Across The Years: Race Report & 6th 50K

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….and My Story Runs On….

Where do I even begin? First I have to try and explain how this type of event works. Across The Years is described on the Aravaipa website as:

“the original fixed-time multiday running event celebrating the New Year. Runners have 24, 48, 72 hours or 6 days to cover as much distance as possible.  Each runner is free to walk, stop, eat, and sleep whenever they wish, but the clock is always running!”

What does this mean?  It’s basically you against the clock. You can sign up for minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 6 days and log as many miles as you want or your body/mind will allow you.

I’ll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this event. In 2014, my boyfriend and I volunteered during the midnight shift at New Year’s Eve and we had a blast!  We decided to do it again this year and The Running University sponsored two volunteer shifts on New Year’s Eve so I received a free entry for filling those spots.

I was excited to have the opportunity to try this type of event out.  The course is a 1.04 mile loop at Camelback Ranch and you basically go around the loop as many times as you want or your body/mind will allow you. I’ve done an event before that was looped but it was a 4 mile course so this was a first experience for me.  Every 4 hours they change the direction so you go around the opposite way.

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I can’t wait to get my official bib number. It’s yours for the lifetime of the event. Apparently once you get to 1,000 miles you get a jacket! not sure I’ll ever shoot for this goal!

I ran this mostly with my friend Heather and we decided that we were “just” going to follow our training plan for the weekend and our plan was to do a 50K (31.1 miles). I also had dinner plans that night so I was on a bit of time crunch. We started at 9am (the 24 hour clock is from 9am-9am).  The first several loops felt great…actually most of it wasn’t bad at all..as a matter of fact at one point I was thinking, maybe I can do 48 hours next year and do my first 100 miles…break it up in four 25 miles segments over 48 hours…that sounds doable, right? Well…..by the time I was done, I was done with those loops.  Heather and I spent most of the time chatting together and with other people on the course. At one point she needed to make a stop so I kept going knowing we find each other on that loop at some point. I started listening to one of my new favorite Running Deep playlists that I purchased awhile ago and had not had chance to get into (guided meditation for runners).  It was perfect timing to be zoned out and zoned in at the same time.  I was also hoping to PR my 50K time. Doesn’t really mean a whole lot as this type of event is much different than running a 50K on a trail with an actual elevation profile. But still, I was running a lot more than I would’ve on a trail so that had to count for something.  I did set another PR and I found my results from my Tom Tom amusing. Mostly the elevation profile and the map of my run. 😉

It might be easiest to break this up to pros and cons (of course just my opinion!). Would love to hear comments from anyone who has done these events!

Pros:

  • The course is a 1.04 mile loop so there is no way to get lost. It’s probably one of the safest ways to get rack up mileage.
  • You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock. This will also be a Con.  For me, I liked that my plan was to stick to my training plan and I purposely scheduled dinner plans later because I knew that I could be convinced to keep going since I technically had many more hours to go. But if someone was “afraid” to do a marathon because there are normally cut offs, you can sign up for 24 hours here and finish a marathon no problem in 24 hours…you could crawl it!
  • I’ve never eaten so much at a race! LOL  There is a main aid station with lots of goodies. We purposely skipped it many times.  I’ve taught my body to go for longer periods of time with little fueling but it’s so hard not to stop by and visit at the aid station…and maybe grab a few M & M’s or piece of pizza or peanut butter pretzels (my main trail staple). I’ve heard people say they actually gain weight on this event.
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Should’ve got a better picture but this is the main aid station…lots of goodies here!

  • No need to carry anything.  There is also another water station half way through which means you really don’t have to worry about carrying anything with you on this race as you have it all right there.
  • Seeing lots of friends!  It was fun to see so many people I knew. Unfortunately because I was on a mission to get done by a certain time, I couldn’t stop and slow down much to talk with them as most of them were going longer so moving slower that I wanted to at that point. But there are a lot of local runners along with people who come internationally for this event so a great place to listen to people’s running stories and goals.
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Heather and I at the start line getting ready for the 9am start 😉

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Had to get a selfie with the pretty “lake” behind us. There were some scenic spots on this loop!

