Race Report

Race Report: Sedona Marathon

….and My Story Runs On….

This was my 3rd time doing the Sedona Marathon (did the half marathon as well once).  I absolutely love this race!  It is incredibly scenic and even though I really don’t like road races, the middle part of the marathon is on a jeep road so trailish.  I also love the fact that it is a hilly course.  I love this because I get to use a lot of my ChiRunning skills and this is one of the reasons I love running. I am definitely a geek about this technique but I love having my mind and body working together to tackle the course as efficiently as possible. Click here to see the elevation profile.

Night before the race. Since the race starts at 9ish for all distances, you could come up the day of but I alway like getting there the day before. Don’t like sitting in a car for a few hours and then run 26.2 miles…plus it adds to the experience!

Thanks to Connie for this great pre race photo…just love that scenery!

Here my roses and thorns about this race:

Roses:  

  • Scenery is gorgeous!  I think you get the most bang for your buck on this if you do the half or the full marathon.  It’s an out and back course (this could be a rose or thorn) so you don’t get back as far with the 5K or 10K.
  • Nice small town feel of a race. I’ve stopped doing the Rock N Rolls because they are too commercial and too big.  First time I did this race was 2014 and it has grown but not to an extreme.
  • Hills, hills, hills! I love using my ChiHill techniques and Chirunning in general.  This marathon is my PR (2014) with a 4:58:49 and it was mainly due to form and strategy.    Even though half is on road, it’s technical enough for me to feel like I’m on a trail because I have to match my running technique to the variety of the road coming at me. This makes running fun for me because it’s a fun challenge to see how I can use my technique to be as efficient as possible.
  • The finish has always been small but this year they added a few food trucks and a BEER garden!  My favorite beer is Piehole Porter from Historic Brewing Company and minutes after my finish, I got a nice cold one and it was possibly the best beer I’ve had 😉  I did a Facebook live at the end…but not before I got my beer!

This was Piehole Porter #2 of the day. We’ve enjoyed stopping at R.I.O.T. in Cottonwood on the way back home which has great craft beer and food!

  • I like the out and back because I love to see the elite runners on the top of their game. It’s fun to be able to yell great job at them as they run by you.  Although I will say, road runners are not the same as trail runners.  Most of the time there wouldn’t be any acknowledgment to the “good job”s where on trail, you normally get a “thank you” and/or “you too.”
  • Lots of energy at their aid stations. They have a contest for this but it did dwindle on the way back.  Aid stations provided water, Gatorade, Cliff gels and bananas.

Aid stations compete for the best one. This one had a circus theme and had the most energy in my opinion. I also went under the lady in the stilts! Camera was probably fogged up when I pulled it out so not a clear picture ;(

Superhero theme aid station….this was on the way back so I was in chill mode…was trying to get selfie but then let the aid station volunteer get a better shot 😉

  • Friends!  I went up with a few friends and met other friends that I didn’t even know were going to be there!

with Connie and Aaron at the start…ran into several other friends but forgot selfies!

Thorns:

  • I am not a medal person but it doesn’t seem fair that everyone gets the same exact medal.  A 5K person gets the same medal as a marathoner and that just doesn’t seem right to me. I think they can step up their game for sure on this one!
  • Not crazy about the shirt you get for the race. I know they have to give props to sponsors but way too many sponsors on front and back.  Not crazy about the color. I wouldn’t normally buy another shirt but since I love this race, I sucked it up buying a purple/pink tank top that has the map of the course on the back.
  • I am normally a back of the pack runner and this was a training run for me.  This was one of my longest marathons because it was just a training run for me but I got to the last aid station and they barely had water (no more Gatorade or food).  It seems like the energy at the aid stations really dropped on the way back when you need it the most.  There was still people at the finish and maybe because this year it was bigger…but the cutoff is 7 hours for the marathon and I don’t know how much support the other back of the packer received.  I remember getting bagels, bananas, etc at the end and didn’t see any of that this year unless I missed it.
  • I think for the price you can get a bit more swag in the goodie bag.
  • I love the smaller feel of this race but I don’t remember that there was as much traffic on both the paved and non paved road.  RECOMMENDATION: I am really glad I had my buff around my neck because the cars made a lot of dust on the dirt road so I would pull it over my mouth and nose when they passed by. Again, seemed like more than usual traffic there.

My Experience

I love this course because I get to really practice my ChiRunning technique. For some people, running is just a means to an end and is goal oriented. ChiRunning is process oriented. This means that it’s a practice (like yoga is a practice).   The more you focus on your technique, the more you’ll have breakthrough “aha” moments and continuosly get better and better.  So when I’m running on a technical course (many hills) I love working on my technique.  In Martial Arts/Tai Chi, your opponent is a person…in running, your opponent is the environment coming at you.  In Martial Arts, you don’t meet your opponent with a force but you cooperate with that force to neutralize it…..we do the same in ChiRunning.  Most people will use way too much leg muscle to propel themselves up a hill (meeting a force with a force) and then get to the top and walk down because they are so tired.  In ChiRunning, we use specific techniques that help us cooperate with the uphills and then crank down the hill because that’s cooperating with gravity all the way down.  Every time I do this race I always chuckle to myself because I will constantly leap frog with people doing this.  They pass me on the uphills and then I run right past them on the downhill using less effort up and down.

I knew this was supposed to be a training run. It was my last long run before my first 100K (2 weeks after Sedona).  I wanted to really PR and even though I told myself I wouldn’t do it, I did try to PR through the first half of the course.  When I reached the half point, I was on schedule to PR….then I forgot the next 5 miles were back uphill…..then I remembered this was only a training run…… so I quickly decided to chill out because the 100K is my priority.  The second half of the race took an extra 30 minutes which was absolutely fine with me.  My legs were feeling like I had pushed myself and I also felt that I was still recovering from the 52K a few weeks before.

All in all, if you like beautiful scenery and a challenging course, I highly recommend this race!  May become an annual tradition for me…maybe it will be my A race next year so I can really train for it rather than use it as a training run.

some amazing scenery!

more amazing scenery

 

 

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

Race Report: Coldwater Rumble 52K Fun!

….and My Story Runs On….

