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?!

Hachie 50 Miler 2019 Recap.

Well the Hachie 50 has come and gone and once again I have lived to tell you all about my experience! Running 50 miles is surely no small feat, and requires lots of training to arrive to the starting line healthy and ready to go. This year the challenge was quite tough, as we dealt with all of the elements- heat, humidity, rain, and jumping over deep muddy puddles. So let me share my adventure with you and take you on a 50 mile journey.

I arrived to Waxahachie race morning feeling a little worn out from the work week but excited about taking on the day. It had been a challenging week for me work wise- quite draining actually. The one thing I’ve gotten pretty good at though through this journey of running ultras is handling adversity and smiling through the pressure, stress, and the pain. I mean it had truly been the kind of week where you are just so mentally drained that you want to spend the entire weekend on the couch with a beverage in hand. But I knew that I had trained my tail off for this race, so I needed to keep my eye on the prize which was that finish line. I truly kind of went into this race with the intent just to finish in roughly 10+ hours. This was the 4th time I’ve done Hachie, and my 5th 50 miler! So I went into it with a strategy of course and it is always fun to see who shows up to this race. It is so well organized, and the Waxahachie Running Club truly spoils us every year with terrific swag. I mean how many races do you run where they give you your own outdoor chair (with drink holder), 50 mile belt buckle, and bag of goodies (and TX local honey yum yum)? I was overjoyed at all of the goodies and they really do step it up and exceed my expectations every year.

This year we had a bit of a storm roll through in the morning (welcome to spring time in Texas where storms pop up just about every second). So with that the race ended up being delayed 30 minutes – which was no big, it allowed me time to use the potty, collect my thoughts, and take my time before go time. So at 5:30 AM we were off into the darkness! The course itself is a 10 mile loop though the park that we run a total of 5 times. I personally love looped courses because I am able to have easy access to my runner fuel and things and mentally it helps me to count down how many loops I have left. The morning rain eventually tapered off and gave way to some extreme humidity and heat. The park is mostly shaded but starts with this section of the course that is ALL SUN. They put a sign out there too and called this part of the course the DEATH MARCH which I thought was funny. Especially towards the end it truly does feel that way.

The first couple of laps went by pretty smooth, I made sure to drink a mix of water and electrolytes often, stopping at pretty much every aid station. One of my amazing friends who was running the 50 mile relay, Blanca had a HUGE bowl of pineapples. She saw me looking a little tired once I hit loop 3 and gave me some pineapples as fuel to help me stay hydrated. Can I just tell you that pineapples may be my MOST FAVORITE FUEL ever now? Who knew…they were just what I needed at the time when I was feeling overheated.

I really enjoyed chatting with a few friends on the course, and one of my fellow blog readers (HEY FRITZ!) was out there running her very first 50 miler! We ran together for a couple of loops before I had to let her go…she was picking up the pace and looking damn strong. The heat was really starting to take a toll on me and the heaviness of the work week was weighing on me, mentally. I just wanted to be done. I rode out the highs and lows though, this entire race. From feeling good and high energy to just feeling like I wanted to walk. My legs felt heavy and close to about mile 40 I really started shuffling. My music really helped me stay in the game even though I wanted to quit and found myself just kind of running solo. At a certain point I realized that it may be possible that I may be a top female finisher so I tried to just keep moving. Relentless forward motion! Towards the last stretch, I saw another 50 mile girl who was not far behind me and she still looked pretty strong. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that if I slowed down any more…she was going to take that podium spot from me.

So…I dropped the hammer and bit and my determined will just kind of took over my body. I started feeling good and saw that finish line calling my name. My legs got a bit of a burst of energy and I went on in fishing strong and feeling so proud of myself. That 3rd place female award was staring me in the face. I DID IT. I PLACED. For the 4th dang year. IN A DANG ROW. I couldn’t believe it. I could have really given up many times during this race because of how I was feeling In general. But I didn’t. I went there and did what I had been training so hard for and didn’t let LIFE get in the way. And for that, I was so proud.

Hachie 50, you teach me something every single time that I show up to tackle you. The main thing…KEEP SHOWING UP. No matter how you feel. You may just surprise yourself.

