NJ One Day- Take 2

“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.” – Vincent Thomas

finish-sit

I LOVE things that are Free. I’m a sucker for good deals, and I’m a novice “couponer”.

Except for the Gas $$ it took to get to NJ- everything for this race was Free. I had earned a FREE entry from winning last year, My neighbor donated her points for the Hotel- making it FREE (which I am incredibly thankful for), and I had worked “Free”dom’s Run Marathon Altra Booth- earning a FREE pair of ALTRA Paradigms to run in.

Needless to say, I had a good feeling about this race.

Selfie of me- with an ALTRA shirt, 32 degree sign and a phrase that says holy guacamole its coldI had a not so secret fantasy goal of 140 Miles, I would have been happy with 137, and marginally satisfied with 132 (a PR).

Race morning was COLD- I needed a cold race for my body to be happy, but BRRRR. People at the hotel gawked at my bare legs, but with temperatures getting into the low 50s- pants were not an option.

When I got in line for registration- I thought, “That hill doesn’t look as bad as I remember it” It felt like a good omen.

Milestones: 25M, 50K, 50M, 12Hr, 100M, 120M- for each Milestone I had a target time/ distance that I wanted to hit. My mini goals were:12 Hr mark 73-75 Miles and complete 100 in 16:30- that seemed reasonable. There’s a fine line of “banking miles” and running more even splits, I didn’t want to risk blowing up.

charlotte and I sitting after race
Miles 1-25: Its always hard for me to find my groove in the beginning of races. It was cold;
my legs weren’t excited to be running. I ran most of them with Charlotte, a strong runner from previous Canadian 24hr teams. Since we didn’t want to give up a good thing we had going, we took a pee break together at 17 miles. You know girls, always have to go to the bathroom together!

Miles 25-50: I started to pick up the pace, and ran many laps with Aaron. He was willing to match my pace and the miles ticked by.

Miles 50-75: These were what felt like my strongest miles. I had gained time on the clock and was feeling great. Ran a bunch with Serge. I added another layer because the temperature was dropping. I ran 77+ miles in 12 Hours. I kept praying that this was the race of my life and that I wouldn’t bonk. My Right arm/ upper back area also really hurt. Hurt so bad that I had to take an Advil to dull the pain.

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This was from North Coast- but totally applicable here. 

Miles 75-100: I adopted new crew at this point. Max had started his race, and I would leave things on the table for him to refill when I ran out. This way Max could break up the day and not be bored, and he could get his training run in. Fortunately, Matt and Mike both came to the rescue when other needs came up. I am forever grateful for these two keeping me running.

  • I had developed a HUGE blister that encompassed my entire Big toe that I could feel around mile 30, I debated on if I should take the time and deal with it our keep running. Fortunately, around mile 80, I stepped on a pointy rock and felt a beautiful warm sensation in my socks. No more toe pain!
  • At mile 85, I realized that I had NOT walked ONE step up to that point, and me being the stubborn person that I am, I wasn’t going to walk until I hit 100 miles. So I didn’t. Looking at my lap data, there were only 5 miles that were minimally over 10:00.
  • I crossed the 100 mile mark at 15:41- I was scared, I shouldn’t PR in the 100 Mile on the way to a 24 hr, but I thought of Jenny H, who had done the same thing and if she could do it, I could do it and I pressed on.
back

I ran right by all the cameras- no one was able to catch me.

Miles 100-121: It was cold- literally freezing at this point. I made the mistake of just adding layers, instead of changing out of my base layer. This cost me time, because there were multiple wardrobe changes trying to warm me up.

  • Miles 106- 121: Were filled with 9-1-1 Emergency Explosive Pit Stops. It took 6 Imodium to make it stop! I had a rhythm, and the stopping and bending down was hurting my legs. I just think how many more miles I could have covered if I wasn’t constantly pulling over to poo.
  • I pray a lot during my races, God listens when I’m in pain or need to think things through. I also made a deal with God in this section that I wouldn’t run for a week if He gave me the strength to run 140 Miles. (A promise I kept!)

 

Miles 121- 140: My body hadn’t had a chance to acclimate to colder temperatures yet, and I seriously suffered. The temperatures dipped to 25 degrees. I run on a treadmill if its under 28. My asthma started to act up- I took my rescue inhaler along with my regular 2x a day inhaler to no avail. Because my lungs weren’t getting good amount of air, my legs started to seize up. I asked for Advil and my IPod to help the situation.

ALL of my liquid nutrition was freezing– turning to chunks of ICE! My tailwind- frozen, my soda- frozen, my 5 hr energy, PowerAde, even my boiled potatoes- FROZEN! Matt and Max went and warmed up my potatoes more times than I can count.facepalm-girl

The only thing warm that I could stomach at the Aid station was chicken broth- I am a
devout vegetarian, and I had a “to Hell with it” moment. I was so cold; I just needed something to warm my insides. So I drank the broth. Only to find out at the end of the race when I made the suggestion of having veggie broth on hand that there was a pot on the stove all night that the volunteers weren’t aware of… DOH!

