Fast Track 24 Hour

“She Believed She Could- So She Did”

Fast TRack Collage.jpg

pic credit: Chris Thompson

10th fastest 100 mile time by a U.S. Woman (14:50:28)
8th Best 24 HR performance by a U.S. Woman (146.87 Miles)

Before the Race and Training:

I completely changed how I trained for this 24 Hour compared to previous races. I focused more on speed work and speedier long runs. Every Wednesday- My goal was to run as far on the treadmill as I could before it timed out on me (4.5 hours). When I started- I WAS SO MAD because I was aiming for a 50K but only reached 30 miles before it unexpectedly turned off. However- as my training improved I was able to get 35 miles in 4:30 by the end of my training cycle.

ft1I also did a lot of mental training, meditation, and visualization in order to prepare my mind and body for how much discomfort and pain that I would be in. The book: “The Brave Athlete- Calm the F*ck Down”, is one of the BEST Sports Psychology books that I have ever read and recommend it to everyone. I’m a bit of a nerd and it has the scientific background that appeals to my desire to learn- but also brings it down to a more understandable and relate-able level. For this race, I also decided that every hour I would focus on a word. I kept my word list and pace chart in the side pocket of my TSTARRUNNING skirt.
While I told people this race would be “testing my fitness level” I really wanted to perform well. After tearing my hamstring and having a heart breaking day at my last 24 hour race- I mentally needed a good race.  I worried that I was a one hit wonder and that my run in New Jersey would be the best my body was capable of.

There’s a special place in Hell for people who go to work sick. My immune system sucks and I have habitually low white blood cell count which means when I get sick- my body can’t fight it off on its own. I came down with Bronchitis the week I was planning to peak (so I pushed it).  Not only did I feel like I was dying- I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. Hives, puking, and being so dizzy I couldn’t walk- let alone run was frustrating!

IMG_2079I peaked at 170 miles. 150 of them were on a treadmill. The only reason 20 was outside was because it was Christmas and the gym was closed. I love the treadmill- most of my training was done on a treadmill.

Bronchitis came back with a vengeance and I was on another round of antibiotics ending a few days before the race (they drained all my energy), and WORRIED that it would affect my ability to race. In addition to that my doctor told me the cough could take up to 6 weeks to clear. UGH! Being able to breathe is important!

Race Day:

sonic slushie

Sonic Strawberry Slushie for the pre-race hydration win!

Race Location: Palatka High School Track, Florida- the biggest difference between a track race and almost any other venue is you can see everyone and everyone can see you THE WHOLE TIME. I have a rule when I come into aid stations (on the trail) – no matter how bad I feel- always smile or fake being focused to never let anyone know the struggle. On a track there is no hiding.

The race started and like every other 24 hour I started too fast. I had two GPS watches and neither were computing my mile splits as it was reflected on the timing system (about 10 seconds faster per mile than what I was seeing). I tried to slow down- but my legs locked into the pace and my heart rate was exactly where I needed it to be- so I went with it.

timeThe race advertised track side bathrooms- I thought that meant a porta-potty in lane 3- it was a 30 step walk to a building off to the side of the track. AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. So after I saw guy disappear into the trees- I too made my first of many trips to properly water the flora near the Palatka Track.


I’m pretty sure that I left a trail of snot in every inch of lane 1- My nose was running faster than my legs were and when I coughed my whole body reverberated. Max relayed constant messages from my friend Bob- “Wipe your boogers”- he’s always looking out for me. There was so much snot. I ran with paper towels and buffs for the sole purpose of wiping my nose.

Around Mile 20- I took a 6 second walk break every mile. I’m not sure why I chose 6 seconds- but it felt right. It was mentally refreshing that I could stop and walk every mile and something I looked forward to.

Mile 30 the Ice bandanna came out. While it wasn’t sweltering- it was warmer than what I wanted. My heat training of wearing LAYERS upon LAYERS running for hours on the treadmill definitely helped.

tracey pic running fast!

pic credit:Tracey Outlaw

At mile 40- I started my soda routine. Every 10 miles I would get an ice cold diet soda. It was so refreshing. But it also meant that Max had to be attentive to me for 7-8 laps in a row while we traded bottles back and forth.