Finisher results here.

Did anyone else out there run the Hachie 50 or any other fun race this weekend? Tell me all about it!

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!

Dallas to Cowtown 33 Mile Run Recap.

Hi there and HAPPY 2019! Hope you had an incredible weekend and celebrated the new year doing some fun things. Today I figured we would do a RECAP from my fun long weekend of running!! Something I like to do every year is a big run across my town with some of my ultrarunning friends! That’s right, it’s not a race- no medals or special recognition or anything. But just a fun way to end the new year with some major miles and with a BANG! So today I will tell you how it all went down. Hopefully if you’re local you can join us on the next one!

So this is the third year in a row that I’ve done the Dallas to ‘Cowtown’ run. For those of you unaware, Cowtown is slang talk for Ft. Worth – which is the other big bustling city near Dallas. 30+ miles outside of Dallas to be exact. Ft. Worth is very “cowboy” esque– they have rodeos, they have people that like to ride horses on the side of the road, they have all of the things a TRUE Texas city should have. It is a little different from your ritzy Dallas and it definitely has its own charm. So, one of the coordinators for this race (who is an ultra runner like myself) will post this run on Facebook every year and anyone who is everyone can join in.

Typically, the distance is 33 miles long, and we run near/along the local train rail system. So, you can opt to do the entire distance- or shorten it a bit and hop right back on the rail and head to your car. We all parked at Denny’s in Dallas this year and made the trek WEST towards Cowtown.

Since I just finished Brazos Bend 100 a few short weeks ago, I knew for a fact that this would be a FUN RUN. No worries about pace, and I knew since it wasn’t a race I could stop whenever I wanted. But I did want to do the entire distance and wanted to see how my legs would hold up. This year we had a lot of takers that wanted to do the whole shebang. I love it when the FUN runners show up for stuff like this because it really makes the experience memorable.

I arrived in just enough time for the briefing, then we took pic and we were off. I stayed pretty conservative pace wise with something I could hold onto forever without crashing, which was in the high 9s/low 10s range. The sunrise over Dallas was lovely with some nice cloud cover.

We made a couple of pit stops early on, for water/gatorade and there were lots of gas stations on the route which was perfect. Temps stayed pretty chilly in the morning and then the sun came out to play a few hours in. At around mile 20 or so, my legs started talking to me so I grabbed some pickles from 7-eleven which turned out to be a God send. The salt really got rid of the calves cramping which was great.

Along the route, we pass through a few cities doing an uphill climb, then it’s a little bit of downhill and another big uphill into Ft. Worth and downtown Ft. Worth. I also love running along the Trinity Trails, which were included in our route. We found a great mural in this area and of course I had to grab a pic.

Once we arrived to our destination there was a pub that said they would allow us to crash and have a little post run party. I finished with the distance and added a bit to get 33.3 miles because why not? The point 3 was for the 3rd year that I’ve done this run. Good times indeed and met a lot of super fun people who like running and chatting and listening to jams along the run just as much as I do.

I think next time we run in that direction I may park my car out in Ft. Worth so I have my vehicle to drive home. Hopping on the train was nice for my legs though because I got to stretch out and play on Facebook. But yes, fun!! Join us next time if you dare. Run a little bit of it or run the whole thing. Great way to end 2018 with a bang. And, I got to see two great city skylines. Hey, Ft. Worth!

And when it was all said and done, I ended 2018 with a crap TON of miles! 2018 miles- 3,793. Holy cannoli.

Happy New Year and cheers to getting out there and busting out some more miles and making more memories!

How was your New Year’s Eve? Did you do anything special?
Ran 33.3 miles and then danced the night away. After a massive nap, of course.

Brazos Bend 100 Mile Recap.

Hey ya’ll- I’m back from Brazos Bend 100! That’s right, I have lived and survived another ULTRA race. My experience was definitely one with a lot of ups and downs but absolutely incredible and I’m super eager to share it with you! Let’s backtrack a bit to the night before.