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Hanging with Ed The Jester. I found out today that he placed 1st with 451 miles completed in 6 days! Just google “ed the jester” and you’ll find out some amazing things about this guy!

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Sharill! Her and her husband used to own Solemates which was a racing company that only did these type of timed events but shorter starting with 6 miles up to 24 hours.

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Ron! I see this guy volunteering everywhere! And you can’t help but love that shirt!

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Ila! Still waiting to hear on her finish as of right now. She is an inspiration and I blogged about her too: https://myownrunningstory.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/running-marathons-at-70/

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We reached our goal of a 50K! 31.8 miles on my watch 😉

  • Relaxed atmosphere.  People are all just doing the same thing going around this loop…some running, some walking, some talking, some listening to music or whatever.  There didn’t seem to be much “race” pressure that you can normally feel in a race.  You get to do whatever you want when you want.
  • Strategy.  You basically create your own race strategy. I met people who were planning X amount miles in X amount of hours, some people were just going with the flow and people like me were using it as a training run.  Your time, your strategy.
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My strategy was to complete a 50K but my mantra is the same thing I have on the back of my The Running University shirts 😉

Cons 

  • The course is a 1.04 mile loop and all you do all day and night is go around in the same circle for hours even though they change the direction every 4 hours.  One of the things I love most about ultra running is being out on a trail and seeing places I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how people do 6 days of this but all power to them!
  • You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock.  As a running coach, this type of race can really push people to a level that I believe is not healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people pushing outside their comfort zone mentally and physically!  However, to be smart about doing that, training your mind and body really helps too. I know several ultra runners that were out there and used to do this kind of mileage…however this race brings some people out that have not been spending the time training and it’s an injury or many waiting to happen. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your goal and I can’t tell you the number of times I heard people complaining about body parts hurting (there is a difference in knowing when you can push through “hurt” or “injury”) and when you are mentally exhausted, you are not always making the wisest decisions. It was painful for me to watch some of these people limping along (there is a medical tent on site and they do an amazing job…but I know people who wouldn’t go in there in fear of hearing they needed to stop). As much as it’s an inspiration to watch an 82 year old with a walking stick or a 10 year old achieve a 100 mile goal,  it’s still begs the questions, when is too much too much?

So, 4 days later, do I still want to do 100 miles in 48 hours next year?

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Will I do the event again next year?  Hell yes!  My plan would be sign up for the same 24 hours with friends, hopefully convince some people to do their first marathon, and have a walking/running party and just have fun with it!

Have you ever done a timed event? What’s your experience? Would love 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!)

Race Report: Capitol Reef 50K with Ultra Adventures

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….and My Story Runs On….

On Saturday, I completed my hardest race to date…The choice words for the day were FUCKING BRUTAL (there are a few more swear words in this blog)…..it was also the most humbling race experience I had and one of the most gorgeous courses I’ve been on.  It was Ultra Adventures’ Capitol Reef 50K. Now I get why they are called “Adventures”. You may remember that I did my first 50 miler with them at Antelope Canyon. This was the highest elevation I’ve ever ran in with the steepest uphills and downhills I’ve ever done in my life.  Based on my standards, mostly an unrunnable course as you’ll read and see my pics below.  Before I break this down, I found this photo online yesterday as I was googling “mental toughness” and dang it, it pretty much summarizes my event!

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I was invited by a friend to do this race awhile back and I read some blogs and some info about it so I knew it was not going to be an easy one. Click here to see the map and elevation profile. Looked like a great opportunity to visit a new place I’ve never been to (one of the main reasons I love ultra/trail running is that it brings me to places I would not visit otherwise).  I was ready for the day to finally be here as you may remember my last blog post on Burning Out.

Our road trip up to Capitol Reef included a quick stop at Monument Valley which I had never seen before.  It was absolutely stunning and I am sure I’ll be doing that race at some point as well.

We went and grabbed our packets on Friday and had the honor of meeting Arnulfo Quimare, the famous Tarahumara Indian from the Born To Run book. I already had Caballo Blanco’s autograph in my book so I added his as well.

