Every Runner Has a Reason.

I don’t know about you, but I love reading running articles online and such when I am not running. I was reading something on reddit recently about proud running moments and I thought I would list of some mine thus far. I do feel like every runner has a reason why we do what we do. So here are some moments in time that are special to me and make me feel proud to be the runner that I am today.

Completing my first 100 mile ultra trail race last year. Rocky Raccoon 100 was just so special to me for so many different reasons. Part of it was sharing that experience with a very special trail running community, the Dallas Dirt Runners. They have been like a true running family to me and I am so thankful for them and for my incredible pacer for getting me through it. And then I’ve gone on to run some other amazing distances like the 100k, 50 miler and 50k.

Running 10 full marathons before I turned 30 years old. This was a goal of mine that was sort of fun to accomplish. I honestly was just getting started with really enjoying distance running and I had to run like 3 marathons within a span of 2 months to get it all done. I remember crossing the finish line of the Cowtown Marathon and checking that 10th one off the list and just crying tears of joy that I completed it. This was also after recovering from an injury that left me sidelined for a while…so I was happy to overcome all of that and finish strong. And now, 4 years later…I’ve done 30+ marathons/ultras and counting.

Breaking 4 hours in the full marathon distance. This was quite some time ago (before I really got more into trails and ultras) but it was a great feeling to cross the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon and being so thrilled that I had broken that 4 hour mark. For a lot of runners that kind of goal comes easy but for me running has never been just peachy keen and easy. But getting faster and crushing those goals is so much sweeter when you know you have busted your tail to get there…and I am so proud to say that my hard work has definitely paid off over the years.

Knowing that running has really changed my life for the better. When I first started running, not going to lie…my life was headed in a crazy direction. I was that party girl…was definitely overweight in college…and lost the weight but when I entered into the working world I spent a lot of time partying & out late doing crazy things and not really about that fitness lifestyle. Running gives my life a balance, a structure…helps me sleep better, helps me make better decisions…and connects me with people who also want the same healthy lifestyle for themselves. So I’m thankful to have people in my life as a whole that hold me accountable and a life that I truly love. And running makes it all the better.

What are some of your reasons for running?! What are your proudest running moments so far?

Possums Revenge 56k Trail Race Recap.

Hi, hey and hello! What a marvelous weekend it was. I am here to recap some ULTRA trail racing!! Saturday I ran the Possums Revenge 56k (roughly 34.8 miles- I know right, odd distance but I love it!!) at Possum Kingdom Lake. Let’s review and see how it all went down!

First of all, I was all too excited to do this race because this was the first time I’d ever been to this particular trail. The trail system sits on a gorgeous lake with a ton of rocky climbs and scenic overlook. Honestly it was probably one of the most scenic races I’d ever done! PK Lake is a good 2 hours from where I live. Going out there kind of felt like I wasn’t even in Texas! We don’t have many beautiful lakes out here in North Texas so when you do find one, you know it is a real gem. A lot of folks even camped out the night before. I stayed at a hotel with some trail buds and we got up and got out there quite early.

The race had a 52 miler, 56k, 17 miler and then an 8 miler. The course was quite HILLY and very rocky, with a few stretches of trail that had all SAND! So a lovely mix of terrain that kept things exciting. I really was not sure going into this race how I would perform, especially seeing as I ran a 50 mile race 2 short weeks ago! So really I went out there to check out the trail, and also run with this particular race company that is putting on my 2nd 100 miler in December.

(source)

The 56k’ers took off at 7 am. Temps that day also soared well into the 90s, which made for an interesting late morning & afternoon. Actually due to the heat quite a few folks dropped out of the race completely. The heat actually made me wish a few times that I was running the 17 mile race but I toughed it out to finish the ultra. Mostly because I’m stubborn and I really wanted to get another ultra checked off the list. So I really took my time out there with the climbs and all of the loops that we had to do.

Just one of the gorgeous overlooks from the TOP…seriously heaven.

Often during this race I found myself alone in the woods again, with my thoughts. This part really is one of the reasons I truly LOVE trail ultrarunning. I’d see the occasional runner as it got hotter and later in the day, and we all gave each other thumbs up, good job etc. It is always fun too getting to know folks out on the trails. I always love meeting people from ALL walks of life. The volunteers at the aid stations were all top notch as well, making sure we had plenty of ice and water, as well as yummy snacks and pickles/electrolytes to keep us going in that heat.

When it was all said and done, this race was not quite as runnable as I thought it was, and I resorted to a lot of power hiking and of course tried to get some pics of the amazing scenic overlooks from the top.

Being alone with my thoughts out there was quite wonderful as well. Peaceful and really helped me to deal with facing the tough terrain and how that translates to dealing with adversity in my life as a whole. Running trails helps me realize how dang tough I am and how I am able to power though with determination. Also what I found interesting is all of the random thoughts and words that were floating around in my head as I made my way through the course. One word that kept popping up surprisingly was Kujichagulia– I swear I know to some of you that are at all familiar with Kwanzaa that this sounds strange as all get out- I mean really we are not even anywhere near Christmas?! I went home when the race was over to look it up because I don’t really celebrate that holiday but also because I couldn’t stop thinking about that word as I made my way up and down rocks and roots in the heat. The word actually means self-determination in Swahili which really was spot on with my mood that entire race. It took a ton of determination to get me through, and battle with my thoughts when things got hard.

At the end of the day I finished, I wasn’t the fastest out there, wasn’t the slowest. But I crossed that finish line with a smile on my face and feeling like I had won a lot of battles in my head that day.

