all I would be posting more food pics (when you run high mileage you forget to do things like take endless selfies of yourself and pics of food what can I say buuuut I am trying to be a better blogger I promise – end rant) Here was my breakfast that morning. Starbucks Americano and egg bites. OMG why didn’t y’all tell me how good the egg bites at Starbucks were?!? I’m in love. I need to recreate these at home, stat. Or, just hire someone to make them for me. 

Sunday- I ran the Cowtown Ultra!! Race day pace day. Recap to come. Me and my pace partner made a great team and got everyone to the finish in a timely manner. Woohoo! I am a tad sore today after all of that runnin.

Pacers gonna pace.

Oh, and I celebrated afterwards in Deep Ellum with adult beverages with friends. Cheers.

And there you have it!

How was your weekend? Have you ever been a pacer for a race? Any more races on the horizon?
I am debating on signing up for a St. Patty’s Day 5k in March…just because there will be a lot of fun friends/tailgating involved. We shall see. Oh yeah, and all of these races too. I’ve already signed up for the Hachie 50 miler in May again so getting back on track with more ultra training! Woot woot.

My Love Letter to Running.

Dear Running,

I remember the day that we met. I went to the gym after a long, grueling shift working in the newsroom. Mostly for me, the gym was my happy place of sorts. Work was always stressful (as you can imagine, working behind the scenes for local tv with breaking news and such) and I would always come to the gym READY to let off some steam. So, the treadmill became my BFF. I would hop on there, warm up and then go off and do my weights and whatever else looked good at the time. One day, my warm up ended up being a 1 mile run. I don’t know – I guess that day I just got lost on how good it felt to run for just a little bit longer. Then, one day – 1 mile magically became 2. Then, 3. Actually, the day I ran 3 miles was a monumental day. I remember texting a friend and being OH SO EXCITED that I had just done 3 miles on the treadmill, without stopping. It made me wonder, how much longer could I go? The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming.

One day, after 3 years of working in the newsroom I got laid off. It was a blessing in disguise after I started to become burned out by the doom and gloom that local news showcases. Being unemployed left me with A LOT OF TIME on my hands. And I used a lot of that time to go to the gym and workout. So, one day, an opportunity presented itself to do a social run with a group at a running store. After walking by this particular store one day for the 30th time I decided to bite the bullet and go to the run. I was one of the SLOWEST runners there. Running, you and I have not always gotten along. But I stayed persistent and patient with you and was determined – to get better. I remember that day I did my first social run and being the last person to finish. And also, how SORE I was! Wow. My entire body kind of hurt after running in the heat. But still, somehow, I liked the feeling at the end. Running, you have a way of doing that to me – the highs and lows. I like ‘em both.

So, during that run a runner told me that I should sign up with some of them to train for a half marathon. A WHAT?! 13.1 miles – I mean really, how do people even do that? WHY do people even do that?? Still, the crazy thought swirled around in my head a bit. And then, after going home and thinking about it…the idea somehow intrigued me. This was the first time I had actually tried to go after a goal – that seemed really far out of my reach. I was in my 20s at the time, a few short years out of college and really just starting to experience life. As an only child, I grew up fairly sheltered and always told that I should ‘take caution’ with things. So this idea, was somehow liberating and exciting. It was something I was doing, for myself, by myself and I just wanted to tackle it and let’s see what happens.

So, I embarked on this journey with you, running. With you and with this incredible group of people that I still keep in touch with, to this day. They have seen me blossom into the ultra runner that I am today. A girl in her 20s that signed up hesitantly for a half marathon, turned into a full marathon runner and now trail ultrarunner (that still dabbles in road races from time to time). For all of the experiences and friendships along the way, I am certainly grateful. I ended up landing a sweet gig as a producer in Christian tv around this time as well, which was amazing. Everything was coming together.

Running, you have enabled me to travel to places and see things that I otherwise would not have seen. Through rocks and roots and pavement, I have somehow discovered who I am and it has made me better. Running has healed me from broken friendships, relationships, and family trauma. It has seen me through triumphs like running 100 miles on a trail and enduring other crazy feats in life.

I can’t wait to see where you take me next, running.

Let’s go.

Love, Chelsea.

What are some things you would write in your LOVE letter to running?

TGIFriday Faves.

Happy Friday to you! Hope you have some weekend fun in store. Of course, mine will involve lots of running, fun times with friends and fam, and some relaxation!

The above pic will be me post run tomorrow.

Let’s get straight to this week’s faves!!

This awesome girl’s race recap from this year’s Rocky Raccoon 100 miler. Just so ya’ll know, Sabrina Little is kind of a badass in the trail ultrarunning world. So it’s kind of fun to hear perspective from the lead female out on the trails. Love it.

How cycling can make you a better runner. Love it and 100% agree.

These pants, I am in love with that color. Someone buy them for me ASAP.

-Having a little hump day fun this week with friends. Vino and good times.