On race day, we arrived at the finish line where we would be bused up to the start line for this point to point race.  This is the 2nd time that my friend/trail wife, Elaine and I ended up wearing the same shirt…which fit well with this race #RunSteepGetHigh.  Matt Gunn, the race director, gave a briefing at the beginning and I tried not to worry about some of the words he was using like “bushwacking” and “boulder mountain”.

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Run Steep Get High 😉

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Obligatory selfie with Elaine and Lori (this was her idea in the first place)

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Matt Gunn, race director giving the briefing.

The three of us agreed ahead of time that it was each woman for herself and if we ended up together that would be fine but we were “running” our own race.  My goal was to finish and not got lost (this is their 2nd annual and blog reports from last year mentioned people getting lost.  Matt does a great job in taking feedback from his post race surveys as the course was marked very well in my opinion.  Actually looking for those pink flags helped keep me focus and made it “funner” by seeming like a bit of a scavenger hunt.)  The 50K course had an 11 hour cutoff (my average has been a little over 8 hours) and Ultrasignup forecasted that I would end at 11:45 (not sure what their algorithms are based on) and I was determined to prove them wrong.

I knew the first 8 miles were going to be an uphill climb so my plan was to hike this entire part to save energy so I could “run” later. These pictures don’t do it justice. I will say that I could feel the elevation change but it didn’t effect as much as I thought (giving some credit to some exercises I’ve been working on from The Oxygen Advantage book).

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The scenery was breathtaking and such a different experience from running in the desert which is my usual trail running play ground. The first half of the course was a combination of beautiful meadows (mainly single track but fairly runnable although you couldn’t see the terrain under the grass sometimes so you had to be careful for rocks); rocky trails; and boulders:  IMG_9149

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Cow bones?? Dead trail runners??

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more nonrunnable terrain…for me anyways!

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Caught Arnulfo with some amazing running form in his sandals!

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Seriously??

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Channeling my Spiderman skills again..

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Boulder Mountain…this seemed like at least a mile of this type of terrain.

Lori and I “ran” together up to about Mile 14.  We were bumming a bit as we had done some good training and really just wanted to run.  We would find a good runnable trail but then 50 feet later it became unrunnable again (although clearly runnable for the many other experienced runners that are used to this type of terrain). She got ahead of me and at this point I was comfortable being alone as I knew the course was marked well and I was not worried about getting lost.

More beautiful water scenery on this course with lakes and creeks…I used to be “afraid” of crossing creeks and we had several of those. When it worked out, I would use rocks or logs to cross but I got over that fear after some of our Black Canyon trail runs so when it didn’t work out, I would just walk right through them. The cold water felt good on my feet and I knew I wouldn’t get blisters as I’ve done this several times in my shoes before.

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I finally got to the Donkey Reservoir Mile 19 Aid Station.  A lady said that my friend Lori was about 2 minutes ahead of me but I was ready to take a little break here.  There was a 4pm time cutoff at this aid station and I got there around 2:30pm so all was good at this point. I had been following my nutrition plan and was feeling great (outside of being bummed that I wasn’t running as much as I wanted to).  The volunteers were great. I ate some quesadillas and had a little Coke (I only drink Coke on trail aid stations and it always hits the spot!). Got my water pack filled up and off I went. The next aid station was going to be 10 miles away so I was prepared for that…or so I thought…
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I noticed the battery in my Tom Tom was close to dying. I wasn’t too worried about it at this point as I was comfortable finding the course markers.  It died at about mile 21 and I was fine for a bit. This is when my mind started playing tricks on me. It was really hard to gauge how long it would take me to get to the next aid station. I wasn’t doing my normal pace for sure and it’s so hard to do math at this point on the trail.  I started doing one of my favorite ChiRunning meditations on the 5 senses to keep me present and distracted. I focused on all my senses:
Eyes: I had to keep my eyes on the trail a lot since it was pretty technical but I loved to see the pretty flowers, the views, the pink markers that were guiding my way…
Ears: I could hear the birds chirping, the wind in the trees, the water flowing through creeks..my heart rate going up on the uphills (at points it sounded like it would jump out of my chest!)..at one point I played music on my Iphone via the speaker so I could still be part of nature..I kept it low but needed some more distraction to get through it…I could hear footsteps behind me once in awhile as runners were passing me (this messed with my head a bit too as 50 mile people who started an hour before me and had completed more mileage were actually running this course…I knew they had more experience running in this terrain but still!!…)…I could hear my breath as I was focusing on my cadence and breathing together..
Smell: I could smell cow patties but never saw any cows which was weird (I heard some too) and my favorite was going through a few patches of pink flowers (which could be easily mistaken as the pink course markers) and the smell of them was overwhelming yet soothing.
Touch:  sometimes the wind would pick up and I could feel it on my skin…the sun on my skin…being brushed by the bushes on the side (wait for the bushwhacking part in a few)
Not much to do with Taste outside of the ginger candy I picked up at the last aid station.
Even though this worked for periods of time, the non runnable parts seemed to never end…and the steep uphills and downhills continued…THEN we got into the bushwhacking part Matt had mentioned in the briefing…

