My Next Big Running Goal on my Birthday Weekend!

….and My Story Runs On….

This is one of the many things I love about running.  Of course everyone has their own running story and you should NEVER compare yourself to any other runner.  But for me, I love the idea of continuously pushing myself to the next level.  As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone and I can attest to this!  Earlier this year I did my first 50 Miler at Antelope Canyon the day after my birthday.  Even though I finished dead last, I felt strong and really enjoyed it (I know, crazy talk)…so of course the next goal is to push myself to the next distance level…sooooooo

I’m excited to announce that I will be doing the Black Canyon Ultra 100K!
Why did I pick this one? In no particular order…

  • 100K is 62 miles so it’s the next step after a 50 miler.
  • It’s on 2/18/17 which is the day before my birthday and I love doing crazy things on my birthday to remind myself how grateful I am for every year I am on this Earth.
  • It’s an Aravaipa event and they are one of our local ultra/trail racing company. I’ve been doing their events since 2011 and they know how put on a good race!
  • I get a buckle! I’ll admit to feeling a bit weird about this because usually you get a buckle for a 100 miler…the other funny thing is that I really don’t wear belt buckles at all (I spend most of my days in workout gear!) but a buckle is like a rite of passage in some strange way.


  • It’s a point to point race which means I get to cover 62 miles of our beautiful AZ landscape. One of the reasons I love ultra running is the ability to visit places I’ve never seen before and enjoy Mother Nature.
  • Aravaipa is hosting training runs on the entire course over 3 months which means I’ll get to preview the entire course before running it.  Last Sunday I got to run the first 19 miles and loved it.  It was mostly single track downhill.  The hardest part for me is being afraid of heights. Some parts of the single track were very close to the edge of the canyon but the more I practice, the easier that will get….I hope!
  • There is some cool history about this trail:  “This historic trail is of national significance, following a route used since the times of pre-historic Native American travelers and traders.  The Department of the Interior officially established the route as a livestock driveway in 1919, when it was used by wool growers from the Phoenix area to herd sheep to and from their summer ranges in the Bradshaw and Mingus Mountains. The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail was originally designed as a livestock driveway. Many segments of the trail roughly parallel the old Black Canyon stagecoach road between Phoenix and Prescott.”

I still can’t believe I am doing it but as crazy as it seems, I’m very excited. I’ve already started training and have already changed a few things from my 50 mile training:

  • I’m spending even more time stretching and foam rolling.  I’ve added more strength training to my weekly routine.
  • I’m also varying my running workouts more than I did last year.  This course has a net downhill elevation profile with about the first half being downhill and the 2nd half will include uphill climbing as well as several river crossings (which I used to be afraid of before but having done this several times now, I’m much more comfortable with it).  So I am doing more speedwork and hill training. I’m also planning on doing more night trail running as I know I’ll be out there at night time.
  • I still take 2-3 runs a week and listen to ChiSchool on shuffle so I can continue to improve on my ChiRunning form (my running form had the biggest improvement last year when I did this for the 50 miler). And I will continue to use the same nutrition advice I got for my 50 miler.

One of the other big motivators for me is that I’ll be raising money for Girls On The Run Maricopa County again via their SoleMates program. Last year, I raised $2100 so I want to bump that up to $2300 at least.  I am on the Board of Directors and this organization means so much to me.  If I only had this program when I was in elementary or junior high school! I want to help as many young girls as possible be part of the program so they can learn to dream big and activate their limitless potential!

What is the next challenge you are taking to get out of your comfort zone?


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

2nd 50K: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


….and My Story Runs On….

My 2nd 50K is in the books! I finished the McDowell Mountain Frenzy put on by Aravaipa Running. Not sure where to start but will try and make this as short and sweet as possible.  I’ll start in reverse with the Ugly and saved my biggest aha moments for the end…….

The Ugly
WARNING: this part contains some material that might gross you out.
The worst part about the whole race which impacted me more than I wanted or expected it to was being on my period (feel free to skip down if you aren’t interested in this 😉 ). Sorry, I know this might be TMI but seriously, this is a real issue for women.  I realized too late in the week that it was happening so had no way around it.  I don’t eat until I’m hungry when I run in the morning and I can’t take Motrin until I eat so I started out the first few hours dealing with cramping.  I hate taking Motrin anyways but knew it would help me.  I also couldn’t get control of my heart rate for those first few hours. In addition to dealing with the cramping until I could take some Motrin, I had to deal with no bathrooms.  Therefore I had to get off the course so no one would see me.  Only women will understand this but I didn’t bring enough products and was torn between not going to the bathroom and holding it OR going and not having a tampon to handle it..this impacted my ability to run so I had to walk more than I wanted to.
Lesson #1: Be more prepared.