My goal was to run 20 miles in 3 hours over and over again (this was something that I can do day after day in training-but I have never actually done in a race). I got to 80 miles (before 12 hours) and I realized-Im actually doing it! This was either going to be an epic run or I was going down in a blaze of glory- either way I ran with joy and was having so much fun! I also imagined that people were taking bets on how bad I would bonk.


When I realized that I could break 15 hours in the 100 miler- I may have gotten a little excited and started to run faster. This was a really bad mistake on my part. In order to have more endurance later in the race I need to SLOW DOWN!!! My previous best 100 mile time was my split at NJ24 of 15:41. I had a 51 minute PR! When I crossed the line in 14:50:28- I had a Shalane Flanagan “F*cK Yea!” moment- followed by an immediate thought of “oh dear- I still need to run for 9 hours.” But it does make me wonder- How fast COULD I run 100 miles???

100 mile bfunky

If you haven’t watched the last 10 minutes of the New York City Marathon-the happiness she expresses at the finish line is priceless.

I ran decently for another 2 hours and then around hour 17 the pain and the constant need to pee set in. I went through my mantras and tried to be nice to myself. I grabbed my ipod and turned the music so loud to try and drown out the negativity that was running rampant in my head.

26993862_10213916536720064_8454655196350579275_nThen, I turned into the worst person on the planet. Tensions were high, we were both tired, I was in a lot of pain, and I was becoming progressively needy as time dragged on. I was getting increasingly frustrated with Max because he couldn’t find the positive comments that were being left for me for my white board- that finally I lost it and yelled at him and said some not so nice things. He yelled back and I’m fortunate that he didn’t leave me on the track alone to fend for myself. It’s hard because we are most vulnerable around the people we love the most.  I would NEVER snap at a friend the way I snapped at Max. We talked about it a few days after the race- where I apologized (again) for my words and actions, but we decided for the health and longevity of our relationship that I need an additional person or two to help out with 100 mile/ 24 hour races. It’s just too much to ask one person to be “On” and “attentive” to my needs for 24 hours.

A few laps later I had an EPIC meltdown. I was really hoping that I wouldn’t cry- but I lost it and balled my eyes out while Tracey Outlaw gave me a much needed hug. For 3-4 hours I walked more than I ran. I had a mid-life crisis on the track- things got so dark. Its amazing what the human body will do when you are in so much physical pain. My brain attacked every insecurity I had and it wreaked havoc on my emotional ability to stay focused- all to avoid feeling my throbbing feet, burning legs and sore hips. As I was spiraling deep into my own personal hell- it started to rain. I swear- I get rained on almost every race. I asked someone- what is this nonsense and how long will it last?

As I was walking (with zero internal motivation to run) Tracey kept motioning for me to run- If looks could kill- that man would be dead MANY times over.

Im pretty sure the people that were left on the track at 5AM appreciated me repeating, “Get your SHIT together Megan” over and over again. Time for being nice to myself was over. With about 2 hours to go, “Keep on Dreaming, Even if It Breaks Your Heart” by Eli Young band came on my ipod and I kept pressing repeat. That song has gotten me through a lot this past year and it was just the kick in the pants I needed to run more.

I realized Maggie’s 2015 WC distance of 146.2 was in reach- but it would be close. That became my goal because I knew it would get me on the All Time List.

I grabbed my flag with mere seconds to go. I ran as hard as my little legs could. I took my

finishing the race.

pic credit: David Christy

music out to make sure I could hear the whistle. When the whistle blew- my legs just collapsed out from under me. I could FINALLY stop. There are no words for how much pain I was experiencing (My poor feet have never looked so bad after a race). Tears of all emotions flooded my eyes: happiness was mixed with disappointment, throbbing muscles, and frustration that it would not be enough to make the team.

Unfortunately, I’m in the same position as last year- where I could be easily bumped into the first alternate position again. But at least I know that I gave everything that I had this race. It’s a confidence booster because I know that I have 150 miles in me. I just need to better control my emotions and pace myself. Baby steps.