I think I found another favorite 50K! Well actually a 52K 😉

On Saturday, I completed my 10th 50K??  (I seriously can’t keep track…technically my 10th 50/52K not including the 60K/64K?).

Anyways, it doesn’t really matter.  I picked Aravaipa Running’s Coldwater Rumble because I’ve done the 20 Mile event 3x and I wanted to get more mileage so I figured why not?  This race is in the Estrella Mountains which are my old stomping grounds when I lived in Avondale.

The highlight of the entire run was being able to get a picture with Courtney while she was in the middle of her 52 miler (she still won the race in 7:10:22 , broke the course record and was 2 hours and 12 minutes ahead of the 2nd place runner!).  She is truly an amazing athlete (she did the Moab 240 miler last year, placed first and the 2nd runner was like 10 hours behind her!).  She had an amazing stride and my friend Nancy just yelled out and asked her to take this picture with us and she stopped and did!  How cool is that?!

The amazing Courtney Daulwalter stopped to take a quick pic with us and she still placed first!

A few of my favorite things about this race:

  • There are distances for everyone: 4 miles, 20K, 20 Miles, 52K, 52 miles, and 100 miles.
  • Because of all the distances and some looping on the course, you get to see people doing the various distances. You can tell by their bib color which one they are doing. Trail runners are one of the friendliest people and there is always a “good job” or “way to go” as you pass someone or they are coming toward you.

Thanks to Surprise Running Club for being at the key aid station where we crossed several times on the course with the other distances.

  • This trail has so much diversity: uphills, downhills, sand, rocks, gravel, single track, wider trail, etc.  Lots of cacti, chollas and white quartz too.

Great views and cholla forests!

Mounds of quartz!  I love this spot! As you approach it, especially when it’s sunny, you can see it sparkle and it looks like 2 big mounds of snow in the middle of the desert.

 

  • Aravaipa just puts on a damn good race! Volunteers and staff are amazing and the aid stations always have great food and drinks.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about this race.  It might be a bit of a drive out to the west side for some people,  I’m not big on loops but the 52K was the 20 mile loop and a smaller one that was reversed so it looked like another trail in my opinion, I loved the diversity of the trail but I heard some people didn’t.

This was a true training run for me.  I was so excited to see how many friends I had that were doing the 52K!

 

Kisha did her first official ultra trail race! Like a true ChiRunner, before the race she said she was oddly nervous because she felt so prepared for it. I stayed to watch her cross the finish line and she finished in exactly the time she expected to! Great planning and congrats!

ChiRunners Emily and Tricia at the start. Both are training for their first 50 miler (Antelope Canyon like mine!)

Always fun to see old friends and make new ones!

Sometimes I may get in “race” mode because I want to PR that event…since it was my first time doing this event, I wasn’t concerned about PRing but wanted to have a solid run.I am always prepared with podcasts, audio books, ChiSchool audios for these long runs.  I did the first 9ish miles by myself and in silence. Sometimes there is nothing like being one with nature on the trail which is one of the many reasons I prefer trails over road.

I ran into my friend Tricia, Ragnar Ambassador and ChiRunner and gave her some tips as we ran in sand (see below).  We picked up Nancy and one of my newest running friends, Aaron at the aid station at 11 miles. Unfortunately Tricia was having some cramping issues so she stayed at the next aid station to work through it.  The three of us ran from mile 11 to the finish together.  If it works out that I’m with people who can stay at whatever pace I am doing, I am happy to run with others. This running season I’ve done more long runs than normal on my own so I was happy to have some company.  We had many conversations over those 22 miles while hiking and running that really helped the time go by! Before you know it, we finished our race in about 9 hours.  Here is a video of our finish.

Lessons Learned/Technique Tips

  • I did this Facebook live after the event. I’ve talked about this before: the difference between attending a race and using it as a training run vs actually racing the event.  When I’m in race mode (which only happens if I’m trying to PR the same course of a race), I have an entire different process: I taper the week before, I check my previous stats and know exactly what pace I need to average to get the PR, I’m more focused on how long I stay at aid stations and try not to waste any time on the trail. I usually prefer to stay by myself on these types of runs.  If it’s just a training run, I treat it exactly as that. It took some practice to get to that point but you have to mentally just decided it’s just a training run.  I love doing races as training runs because you have aid stations and you get to see friends and more runners on the course. It’s really just a mindset that you can decide!
  • I’ve done several training runs and races in sand and have learned a few things.  From a ChiRunning standpoint, you always want to move your body to flow with nature rather than fight it (like in martial arts, you never meet a force with a force).  When I’m in sand, I work on keeping a faster cadence (strides per minutes).  The slower I move my feet, the more time I have to sink in the sand…so although walking was tempting, by increasing my cadence, I didn’t sink in the sand as much.  I also work a lot on peeling my foot and leaning rather than pushing out of the sand.  When pushing, calves are overactive, they are smaller muscles and I prefer not to burn them out.  It’s still a work in progress but I felt this was the easiest time since I’ve done this part of the course several times so something is working!
  • My abs were more sore than my legs yesterday!  I always take this as a good sign!  ChiRunning is about learning to engage gravity while in good posture (requires working the core muscles) and using legs for stability NOT propulsion.  My abs worked hard on Saturday!
  • I could also feel my upper back and shoulder muscles.  This is typical for me when I do uphills (use more arms than legs to propel me up the hill) but I noticed in several photos (including the finish line video) that my shoulders were hiked up.  I try to work on relaxing them but looks like I will be focusing on this more as I train for Black Canyon.  One of the things I love most about ChiRunning is that you are constantly focusing on becoming more and more efficient with your body movement.  Running therefore becomes a practice and not just a means to an end on race day. I get excited when I have a new “project” to work on with my running form!

With all of this said, this was truly one of my favorite races…not just the course, but the entire experience!  Thanks to the volunteers, Aravaipa, and running friends for an awesome time!

Connie was ahead of us on the 52K but the great thing about this course is that she had to come back towards us on her 2nd loop so we got to take a picture. It was fun seeing people going in both directions completing various distances!

Gorgeous sunset after our finish! Apparently I didn’t take any pics with beer or Fireball after the finish but it happened 😉

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

She’s such a loser!