The Bad

  • I wasn’t attached to any results for this race as it was a training run but I still wanted to do better than my last one. I finished at 8:19 and my last one was an 8:24. So it’s better but I was really hoping to do it in 7 hours.  Issue above impacted me and I’m over it.
  • I trained on part of this course but couldn’t do the whole thing. I wish I had.  Even though I’ve been doing quite a bit of trail running, the 3 mile climb at about mile 20 did me in.  I pretty much hiked most of this way and was hoping to catch up on the downhill…I did a bit but it was a rocky downhill and my knees were starting to bug me.
    Elevation profile

    Elevation profile

    Lesson #2:  Try to run the entire course or talk to more people that have completed it or just be better prepared.
    As my knees started bugging me, I realized that I was over striding which was causing the pain. As soon as I realized I was doing this, I immediately shortened my stride and the pain when away. (In ChiRunning you learn what causes pain and how to address it. You become your own detective).  Every time I felt myself getting tired uphill, I realized I wasn’t being efficient and I would start using my upper body.  This is one of my favorite techniques for ChiRunning hills.

The Good
So much to say here and trying to summarize:

  • Before I left for the race, I had a chance to see many of my good friends, my sister, niece and nephew.  I was creating the conditions for Chi to flow by relaxing and doing my body looseners but being surrounded by my family and friends was a great way to start! (They started counting down for the start and I had to rush to the start line…this frazzled me a bit but I tried to get back into my “mode”).
    Pre Race photo with some of my friends and sister!

    Pre Race photo with some of my friends and sister!

    ChiRunning:  Make sure you are relaxed before you start and get together mentally and physically. Nervous energy serves no purpose and doesn’t help with relaxing your body.

  • Shane!  He seriously helped me get through several rough spots during the race. He was doing his first 50K. We met earlier this year as his wife used to take boot camps from me at her work. We ran a bit before together in the Javelina Jangover race. We carry a very similar pace so we started together.  Unfortunately he had to deal with me griping about my “girlie” issues.  We made a deal though.  I told him not to wait for me when I had to get off the beaten path to take care of my business.  So we ran probably about half the race together in total.  We ran the first 6 miles together then we split up…then we found each other at an aid station at mile 12 and ran until I had to go again…then the hardest part of the race came (hilly part) This was the hardest part for me mentally and physically. I was sooo happy to see Shane at the next aid station at mile 22.  We fueled up and he carried a great pace downhill and we made up some good time.  At the end, my legs were tired and there were some steep up and downhills so he went ahead and finished a bit ahead of me.
    Lesson #3 Make a deal if you are running with someone on what you are doing.  I wouldn’t have wanted him to wait for me as this was his race too.  This could go either way..either stay together no matter what happens or decide it’s your own races and it’s OK to separate if necessary. But have no regrets…if you want to finish the race, do it, with or without your friend. These take a lot of training and time and you have take ownership for your race.

    Shane and I nice and fresh at the beginning of the race!

    Shane and I… nice and fresh at the beginning of the race!

  • The trail!  McDowell Mountains are one of my favorite spots to trail run.  I love our Arizona desert.  The trail had a lot of variety.
    ChiRunning:  One of the many things I love about ChiRunning is keeping my mind occupied with form focuses.  Not only is focusing on my form a good way to be as efficient as possible (and injury-free) but when you have a long way to go, being in the present moment helps time go by.  I also love doing a running meditation where I am focusing on each sense one a time for a few minutes.  So great to hear, smell, see and feel the desert.
  • My amazing friends!  I could hear people cheering as we approached the finish line. My legs were pretty tired and the last few miles were the technical part of the trail. I told Shane to go ahead! I could hear cheers for him and realized these were my friends!  Several of them had done the shorter distances and they waited for HOURS to see me finish!  My boyfriend also drove up to see me finish too.  The last few hills sucked and I was cursing at this point (well, I had cursed more than once before this point 😉 ).  As soon as I crawled over the hill, I could see my friends who were all cheering for me.  Elaine was leaning over the fence and handed me a beer….I ran through the finish line, cold beer in hand getting hugs from all my friends. Couldn’t think of a better way to end a race!
    Last hill to get to the finish line..really?!

    Last hill to get to the finish line..really?!

    Post Race with my friends!

    Post Race with my friends!

    Grabbed and beer and ran through the finish line! I love how happy I am here! I did it!