Pete came over and offered me banana to which I promptly spit out. I was almost carried over to my crew area I tried to drink some Gatorade- I immediately threw that up. While I didn’t puke during the race(Can I get a huge Hallelujah, Praise JESUS!- that is a freaking miracle)- My stomach was DONE. After the awards- I limped to the warm bathroom to change out of my wet and stinky clothes. I know what it feels like to be on the verge of passing out and after seeing that I was peeing blood I knew that I should not be behind a locked door in case I did. So I crawled out and sat on the floor while Max cleaned up our crew area.  I’m thankful for Wendy in finding me a trash can so I didn’t puke all over their floor. I took a zophran to no avail.

finishThe stomach problems did not end there. “PULL OVER”  was a repeated phrase on the drive to the aiport. I lost my stomach on the side of the road,  in a Mexican restaurant bathroom (water and rice seemed like a good idea), and in a parking lot where we took a nap. I showed up to the airport a hot mess. The TSA agent asked me to raise my arms above my head (ha- I put them on my shoulders). It’s amazing how SORE my arms were.

Thanks to my support team and Sponsors:
My husband: He supports and crews for my crazy running dreams
Tracey Outlaw: He became my second crew and cheerleader
Chris Thompson Photographer: His Photography skills are top notch- anytime a race                                                                     photographer can get a running picture where i don’t                                                                 look like a hot mess is SKILL!
AltraRunning:  I wore my Pardigms and they did not disappoint
Tstarrunning: Looking FABulous as Always in my skirt- no Chaffing, comfortable, and                                   POCKETS
Drymax– Socks you can run for 24 hours in and not get a blister.
XOskin– top notch compression gear

Food Consumed:
43 scoops of Tailwind
9 Diet Pepsi Zero Sugar (MAX)
1 small cup of mashed potatoes
2 hours worth of Ginger-ale

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Thanks to Bob Hearn for this data!



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Kodiak 100- My first West Coast 100!

BeFunky CollagestartKodiak 100 traverses around Big Bear Lake in Southern California, however, while in places scenic, you don’t get to see the lake much at all. There is an accompanying 50 Mile and front and back 50K. The average altitude is at 7000 and the race peaks at 10k and dips to 4K. Being from the East coast, I didn’t think that the course was very technical- yes there were some rocks and some scree but nothing that made me curse its existence. As someone who is not local to the area- I was not ready for how exposed, hot, and arid everything was. There was no shade because there are no trees! I should have utilized the sauna more in training.

Finish- DONE
Beat Course Record- DONE
Finish sub 24hrs- NOPE

My race themes:
“Oh God, PLEASE let me be on the right trail”
“Great- I ran out of water again”

The race started at 9:00 am- and of course I was up at 5 because my body was still on EST. This allowed for plenty of pre-race coffee, rice cakes and potty time. We were fitted with a SPOT tracker (which is really cool for spectating). The first 7 miles went by quickly and then we started our first major climb up a fire road at altitude. While I’m not great at running up hills because of my asthma, I’ve worked really hard to be a fast power hiker. My climbing was NOT on point during this race. I was 8 miles in and I was questioning my fitness level and if I was going to finish. My heart rate monitor said 185 as I was being passed walking pain painstakingly slow up the mountain. I had to slow down. The altitude was killing my lungs. I also ran out of water 3 miles from the aid station (12), which became a common theme. There was only 1 aid station the entire race I ran into with water still in my pack. I started to carry smaller bottles with me.

Mile 20-31: I was hot, sunburned and salty- The medical volunteer Steve sprayed me down with sunblock. I hadn’t thought to put any on because when I think mountains- I think trees and shade! The roundtrip up and down SugarLoaf Mt was 11 miles with one tiny creek crossing. By the time I had reached the top (10K), I was slightly dizzy and had run out of water- thankfully another runner offered me some of his and down I went. This is where my East Coast running helped. While there were rocks, I was able to dance and actually pass people on the descent. I stopped and dipped my hat in the creek and made it to the aid station.

Crewed Aid station time was critical to get right because of how long between aid
21231296_10210530738044578_3971956665162579804_nstations you saw your crew. It ranged from 11-27 miles (ok there was one 3 mile section but that was really early). I made a check list and followed it.

Mile 31-42.5: Lots of turns, fire roads, and asphalt. It was also hotter than hell as the mid day sun beat down. The first place girl was over an hour ahead of me and I was making the decision to slow down even more to save my stomach and legs.  Everyone kept talking about how technical Dead Man’s Ridge was- I didn’t even realize I went through it until later when someone told me. There was scree- but my Altra Timps and my hiking poles kept me upright! I arrived at mile 38 Burn Canyon and to men were there to greet me.

