Up Ahead – A Half Marathon .. Another Ultra ..

Up Ahead – A Half Marathon .. Another Ultra ..

It’s been two weeks since my first ultra .. and I cannot stop thinking about what 50k’s I can find to run! It’s crazy how I’m looking forward to running more than a marathon .. on the trails! Something about being out in nature running and climbing is so therapeutic and physically challenging. Don’t get me wrong, past 10 miles it usually turns into work .. and sometimes that’s when I feel my body is ready to run. No matter how long it takes! This is a huge, slow, mental change for me. On Saturday we had a few long miles, ugh there was even one 23 minute mile. Sometimes the terrain is not just dirt and a little climbing .. but lots of rock to balance, trek and to pick yourself up from when you slip (yep, one of those miles that you feel you could’ve run 2-3 miles in). Yes and this is what I look forward to .. every time on the trails .. a challenge! In 5 weeks there is another Ultra 50k I am eyeing, so right now I am living in maintenance mode. I will be running the next few weekends long, but nothing over 22-24 miles (to avoid injury), with a half marathon on the road thrown in the mix. The week after my ultra I ran a few low mileage mid week runs and a weekend 10 miler on the trails. This week I ramped it up a bit and ran what has been an average week of training over the past few months .. including two mid week trail runs and 22 on the trails. Whew! Training is work .. sometimes I wish it was easier. But before my next ultra .. My next road race is just two weeks away (eeeek). I will be running San Francisco, in the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I will admit it’s been a few weeks since running road .. so I’m going into this race for FUN! Fun with friends, my most favorite vegan Mexican restaurant, my favorite city and of course running! The new few weeks will definitely be a blur! I am going to try to stay focused on strength training, proper nutrition, getting my miles in and of course focus on my crazy household that kind of takes a back seat to all this running madness! Definitely blessed...

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Miles 27-31 – An Athlete .. An Ultra Runner

Miles 27-31 – An Athlete .. An Ultra Runner

I made it to the top of Goat Hill and it was hard like I knew it would be .. but when I got to the top I was so relieved (whew!) Just past the top of the hill there was the second to last aid station .. I did my last regroup and headed on down the hill. I knew the next 5+ miles of the course so well, they have been my least favorite on all of our training runs and not because they were particularly hard to run, but for some reason they had always been mentally challenging for me. This day I didn’t even let that thought into my head .. I just kept looking forward .. I can do this .. I will finish this .. I am strong. Miles 27, 28, 29 all slowly one by one .. done. By this time I could really start feeling my feet, but I was not defeated. I knew I was close .. talking to runners the last few miles as they passed me, and I them, leap frogging the rest of the way, was comforting somehow. We were all there at the same mileage .. with the same goal — FINISH! Just as I crossed over Highway 49, and with under 2 miles left of the race, I passed the final aid station and dug deep. This part of the course is not flat or smooth, rocks and a bit of an incline .. time to give it your all before you’re done. Then something came over me .. I could feel happy in my soul, my entire body felt like I was running effortlessly. I knew what was up around the corner .. step by step closer to the finish. As I passed the “1 More Mile” sign .. I could feel my smile growing, I said out loud “I am going to do this .. I am an Ultra Runner .. I am so thankful for my body!” Around the last muddy bend I could hear my name from friends, see people waving, cheering and clapping, .. family, runners, strangers, friends .. I was high-fiving whoever was willing – I was listening for my name to be announced as I crossed that finish line .. smiling all the way! Yes at some miles it was hard .. somehow I felt great .. that day I had no self doubt .. another lesson learned! I am an athlete .. I AM AN ULTRA...