 

Before the race, I had the discussion with Max that he needed to push me, not to accept any of my doubts or excuses and to be mean if he had to. With 3 hours to go, I didn’t think I could hit 140, I was spiraling downward in my negative thinking. He told me “Don’t be a vagina and man up” this made me laugh and with some words of encouragement from Charlotte, I quickly got back to work. Thank you Helen for starting that joke at the Ring.

endThose last 3 hours I was doing the “Ireland Shuffle” I tried to push my body to run harder, but ended up in coughing spells and unable to breathe. So I shuffled and walked different sections in my mind that made sense.

When I completed my 140th lap- I was in tears, it hurt so good.

Now to cross my fingers that this performance is enough to represent the United States in Ireland next July.

Food Consumed:
Tailwind- A LOT
12oz bag of pretzels- THE ENITRE BAG.
5 cans of Pepsi Max
2 5 hr. energy
5-6 boiled red potatoes
2-3 bottles of watered down PowerAde.

Huge Thanks to:

  • Max: My Husband, My Crew, My Everything.
  • Matt and Mike- My adopted crew
  • TSTARRUNNING: I ran in my original skirt. Perfect and chafe free as always
  • Altra Running: My Paradigms are the bomb. I feel like I’m running on clouds.
  • DryMax (NEW!): I only wear your socks. They keep my feet happy.

    collage of me lying down, 2 pigs and me, amy and emir altra ambassadors

    Fellow Altra Ambassadors Amy and Emir. Amy PR’d her 100 mile time! and 2 pigs that I saw 140 times

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The Elusive 140

The number 140 has been on my mind for 2 years… ever since I ran 131 miles in April 2014 at the Virginia 24Hr Run for Cancer, I knew deep down inside that I could do it. On paper, its easy- run 10:17 for each mile for 24 Hours. To improve by 9 miles seemed like a lofty goal, even to me at times, but when I set my mind to something, there is no deviating.

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My favorite training partner! Riley

Before 131, my longest run was 122.5 miles at Dia De Los Muertos, I had worked SO SO hard to just break the 120 barrier. At this point I didn’t want to be on the team, I just wanted minimally qualify. It took 3-4 tries to get to this distance.

That said, there was a long, hard road ahead of me, I tried 3 separate times, I decided that if it didn’t happen in NJ, I would invest in a coach. Each time I ran worse and worse mileage. I was super frustrated, I was supposed to be getting better, and instead I was in a downward spiral.
Last November, I ran NJ One day and I ended up with 129 Miles. I had run 100 miles in a little over 17 hours and then at 107, I tossed my cookies and couldn’t keep any more
nutrition in me and was forced to walk the last 22 miles. Still this gave me confidence, because up to that point, it was my second fastest 100 mile time. I had hope.

Next up, SOLE 24 Hour. There were many issues with this race, first it wasn’t timed within
the rules of the USATF (as it was advertised), second it was a 90 degree day and there was a huge Hill that sucked. I wanted to quit when I realized that they weren’t recording lap splits, but I stuck it out. I ran 122.5 miles a CR, and this was the first 24Hr race where I hadn’t thrown up. A little confidence booster.

ncMore recently, I BOMBED, embarrassingly, at North Coast. 109.5 miles- devastatingly disappointing. I let all the fast ladies go, was in 10th for a while and worked my way up to 4th because others dropped. 24hr races are races of attrition, but that’s not the way to run- hoping that others quit. I threw up in a porto-potty at mile 50 and was fighting nausea the entire race. However, this was the ONLY race that I have thrown up and been able to come back and keep running. A tad bit more confidence.

It’s hard to fight failure repeatedly, it’s extremely disheartening. But I got back on my horse and kept training. I have trained so much for this race. I believed that I just needed a colder atmosphere to excel.

I went to bed thinking #140, I woke up thinking how I would feel once I run 140 miles. I worked on my mental training. Accepting the world around me, whether I was happy, sad, mad, in pain or nauseous, I accepted it and stayed in the moment. I think that’s where I have faltered in other races, my mind goes early, and I loose my focus, my ability to want it bad enough. That was not going to happen in NJ. When I started to doubt myself- Max reminded me of my drive, and Charlotte (from previous Canadian 24hr teams) reminded me that I had it in me and I had enough time.

I ran 140 Miles in 24 Hours- I broke down in tears when I completed that last lap. Partly because I was in so much pain and partly because something I had worked so hard for actually happened.

I woke with a sickening feeling the day after NJ One Day (it didn’t help that I was still nauseous), scared that 140 wouldn’t be enough. The women in America have improved immensely. I cross my fingers that what I have done is enough, but have confidence that if I had to try again, I could run a lot more. This is just the beginning.

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Holston River 36 HR

1st female/ OA
150 miles Overall Course Record.

img_0009I wanted a late summer race to keep me honest in my training and another long haul adventure. Holston River Endurance challenge has many races to choose from. 6Hr (Day or Night), 12Hr (Day or Night), 100 Mile, 24 Hr, and 36 Hour. I debated between the 36hr and the 100 Mile run.

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Logic:
I got better at running 100 Milers because I raced 24 hour runs. Here’s to  hoping that I get better at 24 hour runs because I ran this.

Course: 1.5 Mile Loops. Serious Short Uphill and downhill included. Hill- Technical. 10 seconds of shade on the low section; otherwise exposed.

Format: NIGHT –DAY—NIGHT. Race start was at 8pm.