    Grabbed and beer and ran through the finish line! I love how happy I am here! I did it!

    I did it!

    I did it!

Other AHA moments:

  • #NeverSayNever this is my new favorite hashtag. I remember saying I would never do a half marathon!  I have discovered the art form of running.  I love that I can run short or long distances, on road or trail, etc. There is so much to this sport that people don’t realize.  I want to enjoy it for the rest of my life and the possibilities are endless..but always remember, it’s your running story! You choose where you want to take your running journey (and coaxing from friends doesn’t hurt either sometimes!)
  • I had this thought SEVERAL times….and I signed up for a 50 miler?  How the hell am I going to do 20 more miles?  As I’ve been told, you just don’t think about this…this is true regardless of distance….I remember wandering this same thing after a half marathon while in preparation for  a full marathon…but somehow, and sometimes you just can’t even remember how you do it, you just do it.
  • Biggest AHA moment:  Don’t downplay your mileage!  Up until midweek, I kept thinking, “this is just a training run”.  I said that to myself and others several times. Maybe I kept saying it so I wouldn’t get nervous and waste energy…or didn’t want to make it a big deal…but dang it, I finished my 2nd 50K and that’s the 2nd longest distance I have ever ran in my life…so yes, it is a big freaking deal! So don’t downplay your mileage (whatever it is) and celebrate that heck out your finish line!

Thanks to Aravaipa for putting on an amazing event as always and all the volunteers!

Antelope Canyon 50 Miles, here I come!

(P.S. I am raising money for Girls On The Run for my 50 miler.  I’m on the Board of Directors of this amazing organization. The 50 mile run is the day after my 45th birthday. I wish I had this program when I was a kid as I would’ve started running much earlier in my life.  Running has changed my life and I want to help as many young girls as possible realize their full potential.  Any donation is greatly appreciated!)

One of my new favorites!

One of my new favorites!

Life is short! Do It!

Life is short! Do It!


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

Week #6 Recap- 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

This was my 50K training plan for the week:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
12-Oct 6 0 4 6 6 0 18 10 44

Here is how my week went:

  • Monday is a rest day and I’m really starting to enjoy these.  I love not having to schedule my alarm and I let my body/mind sleep as long as I can. I got 8 hours and 37 minutes according to my Jawbone (this also gives me 3 sweepstakes entries for Krowdfit!)
  • Tuesday: Did 5 trail miles at South Mountain with my friend Vicki. I focus on some hiking as I know I won’t be running the entire time during the event. I also started on some sandy washes since Antelope Canyon is 30 miles of sand.
  • Wednesday: I woke up later than I wanted to (Running for Brews the night before) and it was tough to get motivated. Did 6 road miles.  Focused on Y-Chi as I learned some new things between Danny’s ChiSchool webinar and the lesson for that week. Had some great aha moments with it!
  • Thursday: Training plan called for 6 miles today and was trying to figure out how and when to get them in..had an epiphany before I went to bed…so I ran to my track workout, coached my peeps, ran to my parents for breakfast and then ran back home! (I always get less mileage than my track participants as I’m coaching them individually on technique)
  • Friday: Rest day (traveled to Tucson for a free ChiRunning clinic on Friday night and a full workshop on Saturday)
  • Saturday:  I knew there was no way I was getting 18 miles in since I had a 4 hour ChiRunning workshop from 12-4pm.  My original plan was 12 (I figured I would do 12 on Sat and 12 on Sun).  My friend Lori happened to be down there visiting her family so we made plans to check out the Sweetwater Preserve (I’ve been there once but remembered how much I liked it).  The plan was to meet there at 6:30am….unfortunately the rain and lightening kept us from starting at that time and I almost blew it off because I fell back asleep but thankfully she texted me and said “Let’s do it.”.  Her nephew Joey, an avid runner came with us to explore the trails that we hadn’t been on.  We were going for 6 miles since I needed time to get ready for my class but somehow we got lost and ended up doing 8 beautiful miles with a bit of rain as well.  I had to rush to my class but it was a beautiful run.
  • Sunday: My goal was to do 12-14 miles at McDowell Mountain and do part of the 50K Frenzy course.  A few friends came out with me and we did another gorgeous trail run…thankfully the sun stayed behind the clouds for most of it and we explored another new trail.

My training for the week finished like this:

12-Oct 6 0 4 6 6 0 18 10 44
0 5.3 6 6 0 8 12 37.3

I did a little less of the weekly mileage than I was supposed to do but still happy all considering.  As always, I foam roll my calves almost nightly, do leg drains and hit the hot tub a few times just to loosen up the muscles.