Me: Do you have ice, please?
Them: No
Me: Well… That… um… (Looking for a word other than sucks)
Them: Sucks- That totally sucks- you don’t have to tell us that.
Me: Yes, that is unfortunate. I start inhaling orange slices (I ate at least 2 whole oranges)
Them: Ill start cutting up more oranges
Me: Sorry- I must have worked up an appetite getting to you 🙂

73683122-8N9A3794I grabbed another orange slice and thanked them for their time. Fueled with a whole bunch of fructose- I continued down the trail. I don’t think I saw any other runner this entire section.

Mile 42.5-69: When I arrived at the Dump- I took my time getting ready for the next 27 miles where I would not see Max. I changed my clothes, downed a soda, and packed jacket and a headlight. I asked for far 1st was in front of me and all Max could say was focus on securing 2nd… that far huh?  It was from this section on where the course markings really gave me trouble. I had heard that this course had inadequate marking, but was promised that it would be improved upon. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted standing looking for markers, countless MILES back tracking, or waiting for someone to come up behind me to verify that I was on the right route, and at one point I said F*#$ it and climbed through barb wire to get back on course. The course markings that were used at night were a reflective piece that was smaller than a AAA battery that blew with the wind- almost impossible to see.

I got to 50 miles at 8pm and turned on my headlight. And at that point I thought I was on course to go sub 24. The sun had gone down and it finally felt good to run. Much of this section is runnable. However there are so many turns that you have to keep an eye out for.73683123-IMG_4794.JPG

I researched all the perilous creatures I could encounter and what to do if I ran into one. Possible sightings: ill-intentioned Humans, Bears, Rattle Snakes, Cats (Ie Mountain Lions ect). I felt so lucky that I got through the day with ZERO snake sightings and no creepy humans.  As I was bee bopping down the fire road by myself, all of a sudden I see 2 eyes staring at me. I reach my arms as HIGH as they would go, start praying and backing up slowly. (Scrambling Thoughts: I passed a runner 5 minutes ago- they will be here soon, Im not a good dinner- there’s not much meat on my bones, this really can’t be the end of my race? My life? God help please!) Then a headlight flashed on. It was a tired runner who was taking a nap on a rock on the side of the trail. The eyes? Reflectors on his water pack… I ran by him and told him he scared the crap out of me.

It was during this section that I was told that if I was going to catch 1st it would be during 69-79 Siberia Canyon because she was scared of heights. My immediate thought was, that odd- you cant see anything at night, why would you be scared. That thought came back to bite me in my ass.

Around mile 66– my headlight broke. While Im not afraid of the dark, Im afraid of what could happen in the dark- I was alone on single track trail and it was pitch black. There was 3 miles until the aid station. I had a mini panic attack and temper tantrum and while I was walking flung my light on the ground. It TURNED ON! A Miracle. Only to turn off again once I started running. I finagled it and if I held it a certain way it would stay on for a few minutes before I had to readjust. I came into the aid station cursing, having a breakdown- “This piece of shit headlamp” and up walks my cousin- who came to surprise me in the middle of the night to cheer me on and to see me finish. UltraRunning is not always unicorns and rainbows.

Mile 69-79: This is a trail that has never seen a day of trail work. My legs got cut up from21230897_10210530749084854_2826142427419861859_n all the briers.  The first mile was aiming for the arrows and bushwhacking through a self-determined trail. This is a 4.5 mile down and 5.5 mile up section. I got down to the bottom of the canyon and there was a water jug- I filled up because I knew this would take a while. The man there said 1st lady was only 15 minutes ahead of me. I had made up significant time in those 4.5 miles. Then the climb up.  I wish I had a pacer for safety from 69-79. Siberia Canyon going up was the scariest thing I have ever done- while I might not be scared of heights- you better believe I am scared of falling off the mountain. The trail was very narrow sugar sand trail that one wrong step, they would need the spot tracker to find my body. I couldn’t tell if I fell, if it would be 100 feet or 1000’s of feet down.  Maybe if I had seen this section in daylight, I wouldn’t have been so fearful. I would look up and wonder if the lights I saw were stars or other runners headlights. There was SO much climbing. My lungs were not happy- my legs wanted to go, but I just couldn’t breathe. And the downed trees- These aren’t your East coast maples- these are humongous trunks that were chest high across the trail. I rolled over them on my side, backward, forwards, headfirst trying to find the best strategy.