I arrived to Brazos Bend State Park in the evening and got all settled in the shelter. They are like mini cabins, with electricity, a fan and we had showers and restrooms nearby. It was SO nice to have a lodging area right at the site of where the race was. This made for a stress free morning and I was fired up and ready to go for the 6 AM start. This was my 2nd 100 miler so for the most part I knew what to expect, I had my nutrition plan/hydration dialed in and ready to go.

The 100 mile course itself is a 16.74 mile loop a total of 6 times. It winds around through the state park and into the woods a bit, which is a totally dirt trail with lots of mud. Since it rained pretty steady down in the Houston area, the ground was super saturated. Which proved to make for an interesting terrain! There was a LOT of mud on the course that was super deep, and almost sucked your shoes right off of you. So, that was quite interesting.

The beginning of this race, I started out pretty conservative and felt rather good. Energy wise, I was feeling great and so very happy- a few of my friends from the Dallas Dirt Runners were even there to join the party. I also know a few people from the Trail Racing Over Texas clan (which is mostly based out of the Houston area) so it was nice to see SO many familiar faces. And unlike at Rocky Raccoon (my 1st 100 miler last year) the loops were short, and with nearly 900 RUNNERS (!) you never felt alone on the trail or anywhere along the course.

The entire day mostly was just trucking along in the mud and me constantly assessing how my body felt running through the muddy terrain. Going into this race I did know that I wanted to run a fairly faster race than last year, but with the course being so messed up due to weather, I was starting to feel like this was not within reach. We also saw a TON of folks drop out in all distances (ranging from the half marathon to 100 miles) really due to not being able to run the course because it was so muddy. But I knew I did not come here to sell myself short and quit early. Because if there’s anything about me that stands strong it is the fact that I am stubborn as all hell and I WILL NOT let my brain tell me that I cannot do something. Where there’s a will, there’s a hell of a way.

So I kept on trucking until my pacer, Kevin joined me for my 4th loop. For those of you that have been faithfully following along this was my pacer that ran with me at Rocky last year. I knew the minute I signed up for this race that I wanted Kevin to run with me through the night. Sometimes in life you just meet those people, who just kind of GET you. And get your crazy. I feel like Kevin is one of those people. So…we went through the night, and talked and talked and laughed and hallucinated together in the dark and he literally kept me awake when I wanted to sleep run/power hike. I did reach a few low points during this race, and Kevin was right there to talk some sense into me. I knew with Kevin there, there was no way I was going to quit. Sometimes you just need those people, to remind you of your incredible strength and power.

As far as the aid stations on the course, again this time I just took advantage of everything on the course. I was so thankful this time my body never felt weak and my tummy didn’t give up on me. I think I ate and drank at appropriate times and the incredible volunteers made sure we were so well taken care of! Rob Goyen, the race director definitely makes sure all aid stations are well stocked and it is honestly one of the best run trail racing situations I’ve seen in my years of doing this. I honestly want to run more of his races now that I know how organized everything is. It definitely makes for an incredible race experience despite the conditions.

So, we reached loop 6 (MY LAST LOOP! Hallelujah) and I was able to grab a 2nd pacer since Kevin had run with me throughout the night. My friend, Robin who is a very seasoned ultra runner, got me through the morning hours. At this point, my legs were absolutely trashed. There’s just no way of getting around that fact, at mile 80 something, when you want to throw in the towel the most. I mean I think I power hiked a majority of that loop because I just felt like I could not go anymore. But she made sure I kept going, and distracted me with talk of her current races and just life in general. It was fun having that “girl talk” coffee chat in the morning- to get me through it as the sun was starting to rise.

The last stretch I started to become worried that I may not beat my time from last year, simply because the mud was so relentless that entire course. My calves were starting to give out completely on me, and a few times I needed to stop and stretch and reassess. Robin told me she had done a 100 mile mountain race recently that she had to back out of and DNF (did not finish). She quit because the weather conditions were tough and things just weren’t going well. She said “I had to DNF and it is still something that’s staying with me and I can’t shake to this day. If you feel like you can keep going, do it.” The words she said, stuck with me. I didn’t care what the outcome was going to be at that point or if I PR’d. I wanted that buckle more than anything in the world.