What running was like 15 years ago. YES the GPS watches were freaking huge back in the day.

That’s all for this week!! Have a terrific weekend!

What are you up to this weekend? Is the weather warming up where you are?
The high today is 70 and the low tomorrow will be 29. How’s that for crazy Texas weather!?!

Random Thoughts Thursday.

Hey beautiful people! So today is one of my most favorite days of the week, and that would be random thoughts Thursday. It is a day where I dish on all things running (and not running, because hey, life needs a little bit of balance- am I right?!) So let’s get straight to it!!

-I think honestly there is no feeling greater than getting your head/scalp massaged while someone is shampooing your hair. I got my hair done yesterday (trying out someone new) and it has been probably about 8 or 9 months since I have been at the hairstylist. They put all sorts of yummy conditioner and happiness in my hair. I have to tell you that it felt like absolute heaven. If you have IG you can go see what my hair looks like. Hey, sometimes a girl needs to be pampered a bit.

-I am kind of in a bit of a conflict with my running goals this year. In 2017 I made that my ULTRAMARATHON year. Meaning, I literally tackled all ultra distances, all in one year. I mean, it really was an incredible year for me and running. I ran a 50k, 50 miler, 100k and a 100 miler!!! Looking back I still am amazed that I did all of that…injury free. I think there is a lot to be said about just having experience with running and really listening to your body. Anyway, this year I am thinking about BQ’ing. I am about 10 minutes off right now from a BQ and the thought of that excites me and scares the shit out of me all at the same time. I think this year I am going to start to work on my speed but–I see a lot of fast runners get injured?? So I don’t want to be THAT dum dum runner. But then I still want to run 50 miles and 100 miles and still be real fast too. Ugh. I’m torn.

Has anyone been keeping up with Real Housewives of Atlanta? So the show has gotten good again, I am excited to see how this season pans out. Actually, Eva (remember her from America’s Next Top Model?) is now on the program and I actually think she would be a good asset to this lineup of ladies. Not only is she gorgeous but she is a little bit cray cray so I think her personality would be perfect for this show. I hope they keep her around for a while.

-I have a confession to make. I have a complete obsession with essential oils. Like, I kind of need everything around me to smell good all of the time. Lemongrass, lavender you name it. The diffuser as of late has been my best friend. If you want a good lemongrass oil by the way get this one and keep it at your desk at work. Life changing.

How is your week going? Tell me something random about life as of late!

Spring and Summer Races on Tap.

Spring and summer without a doubt are my favorite seasons to train and race some shorter, faster races. So I have a few distances (including a couple of ultras) I plan on tackling within the next few months!! Here are a few items I have on my calendar, so far.

Cowtown 50k – Sunday, February 25th / Ft. Worth, Texas: Technically this one is still in the winter, but it is UP NEXT on the calendar. I am so excited to be PACING this race this year! As some of you know, last year I paced the marathon distance and this year I will be tackling the 50k (31 miles) Pacing is a whole different type of animal, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to pace various distances over the last several years. This will be the first time I’ve paced beyond 26.2 miles though. So, I’m very excited to be able to help some runners conquer their goals! And yeah, earn a glass of wine or 2 while I’m at it.

Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon— Sunday, March 25th / Dallas, TX: This race is kind of a staple on my race calendar every year. I absolutely love how organized the Rock n Roll race series in general is, and they always have the best runner swag and medals. If medals are your thing, I definitely recommend you find a Rock n Roll race in your area to run. They are just a blast. There’s bands all along the course to rock out to as well as a great post race party. Definitely cannot wait to run this one.

Danman Trail Race- Marathon— Saturday, April 7th / Madill, OK: I talked a bit about my experience running this one last year. Basically, there’s an awesome guy that has a ranch and tons of land out in Oklahoma and he invites all of the runners to run a race on his property. You can choose shorter distances like 10k, there’s also a half/full/and 50 mile race. ALL FREE. Yes, you read that right! Free. Plus he cooks food and you can camp out the night before and bring tents and such. So my trail run group goes out there and it is just one big freakin’ party. Gotta love it. This year I will run 26.2 out there on the trails.

Hachie 50 Miler— Saturday, May 5th / Waxahachie, TX: This is a newer race that I’ve kept on my schedule recently. This race was also my very 1st 50 miler 2 years ago. I love it because the field is fairly small which is great because usually I win some type of award (top female overall last year). It’s a paved, looped course which I actually enjoy because I get to see my friends over and over, and the course is fairly shaded plus there plenty of aid stations. And, you can’t beat an ultra close to home.

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon— Sunday, June 10th / Irving, TX: I love this one because it supports an awesome cause and is practically in my backyard. So I’ll be out there to represent and hopefully do some fast running. This time of year is usually pretty warm and humid but lately I’ve been running strong in those types of conditions, so we shall see.