Terrain: Earth. Grass- section of grass. Gravel- Good ole 57 stone was just dumped,  dirt- dusty dirt, asphalt- small amount. Pointy rocks- only when you LEAST expected them. Good finding them at night to keep you awake.

Scenery: Brewery, Tree’s, Backhoes, Holes, and glimpses of the River.

 

The race started with a few minutes of drizzle while we ran into the sunset. I kept an easy but steady pace for the first few hours. I was also nervous, nervous because I thought I timed my pre race meal accordingly (ate at noon) and I hadn’t pooped before the race began.

My first pacer, Glenn, arrived right before midnight and we ran the next 5-6 hours together. This let Max get a partial night’s sleep. Finally, 10 hours after the race started, it was potty time, which leads me to:

Life Tip #1: AVOID construction Porto Potties. Just don’t do it.

This further lead to a Hunger Pit deep in my stomach ensued and more calories were ingested. Night Running is the best thing in the summer, Day running on the other hand is literally a slog through hell.

max-and-iThe heat was making me cranky. I needed to check my attitude and just cool off. So, I walked a good portion of the 8-10 hours of blazing sun. Max shared a few laps with me during this time.

Life Tip #2: Snow Cones and Popsicles are the BEST in 90 Degree heat.

Because I was walking with some running I started to chafe. BAD. EVERYWHERE. Tammy came to my rescue- I got yelled at for chaffing so bad. I had tried everything I knew. She introduced me to Bag Balm.

Life Tip #3: BAG BALM for EVERYTHING. Makes chaffing livable. Makes running tolerable.


Once the threat of rain had diminished and the temperature had started to decrease as night fell, I changed my whole outfit. It was absolutely amazing to have new, dry clothes on. The only thing I have ever changed in races before was just a top.

I had a surprise pacer, Sally, help me when I was in the worst mental space. It was hot, I was moody, I wasn’t putting in “enough” mileage, I was just a hot mess. She brought me back from the dead and got me moving again into the night again.

Kate swooped in and ran with me a bunch of laps, I was already over 120 when she joined img_3057me, so it was just keep moving and getting calories in me.

When Kate had to leave, Liz stepped in and we had a few GREAT laps together before I started to fall apart on her. She had the fun job of keeping me moving and getting me to eat. Liz also tattled on me that I wasn’t eating to the race director. I was drinking ½ a ginger ale every 1.5 miles, which is good calories, just not real food. But that lead to me having to PEE EVERY SINGLE LAP.

I got to 145 and was pumped- I had to keep a 16 minute pace to complete 160 miles. YA! I CAN DO THAT and we took off. Then out of NO WHERE tiredness hit me like a sack of potatoes. On the next lap, I told her that at 150, Ill take a 20 minute nap. At the end of that lap, I was falling asleep while moving. I took a nap on the ground while she babysat me. When I was woken up, it was like an out-of-body experience I could see my legs trying to stand up, but they were bricks on the ground. That was it. I finished that lap for 150 around 34 hours and called it a day.

I was kept on my toes the entire 34 hours by the Bello couple- Emily and Todd. They ran img_3049step for step with each other the ENTIRE race. It’s a testament to their relationship for the two of them to stay together through their highs and lows and not get snippy with each other.

The race was extremely well run and the Race Director and the volunteers took care of all the runners. The chip time and the computers worked perfectly. I always knew where I was and knew the mileage of 8-10 people around me.

The only negative thing- I had just run for 34 hours and I couldn’t eat anything. When I got home, I ended up going to urgent care because my throat hurt like hell. Leg pain and lung pain had nothing on the pain I was experiencing. Turns out my inhaler gave me an infection. Lesson learned for next time!

This race makes me 4 for 4 in course records achieved this year in races.

A huge thanks goes out to Max- for always being there for me in these outlandish races helping me accomplish my goals.

ALTRA: Paradigms- all the way. Every step of the 150 miles. Thank you for your zero drop,                  foot shaped shoes. 

TSTARRUNNING: 2 skirts kept me cute and comfortable. Won’t race without them! 

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Sole 24 HOUR Run

First Place Overall
121.07 miles
NEW female Course Record

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Fit Bit Stats: 208,550 steps .
Midnight Saturday: 123,050 steps
Sunday: 85500 steps

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I earned a $50 Walmart Gift card, Sweatshirt, Medal and the BEST TAN LINES EVER!

The course: HILLS- HILLS EVERYWHERE!  5 feet of shade in 93 degree heat.

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The certified course with my additions

 

This race report will be told through Quotes- mostly by me.  The last quote is my favorite.

“The marathoners look like they are dying”
Max, Adam and I drove up Saturday morning for the 10 am start time and we set up my aid station. The marathon was already in progress and seeing the desperation on their faces only 1.5 hours in made me realize just HOW hot it was this early in the day. The race got up to 93degrees.

“Hmmm- NO CHIP Timing”
SOLE 24 advertised chip timing, but there was nothing on our bibs, another runner asked and they said they were hand marking laps- I didn’t think anything of it. I did a track 24 hour and they hand wrote splits EVERY SINGLE QUARTER MILE, so every 1.5 miles shouldn’t be an issue.

“Well, I think you should”
My response when at 10 miles, I realized that the lap counter wasn’t looking at their watch as runners passed, only writing dashes. I asked as I ran by because it was still early enough to correct this mistake. I sent Max over there to talk with them. Upon my return, they said unless I could prove to them that lap splits were needed, they weren’t going to.