Some days are days you just need to let go of the expectations, hold on and see where the day takes you. Relentless forward progress and self determination will get you far. Always.

Overall results here.

How was your weekend?! Run any awesome trails lately?

My “Why” Behind Ultrarunning.

So I was watching this awesome Billy Yang documentary about THE WHY…why many runners venture off into the amazing sport of ultrarunning. It’s actually a great video and I am posting it here so you should take some time out of your day and watch it if you have not seen it.

I thought today I’d provide you with a few reasons why I personally love BEYOND the 26.2 distance. As I embark on my 2nd 100 mile race this winter I thought now would be a good time to reflect on my experiences thus far with ultras (50 mile race recap is here if you need to catch up!) and why I love them so. So, here are a few reasons in random order.

I think you have to have to TICK a certain way to really enjoy running ultras. You have to kind of enjoy being in your own head for hours at a time. I don’t think everybody is good at that. I am really good at just entertaining myself for hours. And not only that, I really like breaking the run up in my head. To me, 50 miles is usually not 50 miles. It’s either 10 miles 5 times, 2 – 25 mile runs, or a 50k with a few more miles tacked on there. You feel me. All of it tends to add up really quick.

I have an introverted side. A private side, if you will. I really like to be alone a lot of times. Don’t get me wrong I do love the company of others. But I grew up as an only child and grew up playing with my barbies alone and creating scenarios in my head. Running ultras really puts you in this place…this zone…and makes you think about a LOT of stuff. I love that part. It is a self discovery if you will.

Pushing the limit is where it’s at. To me, running 26.2 miles used to be pushing the limit. It still is, if you run it fast enough. But I really enjoy breaking my body down and running until I don’t think I can run anymore. You can always do more than you think. I think this translates to life as well.

I have an addictive personality. This is something that is genetic for me. I am thankful I can channel that addictive, adrenaline type of energy into running. It is a healthy addiction for me. It gives my life a routine, a structure I can stick with. And one that makes me a happier and healthier person.

I love the euphoria of it all. That RUNNER’S high. That feeling after a 20+ mile run. I even like the feeling after running 100 miles. And just feeling totally drained and knowing you completed this incredible feat. All of it is amazing to me. I get excited just thinking about it.

So there…now you have some of my whys. And…perhaps you can understand my crazy just a little bit more.

What are some of your WHYs behind ultrarunning? Or, just running in general?

Hachie 50 Miler 2018 Recap.

So it’s time to recap the Hachie 50 miler! What a rough and tough day that was. And I have lived to tell you all about it! This was my 3rd year in a row running this race. I remember running my first 50 mile race kinda like it was yesterday! And I return to this race EVERY time because I love this amazing, supportive community of runners and of course you cannot go wrong with awesome swag EVERY year! I also love seeing the turnout every year of great friends and people stepping their game up to run this distance. Running 50 miles definitely changes you from the inside on out.

Saturday morning I made my way out to Waxahachie for the 5 AM start. Thankfully the race is not far from home at all – it is probably about a 35 minute drive. I arrived and parked up close because I KNEW I was going to be hobbling back when it was all said and done. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do after running an ultra is drag my extra tired body millions of feet back to my vehicle. It’s like honestly- could I get a STRETCHER or something over here please?!? Anyway, I arrived just after 4 a.m., and since it’s a small race I grabbed my race number and still had time to take a quick pic before the gun went off.

The timers started and we took off into the straight up DARKNESS! The park is a mostly paved 10 mile route with a very small little trail part to keep things interesting. It is super shaded too in the back half so that when the weather gets warm (which basically happens every year, as it is MAY in Texas) you are covered up mostly. The aid stations this year were stocked with plenty of ice cold water and electrolytes which I was so thankful for. I tell you what- a little bit of ice in a cup goes a looonnng way. This year, I adjusted my strategy a bit and decided really to just run by feel and see how things went. Since I ran 34 miles on my birthday a week prior I didn’t do too much tapering. And with a 56k coming up in less than 2 weeks I just wanted to stay injury free and finish the race strong. So I had to swing by aid stations, did mostly a lot of running and some shuffling towards the end past mile 40 when my legs got tired. This year, compared to last year I did not have a pacer (I was in a relationship last year so this year I went as a single gal) but for this race honestly with it being 10 mile loop 5 times I didn’t feel like I needed a pacer. You can just as easily finish strong solo especially with tons of aid stations and encouragement. This race every year has amazing volunteers and people that are SUPER pumped and positive the entire time. Someone out there even told me that they were a reader of my blog (fun, HI if you are reading!!!) So it was great to go out there and essentially go at it alone…BUT not really feel like I was ALONE. If that makes any sense.

When it was all said and done, I still managed to finish among the TOP finishers! 3rd place overall female, and finished among the TOP women and men for the 3rd year in a ROW!! I was ecstatic to see that as I crossed the finish line. All of the top finishers received a piece of log with their winning stats on it which I thought was so awesome. All of the 50 mile finishers also received a personalized outdoor chair with carrying bag, a BUCKLE/medal and Cinco de Mayo style shirt among other fun things. So every year they kind of step it up with the swag which is neat.

Overall it was really fun to run a 50 mile race on Cinco de Mayo and earn my margarita! This is one of my favorite races to date and I can’t wait to run it again next year.

Finish time: 9:06:30

Overall 50 mile results here.

How was your weekend? Did anyone run a fun Cinco de Mayo style race?!