I think because my mind was stressed out about falling off the mountain, my body tensed up and my stomach started to get nauseous. It was about this time I caught 1st girl. She was heading the wrong way on the trail. It was about .1 of a mile from where she should have turned and we ran a little together. I knew at this point I needed to throw up to feel better. I did but then I ran out of water and had to slog it out to the aid.

79-87.5: I sat down for the first time. I needed to just calm my nerves down. I took 10 minutes to regroup and eat saltines. I left with 50oz of Ginger Ale in my pack. I stayed within 8 minutes of 1st through this section. These were my calories for the rest of the race.

87.5- 100: Got another 50oz of Ginger Ale and tried to push myself, but my lungs had enough. I forget how many times I took my inhaler during this race, but it was more than advised. While I usually pee 3-4 times in a 100 miles, these last 20 miles, I was pulling over to pee every mile. It was so annoying. This section was also on a bike trail. While there were a few who pulled over, most were going so fast it forced me off the trail into poison oak bushes. The last 4 miles were downhill and I gave it everything I had left.

BeFunky CollagekfinishThe first words out of my mouth when I finished was: “I think I broke my lungs.” This race was rough for a flat-lander with asthma. While I’m happy with my second place finish (and  $1000)- I was really hoping to break 24 hours on this course. Im really happy that Rachel (1st) did.

BeFunky CollageI want to thank my sponsors:

Altra Running– I wore the Timps the entire race and they handled the scree perfectly. NO Blisters
TstarRunning– My adorable skirt with new SIDE POCKETS was awesome- NO CHAFFING at all!
DryMax I wont wear any other sock. NO Blisters and really comfortable
XOSKIN– wore the Heathered Sleeveless 2.0 and it kept me dry and comfortable.

Food I consumed:22154443_10100177226623953_1928863310074710144_n22 scoops of Tailwind
5 cans of Diet Pepsi Max
5 Gu Chew packs
3 White Cherry Powerade
100 oz of Ginger Ale
2 oranges
Potato chunks

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Mohican 100- Run on Prayers and Muscle Memory  


Please refer back to what my spring looked like- Had I trained enough to run 100 Miles?BeFunky Collage
1.  Finish- nothing is guaranteed in life
2..  Don’t Throw up
3.  Finish under 24 hours
4.  20-29 AG Course Record (21:17)

Pre Race:

Max took a break from this one and I asked Lucas and Janet to crew/ pace me. They were
a godsend. Together they were the perfect balance of OCD and chill. They even made a binder for ME! In OCD-like fashion I, wrote detailed crew instructions for each loop- which included food I wanted (where and when), clothing changes, headlight needs, and an a compilation of pills I must have on me at all times.

pre race

My awesome Crew                                                   A Picture that defines me as a runner

I ate my traditional pre-race meal and tried to sleep. Although lights out was at 10 and I took a handful of OTC and RX sleep aids- I didnt sleep much- pre-race anxiety is the worst

5 alarms went off at 2:45AM and COFFEE was first thing on the agenda. I hadn’t had coffee in 3 weeks. Breakfast and then the 30 minute drive to the start. The entire car ride I listened to “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers/Coldplay on repeat. This song is mellow enough to calm my anxiety, yet upbeat enough to get me focused. I spent many stair climbing sessions listening to this on repeat- it made me feel strong and ready to tackle the day.

The race consists of 4 loops- There were 5 aid stations on each loop. Crew was allowed to access 3/5 aid stations. The longest I went with with out seeing my crew was 13 miles.

start lineLoop 1: 26.8 Miles: 4:58
Mantra: “ You only have to run 100 Miles”

The gun went off and a group of 15-20 men scurried ahead of me. I purposefully started with a really CRAP low light headlight to ensure that I wouldn’t start too fast. I walked hills early. After 45 minutes of darkness I could see enough to turn off my light. While jockeying for position early in a 100 miler is not smart- I knew that I wanted to be somewhat near the front of the pack as long as I could kept my heart rate in check.