“Sir, I think you’re wrong”
 I took a minute to plead my case trying to be respectful to no avail. Adam and Max went on the internet trying to prove my point. .  I was already starting to feel the heat and became “hot and bothered” real quick. Another lap went by and they reassured me that it’s ok and were already here, so treat it like a long training run.

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Danny may have taken a nap in this in the wee hours of the night.

“No, I took this chair from my parents’ house-they won’t miss it”
The aid station in the middle of the course, on the surface, seemed unnecessary, however, the people there provided cooling and comic relief every time we passed.  Those Dixie cups of water dumped on the head were magical. It was also there to ensure people didn’t cut the course and verify lap numbers.

“We haven’t even run a marathon yet”
I had caught up to the young one who took off in the beginning.  We were both feeling the heat and starting to feel drained.


“Your suffering is almost over”

I was so jealous that they 6 Hour runners suffering would soon be over. I had finally hit 30 miles in 5:30.

“This Straw is Worthless”o
I emphatically tossed the straw with a hole in it on the ground while drinking my 5th Burger King Cherry ICEE. My estimations from my credit card statement is that I had at least 10 ICEES. My credit card got flagged because Max went back so many times.

“I should have been here 2 hours ago”
Lamenting on how long it took me to hit 50 miles. Usually, I hit 50 Miles around 7:40ish. As the day SLOWLY continued on, I kept my efforts easy and promised my legs that I would pick it up at night. The course was filled with sites of softball games, dogs chasing each other in the dog park, and free train rides around the area. CHOO CHOO.

“Bugs are committing suicide on my stomach”
Dusk arrived and all the gnats came out of hiding. I seriously had 50 plus gnats on my stomach and chest. GROSS!

“Since when does it stay light until 9p.m.?”
I realized that it stayed light (meaning the torturous sun beaming down melting rays of light) longer, but, seriously. Who knew?!? The darkness was a welcomed relief- however, the temperature stayed uncomfortably warm.

“I’m running NINJA STYLE”
No light needed. The course had almost enough light to run comfortably in the dark. Although, I think I was the only one with-out a light. I finally felt free to run my heart and legs out.

“WE ARE NO LONGER FRIENDS”

Reasons why races should have split times for runners-

There were a few discrepancies over mileage between my people and the officials’ 2. I hit “100 miles” 3 times. Seriously.

  • The first time- I misunderstood what lap was considered 100 miles and what lap I was currently on
  • A few laps later The middle aid station corrected me and told me I just hit 100 miles with that last completed lap-
  • They were wrong and the S/F aid station told me I had to go around one more time to hit 100.

The middle aid station was completely apologetic, but I might have stared daggers in the night at them and they still lost my friendship for 2 laps. I asked if I could have a vote in the matter- not allowed.

“NO- Don’t start chirping yet!”
Those birds started chirping around 4:30 am. That signals the start of the sunrise. The breathtakingly beautiful sunrise was met with silent curses.

“The course record is 116.98”
All I needed was 116.99 to achieve the new female course record. I would need 126ish for the men’s course record. I set my eyes on 117 miles.

“Egh- I’ve seen it all”
My response after a gentleman picked a wedgie in front of me- and turned around and realized I was there and looked extremely embarrassed.

“IT HURTS TO PEE”
At 110, I decided to take a potty break- WORST Decision of my life. I was in tears on the toilet- I pulled myself together. I yelled out for my TRAIL TOES, and when Max came over, tears ran down my face as I explained just how badly it hurt to pee. Chaffing was NO JOKE and I didn’t think to re-lube at all until it was too late. I lubed up and shuffled the rest of the lap and when I came in- I just broke down- blaming it on how much it hurt to pee, but in reality, I had had it, the laundry list of reason of how bad this race went for me had finally caught up to me emotionally.

“No -PACING is not ALLOWED”
I initially told Adam this, and then realized that others on course had pacers and I wasn’t going to hit 125, so no rule breaking there. He joined me for my last 3 laps as I picked up the pace. We finished and I wrote my number obnoxiously huge in chalk.

 finish                                                        “Go back there and run in”
The picture of me finishing- totally staged. After running for 24 hours, I needed to then run for a photo finish… I just laughed at the irony of the situation.

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“NO Grand-baby’s for YOU”
As someone who was recently married everyone is dying to know if there are any babies on the horizon, especially my parents. Before running the race, they asked if I ran enough miles to secure a top 6 spot on the 24 hour team, would I stop and have a baby after that competition. My mom texted me asking “How was the race?”. That was my reply.

I guess it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t run far enough to meet qualification standards, because it wouldn’t have counted. For a race to meet qualification standards it must have: “1) course distance certification, 2) course sanction by USATF or IAU label and 3) lap splits must be provided. As it stands, would an athlete have met qualifying distance, without the proper verification, the performance would not have counted toward qualification.”

I am truly thankful for my husband Max and friend Adam for sacrificing their weekend to IMG_2782help me come nowhere close to my goal run. They took care of me, kept me cool and encouraged me to stay in a good mood.