….and My Story Runs On….

I wrote this original blog post on 9/9/2014.  I am updating it because it’s 3 years later and Diane is still rocking it!  I am sure she will agree when I say running is a great way to not only lose weight but keep it off.

“Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The statistics for dieters who lose weight rapidly, according to Wellsphere, a website sponsored by Stanford University, is worse. Only 5 percent of people who lose weight on a crash diet will keep the weight off. ” (Livestrong.com)

Since the interview on 9/9/2014, Diane completed 2 marathons, 15 half marathons and “lots of 5ks and 10ks”..

This weekend she is completing her 16th half marathon at the Arizona Rock N Roll and she’s been on TV inspiring a lot more people!  Check out Part 1 (3 min 48 sec) where she talks about what propelled her to start running even though she felt like she was never athletic,  Part 2 (4 min 17 sec) where she talks about what running has done for her and shares inspirational tips for weight loss.  And another one here too!

As a ChiRunner, Diane has been able to keep running and stay injury free and not become one of the 65% of people to regain the weight back.  It keeps her consistently active and it’s become part of her lifestyle now (only way to keep it off is to make it a lifestyle).  And she’s met so many new friends since she started running it’s almost impossible not to keep running when you have fun friends to do it with.

Read the original blog below:

__________________________

9/9/2014

No, I’m not about ready to start bashing anyone but just wanted to get your attention. Honestly, this will be probably my favorite blog post yet…Why?  Because this story is EXACTLY why I do what I do.

Meet Diane.  I met her in March this year when she attended Danny Dreyer‘s ChiRunning workshop.  I remember hearing her say at one point that she lost 100 lbs. As a fitness trainer, I always love to hear these stories. We became facebook friends and she joined my Running for Brews group a few times and met at other running events across the valley.  This weekend, I had the honor of being with her on her longest run to date. Not only was it her longest run (15.5 miles) but she did it on a trail…and at night time!  Let’s go back a bit though…

Here is a before/after picture of Diane:

dianepotterpic2

Since my passion in life is to help more people get into walking and running because it’s one of the easiest things you can do for weight loss/maintenance (if done correctly), I asked Diane if she could answer a few questions for me.  I was in tears reading her answers and I asked her permission to blog about it because I know she can inspire others!

How much weight did you lose?  
“I lost 100 lbs in a year and 105 lbs to date.”

When did you realize you need to make a change in your life?
“I was lying in bed one night and I was concerned because my heart was beating really hard and fast. It had been doing that for a couple months and I was scared I was going to have a heart attack and have my daughters find me. So that was my defining moment of when I decided to make a lifestyle change.”

What did you do?
“I was very strict with my diet by cutting out fast food, junk food, and sweets–I basically detoxed. I allowed myself to have one splurge meal a week.” (if you calculate it, she lost about 8-10 lbs a month which is healthy amount to lose)

When did you start running? Why?  When was your first 5K?
“I started running in September 2013. Even though I had lost a lot of weight, I felt like something was missing in my life. I decided to start walking. One night on a walk I started wondering if I could run. So I tried it–it was really tough and I could only do it for maybe 30 seconds at a time. Three weeks later I ran my first 5K.”  (I love that running can provide people with so many first time experiences: distances, trail, night trail, triathlons, etc. I see people pushing their boundaries all the time!)

Why did you keep doing it if it was hard?
“I was hooked on the race experience and found that I could channel my stress and anxiety through running. I ran my first half in May 2014 and am currently training for my first full in January. I’m still pretty careful about what I eat, but running allows me to enjoy brownies every once in awhile!”

What else has running done for you?
“Running and losing weight have given me the confidence and inner peace that helps me to be successful in all areas of my life, personally and professionally. The best part is I have become a good role model for my daughters, and they’re very proud of me!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I could never be a runner”
“My advice to those who feel they could never be a runner is to take it slowly in the beginning with both pace and distance. If you try to do too much too soon, you could injure yourself or get burned out. Running is a huge lesson in patience. Accept the days when running feels impossible, and embrace the days when running feels effortless. Progress is gradual so don’t give up!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I’m too overweight to be a runner”
“As far as those who think they’re too overweight to run, not true! Runners come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of amazing runners who don’t fit the mold. Fear is a prison. Don’t let it hold you back from being successful and accomplishing your dreams! It’s also important to focus on good running form so you learn how to run with minimal impact to the joints. I haven’t had shin splints, foot pain, or muscle pain since I started ChiRunning in March.

And for all new runners–don’t get hung up on being fast. Just get out there and enjoy it!”

Thanks so much to Diane for sharing a very brief summary of how weight loss and running has changed her life!

Here is a picture of us from this weekend.

javelinajangover

Both of these ladies broke records by surpassing their longest runs to date.
Both of these ladies never thought they would be running 15 miles on a trail at night (same goes for me!).
Both of these ladies never thought they’d be running a full marathon!
But both of these ladies had the courage to listen to their heart (don’t listen to your mind because it will tell you otherwise!) and just go for it.

So whether it’s weight loss or starting a walking/running program, remember this:

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

From My Running Story to Yours….

(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

Race Report: Xterra White Tanks: Did I PR?

….and My Story Runs On….

Apparently I wrote a blog post about this one last year too.  I like to write race reports so if people want to find out more about an event, they can have someone else’s perspective. This is something I learned in ultra running which was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received.  Before picking an ultra (or after you’ve picked it) start googling “race reports ‘race name'” or “blogs ‘race name'” and you will get reports from runners that have done this race. Great way to get different perspectives and advice! (just have to remember it’s someone else perspective though!)

This is one of my favorites for a few reasons:

  • I love White Tank Regional Park!  Always fun to be on trails I don’t get to see often.
  • This is a tough course.  There is something about the challenge that I love about this race.  I also get to use a lot of different ChiRunning skill because of the terrain changes.
  • Xterra supports Girls On The Run and I love to support them back!

This race is no joke from an elevation profile. Their website describes it as:

“For those who prefer a course with pain and punishment, the long course is 20k of grueling single track with over 1500 feet of climbing. Starting from the group campground, runners wind their way up Ironwood to the Waddell trail. Once you reach the first aid station be prepared to go up, the next three miles are all climbing….”
I won’t do much detail on the race course as you can read it in my previous race report.