The buckle represents so much literal blood, emotions, and strength that the day holds. I wanted to go home with a sense of proud accomplishment, something that no one could take away from me. It is something honestly that you can’t explain in an Instagram caption or Facebook post. Or to a coworker who asks you what you did over the weekend. It stays with you, and in the weak moments in life, it’s there to remind you of that day you overcame weakness, tears and just continued to press forward when hope was lost.

And when it was all said and done, I finished the mission with a finish time that I was super proud of. I set a PR, a personal record and slashed off 20+ minutes off of my last 100 mile finish.

I absolutely loved this course and will definitely return. It was funny because I think around 1 AM or so I told Kevin, “I don’t think I’m cut out for 100 milers. This is just not my thing”. But now, I’m thinking of returning to the distance, in some capacity. Isn’t that how it always happens? Except, us 100 mile runners, we have a few screws loose. That is for sure.

“I’m convinced that a lot of people run ultramarathons for the same reason they take mood-altering drugs. I don’t mean to minimize the gifts of friendship, achievement, and closeness to nature that I’ve received in my running career. But the longer and farther I ran, the more I realized that what I was often chasing was a state of mind – a place where worries that seemed monumental melted away, where the beauty and timelessness of the universe, of the present moment, came into sharp focus.”
― Scott Jurek, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

How was your weekend? Any more ultrarunnner unicorns out there? Share your battle stories with me!

Random Thoughts Thursday.

Hello! Lots of randomness to discuss today…non running as well as running related! So, let’s get straight to the point…

I am starting to get a little nervous/anxious/excited about BB100. I think it will be a trail party extravaganza though and also a tad rainy as there is a little rain in the forecast. But these legs are ready to put in some work. Let’s do this.

I had a lavender latte after my run this morning. It was glorious especially with the almond milk in it. Is it STRANGE that I felt a sense of calm after drinking it? Legit I think it was the lavender that made me all chill. Haha.

I have a strange obsession this week with Justin Bieber songs. This one is a serious BOP. Throwback Thursday.

-Speaking of pop artists. I don’t know what everyone’s obsession is with T. Swift. Is she still a thing? I’ve never really liked her music like that. I had a few friends that went to her concert in Dallas recently. I don’t think I would be able to sit through it.

Y’ALL-JAPANESE RICE CUBES– is this real life…WANT. Someone make this for me or teach me how to make it, STAT. I imagine it couldn’t be that difficult. lol.

Tell me something random about your day!

Random Thoughts Thursday.

Today is another random episode of random thoughts Thursday! This is the day where I share all of my random rants and confessions with all of you. Because sometimes I like to be a totally open book. I’m not always like that but I guess this can be a great form of therapy, yes!? So grab a cup of joe and let’s get to it.

-For some reason my alter ego “CC” has made a couple of appearances this week…I’m mostly a happy go lucky person both on the blog and in real life. But- Cranky Chelsea sometimes happens. It is funny though, because most people that I work with say that they’ve never really seen me upset. So, maybe I don’t look as cranky as I really am? Well I guess that is good.

One of my coworkers has finger puppets in her office that she brings out to play whenever things get hectic. I think I need to get me some finger puppets. That could be a fun thing.

I will say that Black Santa always makes me very happy. He is kind of my version of finger puppets.

Do you like smooth jazz? For some reason smooth jazz always makes me feel calm. That and ocean noises.

-I used to go to my dad’s office when he had he practiced medicine in Dallas (he is a retired doctor) and in the waiting room he would always have smooth jazz playing. So I think that is where it comes from.

Also, running calms me down quite a bit. Yes, it is and always will be my therapy.

I’ve signed up for the Hachie 50 miler again next year! This will be the 4th year in a row I’ve run it and my FIFTH 50 mile race! A little humble bragging there. It will always be my favorite ultra.