Thank you to my sponsors:

  • ALTRA:
    • Shoes: ALTRA Paradigms- Love these padded, comfortable shoes. I also wore them for my wedding.
    • Calf Sleeves
    • Shirts- ok, so I took my shirt off after 2 hours (and put a different one on for pictures), but I still love the shirt.
  • TSTARRUNNING Skirt- That skirt kept me happy the entire race- cool, breathable and comfortable.

 

Calories Consumed:

  • 3 scoops tailwind
  • 10 Large Burger King Cherry Ice’s
  • 1 Gallon of Strawberry Lemonade from Trader Joes
  • 1 Strawberry Lemonade PowerAde
  • 1 Liter of Mt. Dew
  • 1 5 Hour energy
  • Lots of handfuls of pretzels.
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Pistol 100- 2016

First Female, Second Overall      

CR/ PR at 15:47:06       

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The Back Story: The Pistol Ultra Races introduced a new elusive award this year: the Double Barrel Award. Initially it was for runners who completed the 50K in the morning and then the 50 miler at night. However, someone brought up that a few others and myself could potentially run the 100K and then the 50 miler and still finish in time. The thought crossed my mind, but I wasn’t going to run over 100 miles with out getting a belt buckle for it. I jokingly said to Will,  I would run the 100M and then the 50 miler for that trophy. He worked with the timing company to allow for a late start and this opportunity was mine for the taking. I hesitantly signed up- thinking it would be a good opportunity to push through more miles that were not constrained to a 24-hour time limit. It was decided- I would do 15- 10 mile (almost USATF certified) loops under 30 hours.

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Awesome swag

The drive down was uneventful. 6.5 hours of primarily highway 81. We (Max, Ashley, and I) arrived at the high school just in time for the briefing. The entrants swag is some of the best I have ever received. PLUS for WOMEN- the shirts they give you are women’s cut! I ate my packable dinner at the hotel and hit the sack at 9:15p.m.

WHACK!!!!– I was startled awake by my loving sister whaling a pillow at my head. My alarm being softer than anticipated didn’t do the trick. The car was covered with ICE- it was colder than I anticipated, but I knew it would warm up.  At 8:00 we were off.

The course was similar to last year. The 100 miler/ 50 milers didn’t need to go around a park after Woody’s Aid station, instead they touched the timing mat and turned around. This mileage was made up by running UP THE HILL to the high-school- it’s a gentle grade, but no doubt a hill late in the race. Even though last years course had a short steep hill into the finish- I think this year’s course was more challenging because the hill was so long (for a road 100… let be clear this would not be anything to mention in a Mountain 100 miler.)

Loop 1: I ran (no hill walking) the entire first lap with Greg Armstrong. We ran the first part of the lollipop (9 miles out to another aid station and back to start/ finish, I made the chawe2fixedcomment, “Oh cool we wont have to go into that park and do that hill.” I was wrong. I got back to Max and got a new bottle. As we crossed the start/ finish for the start of the second loop, Greg asked what my watch said, “11.07”, his said “11.09”, another persons said “11.1”.

*** Spoiler alert:*** The course was revised later in the race. I spoke with Will and he feels terrible about what happened and the distress it caused the runners. He has promised that the course distance issues will be taken care of for all future events and it will read closer to what GPS watches read.

Immediately, My mind started racing. How was I supposed to run 165 miles in 30 hours? I was already nervous about my ability to reach 150 miles in 30 hours. I thought of how pathetic this is compared the great runners like Katy, Traci and Maggie who were all around 150 miles in 24 hours and I aspire to be like them one day… BUT I’m not there YET. I was devastated- how was I going to run 165 miles in 30 hours. It was only another 15 miles- but when my legs are exhausted- there was no way.

Loop 2: I started implementing my hill walking strategy for a few of the longer hills. Each hill was only given 10 seconds walk break (if it took that long) if the hill was longer than that I would run the rest of it. Our pace quickened while we chatted about the course. I realized this after a few miles and said I need to slow down if I’m going to be running this long. I had to take a potty break and lost Greg at this point. I tried to catch back up, but decided that would be stupid.

Loop 3: I was stressed- Dr. Horton made a big deal that I was going to run 150 miles in the prerace meeting and I didn’t want to disappoint others. I started thinking of just forgoing the 50 miler. Usually when I run- I don’t think, it’s a Zen state of mind, but I was all in my head.

Loop 4: Meltdown anyone?!? I was on the verge of tears when I ran into Horton and

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The new puppy Dakota! He has gotten much bigger since the race.

expressed my frustration. His advice is direct and to the point and slapped me into shape. “It is what it is, you cant change it- don’t think, just run” Off I went thinking of puppies (my neighbor just got one) and hot chocolate.

Loop 5: My Meltdown got communicated back to Max and he was there ready to run this loop with me. This was the best surprise ever- just what I needed. As someone who runs on USATF certified courses often- I usually hit 50 miles around 7:40ish. Here I was at 8:26. Max and I brainstormed about what to do. Do I run for 30 hours and risk DNF’ing? Do I run for 24 hours and see if I had any improvement in my previous mileage? 165 was just too much to comprehend so we decided that it wasn’t worth the exhaustion and stress on the body to do it.

Loop 6: I changed into my warmer night clothes. I asked where/ who 2nd was, but its hard pweinzap6-fixedto tell with this course unless they are within 10-15 minutes of you. Once that decision was made- the weight of the world was off of me -Sweet relief. I was so much happier- I decided to start hammering down and picked up the pace.