Volunteers rock! The Hansons are always out there supporting Girls On The Run events. Ricci and Joshua are Running for Brews regulars and volunteer a lot too. Thank you!

Pics don’t do the views justice!

Girls On The Run Advisory Board Member, Julie, volunteering too! Missed another photo at registration with more board members. If we are not running we are volunteering!

Still smiling after all the uphills! Was just feeling it!

I decided I wanted to try and PR (set a Personal Record) my time from last year which was 2:57:37.  Last year my goal was to get in under 3 hours.  I also had to remember that this is a training run and that I did 40 miles just last Saturday at Across the Years.  However, I was feeling great and ready to take on the PR challenge.

ChiRunning always plays a huge role in my runs and race.  I’m always looking at ways on how to approach the environment coming at me as efficiently as possible.  Sometimes it almost feels like a fun game I am playing with Mother Earth.

Some specific things I focused on from a technique perspective:

  • I focused a lot on uphill and downhill technique.  I love hilly courses for this reason.  Lots of upper body with uphills, some ChiHiking (it was steep and if I can walk it faster to save energy and not tire myself out, I will).  Tried to relax as much as possible on the downhills.  A little hard due to the rockiness but it was the best I felt running downhill.  I also need to give credit to Greg Riverdieu from the High-Altitude Training Institute. Last year, I took a technical trail running class from him and learned quite a bit.  But one of the things that stood out the most, and you probably had to be there, is he would say, you just go down like this…“boom, boom, boom” for 3 consecutive footsteps.  So that was in my head as well as Danny talking about “dancing down the trail” and “be the water”.  Using imagery and visualizations are fun when running!
  • Worked quite a bit on ankle lifting.  Rocky courses are great for this.  This course is known for taking some blood as people fall but I was determined to stay upright. Most common reason to fall on a rail is clipping your toe on a rock because you have a pendular stride instead of a circular stride (part of lifting the ankles).  This was my nemesis when I started ChiRunning and love to practice it as much as I can.

Some specific things I focused on from a mental perspective:

  • I realize I make this part of my “pre race” ritual. I get mentally psyched up for a race.  I am not going to win and my goal is to get a good training run in, enjoy it and have fun.  I was so excited to get out on the trail today.  Oddly, even with a hard course, “only” 12.4 miles wasn’t going to be too bad after 40 last week!
  • I set a goal to PR last year.  I rarely get attached to those goals though.  I think having a goal is part of race mentality but I also see too many people beat themselves up about it or setting unrealistic goals based on their experience and training. As mentioned a PR sounded reasonable but I had to consider other factors in my training like the 40 miles on the previous Saturday and my 50 mile weeks of training.
  • I rarely listen to music and XTERRA doesn’t allow headsets (which I really appreciate, especially on a technical, single track trail).  For some reason, I had an old playlist I hadn’t listened to in awhile so put my iPod on speaker and jammed out all the way up the hill. As soon as I started going down though, I really wanted to focus on relaxing and not falling on this technical trail so that’s what I did.

I couldn’t believe how great I was feeling.  Back to the PR story….I forgot to mention that I just got a new Garmin which I love, but I hadn’t really set up my display screens properly.  I new what my average pace had to be to PR but didn’t create that option yet.  So I just decided to body sense and do the absolute best I could.  I was sure I was going to PR until I passed the last aid station and found out I had 1.8 miles….it was going to be really really close!  I really started focusing on my form even more at this point because I was literally going to make it or not by seconds…..I crossed the finish line at 2:57 (same time as last year).  At this point I forgot to check for my results because I had a sushi date with my boyfriend.  As much as I stayed focused during that race to PR, I was still detached from the goal:  I hoped I PRd but if I didn’t, all good.  I even did this Facebook live and talked about goal detachment.

Well, 2 days after the race and after starting this blog, I finally know my results!  I PRd by 8 seconds!!  I finished at a 2:57:29!!  What this means to me is that I am right in line with my training for my 100K in 5.5 weeks.  Bring it on!!!

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

Race Report: Xterra White Tanks: Did I PR?

….and My Story Runs On….

Apparently I wrote a blog post about this one last year too.  I like to write race reports so if people want to find out more about an event, they can have someone else’s perspective. This is something I learned in ultra running which was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received.  Before picking an ultra (or after you’ve picked it) start googling “race reports ‘race name'” or “blogs ‘race name'” and you will get reports from runners that have done this race. Great way to get different perspectives and advice! (just have to remember it’s someone else perspective though!)

This is one of my favorites for a few reasons:

  • I love White Tank Regional Park!  Always fun to be on trails I don’t get to see often.
  • This is a tough course.  There is something about the challenge that I love about this race.  I also get to use a lot of different ChiRunning skill because of the terrain changes.
  • Xterra supports Girls On The Run and I love to support them back!

This race is no joke from an elevation profile. Their website describes it as:

“For those who prefer a course with pain and punishment, the long course is 20k of grueling single track with over 1500 feet of climbing. Starting from the group campground, runners wind their way up Ironwood to the Waddell trail. Once you reach the first aid station be prepared to go up, the next three miles are all climbing….”
I won’t do much detail on the race course as you can read it in my previous race report.

Volunteers rock! The Hansons are always out there supporting Girls On The Run events. Ricci and Joshua are Running for Brews regulars and volunteer a lot too. Thank you!

Pics don’t do the views justice!

Girls On The Run Advisory Board Member, Julie, volunteering too! Missed another photo at registration with more board members. If we are not running we are volunteering!

Still smiling after all the uphills! Was just feeling it!

I decided I wanted to try and PR (set a Personal Record) my time from last year which was 2:57:37.  Last year my goal was to get in under 3 hours.  I also had to remember that this is a training run and that I did 40 miles just last Saturday at Across the Years.  However, I was feeling great and ready to take on the PR challenge.

ChiRunning always plays a huge role in my runs and race.  I’m always looking at ways on how to approach the environment coming at me as efficiently as possible.  Sometimes it almost feels like a fun game I am playing with Mother Earth.