Aha moments this week:  

  • I may have been a little tight but overall not sore at all!  I really attribute this to ChiRunning as my goal is to always be as energy efficient as possible and use my body correctly so I don’t re-injure myself as I’m adding miles.
  • As mentioned above, focused quite a bit on YChi and had some great aha moments, the biggest one was feeling total leg relaxation as my mind/body were so focused.
  • ChiRunning Form Focuses: working on peeling my feet (especially in sand) rather than pushing with my calf muscles which takes up a lot of energy and more potential for injury.

Fundraising update: I’ve set a goal for myself to raise $5,000 for Girls On The Run.  I’m on their Board of Directors and this is a charity I’m really passionate about as running has changed my life and I wish I would’ve started earlier.  I sent a blast to my newsletter about various ways people/businesses can help out with the charity.  From that email, I received two $50 donations.  Find out more here.

Previous blogs posts in this series:

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

OMG! I just signed up for my first 50 miler!

….and My Story Runs On….

Are these the words seriously coming out of my mouth and fingers now? Seriously?!  OMG, it’s still crazy to me that they are….

I remember when I used to be a distance walker and I wouldn’t have even considered being a runner.  Training miles to complete the Breast Cancer 3-Day with my Las Bombas team for 6 years.  I even walked 100 miles in the middle of summer in 2012 for Marriage Equality (had started running at this point).

I remember when I used to go hiking and I would see trail runners. I’d call them freaks in my head….who would want to go running on a trail? That just looked stupid and certainly a good way to hurt yourself. (Running Tips for Beginner Trail Runners)

I remember when I said I would never do more than a 5K. Why would anyone ever want to run any more than that anyway?

Well, as you write your own running story, my biggest piece of advice is: NEVER SAY NEVER.  As of today, according to Athlinks, I’ve run:

  • 22 5Ks
  • 6 10Ks
  • 16 Half Marathons
  • 5 Marathons
  • 1 50K (not on Athlinks)
  • and a bunch of various distances in between.

I’m not telling you this to brag!  I know people who have done way more than this!  We are all writing our own running story so by any means, please don’t compare yourself (this is my #1 rule for beginner runners and why my blog is called My Own Running Story).

Before I injured myself from overuse last year, my next goal after my 1st 50K was to do a 12 hour race.  I was hoping to do 50 miles in that time but I knew that would be aggressive.  I also injured myself so had to drop down from that event.

Once I healed, I took baby steps as I started getting back into my normal running routine.  I knew at some point, I would be making this crazy decision.  I started toying around with the idea of doing 2nd 50K (signing up for the McDowell Mountain Frenzy by Aravaipa in December)…..then I did it…I started googling 50 mile races since I would already be training for a 50K.

Can someone explain to me why pretty much most ultra races go from a 50K to a 50 miler?  That’s a 20 mile difference!  Nothing in between?  Well, OK then….I guess that’s the next distance to do then…

I started thinking about Aravaipa’s Coldwater Rumble race in January.  They have a 100 mile race which would give me 32 hours to complete 50.  No problem!  I could take a nap in between if I wanted to…..

But then, while at the AZ Distance Camp a month ago, I started talking to my friend Elaine.  She’s an Ironman and already completed the Old Pueblo 50 miler last year. She’s a great athlete and one of the nicest people I know…as a matter of fact, I met her while training for the 3-Day and she joined our team.  She started talking about Antelope Canyon….

First question: when is it?  It’s on 2/20/16….WHAT?  The day after my 45th birthday?  I love doing things over my birthday weekend!  I ran my first marathon on my 41st birthday.
Second question:  what’s the cutoff?  15 hours…that’s an average of an 18 minute mile…sounds doable but average that for 50 miles…starting to get a bit freaked out…
Third question:  how is the route?  Does it loop?  What’s the scenery like?  Well, first of all, you are in Antelope Canyon. The only way to see this canyon is if you go with a tour or you do this race.  I started googling race reports and looking at pictures and videos from previous participants. The scenery looks AMAZING!  But wait…. there’s 30 miles of sand?  I have to go down a 30 foot rickety ladder into the canyon?  There are points that may not be suitable for someone who is afraid of heights?  Yikes……

After weighing out the pros and cons for quite some time….AND Elaine texting me with something like this “They serve birthday cake at one of the aid stations for February birthdays..”…AND remembering what I tell everyone all the time:

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I went to sign up…….AND it was SOLD OUT! What? After taking all that time to make the decision and it’s sold out?