Loop 7: Reached 75 Garmin miles in 12 hours- Thought “hey that’s pretty fast!”. I chatted with Kathy for a few minutes around the turn around spot. Ran into Gray hanging out at the aid station and vented a little to him and told him that I wasn’t going for the 150 any more. I left the aid station and got about ½ mile away before I hear someone screaming my name and pounding behind me. Gray was at the aid station when they were radioed that there was a course revision. ONLY 9 LOOPS for the 100 miler now! “I just ran my ass off to catch you and tell you” And for that Gray, I am forever grateful. I was Elated, I mean I shouted it from the rooftops to every single runner that I saw and I ran faster. I looked at my watch and realized that a sub 16 hour was possible.

Loop 8: I hammered, hammered, hammered- seriously, I had to remind myself to take it easy and to walk a few of the hills. I was in such a hurry to get through my crew stop ran through my personal aid station, forgetting about the hand warmers I packed. Just when I was telling myself to man up about my cold fingers- Stacy Bolyard offered me her hand warmer. Destiny! Much gratitude for those. I saw Greg and he looked strong for his final loop. I knew I couldn’t catch him, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try

Loop 9. Max showed me a small bag of broken peanut butter saltines- I fiercely grabbed a handful of broken pieces and shoved half of them in my mouth. I ran my heart out. Every single hill and mile this last loop was run with reckless abandon. I readjusted my water bottle and later realized in the process of that I had dropped all of my cracker pieces. I came into Woodies the second time and grabbed a few potatoes and choked them down on the way out. Coming around for the final lollipop, I looked at my watch and was 15:45 possible?- maybe… until that DAMN hill in the park. I kept running. Coming into the finish I saw 15:46: 54, (You’ve got this) 55 (C’mon legs), 56 (RUN FASTER, DAMMIT), 57 (I should’ve done more sprint workouts), 58 MOVE LEGS, 59- awww crap.IMG_1787-fixed

15:47:06

1784fixedI was rushed into the tent and given a space blanket. They asked if I was going to go for the 50 and I told them honestly that if the course revision would have come at loop 4, or even loop 5- I wouldn’t be in this tent. I would be out starting the 50-mile race. While I struggled with the stress of disappointing people, THIS CR/PR time of 15:47 makes up for it. I was 100%content in leaving and I had left every ounce of energy out on the course. I thought I had peaked last year with my 16:24 here. Now- could I have continued to run ?– yes- but the BONK would have come and it would have been awful.

After shivering through pictures, I was put in the heating tent to warm up a little bit. I didn’t realize how cold it had gotten because I was keeping myself warm by running. I changed clothes, took advantage of the free 5 minute massage. We left at 1am for the drive back. It took 7.5 hours, each taking turns driving through the night (even I took 2 1.5 hour shifts). Getting in a car for that long after a race is rough.

This is an Excellent run race. One of the premier Road 100 milers in the country- no doubt.

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More Freebies!

 

It is the perfect race for someone’s first 100. The loops have the perfect amount of flat runnable and forced walk breaks. Will is somehow everywhere at once taking care of issues, runners and putting out fires. The aid and encouragement on course is comparable to a VHTRC event- and that is saying a lot. The swag alone for this race is a reason to run it. He and his wife, Gail, are thoughtful in giving things that runners can and will actually use.

 

Even though there was initially a hiccup in the distance- I will definitely be back for that double barrel 100M +50M award. It will all depend on my standings in the 24 hour races, if it will be 2017 or 2018.

I am always grateful for my sponsors:

TSTARRUNNING- your skirts are cute, chaffe free and functional.

Altra: Thank you for having me back as an ambassador. My feet loved the Paradigms 1.5’s in this race.

Honey Stinger- chews. yum.


 

Additionally I would like to give a shout out to ALTRA, Tailwind, Injinji, and Orange Mud- your sponsorship of this race is awesome and I appreciate my rewardsIMG_1859VZM.IMG_20160224_165017

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Old Dominion 100 -2015 style

21:39- 2nd Female and 9th OA

I don’t usually struggle to get back to running, but after my recent 24hr venture, my knee hurt. I am very aware of soreness verses actual pain… This was real pain. I chalked it up to racing 231 miles in a span of 13 days and took a full week off, but it took a month- 4 WHOLE weeks -before I felt confident in my knee and that I could actually go through with my plans of running Old Dominion 100 for the 3rd time. 7 days out, I got a hotel- I was running.

I knew I wouldn’t win. My main goal was to Buckle- to PR would be nice, but with out OD specific training and my knee issues- I knew anything could happen. Also, my heart was sad for this race- one of my friends 8 month old baby girl just got diagnosed with liver cancer. Little “Miraculous Marjorie” was on my mind, and I said a prayer for her every time I took a walk break.

The race starts off at lightning speed through town and MAN was it MUGGGGGGYYYYY- arriving at the guardrail on the first long climb, Dave and I started to walk. Within minutes, Kathleen came zooming by, and I never saw her again. We are hiking with a purpose but still chatting, and all of a sudden, a female comes running by me (internally- “run my own race”), and a few minutes later, ANOTHER woman was running up the mountain. I mean we are talking a serious incline here! I voiced my frustration, it would be easy at 4 miles, to bound up this mountain, but I knew what was coming, I needed to Run my own race! By the first trail section, I was back in second place to stay for the remainder of the race.