Some specific things I focused on from a technique perspective:

  • I focused a lot on uphill and downhill technique.  I love hilly courses for this reason.  Lots of upper body with uphills, some ChiHiking (it was steep and if I can walk it faster to save energy and not tire myself out, I will).  Tried to relax as much as possible on the downhills.  A little hard due to the rockiness but it was the best I felt running downhill.  I also need to give credit to Greg Riverdieu from the High-Altitude Training Institute. Last year, I took a technical trail running class from him and learned quite a bit.  But one of the things that stood out the most, and you probably had to be there, is he would say, you just go down like this…“boom, boom, boom” for 3 consecutive footsteps.  So that was in my head as well as Danny talking about “dancing down the trail” and “be the water”.  Using imagery and visualizations are fun when running!
  • Worked quite a bit on ankle lifting.  Rocky courses are great for this.  This course is known for taking some blood as people fall but I was determined to stay upright. Most common reason to fall on a rail is clipping your toe on a rock because you have a pendular stride instead of a circular stride (part of lifting the ankles).  This was my nemesis when I started ChiRunning and love to practice it as much as I can.

Some specific things I focused on from a mental perspective:

  • I realize I make this part of my “pre race” ritual. I get mentally psyched up for a race.  I am not going to win and my goal is to get a good training run in, enjoy it and have fun.  I was so excited to get out on the trail today.  Oddly, even with a hard course, “only” 12.4 miles wasn’t going to be too bad after 40 last week!
  • I set a goal to PR last year.  I rarely get attached to those goals though.  I think having a goal is part of race mentality but I also see too many people beat themselves up about it or setting unrealistic goals based on their experience and training. As mentioned a PR sounded reasonable but I had to consider other factors in my training like the 40 miles on the previous Saturday and my 50 mile weeks of training.
  • I rarely listen to music and XTERRA doesn’t allow headsets (which I really appreciate, especially on a technical, single track trail).  For some reason, I had an old playlist I hadn’t listened to in awhile so put my iPod on speaker and jammed out all the way up the hill. As soon as I started going down though, I really wanted to focus on relaxing and not falling on this technical trail so that’s what I did.

I couldn’t believe how great I was feeling.  Back to the PR story….I forgot to mention that I just got a new Garmin which I love, but I hadn’t really set up my display screens properly.  I new what my average pace had to be to PR but didn’t create that option yet.  So I just decided to body sense and do the absolute best I could.  I was sure I was going to PR until I passed the last aid station and found out I had 1.8 miles….it was going to be really really close!  I really started focusing on my form even more at this point because I was literally going to make it or not by seconds…..I crossed the finish line at 2:57 (same time as last year).  At this point I forgot to check for my results because I had a sushi date with my boyfriend.  As much as I stayed focused during that race to PR, I was still detached from the goal:  I hoped I PRd but if I didn’t, all good.  I even did this Facebook live and talked about goal detachment.

Well, 2 days after the race and after starting this blog, I finally know my results!  I PRd by 8 seconds!!  I finished at a 2:57:29!!  What this means to me is that I am right in line with my training for my 100K in 5.5 weeks.  Bring it on!!!

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

Race Report: Across The Years-Miles are Miles!

….and My Story Runs On….

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run in the 24-hr Across The Years race. This is my 2nd year in a row and I get a free entry by filing up a 24 hour shift of volunteers from 12/31-1/1.

Before I started, I read the race report I did last year.

I was pretty excited as I knew what I was getting into.  One of the days I will use the full 24 hours but my goal was to stick to my training plan and get my 40 miles in. This would be 2nd longest distance to date with the 50 miler being my first.

As a quick reminder, this is a 1-mile course and you go around it as many times as you can for the amount of time that you have. Basically it’s truly your race to do whatever you want.  There are people our there setting aggressive mileage goals and trying to break records but bottom line, you do what you want. You can take as many breaks as you want, I know people that leave and come back….and the longest event here is 6 days!  Not sure how people do that but there are plenty that do! Some people seek these types of races out specifically.

How I passed the time:

I’m always working on my ChiRunning technique so focused on that of course. 40 miles went by talking to old friends and new friends, listening to a few podcasts and some music.  Was over before I knew it!  There were times that it did get harder but overall I stayed focused on my goal.

What I like about this event:

  • Such a fun social event if you are not on a mission with aggressive goals. I can’t tell you the amount of friends I saw that were either doing the event, volunteering or just hanging out to cheer their friends on.
  • No pressure!  (unless it’s self imposed!)  I knew I had plenty of time to reach my goal of 40 miles and I was in no rush. I ran, I walked, I stopped and talked to friends and just kept moving.  No need to prepare a ton because there is an aid station on the course (remember it’s a mile course…people have been know to gain weight because it’s too easy to stop every mile) and a water station at the other end. No need for hydration pack or anything because it’s all there.  I think this a perfect event for anyone wanting to do a longer distance (marathon and above) and is worried about cutoffs or getting lost on a trail.  You have plenty of time and pretty impossible to get lost on a mile course 😉

What I don’t like:

  • The course is pretty but it’s a bit monotonous. I much rather be on a trail. They do change the direction every 4 hours so it’s look a bit different.  I am actually considering Aravaipa’s Silverton event in 2018.  The website is not updated yet but it’s the same concept: 1 mile course but you are on a trail in Silverton CO with 250ft of gain every mile.  Dates are changing to 7/6-7/12 2018.  So a bit more challenging but I am sure it’s gorgeous!  This may even end up being a Group Training program I am considering to offer.
  • People attend this event to get mileage but are not necessarily trained for that mileage. I’m all for pushing your body and mind to the limit but I’ve seen people take this to a level that can be dangerous as far as injuries go.  As much as I wanted to do more miles because I had the time, I stuck to my training plan and didn’t want to push it.

Biggest takeaway:

It doesn’t matter if you run a 50K or 50 miler on trail or this event.  Miles are miles!  It’s so easy to “downplay” the mileage at this event.  Maybe because trails are “harder” or because it’s a one mile course but it doesn’t matter!!  This is a whole different kind of hard!   I’m planning on getting more people to check this out (and/or Silverton!)