The first 4.1 mile section is what bikes love and what I as a runner consider “PUDs”- pointless up and downs. Fortunately, there was usually enough momentum from the downhills to get you up the next climb. I ran through the first 2 aid stations and just waved to my attentive crew. On the first two loops is where you get to experience and climb a waterfall- this is what Mohican is known for. Three of us got lost on this section and added minimal bonus mileage. We continued towards Big Lyon Falls and Enchanted Valley and came out at the Pleasant Hill Dam where there was a bonus crew area!

The plan was to dump and refill my pack so I would know exactly how many calories I was consuming. What actually happened when Lucas goes to dump my pack? I frantically exclaim, “NO! NO! TOO MUCH TIME” and then proceeded to guesstimate how much water/ calories I needed. Since I got lost, I fell behind a few women and I wanted to catch up ASAP!

first loopSince the Covered Aid Station is about 1 mile from the crew access point, I ran right through. The section from Covered Aid to Hickory Ridge is where I made my move to the front. There is a lot of climbing in this section and I took off on those hills. While I was trying to make my getaway a root caught me and down I went-That root also took 4 toe nails from me.

The rest of loop 1 is a blur- Since running mostly 24 hour races for the past few years my mantra on this loop when I started to feel tired was, “ You only have to run 100 Miles” which is incredibly refreshing.

Loop 2: 26.8 Miles: 4:59
Mantra: “Run with in yourself”

Loop 2 was all about the ICE and Diet Pepsi Max. Ice in the pack, my bandanna, my bra- anything to fight the heat and humidity. I wasn’t sure how far back any one was- so I made haste and got out of the aid station in NASCAR fashion.

In the months leading up to the race I had done a lot of climbing workouts, but I had done ZERO downhill work. The long loop included 2 LONG sections of stairs that obliterated my quads by mile 85. I don’t know who engineered these stairs- but they should be fired. The stairs width was extremely short and close together and it forced your quads to “break” while going down.stairs

I asked my crew to keep my informed of the race around me by staying an extra 20-30 minutes at the aid station. Every time I asked on loop 2- they told me we waited until we had to leave and saw no one. I still ran conservatively and within myself but I was starting to pick off men slowly.

Before getting to the beginning of the loop- you have to go through a campground. This section was horrible- open, exposed, and scorching hot with a bunch of people staring at you shuffling along while they are trying to enjoy their Father’s Day weekend.

By around the end of Loop 2, I had consumed the 2 Liter of Pepsi Max- I had to send my crew to various convenience stores in Loudonville asking them to buy out all the Diet Pepsi Max’s they could find- because you don’t mess with what’s working.

Loop 3: 23.2 miles:
Mantra: “Run within yourself”


PC: Butch Phillips @photoglyphix

We had a loose pacer plan which possibly started at Mile 54. I decided I was still moving well and to save Lucas for the last loop. While I do believe my heat training paid off, the first 2 hours of the 3rd loop were miserable (3-5pm). It felt like I was roasting from the inside out. All of the kinetic energy I used to keep myself running through those PUD’s was slowly disappearing.

When I arrived at the Fire Tower I was told that I was 4th OA and that 3rd was within eye shot and second was 5-10 minutes ahead. That got me moving again! I gracefully ran by the man in front of me and then was on the hunt for second male.

At this time there were 50 milers and Marathon runners on the course too. Because the bibs were different colors, I was able to take a peek while passing runners to see if I had caught #2. I ran 7 miles to the Covered Bridge with no luck.

After much confusion (they thought I was asking about 2nd F), Jay told me that I was 2 minutes behind #2. Progress! The next section from Covered Bridge to Hickory Ridge while it says its only 5.6 miles it FEELS so MUCH longer. Therefore, I deemed this section the “Forever Section.” During the Forever Section, I chase down what I now think is an imaginary male because I just can’t find him. My crew know that I’m competitive- Maybe they all lied to me and just dangled that carrot to make me move faster??

I arrive at Hickory Ridge and the man taking numbers excitedly says, “WOAH- Do you know your second?” I was as shocked as he was. My only guess was that I passed while #2 was taking a #2 potty break on the side of the trail. Elated- I left and finished loop 3.