11406923_939976379381995_6247199012035706887_nThe first 20 miles was a whirlwind that I ran with Dave H., I was 6 minutes faster coming into that aid station than previous year. Max and others helped me get my pack on and with a bit of miscommunication, he told me Dave had already left, so I DARTED out of there and picked up my pace to catch him, only to realize a mile down the road, there was no one in sight.

When I run ultras- I know what I want and when I want it. I gave Max a detailed list of what I needed at each aid station to make his life easier. I arrived at mile 32, 20 minutes ahead of schedule- feeling great. As I was eating my avocado the conversation went like this:

          Me: Where are my poles?
          Max: You said you needed them at mile 32
          Katie K, Bob, and I all at the same time: THIS IS MILE 32!!!!

OOPSIES—Luckily the car was only 1 minute away running- so I didn’t loose too much time and I knew I needed them for the next section. But in all seriousness, Im so lucky to have a devoted fiancé who will come out and crew for me and support me when needed.

Having never eaten an avocado before when racing- I really liked my stomachs ability to down it and go. I have been trying* to become more “fat adapted” in life in hopes that it would help my running- key word “trying”. Have you ever had chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joes- so addicting!!! The avocado calories really carried me through the distances where I didn’t see my crew for a while. I did notice that for 10-15 minutes after I ate the avocado, my running energy decreased a bit- digestion is worth long sustained energy. I had a total of 4 avocado’s during the race. If I would have brought more- I would have eaten them.

Heading into the trail section around mile 35, I slipped on a rock and tweaked my knee- 11220814_939976372715329_7411550878872390560_nNo biggie right? Just down a few Alieve and be on my way. Duncan Hollow was extremely overgrown- and being allergic to all things green in nature, when I arrived back at my crew at mile 47- It looked like I had gotten in a fight with the forest- and let me tell you- it won. My legs and arms were cut up and scratched and I had already started to develop a rash that ITCHED.

My favorite part of the race was the 51 mile aid station- After a long, exposed road section- They know how to treat runners- I left with 2 blue ice pops that just made me high on life. SO high that in the road section I almost STEPPED on a Rattle Snake hanging out in the middle of the road- I screamed, like any girl would do in this situation. What’s worse in the following 30 minutes I saw 3 more Rattlers laid out sun bathing on the side of the road. I’m glad THEY can enjoy the sun, meanwhile I was PARANIOD for the rest of the race.

The 8 mile- 4 wheeler section from Edinburg to Little Fort made me apprehensive. I have gotten used to ATV’s zooming by me, there is plenty of room for both of us. However, there was this one creepy blue work van that I thought was going to hit me. I stopped as they tried to go up and over, their wheels kept spinning out and slipping, while I am quickly reversing as fast as I could. They looked high, I was glad when I was finally able to get around them.

At mile 64.25- I was an hour ahead of my pace from last year. At mile 65- I hit a low. Have you ever had that feeling where, you just don’t FEEL like running? It was a 5 mile road section that I walked in its entirety and sulked. My knee hurt, my legs itched, it was hot- Ryan Nebel found me sitting in a chair at mile 69.5 and fortunately, he brought me back to life.

I weighed in at Elizabeths Furnace- 5 lbs down. I picked up Gray W., who I am truly grateful for, for driving out last minute to RUN, no—, HIKE, ergh- to proceed with “forward motion” for 11 strenuous and technical miles.

There is no more trail after 87 miles. I started to get a bit more energy back. A sigh of relief came over me when I reached the top of Woodstock Tower- while my knee was killing me, I was still able start jog down the mountain. Coming through the aid stations, I shouted out the street names for verification of running through town. Last year, I felt lost- the turns weren’t marked well at all. This year there were BRIGHT FLASHING LIGHTS!!! A great upgrade!

20150607_014036While I am truly happy with my second place finish, I am disappointed in how I executed my race. One too many risks cost me a slower time by 42 minutes. My generation is known for the needs of instant gratification and I fell victim to that mindset. Also, I need to man-up when I hit my lows. I know I am capable of a faster time on this course, it will just have to be another year.

Thank you to my sponsors:

Honey Stinger: your all natural energy chews kept me energized.

Altra Running– I have over 600 miles on my Olympus 1.5’s and they are still going strong

TSTARRUNNING These skirts- if you don’t have one, you are REALLY missing out and the sheer comfort.

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VA 24 Hour- Take 2

11156259_830270370093_1644216624530244923_n-2131 miles in 24 hours, a new VA state record, a new course record

I didn’t have any specific goal going into this race, other than to fall in love with running again.

And we are off!

And we are off!

I went down sans pacer and crew as Max had an upcoming engineering test. I was Luckily, I tented up with Perry and Crystal Rapp, and she helped me get in and out of my aid station and write down my loop times.

In summary, it rained for 21/ 24 of the hours that we were running. Most people know that I will happily run on the treadmill when it is raining because there is nothing worse in life than being cold and wet. kathleen and I

I had just read Tracy Falbo’s Worlds race report and was inspired that she ran an 8:50pace just about the whole time- If a woman who was 2nd place in the WORLD could keep an 8:50 pace, I had absolutely no business going out any faster than that.