Some highlights from my run yesterday:

Thank you to everyone who has been donating to my Girls On The Run fundraiser for my first 100K!  Means so much to me!  I almost doubled where I was in the last few days!

I did 4 short Facebook Lives from the event and you can see them here:

Right before the start and already hanging with some friends!

More friends! Tommy is one of the most positive people I know in our running community!

More friends!

Minion on the course!

Minion and Pikachu on the course!

Cheryl Miller from Miller Coaching out on the course with this awesome shirt!

My friend Lori at this point had surpassed her longest run ever which was a marathon!

Motivation!

New friend! Frederick Davis III He will be 70 on January 2nd and does many of these timed events. He was telling me about 15 day events and he recently completed one in South Africa: 1,000 km (620 miles) in 15 days!

Friends know my Fireball history 😉 There was a Fireball station that I had been eyeing out before the race even started but waited until mile 38 to make sure I would complete my goal. Freddy joined me and told me he usually does a shot for breakfast on these events. Love this guy!

Every time you go through the start/finish line you can see where you are. Here is my last lap!

Just a few steps 😉

Lori completes her first 50K

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K Race Report: Success Redefined

….and My Story Runs On….

This is the 3rd year in a row that I do this 50K. It’s one of my favorites and perfect timing in my 100K Training Schedule to have a nice long training run.  This has been my 2nd, 5th and 9th 50K!   Still unbelievable to me that I swore I would never run more than a 5K when I started running!

McDowell Mountain Regional Park has some of my favorite trails and Aravaipa Running always puts on a great event.  This was meant to be a training run but since I was doing the same race for the 3rd year in a row, I did have it in the back of my mind that PRing (personal record) would be an added bonus. I went into the race with that idea but was also detached from it since technically this was supposed to be a training run.  I normally don’t have a race pace but I definitely get into a different mindset if I’m wanting to PR or “race” an event.  I also had to consider that I had run 20 miles the Sunday before so I didn’t taper for this race and I did a tough marathon downhill marathon 3 weeks before.  I was so close to PRing and made a “fatal” mistake which cost me the PR…but all good and that story is down below….

Miles 0-12.5

Rachel’s 2nd 50K and Joan’s first one! Waiting for the start….

The energy before a race is always exciting, especially when you realize how many friends you have out there!  Several of them were doing their first 50K.  It was great to start out the race after getting so many hugs from friends!  I love the Escondido trail as it’s rolly polly . I knew I could easily get started too fast here so I tried to keep a nice pace, walking the uphills and running flats and downhills.  The last third of the race is the hardest and I’ve struggled on this part the last few years.  My goal was to not let that happen again.  I immediately started focusing on my ChiRunning form. At about Mile 5, I decided to listen to some ChiSchool lessons so I could continue focusing on my form. I put this on shuffle and even though I listen to some of the same lessons, there are always some great aha moments.  This time it was with the lesson “The World’s Largest Treadmill” and some cueing from Danny (the founder of ChiRunning) about feeling your leg get swept back by the trail every time it hit the ground.  I’ve heard this lesson many times and it’s one of my favorites but something different clicked with me this time.  I skipped the first aid station strategically so I didn’t “waste” anytime as I had plenty of water and fuel. The 2nd aid station was at mile 12.5 and I knew there would be a 10 mile gap until the 3rd one and it would be during “the hill”.  Refueled and filled up water and was off again.  I knew I had to keep under a 14:58 min mile to PR and I was doing great!  At this point I was averaging a 13:23 min mile and I knew I would be hiking that hill.  My goal during the first third of the race was to run as much as I could without using up too much energy because I had that last third of the race always in the back of my head.

Miles 12.5-22.5

I had forgotten about the part of the course before “the hill”.  Pretty runnable and great scenery.  I was still feeling pretty good here. Ran into my friends Jennifer and Rachel and took this quick selfie.

The hardest part of wanting to PR is that you need to stay focused as any extra minute can add up.  I felt leaving them so quickly but I was on a mission.  It’s also hard for me to do this as a coach as I always like to give words of encouragement and hang with people but sometimes I have to run my race and I was determined since I was on track.   I had stopped listening to ChiSchool from the aid station and at mile 18 decided to listen to a few motivational TED talks I had downloaded. Sometimes I like to listen to stuff on long runs but I only listened to a few as I was truly enjoying being out there and present on the trail. The weather up to mile 15 was perfect. There was cloud coverage and we even had a few sprinkles. After my last Black Canyon experience (my character builder run) I was no longer worried about running in the rain but it didn’t happen. At about mile 15, the clouds were gone and the sun came out…I immediately stripped off my sleeves and the weather got hot really fast.  I think many of us were impacted by that change during this race.  I hiked the entire hill and ran the downhill more than last year…I remember it was rocky so I was careful but was still tracking to PR.  Even though I completely filled my hydration pack, I went through my water and couldn’t wait to get to the aid station. I was out of the water for the last 1.5 miles and it kept getting warmer.

Bottom of the hill…it’s not steep but a long hill…you can see runners on the other side of the trail

Beautiful chollas and Rockknob in the background

I think this is Rocknob..its the name of the trail but beautiful rock formations!

Another angle of Rocknob

Miles 22.5 to 31

I knew I had to stay focused on the aid station.  A friend of mine, Suzanne was there and she hooked me up right away. Helped fill my pack, put some ice in my buff and hat, I grabbed some munchies and I was off again.  At this point, due to the hiking, I was averaging a 13:58 mile so I knew the PR was closing in on me.  I did something I don’t advise people to do but decided to take two ibuprofen.  I figured even though my legs weren’t too bad, they were a bit achy and I knew this would help me run more.  Unfortunately my TomTom died at mile 24 so now I had no idea how I was doing.  There is an uphill after the aid station but then a nice steady downhill, although a bit rocky.  My goal at this point was to keep running as much I could. I was doing a lot of body sensing since I didn’t have a watch to tell me how I was doing (this is truly a better way as the GPS watch can be a distraction and play into the ego more than listening to your body)  I listened to music for a bit but my MP3 player died.  I just keep running as much as I could until I reached the last aid station.  My first question was how much longer do I have to go. They said 3.4 miles,  I looked at my phone and it was 3pm.  I had to be done by 3:44 to PR and this was cutting it pretty close but doable.  I usually don’t do much sugar until the last aid station (thanks to my nutritionist)  I drank some Coke, had a piece of potato with salt, and handful of peanut M + M’s.  I left and took my phone out to text a few friends that were waiting at the finish line for me.  Here is where I made my mistake.  I wasn’t paying attention as I was texting and walking…Before you know it, a guy yelled out “What distance are you doing?” I said the 50K and he said, “You’re on the wrong trail”.  So grateful for this guy as I would’ve kept on that wrong trail for who knows how long!  I was 4-5 min in so I turned around right away but I knew this set me back and I would’ve been cutting it even closer.  Even though I ran as much as I could towards the end, I knew it wasn’t happening.  I could start hearing the finish line (they have a DJ!) and knew I was almost there.