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Miles 11-26 .. I Was Envisioning the Finish

Miles 11-26 .. I Was Envisioning the Finish

We finished 10 miles, and I thought, okay that’s just a warm up for the rest of the race. Do you ever have a run or race and think .. sometimes it takes 1-2 (or ten!) miles before your head tells your body it’s time to run (well at least for me it does)? Even though I felt good .. I knew there was still 21+ miles to go .. A third of the way in .. and I was feeling good. We had already gone through several creeks .. shoes wet, then what felt dry .. and then wet again. At one point I stopped to check for what I thought were rocks in my shoes (and did this a few times at different aid stations). I never found the “rock”, so I just kept plugging away. I did my best to not let the “rock” get the best of me. I eventually realized in the car ride home that this rock was a blister .. and I was thankful that was my only physical problem that day. At mile 12 or so I felt like things were going smoothly .. I kept repeating in my head, I can do this, I will finish this .. I am strong. I mentally checked off miles 13, 14, 15 and then before I knew it I was making my way to mile 19 where I had a friend waiting for me. I had warned her the week before and in some of our training runs – when I see you I will probably be crying .. angry .. mad and wanting to quit. When I turned the corner .. I could hear her screaming my name. Cheering me up the hill. I had not one of those feelings I had so anticipated in weeks past. This was so HUGE for me! She even told me I looked good and strong .. can I say I felt it. I took a few minutes to fuel and regroup. My go to fuel had been potatoes, PB&J, freeze dried pineapple, Tailwind endurance fuel in berry and a new ultra favorite Sprite (shhh.. please don’t judge ;), I know it’s bad for you, but it got me through .. it must have been the sugar shock)! I asked her how many miles and she told me I had about 10-11 left. I heard 10, and I knew I could do ten more. I did not turn my Garmin on that morning .. I just used it as a watch. I think I’ve learned, on what I considered my “good” races .. It goes so much better when I’m not using it to constantly look...

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A Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run — Race Giveaway!

A Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run — Race Giveaway!

Okay friends, I will be doing my first “mud run” .. and guess what!?!? I was just given an entry for a giveaway to a Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run .. I’ve never done a “mud run” .. don’t get me wrong, I’ve run in the mud, but I’ve never done a run geared around it! So this will be an adventure — 3 miles and 10 mud-filled obstacles, and an epic mud bash finale! Woo-Hoo bring on the mud! For me, I love to run, train, play and chat about fitness (.. and kids, running shoes, hubby’s, training schedules, housework, running skirts, recipes, laundry and races) with my friends. I find that working out with friends makes the actual act of “fitness” less like work and more like fun .. So the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run motto is so me – A fun run for women to get together and focus on friendship, fitness and did I mention FUN! Another awesome reason to run this race is that they are affiliated with some pretty great charitable partners link here If you are looking for what is sure to be a good time .. Check out the Pretty Muddy Race Calendar to see which one you’d love to play in .. Share with me why you’d love to run and play in the mud (and which location you’d love to run in) for a chance to win a free race entry! The winner of the race entry will be contacted via e-mail by 3/17/14. (*disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this race giveaway, all opinions are my own. Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run was kind enough to offer a free race giveaway in exchange for spreading the...

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Race Review My (first) Ultra 50k .. Miles 1-10

Race Review My (first) Ultra 50k .. Miles 1-10

A few things I never thought I’d say so soon (out loud!) .. 1) Hard to believe that my first Ultra was just 4 days ago .. and I am feeling pretty darn good! 2) I am on the hunt for my next Ultra .. yes for real! Seriously, these words have never left my mouth after anything longer than a half-marathon. This brings me back to 10-1/2 years ago, finishing my first full marathon .. clearly not properly trained. I remember having to hop on a plane less than 24-hours after crossing the finish line .. the pain in my legs, feet, entire body from head to toe .. unimaginable. I said then .. I would never, ever attempt that again! If I only knew then what I have learned now .. I may have been running my first ultra a few years younger and may not have beaten myself up so many times over what I thought was an unsuccessful run or race, but could’ve learned from all of them. I had trained the last 10 weeks on the race course. Each week adding more miles, different pieces of the race at a time. I had never done this training for a road race. This meant that I really got to know the rolling hills, the single track, the great down hills, not so flowing creek crossings, waterfalls and not so fun climbs — at any given time more challenging than I had remembered . Not that in the 31+ miles that day they felt or looked exactly as they did on training runs. But maybe, just maybe .. it helped me go into the race a little more relaxed. My training partners and I went in that morning treating it like it was just another long run with 1,000 other runners. Before I knew it we were off. The day was beautiful, a little crisp with blue skies and I was thankful for the three days of rain we had the week prior and not on race day. Miles 1-10 seemed to zoom by .. at least to me. When I say zoom, I don’t mean fast .. I just mean I got there quicker than I expected. It was fairly crowded on the single track and crossing through overflowing creeks made it an adventure. Just as you thought your feet were drying out .. there was another one to cross. The one time when running that it is okay to have wet feet and pants .. on the trails. All so worth it. .. to be...