Loop 4: 23.2 miles:
Mantra: “DONT be LAZY… MOVE your ASS”


Me to Janet- PLEASE! Don’t get lost! Ill take a headlamp just in case.
Me to Lucas: Can you Climb? He said yes (he may have regretted that) and off we went.

The temperatures were finally starting to break and I was still able to run at a decent pace while power hiking the hills. It was nice to have someone with me because I ran alone for most of the day. We arrived at the first aid station and Janet was there- I switched out my ice bandanna and kept trucking along. Just after the Gorge Overlook, dusk had settled in and my eyes were having a hard time adjusting to the trail- everything just blended in together- which significantly slowed my pace. By the time I got to the Fire Tower (86) it was dark and I was starting to struggle- downhills hurt and steep uphills were met with a string of curse words. I stopped eating and drinking like I should but kept popping salt pills.

When it was flat, I was running, but most of the course is up or down, so there was a lot of shuffling and rock kicking happening. I should have grabbed my ipod, instead I just kept repeating, “Don’t be Lazy” and “Move your ass” until I was running again.

When we finally reach the camp ground and I knew there were no more significant hills, I told Lucas, “Im running” and took off. I wasn’t sure how close the finish was, but I wasn’t stopping until I got there.

I finished in 20:10:17 and immediately sat down in a chair- first time sitting in over 20 hours. I shut my eyes and felt like I could have fallen asleep instantly. Then 5 minutes later, I looked up and said, “I don’t feel so well”. You would have never guessed I had just run 100 miles the speed that I jumped out of that chair to get to an isolated area to throw up 20+ times. I looked and felt bloated… not any more after that!

war wounds

War Wounds

EXACTLY 24hrs later at 2:45 AM we found ourselves back in a hotel room getting ready for bed instead of chaotically making coffee. They slept while I laid there in pain, starving, but too nauseous to eat. We had all accomplished what we set out to do.

Around 10AM, we drove over early to the awards ceremony to cheer some of the finishers on and so I could get a few of my blisters worked on. Those podiatry interns, God bless them. They dealt with some of the most disgusting feet I have seen.


At the awards ceremony, I found out that the second female was more than 8 hours behind me. It now made sense that Lucas and Janet never saw any one at the aid stations while waiting. I know if my training was up to par and included downhill running, that I could break 19 hours.

1st Female/ 2nd O/A out of 172 Runners

Huge Thanks to my Crew and Pacers: Janet and Lucas. Didn’t miss a beat.

Thanks to my sponsors:

TSTARRUNNING– your skirts keep me cool, chaffe free and looking cute while running lots of miles

ALTRARUNNING– wore the Olympus the entire time and had no issues and your shirt!

DRYMAX– Feet were as dry and comfortable as could be with 95 degree heat and humidity.

XOSKIN– NEW! Excited to be part of the team and to wear gear in upcoming races.


Find me on Twitter and Instagram: Runnergirlmsteg

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Spring 2017

After my abysmal performance/ catastrophe at Run for Water 24- I ended up unable to walk, let alone run without pain. I knew going in my hamstring hurt, I just didn’t realize that I tore it and then I ran almost 100 miles on it (which didn’t make it any better). I have been more disappointed in myself that I failed to compete to the best of my ability and my body failing me at the most inopportune time, than I am not making the US National Team. 

Physical Therapy

 2 ½ months of twice a week sessions. My physical therapist is also an ultra-runner so he gets the emotional toll of not being able to run. He told me I could swim and hike, so I spent hours doing both. I also was religious about doing all of my exercises EVERYDAY, sometimes 2x a day because I was desperate to get back to running.  The 25 minutes of hands on myofascial release and deep tissue work was extremely painful, but so worth it in the end.

phyiscal therapy

Icing (while being tied to the table) at the end of PT


  • Swimming: 1 Mile of swimming = 64 lengths of the pool. There is something SO ZEN about focusing on number of the lap you are on and nothing else. It was hard, but I spent a lot of time in the pool and worked my way up to 3 whole miles (that’s longer than you have to swim for an Ironman
  • Biking: Meh- I still don’t like biking. But its good for reading*
  • Treadmill Hiking: The gym treadmills go up to 30% incline- but I usually stay around 20-25% depending on how I feel. Hours spent catching up on Netflix #2birdsonestone
  • Stair Climbing: I climbed until my legs wobbled like spaghetti under me. I got a head start on training for Grindstone 100.
  • Personal Training: I was given a package of personal training sessions. She helped me see that strength training isn’t evil. I have been very lackadaisical about strength training, frankly, I would rather run. I think she made it her mission to make me sore (she did!!!!) BUT, I learned a lot and now I do something 2-3 times a week. Having a squat rack in the basement helps.
BeFunky Collage

There is no running happening in these pictures

dogs lift too

My dogs like to lift now too!