Apparently, I have a thing for racing in the rain- When I looked at the weather, it said rain at 3pm, I was mentally ready for that. Therefore when it started raining around 10a.m., I was flummoxed. The negativity was running rampant in my head while my legs struggled to keep up. I always hit a low point around 22 miles and rain just compounded that. edit“Why God, why… I mean really, REALLY- I already had a crappy race 2 weeks ago?!?”

Running a 3.75 mile loop allowed me to strategically think about when walk breaks would be allowed. The loop is large enough that taking a walk break in the same spot every lap wouldn’t hurt, but help mentally. Around 30 miles I started to allow myself to walk the two wooded bridges on the back side of the course- One was a 7 second break, the other was a 12 second break. The bridges had a slight incline/ decline and as runners muddied it up, my hip flexors thanked me for the walk break.

I started to make deals with myself- I wasn’t allowed to quit until I ran as much as my11187795_617745861660438_4784040722082277548_o hotel cost. $62. 62 miles a nice 100k. I needed to run dollar for dollar what I spent to come to this race. Loop after loop, “run as much as your hotel cost”.

Around 3.p.m. when the rain was supposed to start, I had already compromised both of my houdini’s and was wearing my hard shell as the rain turned from a constant sprinkle to an outright pour. Because of this, the trail started to develop puddles in the middle. Right by the water spot in the middle of the loop I added another 12 second walk break (the length of time it took me to walk on the puddles edges).

11174423_617735541661470_6992259421521461209_oLaps 18, 19, and 20- Steve Speirs came dangerously close to lapping me, he just kept getting closer and closer. He lapped me many times the year prior, but there was something in me that might have pushed- a race with in a race- NOT TO get LAPPED!!! Lap 21, steve took a longer pit stop and there was no more danger of getting lapped- Phew!

About 12 hours into the race, John Olszyk became my personal time keeper and crew. I had run just about 75 miles and I felt strong- I knew I could get to 120 again- I just didn’t have finger dexterity to do anything! He seriously was a life saver! I kept trucking along…

The course got worse and worse, the whole back side of the course was under water and a

Robin and I- such a great encourager!

Robin and I- such a great encourager!

huge mud pit. I learned early that you must run tangents. Many runners took the extra time and care not to dunk their shoes in the water. I didn’t care- my feet were drenched, and running around the puddles in the mud just made my hip flexors work harder for the same amount of mileage. So I trampled right through the puddles. At this point there were 4 ankle deep puddles. When ever I felt sore, and I started feeling sore early- I repeated a mantra inadvertently given to me by Joe Fejes 2 weeks prior at Blind Pig: “Theres something to be said about muscle memory, there’s something to be said about muscle memory.

Before nightfall, when the temperatures plummeted- I changed into a long sleeve shirt- while I was standing there in my sports bra drying off, someone offered a chair by a heater in their tent- OHHH the temptation!!

At mile 90, I decided that as a reward to myself, at 101.25, I could finally have my ipod… A major change that I had in this race compare to other 24 hour races, was a change in mindset.

I hit 100 miles a tad after 17 hours.

  • Dia De Los Muertos: Oh sh*t, I still have to run for 7 hours, and proceeded to freak out.
  • VA24hr: “You only have 7 hours left to kick some booty”

I get to mile 101.25 and turn on my ipod- nothing, nada, the worthless thing had gotten compromised by rain and that really upset me. I sat down for the first time. Frustrated I left. When my ipod wasn’t available, I decided as a reward, I would let myself walk for 12 seconds after the porto-potty on the straight mile+ that is next to I-64. Well damned if my body didn’t take advantage of my minds generosity, because I started walking at that porto-potty and didn’t start running again until the left turn. Sometimes the will power to start running again is hard to find that if you just keep moving. #kinetic energy for the win. I forbid myself from walking at all on that section after that.

DSC_0453At some point in the night, I came up on 2 people, I said on your left, she went left- I improvised, went right- She realized what I said- went right – my fast twitch muscles were shot, my legs couldn’t react in time and I collided into her- Im SO SO sorry to whoever that was*

I reached 120 miles at 21:32- “you still have 2.5 hours to kick some booty”. Every lap I came in and sat down for a minute or so- I needed to get some calories in me, and with out risking upsetting my stomach, it seemed like the best option but know there are miles in that time to gain.

Finally, I had reached 127.5 miles and I could switch to partial loops. I was finally done with the “shoe shucking sh*t” – Slurred words is normal at this point right?. I started to slack some, walking more than I was running-Out and back, out and back- I reached 131 miles with 6 minutes left and knowing I couldn’t get another mile in, I happily sat down.

Now- whats harder, running for 24 hours or then driving 3 hours home alone in traffic?!? Luckily, I had 5hr energy coursing through my veins.

Even though this race wasnt in the qualification window- it gives me confidence that- maybe, just MAYBE- making the US National 24 hour team is possible.

A HUGE thank you to my sponsors:

  • ALTRA RUNNING- Im so proud to be called an ambassador- The Olympus 1.5 was THE shoe on my feet for 24 hours!
  • Honey Stinger- Your chews and protein bars ROCK
  • TSTARRUNNING- I look adorable and Chaffe free- which says ALOT in 21 hours of rain
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