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Can you see the pink marker in the top left hand side of the photo? You can barely see the trail but we were literally going through shrubs..so hard to see the ground and run this part too..

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Do you see the pink marker in the top left hand side of the photo again? Yes, I crawled over logs and this was not the only place..

I kept wandering when the heck I would get to the aid station at Mile 29. There were several times that I could feel a lump in my throat and I just wanted to cry.  Mentally I can usually get through races by working on the meditation above or just enjoying nature and knowing that I am doing what I love to do most: run around in nature….but by this point, I was so freaking ready for it to be over…a few times I just wanted to sit down and have a helicopter come and get me..I’m not a religious person but I prayed to God, Jesus, and Mother Mary several times..and then there was Rikki (bottom line, my friend Lori M bought these for our adventure..there is more to that story but I’ll save that for another blog post)
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A few times (and yes, I realized I was talking out loud) I said “I just want my Mommy”..or I would think about my boyfriend and how bad I just wanted to be in his arms…I’ve never felt like I wanted something to be over so bad before…Every time I turned a corner, I kept hoping for that dang aid station…I had to be close….
Finally I reached it….it was 6pm and I had been on my feet for 10 hours.  The volunteer said that there was only 3.8 more miles to go…yeah! but were they runnable miles?  He said yes but again, I couldn’t rely on his idea of runnable as clearly my definition is a bit different.  I had Coke and M+Ms and took off.  If it were truly runnable, no matter how tired I was, I could do this!  I know I can run 4 miles in an hour! And thankfully it was mostly runnable!  Heck, all of the sudden there was sand and I was so happy to run in it!
These were some of the views from the last part of the race:

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Since my Tom Tom died, I was using my phone for time…I kept pulling it out to check and see how I was doing..I am sure if I had the info, my last 4 miles were the fastest in this race…I still had to walk a few times and at this point, my goal was to finish within the 11 hour cutoff…that’s all I kept thinking about…I finally saw the road that we would be crossing before the finish line..my phone time was 7pm so I’m thinking it’s too late…I wasn’t going to have the same epic finish as my 50 miler…but I kept running as fast as my legs could take me as I was SOOOOOO ready for this to be done! I couldn’t wait to see my friends at the end…I finally see the finish line and the clock…the clock is at 10:59:55 and I’m running as fast as I could…the seconds were counting down…I crossed the finish line at 11:00:01 (unofficial time)…and then there I was standing there, finally done with this darn race and no one was there to greet me! Where the heck were my friends?  Lori M came up right after and was so bummed she missed my finish..apparently Lori C had told them I was about an hour behind her so they figured they had time (it was a long day for all of us so I think we were all confused by this point!)…..it didn’t matter…I WAS FINALLY DONE WITH IT!

I realize this is a long blog post but here are my Thorns, Roses and Learning Lessons (in addition to what was already mentioned)
Thorns:

  • I would train more on technical trails (not that I plan on doing this one over again), read more blog posts about the race and be better prepared in general
  • I didn’t get much sleep before the race..I had a total of 14 hours the 3 nights before the race and I know that effected me.

Roses:

  • ChiRunning:  I worked on my form as much as I could and I know that helped me mentally and physically! Used lots of the hill technique, arm swing and lots of work with my breathing/cadence especially when I could get into a running groove.  Lots of form work with my walking as well.
  • Nutrition: I followed the same plan I did for my 50 miler and never bonked. Felt good all the way!
  • Scenery: even though it was tough terrain, it was amazing scenery!