It has been rolling around in my mind that maybe I’m done with running marathons for a while. Marathons are boring to me right now. Maybe I should just exclusively run ultras. But then I know in the spring I’m going to want to run shorter races again. Shorter races means 26.2 miles. HAHA. I feel like I had this same exact feeling about the marathon distance last year. It comes and goes. But really I simply enjoy ultras more than I do marathons. That fact has never changed. I am an ultrarunner unicorn, what can I say.

-Here is a fun game! Ask me if I feel this way in the month of April of next year. No lie I will email you a Starbucks coffee if you are the first one to ask and my answer changes. Mark my words.

Speaking of java, had a MAPLE CAYENNE latte with almond milk this morning and you guys it was absolutely everything I could have ever asked for. You must check this place out if you are in DFW it is phenomenal. They also have a LAVENDER latte and some other things I plan on trying.

Tell me something random about today!
Coffee lovers, what is your favorite coffee right now?
Usually I would just say an Americano or just plain black coffee but almond milk lattes are taking over.

Best and Worst…Racing Edition.

Sure, we all love to talk about our BEST races, or personal records and such. Because let’s be honest that is the world that we live in. The ultimate of highlight reels all day everyday! But, I am here to share not only my best, but my not so great racing experiences in ALL distances today! Just because we can. Let’s see how far my memory will take me…

Best 5k- Central Market Thrill of the Grill, Plano, TX. I honestly need to update my 5k time as it has been a little too long since I’ve tried to push the pace and redline 3.1 miles. I finished this race in 22:37, 7:16 pace and won an age group award which I think was some kind of organic barbecue sauce. Anyway, this is a great race that is held every year is for a good cause supporting the local school district. Also Dean Karnazes ran it one year and they also have a killer breakfast and it is in the spring time. Hands down my favorite time of year to do some faster racing. 

Worst 5k- Honestly I have no idea if I’ve even done a 5k that I’ve absolutely hated. Most of them are so fun and festive. Okay…I can think of one. It was the Color Run 5k and I don’t even think it was timed. Also I really don’t understand the excitement of getting colors sprayed all over you. It is annoying and not fun or interesting to me at all. Even with friends it seems like something people who really hate running do. Not sure…I think it triggers my OCD somewhat. LOL. 

Best 10k- Heels and Hills, Irving, TX. This one mostly had a lot to do with the course and the weather. I can absolutely tell you that the 10k is my least favorite distance. Mostly because I’m not very good at pacing a suicide pace beyond a 5k and just don’t know how to pace well for a 10k in general. I just don’t think this is where I shine, I know a lot of folks love 10k though. I personally would rather run 5k and feel like death any day. Anyway, this was a 49:51 finish time and it’s also a time I know I can improve on. Perhaps I will make it a thing to try and PR at my least favorite distance, next year. We shall see if it fits into my ultra running schedule. 

Worst 10k- Wounded Warrior 10k back in 2012. Around this time I had an injury so I’m not even sure if it counts. But it was right around the time that I was starting to realize the importance of not racing every training run. Because, boom then you get injured and stuff and that is just not fun. Anyway, it was a 58:08 finish time, it was hot as all get out. But I did it. Did not feel good at all. The best part about this race was that I ran it with some of my favorite running buds. But I hated every mile. Ha. 

Best 15k- Jog’r Egg Nog’r, Dallas TX. This race was hands down one of my FAVORITE holiday races. I was super bummed when they took it off of the calendar. I always won some sort of award every year and they had spiked egg nog at the finish line. 1:13:25 finish time, 7:52 overall pace. 

Worst 15k- Pumpkin Spice 15k in Ft. Worth, TX. This race to me wasn’t actually the WORST so it speak, but the course wasn’t ideal for racing. Plus it had rained in the area so there was just a ton of flooding and puddles which definitely made it hard to push it. I think I still won some sort of age group award which I believe was a pumpkin pie cutter. It is stashed in my kitchen drawer somewhere. 

We will skip 20k. Just because I think I’ve run maybe 2 20ks in my entire life. Let’s just move on to the half marathon at this point since we all know I love me some longer races. 