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I Am An Ultra Runner ..

I Am An Ultra Runner ..

No words can express how happy I was running in the last 1.4 miles of my first Ultra 50k! I couldn’t help myself .. I could feel the happy from the inside out .. in my head telling myself how proud I was of myself (really, who does this?)! I am sure I’ve never been this happy finishing a race, I dare say not even when I finally crossed off what had been my biggest running goal – a sub 2:00 half-marathon. Don’t get me wrong the hundreds of miles .. hours on that race course for the weeks leading up to the race .. Were HARD! There were many times on my long training runs where I thought there is no way I can go 15, 20, 5, 8, 3 more miles! But yesterday was not that day .. I had been thinking about crossing that finish line all week .. and remembering how happy my friend looked last year when she crossed the same finish line. I remember cheering her in .. she was beaming! She looked like she had just started a race and not finished an ultra! I wanted that feeling, that happy, that runner’s high! If you read one of my last posts, I’ve dealt with self doubt .. A Little Getting Out of My Own Way and I made the decision a few weeks ago to give her the boot! Ha .. it worked! Not really sure what finally “clicked” .. I had been repeating the mantra #IRunThisBody in my head .. I kept telling myself you’ve done the work .. You’ve followed your training schedule .. Nothing else can stop you, but you! I am so glad I listened...

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Trail Warriors Run in the Rain .. and Just Like That It Was Over ..

Trail Warriors Run in the Rain .. and Just Like That It Was Over ..

After our Thursday morning of taking in all things Ragnar Trail and Salomon .. it was back to Salt Lake City. We boarded the train and watched the rain and clouds cover the beautiful mountains. But that didn’t matter because we were headed to RUN .. rainy skies and all! We hopped off the train .. checked into our hotel and headed out for a run. We ran on beautiful city streets and up muddy trails .. we ran through Salt Lake City in the pouring rain and I took in the views, as best as I could. The snow capped mountains that I had seen on the plane on my way in were now hard to see. The trails were muddy, but so fun to be out exploring a new place with new runners. I so wish it hadn’t been raining, snowshoeing was on our agenda but with the weather it didn’t pan out. This just means I will have to return and for sure will need to do Ragnar Trail – Zion, Utah .. to take in all the beauty! We were treated to a wonderful dinner Thursday night and I enjoyed amazing food and great company. We all sat around and discussed what Ragnar’s we’ve ran, road and trail, and which ones we could fit into our schedules to run — and which ones we wanted to volunteer at! I cannot get over how kind everyone was, it was so comfortable (not the anxious feeling I had when I walked into the group at all) and the Ragnar staff was amazing, each and everyone .. from running the trails with us, riding the train and walking the streets with us .. taking their time to get to know each of us just a bit and of course sharing their love of what we all knew we loved. Friday morning was the final day with everyone before we all went our separate ways. We did a few hours of discussing Trail Warrior duties, Q&A’s and open discussion. On our way out we took a tour of the new Ragnar offices — all very cool! The trip was a huge success .. it went fast like a blink of an eye. I cannot wait until I can run my first Ragnar Trail .. and of course my fourth Ragnar Napa in September! Grateful I’ve been given the opportunity as a Ragnar Trail Warrior .. and I’m ready to “Make Life More Awesome”...

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