Learning lessons:

  • Running is always a metaphor for life. I learned that when I put my mind to something, no matter how hard I can do it. This race.pushed my mental limits like no other race has before.  This will certainly prepare me for any hard life experiences!
  • Being alone was hard but knowing what to do helped me. Make sure you have a plan on what to do if you get close to a break down. I’d love to hear what other ultra runners (or anyone doing long events) does when they know they are so close to that point.
  • I overcame a lot of fears and mental breakdowns…during this race I became my own inspiration! I don’t mean to brag but every time I made it through another mental mind fuck, I was cheering myself on. When it’s just you out there, you need to dig deep (like the photo above) so you can call yourself a bad ass!  I am so proud of myself for getting through that….even though my official time was an 11:03:03 and I was 2nd to last..I FUCKING FINISHED!!

Would I ever do this one again?  HELL NO! As a matter of fact, if someone told me I had to redo the Antelope Canyon 50 miler in sand or Capitol Reef 50K, hands down I would be doing Antelope!  But this race had a huge impact on my character..sounds cheesy but I’ve been feeling like my soul was shaken up a bit …I know that during those 11 hours, my mind/body/spirit grew a little bit more…isn’t that why we do these things? To reach out of our comfort zone and stretch ourselves?  To see how far we can push our body, mind and spirit and conquer things we never thought possible?

I absolutely love the Grand Circle Trail series. Matt and his crew do an amazing job. My goal is to do all of them at some point since they are all strategically placed in amazing locations…who knows which one will be next?

I tweaked this quote: “A mind, body and spirit that are stretched by new experiences, can never go back to their old dimensions.”

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Finishers! 3 of us did the 50K and the other 2 did the half marathon (which was brutal too!)

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seriously gorgeous views!

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Yes! Not only did I inspire myself but love to hear that I can inspire other people to do epic shit too!

 

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

50 Miles of Gratitude: (6) My Boyfriend!

….and My Story Runs On….

My boyfriend, my BBE (Best Boyfriend Ever), my running widower, Greg, Gregorio (that’s what my Italian parents call him 😉 )….whatever we call him, he is one of the biggest reasons I am able to do what I do. Continue Reading →


50 Miles of Gratitude: 50 Posts about my first 50 Miler

….and My Story Runs On….

Here is a list of my blog posts that I am writing after my first 50 Mile race.  It’s combination of what I learned, what I am grateful for and a way for me to keep the memory alive.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life! My goal is to have 50 of these 😉

Updated on 7/30/17:  I’m realizing this just isn’t going to happen.  It was a great idea when I had it but I have other ideas for blogs, etc and too much time has gone by now.  I have found that writing blogs works best for me when I feel inspired and too much time has gone by now to continue with this series.  I hope you still enjoy these 😉

Race Report: Antelope Canyon: My 1st 50 Miler (with pictures!)
50 Miles of Gratitude: (1) ChiRunning
50 Miles of Gratitude: (2) Nutrition
50 Miles of Gratitude: (3) Training
50 Miles of Gratitude: (4) Massage
50 Miles of Gratitude: (5) My Trail Wife
50 Miles of Gratitude: (6) My Boyfriend
50 Miles of Gratitude: (7) My Epic Finish Line
50 Miles of Gratitude: (8) Altras and Meeting the CoFounder
50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running
50 Miles of Gratitude: (10) Burning Out
50 Miles of Gratitude: (11) My Celebratory Tattoo
50 Miles of Gratitude: (12) Training & XTERRA events 

 

I've learned this... #neversaynever

I’ve learned this… #neversaynever

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 #7 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
19-Oct 7 0 4 6 8 0 20 10 48

Here is how my week went:

  • Monday: Rest day and I got 9 hours and 5 minutes of sleep  according to my Jawbone (this also gives me 3 sweepstakes entries for Krowdfit! More entries means more chances to win the $250 monthly prize for sleeping).  I love Mondays!
  • Tuesday:  Did 5 miles at South Mountain with my friend Vicki.  Did a few miles in the wash to get some sand training done. Also ran 3 miles at Running for Brews to start getting ahead of the game, knowing I wouldn’t be able to follow the schedule as it was.
  • Wednesday: I didn’t have time to get out in the morning so I just did 2.5 miles on the treadmill at PSCU, where I teach boot camps.  Focused on nose breathing the entire time and tried to keep my heart rate lower…although I forgot to turn my heart rate sensor on my Tom Tom so I couldn’t tell what it was.
  • Thursday:  I canceled track this morning as I didn’t have enough people.  My plans changed several times so I ended up doing 5 miles on the Western Canal. Some great aha moments: worked more on nose breathing, arm swing and leaning by relaxing more towards the end which worked out well considering I had negative splits.  One of my ChiRunners commented on my facebook post because she said she recognized me out there due to my arm swing!
  • Friday:  I scheduled a night trail run for a few of my Ragnar team members that haven’t ran at night yet.  Since I was going to be out there anyways, I figured I’d get a few more miles in since I knew I wouldn’t get them all in over the weekend.  My friend Lori joined me for that earlier run on the canal.  It was the first night run for 3 of my friends!  Love first time experiences!
  • Saturday:  I knew I would be getting a great back to back because Ragnar was previewing 2 of their trails. The first one was at “night” at 5am which meant my alarm was set for 3:50 am to get there in time (this is why we didn’t go celebrate the night before as most of us had to wake up early for this). Running trails at night time is my absolute favorite.  I would’ve never done this a few years ago!

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  • Sunday: My friend Lori had a good idea to go run on the canal by OHSO brewery so we could end there and have brunch and a beer.  I did 10 miles with Lori and Elaine.  Great morning with friends!

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
19-Oct 7 0 4 6 8 0 20 10 48
8 2.5 5 6 9.9 10 41.4

I was a little short again but had a few back to backs and I’m good with this mileage.

AHA moments:

  • Someone asked me the other day why on earth would I run 50 miles. Outside of getting outside of my comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens, I realize I’m using this as a learning process as well.  I took a Foam Rolling and Stretching workshop with Sacred Harts on Sunday and I’m looking into working with a Registered Dietician who specializes in endurance athletes and Metabolic Efficiency training.  #neverstoplearning
  • I love looking at my schedule for the week and figuring out how, when and who I’ll be running with.  I’m working on making this a fun experience as it’s becoming a part time job and I don’t want to burn out.
  • No soreness again!  Maybe a bit of tightness and legs feeling a bit heavy but I continue to foam roll/stretch every night and do leg drains.
  • ChiRunning:  Nose breathing is getting easier and I’m enjoying working on this on solo runs with cadence.  Had some great aha moments working with my arm swing (and not rotating my upper body which is wasted energy and makes my legs work harder).  Also worked on my gears and speed while relaxing my lower legs.  As long as I’ve been ChiRunning, I’m always amazed how much I keep learning when I’m focusing…as we way, practice makes progress.

Fundraising update:

Haven’t really done much with it this week.  Every little bit helps though!

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?

WonderWoman

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

OR

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!)

2014 Major Celebrations: Mind, Body & Spirit

….and My Story Runs On….

It’s been a few years that I’ve decided not to make New Year Resolutions anymore. There are all sorts of statistics about the % of people who make them and who keep them.

I do believe that this is a great time to reflect on last year and set new intentions for the upcoming year.  I’m combining this all together over 3 blogs posts. My hope is to inspire you to do the same. Today I’m reflecting on my major accomplishments in 2014.  My word of the year was Celebration and my song for this year is Pitbull/Cristina Aguilera’s Feel This Moment (see more in Vision Board section below) When I look back, I like to focus on what I accomplished…maybe a better word is what I CELEBRATED. In the next few days, I’ll write about my major lessons learned in 2014.  I’ll focus on my intentions after taking my next Vision Board class with Sacred Harts.