I emailed the race director, gave him my sob story about my birthday AND how this was my first 50 miler AND I’m on the Board of Directors for Girls On The Run AND this was going to be my fundraiser event….He told me we could get on the waiting list and chances were pretty good (we were the first two on the list!).

Long story short, we got on the waiting list (I think I was the first one!) and we are now both in….$180 later, Happy Birthday to Me?!?!

I’m pretty freaked out about it but I know I have a lot of people in my life that have done these and can help me. One thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if it’s your first 5K or 50K…Fear is fear and it can hold us back from doing new things….so regardless of where you are in Your Running Story, the choice is yours:

Forget Everything And Run


Forget Everything And Rise

I’m rising…still doesn’t mean I’m not scared!  BTW, I’ll be writing another post about my Girls On The Run fundraiser but here is my link.

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

Tutu or not to Tutu, that is the question….

….and My Story Runs On….

I wasn’t planning on blogging today because I have a million other things to do but because this is getting so much publicity on facebook, I felt the need to say a few things.  Remember, the reason why I started this blog is because everyone has their own running story and you should never compare yourself to what any other runner is doing.

On that note, have you read about this?  I normally don’t get worked up about these things but this really irked me today.  Self used this photo for their magazine but not in the way one would expect from a magazine that promotes health, wellness and self esteem for women.  I’m copy/pasting what Glam Runner posted on their facebook page today in regards to this photo:


“The real story behind this photo is that Tara and Monika, pictured here, are board members for Girls on the Run San Diego. They founded Glam Runner, a business that sells running tutus, to raise funds for the council. They are dedicated to helping grow the program in their community. The real story behind this photo is that the awesome duo were running the LA Marathon while Monika was receiving chemotherapy treatments for brain cancer.

One of our core values is to stand up for yourself and others, so we are standing up for Tara and Monika, as well as every other runner who has finished a race feeling awesome in a tutu.”

Self Magazine editor-in-chief, Lucy Danziger, just submitted a public apology about an hour ago.

But seriously Lucy…why would you even consider having a piece on your magazine that is making fun of anyone running?  Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging women to be fit and healthy?  Aren’t you trying to help women improve their self-esteem?  Aren’t you supposed to encourage women to give back to charity?

Apology or not, I think you’ve ticked off a lot of people that won’t be buying or subscribing to your magazine.

Personally, I’ve never ran a race in a tutu but for no other reason than I just haven’t.

I don’t care how you decide to run a race: wear a tutu, wear bunny ears, wear a Super Hero costume, whatever…if you are out there running a race, getting healthy and fit with your friends and more than likely supporting a charity with that race, MORE POWER TO YOU!

It’s Your Running Story and you get to write it however you want!


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

Which is harder: Walk 60 miles in 3 days or a marathon?

….and My Story Runs On….

I used to ask this question every year I participated in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in Phoenix.  I am the founder of Team Las Bombas and walked 60 miles in 3 days from 2005-2009.  I was not a runner at that time but I remember pondering over this question…

This year, they announced that it was going to be the last year in Phoenix.  Since I’ve been very active with my team even if I haven’t been walking, I decided to raise the $2300 and walk 60 miles this weekend with my team.

WOW!  I only have 3 marathons under my belt right now, but I can say, hands down, I would prefer to run a marathon any day before I walked 20 miles in 1 day, let alone another 20 miles for 2 more days!


Mainly because you are on your feet for a much longer period of time and this takes a toll on your body and mind.  On Saturday, I walked 21 miles in 9.5 hours while I could run a marathon in about 5:15.  Keep in mind that I was using my ChiWalking skills as much as possible so it wasn’t really too bad for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy I did it!  But if I had to really decide between one or the other, now that I’ve done both, I would run a marathon.

Why am I sharing this? 


This is one of my all time favorite quotes.  I am sharing this to let people know that regardless of what event you may choose to do, it’s going to get you out of your comfort zone and before you know it, you will literally astound yourself at what you can do!

So don’t be afraid….set a goal outside your comfort zone, whether it’s walking 60 miles or running a marathon, and start astounding yourself!

Have you done the Breast Cancer 3-Day and/or a marathon?  Which do you think is harder and why?  Curious to hear your opinion 😉

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

P.S.  My friend GPSd our route:

Day 1:  18.95 miles in 8:20 (

Day 2: 20 miles in 9:32     (

Day 3: 16.77 miles in 7:13 (

Who let the dogs out??

….and My Story Runs On….

There are so many reasons to run and I’m sure I’ll be sharing them with you as I continue with my running story.

I want to tell you about my experience this morning.  Nowadays, there are a lot of runs for charity that you can be part of.   Continue Reading →