Hell’s Half Acre 25K— Saturday, July 7th / Ft. Worth, TX: I’m excited to have this one on the calendar! I’ve been wanting to do more HOT summer races just to test my stamina and this one should prove to be a good one. It is a 3 mile looped course and there’s also a 50k but I’d like to work on my speed so 25k should do the trick. Plus I need a new 25k PR (the only 25ks I’ve run have been on trails) so let’s see what I’m capable of.

Of course, I may throw a couple more races in the mix (I’ve got my eye on some more TRAIL stuff) but this is what is on tap so far! I’m still looking at marathons for the fall. Wineglass in NY as well as Revel Big Cottonwood in Utah are both calling my name. Decisions, decisions. Then, I’ve already signed up for my 2nd 100 miler in DECEMBER. Woo freakin’ hoo.

What races are on tap for your spring and summer?

Weekly Running Report.

Happy Monday to ya! Hope you had an awesome weekend!! I’m here to recap some miles from last week! I was able to squeeze in just over 77 miles of running for the week. Let’s recap and see how it all went down!

Monday AM- Lunchtime run, 5.23 miles of sunshine. For the most part temps were very mild in the daytime…a tad chilly in the morning then the sun came out in full force. Typical for Texas in the winter. I was loving it.

Monday PM- 5.03 miles before teaching a class at the gym.

Tuesday AM- 10.12 miles with my headlamp brigade. Yes, we get up early, run together in the dark, then enjoy some coffee after. Love my little morning crew.

Tuesday PM- 3.22 miles, just shaking the legs out from the long work day at the 9 to 5.

Wednesday AM- 7.12 early morning solo miles…all before a 7 AM dentist appointment.

Wednesday PM- 6.3 miles with WRRC. Gotta love hump day happy hour miles.

Thursday AM- 11.23 miles back with the run club. I started off running with them and then ran until sunrise.

Thursday PM- Getting in a few quick strides after teaching spin class at gym. 2.2 miles done 7:48 pace.

Friday- REST DAY

Saturday- 22.25 miles in the ‘hood. I ran through the parks and by the golf course, the sunrise was absolutely beautiful.

Saturday night I drove down south to the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race to do some volunteering. It was so FUN to be on the other side of this race (as I ran the 100 miler last year), providing fuel and aid to all of the runners! And of course, helping all of the runners get through the LONG night. It rained off and on all day and the trails ended up being kind of yucky. Which made for a rough day and night, but we had several folks get though it without quitting! I am so proud of everyone out there who totally dominated the course.

Sunday- 4.35 quick sunset miles to hit my numbers for the week. What a wild, fun weekend. I didn’t watch too much of the super bowl but definitely heard about the Kevin Hart antics after the Eagles won. Freaking hilarious.

And there you have it!

How was your weekend? Did your TEAM win the Super Bowl or nah?!
I did not have a dog in the fight but kinda happy to see the Eagles get a win.

5 Ways to Love Running in the Dark.

DARKNESS…are you scared of running in it? Do you think the boogeyman will come and get you?! There are many ways to actually enjoy running in the dark, and I am here to provide you with a few tips and ways you can survive it. And not only survive it really, but have FUN and love doing it! Because running should be fun, and if it isn’t then what are you doing it for?

Let’s get to it!

1. Safety in numbers. Really the number one way to enjoy running in darkness is to grab a few of your closest (craziest) running buddies to have with you along for the ride. Whether it is a 5 AM jaunt before sunrise or galavanting in the night after work, you can guarantee you will have 1,000 times more fun if you are with others. I personally love my early morning runs with my die hard runner buds, they are the main reason why I love morning running during the work week.

2. Light it up!! There are so many excellent options for headlamps, you can even buy them super cheap at places like Lowe’s/Home Depot etc. I love my Petzl headlamp from REI, it has endured many a dark trail run. They are especially helpful if you are interested in running ultras, many times these races start and/or END in the dark so you will want to be well prepared. I know friends that like the lit up reflective vests too and also you can put blinky lights on your hydration pack if you carry one on your back.

3. Watch that fancy footwork. Always be sure to watch your footing in the darkness, on the trail and even on pavement. It is easy to miss spots and take a tumble so having lights to see and being cognizant of your foot placement makes all the distance.

4. Stay alert/run against traffic. This is one of the things I love the most about trail running is that you don’t have to worry about traffic at all. But when on the ROAD be sure to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. I do not wear headphones when I run for this very reason. If I listen to music at all it is low volume and I’ll carry my phone. And always try to run in lit up areas that are well populated especially if running alone.

5. Realize that running in the dark will make you super TOUGH mentally. Not many people enjoy running outside when it is cold and dark (and this is without a doubt the time of year that many runners lose focus and/or interest due to lack of motivation) so just you getting out there and roughing it out will make you a total BOSS. You don’t have to go super long, either. Even a quick 3-4 mile jaunt will make all the difference and come spring time you will be totally dominating your races. Believe it.

How is your training going? Anyone have any sweet runner reflective gear they’ve bought lately?