One of the several hills on the last 3.4 miles on the technical trail..

It’s a great feeling when people could say they recognized my running form from far away.  As I finished through the last section on the technical trail, I was getting excited to be done.  Always great to finish and see friends cheering you on at the finish line…even though it was my 9th 50K, finish lines never get old!

Biggest Learning Moment

So how do you define a successful race?  Everyone has their own definition. I think it depends on the race too.  Although I didn’t make my PR on this race, it was a great success for me. First of all, it was the first time doing this race that I felt strong on the last third even though I ran into some challenges.  I crossed the finish line feeling really good!  And considering I didn’t taper last weekend and have been building mileage, I was very happy with how I felt at the end!  I attribute this to my race strategy and more importantly my ChiRunning technique. As I was by myself for this whole race so it was easier for me to focus on my form and adjusting it as needed to the environment coming at me.  I may have conserved to much energy since I finished strong but I’ll take that over being miserable and injured any day!  As mentioned, I follow my fueling plan that I learned from my nutritionist and that makes a big difference too!

The After Party

Much like the beginning of the race, at the end of the race there were so many friends around. There is always a beer garden for people to hang out and it’s right by the finish line so you get to watch people coming in. I for wanted to wait for Joan as I had been training her for the last 3 months for her first 50K.  She finished strong as well and we shared a celebratory beer (ha, she drank the koolaid and is already talking about her next 50K! She done 20 marathons but moving on to the ultra/trail world 😉 )
This year, Aravaipa added night races and I love the fact that several women from my recent Ladies Training Program, had decided to either do the day or night race!  I missed the morning ladies but had a chance to see those at night time as they got ready.  Is it bad when your running coaching is encouraging you to do a Fireball shot before you go?  Even worse that they listened to you?!  Ultimately this is about enjoying the experience!  I/we (my peeps) are never going to win the race because that’s not our goal…the goal is making friends and having fun, while staying in shape and doing some crazy things along the way! This is how we roll…….

Gorgeous sunset!

Joan finishes her first 50K! So proud of her!

Oh no….here comes the Fireball 😉 LOL

And encouraging others? Bad coach, bad coach!

It didn’t take them long to succumb to the peer pressure…although this was pre race!

One of my proudest coach moments?!

Part of the Ladies Training Program reunited! Thanks for volunteering Kisha! I better have good finish line pics 😉

 

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report

Race Report: Inaugural Revel Mt. Lemmon Marathon

….and My Story Runs On….

I have learned that I have to write these within a few days of the event or I lose the event mojo 😉  Like my normal race reports, I’ll break this down into a few sections so you can skip through the parts you need to know about depending on why you are reading this. Continue Reading →


WTF is FOMO & Getting Over It

You know that feeling when you’re scrolling on facebook and it seems like very single runner you know is at an event and you’re not.  Happened this weekend for me with Ragnar Trail McDowell Mountain.  It wasn’t that long ago that I learned of the phrase FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and it’s a new common ‘illness’ for many people. Not sure this was a thing before social media though. Seems like the biggest reason people have it is because they are scrolling on facebook/social media and watching other people “have all the fun”.  Let’s face it, no one is going to post when they are not having fun!

So I figured out how to get over FOMO…but first a few personal experiences that helped me get over it…. 😉

The first time I recall it happening to me (I didn’t know there was a phrase for it) was when several of my running peeps that I had been coaching, decided to schedule their first marathon. I was ready to do my first too but had a particular one in mind for me since it was going to be on my 41st birthday. I love doing races on my birthday! Unfortunately they had picked the Rock N Roll which was a month before mine. What should I do? I really wanted to be with them when they ran their first marathon as that was such a big deal…..but selfishly, I didn’t want them to complete their first marathon before me! I contemplated changing mine but…..

Another time I was struck with FOMO, was last year when several of my running friends got into the Chicago Marathon.  Most of them had put their name in for the lottery and pretty much all of them got in.  Seems like everyone and their mother had got into the race. This is my original group of running friends that mainly met through me and I was feeling really left out…but wait, I didn’t even put my name in for the lottery so why was I so bummed out?  I was going to miss out on the fun with them……

This last time was this weekend with Ragnar Trail.  I have a love/hate relationship with this race honestly.  The first time we did it we had 2 teams that had never done one before. We had a blast!  Did it the 2nd year and wasn’t quite as fun and then the 3rd year I went up and ran a few legs to help a few teams and then came back home.  This year, I couldn’t commit because I was in the middle of my Toastmaster competition and if I won, I would be in Flagstaff competing the Friday of Ragnar. Well, last Saturday, I lost that competition so there was still an opportunity to go.  Heard from a few teams that needed runners (I wouldn’t even have to pay to be on one team!) but as much as the FOMO was setting in, something was telling me not to do it……

I know you are all looking for a good sexy answer that will help you get over FOMO (whether it’s from running or not) but as I tried to analyze how I got over it with all three of these scenarios, I realized it was really pretty simple…well, seemingly simple but not really easy to implement. I just made a conscious choice to be OK with not being there.  This is a skill I’ve learned directly from my daily meditation practice. People ask me what I’ve learned from meditation and sometimes I can’t really quantify it.  I realized as I was still going through this yesterday, how I was learning to get over it.  By becoming self aware (that I was feeling FOMO), focusing on the present moment (being happy in this moment), detaching from the outcome , I was able to get my ego out of the decision making process and go by what my body (or spirit if you will) really wanted to do (our bodies always know best but our ego is the one that gets us in trouble). So here is how I got over the examples above. Mind you, I didn’t realize I was using this for the first two examples but it all made sense yesterday when I was trying to analyze this situation.