“If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
Brian Koslow


2014 Accomplishments
Mind

  • Completed my Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). This was huge for me because I’ve been working on it for the last 10 years.  I know people that have completed it in 2 years but that’s one of things I love about Toastmasters is that you can move at your own pace. I can’t say enough about this organization.  I’ve been meaning to write a blog about the similarities of Toastmasters and running 😉  coming soon….
  • Completed my Corrective Exercise certification.  I didn’t need to do my CEUs for my fitness training certification yet so I was happy to get ahead of the game.  This was a challenge for me as it’s been awhile since I’ve immersed myself back into studying anatomy.
  • Completed 23 blogs posts. This has been a tough one for me but I’ll be working more on this in 2015.

Body

Spirit

Before I tackle spirit, let me tell you what this means to me. I’ve probably had my biggest growth happen in the last year in this area. This picture sums it up:

We all have a purpose in this world.  When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I'm getting closer to my true self and soul.

We all have a purpose in this world. When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I’m getting closer to my true self and soul.

  • Completed three 21-Day Meditation series from Deepak Chopra. These are free and I love them.  I started doing these in May of 2012 and this probably the #1 thing that has changed my life in so many ways. I have 67 pages of journaling from this process. This year I completed the following series: Find Your Flow, Expanding Your Happiness and Energy of Attraction. I can’t recommend these enough.  Find out more on their website and facebook page.
  • Completed my first Vision Board in January 2014.  I’ve always wanted to do these but never got around to it.  I can’t say enough about the workshop I took with Lisa Hecke from Sacred Harts (as a matter of fact, I’m signed up for her next one on 1/11).  I’m a big believer in setting intentions because I’ve manifested amazing things in my life through this process….so I’m interested in anything that will deepen it.  Here is a picture of 2014 Vision Board.  I have this hanging right in front of my computer so I see it every single day.  I even took a picture of it on my phone so I had it handy when I wanted to focus on it.  There were mornings that I would get in my car, look at the photo and blast my song.  As I was doing this, I really stayed present and focused on my vision board intentions.  When I look at all my celebrations for this year, a lot of it was right here in my vision board.  Here is a picture of it:

    visionboard

    Left half is my personal life and right half is my business life

  • Niched my business from general fitness (Easy Fitness Solutions) to The Running University.  I realized that my passion was to see people cross finish lines and accomplish goals they never thought possible whether walking or running. This included a new website, my free ebook 15 Simple Steps for the Beginner Beginner™ Runner, new facebook, twitter and You Tube page.  Running has changed my life in ways I can’t list here right now and I know it can do the same for others (I know all my friends that were non runners would say the same exact thing)
  • Became a ChiRunning/ChiWalking Master Instructor.  I remember when I first became certified to teach and NEVER thought that I would want to or could be one.  I assisted/stalked Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning by assisting him with several classes in the last few years. I was/am a sponge and who better to learn from than the guru himself. I say that running has changed my life but it’s really ChiRunning.  There are the obvious benefits of decreased chance of injury and learning to make running effortless but it’s really about a lifestyle choice of living intentionally and mindfully.

I’ve been working on this post for 3 hours!  I’m not saying you have to take this long (although it’s leaving me with a great feeling of accomplishment to look back) but maybe take a few moments and look back at 2014.  You can categorize them this same way (Mind, Body Spirit) or however your heart desires.  Whatever way you do it, write it down so you can see just how much you accomplished and celebrated this year!

PLEASE share any of your accomplishments or celebrations in the comments!

P.S. This deal is only good through 12/31.  I recently discovered Flip’n Fit.  Basically you pay a monthly membership fee and have access to 35 different studios from RealRyder Spinning to Pilates to Yoga and now to some of my group classes! They are offering a special deal to my peeps…you need a facebook account though 😉  Pay for one month ($99) and get the next month FREE.  $50 for each month with access to up to 200 classes a day!  Here is the deal:

1) Share this post about Flip’n Fit on your page
2) Like their Facebook page
3) Purchase on or before 12/31 to get your second month FREE! (membership is $99)

I’ve been using them for the last month and love it…I’m now doing RealRyder spin classes 2-3x a week and tried Dahn Yoga which I’d never done before…excited about Barre and Pilates in January too!

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

We placed last at Ragnar!!

….and My Story Runs On….

Yep!  I didn’t just use this catchy blog title just for the heck of it, both of our teams were 2 of the last 3 teams to cross the finish line at the Ragnar Trail Relay Race held at McDowell Mountain last weekend. Continue Reading →