Best half marathon- Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon, San Diego California. This has more to do with the fact that I enjoyed this race more than the FAST finish time. The spectators at this race are always on point. You can’t beat running along the ocean and the views and the WEATHER. Plus I just love California in general and I have a special place for it in my heart. I will definitely make it back for this one in the near future. It’s a pretty fast course too, I actually ran one of my fastest 26.2s at this race. I do think however the half marathon is the better course of the two. 

Worst half marathon- The Hottest Half, Dallas, TX. For some reason I kept going back to this race after beatdown after beatdown. It is the WORST time of year in Dallas to run, AUGUST. When everyday is relentlessly triple digits and super high humidity. The course is terrible, the aid stations never had enough cold water or fuel to supply the runners. And also the racing company that put on this race I believe went bankrupt (?) my Dallas runner friends know all about this so I’m sure someone can feel free to chime in. Anyway, I’m glad this race is now canceled. Moving on. 

Best Marathon- Marine Corps Marathon, Washington, DC. Okay so once again I haven’t run my best marathon times here, but it is one of the only marathons I’ve gone back to run more than once. I have also run a couple of sub 4 hour marathons here so it is definitely a good course to go push for a PR. The course itself is very historic and shows a lot of Washington DC history, it is super emotional with all of the Marines and a lot of military actually run the race in honor of those who died fighting for our country. So that is really why I think it is a great race to run. I have a lot of memories at this race and some of my best friends live in this part of the U.S. – so it is a great way to go visit my friends and run an fantastic and well organized race. I would go back a million times over. 

Worst Marathon- Rock n Roll Las Vegas, Las Vegas Nevada. Okay, we are only talking about the marathon course here. I’ve heard incredible things about the half course. I personally just think that they should only offer shorter distances for this race with the half marathon being their highlight big race. The marathon is just too much for such a vibrant city, it goes WAY off the strip and into some questionable sketchy areas. It’s very DARK since the race starts at night and a few times I actually thought perhaps I’d get mugged along the course. It was super cold that time of year and also at the finish line we had to walk like a mile or so down the finish chute to leave the course. I just think in general RnRLV is poorly planned and I did not really enjoy the 26.2 course as much as I thought I would. 

Best 50k- Cowtown 50k, Ft. Worth TX. I enjoyed this race because it is very organized, and also there is a race distance for everyone. Also the 50k is a great course for first time ultra runners. I had the honor of pacing the ultra marathon last year and really enjoyed seeing folks accomplish their goals. The weather this time of year in Texas is questionable but if you run it on a pretty day you will absolutely love it. 

Worst 50k- Oktoberfest Trail Race. This actually is also not the worst but we will just put it here because it needs to be put in a category. I would say this is definitely not a good 1st ultra for a first time ultra runner. The course is literally a 15 mile out and back down some very rugged and difficult terrain. It’s a small intimate course which means there’s no one there to cheer you on or anything like that if that is your thing. I also got 3rd place overall female and don’t think I won anything. So overall a no frills race but I had fun. If you like out and back courses then you may indeed like it. 

Best 50 miler-  Hachie 50 miler hands down! You can read my recap from this year here. So many reasons to love this race. Beautiful course, beautiful time of year, great opportunity to run fast if you like ultras. 

Worst 50 miler- Not the worst once again. But the Orion 50 miler is not ideal weather wise since it is in the straight up sun on a windy beach with no shade. It is also all on SAND. So pick your poison. 

Best 100k- The Piney Woods 100k is the only 100k I’ve run this far but I would love to run this distance again. It is a tough distance and this was a very deceivingly tough trail course. But I learned a lot about myself and I got first place overall female. Can’t beat that. 

Best 100 miler- Again, my only 100 mile race thus far (until Brazos Bend 100!) But I loved Rocky Raccoon 100. The trail running community is truly the best. 

What are some of your BEST and WORST races of all time?! 

Weekly Running Report.

Hi there and happiest of Mondays to you! I’m here to recap some miles with you from last week. I was able to get in just over 90 MILES of running!! So ultra training is obviously going pretty swell. Let’s recap and see how it all went down!