 Sasquatch 50k and Portland:

I was going to be in Oregon the same weekend as my cousins first 50K- DESTINY! I had to run this race and share the experience with her. I got clearance 2 days before Sasquatch 50k to run, as long as I took it easy. There was a lot of climbing in this race (9,531ft over 33 miles) – so I wasn’t worried since ALL I was allowed to do was climb the past few months. The mountains of Oregon are beautiful.

No Hammy pain, but my quads were so unbelievably dead the next few days. They buckled repeatedly as I was trying to run around Portland at 4am- but me being stubborn, I wasn’t going to waste all this potential training time. When I travel, I stay on East coast time as much as possible, meaning I was up at 4am and my conference didn’t start till 9AM. Pam came and picked me up one morning to do a run in Forest Park- which has beautiful single track- I even got back in time to go to all of the sessions that day! This week was my first solid training week with 115 miles since early March.


Ran it with Janet: 4:25; 1st Female with a NEW CR, 2nd OA

I purposely didn’t tell my PT I was running this race. What he didn’t know- wouldn’t hurt him. PLUS- I was planning on taking a conservative approach because I didn’t taper. My goal was to finish around 5 hours and keep a 9mm pace while WALKING all of the hills.

When the race started another female sprinted past me- I tried to tell myself “Don’t be stupid, you have done ZERO speed work” but my competitive side got the better of me and my “easy” race plan was thrown out the window. We were running 8:30mm when the entire front group got off course for about 7-8 minutes. When I realized our error, I turned around and started running hill after hill with reckless abandon. I was determined to be out of sight (and out of mind) if at all possible. I slowed a bit on the second loop and walked a few hills. Close to the starting the 3rd loop, Mike, who I was running with the entire time up to that point mentioned I was close to CR pace, I started doing Run math in my head (which is rarely an accurate way of thinking) and decided that I needed to pick up the pace in order to get the CR. Its been a while since I ran a consistent 7:30 pace- but MAN did it feel good. It was like I was at mile 90/100 Miler and my legs still worked. 

When I finished the RD asked me if I saw my Physical Therapist. He was out hiking on the course and I must have just missed him. However, she tattled on me: “She’s running fast and winning!”  OOPS- maybe I should have mentioned this adventure to him.


Heat Training:

In the three weeks leading up to Mohican 100 all of my runs were done in long pants and  multiple layers on top, either on the treadmill or outside (whichever environment was warmer) with NO water followed by up to an hour in the sauna. Then I waited an hour after the sauna to drink any substantial liquids.  Not going to lie- this sucked. It was the worst. I also wore my heart rate monitor for most of these runs- I needed to make sure I could keep my heart rate in the proper zones and if it started to elevate, I practiced “zen”ing myself back to where it needed to be. I also got some weird looks on the treadmill- but I didn’t care- this really helped prepare me for the 95 degree heat and humidity at Mohican 100.heat trainingblog

Book: Rising Strong- Brene Brown

Brene Brown is someone I admire and respect. Her work on shame and vulnerability is top notch. Injury is demoralizing and there was a lot that I had to deal with emotionally as well as physically this spring to be able to come to terms, accept, and rise strong.  I’m fiercely independent (to a fault) and my current life motto is, “I’m stubborn as hell and I do what I want”.  I’m thankful for the people in my life who where there for me (and didn’t judge) when I reached out for help and support- because Ive learned the hard way going it alone is never the better option.   brene








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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 Thomascharlotte and I sitting after race


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

More 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.


I 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.

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.

The heat was making me cranky. I needed to check my attitude and just cool off. So, I max and iwalked 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 me, 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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