So my friends wanted to do another marathon and not the one that I picked?  Once I focused on them and not me (ego), I was so excited for them to complete their first marathon before their coach!  And I was able to be there for every single one of them and watch them cross that finish line!  If I were running the same one, I would’ve missed out on that opportunity. Plus I had to remember what my goal was and I really wanted to run my first on my birthday (the picture in my header of them cheering is my first marathon and one of my favorite pics ever).  I made a conscious choice and was happy with my final decision.

For Chicago, I had my ego take a step back and the first realization was that I don’t even like running road anymore!  Why would I want to train for a road marathon even if many of my friends were doing this race…that’s a lot of energy AND money to put into something that I really don’t enjoy doing anymore.  Even if I had the money, training for a full marathon is a big deal and I’ve learned through ChiRunning that you have to have a goal/vision as to why you want to do a big event like a marathon, ultra, etc because that’s what will keep you going when the going gets tough and you want to quit. Once I took my ego out of the way, I made a conscious choice to be OK with not being there and loved seeing their posts on facebook during race day!

For Ragnar this year it was a bit tougher which really prompted this blog post.  I’ve always wanted to do an Ultra Ragnar and had a few opportunities but was still committed to my Toastmaster contest so I couldn’t agree to help out either team that reached out to me.  Once I found out that I lost, I thought I could go up like I did a few years ago and just cover some legs for teams, etc.  But then I started remembering the atmosphere at Ragnar and that I would have sooo many friends up there and it’s so easy to get caught up in partying, etc. (yes, there is a good Fireball story there but just know it wasn’t pretty).  Mind you, I am not an alcoholic or anything but I am self aware enough (see a trend with being self aware?)  to know that I may not be able to contain myself and could get caught up in some not so good things.  Plus I really needed to get a long run in this weekend and I had no guarantee I would get that if I showed up at Ragnar.  Last but not least, as much as I am an extrovert and love being around so many friends, a quiet weekend mainly to myself sounded really good!

So next time you are feeling left out of something or are feeling “jealous” because all your friends are doing something that you can’t (or on the fence about it and the major thing pushing you is “because everyone else is doing it”), try these steps:

  1.  Be self aware and admit that you have FOMO 😉 sounds basic but self awareness is the key.   I am very aware of FOMO when it’s happening to me.
  2. Get centered and present.  To get your ego out of the way, you have to be in the present moment and be mindful.  If you are not used to this, a good way to do it is to sit quietly and start focusing on your breath. Being present means not thinking about the past or the future but being in the current moment that is happening. Breathing helps with this…start counting your breaths or saying IN and OUT as you are breathing.
  3. Ask yourself why you are feeling it.  More than likely you will find that ego is the one causing you to be jealous of what others are doing.  Do you really want to do it because everyone else is? What will happen by you not doing it?  Go so far as to write the pros and cons down if you need to. Usually by this point, your gut feeling (true self) will kick in and let you know what is right for you.
  4. Make a conscious choice.  At this point you are either deciding to jump off the bridge with everyone else or not.  Do you want to do this for you or are you doing it because everyone else is doing it?  If you go for it, at least you can say that you know exactly why you are making that choice because it wasn’t an overreaction but a conscious decision.  If you decide not to, you also made a conscious decision and can be happy with it.  (Doesn’t mean you still may not feel the FOMO but you will be comfortable knowing that it wasn’t an overreaction and a solid decision on your part.)

In my first two examples above, I didn’t realize I was following this process.  I had just started my meditation practice before my first marathon.  As I struggled over the last week with my Ragnar FOMO (on Friday night I was still contemplating going up to camp to hang out with friends for a few hours), I realized I had a process and put into effect which led to this blog.

Was it easy?  Of course not…but by not doing Ragnar this weekend: I got a 16 mile run in (may not have been able to get this in at Ragnar), I was able to sleep 9 hours and 5 minutes (I would’ve never got this at Ragnar!), get some time in with my family and had a very relaxing weekend (saved myself quite a bit of money and time!)

Would I have had a blast if I went to Ragnar?   No doubt about it!  But the only reason I wanted to be there was because everyone else was doing it….and that is no reason to do anything.  Love this picture I found from The Oatmeal as I was looking for images for this post!

Use These 3 Tips To Have Your Best First Race Ever

It’s easy to get freaked out when you are running your first race ever (or first race distance ever).  All these questions rolling around in your head:

  • Am I prepared enough?
  • Will I be the last person to cross the finish line?
  • Do I have everything I need?
  • and the list can go on and on IF you let it…..

So my quick advice for you, whether it’s your first race ever, or your first distance ever is to follow these three tips (works for me every time!)

  1. Don’t stress out! Getting a bit nervous about the unknown is normal, trust me! But don’t let that bit of nervousness get you so worked up that it consumes you so you don’t sleep the night before and you use up so much unnecessary mental energy you won’t have any for the race.  There is no need to get yourself worked up!
  2. Don’t go out too fast!  One of the most common mistakes for a first time race is to get excited that you start out way faster than you should.  Your adrenaline is pumping and so is everyone else’s and it’s easy to get caught up and rush out too soon. Let everyone go because you will see most of them later.  One of my other tricks is to start nose breathing as it immediately slows me down or just start in a nice warm up pace. Once you are half way through the distance, you can check in and if you are feeling good, then you can speed it up.  Trust me, it feels worse to go out too fast and then get half way through and feel like shi*t…your mind will start playing tricks on you and the negative self talk will start.  I’ve learned this the hard way!
  3. Be present!  You only get your first time once! Enjoy every single moment and stay as present as possible.  You are going to PR it (have a personal record) so make it a point to have fun and enjoy it! Thank the volunteers and the people cheering on the side line, meet people on the course, and take pictures to capture your first time experience.

More than likely if you are reading this, you are not an elite athlete, an Olympian or someone who is going to win the race. So just go out and have FUN!  You want to have a great experience so you can do it again!

This video pretty much says the same thing 😉