Monday AM- 10.25 miles in the early morning. I love when I can get my Mondays started in a grand fashion. Also the weather down in Texas has been SUPERB for running. Temps in the 40s and 50s in the morning makes my soul happy.
Monday PM- 2.3 miles after teaching a class at the gym. MAN it has been super dark in the evenings but I’ve been getting my night running in so good training leading up to BB100.
Tuesday- 8.11 miles…my run group in the morning met at the track, so I started out doing some strides/warmup with them then finished up by doing some hill repeats. Fun to mix it up.
Wednesday AM- 10.22 miles with my run buddy meeting at the coffee shop early. Can I just say coffee has definitely been my saving grace most mornings. I’ve also gotten better at doing coffee before running, because before my tummy just couldn’t handle it. Now I can do one cup of bland coffee and I’m good to go. It is nice to have a little java boost.
Wednesday PM- 4.36 miles after work. I did not have any classes to teach at night so this was a nice run around the lake solo. Lots of folks out and about and such so did some people watching.
Thursday- 10.02 miles back with the run club. Legs were starting to get tired from running all week but I was on a roll so got it in.
Friday AM- 6.33 miles in the morning around the lake. I had the day off also, which was lovely. Can I also say it is nice to have a friend in my neighborhood again who wants to run around the lake with me. Lately I’ve been driving all over to run with people so it is nice to just hop out on my doorstep and have a buddy there ready to roll.
Friday PM- 2.3 miles in the evening as I was testing out some blister proof/moisture wicking socks I just bought. Did some faster pickups at the end on this one too.
Saturday- The BIG 31.2 mile run! I got in a 50k with one of my buddies who I’m running Brazos Bend 100 with. Another one of our friends who will be pacing out there joined us too. Ultra crazies just having a good time.

Sunday- 5.11 mile recovery run in the ‘hood.

Followed by Sunday funday with mama and we ate some delicious eats at Kenny’s Wood Fired grill. This wedge salad with cracked peppercorn was absolutely everything.

And also, colby jack truffle GRITS? Yes, yes and more yes.

There you have it!

How was your weekend? Are you loving the running weather in your hood?
Texas fall and winter temps are the absolute best.

Ultras vs. Marathon Mindset.

So for those of you who are embracing training for ultra marathons, I thought this would be a great topic to tackle for today. It is one I’ve battled with time and time again as I go from season to season when training for an ultra race vs training to race 26.2 miles. Both of them are very different in their own right. And I think it is important to choose a race that you want to do (or a distance) for that particular season and stick with it! So here are a few things I’ve learned about training for one versus the other.

When it comes to ultras, training on different types of terrain is important. I think it is good to vary the type of surface you are training on especially when it comes to an extreme endurance event like an ultra. That means mixing it up and running on dirt paths, on paved ones, on sand, on the track…running lots of hills. Whatever you can do to change the way your body moves from time to time will make you strong when it comes to pounding out those miles. And even more so when you are running beyond 26.2.

For marathons…learn to become VERY comfortable running your desired marathon pace. When I PR’d last year’s marathon I was running a lot of my 20 milers with a lot of those miles at race pace. For me, this is what helped me get that desired 3:45 finish time and what made me feel really strong come marathon time. So I think incorporating a lot of MP miles, as well as tempo miles and sprinkling in some speedwork will also made you strong at this distance.

But don’t shy away from running faster when it comes to ULTRAS! A lot of people think just because you are running a 50 miler, 100k or a 100 mile race that you neglect running faster. I beg to differ! Switching up how (and even when!) you run often, and this includes running faster from time to time will definitely keep your muscles efficient and strong for running longer. Believe it.

For both marathons and ultras it is imperative that you do some cross training. Listen, I can promise you that if I wasn’t so diligent with this alone that I would surely be injured- as much as I run now. So whether you bike, swim, dance, do yoga…all of this is going to help you immensely. Lift some weights to stay injury free also. Injury free is the name of the game.

It is important to respect both distances in their own right. Training for 26.2 requires a certain amount of mental and physical strength just like ultras do. Do the work, stay consistent and be patient with yourself always. A little bit goes a long way and time on your feet always counts. Find what it is that you love with running and stick with it. That alone will pay off time and time again.

What are your favorite things about training for a marathon and/or ultra?